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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robots, diner parties, birthday parties and a wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thursday and happy long weekend!!!

 

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take me out to the blueberry field

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

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

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

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

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

What you need:

SYRUP:

1 cup blueberries (fresh is best)

1\2 cup sugar

1\2 cup water

DRINK:

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS blueberry syrup

1 cup sprite or 7up

ice

How to:

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

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

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

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

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camp woods-part 1

Well, it took a while for the summer to start, but now it seems like it’s flying by so quickly; with half of it already gone by.  Camp Woods is something I started 3 years ago… being at home for the summer months with the boys, I didn’t want them to get bored -or to get bored myself!!!- doing the same old things every day.  So when spring time comes I always start looking online for some fun crafts and activities to do with them; you know, things that might interest us, movies we will want to see and stuff we will have fun to do at home.  I always consider their ‘flavor of the week’, and the things they love at the moment, and then I start planning ahead for my homemade summer camp!  Every week has its own little special twist including a few fun activities and surprises!  I’m not a strict camp monitor, so we go with the flow and add or remove stuff as the weeks go by.  This year the boys are still into Disney, Mario Bros, Cars and Minions.  We will also have a Minecraft week soon -although I hate everything about Minecraft- since the boys are really into it!

So here’s a few things we did the last few weeks:

-went for ice cream cone on Monday morning

-made popsicles sticks painted with Cars characters

-baked Minions cookies, then sneaked them into the theater to watch the movie

-made Minions sundaes

-had a last minute sleep over with our cousins

-built Cars Land in my kitchen and dining room, using basically everything we own

-made mini-pizza and had a pic-nic in our basement when it rained

-watch way to many movies (cause it just keeps on raining)

-made Mickey Mouse shaped avocado and egg sandwiches (all sandwiches should be eaten like that)

-built outside forts

-made some Mickey hats

-went to the cottage for paddle board and sea-doo

-made a Mickey Mouse ice cream cone (and nope, I didn’t share that one with the boys… made one and ate it while they were playing downstairs!!!)

-played at the park

-took the bouncer out of the garage every week to play outside with our neighbors

-tried to learn swimming with swimmers

-and much much more

Honestly, this year is a little bit harder… they aren’t as excited about all of this like they were before.  And we find ourselves with -probably- the same problem other parents face as well: the iPad thing.  Well, electronics in general in our case, with the iPad being the worst one, or their favorite one.  We don’t have cable or satellite so they don’t asked for TV much; but every day is a struggle to keep them away from the iPad.  So we had to set limits that we try to respect, but still, it seems like all they want to do as soon as they have a minute without anything planned is to play on the DS, or iPad, or Wii.  So that’s why I got to start planning my summer activities in the spring to keep them entertained!!!

So two weeks ago, we left the boys with my mom and then had a night out in Montreal.  We had bought tickets a while ago to go see Cirque du Soleil.  And it was awesome!!!  We can’t wait to bring the boys to see one, probably this one later this summer!  After the show we took a stroll on the docks of the Vieux Port and it was the best.  It had been a while since we’ve been there, and it was so nice.  With so many activities for both adults and kids.  As always, there were nice patios, but also zip lines, and shows and some shopping on a boardwalk.  For the kids, there was a bouncy pirate castle land, some ropes courses (not for kids, but for teens, or close-to-be teens), IMAX and so much more.  We plan to visit with my sister-in-law later this summer.  It was nice to be out just the two of us; we need to make more time for date nights like that.  And Cirque du Soleil is always a winner for us as we both love it so much.

So this week is all about Logan.  Baby Loggy is turning 5 on Friday and I want to savor and bottle up his last days of being 4.  He’s so excited about his ‘music’ birthday, it’s all he talks about, he doesn’t even realise how distressed I am that my baby is turning 5.  I will share some pictures of his birthday party next week… but let’s just say that I made some of the most fun and hilarious kids Beatles costumes ever!  I’m sure birthday number five will also be one to remember!

With 4 weeks left before going back to work, I want to spend more one on one time with the boys, I want to put the electronics aside a little and plan together what we want to do!  Let me know what are your summer plans, the fun things your family do, and your tricks for getting them off the freakin iPad!!!

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beautiful maison lavande

Last year, a friend of mine posted a picture of herself and her mom in the middle of a lavender field.  It was gorgeous, and as soon as I saw that picture I knew I had to visit that place.  I had never heard of it before.  So I looked it up, only to find out that it was about 45 minutes away from my mom’s place.  It is called Maison Lavande.  While I was looking at their website, I saw so many incredibly gorgeous photos; and I couldn’t wait to go.  But summer weekends being so busy, it’s not easy to find time for a full Saturday for some ‘me’ time.

So it took almost a year, but finally, on Friday, with nothing planned for the Saturday, I called my friend Cath, told her where I wanted to go… and right away she was on-board and coming with me!  So we made plans, called Maison Lavande and booked us massages for the next day!

So on Saturday morning, with my big girl camera in my hand, I was ready to take some amazing shots!  To say I was ready is an understatement.  The beauty of the fields simply took my breath away.  It was calm, and pure, and serene, and it kind of smelled like heaven.  For a girl who loves lavender and use it almost every day, it was just perfect.  I fell in love.  Every little detail had been thought of: chairs in the fields, quiet areas, and cute little bistro with awesome food.  I could have sat there for the entire day, just doing nothing, just being present while surrounded with purple everything.

We got there early, there were not to many visitors yet and it felt like we had the fields for ourselves.  We started to take pictures while enjoying the beautiful scenery.  We met a young man, Alec, who right away made us feel welcomed.  We had missed the first tour, so he offered to give us a private tour.  Well, thanks a lot Alec!  He only had been working at Maison Lavande for a month, but he was so great and so helpful, especially when it was time to get some pictures of the both of us!  He showed us around, answered all of our questions and gave us tips on lavender.  Who knew lavender could be used to repel lice!  Thanks for the tip Alec… but hopefully a tip I’ll never have to use in my home!  He said the founders and their families were all working there.  It was built by family for family.  And it’s really the feeling you get when you’re there.  You feel like you know them and share their love for the place and for lavender.  If you decide to check it out, I suggest you seek out Alec, he’s the best!

So after the tour, we picked up our lunches and headed to the field to eat in some big purple Adirondack chairs.  We had ham and brie sandwiches with two salads.  We also had drinks included with our massage deal: ‘Moût de pommes pétillant à la Lavande’.  Not gonna translate this one, but it was simply to die for.  Bubbly, fresh, delicious with a subtle hint of lavender.  It was so good that I decided to buy some more to bring back home.  I highly recommend you to do the same!

After lunch we headed to the quiet area and waited for our massages.  WAIT FOR IT.  Our tree house massages!  Yep, you’ve read it right… Maison Lavande is now offering massages in a 40 foot high tree house surrounded by lavender fields.  How awesome is that!!!

So we got up in the tree house, got ready on the massage table and then the massage therapist opened up the curtains.  From my table, all I could see was the lavender fields.  It was one of the best massage experience ever.  The breeze on my back, the silence except for the sounds of nature, and of course, the smell.  I felt relaxed right away.  It felt sooo good!  All I could think of was like “OMG, this is the most awesome thing I’ve done in a really long time”.  And then… SLAP!!!  In an instant, weather changed, like drastically!  The curtains started to fly and hit me.  Huge winds blowing into the tree house, and then the storm… which seemed like the mother of all storms from up there!  It was so bad.  The therapist was trying so hard to secure the drapes but with all the wind it was impossible.  I was lying naked on the table, laughing so hard about all of it… and then the water started to leak from the roof down on my neck!  Let’s just say I got up really fast as it was really cold.  We both held down the drapes together, clad in my mini-robe, while trying to take a picture of the storm!  I just kept on laughing.  That poor girl, she felt so bad, but it was clearly not her fault.  Let’s just say that mother nature is kicking my butt this year… and this time it was my naked butt while in a 40 foot tree house… yeah, there’s a first for everything!

So once the storm had passed, we placed the table in between the roofs to avoid the cold water from dropping down my back and I tried to relax for the last 15 minutes of my massage.  One of the staff was waiting for us in a golf cart to bring us back to the main house.  Even with the rain, I can say that this was one of the best experience ever.  I will be going back yearly for a tree house massage at Maison Lavande… but next time, I will make sure there’s no storm in the forecast!

After our massages, we weren’t ready to leave yet, so we fed the chickens, walked on a pathway in the forest and then had lavender frozen yogurt. Delish!  We stopped in the boutiques to stock up on lavender products: cookies, olive oil, eye lavender pillow, essential oil and a lavender lemonade.  This place is just awesome.  I will be visiting Maison Lavande again, and you should too.  If you want to go this year, I would suggest you hurry, as the beautiful flowers are in bloom up until the beginning of August.  Book a tree house massage, try the delicious drinks, bring your own picnic or eat from the bistro, get some of their great products… and of course, take hundreds of beautiful pictures and savour the unique taste of lavender frozen yogurt.  It’s so worth it!

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bry’s sangria

Heeeello long weekend!  Well you know what? Although I’m off work for the next two months, summer long weekends are still simply the best!!!  So who’s ready to celebrate Canada 150th anniversary?  Got any plans this weekend?  Well if you do, you should definitely add this recipe to your drink diet on Canada Day.  And if you don’t, well don’t worry, any day of the summer months is a perfect day for my sangria.  Well, I should say Bry’s sangria!  It’s one for the books, apparently!  You will be making this every summer weekend, I swear.

It’s great anywhere, as long as it’s served on ice; but it’s definitely better when drank by the beach, in the pool or sitting on the patio!  For myself, I prefer it with a lots of ice and a side of fresh guacamole.

So it all started two years ago while on a road trip to Toronto and the Niagara region.  Can’t remember the restaurant we stopped at, but we stayed awhile ’cause the sangria was sooo good, according to my sister-in-law and Brian.  The waitress was the best and after many pitchers, she wrote down their sangria recipe for us on our bill (which Brian then modified to his taste, obviously adding more booze to it!)…

On any given summer weekend, you can surely find a double pitcher of this, waiting to be served to our guests.  Brian has been working on the recipe for a while, and he now thinks we have a winner.  So, stock up on the ingredients and make this on the next sunny day… hopefully sooner than later!

Bry’s Sangria

What you need:

1 bottle of white wine (we use Bodacious White for the high level of sugar)

4 oz. of Malibu Rum

3 oz. of Triple Sec or Cointreau

2 oz. of your favorite Rum

1 cup of pineapple juice

3 cups of raspberry lemonade

top with sprite

1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar (depending on the amount of sugar in the white wine)

fruits: lemon, lime, orange, raspberry and strawberry

How to:

Slice your fruits and squeeze some of the juice in the pitcher.  Add the sugar with the fruits in the pitcher.  Add all the liqueur and juices.  Stir.  Leave in the fridge for about an hour or two before serving.  Once cooled and ready to be served, add the ice, the sprite and mix well.  Serve over ice with some of the fruits.

Beware, two can EASILY get tipsy with only one pitcher.  So enjoy responsibly and have fun on this special day.  Happy Canada Day all!!!

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strawberry jam forever

It’s official, we’re on vacation.  And what did I do on my first day of vacation?  Wake up super early and went strawberry picking.  Dragged the boys, as I thought they would like it, but within 5 minutes they were already bored.  Turns out they really like jam but not as much working for it and picking up berries.

So I woke one minute before my usual 6:10 am alarm.  Way to go.  Lounged with the boys and then got ready to visit Les Jardins Lamoureux in Hawkesbury.  Jojo, Lulu and my Mom tagged along.  Within one hour we had 7 huge baskets filled to the brim.  It was a gorgeous morning, perfect weather, but boy, picking strawberries is not easy!  I will now have much more appreciation for the berries that I will buy at the store!

Logan had a meltdown.  He picked about 11 berries before he called it quit.  So I decided to fill his basket for him, but as soon as I started putting some in the basket, he started balling.  You can’t touch his food; I should have known better!  Well, nothing like a 4 years old meltdown in the middle of a strawberry field.  He kept on saying ‘I only want 11’.  Oh well, too bad.  I filled the rest of it!

We came back home and took our first summer vacation nap.  Two glorious hours of sleep and then waking up to the smell of strawberries in the entire house.  Heaven.

I think we made 5 batches of jam in a 12 hour period.  The boys didn’t liked the strawberry picking, but making the jam, they loved it… with all the licking and the sticky fingers and the happy faces.

I used a Club House envelop.  The recipe is on the packets but I’m sharing anyway!

No Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam

What you need:

4 cups of strawberries

1 1/2 cups of sugar

Club House Freezer Jam packet

Glass jars

How to:

Wash jars.  Chop the strawberries and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add sugar and mix.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Even though they say not to, I blended the berries.  I’m not a fan of chunky jam.  So at this point, I used a hand held mixer and blended the berries.  Sprinkle the gelling powder and mix well for 3 minutes.  Let stand for 5.  Stir again before pouring in the jars.  Seal tight.  Store in fridge for up to 6 weeks or in the freezer for a year.

So now I think we have more jam than what we’d probably be able to eat over the next 3 years… so if you’re in a jam, drop by our place and pick up a jar!

I know what’s for lunch today: Strawberry sandwiches.  Our fav!  Now, if only the warm weather would cooperate it would actually feel like a vacation and I could enjoy some freshly picked strawberry outside by the pool.

Have an awesome week mylemondroplife followers!

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hello pesto

Oh pasta!  How I love you.

Yeah, it’s clearly one of my weaknesses!

Not sure why I hadn’t done this before, but for the first time last summer I made homemade pesto.  Basil, oil and cheese.  What’s not to love!

So easy, everybody can, and should, make this recipe instead of buying premade from the store.  The boys call this recipe ‘spaghetti vert’, and we all can’t get enough!

Summer is here and I’m planning on planting so much basil plants that my yard will smell Italian!

Meanwhile, buy your basil at your grocery shop and pesto away!

What you need:

1 cup of packed basil

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 pine nuts

2 gloves of garlic

salt and pepper

How to:

You need a food processor or a magic bullet type of thing.  Roast the pine nuts, watch them, they burn quickly and at that price, you don’t want to waste them!  Place everything the food processor and pulse.  It’s that easy!

I serve with pasta and steak on the side, but you can serve it over chicken, or with bread and charcuterie.  I would say it stores well in an air tight container for a month or so in the fridge.  It taste just like ‘summer in a jar’, so go buy some basil and try this next weekend.

Enjoy!

 

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