boston you’re my home: our seventh boston trip

Oh Boston, you’ve stolen our hearts, once again! We’re back from our ‘Family Summer Getaway’ and I’m still in a vacation hangover! Does it happen to you? I’m never really ready to come back from a vacation… you know, even if I love our home, there’s just something about being away together and exploring and enjoying new (or familiar) places that makes me want to stay there, just a little longer.

So when we decided to bring the boys to Boston this summer, my Mom and Frank told us they would tag along and we were so happy about it! We had 4 days to work with and a very long to-do list, but we couldn’t wait to get started!

We decided to rent a mini-van, yep, and it was AWESOME. Now that I’ve traveled comfortably in my mini-van for a week, I kind of regret not getting one when the boys were babies and I was carrying that enormous double stroller in my Matrix (I called it my Go-kart, and I hated it!!!). So after having planned everything carefully and having packed everything in the van the night before, we all watched the movie Fever Pitch, went to bed, and then left in the early hours on Tuesday morning. We made a quick stop at Timmy’s for breakfast on-the-go and then on our way we were. I keep on saying “up until now” every time I talk about this, but my boys are really good travelers. Like really really good! Logan might have asked 20 times “are we there yet” in the first half-hour (of the 6 hour drive), but honestly, I think he was just trying to be funny more than he was interested in knowing! We had perfect weather for a long drive, made 2 stops along the way and then we finally reached Burlington, Massachusetts (a gorgeous Boston’s suburb). Our hotel wasn’t ready, which is really annoying when you’re travelling with kids who need to unwind after a long drive, so we decided to go shopping and grabbed lunch at the Burlington Mall, where Liam found a new love for Lego! We went to Lego stores before, but this time was like “TA-DAM”. He bought a Harry Potter Lego kit and I was so happy that he was excited about this… like, Harry Potter Lego, really??? I finally have a reason to buy them Legos… yep, my mamma’s heart was full!

Then we drove to Fenway Park to take the Fenway Tour. But first, we had our first (of many) stop at Target! I swear I didn’t brainwashed my kids, but they LOVE this store just as much as I do, or maybe even more! They actually asked to go to Target every morning, no kidding. Brian loves Target as well, but you could tell that he was starting to get annoyed the moment I asked him to take a video of me and my shopping cart going up the shopping-cart-only-escalator!!! Yep, the boys and I get really excited about things like that! Wait until you see this part in my Boston video, yep, I look like a real tourist (and probably a total moron), but seriously, isn’t this impressive or what!?

So the first time we went to Boston, 11 years ago, we did the Fenway Tour, but since we had 4 family members who had never experienced it before, we decided to do it again. A full hour about the Red Sox, Fenway Park and Boston history, where you visit some behind-the-scenes areas, the Green Monster, the commentators and media press box, as well as various hot spots of Fenway. If you’re going to Boston, you definitely have to do the tour whether you’re catching a game or not… Once you’ve been through Fenway, you understand why this is America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. It is truly something, even for a non-baseball fan.

Then it was time for our traditional dinner at our fav Downtown Boston restaurant, Maggiano’s. Yum! Hello ginormous mozzarella marinara sticks, delightful bread, delicious gnocchi and bigger than your fist meatballs! It was simply delicious, as always. We’ve discovered Maggiano’s during our Honeymoon, and since then, everywhere we go, if we can find one, we HAVE to go!!! So after a long long day on the roads and visiting Boston, we finally arrived at our hotel at about 10 pm; the boys were drained, and so was I. So I took a few minutes to quickly unpack, then showered, and then hit the pillows for a great night’s sleep.

Wednesday morning was lazy and slow. First stop of the day: Target, as we had some shoe problems the day before… Liam had blisters from walking and Logan’s Crocs were now apparently too small… like really buddy, you tell me this in Boston after wearing them all summer? So we got there, I went directly to the kids shoe section, Brian got me a Starbucks cold fruity drink, we made our way through the entire store, bought a few things I absolutely and definitely needed, and yes, that made me very happy as it was such a great start to my day! Be still my heart… two visits to Target in two days!!! And to be continued…

We then drove to the Boston Common Public Park, right in the middle of the city, and immediately fell in love with this spot. Here’s a fun fact… on my first trip to Boston, again, like 11 years ago, the ONLY thing I had asked Brian was to do the Swan Boats ride in that park, and to that day, and in the previous six times we’ve been to Boston, we NEVER even went near the park, nor seen the Swans; but we did see about 20 Red Sox games *eye rolling*!!! So, believe in your dreams my friends, because they do come true! And it was truly a dream come true… right in the middle of the park, you can take a 15 minutes ride on these cute Swan Boats through this beautiful and peaceful pond, and all that for a mere 4$. YEP, four (one, two, three, four) dollars!!! It took me 7 trips to Boston to finally get him to bring me on a 4$ boat ride… and right after he had done the ride and seen the park, and all the giant trees, and the beautiful flowers everywhere, that’s all he could talk about for the rest of the day! That evening, he even told me, right before we fell asleep, that from now on, he really wanted to go back to the Boston Common Park every time we’ll be in Boston. I wanted to punch him, but just said ‘I’d love to go as well’ *eye rolling again*. So, back to our day… after the boat ride and a long stroll through the park, it started to rain a little, so we decided it was time to cross the street and get to Frank’s only request of the trip: Cheers.

So when we first talked to my Mom and Frank about possibly going to Boston, he said right away ‘I’m in, but only if we go to Cheers’! Although Brian and I were not really into 80’s sitcoms, to have lunch at the real Cheers’ bar where they filmed the popular TV show, well yeah, of course I’m in! We took a lot of pictures, had a great time, and a great lunch, and of course the guys had a few beers. We were all really happy we went, especially Frank. So with a bit more rain in the forecast, we decided to head back to the hotel, take a swim between storms and then go back to the mall. We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which is always a hit for us, only this time I had the best dessert ever, a Godiva’s Cheesecake. OMG. Pure heaven. I can’t wait to go back and have it again. We all had dessert-to-go, and one of my favorite moments of the trip is definitely my video of Logan eating Frank’s banana cheesecake in the hotel room… I can’t explain, but yeah, let’s say he really enjoyed it!!!

Thursday morning was spent at the New England Aquarium. The boys have been loving rays for a while now, well like since the movie Moana came out about a year ago, and we had told them all about the exhibit where you can touch rays, so let’s say they were quite excited about visiting the aquarium. We all had a lot of fun, but no one did more than Logan. He was really into this aquarium experience, as from the moment he found a map when we came in, he took control of the tour and made sure we went and saw every single thing inside. It was just like we were having our own private visit with the cutest tour guide ever! Once we were done, we crossed the street to visit Quincy Market, an open-air shopping and dining experience. We all had different food from different vendors: pizza, nachos, clam chowder, lobster rolls and Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes (for me!). And oh god were they pretty and delicious!

So after lunch, we were all starting to get tired, especially with that heat and humidity, but on our way to the parking lot, Logan spotted some fountains and decided to get into his underwear and play a little. He was in heaven. He would have spent the entire day there… me too buddy! So we drove back to the hotel, took a quick nap and then got ready to go to Fenway for our game. But first, another trip to Target! Yes, we did it, we went to Target 3 times in 3 days… I know, get a life… but really, Target is my LIFE!!! Well, you know, we were there early, we parked in the Target underground parking and it was still raining a little outside, so why not!

Liam is really into baseball this year, he loves to watch the games with Brian and play catch in the backyard. The idea to go to Boston started with him watching a game and seeing #28 hitting a homerun. So he was extremely happy to be there. He wanted pictures of everything. While Liam was all about #28 JD Martinez, Logan was showing us everything he could find about our Beloved #34 Big Papi. Brian had enrolled the kids in Red Sox Kids Nation and they got free game tickets, some lanyards with their names, some field dirt and some pins. Take you so much Red Sox Kids Nation, you made our trip and our kids’ Fenway experience so much better!

Fenway never gets old… I am not a baseball fan, never been, never will, but there is something about Fenway Park that definitely makes me a Red Sox fan. From the moment you enter the park, with the music, the people, the food, the smell, the grass, the atmosphere; it’s pretty surreal. So we ate some ‘Fenway Franks’, French fries, popcorn, peanuts and had a few beers. The Red Sox might have lost but we still had a great time and we can’t wait to go back. Logan was done by the 3rd inning and missed most of the game, but then woke up just in time to dance to Sweet Caroline, followed by a tough emotional moment from both of them when they realized that they had lost! Next time they’ll win, I promise.

Next morning, which was the last day of our little getaway, came way too fast. We packed up the mini-van and drove away from beautiful Boston, sad that our summer vacation was almost done. We had planned to stop for lunch in Burlington, Vermont… Church Street was super busy and we were looking forward to spending more time there, but another storm was coming in, so we decided to hit the road back home earlier.

It was a nice drive through Vermont, but I was happy to finally get back home. The boys cried when we returned the mini-van to the car rental place as they knew it was the end of our trip. They just love to be away with us and always look forward to all of the trips and family getaways we plan with them. At least, we have another one on the horizon boys… but until then, we will think about the great time we had in Boston and all the memories we made there, including Liam’s many pictures at Fenway and all of Logan’s hilarious videos (yeah, he was on a roll that one)!

Until next time Boston, we love you!

 

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super mario odyssey themed birthday party

Finally, he’s 6. And when I say finally, it’s because it seems like he’s been waiting forever for this birthday. He even created a calendar countdown in his bedroom where he would colour the date each morning when he got up… yep, he truly is my child, as I am pretty sure I did the same thing from age 4 to, eh, like age 25!?!

So since our very first day of summer vacation, he’s been constantly asking about when were we going to start decorating for his birthday and baking his cake. Well, finally, a week prior to his birthday, I was ready to decorate and bake with him. The theme (once again) was Mario… but this time not the regular Mario Bros theme, the Super Mario Odyssey theme! At least, of course I already knew the differences between Mario Bros and Mario Odyssey, after all I have two boys, a Nintendo switch console, and I am married to Brian *eye rolling*!!! So off we went to the Michaels and Party City to get some stuff to get ready for the big celebrations.

First thing we did was a “Cappy” chalkboard, which is Mario’s new hat and the key thing to this whole Mario Odyssey theme apparently! Then I built the odyssey from wrapping paper and construction paper we already had at home, practiced my face painting Mario skills, baked a few cakes and Rice Krispies ‘?’ blocks, prepped the goodie bags and waited for our friends and family to arrive!

He is going into Grade 1, and now that he has made many friends at school in senior kindergarten, we had decided to hold his first “friends from school” party in the morning of his actual birthday, followed by a family diner/gathering. I’m surprised he actually slept the previous night, as he was soo excited and couldn’t talk or think about anything else!

We also had planned a pretty big surprise to reveal for when he would wake up. So on the Friday night, once they were both in bed, we prepared a treasure hunt with clues and places they had to find in the house that would lead them to a giant Mickey Mouse air balloon. Cause, yes, WE ARE GOING TO DISNEY!!!

See, right there with the caps lock on, that was me being ecstatic about the idea of going to Disney. But you know what, things do not always go as planned or as you’ve imagined it! And this time it didn’t. I really wanted to film the treasure hunt… so when the boys woke up, they came into our room and we started filming them from there, and we did until they found the Mickey, which ended up being like the most boring and most disappointing video ever. Nothing like the cute surprise videos they have in the Disney commercials or on YouTube… nope, but mine could probably make it in the fail videos of the month.

So the second they opened the first envelope, Logan said in the most boring voice ‘we’re going to Disney’… with ZERO expression or cheerfulness! I just looked at Brian and I wanted to cry… So I pretended I hadn’t heard him. Then, I have to say they really enjoyed the treasure hunt portion of the surprise, which I guess it’s good. But when they got to the living room, where we had our big surprise, the Mickey, nothing, nada, zip…. crickets. Nobody was jumping or screaming in joy… they just looked at the balloons and said “are we going to Disney?”. Like it was an everyday occurrence. I was NOT impressed.

I had been keeping that secret for over a month now, and spent countless hours trying to plan the perfect trip and they gave me nothing. All Logan asked for after they realized we were going to Disney was if he would still get a stuffed animal for his birthday. Then, I was pissed! Oh well, this will go down as one of the worst surprise ever. But I know they will be excited once we leave for Florida. I still don’t understand why I didn’t get the classic surprised kid reaction… you know, for the last 2 years, Logan has been asking almost EVERY SINGLE DAY when we’d go back. And the moment I give it to him… blank! Oh well, I’m excited for both of them, that’s for sure!!!

So after the surprise fiasco, my 25$ Mario balloon popped. Then Brian went to have it replaced and came back with something completely different, which is when I nearly had a breakdown over a stupid balloon (also my cake had just fell down 3 times, plus the Disney thing, you know!).

But finally, Logan’s friends arrived and having 7 kids running around the house got me distracted enough to forget about all my morning disasters (like by then I knew I may have had overreacted a little about a few things that morning!). Overall, this was a great party, the kids had a blast, we played pin the mustache on Mario, Mario bingo, made a Luigi and Mario puppet thingy, played don’t break Yoshi’s egg and did face paintings. We got some Happy Meals from McDonald’s for lunch (turned out it was Mario Bros boxes and surprises inside!), which was the best decision ever as it was so simple to serve and clean up, and you know, what kid doesn’t like McDonald’s! Logan loved all the handmaid cards and presents he got from his friends, and also had so much fun playing with all of them in the basement. He was so happy his friends came to party with him!

Once the kids were gone, we put the boys down for a quick nap while we cleaned up the house and prep for the second party of the day, the family birthday party. Logan had requested his favourite meal for diner: Spaghetti. Another win, so easy to make and serve… especially when your hosting 25 people and using plastic dishes!

It was a gorgeous day and we swam and played baseball outside all afternoon and evening long. We then all sang loudly for the birthday boy who enjoyed every single minute of his special day. The day was not over that he was already talking about his 7th birthday. But sorry Loggy, this is far far away, and I am not ready to think about it yet… as I have another countdown I’m planning on following closely: my Disney one… 221 days, and counting!

Happy birthday to our baby boy Logan. Loggy, you are the sun, full of light and happiness, your mood is sometime a little too hot to handle, but everybody that knows you, loves you! Don’t ever change; you were born to stand out.

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lavender and honey cheesecake

     I wasn’t planning on sharing this cheesecake recipe at first, but since I received many requests to share it this week after posting a picture on Instagram, I felt like I kinda had no choice but to do so!
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i love lavender

Ever since I visited Maison Lavande last year (you may read about that hilarious post right here), I knew I was going to go back this year! So last week I decided to plan a road trip there with my Mom and the boys, and also with my aunt Lise-Ann who decided to join us as well, so early Saturday morning, we all piled up into my car and left for beautiful Maison Lavande. I’m pretty sure that everyone who visits Maison Lavande immediately falls in love with the place… and wants to go back after that… well I know did, and I know I will never skip a year from now on.

The moment I arrived I felt the same way I felt the first time I visited the place, just so quaint and peaceful. And as soon as they walked in, my Mom and my aunt both understood my obsession for the place! The lavender field is breathtaking. We took hundreds of pictures, just like everyone else in the field, as it’s just so pretty, so of course you want to bring those shots back home with you. Some professional photographers also offer sessions, and it’s something I may look into for next year!

So we slowly made our way across the field, walked into the forest trail, visited the chicken coop, had a picnic underneath an apple tree and ended our lunch with a delicious Lavender Frozen Yogurt! We also spent a lot of time in the quiet area at the back of the field where a couple of dozens of hammock chairs and some large bean bags are right there for you to use and relax. I wish we weren’t as tight on time so the boys could have taken a nap on the bags. They wanted too and so did I! Next time boys, for sure, like come on, a nap in a lavender heaven; count me IN!

Maison Lavande have two gorgeous boutiques where you can buy everything your lavender heart desires! Liam got a lavender essential oil roll-on (that I will re-create next week with my girlfriends at our first Essential Oils Make & Take) while I got a bubbly lavender and apple drink and a oatmeal and lavender cookie. The cookie was sooo good that I decided to attempt my own version on Sunday and it turned out AMAZING! I will be sharing my recipe later on this week.

So for now, here’s a few of the pictures I took trying to make you fall in love with the place. If you’re in the Montreal/Ottawa region, you HAVE to make the drive and visit. I wish I owned shares but I don’t so this is purely from my point of view… not sponsored or anything! Just for my love for lavender and for Maison Lavande! But you have to do it quick, because due to the massive heat wave last week, the flowers have exploded and the lavender season will be shorter than it usually is. So make plans to visit anytime in the next 2 weeks… as they’re opened every day. We might just see each other somewhere in the hammocks section!

 

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incredible weekend

What a weekend!  So much crammed into 2 and half days, you’d think we were crazy! But no, we’re just trying to get to the finish line. Next Friday, when school and work come to an end, we’ll be off for 2 months!  Soccer, swim lessons, school BBQ, field trips, birthday party, staff party, movies and piano recitals are just a few of the things we’ve done in the last couple of days. I can’t wait to lounge in my pj’s next week, no alarm (besides my kids), no routines, just enjoying each others company and all that summer has to offer!

On Friday night I had my end of school year party and we had so much fun. We had Escape Manor come to our school and set up a classroom with the game. We didn’t get out but we had a blast, working with each other trying to solve clues.  Losing didn’t dampen our spirits so we headed out to a local pub for dinner. We were also celebrating one of my friend’s retirement. Since the boys we’re at my Mom’s, I had planned to meet up with Brian for a date after my party but it ran a bit longer than anticipated so I had him join us. We stayed out past midnight, chatting with a few of my coworkers and closing the place down!

The boys came home the next morning, bursting to jump into the pool. It was a picture perfect summer day, splashing away and giggling until they fell asleep for a much needed afternoon nap…for all of us.

We’ve been awaiting the new Incredibles movie for a while now and the boys had a countdown going on to the big day. We made shirts on Wednesday (that they have been wearing, EVERY SINGLE DAY, SINCE) and I bought felt masks for them to complete the outfit. I made Incredibles donuts, Incredibles popcorn and downloaded and printed lots of fun Incredibles activities. I had tickets for the evening show and it was so much fun.  It was the first time Logan didn’t ask to go to the bathroom a million times and sat watching the entire movie. What a relief! I think we’ll have to go back. They’ve only asked me 54 times since we came out of the theatre!

Today is Father’s Day and Brian has a round of golf planned with his dad, brother and uncle. That means we will only see him around supper time. The boys have prepared a few gifts at school for him and he’ll be joining Logan’s class tomorrow for a Father’s Day lunch. Last week, I prepared a few questions for the boys to answer about their Papa. Their answers are so funny, I just have to share them with you.  Enjoy!

Mon Papa

1-The thing my dad loves to do most:

Logan: Play Mario Odyssey

Liam: Play Nintendo

2-I love when my dad:

Logan: Helps me.

Liam: Plays with me.

3-My dad is good at:

Logan: Play Plant’s vs. Zombies 2

Liam: Baseball

4-I think my dad is funny because:

Logan: He’s “Tannant” (meaning he acts crazy)

Liam: He’s ” Très tannant” (very crazy!!!!)

5-I know my dad loves me because:

Logan: He gives me kisses

Liam: He says “I love you”

6-The thing I love to do most with my dad:

Logan: Play in the pool

Liam: Play Wii (the gaming ‘theme’ always comes back!!!)

7-My dad’s favourite store:

Logan: Wine and beer store

Liam: I’m going to quote this one, ” A la bière”

8-The thing my dad says often:

Logan: “Let’s make a sandwich”(meaning the boys make ‘layers’ on top of him to make a sandwich)

Liam: A bad word.

9-My dad’s favourite meal:

Logan: Spaghetti

Liam: Spaghetti

10-I love my dad because:

Logan: He’s beautiful

Liam: He’s funny

Happy Father’s Day to all the “Incredibles” fathers we know and love! Hope you get to spend the day with the people you cherish the most. A very special HFD to Brian, who keeps up with all our crazyness, who watches endless Youtube tutorials on “how to play Plant’s vs. Zombies” and “how to build a shelving unit to store all of my wife’s crap”, who let’s me paint flowers on our bathroom wall only to paint over it because I don’t love it, who coaches soccer, who cuts our own Christmas tree, who hangs picture frames in dangerous places, who cooks the best BBQ ribs, who buys me reading socks, who prepares the essential oil diffuser every night, who encourages me with my blog, who works hard, who plans the best trips, who loves baseball, beer, spaghetti, and us!  You’re OUR Mr. Incredible! We love you!  xox

 

 

 

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mother’s day

So they say better late than sorry, right? Well here comes my Mother’s Day weekend blog post! I know it’s well past us now, but it was just too good of a weekend not to share it; as it had what every great weekend should have: great food, family, flowers and lots of love!

We had decided to switch it up a little bit this year and do something different than our annual Mother’s Day dinner at my mom’s since my brother was working all day long, and it turned out great.

So let’s start at on the Friday… I was invited by Logan’s teacher Mme Janie and Mme Manon to attend a Mother’s Day brunch. The kids had decorated the classroom, prepared breakfast for all the mom’s and learned some cute songs. Logan was super excited to give me the card he had made for me, and I was lucky enough to come back from school with some nice potted flowers for me to take home. It was my last time at a MD brunch in this classroom, and let’s just say my heart broke a little bit as I was walking down the hallway. My babies are growing up so fast and I’m not sure I’m ready to face it… oh well, that’s another story for another time I guess!

So back to the weekend… we had a fun and relaxing Saturday, and then on Sunday morning, the boys woke me up pretty early, and not even to wish me Happy Mother’s Day, but to ask me to charge their freaking Nintendo DS. Yeah, I was kind of upset! But not long after (I reminded them), they remembered what we had talked about the day before and then showered me with love over and over again all morning long. Liam had made the best Mother’s Day card EVER. So simple, with beautiful words and with a Disney castle on the top that he had drew just for me, ‘because it’s your favourite place in the world’ he said, and with another drawing of us in our backyard pool ‘because it’s our favourite place at home’ he added. I also received an awesome recipe book, a beautiful avocado candle (hello guacamole!) and some pink reading socks, of course! Thank you family!

Later on Sunday, my mom and Frank joined us for lunch at Joey Rideau in the Ottawa market. It’s now definitely one of my favourite restaurant in the city, and I wanted to bring my mom there since her and Frank had never been and I thought it was about time for them try it. And they were not disappointed! It was just sooo good, as always! Like best dumplings in town! Frank had the fish tacos and they looked delicious, my mom had a nice warm roast beef sandwich and Brian had a spicy shrimp flatbread… Miam for everyone! We then took a stroll down to Major’s Hill Park for the Tulip Festival. We do try to go every year to watch and enjoy the thousands of flowers scattered across the city. We always talk about going to see different spots, but it seems like we always end up in the ByWard Market, and that’s ok, because it is just so beautiful there! So we took lots of pictures, had a Beaver Tail and some ice cream, and enjoy some time outside. The weather was pretty amazing on that day and being together was the best gift of all. It’s corny, but it’s true!

After a couple of hours walking up and down the Market, the boys were pretty beat up and we decided it was time to leave. Since we didn’t have our usual dinner plans at my mom’s, we decided to drive down to Hawkesbury and crash my mother-in-law’s Mother’s Day dinner with Brian’s siblings. Yep, the boys slept a full hour all the way down from Ottawa to Hawkesbury, but when they woke up, they were pretty happy that they were going to spend some time with their cousins. With both Jay-Jay (Jeremy) and Nini (Noémie) in High School now, they’re super busy and we don’t see enough of them, so the boys were really excited to see them. They all played ball outside for a little while, then had some fun taking some SnapChat pictures, while also (of course) taking advantage of their cousins’ iPads and electronic devices! We had a great BBQ diner: burgers and hot dogs with all the fixings and the best whipped cream and strawberry dessert! I was so glad we made the decision to drive down to see everyone!

So that was my Mother’s Day weekend; now here’s a little piece about me. You know what? Not being a mom was never an option for me. I feel like it’s the ONLY thing I wanted to be while growing up. Well, I won’t lie (and people close to me know all about this), the only thing I ever wanted while growing up was to be the mom of many cute little brown hair girls, but it didn’t happened; and now, I actually feel like I got all I ever wanted, and have all I’ll ever need to be happy, cause I have them. Let’s just say that being the mom of two boys had brought me joy beyond anything I could have imagined. Being their mom is amazing. I now know the names of all the cars from the Cars’ movie, I have watched endless YouTube videos on how to finish Nintendo games and on how to access various Mario Bros’ secret exits, I now own a baseball glove so I can play catch with them, and I have even mastered some wrestling techniques so I play fight with them when they feel like it. I may not braid hair daily, or buy cute dresses or have dance parties, but I have discovered so many new things I now love and couldn’t live without. Well, the one thing I for sure couldn’t live without is them, and I am so grateful to be their mom.

When you’re a mom, you need help from all the other moms in your life. The saying “It takes a village” is so true. My friends help me every day by sharing their fears, joy and triumphs, and by being there for me, at any time of the day. My family and in-laws are always willing to lend a hand and to be there for us. And then there’s my Mom. I could have never done any of this without her. She drops everything the minute I need help with the boys of with anything else. She has played countless games of bingos and memory cards with them. She knits everything their heart desires and also rocks them every chances she gets. I had such an awesome Mimi growing up that I often wondered if my mom would be able to fill her shoes! And she did. She’s just the best. The best thing my Mom gives us is time and lots of love. When I tell the boys that their Mimi is coming over, they’re just so genuinely happy. And I understand this feeling completely, because I feel the same way when she’s coming over. We’ve always been very close, shared the same interests and passion for baking, shopping and going to Disney! The only thing we don’t share is the love for gardening! And luckily for me, she loves it so much that she does most of mine every year! She might OVER SHARE videos on my Messenger account, but if it’s the price I have to pay for having the best Mom, well then I’ll keep on watching all of her funny videos!

I hope you celebrated all of the amazing women in your life on this Mother’s Day; I know I did. Spending the day with my Mom and my boys on that day meant so much. My mother is simply amazing and she takes on so much to make us happy. I’m so proud of her and love her so much. I won’t say she’s my best friend, because she’s so much more: she my mother.

 

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a few rounds of maple taffy

I think I’m might still be on some sort of sugar rush a week later, but I’m proud to say that I have survived two visits to the sugar shack in two days (it is not recommended to do this at home!). If you’ve read my last post you know that I had planned two trips to the sugar shack last weekend, and these two trips ended up being two completely different experiences, both being such a big hit! I got to say that I did have to pace and control myself with all the delicious food that was putted right in front of me, yeah, well, I pace myself yet I did end up trying everything at least once!

On Friday night, my friends and I took a ride on the ferry and drove to the Sorcier golf club in what ended up being a really bad April snow storm! Their club house and the golf course was covered with snow, but I kinda hate golf, so I actually thought it was just beautiful; on the other hand, the boys were quite sad that they couldn’t see the green grass everywhere! Their club house is now a well-known restaurant called Le Rituel which offers food all year round; and then from the beginning of March till the end a April, the club house becomes a sugar shack with an urban twist/feel to it. We went four years ago and since then we’ve been talking about it and been trying to go back with some of our friends. So when my friend Vero texted me a few weeks ago, we made plans right away, got babysitters for our kids (all the grandma) and we all squeezed into a car and made our way over there.

So we get there and the place was packed. We sat, got our drinks, and then waited for the food to start coming. It’s a set menu and we got to try food we had never had. And so much of it! My favs were the parsnip and celeriac soup, kale and apple salad, the homemade bread and maple chipotle butter and the short ribs, with an honorable mention to the Pogo de Cochonne! Oh, and let’s not forget about the dessert: fresh maple donuts with soft meringue. Oh my god, these were simply just so like amazingly delicious! Actually, everything they serve is nicely displayed and our server was just so nice. Overall, great experience, nothing like your usual sugar shack, but so worth the try. It was fun going out and having a great time with our best friends. After that, we all ended up at our place, having some more drinks, going to bed way past our bedtime (while our kids didn’t), which made the 6:30 wake-up call a bit less sweet!

Our Saturday started very slowly, lounging in our pj’s and watching movies for most of the morning. We had a light lunch, a nap (of course) and then we drove back to our hometown. It was time for round 2 of sugar shacking! If you want to have the best sugar shack atmosphere ever, Sucrerie de la Montagne is THE place to go. My brother-in-law’s father Simon works there, so we had a behind the scene tour which was great to learn about the place and also to take some awesome pictures. We got a horse wagon ride, we got to visit where they boil the maple water, and also the bakery… I wish I could live there as the smell of a thousand freshly baked bread is just something I would like to wake up to every morning, even at 6:30 am! And oh yeah, they do bake 1000 breads daily! So with all the bread everywhere, I couldn’t resist and brought some home. Let me tell you that the freshly baked bread with Nutella was simply to die for the next morning!!!

It was a bit cold, but the sun was out a little so we were able to spend some time outside enjoying the awesome view! Maybe because we were with someone who works there, but we had the best tables in the house; right in front of the band! We were also treated to music made with spoons from Frank and Simon… yeah, my mom’s husband grew up being best friend to my brother in law’s father… that’s how we do in small towns! So they grew up together and apparently they’ve learned how to play spoon together as well because they had the same technique and they were both equally spectacular following the bands’ rhythm, sometime outplaying them! No, the band was awesome. So entertaining. I would go back just for the show! So we watched them play for a good hour after we were finished with our great traditional sugar shack dinner, then Simon sang a couple of folk songs, then some more folk from the band, and then it was time to go as we had closed the place down!

So let’s just say that we didn’t eat anything sweet on Sunday or even this week. I did manage to go out to get grocery for the week on Sunday, but that was it! Really fun weekend overall.

And now, it’s finally time for Spa Weekend with the girls, so I know what I will talk about next week!

Hope you have a great weekend everyone; if you’re looking for a place to get your sugar fix, you should definitely hit one of the places we tried, you will not be disappointed. But hurry up, as maple season is almost over. Have a great one and cheers to finally a long and relaxing weekend!

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easter

A week later, I’d say that we’re still recovering from Easter weekend and ALL the food we ate… and a new weekend just begun where we have two trips scheduled to the Sugar Shack!!! Omg, if I die this weekend, I will definitely not die hungry.

So last weekend was a rough one… and not because of over-excited kids due to chocolate cause they barely ate any! Nope, it was just an exhausting, but still fun, long weekend. I am just glad I had Monday off!

Like I mentioned in my last post, we have LOTS of traditions on Easter weekend. We always over-schedule and forget to include quiet and nap time. Well, this year was no different! It all started on Good Friday when we left the house to go shopping in Montréal. We dropped the kids at my Mom’s, pick-up Jojo and headed to Montréal for brunch and shopping. We (well I), had plan to have brunch at Café Ricardo, truly the highlight of my weekend!!! What a beautiful place. Bright, beautifully decorated and a dessert show-case to make you drool. And that, we did! I could talk about the place for hours… everything matches, the color scheme is dreamy and the food was visually perfect and so tasteful. Wish I live closer, but I`ve heard through the vines that Ottawa may get their own Café Ricardo in 2019. If that happens, I want a membership card or something. So sign me up, buttercup!

We then ventured to the shopping part of our trip. Browsed through the Ricardo boutique, bought some cute stuff while coming out with a long wish list. Then, like everyone else in town, we headed out to the shopping mall. So crowded, so loud, so many people, at that point, I regretted not sleeping in and staying home that morning! Did manage to buy a few things but we were all too tired to kept on shopping. So we drove back to our hometown, picked-up the boys and headed to the annual Good Friday fish/egg/fries/poutine but NO meat diner at Lulu’s! Not sure when was the last time we had so much fun… we played a music game and let’s just say the competition was extreme… but my team won and we had a blast, so that’s all that counts!!!! Got home so late, with my three companions sleeping most of the way back, then unloaded the car and past out for a few hours.

But for a second off day in a row, there was no sleeping in for us… a bright and early Easter Egg Hunt was waiting for the boys (that I had planned the night before at 12:30 am). There`s something sooo exciting and fun about cheap plastic colored eggs! The kids love it, and I love it… so we opted to give the boys a bit of money instead of chocolate or candy and they were quite excited about it, and didn’t lost any time to put it in their own piggy bank for our next trip! Then they received their actual Easter basket, stocked with pj’s, books, bubbles and treats. The boys spent a few hours playing Egg Hunt on their own, which was so fun to watch. I swore to them and I’ll swear to you that I had hidden the same number of eggs for both of them, yet, Logan got 9 and Liam got 10. That created a bit of chaos, but in the end, we gave him the extra loonie since it’s all going in the same pot; our Disney Cruise pot!

We later left home and drove to the Beau’s All-Natural Brewery to fill-up Brian’ own Easter basket with his own favorite treats, and then headed out to my Mom’s for dinner; which turned out to be quite the evening actually! Logan is obsessed playing bingo, and yes, we played all evening long. Let’s just say that if you combine bingo and beers, it ends up as being an extremely hilarious game! We laugh so much and in the end, we even all won prizes! My mom has bought a lots of toys from the dollar store to give out as prizes for bingo games with the kids, but this time around, knowing she’d be playing with grown-ups as well, she had bought some stuff for adults too… so we all ended up winning some oven mitts, which made up for some splendid Instagram live stories we all want to forget! Once the kids were in bed, Brit, Alyssa, Brian and I ended up in the spa for what seem to be like a good two hours, right before ordering pizza at midnight… probably not the best idea but it was for sure a delicious one! Let’s just say Easter Sunday was rough for a few of us… yeah, Brian’s Easter basket was all empty by the morning!

We did manage to have a loud and crazy brunch with all the grandkids reunited… sugar was still running high while patience was starting to run low. We all survived and then packed up the car, made another stop at Lulu’s, then at Pépère’s, and then at my mother-in-law for our annual chicken and ribs Easter dinner. Great dinner, great time, but after three days on the go, I couldn’t wait to be back home and enjoy a long night sleep in my own bed with finally a chance to sleep in.

Monday was for pajama’s, movies, naps, while also hiding all the chocolate we had brought home. Made zero attempt to get anything done beside meals and I was ok with that!

So now, we are all impatiently waiting for spring to arrive, trying not to eat the hidden chocolate… so this week, I got the boys registered for soccer and swim lessons, while waiting for the next long weekend, which for me happens to be next weekend… as I am leaving home for 4 days for our annual girls’ spa weekend getaway! But first, let’s start by enjoying this weekend. Hope it’s a good one for you too my friends!

 

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somebunny is ready for easter

If you’re like me, you probably have tons of activities and brunches and dinners scheduled this weekend! Traditions, traditions and some more traditions for Easter weekend!

It will all start with our annual shopping day in Montreal with Jojo, followed by a fish filled dinner at Brian’s aunt Lulu (no fish for me but extra poutine please!) for Good Friday. Then we have our Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning… like most of you with kids! We will then have brunch at my Mom’s on Sunday followed by our usual and traditional Chicken n’ Ribs dinner at my mother-in-law’s… yummy, like simply delicious! It’s always such a great weekend for us, filled with family time and good food. If you ever find some spare time this weekend, I’ve got one more thing for you to add to your list: go see a movie! Yes, the Peter Rabbit movie!

We went to see Peter Rabbit at the movies back in February and we’ll definitely try to squeeze another viewing this weekend. I can’t remember when was the last time we all laugh this much! This movie is hilarious, emotional, fun and adorable. If you’d ask Liam about the movie, he’d tell you right away that this is the funniest movie ever. Of course we had to find the stuffed animal version of Peter Rabbit after we saw the movie… and guess what, it wasn’t too hard to find as they NOW sell these right there at the theatre… so we got out of the movie and a minute later my stuffed-animal-obsessed kids saw the Peter Rabbit stuffed animal display… yep, they both got one! But they were so cute, I didn’t mind, and I almost got one for myself!

So of course when we came back home we had to celebrate our love for rabbits, so just like any normal family, we had a Peter Rabbit Day the following day! My kids REALLY love when we have themed days, and so do I. Like last weekend, we had a McQueen Sunday; you know, they woke up and decided that today was all about McQueen. So I went along and organized a Cars day; nothing fancy, but we wore our Cars’ t-shirts all day, played with our Cars’ toys, watched the last movies with Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm (once more!!!), made some crafts with Cars stickers and had a lot of fun!

So for our PR Day we made carrot soup, carrot muffins, individual veggies and dips, and then we ate mini chocolate bunnies! I’ve also tried to make -for the first time- some bunny shaped cream puffed filled with ice cream and drizzled with milk chocolate! Hummmm… hello delicious rabbit, I could easily eat ten of you! You can find the recipe in Ricardo’s latest magazine and on his website. Much easier to do than I thought it would be, and so so good! I will be making this recipe again and again from now on! You should really try to make some this weekend. One recipe and endless possibilities; but the bunny shape stole my heart!

So I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones this weekend. Whatever you do, make time to enjoy life and each other. Eat lots of chocolate and go see the Peter Rabbit movie! Hoppy Easter my lemon drop life disciples (hope I didn’t offend anyone with that one!).

 

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fill up those easter baskets

It’s FINALLY Spring and Easter is just around the corner! So bring me all the floral, pastel and cute bunny stuff you can find. I’ve got a bunny-obsessed little boy over here and he’s been waiting for our annual Easter egg hunt in what seems like forever. I’ve never pretended there was actually a real Easter Bunny, they perfectly know I’m the one who hides the goodies, and I am okay with that, and I am pretty sure they are okay as well! So we never had that crazy picture of our kids crying while sitting on an plush costume covered person for Easter (yet, I took many many pictures of everything else Easter related, though!).

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been searching for the perfect treats to give the boys for Easter, and I can’t help but to share with you what I’ve found. I also found some stuff for the men in your life, and of course, for yourself as well! So let’s start with the shop hunt!

1. Snuggle Bunny Wrap: If you have a baby, PLEASE buy this and send me all the pictures… Wish I had this when the boys were babies… my ovaries are crying over this!

2. Kids Bunny Reading Socks: So I’m still obsessed with reading socks… I only have a pair myself and now I totally have to get these for the boys basket. They are the softest and comfiest reading socks in the world. I promise.

3. Flower Hair Pins: For the little girls in your life, these are the prettiest! Pretty sure some adults could pull them off too!

4. Starbucks Stanley Mug: This would be a great find for any coffee lover in your life. You could also add a small gift card or make a coffee related basket. Coffee beans, dollar store hand painted mugs by the kids, special raw sugar and a cute Lindt Gold Chocolate Bunny!

5. Sweet Bake Shop: This one, well I really hope it ends up in my basket! I’ve been following Tessa’s journey on Instagram and I’m in love with everything she does. Hope I could recreate 5% of what she does! She’s amazing.

6. Dash Rapid Egg Cooker: I might have to by myself this item. First of all, the colour is fabulous, and how cute would it be to cook eggs in this thing? I go through like 18 eggs a week for egg salad sandwiches for the lunches, so this would probably be the smartest investment of the year! Plus, the kids could also decorate some warm eggs with wax crayons I’ve been eyeing on Pinterest and then eat them. Food and craft, perfect mix for keeping them entertained for a while and then feeding them!

7. Pom Pom Throw: So now that the eggs are cooking in my new Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, I now have more time to wrap myself in this gorgeous blush coloured throw blanket, sit on the couch and possibly take a nap. Honestly, can one have too many blankets? Just need to have a pretty large Easter basket to fit this gift into!

8. Bunnies by the Bay: My fav bunny. My Logan’s bunny. Logan received his first Bunnies by the Bay bunny on his first Easter. We now have 3 (bought five, lost two). Not sure how he could survive even one day without his Bunnies. Love everything from this company. Go check them out, all their stuff is pretty amazing!

Another must for all the Easter baskets I will be making is some delicious chocolate from Chocolats Favoris. I am not sure if you still remember our artsy Easter chocolate decorating afternoon we had last year; well the boys do, and they still talk about how fun it was. So I will get them some more chocolate as well as a few paint brushes so they can decorate their own treat again! You still have time to buy yours from their website, but hurry!

Let’s hope the weather warms up soon so we can get to play outside during Easter weekend; as egg hunting is so much more fun outside! Hope you found a bit of eggspiration with my list; so happy shopping and happy springtime my friends!

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