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 lemon goes to?

And the winner is…

Well first, I would like to thank everyone who entered this free giveaway. Your support means the world to me and I’m so glad you keep on coming back for more lemon drop every week! You guys are simply awesome and you are the reason why I keep on doing this.

So now, congrats to Janik Pichette, the winner of a bottle of Young Living LEMON essential oil and a bottle of wine! Thank you Janik for sharing my blog with your friends!

And to all of you who didn’t win this time, I swear I’ll have some more giveaways in the near future! Thanks for sharing the love my lemon friends! Every like, every share and every comment means a lot to me.  

Hope you all had a great weekend. And you know what, you should all want to come back in a few days for this great pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe I’m going to share!  

 

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super mario odyssey themed birthday party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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a few rounds of maple taffy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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zombies are coming

I’m now officially the mom of a 7 year old. Not sure how we got here, but for sure it did happen WAY too fast! Mind-blowing how time flies; like even if you take the time to enjoy every day and every little thing they do, you always end up not knowing how they grew up so quick. He was a baby a minute ago and now he’s a little boy who loves to argue with me, sometimes even questioning my motherhood’s decision making skills. Yeah, mind-blowing isn’t it?

So, a few weeks ago I was chatting with Liam about what theme he wanted for his upcoming birthday party. He smiled, and then answered, pretty sure of himself, with one word: ZOMBIES!!! Yep… cute birthday themes (that I choose and then make him believe he’s the one who got the idea in the first place) are officially over. I really tried to make him change his mind, but he was having none of it. So I caved… then started to look for Plants VS Zombies stuff… and found next to nothing. So printing images and cutting them became my main activities during the last few days prior to the B-day party.

One of the best thing about this year’s birthday party preparations is that we mostly did it all together. The boys were really into it, and I got to say that their cutting and scotch taping skills are much better now! They really worked hard on setting up the game wall; and they did an awesome job at it! They also helped me bake the cake and then watched me very closely as I was making the fondant plants and zombies cake decorations. My heart is full every time I bake with them, even with Zombies everywhere!

The first party was Friday night; and on Thursday morning I called my mom requesting some help and some zombie hats. By the end of the day she had picked up the boys from school, cleaned my floors, made diner and knitted two cute zombie hats for the boys. They were ecstatic when they saw it! Liam’s been wearing his non-stop this week. Thanks Mom, you are truly the best! Friday night was really laid back, pizza night with our friends, no agenda, with the kids playing downstairs, putting on shows and playing hockey and stuff while we were all chatting in the kitchen. There was no meltdown during cake time this year… unlike 2 years ago when the boys lost it as soon as the girls started to eat the fondant on the back of the crocodile cake while we were singing happy birthday… made pretty funny pictures, though! So Liam made some 7th year old birthday wishes and then the kids shared ‘brain’ and ‘plants’ cupcakes. And that was it for party number one.

Next day, on Liam’s actual birthday, we started the celebrations with birthday French toasts and gifts. Well, no, gifts then French toasts, as he had already asked for some b-day gifts before I was even out of bed! After that we played games all day long while waiting for our family to arrive. On the menu: spaghetti and pizza (both Liam’s favorite food) and then some more cake. We love having our family over for birthdays and I hope it will never stop… the house might be full but that’s what it’s for, and that’s how we like it!

Then on Sunday, we had invited Liam’s best friend to join us for a fun day full of activities. First, we went to play a game of laser-tag… where I finished in first place, out of 9 players! I got to say that my laser-tag skills are pretty amazing! Then, lunch at McDonald’s, because when you ask 3 boys where they want to eat, that’s what you get. And then we finished our day at Flying Squirrel, an indoor trampoline park. They all really loved it. It’s actually rare that Liam gets crazy excited about a activity (beside playing games on the Nintendo or Ipad), so I really enjoyed watching him having fun while running and jumping everywhere with his friend Gab and Logan. He had the best of time and we can’t wait to be back.

It was a pretty amazing birthday for our boy. He’s so special, and kind. Not sure how I got so lucky to be his mom, but I’ll take it. When he woke up, I wished him Happy Birthday, and he just looked at me and told me Happy Birthday right back… I asked him why and he said it was my birthday too, because 7 years ago I became a Mom. This one sure knows how to make me cry. So it was my birthday too, I guess. So, even if I couldn’t choose the birthday theme this year, it was still an awesome weekend as we had to celebrate our baby. Like it says in my favorite song from when I was pregnant with him seven years ago: ‘There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do, Go to the ends of this Earth for you, To make you feel my love’.

Bonne fête Crocky d’amour!

Love you so much,

Mom xox

 

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new year and a leftover sandwich


Happy New Year My lemon drop life friends! Hope you had the best of time ringing in the new year; I know we sure did! Last year we went on this beautiful sleigh ride on the 31st which ended up being one of my all-time fav NYE ever. This year we were planning on doing the exact same thing, so we had booked a sleigh ride at Fairmont Château Montebello on Sunday afternoon with some of our best friends, but with the extreme cold weather, sadly, we had to cancel. Instead, we opted for indoor activities –virtual golf for the boys and movies for the moms and kids-, followed by take-out dinner from the best Indian restaurant, lots of board games, champagne and cupcakes, sparkles and crowns, as well as fun eats and treats for everyone!

For the last couple of years we’ve been hosting New Year’s Eve at our place with our friends and their kids; but don’t get excited here, as it is nothing fancy or complicated like the NYE parties we used to go to years ago. Nope, we’re now just a bunch of people who want to spend the last evening of the year in pure laziness wearing pyjama’s while enjoying music, drinks, but still, with a lot of fun times on the menu. Yep, that’s just the way I like it!

This year the kids actually all stayed up late enough to celebrate the NYE countdown with us. I can still remember a time when we had play pens installed in every rooms of the house for all the sleeping babies. Not anymore! They played downstairs by themselves for most of the night, building forts, playing Mario Kart, watching a movie and singing karaoke! Next year I’m bringing that karaoke system upstairs, and it will be the mom’s turn to put on a NYE show!

All the kids went to bed clearly past their bedtime, some of them falling asleep on the couch and some others asking to go to bed; but not Liam, as he was still chatting with us in the living room at like 1:30 am when he finally fell asleep on the couch. We really need to go back to our regular schedule asap, if not, next Monday’s return to school will be brutal! So next morning was pretty lazy and relax with everyone waking up later than usual. We made it a bit late to my mom’s brunch, which consisted of delicious homemade paninis (in the panini grill I got her for Christmas!), salads and potatoes. Miam! We then played card games and bingo with the boys in the afternoon where I won a flute, Logan some cut off gloves and Liam a toonie.

On New Year’s Day we always go for dinner at Lulu’s place with the Woodbury family, and this year was no exception. I’d say that Brian’s aunt served dinner for something like 40 relatives over something like five different sittings. Yeah, a full-on turkey dinner with all the fixings that was beyond amazing; all that plus a choice of five different kind of pies for dessert. I don’t know how she does it! The boys had a blast with their cousins making Snapchat videos, paper airplane contests and jumping up and down the basement walls and couches. By the end of the evening, they were exhausted and it didn’t take three minutes for them to fall asleep when we left. And that concluded the holiday season for us. I’m sad that it’s all over, but at the same time I’m glad that I can now spend a few days at home with the boys with nothing planned; PJs all day being the only thing on the schedule for now!

The Christmas decorations are down, the tree is in the garage, the house is mostly cleaned-up from our NYE party, so it’s almost back to normal, other than the fact that we’re still basically living on leftovers. So if you’re like us and have some of that delicious turkey left, you’ll enjoy this awesome recipe; which is definitely the best way to get rid of your leftovers in an amazing and delicious way; here it goes!

What you need:
-Crusty bread
-Leftover turkey
-Mayo
-Cranberry jelly
-A few Brie cheese slices
-Butter
-Granny Smith apple

How to:
Butter the crusty bread on both sides. Mix 2 tablespoons of mayo with 2 tablespoons of the cranberry jelly. Spread on one side of both pieces of bread. Add turkey, apple slices and Brie cheese. Top with the second bread slice. Using a panini maker or a cooking pan, grill the bread until golden (turning once if using a pan). Cut in half and enjoy! Such an easy way to enjoy some delicious turkey and that amazing holiday taste one last time!

Hope you’ve made some good resolutions for the new year. I’m still trying to figure out mine, but as always, trying to be a better person will surely be on top of the list. Then reading, running and travelling more! 2017 was great to me and my family… but I’m ready for more and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring us. Happy New Year everyone, let’s hope it’s a good one!

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beau’s oktoberfest 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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