robots, diner parties, birthday parties and a wedding

Well, it’s already Thursday and we’re still trying to recuperate from our crazy weekend!  Let’s just say that sometimes, I may over estimate how much time we actually have!

It all started on Friday morning when we went blueberry picking as I explained in last week’s post.  We got back home, baked a little bit, had lunch, and then decided to leave for downtown Ottawa to watch La Machine.

La Machine was a 4-day event for the celebration of Canada 150th.  A dragon and a spider, chasing each other around the city.  They were huge, and so spectacular.  To get there, we took the bus from Orleans, and it wasn’t that bad, as it took us only 50 minutes to get there.  We then started to run around the By Ward Market to find them.  We were spellbound by these robots the second we saw them.  The boys couldn’t get enough.  After an hour in the scorching heat, in was time to leave for the bus station and make our way back home.  Well THAT my friend was an adventure of its own… the three of us stuck on the bridge for almost an hour, waiting for our bus along with 5000 other people.  When our bus finally got there, we hoped on, glued to other passengers for a very long 80 minutes!  Boy oh boy was I glad to see my car and my A\C when I got off that bus!

We all took showers, changed, and then were on our way for diner at my Mom’s.  We had relatives that came down from Kitchener for the weekend, so we wanted to spend time with them, but by 11pm it was time to leave, and finally, by midnight, we were back home and ready for bed.  I was done… and needed some sleep as the next day was somewhat over planned as well!

On Saturday morning, we got ready and drove to our friends’ camping site for a kid’s birthday party.  Spent a few hours there with our friends and then had to change camping lots for another 2 birthday parties.  Brian’s sister’s kids are now so big… 12 and 13 already!  So I spent some time with Brian’s family while the boys rode the golf carts and played with their cousins.  Then, we had to go back home to get all dressed up cause at 6pm it was wedding time, as my little brother was getting married!

So went back home, the kids took a nap, we changed and got ready.  Yeah, my brother got married… still can’t actually believe it, but he did!  Congrats Alex and Crystal!  We had a great time with some family members we clearly don’t see enough.  They had a clown for the kids and they had so much fun.  Our house is still full of balloon swords, and balloon microphones, one octopus, as well as some other stuff I don’t really know what is it and probably don’t want to know!

Sunday morning, let’s say it was hard to get out of bed.  We all slept in till 9.  Don’t think it has ever happened… but I loved it!  We then ran errands, prepare diner and waited for our guests.  The weather was gorgeous and we spent the afternoon in the pool.  Made some Cubano pork sandwiches and had fluffy cheesecake for dessert.  Another late night!  But its summer, so who cares!?!

Well, Brian did, since he was working on Monday morning… but as for us, we crashed on the couch for most of the day!  Way too lazy to do anything or to tackle any chores or errands we needed done.  I made the boys watch Harry Potter for the first time since it was Harry’s birthday.  We also made a Hagrid style cake!  I really hope my love for Potter will be passed on to them!  They may not want to fly a broom like I do, but later this week we’ll be making our own wands.  And they’re the one who asked for it, so I guess that’s good a start!

Finally, on Tuesday it was our 8th wedding anniversary.  Not sure when we’ll have time for a date night, but I surely can’t wait.  For now, we celebrated with soccer night and then a visit to Brian’s dad to see more relatives from Chicoutimi that were visiting for the weekend.

Hope you also had a great -but less crowded- weekend like we did!  If not, well it’s not too late to start planning for the long weekend since tomorrow’s already Friday!

Happy Thursday and happy long weekend!!!

 

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take me out to the blueberry field

With an already jam packed weekend ahead, I decided that blueberry picking was in order on this beautiful Friday morning.

We used to live on the outskirt of our city, where we literally lived 3 minutes walking-distance away from a blueberry farm. It’s called Canaan Blueberries.  About 25 minutes from Ottawa. It’s a family operated berry farm on a few acre of beautiful land.  Once you enter the fields, you feel secluded from the world.  It’s quiet, and so delicious!

When we lived there, I use to take the boys in the stroller, park them in the field, and give them berries while I did the picking.  This year, they were ready to have own basket to fill, which they both dropped on the ground at one point; hence a small meltdown, oh well, we lived.

It was such a gorgeous day for berry picking.  We filled a basket for us and one for their Papi (AKA Frank!).  It took us just a little less than an hour, but you can easily fill yours in 20 minutes, if you can avoid distractions and meltdowns!!!  We will for sure go back next week.

Once we got home, we made some blueberry muffins and LEMONADE!  Oh, yes… blueberry lemonade.  And I have the recipe for you.

What you need:

SYRUP:

1 cup blueberries (fresh is best)

1\2 cup sugar

1\2 cup water

DRINK:

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS blueberry syrup

1 cup sprite or 7up

ice

How to:

Place water, sugar and blueberries in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the stove and let it cool for 5 minutes.

I made this drink by the glass, but you could easily adjust the quantities for a pitcher.

In a large glass, place ice, lemon juice, blueberry syrup and top off with sprite.  Add a lemon slice, fresh blueberries and fresh mint to garnish.  This version is non-alcoholic, but add gin and you’ve got a party!

You will have plenty of the blueberry syrup… for about 10 drinks.  Store the leftover in the fridge and you can warm it up the next morning for your toast.  You’re welcome!

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my kind of fest

Short and savory post!

Yesterday evening, with the most beautiful weather, we decided at the last minute to go to my new best festival EVER: PoutineFest!  Oh yeah, you read that right… a festival dedicated to my favorite food, POUTINE!

If you’re in the Ottawa region this weekend, and like poutine, then you have to visit Sparks Street.  Right in the heart of Ottawa, food trucks are lined up, waiting for you, and serving all sorts of poutine.  Brian picked me up after work and we drove downtown with the boys.  As soon as we arrived, we could smell all of that fried food!  I’m a cheap date, you know, since I don’t drink, but if you want to make me happy, buy me a poutine!

With so many choices to choose from, it was hard to decide which one to try.  Plus the boys were getting hungry, so we went for a food truck with a short line.  It turned out to be a really good decision, as it was delicious.

I had deep-fried-curds poutine… I wouldn’t say it was ‘good’, I’d describe it better as saying it was ‘life changing’!  OMG.  Brian had an onion ring poutine, which looked really good as well, but WTF… ketchup on a poutine?  Sometimes I just don’t understand him… oh well.

So we got our poutine from the Golden Fries truck.  The boys had some fries, Pogos and donuts.  Well, I might have had a few donuts as well!

Next time, I want to go with lots of people who can order all kinds of poutine and share.  Here’s some of the type of poutine you can find on Sparks Street this weekend:

-Cinco de Mayo Poutine

-Lobster Poutine

-Pad Thai Poutine

-Pulled Pork Poutine

-Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine

-Deep Fried Cauliflower Poutine

-mini donuts and more!

So if you have a bit of free time this weekend, it’s quick and fun.  Spring as arrived and finally we can spend some time outside; so why not spending it downtown Ottawa eating a poutine while sitting on the sidewalk (yeah, there’s not many option when it comes to sitting and enjoying your poutine… so we picked an open spot on the sidewalk and ate there).  Go have fun and eat an amazing poutine!  If you do, let me know which one you had and if it was worth it!

Have a great weekend!

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one amazing weekend

Every Sunday, about right after diner time, I end up asking myself the same question week after week: why are weekends so short?  This weekend was so much fun, but once again, it just went by way too fast…

Started with a lazy Friday night, pizza and a movie.  We finally watched Star Wars ‘The Force Awaken’.  It was an immediate hit, and I have a feeling that Star Wars will be part of our household for a while.  The boys loved it, and we all can’t wait to see the next one!  Well, except Brian who chose to binge-watch The Office instead.  Yeppers!

On Saturday, we had planned our first snowshoe outing and my sister-in-law Annick and her family were coming with us.  In the morning, Brian prepared his famous family soup (soupe aux coquilles à matante Aline) and made sandwiches for everyone.  One day I’ll talk about how awesome her family is; my boys are in love with their cousins Nini and Jay-Jay, her daughter and son.  So we all had lunch together, got ready, putted on our gear and headed out to Rockland’s golf course.  Within 5 minutes of being there, I knew it was going to be a hit!  I didn’t even had my snowshoes on and the boys had already climbed a snowbank with their mini snowshoes!  So we started our little venture on the never been touched snow, ready to try our new snowshoes.  By the way, if you’re thinking about buying some, now is the best time.  Everywhere you look, they’re on sale.  Bought the one for the boys at Giant Tiger for 30$ and they are great.

So we walked for maybe half an hour, stopped on a little bridge, watched the flowing water of the unfrozen creek, threw a few snowballs, made a few races and found some walking sticks.  My little Logan was a natural, leading the pack while not complaining once.  He was all about being the chief and having rosy cheeks.  Our entire adventure lasted only an hour (felt like 3!), but everybody had a great time.  We clearly found a new activity our family loves.  Plus it’s a great workout!  Win-win!

Went back home, all sat by the fire, our cousin Jojo joined us for a sleepover, played games and ordered the best Thai food in town!  Well, Brian and my brother-in-law actually drove to downtown Ottawa to get it, but it was so worth it!!!  Then stayed up way past our bedtimes listening to music we’d like to hear at our funeral… seems like an awkward discussion, but we had such a great time!

I’m all about lazy Sunday.  So in the morning, Jojo and I had homemade pink cinnamon buns and played bingo with the boys!  After lunch, I had to sneak in a little nap, you know, just because it’s Sunday and I can… but then I felt all rested and we decided to go back for snowshoeing round 2.  Bundled up the boys and packed up snacks, cause the boys wanted to go back for a picnic on the bridge at the golf course… Logan leading the way, we found our way back to the creek and had our picnic.  We did the same trail than the day before, then found more sticks, honestly, my kids can never have too many sticks… I don’t understand this one… it’s probably a boys thing!

We got home in time for the football game… and our team made it!  (Brian loves the Pats; I just love Tom!!!)  So Super Bowl 51 here we come.  Already planning on the menu… can’t wait!  And just like that, the weekend was over and I was already making plans for next Friday!

So, well, weekends may be short, but you know what, they’re just the best.  And I can’t wait for next one!

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o christmas tree

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Christmas tree, hot cocoa and reindeer’s… all favorites of mine!  All found at one of my favorite places: Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park.

I always wanted to see real reindeer’s, you know like the one Mariah Carey pets in her Christmas album… well I found them at this beautiful Christmas Tree Farm!

When Liam was one and Logan only a few months old, I started to search for Christmas Tree Farms in our region. We always had real Christmas Trees that we bought from a local merchant, but that year I wanted to go out and cut our own tree and take pictures with the kids. So I found many places where you could cut your own tree, but the most interesting one of them all was definitely that cute place I found in Beckwith, ‘just outside of Ottawa’ I told Brian.

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I remember Brian not being really enthusiastic about going there the first time.  He did complain for most of the drive there, saying he couldn’t believe we were driving 2 hours to get a tree… but last weekend marked the 5th year in a row that we go there on the first Saturday of December to get our Christmas Tree, and now it has become a family tradition that he wouldn’t miss. Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park is not that far, it’s about 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa, so one hour from home.  But I would easily drive 3 hours to get there, I just love this place!

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The family that owns the farm is the best.  They make you feel like old friends. Remembering you, remembering your kids, and remembering that you want the biggest tree you can find!

The farm is huge, you can visit Santa workshop, you can skate, go through candy cane lane or a hay maze, tubing, warm up in a cabin or by the outside bonfire, all while sipping your hot cocoa.  Tractor wagon rides take you to one of the trees lots, where you will find your perfect tree, cut it, and then bring it home.  It’s never an easy job, these things are sturdy… and it’s quite a workout… well that’s what Brian tells me!

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We have a corny tradition… we look for the tree we want, and once we found it, we put little surprises under it for the boys to find.  We walk away for a minute or two, and then we bring them back closer to it so they can find the surprises and our tree by themselves… and that’s how they pick our tree every year!  They love it!  One year they found Rudolph and Clarice stuffed animals, then some Elf on the shelf ornaments.  They know they’ll find something for them when they spot our magic tree!  Last year, the magic even brought me some chocolate… I just loved it! (Thanks Mom)a4

The first couple times, we went with the boys, then the 3rd time we brought my Mom and Frank, last year Mom and Frank and Jojo and Lulu came; and this year Brian’s dad Joe was added to the group.  Just like Brian the first year, he couldn’t believe we were driving that far to get our tree, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be back next year!  We love to have our family with us.  It’s the perfect early December/holiday activity.

The best part for me are the reindeers.  They are gorgeous.  I could spend hours just looking at them.  The horns are spectacular.  We even got to bring 3 horns home in the last few years… perfect Christmas decorations!  We take a LOTS of picture, we laugh and we smile all day long!a23

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Once we get home, we put the tree up, then Brian spends at least 20 minutes making sure it’s going to stay up (something we forgot do the first couple year!!!), and then while I prepare a big pasta diner for everyone, they all decorate our beautiful tree. Family is the best, Christmas is the best and Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park helps make the perfect memories.

You should definitely visit… the holidays aren’t even started yet and I can’t wait to go back to that place next year!

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