our christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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our magical tree tradition

Another year, another Christmas Tree. Yes, one of our family’s tradition and favorite day of the year has already gone by, and once again, it was just perfect. Not sure what’s in the air this year, but we were all so very anxious to start decorating for Christmas that we’ve decided to go out to our favorite Christmas Tree farm a week earlier, which we normally do on the first weekend of December.

I will do a house tour of our Christmas decorations sometime next week to show you all why this is the time of the year where I truly fall in love with my house, year after year. I do love my ‘normal’ house, but nothing compares to walking into a Christmas decorated house with the fresh smell of fir. That just makes me happy.

So on Saturday, we talked about it and decided that we didn’t wanted to wait another week before we’d go get our tree, and then made some plans to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park the following day. My mom, Frank and my aunt Lise-Ann decided to join us. The boys had a friend’s birthday party in the morning, and as soon as we got back home, they putted on their pj’s and snowsuits and on our way we were!

It was our 7th visit to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and we still love it every year like it was our first time. I have a feeling that we will never grow tired of this place and I truly hope that one day our grandchildren will come with us to pick our tree, and we’ll all make a day out of it, and continue this tradition of ours…

So on Sunday, on our way there, the ground was lightly covered with snow, weather was great and everybody was happy. On the way there, Logan told us that it was his favorite day of the year, which made me so happy! He then added that making a snowman and skating were also his favorite days of the year (but he has NEVER skated yet in his life!!! HAHA). Once we got to the farm, we immediately went to the wagon ride and hit the fields. We strolled for a while before Brian found our magical tree. He usually choose the biggest tree he finds, but this year he kinda went for a pretty one instead of a big one, and I don’t know, but I love a big tree, and I told him that he should have gone bigger; so, well, I guess that after making that comment about his tree I can expect the biggest tree that will physically fits into our house next year; oh well!

So when I say magical tree, and I know I have told you about our corny tradition in last year’s post, but for those who are new here, each year when we go pick out our tree, my mom hides two bags with the boys’ names under the tree that we have chosen. When we (the adults) finally decide on a tree, we bring the boys for a little walk while my mom hides their bags under it, and then we bring back the boys close to the tree and let them walk by themselves until they find their bags with their names, and therefore our magical tree! Silly, but all they could talk about on the way there was which tree would be ours and what could be the surprise they would find under it. It’s usually a small ornament and chocolate, but it gets them really excited!

Once the tree was cut down, we took the wagon back to see the Reindeer. Definitely my favorite moment. Only wish I could do a photoshoot with them à la Mariah Carey! That would be a dream come true. But sadly I don’t own a tight red Santa suit nor am I allowed to go inside the Reindeer’s pens! That’s too bad!!!

The year, for the first time, we ventured past the Reindeer and took a walk on Candy Cane Lane, played in the maze and visited Santa’s workshop. Wish more snow had fallen to make snowballs and throw them at the giant target. Brian found a way to make some of dead grass and a tiny bit of snow; it kinda worked and it was a hit!

Then it was time to warm up by the fire pit, eat a hot dog and drink a hot cocoa! We also made our way into the warm up cabin to look at a few snapshot of all the visiting guests over the years. We love finding some of our older pictures on the wall.

Finally, Brian and Frank tied the tree onto the car and we drove back home for an evening of decorating and diner. It’s now part of the tradition to eat a warm homemade lasagna after freezing our bums all afternoon. We finished the tree, ate dinner, had some raspberry pie and then called it a night. But before going to bed, even if it was past their bedtime, we decided to let the boys watch the tree for a little while, upon their request, while also making plans to play board games in front of it today after school. They just love to sit and watch all the lights and ornaments. So last night, while looking at it, they talked about how good they have to be in order to receive gifts on Christmas morning. Hopefully they’ll remember about it in the morning! Yeah right.

So glad the Holidays are upon us, that my house smells like fir when I walk in, and that my boys love Christmas as much as we do. Now let’s the parties begin!

 

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christmas petites boulettes

Les Petites Boulettes… a Christmas tradition that you can’t have enough of!

I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have our ‘petites boulettes’ or little meat balls for Christmas or any important gatherings.  These are my cousin Luc’s favorite thing in the world; you would always find him with a mountain of them on his plate!

Over the years I’ve developed a genius technique not to look too piggy once they’re being served; it’s real easy, and I suggest you do the same (that’s why I’m sharing the recipe with you): you just need to be the one who prepares them so you can eat as many as you want while you go in the kitchen to heat them up!!!  They’re addictive!

The first time I brought them to Christmas Eve in Brian’s family, years ago, uncles and aunts were not too savvy about it at first, but let me tell you that once Uncle Paul started to eat them one after the other while moaning at almost every bite, it was not too long before there was none left!  So now they’re a yearly tradition and one of the favorites in the Woodbury Christmas Eve’s feast (and of course I still volunteer year after year to be the one who goes in the kitchen and heat them right after midnight, come on!).

So I’m sharing our family recipe with you!  Double or triple the recipe, you won’t regret it.  They’re easy to make, but you could find it a bit lengthy to roll all these small meatballs.  I usually cook them in advance, freeze them, and then heat them up on the special day!

What you need:

-for the meatballs

1 lbs ground beef

1 lbs ground pork

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon of bifteck spices

2 tablespoon of oil

2 eggs

salt and pepper

-for the sauce

2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cups of vinegar

1 can of tomato soup

1/2 cup of ketchup

1 cup of water

9 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of dry mustard

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of garlic salt

How to:

Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs.  Roll out mini meatballs (2.5 to 3 cm diameter).  I bake them in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 400 until golden.  My family cooks them in oils in a pan.  I like to think I have the HEALTHY version!!!

While the meatballs are cooking, in a large stock pot, add the sugar, vinegar, tomato soup, ketchup, the spices and half of the water, cook on med-low.  Mix the other half of the water with the cornstarch.  Add to the stock pot.  Continue to simmer on low for 20 minutes and then add the meatballs.  Cook on low for another 30 minutes and VOILA!  Enjoy!

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elf problems

I love traditions, old and new.  Especially when it comes to special occasions and holidays.  And one thing I love about Christmas or about the time leading to Christmas is our Elf on the Shelf.  I really do.  Our boys are really into it, trying to be nice and all because the elf is watching them on behalf of Santa…

But this year, Willy –yeah, our elf’s name is Willy after the elf that falls in love with Elizabeth Bank in the movie Fred Claus– is causing me more trouble than I can manage!  (That little f*cker!)

I bought our Willy in the States before the elf craziness on Facebook when I was pregnant with Liam.  I loved the story behind it, loved the thousand ways you can plan for his next move and I really wanted one in my house for his first Christmas.  My kids are in the middle of all the magical things that surrounds Christmas and I couldn’t love it more… except that because of this freaking little Elf, our house can’t sleep anymore!

I’ve never had any problems putting the boys to bed or keeping them there.  But since December 1st, boy oh boy, I’m lacking sleep.  Logan is either stressed or super excited, but he wakes up at night saying he saw Willy the Elf playing in his room, flying around or putting something in is advent calendar mitten…

Yep, we have a advent calendar mitten ‘tradition’; I know, another one… but this is such a great one that the boys just love!  I’ve never really been a fan of the chocolate calendar, and I guess Brian figured that one out as he didn’t get me the Chocolat Favoris advent calendar I specifically told him I really wanted… oh well!  So for the boys, instead of the usual advent chocolate calendar, my mom made them a string of mini mittens with number 1 to 24 on them that I’ve attached to the headboard of their bed –they are GORGEOUS– and every night, Willy brings them a treat if they’ve been good… just a tiny little treat, a toy, candy or thingy.  It’s a hit!  So in the morning, the first thing they do is look in their mitten for their treat, then they run through the house to go find Willy, and then they eat their little chocolate from their chocolate calendar that my mom got them… Yes, we now have 3 morning rituals and it’s killing me!

So half the time, somewhere between 11pm and 4 am, one of them is either looking for a treat in the next day mitten, or looking for the elf, or coming to our room asking us why there’s still nothing in their mitten as they’re pretty sure they were nice the day before…. SHUT UP and go to bed!!!!!!! Well I don’t say that, I actually tell them that I don’t know when Willy’s going to come, but that if they don’t sleep when he comes to their room, then he won’t go and there’ll be no treat in the morning!  So they happily go back to sleep…until couple hours later when the other one comes swearing he just saw the elf flying over his bed!!!

So we’re at day-14 now and here’s what we’ve learn so far:

1- Logan lies about seeing the elf flying in his room

2- 5am chocolate feeding = meltdown before 7

3- Next year, no chocolate calendar OR chocolate treats in the mittens due to the now almost-daily-morning-meltdown

4- You can bribe them and get pretty much ANYTHING you want with an Elf

5- Elf nightmares are real: ‘no Liam, your brother didn’t kidnapped Willy and TOUCHED him during the night to kill its magic’… yeah, that wonderful crisis happened 2 nights ago when Liam started crying at 3am saying Willy was gone for good because Logan had just touched him!

I like I said, I LOVE our Elf Willy and I hope the boys will continue to believe in its magic and laugh every morning while trying to find him for many more years to come, but man… this year, Willy brought way more trouble than I wished-for when I got him 6 years ago!!!

Do you have an Elf?  What’s the worst thing your Elf did?  As I am fishing for some inspiration!!!

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