this lemon is turning one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, Andréanne

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a mess, a pool and a pic nic

For the first time this year the sun came out for an entire weekend, and what did we ended up doing?  Striping off the paint from our deck, oh yeah, almost all weekend long.  BORING!

We’ve been pushing back this tedious task for weeks now, but we’ve finally started.  When I start something, I like to finish it as soon as possible, but I don’t see this one being finished anytime soon… and that’s so discouraging!

Friday night we attended the Confirmation of my niece Nini and nephew Jay-Jay.  So right after work, we drove down to our hometown, ordered pizza from our favorite pizza place, and then headed to church for the celebration.

Saturday morning, I slept in!  Not sure when was the last time I slept until 8:24; which is when my phone rang!  Oh well, we had a lot of work to do, so I had to get up eventually anyway.  Let just say that we’re not the best at doing renovation.  We have no clue what we’re doing.  Give me crafts any day of the week, but renovations, well it seems like it often ends up as fail.  And we did fail.   We had borrowed my father-in-law water pressure machine to clean the deck and get it ready for painting.  Brian thought there was not enough pressure, so he texted our friend Mat to borrow his gas pressure washer.  Well that one had a lot of pressure, like way too much as it literally stripped the wood from the deck!  When wet, while Brian was doing it, I couldn’t really see the damaged he was doing, but as soon as it dried up a little, I couldn’t believe it, it was a disaster!  At least we didn’t ruined all of it, since I’ve noticed he wasn’t doing it right after about 30 minutes… but still, we now have to sand 1/4 of the deck before we can paint it.  Brian’s response when I came out to see how he was doing with the deck and realized he was ruining it was: ‘well, the guy on YouTube said…’; oh boy, don’t quit your day job honey!  We spent the entire day on Saturday working on this task.  So long, and boring.  At least we had friends over for BBQ and drinks to make it a fun day!

Sunday morning, back to cleaning the deck.  I would say we are now 3/4 done with the stripping and cleaning part.  Then sanding and painting.  Brian left for golf and the boys and I had our first swim of the season.  Yay!  I have no clue what was the water temperature, and I don’t want to know, but let me tell you it was really cold.  The boys didn’t care either… and Logan jumped in it without even touching it first and stayed there for at least 40 minutes.  We had a blast, jumping, splashing and swimming around.  I bought the most awesome pool float, a TACO!  Not sure who gets all these ideas for amazing pool float, but I’m obsessed with them and I keep on buying some more!!!

After our swim, we took a nap.  Nothing better than a nap after spending time in the sun and the pool.  We then packed a lunch and headed to the park for our first pic-nic of the summer.  Perfect weather, with lots of mosquitos and lots of rocks to throw in the water.  We found a table near the water to eat our snacks and then played in the structures and slides.  When I asked the boys what they liked the most about our day, Logan said jumping in the pool while Liam preferred throwing rocks in the water.  He just loves to throw rocks in the water!

So for the first nice weekend of the summer, let say we worked hard and played hard!  Can’t wait to do it all over again next week… minus the mess we made on the deck… hopefully, by then, my backyard patio will be nice again!  Hope your weekend was great as well and that this week goes by fast!

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cinco de mayo

To end my Mexican recipe week, I decided to invite a few friends over to try out some of my favorite dishes!  It ended up being quite the feast; a Cinco de Mayo kinda feast!

I spent a few days making paper flowers, a piñata and some more recipes.  Made a raglan taco shirt for Liam and found a watermelon tank top for Logan… although I am clearly not a fan of tank tops for my boys!  The best part: fake mustaches.  The boys looked hilarious wearing them… although, once again, I’m not a fan of mustaches, and I hope they never get a real one when they grow up!!!

So we drank Corona’s, ate tacos, quesadillas and some tortillas.  And just before we ate way to much guacamole and homemade salsa my friend Eric had made.  For dessert we had some delicious churros with dulce de leche dip.  Let’s just say that by the time we were done with the churros we looked like six full fake Mexicans.  But there was still a surprise for the kids : a candy filled piñata.

I should have bought the damn thing… I made it at 11 pm the day before, with box/carton and about 20$ worth of duct tape; which made it indestructible!  The kids got tired of hitting my cow/donkey with the plastic baseball bat, so Brian had some fun breaking it open with a golf club!  Then the kids had a few tears because of who got what, but I guess it’s all part of the fun of having a piñata, and in the end they were all pretty happy to eat some candy although they were already so full!

I think I will celebrate Cinco de Mayo for years to come.  All the colors and the amazing food are perfect to get me in the summer spirit!  Let’s just hope that next year we’ll get to do it outside, with a bit more sun and wayyy less rain/water!

Te quiero!

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yearly girls getaway

It was our fifth anniversary this year… every year we plan, we book, we prepare what we need to bring and then we leave our families for an ENTIRE weekend!  Last weekend was our annual girl-only-spa-weekend-getaway!

We have one rule: never go to the same place twice… but I have to admit that this might change next year as this year’s location was almost perfect!

So back in January, we all met and started to look at the available deals online.  We previously went to St-Sauveur, Mont Tremblant, Montréal, and Québec city, but this year we all really needed/wanted to relax, so we decided to go somewhere more on the ‘country side’ where we wouldn’t be tempted to go out as much; and Fiddler’s Lake was the perfect fit for what we had in mind.

Friday morning we dropped off our kids to school, and on our way we were!  Our first stop was Ofuro spa in Morin Heights.  A Zen-like spa, with Nordic baths, relaxation zones and massages.  It was rainy/snowy, and we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  After 5 hours of total relaxation, we picked up food and drinks for the weekend out and headed to the cottage.  As soon as we got there, we were already in love with the place.  It was huge and luxurious, but with a country look to it, three bedrooms, and floor to ceiling windows with a beautiful view of the nature and trees that were surrounding us.  To make this place even more awesome, we had our very own outside sauna and spa just to ourselves.

On our first night we ended up eating comfort food, watching old music videos and singing crappy songs!  We made a gigantic nacho platter, my ‘famous’ guacamole, and some wings.  And then, as full as we already were, we still decided to heat up a Chocolats Favoris chocolate fondue can with some fruits around midnight!

Ok, so it looks like all we do is sit and eat.  But there’s more to that.  Every year, we set up some personal goals to achieve.  Anything goes.  Last year, I wanted to create a blog (check!) run half a marathon (10km is a half marathon right???) and start up playing guitar again.  So clearly, the blog part got done, the guitar, not so much but I started playing piano again with Liam.  So it’s almost the same…or so I kept telling myself.  As for the half marathon, I just added it to the 2017 list!  We also share our favorite products we discovered throughout the year.  It’s so funny, we never know what’s in store!

Saturday morning, without any kids to wake us up, we all slept in.  Which means we were up by something like 7:30!  It was nice though to spend a lazy morning in our pj’s until 10 and then go out and jump in the spa.  We stayed in there for 3 hours, then had some cheese and charcuterie for lunch.  Then, well of course, it was nap time.  It’s harder to nap when you hear your girlfriends talk and want to sit there and have fun with them, as I didn’t want to miss a thing… but my vacation-mode-laziness and crave for a nap took over… so yeah, I ended up taking a short hour nap, and then went back outside in the spa for another 2 hours or so.  God it felt good.  And it was all we needed, a lazy no rush day with nothing planned, with sunshine, a nap, and all of us lounging in our pj’s.

After a day-long of doing nothing but relaxing, we all got dressed up and ready to go for diner in Saint-Sauveur.  I had the best Goat Cheese salad ever and then some pasta.  It was nice to be out but all we wanted to do was to go back to the cottage and enjoy some more time in our spa (where we spent another 2 hours that night!!!).

You know what, as much as I love love love my spa weekend, at some point I think about my boys and wonder what they are doing and what’s happening at home.  I just love being at home.  I was a stay at home Mom for almost 4 years and not one day I wished I was elsewhere.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always so excited to leave on this little getaway, but a part of me sometime makes me miss them.  At least I know they’ll have an awesome time with my husband!  So before I left, I packed up their little suitcases for the weekend and prepared them some snacks.  This year, they had a sleepover at my mother-in-law on the Friday, and then on the next day, the 3 of them met with my girlfriends’ husband and kids for a playdate that turned into another sleepover.  Our four husbands, with our 9 kids, under one roof, with countless pillows and blankets, chips and candy, and I’m pretty sure without any curfew!  It must have been quite the evening…  Even I wouldn’t tackle such a task!  But my boys were pretty excited to tell me all about their last minute sleepover at their friends and their ‘party without Mommy’!  Apparently it’s happening again next year.  We’ll see about that!

So, back to us at the cottage!  The next morning came by way too quickly.  We packed up our things, tried to find a nice terrace for lunch, only to find hot dogs and poutine!  We did a bit of shopping, and then we were on our way…

It’s always fun to go away but there’s nothing like coming home.  I was greeted by my babies with more kisses than I could have asked for, and that was the best thing ever.

Now it’s all over, and I can’t wait to plan our next getaway.  I really hope we get to do this every year.  I just love spending some relaxing time with my girlfriends; we’ve all changed so much since University, and we sometimes don’t see each other’s enough, but in the end, we’re still the same we’ve always been: just an amazing and truly unique crew that loves spending time together, doing nothing else than alternating between our pj’s and couch and our bathing suits and spa for an entire day!

On my list of places to visit for our annual getaway: Lake Placid, Niagara on the lake, New York and Las Vegas!  Let’s see where we go next time!!!

2016
2016 Cache a Maxime
2016 Québec
2016 Québec

 

2015 Montréal
2015 Montréal
2015 Mont Tremblant

 

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vegas with kids? oh yes we did

Never say never.  Yes, we are those parents who brought their kids to Las Vegas!

I’ve been to Vegas a few times prior to our last trip and I’ve always said I would never bring my kids there.  But, well, surprise, surprise, our boys came to Vegas with us for 4 days last summer!

We love Las Vegas.  We had such an incredible time at our Honeymoon in 2009, and then again in 2013, both times staying at the gorgeous Wynn Encore… every time we go to Vegas it seems different yet always so much fun!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to bring our kids to the city of sins, but luckily we had our double stroller (that stroller saved our lives multiple times) and many siblings to help us entertain the boys.

If you’ve read my posts on on our California trip, you know we had the time of our lives over there.  So Vegas is the second part of that 10 days trip.  We left Anaheim on the Tuesday morning, in our rented super nice minivan and drove off to the desert.  It was a really smooth ride, sometime too smooth going 100 mile per hour without even feeling it!  The boys were great, and within less than 4 hours we were at The Mirage checking-in.  We had 2 great connecting rooms with the best Jojo in the world!  Thanks Jojo for the room!!!  My Mom and Frank had arrived the day before and Brian’s family had arrived earlier that day.

We all met at the gorgeous pool for a swim as the HEAT was just crazy.  Wow!  I’ve always been to Vegas in the summer, but I had never seen a Vegas heat wave.  We couldn’t touch the pavement as it would have burned our feet instantly.  It was so hot we even saw an orange construction cone melting on the street.  It went up to 47 degrees at some point.  The air felt non-existent, like it was difficult to breath in.  So we had a few icy margaritas at the pool while enjoying a swim, and then went back inside to cool down and for a nap.

Later that day, we all met at the Forum Shops at Cesar’s Palace to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, yep second time in a week having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory… it was that good and we knew our family would enjoy it.  We had an awesome dinner and the best server.  We then took a walk down the Strip at about 11:30 at night and it was still above 35 degrees…

So the week before we were at Disneyland, and it was magical to see the boys’ reaction when meeting all of the characters… well Vegas was different… as they were scandalized and so confused to see Olaf and some Minions on the sidewalks without their costume’s HEAD while taking a break… so not like Disney!!!

Wednesday was wedding day!  Since the last time we had been there, the restaurant Giada had opened at the new hotel The Cromwell, so we decided to have brunch over there.  The restaurant is simply beautiful.  We had a great booth overlooking the Strip and Bellagio.  We shared a brick oven pizza and ceasar salad while the boys had the fanciest chicken strips and some amazing gelato ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Then, we went back to our room and got ready for the wedding.  Drove over to The Little Church of the West and met up with our family and friends that had made the trip to see my mom getting married.  Took lots of pictures and then it was wedding time, or wedding minutes!  My Mom was gorgeous, and I was the one walking her down the aisle; both of us giggling all the way down.  It probably took less than 5 minutes for her and Frank to get married.  It was quick and beautiful.  We then headed out to one of our favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s.  It was really nice to be all together and celebrating this special day.  We had a wonderful time and the food was delicious, as always.

My Mom and Frank wanted to go to the Paris hotel where a band was playing in a little casino side cabaret.  And that’s when having kids in Vegas started to be a pain.  Until then, we didn’t really had any trouble with the kids, as we were able to go through all of the casinos in all of the hotels, as long as we wouldn’t stop, like NEVER.  You have to be in constant movement in the casinos or someone will come and warn you.  So thanks to our awesome stroller, it was easy for us to keep the kids seated (with the iPad or a toy to play with) for sometime an hour or so.  But that night it became a bit more difficult after we were told we weren’t allowed inside the cabaret with the kids… It was kind of sad for Brian to miss my mom’s wedding ‘reception’, but I understand their rules… so I stayed at the cabaret while Brian was circling around the casino.  Eventually, he left with the boys to bring them back to the room; a 15-minute walk took 1:30 with the stroller due to some of the elevators being broken, escalators too small for the stroller, and some closed walkway.  Basically, it was a pain.  So I stayed a little longer to listen to the band and dance with my mom on this special night.  There was an hilarious couple who were clearly out dancing us; kind of pretending they were on Dancing with the Stars!  It was hilarious!  Right before it was time to go, Jojo caught the bouquet, and then we said our goodbyes to the newly married couple!

On Thursday we took a quick trip to the Premium Outlets, met up with my friends Anik and Jannick who flew to Vegas for the wedding.  Came back for a swim and a nap, and THEN, got dressed up for the big event: LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.  We saw LOVE 7 years ago, but we wanted to see it again.  At first, when we booked our trip, the show was on hiatus.  But 3 weeks prior to our departure, a 10th Anniversary LOVE show was announced.  So we jump at the occasion and bought some tickets for us, Jojo and Brian’s dad.  Red carpet and all for Ringo Star, Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s son and Sir Paul McCartney.  We could see them from our seats; and it was just a unique experience to watch that show and listen to the Beatles’ music with Sir Paul sitting next to us in the crowd.  Fantastic show; we’ll see it again one day that’s for sure.  At the end, Sir Paul came on the stage and sang with us.  It was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

Matante Lulu babysat the boys in our room while we attended the show. Merci Matante!!!  By 10:30 the show was over but we weren’t ready to call it a night, so we all left for Fremont Street.  At 11:00 at night, parents of the year award goes to us!  And it was so inappropriate; the boys saw things they should have not seen for another 15 years!  The naked nuns being one of those!!!  I’ll just say it’s the last time for a while that I will venture out to Fremont Street!

So Friday was our last day of our 10 day California/Vegas trip.  We explored a few more hotels, gambled a little, took a few pictures and met up again with Jannick.  We had drinks at Serendipity on the strip side patio and did a bit of shopping.  Rounded up the gang and had one last dinner at the Mirage buffet.  Our flight was delayed and the boys were amazing staying up late once again.  We got lucky though, as the four of us were upgraded to first class seats for our red-eyed flight back to Montreal.  Let’s just say the boys looked really jet-set in first class with their drinks and provided iPad!  I could really get used to travelling like this!

So, in the end, it was not that bad bringing the kids to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend it (although they seemed to have enjoyed their trip and the night life!).  Logan really enjoyed Las Vegas as he sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ so many times during the week, he was so cute!  Vegas or anywhere else, we just love to travel with people we love; it’s the best.

We will be back in Vegas for sure… next time at our beloved Wynn Encore… but without our boys by our side!  We love traveling with them, and of course I’m already planning on bringing them back to see Mickey soon, but Vegas is our own Disneyland, and we can’t wait to go back by ourselves!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

 

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last week of winter

First, I would like to announce the very lucky winner of the essential oils holder giveaway: Anne-Renée Caporicci!  Kind of forgot about it over March break, but better late than never!  Thank you to everyone who shared, liked and promoted my blog.  And thanks a lot to our friend from Scotty Wood Design for the great gift!  I wish I could give everyone a prize! You are all so great, thanks again for following mylemondroplife!  I promise I’ll do another giveaway very soon.

So last week was March break, finally!  We had been waiting for it for like forever.  We had a long to-do list, but not much got a chance to be crossed off.  It wasn’t on the list, but we did end up spending three straight days in our pajamas!  It should have been on the list cause it felt sooo good.

On our first day off, we slept in… well past the usual 7am.  A luxury!  And then we took the boys and their cousins to a few games of laser quest.  We met a friend from Liam’s class, played arcade games, had a lot of fun, and then we went for an ice cream cone at Chocolats Favoris.  Laser quest followed by ice cream cone is one of my boys favorite things to do!  One of my favorite as well.

Back home, we had Brian’s sister and brother over for dinner.  My brothers-in-law practically took over my home and Brian’s toolbox and repaired every minor things our house needed fixing for!  The question needs to be asked: where was my husband when they learned all of that?  I don’t want to know!  Well, thanks guys… please come back in May for the outside fixin’!

Sunday was snooze fest.  We each took turns for naps and being lazy.  These days are the best!

Monday was Trolls Day.  The boys have been obsessed with the movie and CD.  The music is awesome, or was awesome, for a while.  Logan got the soundtrack for Christmas and it’s all the music we have been listening to in the car since.  I can’t listen one more time to ‘Can’t stop the feeling’.  The movie has also been on a loop at home since we got it.  So, to make them happy on their first real March break day off, I decided to have a special day to honor Trolls.  My mom made the most awesome Trolls hat, it’s hilarious!  We also had popcorn and Trolls cookies and cones while watching -once again- the movie.

We had the best of days on Tuesday.  I had planned the chocolate paint activity with my cousins!  You can read more about that in my last post.  The kids had so much fun being together.  But it made me feel old, as I can remember spending time with my cousins during March break doing fun activities our parents had planned out for us.  Now, it’s our turn.

On Wednesday, as soon as Brian came back from work, we left for the cottage for a three nights little family getaway.  It was Brian’s first days off since our California adventure last summer, and the kids were really excited that the four of us were leaving on a ‘trip’.  Logan was expecting we’d take a plane and go to Disney, but no, not this time Loggy; it was only a short road trip to my uncle’s cottage in Morin Heights.  We were lucky enough to have the cottage for ourselves for the weekend (as my uncle was away down south with my mom for the week).  Morin Heights is a cute little village near Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians.  We had packed our snowshoes, a bunch of kids movies and some snacks.  First stop was for a late diner at Patate Labelle in Lachute, a snack bar where you can get some of the best fast food around.  For me it was a poutine; HEAVEN!

Once we arrived, we made a fire and snuggled on the couch for what seems like hours.  By that I mean the boys on the iPad and myself taking a nap!

Next morning, we braved the cold and got out to the Glissades des Pays d’En Haut. We met up with our friends ‘les Roy’ and went sliding/tubing.  It was one of my favorite as a child and still is.  That place is so much fun with some really fast rides, but with next to nobody on the hills, bonus, there was like no waiting time.  After the first ride we already knew that our little Logan was not a fan.  Poor Loggy, he saw the hills and he started to cry, so I decided to skip a few with him, but we did managed to bring him back with us later for some more rides… but he definitely had more fun jumping on the tubes and eating snow than going down the hill!

We did the rafting and tornado slides and they were crazy!  I mean the 8 of us in one circle type of boat going down the hill while spinning and spinning, watch out!  I screamed the entire way down!

So we went back to the cottage, and then, of course, I took another nap… what can I say, for me, cottage + fire = I need a nap.  Well not only at the cottage, it’s actually one of my main priorities when on vacation.  But then I was ready for our feast.  Our friends joined us at the cottage, and we had cheese fondue, cheese raclette and another fondue.  But even after that amazing meal and all that good cheese, I got to say that the best part was the dessert!!!  Vero had made some croissants filled with Cadbury Easter eggs.  To die for… while the guys’ dessert was another craft beer… they found a spot in Morin Heights where there was a ton of Beau’s beer that they can’t find at our local LCBO… but as excited as they were, nothing could have come close to what I felt eating that Cadbury Egg croissant!  Shortly after we were done with the desserts, we were all so full, and the kids were all so exhausted that we called it a night.

Friday was already here and we went snowshoeing in the mountain trails.  I’d say it was a tad dangerous and a little extreme for some 4 and 6 years old, but it was just gorgeous.  After snowshoeing, we went for a French onion soup, then a nap, and then some main street shopping in Saint-Sauveur before ending up in a pub to celebrate St-Patty’s Day… with craft beers, burgers and an awesome dessert.  And then, one last night at the cottage, with the end of March break approaching way too fast…

On our way back home, we had to go say goodbye to Brian’s aunt, and on our way there we went to the theater to see Beauty and the Beast.  No spoiler alert here, just go watch that movie.  Wow!  We had dinner with Brian’s family, and then it was time to drive back to Rockland… and time to end our March break the same way we started it, in our pajamas!  It was a week filled with great snacks, great adventures, great friends, and many great naps… just the way it’s supposed to be!

Next, summer break!

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easter edible art

I would have loved this activity as a child.  I saw the ad online two weeks ago and within minutes I had recruited my cousins for an afternoon of fun with our kids.  Two words and they we’re hooked; Chocolats Favoris!

Two amazing things put together: Easter and Chocolats Favoris… marketing GENIUS.  Either online or in store, you can pick out everything you need for this great Easter activity.

Véro picked out the chocolate for everyone in advance, but it would be even more fun to bring your kids to the store and let them pick out their favorite one, and of course, have an ice cream cone while you’re there!  The prices were very reasonable, with an average of 12$-15$ per child.  An outing, a craft and delicious chocolates!  A win for everyone.  Once you have chosen your favorite mold, you pick out a chocolate color palette and voilà, you’re ready to go!

I would recommend a disposable tablecloth, which we didn’t use!  We ended up scrapping off chocolate off my table for ever!

We melted the color palettes in escargot dishes, best idea, because in a plate I would think that the colors would run together…  Within 5 minutes, the 5 kids were busy painting.  We thought it would last two minutes, but surprisingly, they were entertained for over 25 minutes.  They loved it!

I loved that each kids had their own chocolate palette and did whatever they wanted with it.  They were mixing the colors as they felt; you can really see their personality in their work!  Some were really expressive while painting!

It dries really quickly, so you can pile-up paint on paint on paint without ending up with the same color all over your chocolate.  But of course, by the end, there was chocolate paint everywhere.  Liam loved it so much he was licking the table while Jacob and Logan were eating the paintbrushes!  All resisted eating their work of art.  This activity was even more successful than expected.

I’m probably going to do this again before Easter, since it was such a great creative activity (but next time I’m getting one for myself for sure!).  My favorite masterpiece was Logan’s!  It almost looked like a piece of art I would buy.  Finally, the artsy side of my boys is coming out!

I’m pretty sure these will fly of the shelves of Chocolats Favoris stores.  So grab one and run!  All these pretty colors sure made me ready for Spring; so be ready to be flooded with Easter and Spring posts in the next little while.  Cause although I just spent an amazing March break at the cottage with Brian and the boys, tubing and snowshoeing with cold nights and fireplace, I can say that I’m pretty much done with winter for this year and ready for Spring… and so will you once you do this fun family activity!

 

 

 

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cheers to long weekends

God I LOVE long weekends!!!

Finally, we had a long weekend!  Although it feels like Christmas was just around the corner, it also feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a long weekend to relax and spend time with friends and family!  Last weekend was just perfect; and the weather was AMAZING!

After what felt like the longest week of my life, it was finally Friday night!  With no plans, one of my friend suggested we make dumplings!  So we gathered all our ingredients and started stuffing the wrappers.  We made 120!  Yep, 120!   Pretty sure they’re all gone now, with her 2 teenagers!  So long to prepare, but so worth it.  Of course we had some for dinner that night, like come on, we had to reward ourselves!

Saturday was gorgeous, plus 8 degrees for February felt like we had won the lottery!  Took out our spring jackets an left the house early as we had a full day planned.  We dropped the boys at my Mom’s and then drove to Vankleek Hill for some Beau’s All Natural shopping and tastings!  They had the best snacks selections this weekend: creamy Bacon Carbonara Mac’n Cheese… it was sooo good!  Brian had the Vodka Salmon and their new brew Triceratops.  He loaded up on beers, then had a chance to spin their FeBREWary promotion wheel, and luckily for him, he won a nice Beau’s t-shirt that he wanted!

We had planned a nice day out to Montréal with our friends Mel and Pat.  We love Montreal and don’t go often enough.  We hadn’t seen them since our road trip to Fenway/Boston in October, so we had a lot of catching up to do!

We made it to Montréal, shopped at a local market, found delicious macarons and then we went to play Trapped.  Trapped is a real life room escape.  A one hour game, locked in a room and you have to get out.  A modern clue game!  I love it!  We were so close to get out, like almost there!!!  But we didn’t.  We would have needed another 5 minutes.  We had a lot of fun though.  You all need to try it!

We then went out for drinks at Santos Tapas Bar.  If you’re in Old Montreal, you have to try Santos.  An electric atmosphere, unique décor, gorgeous drinks and delicious tapas.  Pat was obsessed with the number of raspberry in his pink drink!  (Hi Pat!).  It was our second time at Santos and we will be back next time we’re in Montréal for sure!

We then made our way to MangiaFoco as we had reservations at 8:45: a pizzeria and mozzarella bar restaurant.  Our friends had tried it in the fall and they thought we would love it too.  And they were right, we loved it!

What’s not to love… awesome cheese, delicious pizza and wine (for the others!).  We had a charcuterie plate: burrata and bufala affumicata, smoked tomatoes, truffles peaches, pancetta, capicollo and salami, all served with fresh bread.  The cheeses were soft and creamy.  I wish I could hide in their fridge for a night!  We then shared the margherita and uomo pizza.  So good!

The restaurant was awesome; love the decor and atmosphere, and we ended up with the best seat in the house!  From our booth, we could see all the food coming from the kitchen on a white belt… it doesn’t sound like much, but we were so excited to see our cheese plate coming that Mel and I started screaming.  Well, just a little!  I can’t wait to go back!

Sunday was gorgeous again.  We had our first chip stand snack for lunch in the car.  Then we had to burn those calories by snowshoeing.  It was so hot!  We had to take off our coats.  We then went back home and pretended to be in Mexico with the rest of our family by having homemade guacamole and drinks on our deck (surrounded by 5 feet of snow!).

The boys were exhausted from their weekend and went to bed early, so we decided to watch some Sherlock’s episodes.  We both became huge fans of Sherlock Holmes when Guy Ritchie’s movie first came out couple years ago; then the second movie came out, which was even better.  Bry loves to think he’s as clever as Sherlock… not so sure about that one!  So since then, we started to watch the series Sherlock on Netflix with Benedict Cumberbach; so far we had watched the first 3 seasons, which consist of 3 episodes of 90 minutes each.  And we loved it.

This time, for the 4th season, well, it was really good at first (and this won’t be a spoiler), but became more and more disturbing as we were watching.  We watched the first 2 episodes on Sunday night, and I ended up dreaming I was a detective in some sort of crazy thriller all night long.  Then on Monday night we watched the Finale, and oh boy, that was just too much for me, so I ended up not sleeping too well for a second night in a row!  (But still, you got to watch this!).

Monday was family day and unfortunately, I was exhausted and Brian had to work.  So we lounged in our pj’s all day, watched Moana, went for a walk and played all sorts of fun games.

Wish 3 days weekend would happen more often.  Can’t wait for the next one to see what our next adventure will be like!

Hope you had the best of time last weekend, and happy family day to all of you!

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one amazing weekend

Every Sunday, about right after diner time, I end up asking myself the same question week after week: why are weekends so short?  This weekend was so much fun, but once again, it just went by way too fast…

Started with a lazy Friday night, pizza and a movie.  We finally watched Star Wars ‘The Force Awaken’.  It was an immediate hit, and I have a feeling that Star Wars will be part of our household for a while.  The boys loved it, and we all can’t wait to see the next one!  Well, except Brian who chose to binge-watch The Office instead.  Yeppers!

On Saturday, we had planned our first snowshoe outing and my sister-in-law Annick and her family were coming with us.  In the morning, Brian prepared his famous family soup (soupe aux coquilles à matante Aline) and made sandwiches for everyone.  One day I’ll talk about how awesome her family is; my boys are in love with their cousins Nini and Jay-Jay, her daughter and son.  So we all had lunch together, got ready, putted on our gear and headed out to Rockland’s golf course.  Within 5 minutes of being there, I knew it was going to be a hit!  I didn’t even had my snowshoes on and the boys had already climbed a snowbank with their mini snowshoes!  So we started our little venture on the never been touched snow, ready to try our new snowshoes.  By the way, if you’re thinking about buying some, now is the best time.  Everywhere you look, they’re on sale.  Bought the one for the boys at Giant Tiger for 30$ and they are great.

So we walked for maybe half an hour, stopped on a little bridge, watched the flowing water of the unfrozen creek, threw a few snowballs, made a few races and found some walking sticks.  My little Logan was a natural, leading the pack while not complaining once.  He was all about being the chief and having rosy cheeks.  Our entire adventure lasted only an hour (felt like 3!), but everybody had a great time.  We clearly found a new activity our family loves.  Plus it’s a great workout!  Win-win!

Went back home, all sat by the fire, our cousin Jojo joined us for a sleepover, played games and ordered the best Thai food in town!  Well, Brian and my brother-in-law actually drove to downtown Ottawa to get it, but it was so worth it!!!  Then stayed up way past our bedtimes listening to music we’d like to hear at our funeral… seems like an awkward discussion, but we had such a great time!

I’m all about lazy Sunday.  So in the morning, Jojo and I had homemade pink cinnamon buns and played bingo with the boys!  After lunch, I had to sneak in a little nap, you know, just because it’s Sunday and I can… but then I felt all rested and we decided to go back for snowshoeing round 2.  Bundled up the boys and packed up snacks, cause the boys wanted to go back for a picnic on the bridge at the golf course… Logan leading the way, we found our way back to the creek and had our picnic.  We did the same trail than the day before, then found more sticks, honestly, my kids can never have too many sticks… I don’t understand this one… it’s probably a boys thing!

We got home in time for the football game… and our team made it!  (Brian loves the Pats; I just love Tom!!!)  So Super Bowl 51 here we come.  Already planning on the menu… can’t wait!  And just like that, the weekend was over and I was already making plans for next Friday!

So, well, weekends may be short, but you know what, they’re just the best.  And I can’t wait for next one!

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liam turns bb-6

Our weekend shenanigans are over!  2 days, 3 birthday parties and 67 guests later…we are done!  Our  little man turned six on Friday.  How did this happened?  Six???  Maybe 3 or 4 but 6…bye bye baby.  It’s hard to see your first child growing up and it does go by so fast.  He’s changed so much in the last few months, he’s less clingy, talks with lots of new words and ask for our help much less than
before and the worst, he gives less kisses.  My heart is torn.  So I will stop with the drama of having a 6 years old and talk about our weekend festivities!

So I like a good party and my boys too!  A few months before their birthday, we talk about what they like, what they want and who they want to be there.  Star Wars was an easy theme, the boys still haven’t seen the movies but that’s about to change because we received them for his birthday.  Guest list, we have a big close family, we want everybody, so we had our friends come over for pizza on Friday night, a few of his school friends came yesterday morning and our families came over for some roasted hot dogs and cake last night!

Cakes, it’s always about the cakes!  I love making my babies their cakes.   It makes me so happy to create the things they love in sugar!  I made 6 cakes.  Baked  and decorated them all after school this week.  Star Wars decoration were really easy to find, lots from the $store, lots free on Pinterest and I bought the invitations and photo booth accessories from Etsy.  I made my t-shirt, another idea from Pinterest and Brian and the boys attire came from Gap Kids and Old Navy.  Bought some cheap wrapping paper before Christmas for the photo booth wall (new found favorite of Logan, taking photo booth pictures…we have at least 100!)

When we went to Boston in the fall, we visited one of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn Kids.  I love this place!  They have a Star Wars line that is to die for.  I want the Star Wars sleeping bags sooo badly.  I fell in loving with their marquee lit up sign.  I decided I (well I mean Frank) could do this way cheaper, like for less than 25$.  Found some Christmas string lights in clearance, painted a piece of wood, Frank drilled the sign and added the frame.  Put in the light and bingo, I had the most awesome marquee sign EVER.  I will put it up in their playroom, the light bulbs are in plastic, so unbreakable!  Win-win!

Of course we had a few games.  Our favorite, donuts-on-a-string, always a hit!  We decorated Star Wars cookies.  Also played, place the lightsaber on Yoda.  A BB-8 pinata was a must.  And we had the NOT so brilliant idea of buying lightsabers for all kids…do NOT attempt this when you are outnumbered!  I made little Jedi costumes for all the kids and took lots of photo booth pictures.

Food, we had soooo much.  Pizza, fries and poutine, wings, cookies, Princess Leia’s Buns, candy, chips, hot dogs, cupcakes, Edible Ewoks, Liam’s favorite raspberry pie, Yoda’s guacamole and CAKE!  I’m no eating until the next birthday…well maybe not but I do need to recover from this weekend!

So today we took down the decorations, played with toys and looked at all the pictures we took.  We love parties, we love our family and friends and most of all, we love our babies.  Happy Birthday Liam.  You deserve all the time we spent for your parties and more!  You’ve been one amazing little boy since the moment you were born.

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