boston you’re my home: our seventh boston trip

Oh Boston, you’ve stolen our hearts, once again! We’re back from our ‘Family Summer Getaway’ and I’m still in a vacation hangover! Does it happen to you? I’m never really ready to come back from a vacation… you know, even if I love our home, there’s just something about being away together and exploring and enjoying new (or familiar) places that makes me want to stay there, just a little longer.

So when we decided to bring the boys to Boston this summer, my Mom and Frank told us they would tag along and we were so happy about it! We had 4 days to work with and a very long to-do list, but we couldn’t wait to get started!

We decided to rent a mini-van, yep, and it was AWESOME. Now that I’ve traveled comfortably in my mini-van for a week, I kind of regret not getting one when the boys were babies and I was carrying that enormous double stroller in my Matrix (I called it my Go-kart, and I hated it!!!). So after having planned everything carefully and having packed everything in the van the night before, we all watched the movie Fever Pitch, went to bed, and then left in the early hours on Tuesday morning. We made a quick stop at Timmy’s for breakfast on-the-go and then on our way we were. I keep on saying “up until now” every time I talk about this, but my boys are really good travelers. Like really really good! Logan might have asked 20 times “are we there yet” in the first half-hour (of the 6 hour drive), but honestly, I think he was just trying to be funny more than he was interested in knowing! We had perfect weather for a long drive, made 2 stops along the way and then we finally reached Burlington, Massachusetts (a gorgeous Boston’s suburb). Our hotel wasn’t ready, which is really annoying when you’re travelling with kids who need to unwind after a long drive, so we decided to go shopping and grabbed lunch at the Burlington Mall, where Liam found a new love for Lego! We went to Lego stores before, but this time was like “TA-DAM”. He bought a Harry Potter Lego kit and I was so happy that he was excited about this… like, Harry Potter Lego, really??? I finally have a reason to buy them Legos… yep, my mamma’s heart was full!

Then we drove to Fenway Park to take the Fenway Tour. But first, we had our first (of many) stop at Target! I swear I didn’t brainwashed my kids, but they LOVE this store just as much as I do, or maybe even more! They actually asked to go to Target every morning, no kidding. Brian loves Target as well, but you could tell that he was starting to get annoyed the moment I asked him to take a video of me and my shopping cart going up the shopping-cart-only-escalator!!! Yep, the boys and I get really excited about things like that! Wait until you see this part in my Boston video, yep, I look like a real tourist (and probably a total moron), but seriously, isn’t this impressive or what!?

So the first time we went to Boston, 11 years ago, we did the Fenway Tour, but since we had 4 family members who had never experienced it before, we decided to do it again. A full hour about the Red Sox, Fenway Park and Boston history, where you visit some behind-the-scenes areas, the Green Monster, the commentators and media press box, as well as various hot spots of Fenway. If you’re going to Boston, you definitely have to do the tour whether you’re catching a game or not… Once you’ve been through Fenway, you understand why this is America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. It is truly something, even for a non-baseball fan.

Then it was time for our traditional dinner at our fav Downtown Boston restaurant, Maggiano’s. Yum! Hello ginormous mozzarella marinara sticks, delightful bread, delicious gnocchi and bigger than your fist meatballs! It was simply delicious, as always. We’ve discovered Maggiano’s during our Honeymoon, and since then, everywhere we go, if we can find one, we HAVE to go!!! So after a long long day on the roads and visiting Boston, we finally arrived at our hotel at about 10 pm; the boys were drained, and so was I. So I took a few minutes to quickly unpack, then showered, and then hit the pillows for a great night’s sleep.

Wednesday morning was lazy and slow. First stop of the day: Target, as we had some shoe problems the day before… Liam had blisters from walking and Logan’s Crocs were now apparently too small… like really buddy, you tell me this in Boston after wearing them all summer? So we got there, I went directly to the kids shoe section, Brian got me a Starbucks cold fruity drink, we made our way through the entire store, bought a few things I absolutely and definitely needed, and yes, that made me very happy as it was such a great start to my day! Be still my heart… two visits to Target in two days!!! And to be continued…

We then drove to the Boston Common Public Park, right in the middle of the city, and immediately fell in love with this spot. Here’s a fun fact… on my first trip to Boston, again, like 11 years ago, the ONLY thing I had asked Brian was to do the Swan Boats ride in that park, and to that day, and in the previous six times we’ve been to Boston, we NEVER even went near the park, nor seen the Swans; but we did see about 20 Red Sox games *eye rolling*!!! So, believe in your dreams my friends, because they do come true! And it was truly a dream come true… right in the middle of the park, you can take a 15 minutes ride on these cute Swan Boats through this beautiful and peaceful pond, and all that for a mere 4$. YEP, four (one, two, three, four) dollars!!! It took me 7 trips to Boston to finally get him to bring me on a 4$ boat ride… and right after he had done the ride and seen the park, and all the giant trees, and the beautiful flowers everywhere, that’s all he could talk about for the rest of the day! That evening, he even told me, right before we fell asleep, that from now on, he really wanted to go back to the Boston Common Park every time we’ll be in Boston. I wanted to punch him, but just said ‘I’d love to go as well’ *eye rolling again*. So, back to our day… after the boat ride and a long stroll through the park, it started to rain a little, so we decided it was time to cross the street and get to Frank’s only request of the trip: Cheers.

So when we first talked to my Mom and Frank about possibly going to Boston, he said right away ‘I’m in, but only if we go to Cheers’! Although Brian and I were not really into 80’s sitcoms, to have lunch at the real Cheers’ bar where they filmed the popular TV show, well yeah, of course I’m in! We took a lot of pictures, had a great time, and a great lunch, and of course the guys had a few beers. We were all really happy we went, especially Frank. So with a bit more rain in the forecast, we decided to head back to the hotel, take a swim between storms and then go back to the mall. We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which is always a hit for us, only this time I had the best dessert ever, a Godiva’s Cheesecake. OMG. Pure heaven. I can’t wait to go back and have it again. We all had dessert-to-go, and one of my favorite moments of the trip is definitely my video of Logan eating Frank’s banana cheesecake in the hotel room… I can’t explain, but yeah, let’s say he really enjoyed it!!!

Thursday morning was spent at the New England Aquarium. The boys have been loving rays for a while now, well like since the movie Moana came out about a year ago, and we had told them all about the exhibit where you can touch rays, so let’s say they were quite excited about visiting the aquarium. We all had a lot of fun, but no one did more than Logan. He was really into this aquarium experience, as from the moment he found a map when we came in, he took control of the tour and made sure we went and saw every single thing inside. It was just like we were having our own private visit with the cutest tour guide ever! Once we were done, we crossed the street to visit Quincy Market, an open-air shopping and dining experience. We all had different food from different vendors: pizza, nachos, clam chowder, lobster rolls and Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes (for me!). And oh god were they pretty and delicious!

So after lunch, we were all starting to get tired, especially with that heat and humidity, but on our way to the parking lot, Logan spotted some fountains and decided to get into his underwear and play a little. He was in heaven. He would have spent the entire day there… me too buddy! So we drove back to the hotel, took a quick nap and then got ready to go to Fenway for our game. But first, another trip to Target! Yes, we did it, we went to Target 3 times in 3 days… I know, get a life… but really, Target is my LIFE!!! Well, you know, we were there early, we parked in the Target underground parking and it was still raining a little outside, so why not!

Liam is really into baseball this year, he loves to watch the games with Brian and play catch in the backyard. The idea to go to Boston started with him watching a game and seeing #28 hitting a homerun. So he was extremely happy to be there. He wanted pictures of everything. While Liam was all about #28 JD Martinez, Logan was showing us everything he could find about our Beloved #34 Big Papi. Brian had enrolled the kids in Red Sox Kids Nation and they got free game tickets, some lanyards with their names, some field dirt and some pins. Take you so much Red Sox Kids Nation, you made our trip and our kids’ Fenway experience so much better!

Fenway never gets old… I am not a baseball fan, never been, never will, but there is something about Fenway Park that definitely makes me a Red Sox fan. From the moment you enter the park, with the music, the people, the food, the smell, the grass, the atmosphere; it’s pretty surreal. So we ate some ‘Fenway Franks’, French fries, popcorn, peanuts and had a few beers. The Red Sox might have lost but we still had a great time and we can’t wait to go back. Logan was done by the 3rd inning and missed most of the game, but then woke up just in time to dance to Sweet Caroline, followed by a tough emotional moment from both of them when they realized that they had lost! Next time they’ll win, I promise.

Next morning, which was the last day of our little getaway, came way too fast. We packed up the mini-van and drove away from beautiful Boston, sad that our summer vacation was almost done. We had planned to stop for lunch in Burlington, Vermont… Church Street was super busy and we were looking forward to spending more time there, but another storm was coming in, so we decided to hit the road back home earlier.

It was a nice drive through Vermont, but I was happy to finally get back home. The boys cried when we returned the mini-van to the car rental place as they knew it was the end of our trip. They just love to be away with us and always look forward to all of the trips and family getaways we plan with them. At least, we have another one on the horizon boys… but until then, we will think about the great time we had in Boston and all the memories we made there, including Liam’s many pictures at Fenway and all of Logan’s hilarious videos (yeah, he was on a roll that one)!

Until next time Boston, we love you!

 

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lavender and honey cheesecake

     I wasn’t planning on sharing this cheesecake recipe at first, but since I received many requests to share it this week after posting a picture on Instagram, I felt like I kinda had no choice but to do so!
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i love lavender

Ever since I visited Maison Lavande last year (you may read about that hilarious post right here), I knew I was going to go back this year! So last week I decided to plan a road trip there with my Mom and the boys, and also with my aunt Lise-Ann who decided to join us as well, so early Saturday morning, we all piled up into my car and left for beautiful Maison Lavande. I’m pretty sure that everyone who visits Maison Lavande immediately falls in love with the place… and wants to go back after that… well I know did, and I know I will never skip a year from now on.

The moment I arrived I felt the same way I felt the first time I visited the place, just so quaint and peaceful. And as soon as they walked in, my Mom and my aunt both understood my obsession for the place! The lavender field is breathtaking. We took hundreds of pictures, just like everyone else in the field, as it’s just so pretty, so of course you want to bring those shots back home with you. Some professional photographers also offer sessions, and it’s something I may look into for next year!

So we slowly made our way across the field, walked into the forest trail, visited the chicken coop, had a picnic underneath an apple tree and ended our lunch with a delicious Lavender Frozen Yogurt! We also spent a lot of time in the quiet area at the back of the field where a couple of dozens of hammock chairs and some large bean bags are right there for you to use and relax. I wish we weren’t as tight on time so the boys could have taken a nap on the bags. They wanted too and so did I! Next time boys, for sure, like come on, a nap in a lavender heaven; count me IN!

Maison Lavande have two gorgeous boutiques where you can buy everything your lavender heart desires! Liam got a lavender essential oil roll-on (that I will re-create next week with my girlfriends at our first Essential Oils Make & Take) while I got a bubbly lavender and apple drink and a oatmeal and lavender cookie. The cookie was sooo good that I decided to attempt my own version on Sunday and it turned out AMAZING! I will be sharing my recipe later on this week.

So for now, here’s a few of the pictures I took trying to make you fall in love with the place. If you’re in the Montreal/Ottawa region, you HAVE to make the drive and visit. I wish I owned shares but I don’t so this is purely from my point of view… not sponsored or anything! Just for my love for lavender and for Maison Lavande! But you have to do it quick, because due to the massive heat wave last week, the flowers have exploded and the lavender season will be shorter than it usually is. So make plans to visit anytime in the next 2 weeks… as they’re opened every day. We might just see each other somewhere in the hammocks section!

 

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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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incredible weekend

What a weekend!  So much crammed into 2 and half days, you’d think we were crazy! But no, we’re just trying to get to the finish line. Next Friday, when school and work come to an end, we’ll be off for 2 months!  Soccer, swim lessons, school BBQ, field trips, birthday party, staff party, movies and piano recitals are just a few of the things we’ve done in the last couple of days. I can’t wait to lounge in my pj’s next week, no alarm (besides my kids), no routines, just enjoying each others company and all that summer has to offer!

On Friday night I had my end of school year party and we had so much fun. We had Escape Manor come to our school and set up a classroom with the game. We didn’t get out but we had a blast, working with each other trying to solve clues.  Losing didn’t dampen our spirits so we headed out to a local pub for dinner. We were also celebrating one of my friend’s retirement. Since the boys we’re at my Mom’s, I had planned to meet up with Brian for a date after my party but it ran a bit longer than anticipated so I had him join us. We stayed out past midnight, chatting with a few of my coworkers and closing the place down!

The boys came home the next morning, bursting to jump into the pool. It was a picture perfect summer day, splashing away and giggling until they fell asleep for a much needed afternoon nap…for all of us.

We’ve been awaiting the new Incredibles movie for a while now and the boys had a countdown going on to the big day. We made shirts on Wednesday (that they have been wearing, EVERY SINGLE DAY, SINCE) and I bought felt masks for them to complete the outfit. I made Incredibles donuts, Incredibles popcorn and downloaded and printed lots of fun Incredibles activities. I had tickets for the evening show and it was so much fun.  It was the first time Logan didn’t ask to go to the bathroom a million times and sat watching the entire movie. What a relief! I think we’ll have to go back. They’ve only asked me 54 times since we came out of the theatre!

Today is Father’s Day and Brian has a round of golf planned with his dad, brother and uncle. That means we will only see him around supper time. The boys have prepared a few gifts at school for him and he’ll be joining Logan’s class tomorrow for a Father’s Day lunch. Last week, I prepared a few questions for the boys to answer about their Papa. Their answers are so funny, I just have to share them with you.  Enjoy!

Mon Papa

1-The thing my dad loves to do most:

Logan: Play Mario Odyssey

Liam: Play Nintendo

2-I love when my dad:

Logan: Helps me.

Liam: Plays with me.

3-My dad is good at:

Logan: Play Plant’s vs. Zombies 2

Liam: Baseball

4-I think my dad is funny because:

Logan: He’s “Tannant” (meaning he acts crazy)

Liam: He’s ” Très tannant” (very crazy!!!!)

5-I know my dad loves me because:

Logan: He gives me kisses

Liam: He says “I love you”

6-The thing I love to do most with my dad:

Logan: Play in the pool

Liam: Play Wii (the gaming ‘theme’ always comes back!!!)

7-My dad’s favourite store:

Logan: Wine and beer store

Liam: I’m going to quote this one, ” A la bière”

8-The thing my dad says often:

Logan: “Let’s make a sandwich”(meaning the boys make ‘layers’ on top of him to make a sandwich)

Liam: A bad word.

9-My dad’s favourite meal:

Logan: Spaghetti

Liam: Spaghetti

10-I love my dad because:

Logan: He’s beautiful

Liam: He’s funny

Happy Father’s Day to all the “Incredibles” fathers we know and love! Hope you get to spend the day with the people you cherish the most. A very special HFD to Brian, who keeps up with all our crazyness, who watches endless Youtube tutorials on “how to play Plant’s vs. Zombies” and “how to build a shelving unit to store all of my wife’s crap”, who let’s me paint flowers on our bathroom wall only to paint over it because I don’t love it, who coaches soccer, who cuts our own Christmas tree, who hangs picture frames in dangerous places, who cooks the best BBQ ribs, who buys me reading socks, who prepares the essential oil diffuser every night, who encourages me with my blog, who works hard, who plans the best trips, who loves baseball, beer, spaghetti, and us!  You’re OUR Mr. Incredible! We love you!  xox

 

 

 

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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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camp woods part II

Since this week will probably be one of the nicest we’ve had all summer, I think it’s a perfect timing for sharing the last few weeks of Camp Woods Summer 2017! In all honesty, and we probably all feel the same way here, even if I go back in memories, as far as I can remember, summer 2017 was definitely one of the worst summer ever. It feels like it rained basically every day, with everything outside being wet all the time, making it so difficult to plan ahead for a full day of activities, and apparently making it even more difficult for Brian to cut the grass weekly! Oh well.  Still, I got to say that I did enjoy my time off, but it feels like there were no memorable pool days or parties, and only a few bouncy-castle-day-out in the backyard, with everything depending on my weather network app while always waiting for the next sunny day to come by; and like I said, there was not a lot of them (but that didn’t stop us from having fun!!!).

Like I’ve explain before in Camp Woods 2016 and Camp Woods part 1 of 2017, I try to find activities that will interest the boys, as well as myself, with a theme, an outings or with meals. Early during my last week before I went back to work, Liam decided to join me in watching Harry Potter. I always knew he would love it but I wasn’t sure it was aged appropriate. But as I was watching the first movie, one morning while cooking, he joined me in the kitchen and sat on the counter and he was immediately glued right there. I changed the language to French for him (outch! so funny in French!) and explained that it was just a story, that everybody were friends in real life by showing him some pictures of the actors from the net, while making sure he understood as the story unfolded. So our last theme week was Harry Potter and just like that, a new addict was born!  Probably one of my favorite week ever, well, right behind the countdown-to-Disneyland-week we had last year, as nothing won’t probably ever beat that!

Since that last week off at home watching the movies coincided with the Harry Potter 20th anniversary, well, of course we made a cake! Just like the one Hagrid brings to Harry. Also made notebooks themed after every houses, of course I’m Gryffindor!  Oh, AND wands!  We had a blast making them; with chopsticks, glue gun and paint! Done within minutes and hours of fun. Of course, there is the occasional eye poke, but mostly, I was turned into a frog by one and then into a flower by the other!

We also had to have a Moana week. That movie, let me tell you, AMAZING, both for adults and kids. If you haven’t seen it with your kids yet, do it now! The soundtrack is just awesome, and it’s still is even after you’ve listened to it a 1000 times. We made Kakamora from real coconuts. They’ve learned how to open coconuts to release the water; and they do NOT like coconut water!!! So once empty, we painted faces on them and glued arms and legs. So fun to make. We found the cutest free Pinterest Moana Bingo and played so many games. And then we got dress up… I had to be Moana! Liam Pua and Loggy was Hey-Hey! Made leis out of ferns and flowers from our backyard. It was awesome… all that was missing was the ocean!

We had another Nemo week this year; but what can I say, we just love the movies so much! I was lucky enough to find the cheapest and best craft at my local dollar store: Felt Sew Kits of Dory and Nemo. Perfect for their first sewing experience. Made my mama’s (and lifetime sewer’s) heart so proud. Painted fishies with our hands and played for hours in the pool, all pretending to be lost fishes, just like Dory.

Star Wars week was cut short because we decided to go on a road trip last minute; but we still managed to make pool noodles lightsabers. Had a Star Wars pic nic, and played with our Tsum Tsum making stop motion animation. The boys love to do that; they could spend hours making them and watching them. I love when they can’t stop laughing at their own little short films!  So cute.

So, now that it’s mid-September already, I’m just like everyone else, wondering where the summer went. But all that will be shortly forgotten if this week’s perfect weather lasts for a while… cause with the next 6 weekends being jam packed with some of our favorite activities, it would make it so much more enjoyable with some great fall weather. And after the shitty summer we just got, come on, we deserve it!!!

Well, sunny or not, I’ve spotted my first pumpkin this morning, and it made me happy, cause Halloween is coming and everything is good in the world (well for me!) when it’s Halloween!!!

 

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you say tomato, i say bruschetta

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

It’s tomato season… and if you’re like me, well you have plenty from your garden by now!!!  I’m not one for tomato sandwiches or sliced tomatoes, but I do have a few recipes I’d like to share with you this week, all of them using fresh tomatoes!

On a side note, my two-months summer vacation is now over, and this week has been kind of tough on me being back at work, having to wake up early, going back to my routine of making lunches for the boys, while also prepping them for their back-to-school next week.  But you know what, I’m still hanging on to summer like my life depends on it!!!  So I’ll take all the fresh produces and warm sunny days August and September have to offer!

My first recipe is for sure my favorite way to eat tomatoes: Goat Cheese Bruschetta.  I think I first tasted this at my aunt Pat’s place in Kitchener while visiting for Oktoberfest years ago.  It was the best bruschetta ever; and still is.  I now make my own version of it, I have no clue if it tastes like hers, but I think it’s pretty awesome.  So here it goes.

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

What you need:
3 fresh tomatoes or 2 cups of cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup of goat cheese

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

How to:

Chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Crumble the goat cheese on top, add the chopped basil, olive oil, and the salt and pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

I serve this bruschetta mix with roasted naan bread.  Just brush a bit of olive oil on top the bread, sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and warm up in the oven.  Also good with a fresh baguette or on top of grilled chicken.

Simple, easy to make, takes no time and it will blow your mind.  Perfect for pot-luck, for snacks or for last minute gatherings.  It’s a great recipe to try all year long but definitely my favorite on any sunny day!  So make it now before summer ends and then let me know what you think!  Hope you’re all having a great week.  Next tomato recipe coming in a few days!

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

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last summer roadtrip

So one more last minute summer road trip before going back-to-school seemed like an excellent idea…  And it was! Late last week, in the mist of what seemed to be one of the most hectic week of the summer so far with Brian selling his truck, buying a new car, while getting everything ready for school, we decided to book 2 rooms at The Great Escape Lodge in Lake George, along with my sister-in-law Annick and her kids, as well as my father-in-law Joe, who all needed a getaway as much as us; so the more the merrier!

All packed up and excited, we left at 8am and made the 4-hour drive to the lake.  Once there, it was sunny, and hot, perfect weather… so we spotted a terrace by the water and had lunch.  We all wanted to take a boat ride to explore the lake, but since Brian and I had already taken our kids on the steamboat Minnie Ha Ha three years ago, we wanted to see if there were any other options to go on the lake.  So Joe told Brian ‘just go see how much it would be to rent a boat’.  Half an hour later we were on the lake in our pontoon!!!  Oh yes, we rented a nice pontoon for an hour on the lake and it was the best decision of the trip.  It was so much fun.  The boys were a bit afraid but once we were on board, they had a blast.  Cruising at our own pace, alone, with the kids waving at the huge steamboats, it was just awesome.  All that was missing were the drinks and nachos!  So we stopped in the middle of the lake where my nephew did an awesome back-flip from the side of the boat.  He was then joined by Liam for a quick swim, and then by Logan for a one second dip!  The boys fell asleep not long after while we were all enjoying being on the water.  It was such a blast that now the idea of owing a pontoon is roaming my husband’s mind ALL THE TIME since we came back from that boat ride.

We then explored the beach, the main street, made a few wished in the pond and bought a few souvenirs.

The boys were really anxious to see their ‘Maison de vacance’ (vacation house as they call it) so we then made our way to our hotel.  It was AMAZING.  It was huge, with an awesome indoor water-park, an arcade, multi levels treasure hunts and more.  I volunteered for the Target trip to get us drinks and snacks while the rest of the crew tried out the water-park.  Apparently they were having way too much fun, because although I spent over an hour going aisle by aisle with a Starbucks in my hand, when I came back to the hotel they were still at the pool and riding the slides.  Oh well, Target or water-slides, I guess it was a perfect way to end this great day for all of us.  We then all headed out for a late diner and came back full, ready for our next day adventures.

I really need to invest in hotel-rooms-black-out-drapes.  Not sure if it’s the exhaustion or if it’s the dark room but we sure slept late on vacation!  The Six Flags Great Escape amusement park was literally of the other side of the road to our hotel, connected with walkway for pedestrian.  No driving or parking fuss, just wake up, get ready and enjoy the park.  With almost no wait time at every rides, we were able to complete our to-do ride list and even do the water ones twice (it was over 30 degrees outside!).  Best part about the barrel water ride?  For 25 cents you can blast the boats with water cannons.  Hilarious!  We spent way too much time there but it was for sure the best money we spent on that trip!  Joe couldn’t stop laughing every time we would get someone soaking wet while feeding us with quarters to keep on going: 8 cannons shooting all in different directions with one of us at each of them waiting for a boat to come!!!  Yeah, hilarious!

We were done with the park at around 4:30, so instead of doing their favorite rides a second time, it was unanimous, and the kids all opted to go back to the hotel to spend more time at the water-park before diner.  This time I went.  Oh boy, not sure when was the last time I enjoyed water-slides that much.  My goal was not to get my hair wet, but that lasted for about 15 minutes until a giant water bucket dropped hundreds of liters of water directly on me.  Thanks Bry for telling me to stand ‘right there’ if I wanted to stay dry as the bucket was about to empty itself.  Well, my fav will always be the lazy river, and Logan’s too.  Liam went out of his comfort zone and tried to surf, and he was sooo good!  He’s not too keen on trying new things but he warmed up to the idea and went on his own to try it.  He loved and did it 6 times.  I was so proud!  My nephew did it like 50 times and was so natural on it at the end.  One more day and he would have been able to surf like they do in the movies!

I’m pretty sure Lake George is the capital of the mini putt.  Within couple KMs on each side of our hotel, I saw at least 6.  We chose to go at the Pirate’s Cove one.  Kind of ashamed to admit it but it was the boys first time… but it won’t be the last.  They loved it and were way better at the end.  Of course Liam got attached to his golf ball and then cried when he lost it in the 18th hole!!!  Well I didn’t cried because of my golf ball, but I almost did when we arrived at Martha’s Ice Cream and it was closed.  It was Dole Whip day after all and I was so looking forward to it!

Next morning we packed our stuff, and made a stop at the downstairs’ arcade.  These arcades should be illegal, it’s basically casinos for kids (or adults in Brian’s case).  We always leave discouraged… like we spend 50$ and then the kids get a 1$ gift for the thousands of tickets they won.  Go figure!  At least they had fun.

I knew a quick trip to Target would cheer them up.  And it did!  We then stopped at some outlets store and had lunch at an old school A&W where they still have car service.  We rode Go-Karts and THEN it was time to whip.  Dole Whip at Martha’s Ice Cream.  That place is a must if you’re in the region.  My father in law had the biggest ice cream come I’ve ever seen in my life… and he finished it!  Hopped back into the cars and made our way back.

We’re already planning where we’re going to go next year, and it will for sure be longer; as two nights is clearly not enough.  You have to visit Lake George.  It’s our 3rd time with the boys and we always find new stuff to do.  Hope you’re ready for back to school; I know I’m not!  Can’t believe summer is already over.  I still have 4 days left of vacay and I plan on making the most of it.  Summer 2017 went by so quickly, but still, I enjoyed being off work and at home with the boys so much.

Have a great last weekend before back-to-school everyone!

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