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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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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