our beautiful christmas home

Can you believe it???  (I actually say that every year around this time…).  But it’s like mind-blowing, yet so exciting, that in two weeks it will already be Christmas time!  Exciting… but, probably like some or most of you, I still have sooo much stuff to do before I can say that I’m ready, with absolutely no idea when I am going to do it or where should I start.  And now, on top of that, well I won’t be getting ahead with any of my baking, cooking, cleaning or shopping this weekend as we are going away on a little family vacation to the States… well, you know, I guess I’ll probably be doing a little shopping after all!!!

Okay, seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a road trip in a very, very, long time; so Christmas preparations will have to wait a little!  I am so thrilled and excited to tell you all that we are travelling to Lake Placid as we have been invited (or should I say my lemon drop life was invited…) for a weekend stay at the Mirror Lake Inn for the Holiday Village Stroll!  Like OMG, woohoo!!!  So, you know, that in itself should be so exciting… and it is… but here’s why all the EXTRA excitement… well this place looks exactly like the kind of place the Gilmore Girls and I have always dreamed of!  I just can’t describe it… yet… but stay tuned, as I will be posting some pictures on my blog’s social media accounts throughout the weekend and will share all about our upcoming stay sometime next week!

I was so excited about our MLI stay that I had to tell you, but for today, I actually wanted to share some of our Christmas decorations, which is the one thing I do have nailed down so far.  I’ve actually started to decorate 3 weeks ago, and bit by bit every single room of the house went through its own Christmas transformation.  Man oh man do we have Christmas stuff.  Like we have been buying new ornaments for our tree each places we’ve traveled to over the past 10 years… so basically, we get new –and often not necessarily matching– ornaments every year… and while every year we tell ourselves that our tree is kind of full and that we got to stop buying more ornaments, well we still do.  And we still find a place for them to hang in our beautiful tree!  Other than ornaments, I’ve actually stopped buying new Christmas’ decorations since we already have way too much.  You know, my Godfather really loved Christmas and really loved to over decorate… and when he passed, well I got a lot of his stuff (actually got his passion for decoration way before that!), so now it’s my turn to overdo it with all his beloved Christmas decoration pieces.

So today I’m giving you a little tour of our home, Christmas decorated version.  I’ve always said that our home was made for Christmas, cause I just love the look of it and the warmth feeling it brings to our family when decorated.  The tree is the first thing that is lite up in the morning (Logan’s duty at 6:30) and the last thing to go out at night.  Like, I could be making this stuff up just to make my blog seems more interesting, but I’m not… so, literally, every day, the boys gather in front of the tree to play board games, or to read, or to have fun with their gazillion stuffed animals (more like 50!).  We actually all love our living room a little more in December with a Christmas tree in it; it’s where Bry sits at night with a glass of wine and where I dunk my chocolate cookie in a cup of milk –you should definitely try that– when I get a little hungry past 8!

We are now all impatiently waiting for Santa to arrive, and our home is like the best place for it.  Close second is hopefully the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid where Santa is scheduled to knock on our hotel room door at 6pm on Saturday to meet the boys!  Just can’t wait!!!  This is so exciting!

So, hope you all have a great weekend while enjoying your beautiful and decorated Christmas home!  Cheers.  And don’t forget that ‘the best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is signing loud for all to hear’.

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it’s advent calendar time

So it’s December 1st; do you have your advent calendar ready?  We do and I love it!  Growing up, I have never been into the chocolate advent calendar that you could buy at every big store, I don’t know, just wasn’t a fan of it or its waxy chocolate… the little doors were fun to open though, for the first few mornings, but I remember not eating the chocolate by mid-December… while now you would have to pay me to eat it on December 1st!  When the boys were younger, we didn’t do the chocolate thing for them either, but for the last 3 years, we sure went all out with the 25-days leading to Christmas!!!  So here’s how this all started…

As a kid, my family never did the Christmas morning stocking tradition.  I guess my Mom thought we had received enough gifts for one day and wanted us to wait until New Year’s day to open our stockings.  She actually never pretended they we from Santa, and I remember my brother and I being so excited on January 1st while opening -some more- fun little gadgets and surprises, cause it kinda made the gift giving (or back then more like gift receiving) period last a bit longer!  Once we got a bit older, or like old enough to fill/buy/pay for a Christmas stocking by ourselves, we started to draw names and organize a stocking exchange, so we would each have a stocking to open; still on New Year’s Day.  I tried to do the same with my Brian before we had the boys, but my stockings was always empty comes January 1st.  When I would say on December 31st that I was super excited for the stocking exchange in the morning because of all the cool stuff I had found for him, I could immediately see with the look on his face that he didn’t get me anything, yet.  But guess what, nothing’s open on NYD; SO I would end up with like a jar of ice cream and a DVD from the drug store.  Yep… I was SUPER excited.  So after a few years of being disappointed (I know I sound like a spoiled child; especially since it was actually chocolate Haagen-Dazs he would get me every year), I decided to call it quit.  Hence, the advent calendar!

There are so many Christmas traditions nowadays that I decided to combined some of them together!  So now our advent calendars, Christmas stocking and Elf on the Shelf Willy are all part of the same scheme!  My mom knitted tiny little mittens, we glued numbers 1 to 24 on it and placed them on a string (most adorable advent calendar EVER).  So like any other elf, Willy, who’s there to watch on the boys and report on their behavior to Santa throughout the month of December, really likes to hide!  And he does it every night!  But what Willy also do every night, is that he brings a small treat or toys to the boys and leave it for them to find in their mittens.  So when they wake up, they have to find Willy in the house and then look into their mittens for some fun little gifts.  Well, only if they were good the day before, at home and at school, cause Willy sees everything.  Best decision ever!  December is clearly their best behaved month of the year!  And it really doesn’t cost more than the stockings would, and at least, they have fun for 24 straight days instead of 5 minutes on New Year’s.  So throughout the month they will be receiving underwear, socks, some Mario’s figurine, lollipops, and even possibly a Poop Christmas ornaments!  Oh yeah, they still find the Poop Emoji sooo funny!  But don’t worry, that thing will be hidden somewhere at the back of our beautiful tree along with Brian’s Red Sox player and mini Fenway Park ornaments!

As for me, well last year I bought myself a HUGE wooden calendar with little boxes to be filled.  I received some cute messages on some days and junk the boys had putted in there on some other days.  Hopefully, this year it will be filled with some awesome stuff!  I’m pretty sure it will once he sees what’s inside the MEGA advent calendar I’ve prepared and left on the kitchen table since last weekend.  He’s been really anxious to start opening the doors.  I really wanted to keep this a surprise, but I’m pretty sure he has already figured it out by now… so it’s 24 different craft beers, of course including some of his favorite Beau’s!  Maybe not THAT original, but I know he’ll love it and will enjoy opening all the little doors every day after work!

So there you have it, our very own Elf tradition.  And you know, I don’t go crazy about the Willy/mittens thing if I forget about it… when it happens, I just tell the boys that Willy probably didn’t like something he saw the day before and that they should really watch themselves and behave from now on.  Honestly, who can keep up will all the craziness and not drop the ball once in a while!  And when it happens, well they have the best of days after that… so, not too bad!  Thinking of it, may start skipping some days on purpose!!!

May the December craziness be awesome my friends.  Good luck with all the shopping, food prep, wrapping, decorating, and more, and more, and more!  You know what, in the end, it is truly the best time of the year… so enjoy yourselves, and all the parties, and have fun with family and friends.  Cheers, with a bit of eggnog!

 

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weekend and sticky buns

Another beautiful weekend that went by way too fast once again! All that gorgeous snow this morning really putted us all in a festive mood… while also catching us by surprise, as we didn’t have our winter tires installed yet… but thanks to my brothers-in-laws, it’s now done!

So it was a PD day on Friday and it turned out being my turn to be off work at school; called my Mom Thursday night, made some plans for the Friday morning, dropped off the boys at daycare and left on a little road trip to the States for the day. The drive was awesome and the shopping too! Of course the first stop was Target, and as expected, it was just awesome and I was able to cross off many things from my list. Got to see the new Joanna and Chip line, unfortunately, all I wanted was already gone… oh well, next time! One of my favorite lunch place is Panera’s. I know we have it here now, but it’s just not the same… I don’t know, I just love to go to Panera’s every time I’m in the States! So right after I had paid for my sandwich and soup, on my way to my table, after I had waited in line for a long time, I spotted some delicious looking Pecan Sticky Buns. I was so mad I hadn’t seen them before, and I didn’t wanted to do the line again, so I didn’t get it, but then they were on my mind all afternoon long!

So by Saturday morning, at about 7h30 am, I was on a mission as I had decided that I was finally going to have some Pecan Sticky Buns, once and for all.

I’ve used Chatelaine’s recipe and tweaked it a bit. It turned out to be quite easy to do, and oh my, sooo DELICIOUS. I will be making these on Christmas morning for sure. And you should too! Here it goes:

Pecan Sticky Buns

What you need:

Dough:

3 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 pack quick-rise instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup hot water

1/2 cup hot milk

2 tbsp melted butter

1 egg

Sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup pecans

Filling:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 tsp cinnamon

How to:

In a large bowl, mix1 cup of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the milk, hot water, butter and egg. Using a wooden spoon, add 1 3/4 cup of flour to the bowl, all while stirring until the dough comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl for 4 minutes. Preheat your oven at 160 and insert the bowl with a damp cloth over it. Turn off oven and let rise for an hour.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar, honey and vanilla in a saucepan for the sauce. Cook on medium heat until bubbly. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. I only sprinkled half of the dish with the nuts, leaving half for regular buns. But definitely better with!

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to create a paste. Then leave aside.

Remove dough from oven. Preheat the oven at 350 for baking the buns. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and place the dough. Using a rolling pin, spread the dough and try roll it into a square shape. It’s note easy because the dough will be stretchy, but try your best! Mine was roughly 12”x12”. Spread the brown sugar paste evenly everywhere on the dough. Then start from the bottom and roll tightly.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces of about one inch each and lay the pieces in the baking dish. Lightly brush a bit of vegetable oil on top of the buns.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Chatelaine recommend to cover with foil if they get golden too fast, but I didn’t have to do it. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. The sauce will be extremely hot. Using a cookie sheet and parchment paper, cover the baking dish and flip the dish over. Be careful, this is very hot! But very good!!!

Honestly, I never had any Pecan Sticky Buns before, so I can’t really compare, but these tasted amazing. The dough was easy to make, and so soft. I will be using this recipe for donuts and bread. If you don’t bake often, this recipe is super easy. One big bowl does the trick, no need for super appliances or gadgets.

The caramel sauce with pecans is kind of addictive. I’m telling you, this recipe should definitely be part of your Holidays’ baking list; as it will not disappoint! Have a great week my friends!

  

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a wish list for everybody

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I have to admit that I already have a few items crossed off my shopping list.  You know, every year seems to be the same… I come up with this cool wish list but then no one gets me anything from it!!!  So this year, I’ve decided to prepare these simple wish lists, not only for myself, but for everyone you may have on your on shopping list!  I’ve always LOVED Christmas shopping, but things have change a little in the last few years, and I have to admit that I now do a large share of it online.  Shopping in the comfort of your home, while snuggling in a chunky blanket, not worrying about the traffic jam while getting out of the mall is AWESOME!  So all the items here can be bought through the links and in store as well.

 

1- Bears Reading Socks: I’m obsessed with these.  Bought myself a similar pair because I’ve been wanting one for so long and I knew Bry wouldn’t buy me these!  Now the boys both want a pair and I will buy these for sure.  So warm and chunky for the cutest toes!

2-Osmo: So my father-in-law bought this for the kids last year and we love it.  It’s great to find educational games for the Ipad, and these are so innovative.  We will for sure get the pizza parlor game this year.

3-Wifi Sweater: Always looking for different and simple clothing for the boys.  Love this sweater, and Liam would totally rock that shirt ‘cuz he’s always asking for the internet everywhere he goes!

4-Moonlite: I just found out about this and it’s awesome.  A new version of the View Master I use to have when I was little.  You attach this thing on your phone, download the app and watch the image of your favorite classic books on the ceiling.  Love, love, love this!

5-GAP Star Wars PJ’S: This one is for my Loggy.  This will probably be his last Baby Gap pajama’s (I want to cry!!!).  How fun is this Star Wars Fair Isle?  Not sure why they didn’t make it in bigger size!

6-Bath Dropz: This goes directly into their stockings.  We love Crayola Bath Dropz.  Small little pills that color the bath water and create different color combination when mixed!  Always a hit!

7-Lego: What’s not to love about this?  Lego & Cars?  Hello, this will be under our tree for sure!

1-Melissa Sugar Rain Boots: Okay, well I’m in love and I need a baby girl!  No, we’re not having another baby but these boots makes me want to!  If only they made these in my size, I would kick my old Hunters goodbye and live in these.

2-Candy Kirby Dolls: These dolls are gorgeous!  They are all handmade and comes from a small shop.  Candy Kirby also sells the most gorgeous newborn nightgowns and amazing clothing.  The boys have some sweat pants I bought 3 years ago and they still fit!  The dolls have been picked out by Nordstrom and will sell in store this holiday season!

3-Mermaid Fins: I kinda want these for myself!  Aren’t these the best?  Instead of regular feet palm, you’re a mermaid.  Enough said!

4-Guac shirt: This t-shirt sums up my life!  Please get this for your girls… because, they ARE extra!

5-The Parent Trap: I was 17 when this came out and I have probably watch this a few times a year since then.  And it still old up… well, kind of… like who would split their twins… no wonder that poor Lindsay is so messed up now!

6-Swan Slippers: OMG… these are the most fantastic slippers I’ve ever seen.  I would sooo buy them!

7-Mickey Jacket: Everybody needs a jean jacket, please stand out and pick a Mickey one!  Insert heart emoji right here!

1-The Beatles Vinyl: Anything music is always a hit in our house, but Vinyl, we LOVE.  We kept on collecting them even when they weren’t “in”, but now it’s so easy to find them and I love it.

2-Beau’s Beer: My husband has been wanting a subscription to Beau’s monthly beer delivery for a while now.  I think it’s an awesome gift for every craft beer lover.

3-Gramophone: This might be the best Christmas present I ever bought Brian.  Got it 3 years ago and not one day since then we haven’t used this Gramophone.  No cords, just insert your iPhone and the Gramophone amplifies your music.  It’s probably the most talked about object in our house.

4-Cozy blanket: Okay, so maybe this one should me on my list, but if I’m the one who asked for it, he will still be the one to steal it during movie night!

5-Chess: I think Bry has played something like 1500 games of chess in the last 2 years.  And now that the boys have started to play as well, I think this is the cutest little travel set.  We need it for on the go.

6-Red Sox t-shit: Anything Red Sox could have worked here, but I love this shirt I found on Etsy from the 2004 World Series title.  All of his favorite players from 2004.  With Pedro on it, this is for sure a winner!

7-Slippers: Found these at Nordstrom and I love them.  Perfect for winter BBQ on the deck!  Yep, you’ve read it right, we BBQ all year long, even when surrounded by 4 feet of snow.And now the perfect gifts for your Maman’s!

1-Glitter Slippers: Every Mommy needs to feel like Cinderella sometimes.  And these slippers are the answer!  Hope to find these under my tree… hint hint!

2-Festive Candle: Festive smell is one of my favorite ways to create ambiance in our home.  This mini candle is perfect for your room!

3-Lillian & Co Bracelet: My new favorite jewelry.  I wear mine every single day.  Lillian & Co is a small business that makes gorgeous bracelet with Disney quotes.  What’s not to love.

4-Harry Potter Spatula: I swear I’ll go bankrupt will all this Harry Potter merchandise that keeps popping up everywhere I go.  Williams Sonoma made these awesome spatula, now I’m hoping I’ll get the Gryffindor one… which one will you choose?

5-I love Winter hat: Although I may not want to wear this in March when I’ll be fed up with all the snow, for now, I just love love love this beautiful an soft hat.  Every body need a little sequins right?

6-Holiday PJ’s: You know I’m a sucker for festive pj’s.  My husband not so much.  Oh well, I hope to find one that matches the boys’…  and this one from Target is just adorable.

7-David’s Tea: So you have your glitter slippers on, your husband blanket and your kids’ Parent Trap movie.  Now all you need is a cup of tea.  David’s Tea is the best and their packaging are gorgeous.

Had so much fun working on these wish lists, hope you have find inspiration for every one on yours.  Can’t wait for all the festive decorations to be up in the malls and for the frenzy to start.  The holidays are truly the best time of the year.  But the best gift will always remain to be together.  Nothing beats a full house of relatives and a Christmas tree a la Clark Griswold!  Only 43 days ’till Christmas!  Happy shopping!

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t’was the weekend before halloween

It was another crazy jam-packed week at our house.  I often/always make too many plans… at least this week there were a lot of Halloween’s related activities, which I’ll never get enough of!

So on Friday night, we visited Pumpkin Inferno at Upper Canada Village; where over 7000 beautiful pumpkins are all lighten up and displayed in different themes and sections of the village. We were joined by my sister-in-law, her family and matante Lulu for the evening. So right after work, we all changed and got ready to leave, picked up a super healthy diner at McDonald’s and then drove the 1:25 it takes from our house to get there. Just about 20 minutes before we arrived, I kind of had a flash that I may had forgotten the boys winter jackets. So we stopped on the side of the road, opened the trunk, to see nothing else than my own jacket in there. Yep, parents of the year, once again. The boys were wearing sweaters, but with a very cold October night ahead, we were in trouble. Well, the boys were in trouble, cause Brian and I were fine with our Fall jacket on! So we went through a couple of stores that were still opened, including the local Home Hardware, but nope, couldn’t find anything there. So we got to Upper Canada Village, parked the car, gave the boys our jackets while we were all waiting in line, and once we made it in, we got the boys a nice souvenir from Upper Canada Village: two –way too large- jackets that they’ll probably never wear again. Ah well, at least we had a great time and the boys didn’t freeze too much. It is such a beautiful place to visit, whether you love or not Halloween. I wish these pumpkins were all in my front yard!

So then on Saturday night there was a surprise party organized for my friend Karine, which turned out to be like an all-day event! But such a fun day where we all had a blast! First we had lunch at Fraser Café in Ottawa. I had never been there, and it was simply delicious. I want to go back like right now, and try other things from their awesome menu! We then took a walk on the parkway with the most gorgeous Fall weather. Then I went back home to finish the surprise birthday cake, and then back to another restaurant for the surprise party with friends and family. Seriously, I’m getting way too old for this, but since it was my friend’s birthday I went along with it… and we stayed at the pub until past 1:00 am… ouch!!! Let just say that Sunday was a very lazy day for me. We did the treat bags and carved out our pumpkin, all while watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. We had a little theme going on with Jack Skellington pie and hand painted mugs we used for hot chocolate. With all that cold rain, we really needed it! So then, painfully, I got through Sunday without even a nap.

Monday was for last minute Halloween preps. Making sure the Cars’ costumes were secure enough to bring to school, started to crimped my hair for my own costume (newfound respect for my Mom who used to do my hair like that when I was a kid and also for all the girls who were teens in the late 80’s), and then stocked the boys Halloween owl’s chairbacker with treats.

Finally, the 31 rolled in and you would have thought it was Christmas morning in our house! So much excitement, from like every one! I love this so much… we got all dressed up, even Brian who’s not really into it normally picked up some stuff from his wardrobe and dressed up as… I’m not even gonna say what he said he was, he’d be too happy if I did!

So I got dressed up as Moana, so much fun, but so cold outside with my light outfit! Then I brought the boys at school with their huge car costume. As soon as they were in they started to drive and cruise through the school’s corridors. The school hadn’t started yet but you could clearly feel the energy from all the kids excitement! Good luck teachers!

Then finally, time for trick or treating! But it was so cold outside… so I decided to leave my costume behind and settled for my Uggs boots and mittens. After 30 minutes outside, we had done every house on our street, we all had enough and got back home to dive into candy heaven! I will say this, my children have much more control over candy than I do/did as a kid! I don’t even think Liam had one piece. He counted them all, made sure he had as many as his brother, but didn’t really ate any. He did wake up this morning with way less in his bowl. Ooops! I won’t say how many I had… I’m kind of ashamed, really! LOL.

So that’s a wrap for Halloween 2017. Decoration are coming down tonight. Clean up is underway. Now, I won’t say I’m ready for Christmas already, but I got my eyes on a festive pj’s and it shouldn’t be long before it’s mine!

Hope you all had a happy Halloween and eat some candies and chocolate bars!

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cruising straight to halloween

It’s almost time! Halloween is upon us! And we are READY!!!

The candies have been bought, the decorations have been up for a while, we have a regular requests for Halloween pajama comes bedtime, and now we have a daily Halloween parade happening every night in our house, cause I am FINALLY done with their Cars costumes! Although I’ve spent a lot of time making some pretty amazing Halloween costumes for my friends and I over the years, especially back in our early twenty’s when we would go out all night on Halloween night and win prizes, well this year’s costumes will definitely go down as the most time consuming, space taking and glue gunning costumes EVER. If the kids complain about the weight of their costumes, I’m blaming it on the glue! And then I’m telling them to shut up and forcing them to wear it a little more! (I’d like to specify that I won’t really be doing that; got to be careful with humor nowadays).

So, I’ve always been Cars obsessed, like, ever since the first movie came out… and this was one of the first Pixar movie I’ve showed the boys… and just like me, they’ve been in love with McQueen and his friends since. But last year, our love for Cars grew to a whole new level after we visited Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. So, since going to Disney, with the last Cars movie coming up last summer, it basically was a McQueen year at our house with Cars everywhere. I knew the second I saw a boxed costume of McQueen on Pinterest that I needed to step up my glue-gunning-skills and get to work. Cause after all, I needed 2 cars.

Back in August, I loaded my house with huge cardboard boxes I was able to find, and then invaded my kitchen with fabrics and all kinds of crafty thing I knew I’d need for this project. Now that they’re done, I can say I am in LOVE with how they turned out; just not sure it was worth the 15 hours it took to make each of them. Yep, I guess I really love Cars and craft and Halloween to spend that much time on DIY kids costumes. But I mostly did it before the admiring eyes of my boys, looking at it every steps of the way (probably wondering when it would actually look like Cars!), sometimes helping me, so it was all worth it!

Liam wanted to be Cruz Ramirez, and Logan, his beloved Lightning. So after many hours of works, last Sunday morning, both cars were finally declared done and ready for a test drive. One look at them riding their new cars and I knew it was well worth the mess. They kept on running and laughing and bumping each other, and then even agreed to go out to take pictures. Liam even asked me to put a Cars song on my cell phone and put it in his car to make like a car radio… so he was cruising while listening to the Cars soundtrack… I just love when they ask for small things like that that reminds me of things I would have also asked as a kid. He’s after my heart this one! He also requested a Cars Day. I guess I’m rubbing off on him! So now we’re planning to have one of those on November 7 when the new movie will be out on Blue Ray, so they can sit in their cars and watch the movie, Drive-In style!

But for now, we’ll continue to parade in our costumes, and you might even spot us on the streets, dancing and singing ‘Life could be a dream, life could be a dream, sha-boom, sha-boom’! All that, of course, while patiently waiting for October 31st for the real Lightning and Cruz parade. Hoping the next few days go by fast so I can eat some of my kids mini chocolate bars! Ka-Chow!!!

 

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you’ve been booed plus a long weekend

Well, it’s been one of those week, or I should say month… as last Sunday I was hit with a second strep throat virus in less than 3 weeks. And this time it really kicked my ass. Let’s just say that the back-to-school-thing is rough this year. I’m happy that the kids are doing great in their new classes with their new teachers, but since I’ve already been sick twice, it hasn’t been as easy as anticipated. And although they normally understand that when Maman is sick they kind of have to leave me alone to rest a while, this time I almost lost it when, in the middle of a nap, I woke up, and we were 4 in my bed with everybody talking at the same time and jumping all around… that’s when I said to myself… why aren’t the meds stronger?!!! Yeah, well, just kidding; I guess.

So finally, by Friday night, I was feeling better, and while alone with the boys for the evening, I had a great idea for us. I’ve read about ‘Being Booed’ last year and decided to find out a bit more about it. “You’ve been BOOED” is a fun, festive and friendly way of doing the old “Knock and Run”! So I explained to the boys that we we’re going to do some fun Halloween filled baskets for our friends and leave them on their doorway, ring the bell, and then run away. And they LOVED it!

So as soon as we came back from school, they unpacked their backpack and then we made our way to Wal-Mart to get some Halloween baskets and treats. They spent lots of time picking out what their friends would like and what movie they wanted to give them. We found 5$ Halloween movies… hummmm, yeah, definitely a great find for our baskets! Bags of mini-chocolate bars and candies made filling our baskets quite easy.

Back home we unpacked everything we had bought, then wrote a little note to our friends explaining the process of being booed. The best part in my opinion is that our friends now have 2 days to deliver another basket to 2 other families. So it’s like the best kind of Halloween chain, ever!

Each boy chose a family, filled their basket with a Halloween movie, popcorn, candy, mini-chocolate bars, fun straws, glow sticks and more treats. They made sure they had enough lollipops for each kids in that family, so they wouldn’t fight. I love their little big hearts!

Once the baskets were filled, we hopped in the car and drove to our friends house. We pretended we were ghost-spies delivering treats. The boys were so stressed about being seen, it was hilarious. Logan was the first to deliver his package; climbed up the steps and placed the baskets on the doorstep, rang the bell and ran away like he had just robbed a bank. I should have made a video, it was so funny. Honestly, I don’t even think our friends were home but I’m not letting him know about that! Next turn, Liam. My little shy boy, who kept on saying “they will see me, I know they will see me” and then was giggling the entire time he was delivering his basket. He was crawling, made his way along the parking lot, climbed on the porch from the side of the house and then rang the bell. Poor little thing, so scared of getting caught… never seen him run so fast. I had park the car strategically so our friends couldn’t see it; and while we were waiting by the side of their house we heard their little excited and happy voices while they were opening their surprise package. It was Priceless! We jumped in the car, screamed of happiness that we had made it and succeeded at being ghost-spies… It was so much fun, next time we will be booing our neighbours! The boys felt so special doing this for their friends. So I hope you’ll Boo your friends too! It’s so much fun, and not just for the kids!!

On Saturday, we dropped the boys with their grandma for a family Thanksgiving dinner and sleepover while we attended my cousin Lydia’s wedding. We had a great time, ate tons of food and danced until every inch of my body was aching. She looked like a mystic princess, and for the first time EVER, I assisted a bride in cutting her wedding gown so she could dance more freely! Yep, while standing up on a chair, her mom cut her gown knee-high with a pair of scissor!

On Sunday we had a wedding brunch and then the boys proceeded to play with the wedding photo booth props (Mario Bros style). They were over the moon, and lucky them, my cousin told them they could bring it all back home! Then it was nap time for myself, golf for Brian, and finally a birthday/Thanksgiving dinner at aunt Lulu.

Oh how I love long weekends… so on Monday morning we stayed in our pj’s until noon, the boys played Super Mario while I watched some more Harry Potter and worked on the kids Halloween costumes (these will be my favorite homemade costumes ever) with a Fall scented candle burning while eating candies and those mini chip bags that are so addictive! Finally got all dressed up in something else than a pj and drove to my Mom’s for a second Thanksgiving dinner, watched the Red Sox game, made fun of Brian for being a little grumpy after they had lost, ate too much pie and got home extra tired.

Hope you had a great time with your families, I’m so thankful for mine, and for the 4-day week ahead!

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the great pumpkin

One of the best thing about blogging has to be the people you meet and the friends you make through the blog. You know, I’m really just doing this just for the fun of sharing our everyday adventures with everyone, but sometimes along the way, some of my readers reach out to me with questions, or for some help with a project or just for fun stuff they want to share with me, and I just love to hear what you girls have to say and respond to each of you.

So that’s how I came up with this weekend’s activity; as Nathalie, one of mylemondroplife follower, sent me a message a week ago to tell me about that pumpkin place I had to visit. I was really excited to hear about this, so I looked it up online and as soon as I opened their website I knew I’d love it and wanted to go right away. So this immediately became my priority #1 for the weekend. Hum, hello, do I want to spend the first weekend of October in a pumpkin fields, oh yes I do!

Came Saturday morning, I was so excited, and ready fairly early, but the boys had in mind to spend the day in their pj. Sorry to disappoint you guys, but this is pumpkin day, and ready or not, you are all coming with me anyway! Sometime it’s hard with the boys to get them excited with things like that… most of the times they end up having a blast, but it often starts with a little crisis at home before we leave. So we finally got all dressed up and left for Gatineau where we we’re going to “pumpkin heaven” I told them. Even that did not get anyone excited, except for myself! It’s no surprise for anyone anymore how much I love this season; you know, give me a cozy sweater or a blanket, a hot tea and some Fall scented candle and I’m a happy girl.

We’ve visited a few pumpkin patch over the years, some maybe a little expensive, or just too big, we even visited a pumpkin patch that ended up being a farmer’s field where they had dropped pumpkin so the kids would believe they were picking their own… well not this time, this weekend I was expecting something simple, gorgeous, with no fuss, where you can have a great time while picking up your own pumpkin. And Courges & Cie was just that; and even better. From the moment I saw the place from far away I knew this was going to be my new favorite early October place. Dirt road, a beautiful barn, a field filled with the most perfect pumpkins and squash; I was in love with the place in an instant.

So we got out of the car and the boys could hardly kept still. They were so excited! Finally!!! You know this exact moment when you just want to tell them: “you see, I told you!!!”, but what’s the point. Instead I started to take some pictures while Brian went to get one of the many wheel barrels that were lined up right there for us to use. We went directly to the pumpkin patch across the road and the pumpkins were everywhere. They were all so pretty. Some huge ones, some small ones, there were some of all sizes and shapes. Honestly, I think I’ve seen the prettiest pumpkin ever, but it may have been just a little too big! But sooo pretty, with a perfect shape and the most perfect stem. Now while writing this I kinda regret not bringing it home where it belongs!!!

There were so many nice ones that we could have picked up the first couple we saw but decided to walk further down the field and let the boys find their favorite one. We didn’t know we needed cutters but found a small pocket knife in the car and it worked just fine. Logan picked a huge one while Liam found a small green pumpkin that had not ripen up, and just like that we were all very happy. The boys took turns for a short ride in the wheel barrel, I took some more pictures and then we made our way into the green house. I had never seen so many squashes. All beautifully displayed with a sign explaining where they come from, how to use them and so much more, and then I found a pink pumpkin. Hello luv, where have you been all my life!?!

We settled on picking pumpkins and buying the squashes from the green house, but you can also pick out the squashes. As well as tomatoes. Just so you know!

Once we were done, we stopped at their cute little outside kitchen where they serve French Fried Squash. So so so delicious. Honestly, you can’t go to Courges & Cie and not try the French Fried Squash. And also their donuts. The boys had 2 each. They were sooo good. Only got a bite, but next year, I’m buying one and then I’ll hide. That’s my plan!

So, for the next couple of weeks, Courges & Cie will be opened every weekend and you should definitely make the time to visit. It was clearly one of the best Fall outing I’ve had in years. I’m glad the boys loved it because we’ll be visiting again for sure, as Pumpkin Day at Courges & Cie is now an official yearly family thing.

Happy October 1st my friends, officially time to buy pumpkins!

 

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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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my kind of day

What a crazy week it was with all the back to school thing both for me and for the boys and the back to old (and many new) routines.  Friday night isn’t coming fast enough this week for me.  At least it’s all starting with a long weekend; I’ll take that, thank you!

Here’s a little recap of our last weekend.  Hopefully it will inspire you for this next one!

So there’s this small village, about 45 minutes from Ottawa called Vankleek Hill.  Small place, old charming houses, cute little boutiques, with an awesome friendly community where it seems like every weekend is being celebrated.  My kind of place!  So I was having lunch with the boys in Brian’s hometown as we had planned to visit the local fair when my nephew burst out of nowhere saying they were going to the maze in Vankleek Hill; a giant corn maze!  Right there and then, we changed our plans and made our way to Ouimet Farm Adventure.

I had seen their FB page, heard a lot about it, seen ads and drove in front of it a few times, while never taking the time so stop.  I was impressed the minute I got out of the car.  There was a project in Prescott Russell to paint masterpieces into farm silos.  Ouimet has one and it’s awesome; it’s so beautiful.  I now want to check them all out.  Fall bucket list I guess.  So once we got inside the gates, the boys went crazy with the gigantic bouncer.  So much fun.  They just love bouncers.  Then they pumped water to race rubber duckies.  Another win.

Once it was time for the maze, we teamed up with my sister-in-law and her family, got a few maps and got ready, or kinda ready, cause we were not!  We had no clue what to do, where to go and how to find stuff.  Finally, we managed (or were lucky enough) to find the first clue within minutes, so that helped us.  But man, this maze was hard.  You can choose to do the easy route, medium or hard.  We did the hard route, and it’s really hard… but, after a mere 1 hour and 2 minutes, we finally made it out!  Now I can’t wait to do it again this fall with other people, and do a race, and win because I’ve already did it!  They boys LOVED it, I thought they would be bored but they couldn’t wait to find the next clue and they loved to fill out their maps.  It’s really a great family activity.

We will for sure be going back.  We had a family diner to attend that day so we had to cut our trip short, but we will make sure to spend more time next time we visit.  I think maybe we should buy a house and move there… we were there last weekend for the maze, we’re going back next weekend for the Festival of Flavours, and then two weeks later we’re spending the entire weekend there as there’s no way Brian would miss a minute of Beau’s Oktoberfest!

Yeah, if there was a place I’d move to, I’d say it would be in Vankleek Hill, it’s just so pretty.  But for now, as a tourist visiting this cute little town many times a year, I got to say ‘keep up the good work VKH people, and Ouimet Farm, and other businesses, we will see you soon!’.

 

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