fun, easy and quick ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and I’ve got a few quick and easy ideas to celebrate your love ones!

This year, V-Day falls on a Thursday, so who’s got time for super fancy breakfast before school or 5 course meals after work? I’ve pulled up a few ideas for you. Perfect to spread the love in just a few minutes!

1- Grab a few pieces of coloured paper and leave some heart shaped love notes throughout the house or at work. It takes a few moments and can brighten up anyone’s day. Your husband, your kids, your coworkers and your Galantines!

2- My boys go crazy for fun and festive breakfast, but I ain’t gonna wake up at 5am to bake some waffles or anything like that. You know what? Buy the grocery store kind and warm them up in the toaster. Served with warmed up Nutella or maple syrup and some fresh strawberries. Why not add some strait from the bottle whipped cream. I’m telling you, it will take less than 5 minutes and you’ll have a love-ly breakfast they’ll definitely enjoy!

3- For lunch, prepare some heart shaped cheese quesadilla the night before and pack it up in the kid’s lunch box. It will be another fun and cute reminder of this special day. Guess what, I might just make myself one too!

4- Last year, we made a super fun and quick snack right after school. Store bought wafers cookies, we melted chocolate and dipped them in it. We then sprinkled some sprinkles! Done in 5, and delicious until the last crumb!

5- Lots of restaurants offer some delivery special for VDAY. So order up a heart shaped pizza for the kids. Easy, fast, with little to none clean-up after diner. Put them to bed early and enjoy a chick flick movie at home with your husband. Babysitters are difficult to find on Valentine’s Day, so reserve one for the weekend and stay home on the 14.

6- In the same easy mind frame, if you’re not into heart shaped pizza, just wait until the kids are in bed, take out the fondue set, open up a box of cheese fondue from the grocery store and voilà! It’s actually our favorite date-night at-home-diner. Baguette, pears, pecans, olives and some salami. You’ll be ready to eat within minutes and again, almost no clean-up!

7- Make some home-made sugar body scrub for your Galentines, mom or daughters. One cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 5-10 drops of Young Living essential oil (Peppermint and Grapefruit are amazing) and a few drop of pink food colouring. Mix it up, split between small mason jar and write a little note. Super easy and fast. And great for the skin.

No matter what you do, being together is the only thing that matters. Whether you are meeting some girlfriends for drinks, skating on the canal, going out for diner, ordering heart shaped pizza, watching a movie at home, or looking at all the Valentine’s the kids brought back from school; Love is love, and it’s all you need! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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happee birthdae

Yesterday was one of the most magical days ever.

I’d like to start by saying that I do know this one was a little over the top, and that I ended up spending probably too much time organizing it; but this is the type of things that makes Liam and I truly happy, and seeing how joyful he was yesterday, I am so happy I did it just the way I did. We created this party together, from picking the cakes, the decorations, the candy, the food and designing it all. It probably took me over 50 hours to make it all happen, but every minute was worth the happiness in Liam’s eyes when everything was taking shape.

You already know our profound love for Harry Potter, right? If you don’t, you’ll know about it in a few minutes! Sometime last summer, after watching the 3th Harry Potter movie one more time (his favorite movie), Liam came to me and officially declared that his 8th birthday would be all about magic and HP. So I immediately jumped in with both feet, being on the lookout for stuff for the party ever since. I found many decorations after Halloween with everything being on clearance, while also scoring some free stuff on Marketplace and Kijiji in the last few weeks. Oh, and we also found many things at our place, you know, stuff lying around the basement or buried in boxes we actually had forgotten about.

Just after Christmas, we took all the decorations away and started putting HP stuff EVERYWHERE. This party was probably the biggest one I’ve ever organized, with Logan’s Peter Pan 2nd birthday coming in at a close second. I’ve been dreaming about this party for months. Finally, yesterday, it was time, and it was just like I had imagined it.

Everything was covered, from the trunk and spell books on the porch, to the flying acceptance letters emerging from the fireplace, to the Owlery (a store where you can adopt a stuff owl to bring home) and the Honeydukes confectionary store, to the talking painting staircase, with the HP soundtrack blazing through the house, it was just like the real thing. Once you were done with the first room, next was the Great Hall, which you could only access by storming through the Platform 9 3/4 brick wall, where you’d find floating candles, a sorting hat cake, more candy and chocolates, twinkling lights, House colours banner, an handmaid giant map of Hogwarts ground, chocolate cake, vanilla cake and of course, a Butterbeer cake that brought dessert to the next level!

We had wands for our friends, we ate some chocolate frogs and chocolate Snitches; played Owl tag, took some Instax pictures and we feasted until we could pass out! All signs of a perfect birthday. Liam loved every second of it. For a rare occasion he actually enjoyed getting all the attention. He was so excited to show our own version of the Wizarding World to his friends and family. He was spoiled by everyone, as always. We are so lucky to have the best family and friends who loves our babies just the way they do.

This party will definitely go down in history as one of the most magical party I’ve ever thrown! It was so much fun to bring this thing to life and to celebrate our boy. We are the lucky ones to have you in our lives. Liam, you are the chosen one, just like Harry.

Hope this year will be full of health, fun filled days, new adventures, and so much love. I know you want to be a Griffindor, just like Harry, but you are so much more. You have the intelligence of a Ravenclaw; the dedication of an Hufflepuff; the ambitious of a Slytherin; and you can be BRAVE just like a true Gryffindor. And I love you just the way you are.

Today, on your actual birthday, all you wanted to do was to watch some YouTube videos, go skating and eat spaghetti for dinner. It was simple and it was a great day. I love you baby boy. Eight years old, not so baby anymore, but still, and always, my baby.  

Happee Birthdae Liam! We love you so much. ALWAYS.


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a weekend in vegas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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~accio halloween costume~

I know, I’m obsessed about a lot of things… but two of those things hold a pretty special place at the top: Halloween and Harry Potter! And if you combine the two of them, you end up with costumes and magic!!!

 Talking about Halloween costumes is a pretty common thing in our house. Every year, we go back and forth with different ideas in the months leading up to October 31st, trying to please everyone, since I’m pretty hooked on family themed costumes… oh yeah, I’m one of those! I don’t think I can’t top last year’s creations: Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez. I’ve been able to design some pretty awesome costumes over the years, but these two cars earned the all-time Oscar award for Halloween costumes in our home!

So this year, at the beginning of the summer, Liam told me he wanted to dress up as Harry Potter! That boy is after my heart for sure… on top of the Halloween costume, he also told me I should start planning his Harry Potter birthday party for January! I’ll take that, thank you God, finally a BDay party theme I also love!!!  

On the other hand, Logan asked me if he could be a combination of dressing up in his Mario Bros’ pajama, with sunglasses, a bow and a top hat… not sure where he gets all his ideas from… but I love his imagination. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree they say!

So since we’re going in Orlando in March, I decided I really needed to buy the official HP robe for Liam for when we’ll be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, but the price tag was kind of steep… and I knew that once Logan would see Liam’s robe, I’d have to get another one, so I wasn’t sure what to do. BUT then, just in time, Pottery Barn Kids came to my rescue with their new HP line, which got me even more obsessed with everything HP. So without any hesitations I ordered two robes, and the rest is history: from the moment the robes were came in, Logan putted his on and right away confirmed he was going to be a Slytherin for Halloween. They’ve been dressing up and playing none stop with their costumes and wands since then, and I couldn’t be happier.  

One thing I always do comes October is a Halloween photoshoot. I find we’re always rushing the morning of Halloween or right before Trick or Treating, so a few weeks in advance, we dress up, I bribe them (a little) and we take many pictures, like just enough to please my obsession! And let me tell you, this year did not disappoint, as it’s been one of my favorite Halloween photoshoot ever. We went back to Courges et Cie to pick up our pumpkins, you know, since we loved it so much last year… and just like a few other traditions we have, I couldn’t imagine a year we wouldn’t go… such a beautiful pumpkin patch, set in the most laid back of setting, family-friendly, and on top of that they serve the most delicious squash fries, squash poutine and pumpkin donuts.

So our trunk was full of props and costumes, we got there, got a wheel barrel and made our way to the beautiful field full of pumpkins; and it was magical. The boys putted on their costumes right away and then played around just like they do at home, which gave me a lot of time to take pictures. I think they felt like they were in one of the movie (minus Voldemort, of course, cause they’re scared of him), playing with their wands, casting spells, laughing, running, and searching for the perfect pumpkin. Also, in order to follow the theme, I had made myself a Luna Lovegood Gryffindor Lion head/hat the night before! But Liam didn’t let me wore it, as he really wanted to be the one taking pictures with it… so of course he did… and he was so cute! Logan was wearing the houses Sorting Hat… oh boy! That boy should be in a movie for sure!!! 

I couldn’t wait to get home and take a better look at my boys’ picture and all the magic they had created. And I was so happy I was able to get some awesome shots. That’s what I love the most about Halloween, the magic, the mystery, to costumes, pretending to be anyone you want; plus the candies… of course the candies don’t hurt either.

So if you need any help finding awesome Halloween costumes, just contact me, I will not have enough Halloweens in my lifetime to be able to dress up in everything I’d like, so I would for sure share some of my ideas!

Enjoy this (most) festive month of all, light up your Jack O’Lantern, blast up Thriller and get ready to hit all the houses on your street. Treat yourself, eat many treats, and trick or treat with your kids, I know I will do all of this by October 31st!!!

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halloween kids friendly movie night

Well finally, let the fall decorations season begin!!! I’ve actually been quite good so far, it’s almost October and I’ve only started decorating for fall earlier this week; but boy has this got me in like a full-blown Halloween mood! I’m pretty sure I have more Halloween decorations than I have for Christmas’ or anything else, and I am not done. I know I will buy more, it’s just a question of when I’ll have time to go to Home Sense or Target next! So this week the boys have been going crazy pulling out everything from our Halloween boxes, trying on some old costumes and decorating every crooks and cranny they can find; but of course I’m okay with this. I actually love it! I always feel like my house loses weight when I see stuff going out of the house instead of in! So since I got my eyes on some new things to come in, I decided I needed to have some sort of purging week… and I did… and it feels so good to sell and give stuff away. You know, to make room for new stuff!

 I’ve got a few festive outings planned for next weekend. I want to hit Courges & Cie, a gorgeous pumpkin patch I’ve blogged about last year, and I also want to visit our local farmer’s market to go see my friend Pascal Ice Cream. One other thing on the list for the weekend is a Halloween movie marathon! But not the gory type… no wayyyy. I can’t handle scary movies very well and neither does my husband (if you know him, you know what I mean), so instead, I will watch some fun and good and cute and almost scary movies from our own collection; well, family movies! Since we don’t have cable here, the only thing the boys watch are movies, so I always keep a small basket filled with their current favorites close to the TV, but around this time of year, it is filled with Halloween themed and festive movies. So I decided to round up our favs and maybe you could have a fun movie night at home yourself!

1- Harry Potter: Of course this had to be number one. It couldn’t be anything else. My boys are NOT scared, at all, of all the HP movies. We are all addicts and we’re not ashamed of it! The entire collection can be seen over and over again, so if you haven’t watch Harry in a while, this Halloween season is the perfect time! 

2- Mickey Mouse Monster Musical: I can’t tell you how many time my kids have watched this DVD. I think I know every single lines of the shows. Yet, I’m excited to sing “Monster Boogie” every single time. With only 22 minutes per episodes, these are fun to watch in the morning while the kids eat breakfast or while you need keep them quiet while you are getting ready for work… or not so quiet with all the singing! 

3- Adams Family: My brother and I watched this on and on when we were kids. I just LOVE that movie. I’ve watched it last year and it still holds up even 30 years later. I’m sure you’ve seen this before… but you need to see it again! 

4- Ghostbuster: No, no, no, no, no… not the new one, even if I’m all for “Girl Power” and stuff, nooo, not the new one; but the very first one! I still think it is way more funny than scary, and that’s probably why I love it. We usually all get a good laugh watching this. And now, I bet the song is stuck in your head… right? Well you’re welcome! I ain’t afraid of no ghost!

5- Hocus Pocus: Okay, so this one is mostly for me! My boys think it’s freaking boring, my husband judges me for watching it in loops year after year, but I get such a thrill out of watching it 20 times per season, they just don’t understand, and I just can’t explain it. Also, there’s a book sequel out that I’m currently reading, so I’m really into it right now, and can’t wait to watch it for the first time in 2018. This is clearly a must… every… single… year! It is fun, light and so amusing to watch Bette sing; and what can I say, I just can’t get enough of it!

6- Monsters Inc. & University: These two movies are simply AMAZING! Make a marathon out of it. Order pizza, wear festive pj’s, have a bowl of popcorn with candy, and just sit back and enjoy. You will have the best of time, guaranteed. Can they make a 3rd one? Please.

7- Hotel Transylvania: HEY kids’ movie lovers, you got to watch these ones. Adam Sandler is to die for. Great for the kids, yet so many clever lines for adults; and the music is amazing! The third movie will be out on DVD or Blu-ray in the next few weeks, so you can have a three movies marathon in the comfort of your couch… which I know we will.

8- E.T.: Kind of afraid to say this, but I’ve never seen ET. I know I’ve seen part of it, and I know was afraid while seeing it, but this year is the year. I’m doing this for you, my beautiful Drew. I’ve bought the illustrated ET book and I intend on reading it to the boys and then watch the movie with them. We’ll see how it goes. At least I know that if I’m scared, we’re all going to be scared together!

9- The Nightmare Before Christmas: For me it’s a Halloween movie, for some, Christmas (although it is clearly NOT!). I was not a fan of it growing up, but I’ve been for the last couple of years. Best part for me: the music. And last year, Liam learned it on the piano… so we will keep on watching it, and then get him to practice. It’s Tim Burton… so, like always… NOT for everyone!

10- Casper: Can I keep you? Oh, Devon Sawa… I was so in love with the teenage version of you. I still remember the summer the movie came out, I went to see it twice in one weekend with my friend Jannick. My Mimi had bought me a Casper pajama and the soundtrack, and I was so obsess… and I think it is STILL amazing! Right? We will watch this for sure a few times before October 31st!

So many other movies could have made the cut, but I tried to keep the list somewhat kids friendly. After all, Halloween is for kids, right? Well, for kids and for adults like ME!!! Hope you have fun watching some of these movies; I have to run now, the boys are waiting for me to see if ET goes back home or what. Enjoy fall my friends, this is the best time of the year!

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diy straw hat

Wow! What a nice long weekend that was: record breaking temperature, Canada Day festivities and three pool parties in three days. Yeah, right now I’m totally beat, but still, I’m ready to go and looking forward to start this second week of summer vacation with lots of outdoor time, including four playdates with friends and lots of swimming in between. We just love to be out in the summer time, but right now, with this heat wave, the sun can be so warm that it will wear you down in no time. My favorite way to stay cool is off course to never leave the pool, but my second preferred option is to simply wear a nice and fancy hat to create myself some shade! Yep, I have another addiction: HATS!

I’ve seen so many awesome and pretty hats just about everywhere over the years, but obviously, had to control myself a little, as I would have bought them all!!! But about a few years ago, I just told myself: ‘ENOUGH! You can probably make those hats for way less; so just do it yourself’. And I did. And so far I have made 3 different ones and I just can’t stop, and won’t stop! You can do a fancy one for yourself or have a fun little afternoon project for yourself and the kids. It’s cheap… like the lobster hat was about 78$ at Anthropology… and made mine for the price of a Starbucks Latte! Like really, I love Anthropology, it’s one of my favorite store ever, but who would pay that for a lobster hat? Well certainly not me! I usually find my hats at Walmart, Michael’s and even at second hand store (found my now lobster hat at Value Village for a mere 3$) and then embellished them, which is quite cheap to do too. Any crafts shops or even dollar stores have many options of things to use for your hats… All you need is an idea!

Here’s a few hats that have caught my eye and are on my future hats list! Let your kids be involved in this process and I’m telling you, they’ll be as excited as you to go shop for hats and to find treasures to create their one of a kind masterpiece!

Next, with a pencil, either sketch on a paper or directly on the hat the design and location of your design. I’ve used acrylic paint, glue gun, sequins, yarn, etc. for the creation for the various hats I have done, and they held up pretty nicely. And even if they don’t last forever, well you will have paid less than 15$ for a one in a kind crafted hat that you can now fix yourself! Not bad right?

Once all designed, don’t be scared… you can do it! Even if it doesn’t end up perfectly as planned, you will have fun and that’s what matters! And I’m sure that the next one will be better.

So go ahead and start creating. I can tell you that I have a few more I want to try out before the end of the summer and I can’t wait to show them all to you! So, be creative and have fun! And just like that, you’ll have your very own pretty or fancy hat ready for your next outdoor gathering where the sun won’t burn that pretty face of yours! For me, this summer it’s all about my new favorite lobster hat!

Happy crafting my lemon drop life friends! Stay cool, and wear a hat.

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summer list 2018

And just like that, school is over, work is over, it’s summer time, and the best of all: NO MORE LUNCHES to prepare every morning!

Coming up with this list was so much fun. The boys came up with such great ideas of their own: having our own puppet theatre, play Uno, make ice cream, etc. Some of the ideas didn’t make the cut: iPad marathon, eat McDonalds every day (to get all of the Mario Bros’ toys) and stay in pj’s every day! Overall, I’m so excited about our summer 2018, and hopefully we’ll have time to do everything on the list, and much more. We already have a Boston getaway planned for late July, Logan’s 6th birthday celebrations in a few weeks, some day trips planned here and there and of course lots and lots of pool time.

Within a few hours of being on vacation we had already crossed off a few items on the list! Is there ANYTHING more satisfying than to check off a list? I don’t think so! Even if it’s just a chore. So just a few hours after our vacation started we visited a strawberry field, then made 4 batches of jam, played Uno (all weekend long) and watched fireworks on Saturday night. Not bad for our first weekend of summer fun!

Here’s a few more items on our to do list for this summer:

SUMMER 2018

-have a pool party

-go to the drive-in

-go to a water park

-play mini-golf

-go boating

-buy a Slip N’ Slide and play all day long!

-go fishing

-make popsicles

-visit an aquarium

-fly kites

-movie marathon

-eat at a Taco Truck

-start a book club

-watch a baseball game (at Fenway)

-play outside in the rain

I would like to know about your favourite summer activities as I am always looking for ideas and things to do with the boys. Please share them with me! It so much fun to incorporate new activities in our usual routine. Even if I like to be a little lazy during the summer and spend as much time as possible at home by the pool, I’m always willing when it comes to seeing new places or doing new things!

Hope you have the best summer ever filled with many of your favorite drinks (hint hint, here’s my Sangria recipe)! I know I sure plan to. I have so many things I want to do and so many activities already planned… I’m really looking forward to doing them all! But you know what, although I have really high expectations for some of the things I plan to do, I know that not all of them will turned out being a success or as I had imagined it to be, but I do not worry about it as summer time is meant to be messy, chaotic, unexpected and crazy, with absolutely no routine, as this is what makes it so much fun! Happy summer 2018 to all of you!

 

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best summer reads 2018

So today I haven’t seen the sun yet and it’s been pouring rain all day, but seriously, prior to that, it’s been kind of an awesome stretch here in beautiful Ottawa, and it finally feels like summer has arrived! I have so many activities planned, places I want to visit, things I want to do around (and not around) the house, etc. that I will try to come up with a fun summer bucket list in the next few days. And yes, of course I will be posting it here! Oh, and while thinking about my summer bucket list, that got me thinking that there was another list I had to come up with: a summer book list! One of my New Years’ resolutions was to read more… and we’re in May now, and I have been reading a lot; so I am happy to say that this resolution is still on!

I’ve made a list of my current and upcoming reading material for the summer… and those books are just too good that I got to share: here it goes:

1- All we ever wanted by Emily Giffin. Emily is probably my favorite writer ever (tied with JK Rowling, of course). I’ve been reading her books since my second year at university. Back then, I did end up ditching many classes to keep on reading Something Borrowed and then Something Blue. Now, her latest book will be out late June and I will be one of the first in line to get a copy of it on its release date for sure!

2- I’m a huge fan of books made into movies, I know, I know, I’m one of those, but you know, I do read the book first, I don’t just go and watch the movie… and I agree that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, easily, always (and sometimes the book is okay or just good and then the movie is a complete disaster, like thanks a lot Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan for totally ruining this for me! So, back to my list… I was at the movie theatre two weeks ago and a preview came on and I was immediately hooked! My friend Eve told me it was a book series… and I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it. Anyway, since then I have read the first book of the series, Crazy Rich Asians, and I’m already halfway through the second one, China Rich Girlfriend. And of course I will read the third one, Rich People Problems, as soon as I’m off work for the summer! (They don’t know it yet, but the boys will get to enjoy the Ipad a little bit more during their first week of summer vacation while Mommy is reading her book!!!)

3- Another book that has been sitting on my nightstand is I am Malala. I’ve been wanting to read this forever and just haven’t got around to it yet. That girl has been through so much and still finds the strength to empower girls and women. Way to go Malala. So I will read her book sometime this summer.

4- Emma by Jane Austen. I’ve never read Emma and I want to. It’s actually on a bucket list of its own!

5- Bloom: Finding beauty in the unexpected-A Memoir by Kelle Hampton. I’ve been following Kelle’s blog and Instagram feed (THE BEST) forever and I love the way she writes and shares the story of her daughter Nella. Nella was born with Down Syndrome and Kelle wrote about her family’s journey. Be prepared to cry, cause I often do while reading her blog post, which mean I can just imagine what her book will do to me.

6- Of course, once again, Harry Potter. Liam is really into it and it makes me so happy to share this with him. I’ve bought the first book of the series in French and I plan on reading it with him sometime this summer while lounging in the backyard. He loves the movies, so as I’ve said earlier, of course he’ll prefer the book!

So, have you read anything interesting lately? What’s your favourite book. Please share… as I’m reading about a book a week lately and I intend on keeping the streak alive all summer long! Also, please recommend books for kids… Liam is almost done with grade 1 and he (finally) loves to read. Also, with Logan following closely and going into grade 1 next year, we’ll probably spend a lot of time at the library this summer looking for interesting books!

Hope you liked this list and that is gave you the inspiration to read more or some ideas as to what to read next! Once you’ll start one of these books, you won’t be able to stop! Also, since I’m talking about book, I am so happy that a new Indigo book store just opened near my workplace… and if I was a Crazy Rich Girlfriend, I would have definitely bought some shares, as this is easily one of my favorite store ever!

Thanks for reading mylemondroplife readers!

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annual girls weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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good food, awesome food

Well, this is not my first time talking about the Good Food company and it probably won’t be my last. As I am writing this blog, it’s Monday night, which is swim lessons night for the boys, which is usually a real complicated and busy evening for us, and although today I was too sick to make it to work, and too sick to go to the grocery store, making diner ended up being as simple and as delicious as possible! (Which is the usual feeling at home on Good Food dinner day).

So, are you feeling like you’re often eating the same meals, over and over again? Stuck in a dinner rut, with the same pasta dish every week, or with your go-to chicken-veggies-rice (the boys hate this so much!)? Well, if you haven’t tried the Good Food box deliveries yet, I’ve got what you need… so you should continue reading!

We’ve been ordering from Good Food for the last 5 months now, about 2 or 3 times a month, you know, depending on the meals selections and our schedule. We have boring eaters at home, who would be more than happy to live on pizza, spaghetti, chicken nuggets and Kraft Diner. As much I love all of these, we started to do the Good Food thing months ago when I started to feel like our weekly meal rotation wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. Since I’ve been back to work, it seemed like my grocery list was becoming more and more the same week after week, while never having the time and energy to cook after a day of work or always missing an ingredient to cook that special meal. Well, no more!

The Good Food website is super easy to use. You can select your meals a few weeks in advance or skip the weeks you don’t want any delivery. We have chosen to receive our boxes on Mondays, and we try to cook from the box on that night, and then on the Tuesdays and Thursday. We try to have a pasta night on Wednesday and then on Fridays we usually have plans, so it works out perfectly! Like I said, we’ve been using this food service for a while now and we still get excited every time we get a box. I still find that the packaging is just the best! I was talking to my girlfriend last weekend (she’s using Good Food too!) and we both talked about how we felt like we were on a cooking show while making dinner! Our childhood dream!!! Maybe one day Vero. Either that or our very own bakery!

So far, we have tried about 30 Good Food recipes, and to be honest, I can only recall 3 that I didn’t like. And in those cases, it was either not our taste, or texture or whatever… but I’m okay with that since of course that’s bound to happen when you’re trying out new recipes. It’s actually happening way more often when trying new recipes on my own.

So I’ve kept all of the recipe cards we’ve tried (and liked) and we’ve added some of them to our go-to list. I had never had a pork burger before, but since trying them out from one of our Good Food recipe, I can now probably say that I prefer pork burgers to regular beef burgers! All the meat is fresh, never frozen and so so good! We’ve tried so many dishes we had never heard of before, I’m talking about you Daikon! It’s been quite the learning experience for my entire family. Brian is good trying out anything, but for the boys it was harder at first, but now, they rarely complain. Another great point is that everything can be recycled: the box, bags, ice packs… ALL OF IT! Good for you, good for the Earth!

By the way, I’m NOT getting paid for talking about this. I genuinely write about Good Food because I love it and because I couldn’t live without it! And I just want to share all of this with you one more time! Everybody needs a little help sometimes, and for those of you already using the Good Food services, you probably know what I’m talking about; but for those of you who don’t, I got the thing right for you: a FREE Good Food boxes GIVEAWAY!

I have 3 FREE Good Food boxes to give out! All you have to do is subscribe to mylemondroplife.com, follow my Facebook page and tag a friend in comment! Easy, isn’t it! I can’t guarantee they’ll deliver where you live, so please don’t be mad at me if you win and they don’t, but if that happens, I will give the box away to someone else and send you something else, I swear! Also, after winning the box, you won’t have to commit to another box or anything, you can just try it out and then decide if you want to continue after, or not. You can easily cancel your account if you wish to terminate your subscription. And if you’re not one of the contest winners, you can always sign up using this link GOODFOOD40$ and you will get 40$ off your first box! Now that’s a bargain! Contest ends in a week on May 2nd, 2018.

So what do you have to lose? Your grocery bill will be lower and you will try some amazing new recipes. So go ahead and register to this amazing contest! Seriously, only good things can come out of this. Bon appetit mylemondroplife’s foodies!

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