the great pumpkin

One of the best thing about blogging has to be the people you meet and the friends you make through the blog. You know, I’m really just doing this just for the fun of sharing our everyday adventures with everyone, but sometimes along the way, some of my readers reach out to me with questions, or for some help with a project or just for fun stuff they want to share with me, and I just love to hear what you girls have to say and respond to each of you.

So that’s how I came up with this weekend’s activity; as Nathalie, one of mylemondroplife follower, sent me a message a week ago to tell me about that pumpkin place I had to visit. I was really excited to hear about this, so I looked it up online and as soon as I opened their website I knew I’d love it and wanted to go right away. So this immediately became my priority #1 for the weekend. Hum, hello, do I want to spend the first weekend of October in a pumpkin fields, oh yes I do!

Came Saturday morning, I was so excited, and ready fairly early, but the boys had in mind to spend the day in their pj. Sorry to disappoint you guys, but this is pumpkin day, and ready or not, you are all coming with me anyway! Sometime it’s hard with the boys to get them excited with things like that… most of the times they end up having a blast, but it often starts with a little crisis at home before we leave. So we finally got all dressed up and left for Gatineau where we we’re going to “pumpkin heaven” I told them. Even that did not get anyone excited, except for myself! It’s no surprise for anyone anymore how much I love this season; you know, give me a cozy sweater or a blanket, a hot tea and some Fall scented candle and I’m a happy girl.

We’ve visited a few pumpkin patch over the years, some maybe a little expensive, or just too big, we even visited a pumpkin patch that ended up being a farmer’s field where they had dropped pumpkin so the kids would believe they were picking their own… well not this time, this weekend I was expecting something simple, gorgeous, with no fuss, where you can have a great time while picking up your own pumpkin. And Courges & Cie was just that; and even better. From the moment I saw the place from far away I knew this was going to be my new favorite early October place. Dirt road, a beautiful barn, a field filled with the most perfect pumpkins and squash; I was in love with the place in an instant.

So we got out of the car and the boys could hardly kept still. They were so excited! Finally!!! You know this exact moment when you just want to tell them: “you see, I told you!!!”, but what’s the point. Instead I started to take some pictures while Brian went to get one of the many wheel barrels that were lined up right there for us to use. We went directly to the pumpkin patch across the road and the pumpkins were everywhere. They were all so pretty. Some huge ones, some small ones, there were some of all sizes and shapes. Honestly, I think I’ve seen the prettiest pumpkin ever, but it may have been just a little too big! But sooo pretty, with a perfect shape and the most perfect stem. Now while writing this I kinda regret not bringing it home where it belongs!!!

There were so many nice ones that we could have picked up the first couple we saw but decided to walk further down the field and let the boys find their favorite one. We didn’t know we needed cutters but found a small pocket knife in the car and it worked just fine. Logan picked a huge one while Liam found a small green pumpkin that had not ripen up, and just like that we were all very happy. The boys took turns for a short ride in the wheel barrel, I took some more pictures and then we made our way into the green house. I had never seen so many squashes. All beautifully displayed with a sign explaining where they come from, how to use them and so much more, and then I found a pink pumpkin. Hello luv, where have you been all my life!?!

We settled on picking pumpkins and buying the squashes from the green house, but you can also pick out the squashes. As well as tomatoes. Just so you know!

Once we were done, we stopped at their cute little outside kitchen where they serve French Fried Squash. So so so delicious. Honestly, you can’t go to Courges & Cie and not try the French Fried Squash. And also their donuts. The boys had 2 each. They were sooo good. Only got a bite, but next year, I’m buying one and then I’ll hide. That’s my plan!

So, for the next couple of weeks, Courges & Cie will be opened every weekend and you should definitely make the time to visit. It was clearly one of the best Fall outing I’ve had in years. I’m glad the boys loved it because we’ll be visiting again for sure, as Pumpkin Day at Courges & Cie is now an official yearly family thing.

Happy October 1st my friends, officially time to buy pumpkins!

 

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beau’s oktoberfest 2017

Well, just like that, the best-weekend-of-the-year is now gone. But luckily, we are left with tons of pictures and memories that will keep us going until next year! Yep, Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017 was just as awesome as expected (but way HOTTER than any other Fall activities I’ve ever attended to!).

When I was younger, I spent a few Thanksgivings at my mom’s cousin in Kitchener. My uncle used to volunteer at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and got to bring us with him on many occasions. I remember watching the parades, the enormous beer tents, many dressed up old man with lederhosen and the cutest mascot. A few years ago, I decided to bring Brian to Kitchener to witness this amazing party that is spread over 2 weeks. Hello amazing! Two weeks of Oktoberfest festivities, that is just crazy, right? Well, we had so much fun back then; Brian was really into it, and bought a hat, and some pins, and wanted to go back every year to celebrate… but you know what, who needs to drive that far to have beers in huge steins with thousands of others when you can do it next to your hometown!

So, for those who weren’t there, or those who missed it, or those who didn’t know that this was happening last weekend (although this is almost impossible now, given that my social medias were just flooded with pictures from people at Oktoberfest all weekend long), here’s what you guys missed.  So for the last 9 years, Beau’s All-Natural Brewery has been hosting their own two-day Oktoberfest event in the quaint village of Vankleek Hill, with music, local restaurants vendors, over 60 type of craft beers and all sorts of friendly competition and midway games. This year there was even a Ferris Wheel on site. Although you can’t really compare Kitchener and VKH or the two festivals, this one is a special one, and I got to admit that for me, Beau’s Oktoberfest is just the best party ever!

It was our 3rd year attending the festivities and we still just love to be there as much every time. It is clearly our favorite weekend of the year. I’m thinking of doing an advent calendar or something like that for next year, it’s that exciting! I go for spending time with family and friends, for the AMAZING food we get to try and discover, and for cheering with our community. Brian goes for the beer! Oh, and also for the small stage with the skate park… as every year I lose him for like an hour only to find him back in front of the Black Forest stage listening to music and artist he has never heard of.

So this year, I’ve left work early on Friday, we dropped off the boys at my mom and then left with my step-dad for Vankleek Hill. We later met with friends and with Brian’s cousin and her niece. We tasted beers and then had the most delicious cheese raclette and the BEST chocolate frozen treat from Pascale’s Ice Cream; we’ve then cheered for our friend Carlo during the Keg Toss competition; and then closed the place down and went home for a nap before going back at it on Saturday!

My grandma Lamoureux traveled the world (lucky her) and had brought back (like 30 years ago) lederhosen for my brother. My mom kept these type of amazing souvenirs and I was so excited the day I found it stored in a box in her basement. I’ve been dressing the boys in them for the last 3 years. So, since I take full advantage of every opportunity I get to dress up the boys, we bought a second pair of lederhosen, got them some tickets and brought them over with us on Saturday morning. They were sooo adorable! They got to play at Kinderfest, eat treats and made plenty of cheers… just like their dad, well kind of, with Iced Tea filled cup instead of beer! Their favorite part had to be the Midway games. They loved the throwing-jar-lids-around-beer-bottles game, then played Bumper’s Crop Plinko (my fav), and finally won a Beau’s frisbee. We then sent them off with my sister-in-law for one last camping trip while we kept on partying! Thanks Annick, you’re the best!

So this year Oktoberfest was in September… and it was not Fall weather at all.  In fact, the heat was unbearable. We were lucky enough to find a table in the shade for our group where once in a while we would feel the breeze. We had a rotation going on where one of us would go get the beer, the other one water, and then another one the food. I won’t rate the beer as I didn’t try any, but since I love food, especially Oktoberfest kind of food, here’s my three way tie for the most delicious food at this year Beau’s Oktoberfest:

Cheshire Cat Pub for the all-time best Reuben sandwich I’ve ever tasted;

Meule et Caquelon for the raclette trio plate… cheese is ALWAYS a winner in my book, and this was simply delicious. We’ve actually had it on Friday and then again on Saturday; and

Pascale’s Ice Cream Malted Choco Beer Nut Dip Bar… and I won’t lie, just like the cheese raclette, I couldn’t stop at one for this one either… I had 3. And then when I went for a last one, well sadly for me, they were sold out!!!

I went there with a list of 10 things I wanted to try and tried them all! Overall, all the food I’ve tried or my friends Vero and Karine tried was all so delicious… yeah, they couldn’t order anything without me tasting it… but sorry girls, I have a blog (yep, that’s my excuse now!). Same for the beer, they were all very good, and the reason why I know that, well by the look of things, I’d say that Brian and his friend Mathieu have tried every beer on tap this weekend, every time coming back with a different one saying how nice and tasty it was. They actually drank a lot of water and were still presentable by the end of the day! Hats off guys, I clearly underestimated you both at some point when it was like 40 degrees outside with 5 more hours to go!

The Saturday festivities finished just before 9 for us, while all heading to good old Miss Hawkesbury for pizza, poutine and some tequila shots. Yep… while I went to the washroom, Brian and the girls had the genius idea to order Tequila shots at Miss… very classy! We also had an after party at my Mom’s with some very memorable scenes, including one where Brian showed us why he should be considered a serious contender for next year Oktoberfest Beer Stein holding competition! He did last for over 5 minutes, but hopefully he has already forgot about it by now. If not, I will laugh my ass off next year and will be posting a picture of it here for sure!!!

So this year’s Oktoberfest is over, and it was a memorable one. We took so many pictures and did so many cheers, and that’s what it’s all about! Good friends, good times, good beers, and great food! There were a lot of people celebrating Oktoberfest this weekend, but Beau’s (and Vankleek Hill) always make it feel like this is just a huge friendly gathering and I hope this will never change.

So when Brian asked me on our way back home on Sunday morning if we could go again on both days next year, I could see that he was feeling kinda blue that it was all over, but my answer cheered him up: ‘don’t worry, cause we’ll never miss one day of Oktoberfest, ever’.

Thanks to Beau’s, and to the volunteers, and to the Vankleek Hill and surrounding community for the amazing weekend… we’re already counting the days till next year! Prost!

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my kind of day

What a crazy week it was with all the back to school thing both for me and for the boys and the back to old (and many new) routines.  Friday night isn’t coming fast enough this week for me.  At least it’s all starting with a long weekend; I’ll take that, thank you!

Here’s a little recap of our last weekend.  Hopefully it will inspire you for this next one!

So there’s this small village, about 45 minutes from Ottawa called Vankleek Hill.  Small place, old charming houses, cute little boutiques, with an awesome friendly community where it seems like every weekend is being celebrated.  My kind of place!  So I was having lunch with the boys in Brian’s hometown as we had planned to visit the local fair when my nephew burst out of nowhere saying they were going to the maze in Vankleek Hill; a giant corn maze!  Right there and then, we changed our plans and made our way to Ouimet Farm Adventure.

I had seen their FB page, heard a lot about it, seen ads and drove in front of it a few times, while never taking the time so stop.  I was impressed the minute I got out of the car.  There was a project in Prescott Russell to paint masterpieces into farm silos.  Ouimet has one and it’s awesome; it’s so beautiful.  I now want to check them all out.  Fall bucket list I guess.  So once we got inside the gates, the boys went crazy with the gigantic bouncer.  So much fun.  They just love bouncers.  Then they pumped water to race rubber duckies.  Another win.

Once it was time for the maze, we teamed up with my sister-in-law and her family, got a few maps and got ready, or kinda ready, cause we were not!  We had no clue what to do, where to go and how to find stuff.  Finally, we managed (or were lucky enough) to find the first clue within minutes, so that helped us.  But man, this maze was hard.  You can choose to do the easy route, medium or hard.  We did the hard route, and it’s really hard… but, after a mere 1 hour and 2 minutes, we finally made it out!  Now I can’t wait to do it again this fall with other people, and do a race, and win because I’ve already did it!  They boys LOVED it, I thought they would be bored but they couldn’t wait to find the next clue and they loved to fill out their maps.  It’s really a great family activity.

We will for sure be going back.  We had a family diner to attend that day so we had to cut our trip short, but we will make sure to spend more time next time we visit.  I think maybe we should buy a house and move there… we were there last weekend for the maze, we’re going back next weekend for the Festival of Flavours, and then two weeks later we’re spending the entire weekend there as there’s no way Brian would miss a minute of Beau’s Oktoberfest!

Yeah, if there was a place I’d move to, I’d say it would be in Vankleek Hill, it’s just so pretty.  But for now, as a tourist visiting this cute little town many times a year, I got to say ‘keep up the good work VKH people, and Ouimet Farm, and other businesses, we will see you soon!’.

 

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last summer roadtrip

So one more last minute summer road trip before going back-to-school seemed like an excellent idea…  And it was! Late last week, in the mist of what seemed to be one of the most hectic week of the summer so far with Brian selling his truck, buying a new car, while getting everything ready for school, we decided to book 2 rooms at The Great Escape Lodge in Lake George, along with my sister-in-law Annick and her kids, as well as my father-in-law Joe, who all needed a getaway as much as us; so the more the merrier!

All packed up and excited, we left at 8am and made the 4-hour drive to the lake.  Once there, it was sunny, and hot, perfect weather… so we spotted a terrace by the water and had lunch.  We all wanted to take a boat ride to explore the lake, but since Brian and I had already taken our kids on the steamboat Minnie Ha Ha three years ago, we wanted to see if there were any other options to go on the lake.  So Joe told Brian ‘just go see how much it would be to rent a boat’.  Half an hour later we were on the lake in our pontoon!!!  Oh yes, we rented a nice pontoon for an hour on the lake and it was the best decision of the trip.  It was so much fun.  The boys were a bit afraid but once we were on board, they had a blast.  Cruising at our own pace, alone, with the kids waving at the huge steamboats, it was just awesome.  All that was missing were the drinks and nachos!  So we stopped in the middle of the lake where my nephew did an awesome back-flip from the side of the boat.  He was then joined by Liam for a quick swim, and then by Logan for a one second dip!  The boys fell asleep not long after while we were all enjoying being on the water.  It was such a blast that now the idea of owing a pontoon is roaming my husband’s mind ALL THE TIME since we came back from that boat ride.

We then explored the beach, the main street, made a few wished in the pond and bought a few souvenirs.

The boys were really anxious to see their ‘Maison de vacance’ (vacation house as they call it) so we then made our way to our hotel.  It was AMAZING.  It was huge, with an awesome indoor water-park, an arcade, multi levels treasure hunts and more.  I volunteered for the Target trip to get us drinks and snacks while the rest of the crew tried out the water-park.  Apparently they were having way too much fun, because although I spent over an hour going aisle by aisle with a Starbucks in my hand, when I came back to the hotel they were still at the pool and riding the slides.  Oh well, Target or water-slides, I guess it was a perfect way to end this great day for all of us.  We then all headed out for a late diner and came back full, ready for our next day adventures.

I really need to invest in hotel-rooms-black-out-drapes.  Not sure if it’s the exhaustion or if it’s the dark room but we sure slept late on vacation!  The Six Flags Great Escape amusement park was literally of the other side of the road to our hotel, connected with walkway for pedestrian.  No driving or parking fuss, just wake up, get ready and enjoy the park.  With almost no wait time at every rides, we were able to complete our to-do ride list and even do the water ones twice (it was over 30 degrees outside!).  Best part about the barrel water ride?  For 25 cents you can blast the boats with water cannons.  Hilarious!  We spent way too much time there but it was for sure the best money we spent on that trip!  Joe couldn’t stop laughing every time we would get someone soaking wet while feeding us with quarters to keep on going: 8 cannons shooting all in different directions with one of us at each of them waiting for a boat to come!!!  Yeah, hilarious!

We were done with the park at around 4:30, so instead of doing their favorite rides a second time, it was unanimous, and the kids all opted to go back to the hotel to spend more time at the water-park before diner.  This time I went.  Oh boy, not sure when was the last time I enjoyed water-slides that much.  My goal was not to get my hair wet, but that lasted for about 15 minutes until a giant water bucket dropped hundreds of liters of water directly on me.  Thanks Bry for telling me to stand ‘right there’ if I wanted to stay dry as the bucket was about to empty itself.  Well, my fav will always be the lazy river, and Logan’s too.  Liam went out of his comfort zone and tried to surf, and he was sooo good!  He’s not too keen on trying new things but he warmed up to the idea and went on his own to try it.  He loved and did it 6 times.  I was so proud!  My nephew did it like 50 times and was so natural on it at the end.  One more day and he would have been able to surf like they do in the movies!

I’m pretty sure Lake George is the capital of the mini putt.  Within couple KMs on each side of our hotel, I saw at least 6.  We chose to go at the Pirate’s Cove one.  Kind of ashamed to admit it but it was the boys first time… but it won’t be the last.  They loved it and were way better at the end.  Of course Liam got attached to his golf ball and then cried when he lost it in the 18th hole!!!  Well I didn’t cried because of my golf ball, but I almost did when we arrived at Martha’s Ice Cream and it was closed.  It was Dole Whip day after all and I was so looking forward to it!

Next morning we packed our stuff, and made a stop at the downstairs’ arcade.  These arcades should be illegal, it’s basically casinos for kids (or adults in Brian’s case).  We always leave discouraged… like we spend 50$ and then the kids get a 1$ gift for the thousands of tickets they won.  Go figure!  At least they had fun.

I knew a quick trip to Target would cheer them up.  And it did!  We then stopped at some outlets store and had lunch at an old school A&W where they still have car service.  We rode Go-Karts and THEN it was time to whip.  Dole Whip at Martha’s Ice Cream.  That place is a must if you’re in the region.  My father in law had the biggest ice cream come I’ve ever seen in my life… and he finished it!  Hopped back into the cars and made our way back.

We’re already planning where we’re going to go next year, and it will for sure be longer; as two nights is clearly not enough.  You have to visit Lake George.  It’s our 3rd time with the boys and we always find new stuff to do.  Hope you’re ready for back to school; I know I’m not!  Can’t believe summer is already over.  I still have 4 days left of vacay and I plan on making the most of it.  Summer 2017 went by so quickly, but still, I enjoyed being off work and at home with the boys so much.

Have a great last weekend before back-to-school everyone!

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this lemon is turning one

So I guess I should pop some champagne now?  After 82 posts, 33 recipes, 1079 pictures and many new friends and followers, mylemondroplife is 1!!!

What a year it’s been.  Never could I have imagined, even in my wildest dream, the kind of success mylemondroplife.com got in its first year.  To be honest, at first I thought that my closest friends and my mom would probably be the only one following me… but with the thousands of hits I get now, I got to say THANK YOU not only to my closest friends (you girls rock!) and to my mom (love you mom!), but to all of my followers and readers, and to anyone and everyone who browsed through my blog in the last year.  You’re the best and you make me all so happy!!!

It’s been fun, it’s been hard, it takes time, it takes organization, it take patience (not my best suit and sorry Bry), it takes love.  And I just love to do it.  My boys don’t even know what blogging is, but hopefully one day they’ll read some of my posts and remember how much fun life was in 2017.  My life hasn’t changed since a year ago; I’ve always treasured the time we spend together, I’ve always loved to take some pictures (even pictures of my food at restaurant); now I just share it with everyone!

It makes me so happy when someone tries a recipe they found on my blog or when they do an activity I have talked about.  I love when people share everyday stuff with me, and I try do to the same.  It makes all the time I spend creating this blog so worthwhile.

So I’ve decided to celebrate by having my childhood friend Jen over, to take some pictures of us…  Jen recently started her own photography business and she’s awesome.  I’m usually 98% of the time behind my camera or iPhone, capturing photos, but this time I was in front of it and it was a bit nerve-racking!  Jen was great.  She took a few pictures of our family and then we ventured into my kitchen.  So I baked with the boys, like we do every week, but this time with my own professional photograph capturing shots of us while whisking cake batter.  We then blew mylemondroplife first candle and dove right into the cake.

I’m in love with the shots she took.  Jen knew exactly what I wanted and made it happen.  You should check out her PhilanthroPics Facebook page and book a session with her!  Like she wasn’t awesome enough already, she also gives out 10% of all her profits to charity.  I call that a win-win!  Yeah, she’s just great!

So in order to celebrate (or mostly to thank you), I’ve teamed up with PhilanthroPics and offering you 100$ towards a photoshoot.  All you have to do is subscribe to mylemondroplife.com AND follow PhilanthroPics on Facebook and make sure you’re available to travel to the Ottawa or Whitby region for the shoot.

So let’s celebrate year one and make plans for new adventures, more fun, more family time and more laughs.  A special thanks to my number one cheerleader my Mom, who one year ago had no clue what a blog was… and now she’s addicted!  To my colleague Rachel who taught me EVERYTHING about blogging.  And to my closest friends for pushing me to do this in the first place and for being so awesome… thanks for letting me take pictures of your food, of your drinks, of your rubber boots, and of you!  You girls are the best… like who buys you everything if it’s made of lemons? (Like my awesome Kate Spade apron, thanks Cath!)!  Thanks to my boys, and to my husband Brian, and to all of you who had to go along with a crazy idea I might have had this past year just to make a blog post a bit more interesting!

To everyone who reads this blog and follows me. THANK YOU.  I love you all.  Year 2 starts now, and it’s going to be a great one!

Sincerely, Andréanne

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take me out to the blueberry field

With an already jam packed weekend ahead, I decided that blueberry picking was in order on this beautiful Friday morning.

We used to live on the outskirt of our city, where we literally lived 3 minutes walking-distance away from a blueberry farm. It’s called Canaan Blueberries.  About 25 minutes from Ottawa. It’s a family operated berry farm on a few acre of beautiful land.  Once you enter the fields, you feel secluded from the world.  It’s quiet, and so delicious!

When we lived there, I use to take the boys in the stroller, park them in the field, and give them berries while I did the picking.  This year, they were ready to have own basket to fill, which they both dropped on the ground at one point; hence a small meltdown, oh well, we lived.

It was such a gorgeous day for berry picking.  We filled a basket for us and one for their Papi (AKA Frank!).  It took us just a little less than an hour, but you can easily fill yours in 20 minutes, if you can avoid distractions and meltdowns!!!  We will for sure go back next week.

Once we got home, we made some blueberry muffins and LEMONADE!  Oh, yes… blueberry lemonade.  And I have the recipe for you.

What you need:

SYRUP:

1 cup blueberries (fresh is best)

1\2 cup sugar

1\2 cup water

DRINK:

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS blueberry syrup

1 cup sprite or 7up

ice

How to:

Place water, sugar and blueberries in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the stove and let it cool for 5 minutes.

I made this drink by the glass, but you could easily adjust the quantities for a pitcher.

In a large glass, place ice, lemon juice, blueberry syrup and top off with sprite.  Add a lemon slice, fresh blueberries and fresh mint to garnish.  This version is non-alcoholic, but add gin and you’ve got a party!

You will have plenty of the blueberry syrup… for about 10 drinks.  Store the leftover in the fridge and you can warm it up the next morning for your toast.  You’re welcome!

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all you need is…logan

Every mom must say this once a year; every year: ‘I can’t believe my baby is now 1’, then 2, then 3…!  Well, I must have said it like a 1000 times over the last few weeks… and then, on Friday, it happened… and my baby Logan turned 5.  And just like that, it seemed like it was all over and I didn’t have babies anymore.  Hopefully, as I was about to cry, Logan told me that he’d be a baby until he’s 9.  I’ll take that Loggy!  And maybe a few more months after that if that’s okay with you!

I’ve never seen anyone being this excited about a birthday… EVER.  Not even I as a kid, and God knows how I loved my birthday celebrations!!!  Since he turned 4 he’s been wanting to be 5, just like Liam.  And for the last 40 days, first thing in the morning, he’s been sneaking into our bedroom to give us the countdown.

He didn’t ask for a specific birthday-theme.  So I tried to influence him with Cars, then Tsum Tsum, then Minions, etc.  But nothing got him excited… until a few months ago when I mentioned maybe a music birthday party!

Fun theme, but after looking through stores and online, a music party is well, meh!  Nothing for kids…  So along the way, I added my own twist to it: a Beatles music birthday party!  He was all for it… and boy did I had fun with this one!

Everything was from scratch.  After all, where can you find Beatles stuff for a 5 year old!?!  He wanted lots of colors, so it all started with a picture of the band from the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club… oh yeah, the one with the satin suits!  And then came the birthday theme title: All you need is Lo…gan!!!  Brian says it’s corny; but I think it’s clever!  I’m so proud of that one, and it made such a great poster!

We already had a turntable and some Beatles records to go with the theme.  My friend Rachel designed the poster for the cake table that I got printed at Walmart for less than 15$.  Then went to a consignment store and found some cheap women satin blouse and drape ropes to make some nice Beatles’ outfits for the boys so they would have their own satin suits.  It’s one of my favorite projects ever for sure… my sewing machine didn’t cooperate, so I glue gunned everything!  They went crazy when they putted the shirts on… brought my Fender pink guitar out as well as a kid’s microphone to take some pictures.  That’s when they both started to scream ‘Rock & Roll’!!!  I’ve never said those words in my life so no clue where this came from, but it gave me a hilarious photo-shoot!

I had some help from my friend Catherine who ran errands for me and then took our Abbey Road family picture.  We blew what seems like hundreds of balloons… wanted more, but had to stop cause my fingers had blisters.  Made a few Beatles cakes and lots of food: “I am the Eggman” devil eggs, “Yellow Submarine” twinkies, salads, sausage in a bun, beans and nachos and guac.  I found an old box full of records in the garage that Brian’s uncle Bobby (famous family musician himself) had given him years ago, and used it for decorations, and garlands and cake stands.  Spent 90 minutes making a Beatles mural in the parking lot.  Then it was finally time for Logan’s Beatles birthday party to begin!

But a few hours earlier… on Friday morning, the birthday boy was ready to rock and roll at something like 6 am when he came running in our bedroom to tell us it was his birthday!  Not sure how many times he asked when his guests were coming after that, as he was just so excited.

Finally, friends and family arrived.  He played with his cousins, gave kisses to everyone coming through the door, putted all the gifts on the birthday gifts table, had a blast in the pool, played in the backyard, and then by 6pm or so, he decided to take a nap on the couch!  He was done!  Not sure if it was all the stress and the excitement or just fatigue, but he was out.  So we all had diner without the birthday boy. Then, I woke him up for gifts opening and cake.  Poor baby, he was so lost, but also so happy that it was still his birthday!

He was so spoiled, and then thanked everyone for all the birthday presents, one by one.  He then wanted to blow his candles.  I asked him to put on his satin suit for the birthday cake picture… and he was okay with it… which secretly made me so happy!  So we all sang and cheered, and he was so happy.

Oh yeah, right before Loggy’s nap, all the kids (as well as a few grown-ups) played an intense baseball game in the backyard, with some pretty excited spectators on the deck, all with their favorite drink in their hand.  That was Brian’s favorite part of the evening.  Later, once everyone had enjoy their Beatles piece of cake, just as it started to get dark outside, I threw a few dozen glow sticks in the pool and jumped in with all the kids… a few dozen glow sticks and a million mosquitos… still, that was one of my favorite part of the evening!  It was so much fun!

Once the party was over, kids left with sweets from the Piñata while our adult guests left with some “Strawberry Jam Forever” jars, as thank you gift.  It went all too fast.  He cried when I sang ‘All you need is Logan’ in his bed.  He wanted his birthday to last forever… well, he is my son after all, and he loves a good party as much as I do!

Logan, you’re the funniest person I know.  You are an emotional roller-coaster and you are proud of it, and that’s okay, because what you love, you love it passionately, and I love this about you.  You love your brother to pieces, your family, your bunny, McQueen, French Fries with vinegar, singing, dancing, playing board games, going to school, hiding stuff everywhere that we won’t find until later, as well as giving me millions of kisses every day.  We adore you baby Loggy.  You may grow old, but as you do, please don’t ever stop being who you are.  ‘Love is all, Love is you’.

 

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camp woods-part 1

Well, it took a while for the summer to start, but now it seems like it’s flying by so quickly; with half of it already gone by.  Camp Woods is something I started 3 years ago… being at home for the summer months with the boys, I didn’t want them to get bored -or to get bored myself!!!- doing the same old things every day.  So when spring time comes I always start looking online for some fun crafts and activities to do with them; you know, things that might interest us, movies we will want to see and stuff we will have fun to do at home.  I always consider their ‘flavor of the week’, and the things they love at the moment, and then I start planning ahead for my homemade summer camp!  Every week has its own little special twist including a few fun activities and surprises!  I’m not a strict camp monitor, so we go with the flow and add or remove stuff as the weeks go by.  This year the boys are still into Disney, Mario Bros, Cars and Minions.  We will also have a Minecraft week soon -although I hate everything about Minecraft- since the boys are really into it!

So here’s a few things we did the last few weeks:

-went for ice cream cone on Monday morning

-made popsicles sticks painted with Cars characters

-baked Minions cookies, then sneaked them into the theater to watch the movie

-made Minions sundaes

-had a last minute sleep over with our cousins

-built Cars Land in my kitchen and dining room, using basically everything we own

-made mini-pizza and had a pic-nic in our basement when it rained

-watch way to many movies (cause it just keeps on raining)

-made Mickey Mouse shaped avocado and egg sandwiches (all sandwiches should be eaten like that)

-built outside forts

-made some Mickey hats

-went to the cottage for paddle board and sea-doo

-made a Mickey Mouse ice cream cone (and nope, I didn’t share that one with the boys… made one and ate it while they were playing downstairs!!!)

-played at the park

-took the bouncer out of the garage every week to play outside with our neighbors

-tried to learn swimming with swimmers

-and much much more

Honestly, this year is a little bit harder… they aren’t as excited about all of this like they were before.  And we find ourselves with -probably- the same problem other parents face as well: the iPad thing.  Well, electronics in general in our case, with the iPad being the worst one, or their favorite one.  We don’t have cable or satellite so they don’t asked for TV much; but every day is a struggle to keep them away from the iPad.  So we had to set limits that we try to respect, but still, it seems like all they want to do as soon as they have a minute without anything planned is to play on the DS, or iPad, or Wii.  So that’s why I got to start planning my summer activities in the spring to keep them entertained!!!

So two weeks ago, we left the boys with my mom and then had a night out in Montreal.  We had bought tickets a while ago to go see Cirque du Soleil.  And it was awesome!!!  We can’t wait to bring the boys to see one, probably this one later this summer!  After the show we took a stroll on the docks of the Vieux Port and it was the best.  It had been a while since we’ve been there, and it was so nice.  With so many activities for both adults and kids.  As always, there were nice patios, but also zip lines, and shows and some shopping on a boardwalk.  For the kids, there was a bouncy pirate castle land, some ropes courses (not for kids, but for teens, or close-to-be teens), IMAX and so much more.  We plan to visit with my sister-in-law later this summer.  It was nice to be out just the two of us; we need to make more time for date nights like that.  And Cirque du Soleil is always a winner for us as we both love it so much.

So this week is all about Logan.  Baby Loggy is turning 5 on Friday and I want to savor and bottle up his last days of being 4.  He’s so excited about his ‘music’ birthday, it’s all he talks about, he doesn’t even realise how distressed I am that my baby is turning 5.  I will share some pictures of his birthday party next week… but let’s just say that I made some of the most fun and hilarious kids Beatles costumes ever!  I’m sure birthday number five will also be one to remember!

With 4 weeks left before going back to work, I want to spend more one on one time with the boys, I want to put the electronics aside a little and plan together what we want to do!  Let me know what are your summer plans, the fun things your family do, and your tricks for getting them off the freakin iPad!!!

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canada day and a quick getaway

So last weekend was Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations across the nation.  We were not planning on going downtown Ottawa for all the big festivities, but I was very excited and really looking forward to our own celebrations, and BBQ’s, and friends, and local fireworks and Canada Day cake… but by Saturday afternoon, most of our plans had fell through, mainly due the crappy weather, so I was just miserable, at home, with nothing to do on this long weekend.  So I decided to take a nap.  Even then, I was so bored I couldn’t even fall asleep.  So I sent a text message to Brian, who was playing Mario Kart with the boys downstairs, asking him if we could go somewhere; like anywhere!!!

Of course, I knew he wouldn’t say no to that!

So I sent him the text at 3:30 pm… by 3:45 we had agreed on a destination, and by 4:00 we were out the door, and on our way to the USA on Canada Day!  Well, that doesn’t sound too much patriotic, but I got to say that we did look at some destination in Canada first; Brian wanted to go see his beloved Red Sox in Toronto, but it just didn’t work out.

I love Canada!  I truly love everything there is to love about our awesome and unique country, and I am so proud to be Canadian, but seriously, if there’s one thing the American got right is that they didn’t let Target go bankrupt!!!  So while Brian was booking the hotel online, I was figuring out the shortest route to get to my beloved Target!

We left at around 4pm and didn’t stopped until we made it to Watertown’s Target.  I promise Brian before the trip I’d be good and reasonable and wouldn’t spend too much as this was last minute and clearly not planned in our summer budget!  Well I kept that promise for about two hours.  Still can’t believe that store didn’t worked out in Canada.  Obviously not because of me, as I visited the Orleans store at least once a week while it was open!  Even the boys were excited to see the giant red balls outside.  So within one hour in the store I had already found so many things I didn’t even know I absolutely needed!  It felt so good, and I was so happy, with my Starbuck in one hand and a red shopping cart in the other.

We then got back on the road.  Brian had book a nice hotel in an awesome neighborhood of Syracuse, NY.  We stayed at the Marriott in Armory Square; surrounded by old buildings, beautiful flowers lining streets and string lights everywhere.  We loved it as soon as we saw the location of the hotel.  We arrived shortly before 9, check ourselves in, unpacked and then headed down to the lobby for some drinks and snacks while waiting for my mom and Frank.  They too, had decided to join us on our crazy last minute getaway.

I don’t know a lot about Syracuse, but I’m pretty sure we had the best location in town.  At 10 pm, we ventured out to find a place to eat.  Right by the hotel there was a great place, Pastabilities, only to find out that the kitchen had just closed minutes ago.  It’s definitely on the list for our next trip.  So Brian then walked into a cute little alley and found a place called Modern Malt.  He came back to get us, and as soon as I walked in, I was in love with the place.  Retro style Diner with a pretty glass dessert display, a colorful aqua and orange decor and some delicious looking chocolate milkshakes on the menu!  We shared a fig jam and caramelized onion burger on a brioche, and it was sooo good!!!   Wish we would have had more time in Syracuse in order to go back for breakfast.  They had some waffles-with-everything meal and it looked just delish!  I honestly would have tasted everything on the menu.

Sunday morning was slow and relax.  We enjoyed breakfast in the lobby while planning out our day.  We drove to a few stores my mom wanted to go to and then it was Destiny shopping!  Spent a few hours browsing the stores.  Found a few things.  Then the boys did a rope course that they loved.  Unfortunately, they were just a few inches shy of making it to the big course.  Next time.  We shared some awesome nachos at Margaritaville for lunch.  Then played arcade games where Liam won the roulette tickets jackpot and where Brian wanted to spend the rest of the day!  By late afternoon we were all tired and decided to head back to our rooms for a nap and swimming.  Swimming for Brian and the boys, and yep, a nap for me!  Not sure what it is about hotel pools, but they’re always the best according to my boys.  They ended up meeting some other kids, and their mom had floating balls that they were all throwing in the pool, and they raced, and it was just so much fun apparently… oh well, nothing beats a nap in a comfy hotel bed!!!

For diner, of course we had to go to The Cheesecake Factory.  It was, as usual, so good!!!  And bonus, I ate my cheesecake for breakfast the next morning!

Next day came by way too quickly and it was already the end of our short and unplanned but so much fun summer vacation.  So we packed our stuff, got in the car and started our journey back.  We made another stop at Target (upon my kids request, I swear), then Cracker Barrel and then home.

I love these last minute getaway road trips.  Luckily, I have people who love crazy ideas and always want to tag along.  We’re all sad that it went by so quick.  But we had a lot of fun spending time together, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before we go back!

For now, at least, it seems like we brought back the sun with us; so let’s enjoy our backyard pool a little and let’s hope summer is here for good!!!

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float like a cadillac, sting like a beemer

It’s already June, the summer is here, it’s the end of the school year, the days keep on going by so quickly, there’s so much to do at work, but you know what… by the end of the week, no matter what, I’ll be on VACATION for two full months.

It seems like our minds have been on over-drive for Lighting McQueen, Mater and their friends for the last couple of weeks.  We’ve known about Cars 3, the new Disney/Pixar movie, coming out for almost a year now and the boys have been counting the days for at least the last 30 of them.

We had planned on seeing the movie on Saturday night at the drive-in, cause watching Cars in a car is a must!  We actually saw Cars 2 in Lake George 6 years ago at the drive-in with 6 month old Liam sitting/sleeping on my lap, and we loved it!  But on Thursday night, after a long day at work I decided to surprise the boys with a last minute trip to the theater to watch the movie premiere.  They were ecstatic.  And we all fell in love with the movie, all over again.

Two weeks ago, at 1 am, while not sleeping and scrolling on Facebook, I found a meet-Lightning-McQueen-event at the Kanata Canadian Tire.  The next morning, we had breakfast, packed our toy cars, drove to Kanata and got in line.  We arrived early, so by 10:05 we had already had our picture taken.  We then played with remote controlled Cars for a little while before driving back home.  So happy we had decided to go early… we did NOT end up waiting an hour and a half like some of the other moms did.

After meeting McQueen, the boys started to watch the two Cars movies and play with their little cars non-stop.  So let’s just say that my summer Camp Woods tradition is back and last week was Cars week!  The boys bought cars from the new movie with their chore money, we played games, they wore matching pj’s (of course my fav!) and then it was drive-in time!

We spent Saturday morning buying treats and fun drinks, baking a cake and making McQueen eyes for our car (a must for watching Cars at the drive-in, right?).  Brian was really not impressed with my suggestion (more like me begging to do it!!!) to install the McQueen eyes right before entering the drive-in lot.  Well, I think he may have considered doing it for a second, but then said no!  That did not stopped me… cause that’s the first thing I did right after he had stopped the car!

It was really hot and humid, but thankfully the rain and storm held off.  So while I was installing my McQueen eyes, Brian was installing something almost as essential as popcorn at the Gatineau drive-in: nets on our windows!  At our local drive-in there are two large movie screens, hundreds of cars and a lot of mosquitos… or billions of mosquitos as Brian kept complaining about before, during and after the movie.  So we ate tons of crap and sweets with the saltiest popcorn ever!  It was just great.  The boys and myself seated in the front while Brian and Jojo watched the movie on the back seat with their own wine mini-bar!  We had to crank up the air conditioner once in a while, but beside that, it was pretty quiet other than the casual KA-CHOW the boys made every time they saw McQueen doing something funny!

I didn’t expect crying during Cars 3, but boy I did.  I was so nostalgic… and, you know what, it was not only because of how much I love McQueen… but more because things are changing so much, the boys are growing up so fast, and the world seems so messed up sometimes, all around us, while all we’re actually trying to do is to find our place and be healthy and keep on enjoying small things that make us happy.

Well, there are no better things in life than spending a Saturday night, all snuggling in our car, making memories and laughing all together.  I hope the boys will remember these summer nights for as long as I will.  ‘Forever could never be long enough for me; together could never be close enough for me’ as long as I have them both sitting on my lap for an entire movie at the drive-in! (BTW, lyrics from the group Train).

So, for all Cars Movie lovers, this new movie is a must. We will probably end up seeing it again in the theater in the next few weeks.  And so should you!  But until then, we will continue to have fun, to enjoy life and summer, while keep on racing to the finish line… KA-CHOW!!!

 

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