our christmas

Hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Ours was, and as always we had a jam-packed schedule; but that is clearly how we love it!

The boys were super excited on Christmas Eve, so I decided to put my long to-do list on the side and go snowshoeing with them to burn off some of that energy. It was kind of cold outside, but not enough to prevent us from enjoying our nice walk by the river. Definitely something I would like do every Christmas Eve from now on. After that we had a light lunch and it was already time for the kids Christmas Eve’s nap. They didn’t like the idea that they had to take a nap, but knowing that they would go to bed past midnight, we knew they had to. After the nap, they got dressed up, we packed the car with food and gifts and we were on our way.

We have had this amazing fondue dinner at my mother-in-law on Christmas Eve for years, and this year was no different. It’s just so nice to start the Holiday Season with a nice dinner that does not involve turkey! So after dinner we all opened some gifts and then had a lot of fun with our yearly gift exchanged thing. I’m so happy that Brian and I ended up with the two things I really wanted!!! Since my kids are the youngest on both sides of Brian’s family, well they were the only ones that kept on asking for more gifts, literally ALL-NIGHT-LONG! But what’s Christmas without a little excitement, right?

We then made our way to our second family gathering of the night at my father-in-law’s for the Woodbury ‘Réveillon de Noel’. Just before midnight, Liam, who was kind of quiet so far, told me he had a headache, so I gave him a bit of medicine as he looked like he was starting a fever and wasn’t really himself. Logan on the other hand had a blast. He danced, he sang Christmas song with uncle Bobby, and he was super excited to see Santa. The boys finally went to bed at around 1:30 am. Yep! We then kept on partying until something like 2:30, then decided it was time to head back home.

Home is about 45 minutes away, but it nearly took us 2 hours to get there. We had looked at the weather forecast in the afternoon in order to decide if we should sleep over or come back home, and as expected (and forecasted), there was like a beautiful Christmas Eve light snowstorm going on when we left; but then, 15 minutes later, we were driving in a pure blizzard… and I wanted to cry as I couldn’t see a thing 15 feet in front of me! It was white everywhere, and I couldn’t see the road, or the shoulder lane, or the ditch, or like anything, but luckily, Brian didn’t fell asleep and did his best to keep me calm so we would make it home safely. I will NEVER drive in a snow storm like that one again. Let’s just say that by the end of that ‘beautiful’ Christmas Eve snowstorm, there was at least foot of snow in our driveway, which was way more than expected. We should have clearly stayed there and continue to party instead of driving back home!

So, we got to bed at around 4:30 am only to be woken up at 8 by an excited and joyful Logan. By that time, Santa had come, had eaten the cookies, drank the milk, and had left each of the boys the toy they had asked him. Liam woke up with a severe sore throat and a headache, so gifts opening was quieter than usual for him. The boys got the new Nintendo Switch console as a surprise, and they were really happy about it, but with Liam not having as much energy, the reaction was kind of mellow, or not as loud as expected! For months now, Liam has been talking about the Nintendo Switch… so when he told us 3 weeks ago that his best friend from school was probably having one for Christmas, we told him that he was still too young for it and would have to wait a few more years before he’d get one… his response was ‘I will never get the Switch; I will only get the Switch when I’ll be 30 years old’… so dramatic, I wonder where he gets this from… so anyway, we were expecting him to jump all over the place, but poor little thing, he was clearly not feeling too well. My favorite gifts the boys got are clearly their new Mario and Luigi pajamas; and I guess it was Logan’s favorite as well, as he did not take it off yet since he opened it! They look so funny in them, so I couldn’t care less if he’s spent the last 3 days wearing it!

We were hosting Christmas dinner at our house. And I just love this new tradition: my Mom and Frank bring all the food and I provide the house! My brother and his family came over as well as my aunt Lise-Ann and her family. We opened more gifts and then ate too much food. The kids were all playing downstairs, and at some point my nephew came up and I asked him what were they all doing and he told me that they were all playing Mario Kart, except for Liam who was watching them from the couch under his blanket. Well that’s clearly not Liam, as he’s a Mario Kart pro (and addict!). So I went downstairs to get him, and poor little thing, he was having a fever. He was shivering and in really bad shape. So yeah, I put him to bed at 6 on Christmas Day. He was so sad he couldn’t enjoy Christmas Day with his cousins, but the only thing he wanted was to go to bed. He woke up 14 hours later. I guess he needed to rest. Dinner was delicious; dessert too. Everyone was gone by 10, and then I just sat by myself in the living room, listening to Christmas music on the record turntable while watching the tree lights. It never last long enough. I was so sad it was already over. But still, it was a great Christmas season, and I enjoyed every moments of it.

Boxing Day was pretty boring at our house. The day started with Liam throwing up in our bed. So I did some laundry, then cleaned up the house a little while staying in our jammies all day. By the end of the day, Liam was back to his usual self and started to play the new console like a pro. The best part of my day was when I started a 1000 pieces puzzle. Woot woot. Party animal over here!

We’re still in la-la-land over here, enjoying our two weeks holiday, not caring what we’ll do today, when we’ll get dressed up or what to eat next. So far it feels like all we’ve eaten this week is leftovers from Christmas. Hello leftovers! I will share the Ultimate Leftover Turkey Sandwich later this week, so don’t miss this one, as I’m pretty sure all of you will have everything you need in your fridge to do this on January 2nd!

Even if Christmas was not picture perfect, it was still great, and of course the best time of the year. We spent lots of time cuddling and being together and that’s the best part of it. Right now it’s minus 40 degrees Celsius over here, so were staying inside, playing with our new games and living on leftovers and hot chocolate. Not too bad, right? Well, I hope Santa was good to all of you and that you’ve spent time with the people you love. Now, let’s get ready for NYE!

 

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christmas worthy french toast

For a very long time, I didn’t eat French Toast. You know, soggy bread with a mushy texture… I don’t know, just wasn’t a fan. I do love maple syrup, but French Toast, bleh! I would rather have a bowl of cereal or Nutella toasts instead.

Well that is until my mom found an awesome recipe in the LCBO magazine Food and Drink, years ago. Life changing! It’s mostly all the same ingredients that you would find in your regular FT recipe… but… wait for it!

So we usually eat French Toast on Sunday morning when we’re not having the best breakfast in town at Brian’s aunt Lulu; but above all, we ONLY eat French Toast when we have had a nice dinner on the night before that included a bread baguette. I’m telling you, you won’t EVER throw away any left over baguette once you’ve tried this recipe. Of course you can use a fresh baguette, but it’s so much better when you use food you would have normally wasted. So from now on, save every pieces of baguette that’s left after dinner, freeze it in a Ziploc bag and keep it until you’re ready to make French Toast on a beautiful Sunday morning. I’d say you’ll need about 4 or 5 slices of bread per person, but you can clearly make a few more, and there’ll be none left, trust me!

So you’re probably telling yourself “well what could possibly make these French Toast sooo special?”. Well the secret lies somewhere between the maple syrup and the choice of bread! Now that I’ve already told you about the bread thing, here’s what you need to know about the maple syrup: well you put it IN the batter; cause that’s where the magic happens! With the smaller baguette pieces, the crust will caramelized while cooking, giving you less soggy bread and more crispy goodness to devour!

Easy to make, even when entertaining a crowd for brunch. I can assure you that these will be a hit. So here goes my version of the recipe.

What you need:

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

baguette slices for 4

Easy as 1-2-3!

1- Mix all wet ingredients

2- Dip one bread slice at a time in the batter mixture

3- Place them in a buttered skillet on med-high heat and cook until both sides are golden (and yummy!)

Dress it up with more maple syrup, powdered sugar and fresh fruits. And VOILA!

Easy to make, tastes like heaven and takes no time at all. Perfect addition to your Christmas morning family brunch, but honestly, I prefer having them randomly on any other given weekend whenever I’m feeling like it.

Hope the next couple of days will be good to you; wishing you the happiest of Holidays, and the tastiest of French Toast somewhere between Christmas and NYE. Merry Christmas mylemondroplife friends! xx

 

 

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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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3 resolutions and a recipe

Sadly, our Christmas break is over.  On monday morning, the three of us were back at school.  Bittersweet, because it’s fun to go back to our routine and see friends and coworkers, but it was sooo much fun to spend those last 2 weeks at home with the boys.  I’m now counting the days till our March break! (then I’ll start counting the days till our Summer break… I guess I can’t complain!)

So, 2017, did you make any resolutions?  Usually I don’t.  But I’ve decided that I should try to improve myself, so there is goes.

#1 Be more patient… my Mom and husband are probably overjoyed by this first resolution.  I’m not always very patient, I like things my way and I like order; and I have two beautiful boys who are testing my patience daily.  So I want to try to make more time for them, listen to them and be more present, and when it won’t go the way I want it to go, I’ll try to take a breath and go forward without necessarily making them do it or act the way I want.  So to be more patient, flexible, agile and understanding with them.  We’ll see how it goes!!!

#2 Be more healthy.  Last year, I ran my first 10k race.  I was really proud of myself.  I trained hard and I did it.  After that, I kept running once or twice a week but with no other race in mind.  Unless you count the Disney Run… which is my dream race, and yes I’m planning on doing it soon, but right now there’s nothing ahead that I have to train for… and yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to go out and run just for fun… well that was in 2016… cause in 2017 I’d like to always have a race scheduled ahead, a goal, so I have a reason to go out and run!  So I want to register for the Ottawa 10k again but improve my time.  I also want to eat more healthy and make better nutritious choices for my family.  Less restaurant, fast food and treats.  More fruits and veggies, more homemade meals and plan more our weekly meals.  It’s 2017, it’s a new year, and I need to kill it with #2.

#3 Be more organized.  Organize our home, cupboards and pantries, closets, cars, basement, backyard and GARAGE.  Being more organized in my mind, setting goals and getting there.

All of these are doable.  I’ve been trying to become that better version of myself for years now, but in 2017, I will.  Never too late to change, and I feel like it’s time to stop trying or wishing for better and to just do it.

Do you take any resolutions?  I’d like to know what they are!  Inspire me! (for next year thought, as I have enough already for 2017!!!)

So for today, I’m leaving you with a restaurant worthy ham and cheese panini.

Easily the best sandwich I ever made, fresh, explosion of flavour and lots of cheese.  You can never have too much cheese, right?  Yes, I know what my resolution #2 is… but what do you want me to do with all that cheese I bought in 2016, it won’t eat itself, so I will!

Ham and Cheese Panini

Heat up your panini grill or a skillet.

Butter some rye bread.

Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard with a tablespoon of maple syrup.  Spread on the rye bread.

Add some slice aged cheddar cheese, shaved black forest ham, a few thinly sliced Granny Smith apple slices and some more CHEESE.

Place on the panini grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Cut in half and serve with a lemon and oil arugula salad.

Enjoy!

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christmas spirit giveaway

To all my-lemon-drop-life followers, it’s time for my first giveaway!  YAY!

Some of you know that I’ve been using and preaching for Young Living essential oil for almost 2 years now. I just love it! I will soon post a blog on my favorite oils, on how I use them and why I love them so much.  I have two diffusers in my home that I use daily, and I can’t wait to add more. I need one per room!

I want to share my love for essential oils and why not start with the best one of the season: ‘Christmas Spirit’. It’s a hard one to get, as it gets sold out in just a few hours every time it becomes available, but I got one for you! So this awesome festive essential oil can be yours! All you have to do is subscribe to my blog (if you haven’t already) and share one of my Christmas blog posts on Facebook (Ian Christmas Adventure Park, Snowman Lasagna or Hot Cocoa Recipe). The more you share, the best are your chances to win!

The winner will be picked on December 15th and I will send you the prize so you can enjoy it by Christmas time!

If you want more information about essential oils, let me know; I can also order some for you if you are interested in trying it.

Thanks for your support and constant encouragements. And thank you for looking at my blog, I’m having so much fun doing this so far!

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