picton and the power of pink

If you ask me where I want to go next, I will immediately say Disney. If Disney isn’t an option, well I have a long list of other places I want to visit, and until not long ago, Picton was not on it. Honestly, I had never really imagined I would want to go to Picton one day. Like I didn’t really knew much about it and had not really paid any attention to that part of our province before… well that completely changed the day I saw those pretty pink doors! You can call it the power of pink. Yep, pink freakin doors on what is now the cutest motel I’ve ever stayed at! I stumbled upon these now famous doors in late 2017, and ever since, I’ve been obsessed about visiting The June Motel in Picton. Which I just did!

So one night earlier in July, with absolutely no summer vacation plan ahead, and with all of my friends literally traveling either across the world or across Canada, I was kind of bummed about my summer so far. So right before going to bed, I begged Brian that we should really GO on a road trip to The June Motel in Picton. He didn’t really know anything about Picton other than The June Motel since I had been talking about it for over a year now. Well let’s just say that he wasn’t too hard to convince once he had Googled what to do in Picton and saw all the vineyards in the area! So by midnight, he had booked us a room at The June Motel and we finally had a destination… well three destinations I should say, since he actually bargained a stop in Kingston on our way back and then a road trip to Boston to go see his beloved Red Sox the following week. But guess what, no problem my friend, ANYTHING you want as long as you bring me in front of those pretty pink doors so I can take a selfie!!!

Now, all I had to do was to find places to visit, where to eat, things to do and plan all the pictures I was about to take! We were bringing the boys with us, so it wasn’t only going to be a grown up trip to wineries and breweries, as we had to find things to do for them as well. Well that ended up not being a problem at all while visiting wineries and breweries, you’ll see why later on.

We were going to stay 2 nights at The June, and my excitement was over the roof! So we left on our road trip on Monday morning, with a latte in one hand and my camera in the other. Prince Edward County is a short 2 hours and 45 minutes’ drive from home, or a bit longer if you’re like my husband and always insist on taking the back roads. So after a short discussion, which I lost, we ended up on the scenic route between Gananoque and PEC. Even I have to admit that this was the right thing to do, cause for about half an hour more we got to enjoy the beautiful view alongside the St-Lawrence. We even took a ferry from the mainland to PEC, which was the best, especially for the boys – for the three boys I mean.

Since we made it there around lunch time and check-in was still a few hours away, we decided to hit the Parson’s Brewery first. Brian had heard about it from friends and colleagues, and wow, what a great way to start our PEC tour. From the moment we arrived we knew we were going to love the place. They have such a great spot and landscape for a brewery; AND they have entertainment for the kids. I have to admit that going to PEC with kids was a bit intimidating. My boys are usually pretty well behave when they are entertained, and when they are not entertained, well we always have the iPad ready to keep them busy. In PEC, while visiting a winery or brewery or distillery, they weren’t even interested in the iPad as they would find something fun to do everywhere we’d go. At Parsons, the first thing they did was to ask for their Polaroid to take pictures. Then, we got a great table on the outside patio. Well, all of their tables and sitting areas are pretty amazing. The boys ran around the property for hours, playing ping-pong, bocce ball, horseshoes, while spending most of their time climbing on the wooden play structure with the other kids there. They only came to us when they were thirsty from running around, and then they were off again to the play structure. As for us, we enjoyed our food and drinks and cheered to our two week vacation together. Brian had a flight of beers and a charcuterie board that was delicious. I had a lovely Hibiscus Mocktail and some fresh guacamole and chips. Perfect start to our journey! The boys made some friends and didn’t want to leave, which usually means they had the best of time. We were all very happy that our vacay started at Parson’s Brewery.

Then we stopped a small winery on our way back, Black Prince. We had fun walking around, visiting the barn and watching the outdoor pizza oven (I so want one in my backyard!) and took some more pictures while Brian had a few tastings. Then, it was finally time to head out to the main purpose of our visit, our pink-door-motel!

LOVE!!! It’s the only way I can explain how I felt when we arrived! The boys were so excited for me and the pink doors! They knew this was for me and they were so happy about it. They have the cutest lobby ever where we were greeted with Rosé by the friendliest staff. After Brian had finished his and mine Rosé glasses, we finally got our retro room key and on our way we were to room 6! We’ve stayed in really nice hotels before, and I kind of feel stupid saying this, but I don’t remember being this excited about opening the door of a hotel room before. So I opened the door and our room was A M A Z I N G! We were in love with it the moment we stepped in. The boys thought it was the cutest room ever and I had to agree. So fun, fresh and girly, yet, my 3 men loved everything about it.

Brian unpacked while I was busy taking pictures of everything! And I mean everything, from the wallpaper, to the cute note from the cleaning ladies, the pink bathroom, the mini fridge, the beds, the pillows, and of course a million shots of our pink door! Instagram dream location alert!!!

Once we had settled in our room, we decided to go visit the Picton village, which is about 3 minutes away. You can even rent, free of charge, gorgeous bikes from The June, but since we had the boys with us, we couldn’t use them during our stay. Picton is a small and cute town, with a perfect main street just like I love it, where you’ll find an old movie theater, hip coffee shops, a book store, some other one of a kind stores and so much more. The vibe is mellow, with nobody in a rush, where everyone seems to be having a great time. We were starving and decided to have dinner at The Vic Café, a modern and colourful diner restaurant. We had a huge booth with colourful pillows, to-draw placemats as well as a huge bright window to do some people watching! The boys even showed us a card game they have learned at school that we now can’t stop playing. I got the burger and it was sooooo good! Brian got the butter chicken which seemed delicious, while the boys had… PANCAKES! They thought it was the best thing ever to have breakfast for dinner. Logan’s new thing is to say ‘I know you’re going to say no, but I would like to…’ when asking for something. So let’s say they were both really impressed with me when I said yes to pancakes for dinner. Now they want to do this at home, we’ll see about that! I really recommend The Vic Café if you visit Picton. They also have a great patio, but it was cloudy and a bit cold on our first day so we opted for indoors. Next time we will definitely try the patio.

Back at The June, it was Movie Monday. They set up a large screen on the patio where you can watch some old time 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s movies by the fire with a glass of Rosé, craft beer, popcorn, and of course S’MORES! Unfortunately for us, the movie wasn’t really kid friendly so we parked the boys in the lobby with their iPads while we watched the movie outside – Mom, don’t panic, we weren’t even 20 feet away and we could actually talk to them through the screened door! I had to cut my Movie Monday short because Logan was coughing a lot and I knew it was now time to put them both to bed, so I will never know how Dazed and Confused ends. At least I now know where Matthew McConaughey’ alright, alright, alright quote comes from, which was definitely the best part of the movie.

Next morning we woke up bright and early and got ready for the beach. We got some delicious lattes’ from Miss Lily’s Cafe and then we made the short drive to Sandbanks. The boys decided that we would be going to The Dunes Beach, because there’s a Mario Bros level in French called something like the dunes… so yep, we’re now visiting places because of Mario Bros (that’s life with boys). We had been told that the water was still high and it was, which made getting to the dunes a bit tricky but oh so awesome! We were almost alone when we got there so we scored a great spot. We had fun building a pool for the fishies that we catched, played a bit of football and had an amazing time swimming. All of us except Brian who HATES the beach and the sand. But we did win him over after a little while and I believe he actually had a great time. After a few hours at the beach, we decided to pack up and start visiting some wineries.

We were starving so we decided to head out to Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard for some wooden oven pizza and some wine tasting. The property was amazing and so was the pizza. The boys played on a trampoline and Brian had a few tastings while I enjoyed the scenery. After that, we visited Casa Dea’s Winery, which was right in front. So Brian enjoyed another wine tasting while I sat and relaxed watching the boys having a great time playing chess on a large outdoor set.

We then visited PEC Lavender. I still haven’t visited my beloved Maison Lavande this year so I was super stoked to get the chance to visit a lavender farm. It smelled heavenly. We were almost alone in the fields and it was just the best. The boys had fun running and playing hide and seek across the lavender field while we enjoyed some Lavender Gelato on the Adirondack chairs. It was great to just sit and relax a bit after such a jam packed day. I would definitely recommend everyone to stop at PEC Lavender in between two wineries if you go to PEC.

Not too far away was Closson Chase Winery, my favorite winery of our tour – and I say this basically due to the gorgeous purple barn on site, as I didn’t tasted a single drop of wine on our trip. I also loved their outside patio area and the presentation of the wine tasting, while Brian really liked both of their Chardonnay. I truly recommend a visit there right after you’ve been to PEC Lavender. By then, the boys were getting a little tired and luckily for them there were some hammock style swings close to the outdoor patio where we were. They spent the entire time there in the hammock and they loved it. I keep on mentioning what the boys did at each of our stops because I know some of you might hesitate to bring your kids to PEC, as it may seems more like an adult style destination, but throughout our trip we felt that our kids were welcomed everywhere we went, and we know they had a great time following us, because as I said earlier, they didn’t asked for the iPad once! So don’t hesitate, book your PEC trip and bring the kids with you!

We had kept the Kinsip House of Fine Spirits for last. Brian’s expectations were like really high for this place. When we got there he seemed to be as excited about Kinsip as he is every time we visit his beloved Beau’s Brewery. So he did multiple tastings while chatting with the friendly staff at the outside tasting bar. Apparently people have to go through a long line-up during the weekends to get to the tasting bar, but it was Tuesday afternoon, and we basically had the place to ourselves. So Brian stayed at the bar, talking to the staff member for like an hour, tasting what seems to be all of their fine spirits, then bought some whisky as well as a t-shirt, which means that Kinsip did not disappoint and truly met all of his expectations. Like, as soon as he came back with a t-shirt, I knew it, cause all he usually wears are his Beau’s tee, so for him to get a t-shirt there, I knew he was totally impressed with the place! The staff was so friendly and very interesting to listen to. I don’t drink but I love their bottles. They definitely have the best bottle designs. I also loved the feel of the place, while Brian loved their fine spirits. You absolutely have to visit Kinsip, that’s all I have to say. So I spent most of my time enjoying the patio, watching the kids and the loose chickens running around the farm. Then I had the best BBQ plate ever! Guess what, I was getting a little hungry, and lucky me, right there in Kinsip’s garden you’ll find Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse, which is to die for! No fine spirits for me but definitely the best beef brisket in town. All that while the boys made some new friends and built some sort of fort in the wooden area. They were running back and forth to grab some pieces of meat and then back to the fort! Kinsip was our favorite and the best way to end this wonderful afternoon.

We ended our day with dinner at The County Canteen, and it was soooo good! Probably the best mussels we ever had. We had a great spot on the patio, watching all the tourist walk around the Main Street. But we were all tired from our day that we decided to head back to The June for an early night. We missed Rosé O’Clock but we still had drinks in the lobby and on the patio, while the boys were playing nearby.

Our time at The June was coming to an end, but we still managed to enjoy our last evening there by playing a few games of cards before it was time to call it a night! Next morning we took like what seemed to be a few hundreds more pictures and then packed up our car to get ready to leave for our next stop of our road trip. Liam and I took one last picture in front of the lobby before it was time to hand back our number 6 retro key with a heavy heart. Leaving a place where you share such awesome memories is always hard for our emotional crew, and this time was no different. 

We had the best time at The June and I can’t wait to visit you again, hopefully next time with my girlfriends! So June, this is not a goodbye… this is a see you soon!

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summery greek salad

First, I want to say how sorry I am for having gone MIA. No excuses, just life happening a bit too fast, and with the end of the school year, I felt a bit overwhelmed. But I’m back, with so much to share! I know I haven’t finished posting about our last Florida trip. I have a “Best of Disney” coming up and then a full-on, over the top Wizarding World of Harry Potter post that will be way to long but nevertheless amazing! 

But let’s start with a summer dish/meal to kick off the season. I feel like it took a full extra month to get the summer started, but now that we’re right in the midst of it, all I wanna do is spending time outside, either on our backyard deck or in the pool, while eating light and refreshing food. 

We have so many BBQs and family gatherings lined up, and you probably do as well, so next time you want to prepare something quickly, you need to try this one! This summery Greek Salad is simple to make, with no cooking, and it takes no-time at all, which means you can spend more time entertaining your guests instead of making a mess in the kitchen! 

I’ve already made this a couple of times in the last few weeks and I can’t get enough. Perfect with burgers or grilled chicken breast. Or serve it on top of leafy greens for a light and delicious lunch. So, I’ll stop raving about this recipe and let you go fetch your veggies and prep this baby up. 

You probably have most of the ingredients on hand, so make it tonight and it will become your go-to summer recipe. It’s full of veggies so you can indulge on more ice cream after dinner! Happy summer my friends!

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disney’s magic kingdom

On our second day, my fav, and obviously everyone’s fav, the day I had longed for over a year, our beautiful Magic Kingdom. The castle, the fireworks, the Dole Whip, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and also, the perfect occasion to finally wear my skirt! Yep, my skirt, which I bought over 3 years ago dreaming of wearing it one day at Magic Kingdom. Well the skirt did not disappoint! And neither did the castle and everything else.

Following a long and hot first day at Hollywood Studio, everyone was very tired, but I still managed to convince them all to wake up super early in the morning for our day at Magic Kingdom. I really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss anything. The last two days were catching up on us big time, still, we were out of the door on time and ready to rock this day. I knew it was going to be hot and sunny again, but I hadn’t planned that by 7:30 am the humidity would have already frizzed my just curled hair. So much for the cute pictures I was supposed to take! Oh well… at least I had the perfect skirt on!

We entered the park with 2 things in mind, first, to recreate our group picture just like we did in 2014 in front of the castle, and then to rush to the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to ride it before the waiting line would be too long. Well, we weren’t the only one with that plan in mind I guess! We made it to the ride but there was already about 2 hours of wait time, so we postponed it and did Peter Pan’s Flight (one of my fav) and It’s a Small World (definitely one of my fav) back to back instead, all that within the first hour of being in the park, not bad, right?

Then it was time for our first treats, FINALLY! So we all had either a Lost Princess cone or a Peter Pan float, except for me, of course, who had to try them both. You know, you got to understand something here, I would have probably just had one like everyone else, but both treats were on my what-to-eat-at-Disney list, and as an almost famous small town blogger, well I felt the need to please my followers and report back on both treats… and now that I have tried them both, well I can honestly say that they are arguably some of the most delicious treats ever. See, isn’t the point of blogging to have an excuse to eat things like Princess Cones and Peter Pan floats? Pretty sure it is.

After that, we split up in half to go ride Dumbo and Space Mountain. I left with my crew while Brian went to Space Mountain with his crew and their fast-passes; his crew being everyone doing the more extreme rides while my crew being the ones who were looking forward to riding Dumbo. Unfortunately for him the ride was “broken”. Fortunately though, they were told they could use their fast-passes in any other ride, so since they only had 10 minutes left to use it, they opted for the closest one and rode Buzz Lightyear… without the boys, which is THE ride they wanted to do at Magic Kingdom!

Meanwhile, we did another one of my fav, DUMBO! Isn’t it the cutest ride of all time? I could spend my day in that ride and never get bored! The colours, the cute elephants, the circus tent, everything about that ride made me happy. Then it was time for some churros, larger than life donuts, and some more popcorn! As I told you in my last post, popcorn was like a meal for Liam in Disney!

After that we rode Under the sea and then finally decided to wait in line for the Mine Train. I am not a big roller-coaster fan, but this ride is adorable, with a few intense corners, but still smooth enough for easily scared kids like mine. Overall, I loved everything about it… except for the 2-hour wait line, I guess. I have to say that now that I have done it, if I had to go back to Magic Kingdom today, I would definitely stay behind and spend that 2 hours exploring more of the park; but we hadn’t done it before, so we really wanted to do it. And we were travelling with one of Snow White’s biggest fan after all!!!

We then grabbed lunch and watched the parade. It was gorgeous, but it kinda seemed shorter than I remembered. Maybe it’s just me and my wish to make moments like this last forever! Then it was time for Big Thunder Railway, which Brian’s crew rode twice in a row since we all had fast-passes booked but the Dumbo crew didn’t really wanted to do it. Then it was time for Splash Mountain, which ended up being one of our favorite moments of the trip. He’s not the type to get adventurous, like he’s usually the complete opposite of it, and don’t ask me why, but when Liam saw the big drop and the water splash it caused, he told me he really wanted to do Splash Mountain. I was sure he would chicken out at some point, but no, he didn’t. And not only he didn’t chickened out, he actually waited in line for over two hours without saying anything about the wait time and the fact that they were not moving as they had to deal with another “broken” ride half way into the line. I actually didn’t do it, as I went back to Logan and my Mom while the others waited it out. I am so happy he did it, as he loved it so much; and the picture tells it all, with is little face, huge grin, 2 little arms up in the air while having the time of his life. MAGIC!

Oh, so while they were waiting in line for Splash Mountain, I had to find something else to blog about or to take pictures of, so I headed out for some Funnel Cake and some more ice cream. So I guess I should officially report back to my followers, before I forget, that these treats were also extremely delicious!!!

Then we did Pirates of the Caribbean and the Magic Carpets. OMG, the Magic Carpets ride is AWESOME. Who knew? I had never done it before, but was simply hilarious! We had an awesome time riding it… like, there’s a camel that spits water on the other riders when you press on the button… I couldn’t have asked for more, it was so much fun, as we laugh and screamed the entire time! Then we had some more Dole Whip and popcorn while we made our way to the Mad Tea Party tea cups ride. I’m not really into the spinning rides, especially after all the treats I have had so far, so we just sat in our cup and enjoyed the smooth ride without the extra spinning.

We then went back for some more pictures in front of the castle before sunset, but I had so many problems with my fancy camera during this trip that our pictures aren’t super nice, or not as nice as I had hoped for, I guess. I know it may sound superficial, but I’m super bummed about it, as I really wanted to take better pictures throughout the trip. I kind of want to cry about it, but between the cam problems, my frizzed hair, the boys’ constant eye-rolling and messing around during picture time, Logan’s tong sticking out everywhere and Liam’s missing front tooth, it wasn’t that easy to get some picture-perfect shots.

It was almost time for the fireworks, but luckily we were able to squeeze a short visit with Mickey and Minnie for some pictures in their 90th anniversary outfits! So cute and so much fun. The boys loved it!

By 8:30 pm, we were all there, in the middle of the street, waiting for the fireworks with a treat in our hands. Honestly, we could have found a better location, but we were all tired, and the consensus was to find a place close to the exit where we’d see most of the show. I was hoping for something similar to what we saw at Disneyland three years ago, where the entire Main Street was part of the show, but it wasn’t. It was still great, but maybe not as spectacular, or as magical. I am wondering if the fact that the boys were not that into it played a part into how much I enjoyed the show, who knows.

I still cried almost the entire time. No surprise there! And at the very end, I felt like I was 10 again, watching Tinker Bell fly down from the castle. I’m not crying; you’re crying!!!

Leaving the castle was emotionally draining. As soon as the last firework blasted, Logan became a mess, crying because we were saying goodbye to the castle. At the same time, I was crying thinking of my kids growing up, and that I will soon have to say goodbye to their magical spirit, and that once it happens, things will never be the same. I mean, I know we’ll be back, but my babies are growing up and I know we will never re-live this trip, or any of our previous Disney trips. And that is the hardest part for me to accept right now. Maybe that’s why I take so many pictures and videos, trying to capture every little thing, moment or feeling.

So many things I didn’t get to do at Magic Kingdom. The purple wall, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger ride, eat a corndog, get the perfect picture in front of the castle and visit the princesses. But still, I have to say that this was a pretty near perfect day in one of the most magical place on earth. Thank you Magic Kingdom for letting me believe and live through all of your fairy-tales and enchanted stories, even at 38 years old. Hope you’ll bring the same joy to my sons as they grow up.

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a weekend in vegas

Well, nobody will call us party poopers, that’s for sure; we even flew to Vegas just to prove it! Our friends Vero and Mat were spending 10 days on the west coast and in Las Vegas, and for over a year now, we had talked about the possibility of meeting them in Vegas for the weekend at the end of their trip. Of course we wanted to, we’re both Vegas obsessed. But after we had booked a family trip to Disney for March 2019, the Vegas prices for the October long weekend started to go up, which means our hopes for an incredibly fun and crazy weekend in Vegas seemed to fade away as the days went by. BUT, never say never! While I was taking the boys Halloween pictures at the pumpkin patch, Brian booked the trip, on his phone, without even telling me. Then on our way back home, he told me to call my mom and tell her she was babysitting next weekend, cause we were going to Vegas!

 So with less than 5 days left to schedule everything with the boys, pack our suitcases and get ready, we were beyond anxious. By Wednesday night, we still hadn’t told our friends, and that’s when Brian had the crazy idea to film us “à la Love Actually” with sign cards telling them we were going to Vegas. It was so funny, both of us in the doorway holding our cards, with Liam filming and Logan laughing at our acting skills… I wouldn’t want anyone to see this, like NEVER! Yet, we still sent it to our friends and then immediately started to get flooded with boomerang videos of their excitement. It’s was simply HILARIOUS!!!

Came Friday, we drove the boys to my Mom, said our goodbyes, and then came back home for the shortest nap, before catching our flight early in the morning. Wish we had a direct flight, but 8 hours later, around lunch time (Vegas time), we finally made it to the Strip. We had booked last minute, with not too many hotel options available… so we ended up staying at the Bally’s, and I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised from the moment we walked into our room. It was super big, like it could have easily fit 2 king size beds with room to spare, it was pretty, cozy, recently renovated and located right in the middle of the strip. Oh, and we got a free room upgrade on the top floor with a really nice view! I like to think we got this cause they know I’m a famous blogger, right!?! We actually loved our experience at the Bally’s and will definitely consider staying there again in the future! They are currently renovating parts of the casino and I can’t wait to see what it will look like next time we’re in town.

So we met with Vero and Mat in the Bally’s casino and then made our way to the Linq’s Promenade for lunch and Barley & Flour. We had some delicious pizzas as well as a few drinks on a terrace before getting on our gambling journey! Over our three days in Vegas, I’d say we probably tried every type of slots machines there is, one after the others, it’s was just incredible. Of course our favs are still BUFFALO, Hangover and Sex and the City, where we actually won a few bonus rounds! The only one who didn’t win was Mat. He has the worst luck I’ve ever seen. Poor him. While Brian was raking it, he kept on losing some more, but he was a good sport about it and kept on cheering for us! Next time it will be your turn, Mat, I can feel it!

We visited the Caesar’s and the Mirage, then went back to our rooms to change and met at Mon Ami Gaby for a late diner. We got a great table on the patio, where we could watch the Fountains of Bellagio. Our server was so nice, he even spoke to us in French for most of the night after he had heard Brian’s accent. Everything about our steak dinner was perfect, but by the time we were done, it was close to midnight (3:00 am our time), and I was starting to feel the time-zone difference. So we played in the casino a little and then called it a night.

Now, here’s the tricky part about your first night in Vegas (especially if you’re from our time-zone)… well, you usually go to bed very late because you want to party as much as you can, but then you wake up very early because of your internal clock! Which sucks, especially with no kids around and pitched dark blinds. So with only a few hours of sleep, we met our friends at Giada’s restaurant at the Cromwell for a late breakfast. We had brunch there 2 years ago when we travelled to Vegas for my Mom and Frank’s wedding, and I really wanted to go back, as it’s such a gorgeous and awesome restaurant. We got another great table overlooking the strip, and some of the best looking plates you will find. Food was to die for and the best part, we got a 5$ brownie. But, wait for it, as it’s a way better story than it sounds… When we entered the restaurant, we saw a gorgeous trolley, full of beautiful glass canisters and cake stands. Full of different kinds of brownies, sauces, toppings, ice creams and candies. We all wanted one so badly, and I was certain that I had seen somewhere that it was only 5$. So even if we were super full after finishing our meal, I was able to convince them, and we decided to get one for the 4 of us. So they made us fill out a form with all of our preferences and selections. We probably asked the server about 10 times if someone was really going to bring the trolley to our table. And they did! So the trolley arrived, I was taking pictures, Brian videos, and Vero some boomerangs (while Mat wanted to get away from our crazy table)!!! Right after the waiter left, they all agreed that I had to be wrong about the price and that it had to be at least 20$, or even much more… but it was so worth it, whatever the price it was going to be! Then we got our bill, and guess what… to our surprise (and by then to my surprise), I was right!!! Let’s just say it was the best (and most delicious) 5$ ever we ever spent in Las Vegas! Finally, before we left, we took the almost-necessary picture in the famous Giada’s photo booth… well, it may have taken us 20 shots before we could have a decent one, but who cares, we were having a blast and had nothing else planned for the day. 

Yeah, absolutely no plans!  We had an awesome day in Vegas, walking around, having drinks, casino hoping, gambling here and there, checking out stores and just spending times together. We took a small break (from like doing nothing) and stopped at a Mexican cantina for margaritas and nachos. YUM!

Then, we went back to win some more money at the Mirage… let’s just say that the Mirage casino is REALLY good to us. We don’t gamble a lot, but we managed to win a few hundred dollars there. So far it was such a great Day-2 in Vegas! 

After that, we went back to our hotel for a quick outfit change, as we had some reservations at Lago by Julian Serrano at the Bellagio. And our great day became an even better one when we got ourselves a table on the terrace, right on the water, literally behind the Fountains of Bellagio. It was Magical. Every 15 minutes, the music from the restaurant would be dimmed down and the music from the fountain show would surround us. We had the best seats in the house and we knew it. It was simply breathtaking. Our server was incredible and also super funny. The table of twelve next to us had ordered 4 huge tomahawk steaks for the group, so when they saw that, Brian and Mat had to ask the waiter where they could find it on the menu. The waiter responded it was usually available only for special order, but that he could make an exception for us… for a mere 350$ each! WHAT???? No thank you! I’m surprised I didn’t die laughing right there from seeing the deception in Brian’s face. But I’m pretty sure the tomahawk wouldn’t have topped the incredibly delicious food we’ve ordered and shared that night: Burrata cheese with red peppers and garlic; Bruschetta Pomodoro; Almond-basil pesto linguini; Braised duck and cheese polenta; and a bone-in rib-eye steak. It will forever be one of the best and most amazing dinner experience I have ever had in my life. It was priceless. They could charge double the price for these tables and I would still ask to sit there. Wish I was there right now!

So, once diner was over, Brian, Mat and Vero had no more wine left, and the four of us started to discuss whether they were having more wine there while enjoying the fountains, or if we were going somewhere else. That’s when Brian decided to walk over to the other table, the one who had the expensive tomahawk steaks (and probably expensive wine), to steal two full left-over wine glasses. I would usually be sooo mad at him for doing something like this, but this time, I couldn’t even say a word as Vero and I were dying laughing as he was walking back toward us with the two glasses in his hands and a huge smile in his face! That’s when the server came out, laughing as well, telling him that left-over wine at 500$ a bottle was usually reserved for the kitchen staff! Vero and I were still laughing out loud, and I was getting very close from peeing my pants! Yeah, part of me was ashamed, but the other part was like, YOLO! 

After diner, we went to the Cosmo hotel, then to Planet Hollywood, where Brian and Mat got a 3 for one… 20$ for two margaritas and a free bull ride. I will spare you the video, but let say Mat was smart enough to drink his margarita while Brian did the ride. The girl right before him was like a pro and lasted a whole song while he lasted about 20 seconds and hurt himself while doing it. What. An. Idiot. But I love him!

After that, we walked around the strip, had more margaritas, played some more casinos, and then the time came where we had to say goodbye to our friends, as they were catching a flight back home early in the morning. Our time together was so short, wish we had at least another day with them, but we had sooo much fun, and made so much memories, and are so happy we decided, last minute, to meet with them in Vegas for the weekend. A weekend I will remember forever! 

On Monday morning, it was super nice outside, so we decided to walk to the MGM Park. Once we made it there, we decided to rent a car, not because we were lazy and didn’t wanted to walk back to the hotel, but because I wanted to scratch a few things of my to-do list. First off, Bad Owl Coffee Shop for a late breakfast. I had just recently discovered this Harry Potter inspired coffee house on Instagram and I reallllly wanted to go. And I was not disappointed! Cozy, dark, gloomy but inviting, full of memorabilia, multiple quotes on tables and walls, and it seemed like everywhere you’d looked, you could find a little something you had missed earlier. Oh, and a menu worthy of the Great Hall. As if it was faith, I had the Alan Rickman table… probably my favorite HP character, although I truly love them all! So we shared the waffles and I had the best Nutella latte ever. Wanted to stay longer, but I also wanted to scratch more off my list. So guess what I had seen on my way there: a Target! Of course I needed a Target stop. And then, after a little shopping spree, we drove to Seven Magic Mountains, which is about 25 minutes away from the Strip. You drive through the desert and then, in the middle of nowhere, you see 7 bright and colourful rock totems. This was sooo AMAZING to see. It truly was magical, and the colors on the pictures are simply amazing. Wish we had stopped 2 years prior with the boys, they would have loved it.

Once we left the desert, we made one last stop at the North Premium Outlets, and then we went back to our hotel to spend the rest of the days just walking around and enjoying the fact that we were in Vegas. As soon as we parked the car at our hotel, I was really hungry and I knew exactly what I wanted to eat! So I scratched off another thing on my list, In-N-Out Burger! Yep! We definitely should have In-N-Out Burger in Canada. I would be the first in line! Brian had the Gordon Ramsay fish and chips with a Guinness in a cup, which he definitely enjoyed! But then, after two days of being really lucky with our gambling, well we started to lose some (most) of our winnings, so Brian decided to gamble a little less and focus on all the margarita places we could find, having a drink here and there, just relaxing, walking around, and enjoying each other. Not sure when was the last time we actually went away just the two of us, but it felt great. We talked about our life, our jobs, the boys, our friends, the future trips we’d like to do, our house and how fun this weekend was. We had thought of going to a super fancy place for dinner, but the time difference was catching up on us, so we decided to not go back to the room and change, and go directly to one of our favorite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory. We were exhausted, we had walked over 30000 steps, so during dinner I wanted to cry thinking about having to walk back to our hotel. But, as usual, we had such a great time, and once again, our server was super friendly and nice, our food was delicious, hello Bellagio Chicken, plus the to-go Godiva Cheesecake was the bribe I needed to walk back to my room! 

We played a few rounds of Buffalo on the way, then made it to our room, ate some cheesecake, packed-up our stuff and then it was time for bed. Next morning came by too quickly. We drove to the airport and then started the long journey back home. I was sooo anxious to see the boys, but it had to wait in the morning as we arrived back home past 1 am and went directly to bed as I was working a few short hours later! 

What a trip. Vegas, you were amazing to us, once again! Thanks to my Mom and Frank who took care of our boys and made this trip possible and stress free for us. And lastly, Vero and Mat, thanks for letting us tag along your 10th year wedding anniversary trip. This weekend will forever be remembered, from the video we sent you, your boomerangs, the moment I jumped into your arms when I first saw you, Brian’s incredible gambling luck, the 350$ piece of meat and wine stealing, the bull ride, all the margaritas, the ultimate brownie, the Lago diner and our singing performance by the Bellagio Fountains, the long walks, the long talks, and the countless laughs we shared with you guys. We love you so much and can’t wait for the next one! Maybe for OUR 10th year anniversary, next year?

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and the boxes go to…

I do love to share things on social media and also to enter all sort of contests, but boy oh boy am I bad at my own giveaways!!! But I finally got around picking out the 3 winners of the Good Food boxes (two weeks later than I had originally promise!). So here they are:

Box #1 goes to Melanie Lecompte. Such a great friend and one of my favorite traveling partner! Wish we would see more of each other and I can’t wait for our next road trip!

Box #2 goes to Jo-Anne Poirier, my mom’s cousin from Sault Sainte Marie. I had severe hair envy growing up because she had the most amazing, waist long, hair. I wanted my frizzy hair to look just like hers!

Box #3: goes to Mireille Ladouceur, Liam’s school friend’s mom that I met last year. She sells Norwex, so if you need awesome environment friendly cleaning product, she’s your girl!

So I hope you all get to enjoy your free meals soon! Let me know how it goes. And thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway! You are all so amazing helping me promote my blog. Keep on sharing my lemon drop life friends!

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annual girls weekend

A couple of weekends ago it was my yearly-girls-weekend-getaway with my girlfriends; ohhh yes, easily one of my favorite and most anticipated weekends of the year. So after prepping all week long for it, including packing lunches in advance, placing all the boys clothes on their bed for the next couple of days, making sure they had their pirate costume ready for a special pirate day at school, putting a dollar each in their agenda for popcorn day, and making sure they both had their electronic device charged for ANOTHER special day at school, well I finally had time to get my OWN bag ready!!!

For the sixth year in a row now, my girlfriends and I are leaving the husbands and kids behind for a full weekend away from home. So far, we’ve been to Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Montreal, Saint-Sauveur, and Fiddler’s Lake. You can read more about last year’s getaway to Fiddler’s Lake here. So this year, the five of us rented a cottage on Air-B-N-B (first time using this service) and it was simply awesome!

Amelie, Vero and I left Thursday after work, then got manicures and pedicures, then got some Mexican food for diner and then headed out to Wakefield QC. It was pouring rain outside and we got stuck in some kind of traffic jam in Ottawa, like what are the odds of that happening at 8 pm on a Thursday night? But other than that, it was a smooth ride in to Wakefield. And then all that was left was to find the cottage. In what seemed like in forever, we finally found it. Not easy to find, somewhere hidden in the woods, all alone, on the side of the mountain, in what seemed like zero civilization, there it was, one of the cutest log cabin ever. One of my friend, the not-very-brave-one, got a bit scared when we pulled into the driveway, but once we were inside, all fears went away as we were just sooo happy to be there.

We unpacked, had a few drinks and then putted on our bathing suits for a trip outside to the hot tub. Heaven! It was pitch black, no kids, no husbands, no noise, except for our favourite tunes and our great convos! We then went to bed right away and slept like babies. Next morning was extremely lazy. We then met the other two girls, Julie and Lysane, at the Nordik Spa at 11 am.

Last time I went to the Nordik was in like 2008. Yep! That long ago. And I must say that it will now probably be a matter of weeks before I go back. I’ve visited many thermotherapy spas in the last 15 years and this one was simply one of the best. I had heard so many good things about it, like about all the new lounge areas, restaurants and bars and so much more. I am truly impressed about all the did to the place since the last time I went. To say we had the best of time is an understatement. We ended up spending 10 hours straight at the spa. The forecast was for a lot of rain, but it held off until about 9pm, so we ended up having a full day of sunshine, which made it even better. One of my favorite spot was the infinity pool, where lounge music fills the air and where you could bring drinks into the heated pool. Let’s just say that we spent a good portion of our day there while making up scenarios on how we would improve the Nordik Spa if we’d own it. I’d say we came to a consensus that it was almost perfect as it is, only missing some floating nachos plates! Well, what? Us girls love snacks!

I later had a hour long massage and it felt so good. The therapist used lavender essential oil, of course my fav, so the smell was just perfect and the massage felt like heaven. So thanks a lot stranger, you were the best!

We then came back to the cottage pretty late, got in bed not too long after and I was immediately out! Next morning we woke up and then even managed to go out for a run. We always bring our running shoes but never use them; well this time we did! We went for a run in the village because the hills near the cottage were way too steep! It was really cold and windy, but running by the river was great. We then treated ourselves to chocolate croissants on the way back to the cabin! Seriously, a well-deserved threat girls.

Every year, we have to bring and share some of the things we’ve discovered since our last getaway. This year I had brought the movie The Greatest Showman; and it was a HIT! We watched it while eating chili, trying not to sing along so the ones that had not seen it could actually listened to it! After the movie, we all shared about our favorite finds of the year over drinks and snacks. We also talked about our goals for the next year (that’s where I mentioned, 2 years ago, that I would like to start a blog!). I absolutely love these talks with my girlfriends, so fun to share about our lives, and about our hopes… it’s a like a new year resolution, but just better, just between us. I think it’s now my favourite part of the weekend.

So later, we decided to get some food delivered to the cabin, which mean we didn’t even get dressed up at all on Saturday. Yeah, that’s what I call a lazy girls vacation, and it felt good, and I think I needed it. It was actually fun to stay in and just continue to chat about everything and anything. I was really looking forward to bringing the girls to The Chelsea Pub, as I had eyed a few items on the menu, but I guess I’ll just have to go back soon as I’m still craving for it!

But like all good things, our weekend had to come to an end. With a freezing rain storm closing in on us, we decided to pack our stuff early, then lounged on the couch as long as we could, and then locked up the cottage and headed home. We did stop for brunch at Biscotti & Co. And OMG, hello, can I live there? The decor, the food and the ambiance was just too cool. Vero and I shared a goat cheese and orange salad and a warm ham & cheese sandwich (on like the best bread ever), leaving us just enough space to try their delicious Dulce de Leche Cheesecake. Again, OMG! I just love everything Dulce de Leche!

So, even after spending an amazing and relaxing weekend with my girlfriends, coming back home after being away for a few day is always great. I truly love my home and I always terribly miss my family when I’m gone. I do need some time with my girlfriends, it is so important, but home is home. Like they say, home is where the heart is, and it really is! And I loved that both of my boys jumped in my arms as soon as I got through the doors.

Well, now that my 2018 girls getaway weekend is thing of the past, we now have to start thinking about next year’s getaway; and since the second year I’ve been trying to convince them all to do this in NYC. And I’ll do the same now! Come on girls, SATC style, let’s go have breakfast at Tiffany’s!

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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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extra maple syrup please

The sun is out, weather is gorgeous, snow is melting, and the sugar shacks season is right upon us! And I just love this time of the year; you know, when the mild temperature allows me to wear my light jacket outside and to open all of the windows of the house when inside. But also because of maple syrup! I’m actually more of a salty kind of person, but in the spring, bring me all the maple flavoured food you can find, and I’ll try it all. I can’t wait to hit the sugar shack!

So, since I’ve been craving for some of that delicious seasonal sugar shack food, I’ve decided to try – with a twist – a few maple flavoured recipes. And man did I hit the jackpot. I spent a day cooking up a storm to achieve this menu, but you don’t have to do it all in one day. Here’s mylemondroplife’s take on MAPLE! Oh yeah, by the way, may I present you my brand new Apple MacBook!!! I’m sooo excited about it, and about the fact that I can now create some awesome one-page recipe with it for my blogs… I promise I will now have at least one new amazing recipe a month!

First, pea soup…yep! So now you might all think, ‘how boring could this be after she literally just said she’d come up with some amazing recipe…’, well let me tell you that with the delicious bacon and roasted ham, hello, this recipe is nothing short of AMAZING!


Now, the piece of resistance, Chicken & Waffles with Maple Hot Butter Sauce. This literally blew my mind. I had been wanting to make Chicken & Waffles forever, but this Maple Hot Butter Sauce really took this dish to the next level. I served the C&W with a light Arugula salad with maple butter dressing. I also made some Oreilles de Crisse. Not sure how to translate this to English, but anyway, so salty and so good! Next time I want to make them on the Charcoal. Salty and smokey should be an awesome combo. And last but not least, Maple Baked Donuts. But today I’ll be sharing only the pea soup and the C&W recipes. I’ll be sharing the donuts another day.


In the coming weeks, gather some friends and family and recreate some of these recipes for an homemade sugar shack experience. They’ll be a hit! And then you can have some Maple Taffy in the backyard… but do it soon… as the snow is melting quickly!

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olympic ready

We are officially ready to cheer! Cheer for the Olympic games that is! We love the Olympics and we couldn’t be more excited. For two weeks we’ll be seated at the edge of our seats waiting for results, times, scores, medals, etc. Well, maybe we will already know the results because of time difference with Pyeongchang, but still, it’s so nerve racking to watch our Canadian athletes perform!

The boys loved to watch the last summer Olympics and were in awe for every competition, but mostly for diving… as they couldn’t believe real people were doing crazy stuff like that! We then started playing in the pool, jumping around, where I would present each of them as if they were contestants. Liam surprised us and did a front flip for the first time (without anyone knowing this was coming) and we went all crazy! He was so proud of himself right after he came out of the water, not too sure of what had just happened; but I was almost as proud of myself for catching it on video! We still cheer every time we watch it. And if he makes it to the Olympics one day, well that will make an awesome feel-good story on TV, with the video of its first jump ever!

So to say we are ready for some friendly winter competition is an understatement. The boys’ stuffed animals have already been competing in acrobatic skiing and jumping, winning soccer and go-kart medals as well as some of Brian’s dad old trophies we keep in the boys’ room!

We’ve also decorated our home with flags of various countries, drew the Olympic rings on the blackboard, and gathered all our Go-Canada gear. Found the cutest Olympic long john’s at The Bay for the boys, so fun to dress them in one-piece again!

We will be watching the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night with an Olympic flag pizza (which I’ll try to re-create from Pinterest). I’ve also made this cute cake in the shape of a tuque! We had so much fun baking and decorating our mini-donuts to build the Olympic rings. There is now sprinkles everywhere in my house, though!

Competitions are already underway, as there was some curling and alpine skiing today, so Go Canada! We’ll be watching and cheering for all of our athletes; and medal or not, you guys make us proud anyway. Good luck to all.

So, even if we’re full on-cheering for Canada with our gears and everything ready in our house, we will also be – very closely – following and cheering for one of our neighbors from the United States, Andrew Weibrecht, who has a special place in our hearts. Andrew’s family owns the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid, and although we weren’t able to meet with him when we visited the beautiful MLI in December, we certainly got the chance to admire his two Olympic medals at the reception desk, and would love to see a another one on the wall next time we’re visiting. He’ll now be in his 3rd games, and I have to say that I will be cheering for him in his super-G races.

So Go Canada Go! And Go Andrew Go. Make us all proud! I wish you all some great 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games.

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the game, the hearts and the food

Hello February! It feels like I’ve been longing for you for a full month now, or even more. For the first time since Christmas Eve, (touching wood) nobody’s sick. FINALLY! Still, we opted to stay home most of the weekend to catch up on some household chores, and for some cooking and baking. Early Saturday we decorated the house for Valentine’s Day and then made a cute little buffet in the living room. Like most of you, we’re also getting ready for the big game tonight! Go Brady! So today, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes –which I’ve posted over the last year– that you could do for your Super Bowl party or in the next few weeks as sweet treats for V-Day!

Love, love, love to decorate for Valentine’s Day. You know, with all the pink colored stuff, the hearts, the love; what’s not to love! The boys keep on telling me it’s my month because of my birthday coming later this month, because I’m all hearts and holidays, and because pink is my favorite color! I guess they’re right, so I’ll take it. So after we took out all the cute stuff from our V-Day’s decoration box, we decided that baking some heart shaped pop-tarts would be an awesome idea. We made some dough, mixed some berries with sugar and flour and within an hour we had ourselves a little buffet in the living room.  So fun to mix it up once in a while. The boys really enjoyed brunch outside the kitchen for once… I, on the other hand, had multiple panic attacks making sure none of the chocolate glaze would end up on the cream colored couch. Oh well, we all survived… and the couch too! Here’s the link to my pop-tarts recipe from when I shared it on the blog the first time. The recipe was for traditional shaped pop-tarts, but you can have fun with it and make pop-tarts of any shapes or sizes. This time, we went for some mini-heart-shaped-pop-tarts-pop; and they were delicious, and so much fun to eat! And if you add chocolate glaze and sprinkles, you’ve got a winner!

So for tonight’s game, you absolutely NEED our spicy chili, my to-die for guacamole and these heavenly pretzels. You still have time to do all of this before the game, but hurry! This house is rooting for Brady and the Patriots, but the house where we’ll be watching the game from isn’t… so this could be interesting; I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these awesome pretzels end up flying around when the other team score a touchdown! Still, we should all be pretty cheerful for the amazing food we’ll have!

One of the things we’re also super excited about is the Olympics! So starting next Friday, we will be glued to the TV watching reruns of sporting events (damn you different time-zone) while cheering for our country. The boys are already running around the house waving their flags and playing medals ceremony! More on that in my next blog post!

Hope your team wins tonight… I know mine will. And hope you are decorating your house for V-Day, just because it’s so much fun to do so! February is MY month and I plan on enjoying it as much as possible. Can’t wait to go out skating, and skiing, and snowshoeing, or even simply to take a walk; it’s so beautiful outside –once you look beyond the driveway you still have to shovel! Happy Super Bowl Sunday my friends!

 

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