picton and the power of pink

If you ask me where I want to go next, I will immediately say Disney. If Disney isn’t an option, well I have a long list of other places I want to visit, and until not long ago, Picton was not on it. Honestly, I had never really imagined I would want to go to Picton one day. Like I didn’t really knew much about it and had not really paid any attention to that part of our province before… well that completely changed the day I saw those pretty pink doors! You can call it the power of pink. Yep, pink freakin doors on what is now the cutest motel I’ve ever stayed at! I stumbled upon these now famous doors in late 2017, and ever since, I’ve been obsessed about visiting The June Motel in Picton. Which I just did!

So one night earlier in July, with absolutely no summer vacation plan ahead, and with all of my friends literally traveling either across the world or across Canada, I was kind of bummed about my summer so far. So right before going to bed, I begged Brian that we should really GO on a road trip to The June Motel in Picton. He didn’t really know anything about Picton other than The June Motel since I had been talking about it for over a year now. Well let’s just say that he wasn’t too hard to convince once he had Googled what to do in Picton and saw all the vineyards in the area! So by midnight, he had booked us a room at The June Motel and we finally had a destination… well three destinations I should say, since he actually bargained a stop in Kingston on our way back and then a road trip to Boston to go see his beloved Red Sox the following week. But guess what, no problem my friend, ANYTHING you want as long as you bring me in front of those pretty pink doors so I can take a selfie!!!

Now, all I had to do was to find places to visit, where to eat, things to do and plan all the pictures I was about to take! We were bringing the boys with us, so it wasn’t only going to be a grown up trip to wineries and breweries, as we had to find things to do for them as well. Well that ended up not being a problem at all while visiting wineries and breweries, you’ll see why later on.

We were going to stay 2 nights at The June, and my excitement was over the roof! So we left on our road trip on Monday morning, with a latte in one hand and my camera in the other. Prince Edward County is a short 2 hours and 45 minutes’ drive from home, or a bit longer if you’re like my husband and always insist on taking the back roads. So after a short discussion, which I lost, we ended up on the scenic route between Gananoque and PEC. Even I have to admit that this was the right thing to do, cause for about half an hour more we got to enjoy the beautiful view alongside the St-Lawrence. We even took a ferry from the mainland to PEC, which was the best, especially for the boys – for the three boys I mean.

Since we made it there around lunch time and check-in was still a few hours away, we decided to hit the Parson’s Brewery first. Brian had heard about it from friends and colleagues, and wow, what a great way to start our PEC tour. From the moment we arrived we knew we were going to love the place. They have such a great spot and landscape for a brewery; AND they have entertainment for the kids. I have to admit that going to PEC with kids was a bit intimidating. My boys are usually pretty well behave when they are entertained, and when they are not entertained, well we always have the iPad ready to keep them busy. In PEC, while visiting a winery or brewery or distillery, they weren’t even interested in the iPad as they would find something fun to do everywhere we’d go. At Parsons, the first thing they did was to ask for their Polaroid to take pictures. Then, we got a great table on the outside patio. Well, all of their tables and sitting areas are pretty amazing. The boys ran around the property for hours, playing ping-pong, bocce ball, horseshoes, while spending most of their time climbing on the wooden play structure with the other kids there. They only came to us when they were thirsty from running around, and then they were off again to the play structure. As for us, we enjoyed our food and drinks and cheered to our two week vacation together. Brian had a flight of beers and a charcuterie board that was delicious. I had a lovely Hibiscus Mocktail and some fresh guacamole and chips. Perfect start to our journey! The boys made some friends and didn’t want to leave, which usually means they had the best of time. We were all very happy that our vacay started at Parson’s Brewery.

Then we stopped a small winery on our way back, Black Prince. We had fun walking around, visiting the barn and watching the outdoor pizza oven (I so want one in my backyard!) and took some more pictures while Brian had a few tastings. Then, it was finally time to head out to the main purpose of our visit, our pink-door-motel!

LOVE!!! It’s the only way I can explain how I felt when we arrived! The boys were so excited for me and the pink doors! They knew this was for me and they were so happy about it. They have the cutest lobby ever where we were greeted with Rosé by the friendliest staff. After Brian had finished his and mine Rosé glasses, we finally got our retro room key and on our way we were to room 6! We’ve stayed in really nice hotels before, and I kind of feel stupid saying this, but I don’t remember being this excited about opening the door of a hotel room before. So I opened the door and our room was A M A Z I N G! We were in love with it the moment we stepped in. The boys thought it was the cutest room ever and I had to agree. So fun, fresh and girly, yet, my 3 men loved everything about it.

Brian unpacked while I was busy taking pictures of everything! And I mean everything, from the wallpaper, to the cute note from the cleaning ladies, the pink bathroom, the mini fridge, the beds, the pillows, and of course a million shots of our pink door! Instagram dream location alert!!!

Once we had settled in our room, we decided to go visit the Picton village, which is about 3 minutes away. You can even rent, free of charge, gorgeous bikes from The June, but since we had the boys with us, we couldn’t use them during our stay. Picton is a small and cute town, with a perfect main street just like I love it, where you’ll find an old movie theater, hip coffee shops, a book store, some other one of a kind stores and so much more. The vibe is mellow, with nobody in a rush, where everyone seems to be having a great time. We were starving and decided to have dinner at The Vic Café, a modern and colourful diner restaurant. We had a huge booth with colourful pillows, to-draw placemats as well as a huge bright window to do some people watching! The boys even showed us a card game they have learned at school that we now can’t stop playing. I got the burger and it was sooooo good! Brian got the butter chicken which seemed delicious, while the boys had… PANCAKES! They thought it was the best thing ever to have breakfast for dinner. Logan’s new thing is to say ‘I know you’re going to say no, but I would like to…’ when asking for something. So let’s say they were both really impressed with me when I said yes to pancakes for dinner. Now they want to do this at home, we’ll see about that! I really recommend The Vic Café if you visit Picton. They also have a great patio, but it was cloudy and a bit cold on our first day so we opted for indoors. Next time we will definitely try the patio.

Back at The June, it was Movie Monday. They set up a large screen on the patio where you can watch some old time 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s movies by the fire with a glass of Rosé, craft beer, popcorn, and of course S’MORES! Unfortunately for us, the movie wasn’t really kid friendly so we parked the boys in the lobby with their iPads while we watched the movie outside – Mom, don’t panic, we weren’t even 20 feet away and we could actually talk to them through the screened door! I had to cut my Movie Monday short because Logan was coughing a lot and I knew it was now time to put them both to bed, so I will never know how Dazed and Confused ends. At least I now know where Matthew McConaughey’ alright, alright, alright quote comes from, which was definitely the best part of the movie.

Next morning we woke up bright and early and got ready for the beach. We got some delicious lattes’ from Miss Lily’s Cafe and then we made the short drive to Sandbanks. The boys decided that we would be going to The Dunes Beach, because there’s a Mario Bros level in French called something like the dunes… so yep, we’re now visiting places because of Mario Bros (that’s life with boys). We had been told that the water was still high and it was, which made getting to the dunes a bit tricky but oh so awesome! We were almost alone when we got there so we scored a great spot. We had fun building a pool for the fishies that we catched, played a bit of football and had an amazing time swimming. All of us except Brian who HATES the beach and the sand. But we did win him over after a little while and I believe he actually had a great time. After a few hours at the beach, we decided to pack up and start visiting some wineries.

We were starving so we decided to head out to Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard for some wooden oven pizza and some wine tasting. The property was amazing and so was the pizza. The boys played on a trampoline and Brian had a few tastings while I enjoyed the scenery. After that, we visited Casa Dea’s Winery, which was right in front. So Brian enjoyed another wine tasting while I sat and relaxed watching the boys having a great time playing chess on a large outdoor set.

We then visited PEC Lavender. I still haven’t visited my beloved Maison Lavande this year so I was super stoked to get the chance to visit a lavender farm. It smelled heavenly. We were almost alone in the fields and it was just the best. The boys had fun running and playing hide and seek across the lavender field while we enjoyed some Lavender Gelato on the Adirondack chairs. It was great to just sit and relax a bit after such a jam packed day. I would definitely recommend everyone to stop at PEC Lavender in between two wineries if you go to PEC.

Not too far away was Closson Chase Winery, my favorite winery of our tour – and I say this basically due to the gorgeous purple barn on site, as I didn’t tasted a single drop of wine on our trip. I also loved their outside patio area and the presentation of the wine tasting, while Brian really liked both of their Chardonnay. I truly recommend a visit there right after you’ve been to PEC Lavender. By then, the boys were getting a little tired and luckily for them there were some hammock style swings close to the outdoor patio where we were. They spent the entire time there in the hammock and they loved it. I keep on mentioning what the boys did at each of our stops because I know some of you might hesitate to bring your kids to PEC, as it may seems more like an adult style destination, but throughout our trip we felt that our kids were welcomed everywhere we went, and we know they had a great time following us, because as I said earlier, they didn’t asked for the iPad once! So don’t hesitate, book your PEC trip and bring the kids with you!

We had kept the Kinsip House of Fine Spirits for last. Brian’s expectations were like really high for this place. When we got there he seemed to be as excited about Kinsip as he is every time we visit his beloved Beau’s Brewery. So he did multiple tastings while chatting with the friendly staff at the outside tasting bar. Apparently people have to go through a long line-up during the weekends to get to the tasting bar, but it was Tuesday afternoon, and we basically had the place to ourselves. So Brian stayed at the bar, talking to the staff member for like an hour, tasting what seems to be all of their fine spirits, then bought some whisky as well as a t-shirt, which means that Kinsip did not disappoint and truly met all of his expectations. Like, as soon as he came back with a t-shirt, I knew it, cause all he usually wears are his Beau’s tee, so for him to get a t-shirt there, I knew he was totally impressed with the place! The staff was so friendly and very interesting to listen to. I don’t drink but I love their bottles. They definitely have the best bottle designs. I also loved the feel of the place, while Brian loved their fine spirits. You absolutely have to visit Kinsip, that’s all I have to say. So I spent most of my time enjoying the patio, watching the kids and the loose chickens running around the farm. Then I had the best BBQ plate ever! Guess what, I was getting a little hungry, and lucky me, right there in Kinsip’s garden you’ll find Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse, which is to die for! No fine spirits for me but definitely the best beef brisket in town. All that while the boys made some new friends and built some sort of fort in the wooden area. They were running back and forth to grab some pieces of meat and then back to the fort! Kinsip was our favorite and the best way to end this wonderful afternoon.

We ended our day with dinner at The County Canteen, and it was soooo good! Probably the best mussels we ever had. We had a great spot on the patio, watching all the tourist walk around the Main Street. But we were all tired from our day that we decided to head back to The June for an early night. We missed Rosé O’Clock but we still had drinks in the lobby and on the patio, while the boys were playing nearby.

Our time at The June was coming to an end, but we still managed to enjoy our last evening there by playing a few games of cards before it was time to call it a night! Next morning we took like what seemed to be a few hundreds more pictures and then packed up our car to get ready to leave for our next stop of our road trip. Liam and I took one last picture in front of the lobby before it was time to hand back our number 6 retro key with a heavy heart. Leaving a place where you share such awesome memories is always hard for our emotional crew, and this time was no different. 

We had the best time at The June and I can’t wait to visit you again, hopefully next time with my girlfriends! So June, this is not a goodbye… this is a see you soon!

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camp woods 2019

Camp Woods 2019 is in full swing! This home based summer camp tradition has started about 4 years ago, back when Liam started to go to school and I started to spend every summer with them. They don’t get to go to regular summer camp, so I decided to bring summer camp to our place as a way to keep them busy. It’s a lot of fun for them, it’s sometimes a lot of groundwork for me, but they love it, so I play along. (If you’ve been following me or know me, then you know that I actually love it probably as much as they do!) 

They both love to have some sort of organized schedule as part of their regular day to day, so I do the same for the summer camp, where every week has a different theme that they choose (that I choose!), with various activities that they really want to do (mostly that I really want to do!). 

My kids love the fact that this camp doesn’t require a backpack, which makes it different than a regular school day, but what they love the most about it is that they have to stay home for a full week and still be entertained! They really like spending time together at home… and for the first few weeks of summer, after a long school year, I’m definitely okay with that as well, but later this summer, I will for sure force them to get out and go for some other type of activities, like museum, mini-putt, water slides, movies, etc. 

Oh, guess what, it’s been a long school year for me as well, so at some point I will need a break from having them running around the house all day as  well and will send them on sleepovers for a few days at my mom’s or will tell them to call their Gra-Gra (Brian’s mom) to ask if they can go camping with her. She will for sure say yes! But for now, the activities are non-stop and we can’t get enough of it.

We LOVE themes and we usually decide them on weekly basis. And then we do everything possible around that theme, like crafts, outings, recipes and activities. We are never short on what to do next!

Week 1 was obviously Toy Story. We’ve been hard core fans since forever and whether we like it or not, Toy Story always seems to find us! Like Woody was Liam’s first favorite toy, then it became their favorite movie, then we found a mint Buzz for like 2$ at a garage sale, etc. But my favorite Toy Story memory will always be the one where Logan was chosen as the honorary Sheriff of the Park in Disneyland back when we visited Disney California in 2016. Still can’t believe he was chosen on that day. I still remember asking them ‘’so how many kids get picked like that every day?’’ thinking that they would say 50 or 100… but no, one, only one gets picked and Logan got to be the one! We were so happy for him, and for us as well as we got fast passes to every ride and had reserved seating (like the best seats in the house) for the nightly show. This made our Disney trip truly magical as we had the best day ever, all that while Logan was proudly wearing his golden sheriff star! No wonder he likes that cowboy so much now! 

So for our first week of Camp Woods, we had to go see TS4 at the drive-in on the very first day of our summer vacation, and God, will I ever regret that decision. I don’t think I would have had been able to not go see the TS4 movie, but I kind of wish I hadn’t. I wasn’t expecting my vacation to start with such a meltdown. The boys loved it while I’m still unsure about how I feel about it. I don’t think I will ever come close to crying for a kid movie like I did at the end of TS3, but man, that goodbye scene in TS4 was gut wrenching. SPOILER ALERT: Like, I knew Woody loved Bo, I could see that in the first movie, but for Christ’s sake, did he really love her that much? What about your family, man??? Not sure when I’ll be ready to see the movie again… I kind of wish they would have ended it with TS3 where they made me bawl like a cow just before they made my heart so happy. I know you will still watch it, but all you adults have been warned, you may regret not leaving it at movie number 3! 

Of course we had a great time at the Drive-In with my sister in law and their cousin Nini. I can’t actually recall the last time the boys laughed that loudly at a movie, but again, the ending… well, my cousin Isabelle said it best in Instagram after she saw the movie: come on Woody, #brosbeforehoes!!! The only thing I would change about that hashtag is #brosbeforeboes!

So we decided to make a few TS inspired craft the following week. We made some slinky dogs, a few aliens’ plates, we crafted a Forky, the new TS4 friend, as well as some Ducky and Bunny cupcakes. All while watching the first 3 movies at home all week long. 

On week 1 we’ve also spent a lot of time in the pool, played a few round of Chutes and Ladders, as well as many games of our family favorite, Bingo!!! It was a great week filled with great memories as well as some random thought of ‘’y tho Woody, why?’’. FYI – I should get over it eventually, probably about right after I go see Frozen 2.

Week 2 and 3 is/will be all about Harry Potter. I won’t lie to you, HP and Disney are pretty much sending me straight to bankruptcy. I mean, come on… 7 new HP Lego sets are coming out this summer. You’ve got to be kidding me. Like, are they expecting me not to buy them all??? Duh! So I’m pretending they’re for my kids and I feel less guilty when I buy them!

We have a tradition where we have to watch all of the movies every summer, and I just can’t wait to go through movie 1 to 8 in only a few days with them! Liam loves it as much as I do. He loves Harry and Sirius Black so much, while Logan, of course, loves Malfoy and Nagini! Liam has started reading the first book and I’m so proud of him. A big change for him, no pictures and a million tiny words, but he’s pretty excited and I am too.

We’ve crafted some washcloth owls and made some wands out of pens, I’ve got some games lined up for them; so I’d say we’re definitely ready to watch the movies now. I’ve got a great idea for a movie tent to build for our movie marathon, so we’re probably going to be very busy the next few days – all that while being dressed up in our Hogwarts robes, of course!

I will keep on sharing our Camp Woods activities on my Insta Stories, so follow along. Hope you will have a blast this summer, I know we will!

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summery greek salad

First, I want to say how sorry I am for having gone MIA. No excuses, just life happening a bit too fast, and with the end of the school year, I felt a bit overwhelmed. But I’m back, with so much to share! I know I haven’t finished posting about our last Florida trip. I have a “Best of Disney” coming up and then a full-on, over the top Wizarding World of Harry Potter post that will be way to long but nevertheless amazing! 

But let’s start with a summer dish/meal to kick off the season. I feel like it took a full extra month to get the summer started, but now that we’re right in the midst of it, all I wanna do is spending time outside, either on our backyard deck or in the pool, while eating light and refreshing food. 

We have so many BBQs and family gatherings lined up, and you probably do as well, so next time you want to prepare something quickly, you need to try this one! This summery Greek Salad is simple to make, with no cooking, and it takes no-time at all, which means you can spend more time entertaining your guests instead of making a mess in the kitchen! 

I’ve already made this a couple of times in the last few weeks and I can’t get enough. Perfect with burgers or grilled chicken breast. Or serve it on top of leafy greens for a light and delicious lunch. So, I’ll stop raving about this recipe and let you go fetch your veggies and prep this baby up. 

You probably have most of the ingredients on hand, so make it tonight and it will become your go-to summer recipe. It’s full of veggies so you can indulge on more ice cream after dinner! Happy summer my friends!

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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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