Easter is just a few days away, and here’s my list of what to buy this year. Since it’s now probably too late to order some of those items online if you’d like them in time for Easter, I would suggest to visit your nearby small shop and support local this year! And if you do, please be mindful of the current restrictions. So Spring is here and I’m ready for all things floral, colourful and fun! I’ve put together a bunch of fun ideas to fill the Easter basket of your favourite people or simply to get ready for spring. Have fun shopping!
Invisible Pen: The boys have these pens and they are so much fun. You can leave mysterious notes, play Sherlock Holmes or just have fun doodling. You can get an excellent price if you buy a bunch. Maybe Peter Rabbit can use them to create a fun eggs treasure hunt on Easter morning.
Bubble machine: You know what I hate? Blowing bubbles. I absolutely hate the mess but I so love the fun. So this little machine is a dream come true. Add bubble liquid and press on. Could be fun to put one next to the pool and have a bubble pool party! Yep, let’s try it this summer!
Beaded Headband: Definitely need to order this one for myself! Perfect for all my spring outfits… and yours! So go get it now!
Night Garden Puzzle: Love this puzzle and the whimsical feeling it has. We did the octopus one in this series and we had the best time making it. We glued it and will frame it for the cottage. Maybe we need this one too. Yeah, let’s add it to the basket!
Star Wars PJ: Got these for the boys and they are AWESOME. I mean, come on, Storm trooper bunnies! It’s everything they need!
Cars Short PJ: So wish these came in larger sizes. So if you are lucky enough to still have minis at home, get this vintag-y Cars Pajama.
Straw Headband: Talk about looking like spring. Would be perfect with every Easter outfits. In the basket as well!
Knit Hoodie: Softest hoodie EVER. Love the simplicity of this hoodie. Trying to get away from all the busy print and characters tees and this is the way to go. Will get it in every colour for sure!
Jelly Sandals: This brings me so far back! I remember my grandma buying me these plastic sandals back in the days. Ohhh the pain the first time you wore them!!! Hopefully, these have improve over the years! They are just too cute and would be the perfect addition to a little girl Easter basket.
Swimsuit: I always get the boys some new swimsuit for Easter. It reminds them that summer is coming and they always need a new one anyway. So it’s a win win. A necessity you buy and a gift for them!
Jellycat Blossom Bunny: I just can’t even. I’m so happy Logan still bring his bunnies everywhere. Aren’t these the cutest bunnies ever. Might just need one for myself
Razor Scooter: The kids are tired or being in school, not playing with friends like they used to. So get them a scooter and bring them outside for some much needed sunshine and play time. Logan tried the skate park The Yard in Ottawa last week for a friend’s bday party and he had the best time. We might even get the boys some scooter lesson if soccer and baseball is cancelled this year again.
Perler Beads: QUIET TIME! Yes, as soon as I bring out the beads… it can go from total chaos to total quiet in matters of seconds. So, BUY YOURS NOW!
Star Wars Monopoly:If we wouldn’t have already 3 Monopoly games, I would absolutely get this for Liam. Actually, I just might… to feed our growing Baby Yoda addiction.
Pool Float:Talking about addiction, this one is mine and mine only. How can you not smile when you see a pool full of fun floats. We have more floats than the size of my pool but I don’t care, they’re everywhere and I just love it. Next goal: floating island for the cottage!
Bunny Waffle Maker: You have to get this so you can make magical breakfast with this adorable waffle maker. They work so great. Plus, the recipe included is delic
Bunny Slippers: I can totally see myself or your teenager girl in these bunny slippers.
Bunny mugs: And while I wear the bunny slippers from above, I also see myself drinking a latte in these amazing mugs. You never have enough coffee mugs. Another addiction I guess! Not the coffee, but the mugs.
So I want to wish everyone of you the happiest and safest Easter weekend. It will be the second Easter by ourselves but that won’t stop us from having fun and making memories! Please stay safe and try to do your part so we can get out of this and have a normal-ish summer. Cause that’s all I want right now, for things to get better so we can have a fun and relaxing summer, I need it, you need it, everyone needs it, so let’s do this. Happy Easter my friend!
Guess what everyone, we did it! We’ve made it through year one of the pandemic. One full year since life as we knew it completely changed in a matter of a few days. A year ago, today, we cancelled our Disney trip 10 hours prior to take-off. Wow, like now, thinking back about March 2020, how naïve was I thinking we would probably have to wait a few weeks before we’d be able to go back to our daily routine. Looking back, maybe I was wayyyy too optimistic, or maybe I simply had no clue how lucky we were back then. What I know is that we were taking our daily life for granted and hopefully we’ll never get back there once the pandemic is over.
So I have been quiet here lately, and to be honest, the last 6 months have been really hard on me. I haven’t been myself at times, feeling down, and lonely, and tired of all this, not knowing when things would be better. With weekdays and weekends blending into one, and weeks becoming months. I know I am not the only one going through a rough time, and I feel for all of you going through something similar. So to everyone else who feels like every day is the same with school, work, cooking, cleaning, housework and then going to bed, well hang tight. I’m usually big on celebrating everything but there wasn’t much to celebrate in the last year. Yet, I feel like we’re about to turn a corner here. Finally! The pandemic isn’t over, and there’s probably still a long way ahead before I can go to Disney with my family and go buy some avocados and chips at the grocery store without wearing my mask, but the days are starting to get longer and I’m feeling more and more like myself, I can feel spring is coming, baby lemons are growing in my lemon tree, we will be opening our summer cottage in less than 2 months, and all this is making me so very much happy!
I’m proud of us and how we’ve handled the pandemic so far, you know, trying our best to do our part to limit the spread, staying home, staying safe, and being conscious of the regulations and public health measures, while also supporting our local businesses, restaurants and breweries!
I mean we’ve always enjoyed eating out and encouraging local restaurants before, but since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been trying to do take-out once a week, ordering from different places, and I thought I’d let you know all about it. Of course the boys would prefer to have Domino’s every week, but I now prefer my pizza in a long rectangular box, and once you’ll try this pizza, so will you! So here’s some of our favorite spots we’ve been ordering from in the last year:
1- Farinella: As I just said, my favorite pizza now comes in a long Farinella box. I’ve been obsessed with this place since I’ve heard about it 2 years ago. It’s a bit of a drive for us, but oooh so worth it! Our favorite ones are the Frank Pinello and the Salamino! So we like to try different ones when we eat there, but when we order out, we’re boring and go with what we know we’ll like. And those two are such a great combo. But I am not done… guess what else they do? Freakin gelato!!! Yeah, their gelato is to die for! So if you go, don’t make the mistake of simply buying a pint or two like I did on my first time, nope, buy as much as there’s room in your freezer, and you won’t regret it! Pistachio, Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut are my favorite ones. So this place has been our go-to take-out restaurant on Saturday night over the last year, and I will continue to order out but can’t wait to go there on a sunny Saturday afternoon and try all of their pizzas and gelatos!
2- Vert Fourchette: So not everyone here will know about Vert Fourchette as this is located in Vankleek Hill, about 50 minutes away from Ottawa, but we just love everything about that place and you will to after a single visit. It’s fresh, inspired and always delicious. They’ve created an awesome pick-up menu during the lockdown, and now even if the dining room has reopened, you can still order to go or get some of their delicious frozen meals. They also have special charcuterie boxes for special events. For Valentine’s Day, we ordered the 4 course meal and it was so much fun to prepare and even more fun to eat. The best thing we’ve tried is the chèvre chaud with bacon and fig… I can’t describe it, but oh boy was it good. Brian had the salmon while I had the Beef Wellington for diner, which was delicious, but I would have been okay simply eating more and more chèvre chaud as my main meal. It was that good. Can’t wait to go for tacos on the terrace.
3- Beau’s Brewery: Talking about Vankleek Hill, well of course I had to have Beau’s on this list! At first we were getting Beau’s delivered at home, but after a while we started to go to the Brewery to get out of the house. And now that their Tap room is OPEN, guess where we’ll be on Saturday! If you can’t get to Vankleek Hill, you should order some of their beers online. But if you can visit the brewery, you should! What I’m most excited about is their outside setup, as a few benches and fire pits have been installed outside the brewery where you can enjoy a beer by the fire and catch up with friends. Beau’s will always make the list, pandemic or not! Now, let’s hope this thing goes away fast so they can bring back Oktoberfest in 2021!
4- Black Walnut Bakery: We are so lucky to live about 7 minutes away from this perfect picture family owned bakery. If you live too far to visit the bakery, simply follow them on Instagram to see all the amazing items they make! Their French croissants, lattes and loaves of bread are sooooo good. During the pandemic, we’ve been ordering online in advance and picking it up at our scheduled time. If you simply want to walk-in you still can, but the place is usually packed! People are lining up on the side of the road every weekend to get their hands on one of their freshly baked goods. On my to-do list will be to reserve a spot for the Sourdough Pîzza Evenings they are hosting in the summer. Wasn’t lucky enough last summer, so keeping my fingers crossed that I can get my name on the list this summer!
5- Orleans Brewing Co.: So Brian discovered this local brewery at the beginning of the pandemic when it got easier and safer to order directly from the breweries rather than going to LCBO, and let’s just say that he’s been quite happy about it! OBC have some great beers and they also offer local delivery, sometime even on the same day. Talk about awesome customer service! We haven’t been out to the brewery for food yet but our friend Phil did, many times, and every time he’s there he posts whatever he’s having on Instagram and it always look so delicious. So this is also on my to-do list for the next few months. Now if we could only have a babysitter for a night out at the brewery!
6- Cucina Da Vito: This has been our other go-to place this winter. Fresh and amazingly delicious Italian pasta. Brian has tried different dishes, his favorite one being the Penne alla Speck, while I’ve kept ordering the same thing over and over. Their gnocchi dish has ruined any other pasta dish for me, it’s like eating a cloud! Like literally, and I couldn’t get tired of it. We haven’t had dinner on-site in a while now, but their restaurant is beautiful and classic, and I can’t wait to go back. The take-out menu is great so if you don’t feel like cooking tonight or tomorrow and you’re hungry for a delicious meal, give them a call and you will be amazed.
7- La Ha Tacos: If you know me then you know I could easily eat tacos every day and I would be happy, like realllllly happy. La Ha Tacos is a local food truck that happens to be 3 minutes away from my workplace and they have the best tacos in Ottawa. The warm tortilla chips and fresh salsa, and the Hibiscus Tea are just the best way to lead to my favorite dish, the Chicken Taco. La Ha Tacos’ food truck is usually closed for the winter and it breaks my heart every year, but this year they found a location not too far away where they kept on serving their amazing food during the winter. Visit their website to place your order in advance and then simply pick it up and enjoy!
There’s a few other places that I want to try in the upcoming weeks, Gongfu Bao on Bank Street in Ottawa, Cantina Gia for Italian food, Brauwerk Hoffman, a new brewery in Rockland only a few minutes away from home, and Sundae School, for some awesome ice cream!
I’m ALWAYS up to try new food or restaurants, so if you have any recommendations for me, please send them my way! And I will be sending a 50$ gift card to the place of your choice from the list above to one lucky follower who shares my post and leaves a recommendation in the comment section. What better way to start year 2 of the pandemic than with free food or free beers. Cheers everyone, stay safe and enjoy spring time, I know I will!
Christmas is just around the corner, and usually, this time of year, I’m already in full Christmas mode and ready for December. This year, and until a few days ago, I still wasn’t sure I would be able to turn things around and bring some Christmas joy to our home given the pandemic. It’s been tough lately, imaging what Christmas will look like, knowing we won’t be able to celebrate with our families. So let’s say that 2020 definitely needed a bit of magic, and our family Christmas tree day delivered this year again as it was the perfect start to our holiday season!
Christmas Day is usually a family affair in our home. Every year, we drive about an hour to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Farm to get our tree, and we usually bring as many people with us as our two cars will allow, and then we have this huge family gathering at home where our family help us decorate our tree and stay over for diner. This year it was different, as it was only the four of us, for the first time ever.
So the boys have been anxiously awaiting for the Magic Tree weekend for a while. I was actually scared for a moment that it wouldn’t even happen, but luckily we were fortunate enough that one of our favorite holiday traditions wasn’t cancelled due to COVID.
For the last 8 years now, we’ve been visiting Ian`s Christmas Tree Farm on the last Saturday of November… and I couldn’t imagine this tradition to stop, ever.
As most of you know, I kinda LOVE anything and everything that is magical. I can actually tell you without lying that I still believe in Christmas and all of its magic. Like I am not stupid… I do know, but even if I know, I still continue to believe, and that makes me so happy. I actually never really stopped believing, and for the last 10 years it’s been stronger than ever… definitely because of the boys and the way they love Christmas and believe in it more than anything in the world. They have absolutely no doubts, and that is the best feeling in the world, watching them being brightened and lightened up when they talk or hear about Christmas, and Santa, and Willy, their Elf on the shelf.
As I said, I am not stupid, and I am not naïve either, so I know this will come to an end, eventually… and I kind of feel this might be the year, and this may be their last ‘real’ magical Christmas. They haven’t started to ask questions yet, and I am glad they didn’t, cause I am sooo not ready for them questions as I would have no idea what to say. So instead of thinking of when this will happen, I decided to simply live in the moment and cherish every single drop of it while I can.
So all that to say that we have a special tradition when it comes to choosing our Christmas tree called the Magic Tree, and that’s what I actually wanted to share with you today. Here’s how you find a Magic Tree: you walk around all the trees at Ian’s Christmas Tree Farm and suddenly a magical tree will appear and that’s your magic tree! How do you know it’s yours? Easy, there’s going to be some reindeer fur bags with your kids’ names on it stacked right in the tree!
Now, here’s how the magic actually happens! So we made it to the Christmas Tree Farm, we walked for ever, for over 45 minutes in various different fields, until we reached the far end of the farm, way further than where the wagon has ever brought us over the years. We walked until Brian and I found the perfect tree. When we see a nice one, we can’t even say out loud that this is possibly the one, cause if we do, we’ll be immediately reminded twice that we can’t decide which tree to get, but we have to find it…
This year, my mom, Frank and Bry’s dad weren’t there to tell us every time we’d find a potential tree that we should get a smaller one… nope, we were on our own for the first time, like two idiots looking at 13 footers, asking each other if this would fit in our living room after a little trim, when we actually have 9 feet ceilings. Well, after considering all the big trees, we were reasonable enough and found the perfect one (yeah, it ended up needing a good 2 feet trim, and it’s still huge, but we love it!).
So once we found it, I made the boys walk further away, still looking for the Magic Tree, while I placed the fur bags in our tree. Then they walked back until they found the tree, and that’s when the MAGIC happened! As usual, there was a stuffed animal in each bag, which they happen to love with all of their heart, so that’s a plus in bringing joy to the Magic Tree tradition! Their little faces light up immediately and their laughters make me cry every time. From the moment they see it, they get so excited and so protective of their tree. It’s only for us, and we CAN’T leave without it! This year, after they found the tree, Brian actually realized how massive it was, and then told me it was probably too big for our house… he said it so just me would hear, but Logan heard, and immediately said ‘NO, it’s ours, it’s our Magic Tree, we have to bring it home’. So we did.
It was such a good day. It was… like you know it’s a good day when you park right beside the Stittsville Griswold’s at a Christmas Tree Farm! And on our way back, Liam said that the first thing he was going to do once at home would be to wash his hands, put his Christmas pyj and then spend the rest of the day in the living room looking at the tree.
On Sunday morning I was chatting with Logan and he told me that he hoped the Magic Tree would never stop. I told him it wouldn’t. And that’s the truth. No matter what age my boys will be, I will always bring them with us to find the Magic Tree. And hopefully, one day they will too!
Christmas will definitely be different this year. For so many reasons. But you know what, let’s not compare to any other years, and let’s try to enjoy what we have, and let’s celebrate while staying safe, and it’s going to be magical, you know why? Cause it’s Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone!
So I remember seeing a meme a few months ago that said ‘Wear a mask, save Halloween’. Well, I guess we didn’t wear them enough because here we are, it’s Halloween week, and we won’t be trick or treating this year.
I love Halloween, maybe more than any other holidays, but I understand what’s happening out there, and I think it’s for the best, and that it’s safer to skip the door to door for this year. So we continue to roll with the punches this pandemic has been throwing at us, including a big one last week when we lost someone close to us that we loved very very much. So we’ll continue to adjust accordingly and deal with everything the best we can.
Trick or treating or not, this is still Halloween… so our family costumes are ready and we will be hosting a physical distancing Halloween street parade… with proper measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety, which, sadly, means no candy! So my two little dragons will be wearing their mask and walking down the street to show off their costume to other kids in the neighbourhood. Have you ever seen dragons with masks? Well, come to our parade and you will!
The Halloween talks usually start in early August at our house, and although I already knew back then I would probably not let the boys trick or treat, I still told them they needed to come up with good costume ideas. So back then, they were in a ‘How to train your dragons phase’, and they decided that this would be our theme this year. I’ve always wanted a family themed costume, but Brian is usually pretty hard to convince when it comes to Halloween costume (especially family themed one). Well I guess the boys were pretty convincing cause they were able to get him to dress up and participate in our family costume this year, which made me very happy. The deal was that we would all dress up, have a dragon’s day and party all day, but now that we are going to be doing a parade, it remains to be seen if he’s actually going to dress up or not on Halloween day. But I think he will!
So the plan for Halloween day is to start with dragon’s pumpkin pancakes, some games, including Halloween Bingo, another round of watching either How to train your dragon or Harry Potter (I vote for HP), and then do the neighborhood parade. So to get ready for this, lately, I’ve been spending most of my evenings making some How to train your dragon’s costumes for the four of us. The boys are so happy with the results. Well, who wouldn’t be with some light-up dragon’s wings!
So I am going to be Astrid, Brian will be Harold, and we will have our two little dragons with us! They’re not very well trained yet, but I guess that’s a work in progress! I’ve got my Astrid sword, Harold has his Viking hat, and our two dragons have some light-up wings ready to go for Saturday. Halloween 2020, we are ready for you! Happy Halloween everyone!
P.S. Harold, could you please buy me some mini chocolate bars since there will be none to steal from the kids?
I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers, said Anne Shirley. Well so am I! There is something magical about the changing colors of the leaves, the early darkness of the night and all the excitement of Halloween; which has make my heart burst every October since as far as I can remember. And you know what else makes my heart burst? Festive pajamas! I couldn’t pass on the opportunity of sharing my favorite finds of the pumpkin season, so here comes the cutest pajamas you could ever find!
And since I love the season so much, I gotta share this product as well as it brought me so much happiness! Here’s my new MINI PUMPKIN WAFFLE MAKER. It’s just too good to be through and yet, I have one and I love it! You have to get once for yourself. Liam said the pumpkin waffles tasted like perfection… That’s my boy!
So order up some awesome pajamas, whip up a batch of Mini Pumpkin Waffles and put on Hocus Pocus to put you in a festive mood! Still not sure how Halloween will look like this year, but I will be there for all of it.
What will you be this year? Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from celebrating Halloween. Come on! Worst come to worst, just celebrate at home with your immediate family and kids. Fall and Winter may be tough for some of us with the COVID cases going up again and the restrictions increasing, so I think that we need to take every opportunities we get to do something out of it and have a little fun. That’s the key to maintaining some sort of wellness! So dress up and do something fun on October 31st! Here we’re putting together a physical-distancing-costume-parade for kids on our street! So can you guess our costumes for this year? I’ll share some pictures on Halloween Day!
So about 18 months ago, when things were totally normal, without even knowing what was going to hit us, I decided to start doing some homemade hand soap… and boy did it come in handy since March with all this sanitizing frenzy. While the store soap shelves are empty, well there’s plenty in my house!
I’m sharing my Foamy Hand Soap recipe with you, so you can all start making it at home. It’s soft, it smells great and it’s satisfying to make! Sure, it might seem a bit expensive at first, but once you buy the products, it will give you about 10-15 bottles of soap. PLUS, it’s really great on sensitive skin and there’s no chemicals, as it’s entirely made of products you can name.
You can even get the kids involve in making the soap mixture. A quick DIY afternoon and you’ll get some fresh soap out of it! I will provide a link below of the products that I’ve been using since I started. I find that ordering through Amazon right now might be the easiest way to get your hands on these, since running from store to store is definitely not your best option right now.
Foamy Hand Soap
Bottle: You will need an empty foam pump bottles (I reused all the ones I had from Bath & Body Works) or any foam bottle you might have. I will also list some new ones you can buy to get you started.
Fill (up to the line on the bottle) with distilled water.
Mix slowly, add the pump and wash away!
For the essential oils, lately, been using Young Living’s Thieves as it has antimicrobial properties, it’s great for the immune system and it’s really energizing. So exactly what you need right now! I also love making lemon and lavender soap for my kitchen soap bottle. It smells clean and fresh. Or grapefruit and peppermint for the boys bathroom. Their hands smell like heaven! And they don’t complain when I ask them to go wash their hands about 100 times a day! So many possibilities! Try it with your favorite essential oils and I’m sure it’s going to be a success. If you need more information about essential oils, send me a quick message and I’ll get you started!
Guess what! This is finally the end of a short but unbelievably loonnnnnng school year!!! I have to say that I think homeschooling was almost a success for a little while, I am very proud of my boys, they did very well, but I think that it was time for all of us to take a little break and start enjoying summer. The kids have been home for the past 3 months, and they’ve been working pretty hard on some days, until NOW. I want them to forget about homeschooling now and just have fun. Same for me, I think I need to recharge a little bit. Brian as well. I could really feel in the last few weeks that they too needed a well-deserved break, so I told them they would only have to do some reading for the last week of school. They were so happy about it, and thought I was such a cool teacher! Of course I am!
For the next 2 months, I plan on swimming every single day, reading so many books and playing with the boys. Summer will be different this year, that’s for sure, like not just summer, everything will be different, but I do not want to keep focusing on that, I want us to figure out how to have an amazing time in the new reality, and I am sure that we can. Last year at this time we had road trips to Picton, Kingston and Boston lined up. This year we have no plans, no vacations booked, and have no clue what we’re gonna be doing for the next little while, and that’s ok. I kind of appreciated being just the four of us during the quarantine, and to be honest, I realized that this was something we didn’t do enough before. We usually always have plans, or places to go, or people to be with… like, all the time. The pandemic really made us slow down and enjoy each other and what we have a little more, and I like that. That being said, I can’t wait to see all of my friends, and family, and have you all over for dinner, and finally re-book my trip to Disney World, or plan another trip, somewhere else… cause I am still me, but now that I was forced to stay home for a while, I kind of realized how much I love it!
So, with that being said, even if we haven’t made definite plans for the summer, I’m always down for a fun Summer Quarantine Bucket List!
It’s a new summer, full of possibilities and fun in the sun, and I plan on making the most of it. My boys are growing fast, and soon enough there’ll be summer jobs and friends to take over my time with them. So enjoying the moment and making memories is what it’s all about… I wish you all a fun and long summer! See you all by the pool or at the cottage!
So it’s Easter morning and it clearly doesn’t feel like it. The egg hunt is about to start, and although I still haven’t had my coffee yet, I can already tell you that it’s going to be one of the weirdest Easter Sunday ever…
Life is turned upside down and even if we can’t be with our family this weekend, we decided that we were still going to be celebrating.
I usually celebrate every chances I get, but this year, for Easter, things are a little different, and I wasn’t sure if I would actually do it… but guess what, no virus is gonna stop me from Easter! It’s going to involve video chatting to maintain the required physical distancing, but still, Easter is on, and I can’t wait to see my family over Zoom tonight!
Here’s a few things we’ve made the last couple of days to prepare for Easter weekend:
-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs eggs
-Hand bunny puppets (seriously, 5 minutes crafts are the best)
-Egg carton painted flower wreath
-Bunny sugar cookie cake
-Took a thousand walks to see Easter decorations in our neighbourhood
-Read cute Easter books with the boys
We don’t have any plans today, other than the necessary Egg Hunt and our annual Chicken & Ribs Easter dinner. I might actually bake some cinnamon buns for breakfast, or it might just be Lucky Charms! Who knows!
Chicken & Ribs is a long lasting Easter tradition at my in-laws. And even if we can’t be together tonight, we are all cooking our own chicken and ribs and we’ll be eating all together via video chat. It’s in like 10 hours, and I am already wondering what I’m gonna wear. Please Easter Jesus, please don’t let me be lazy and wear my pyjama again. No, seriously, probably going to try to dress up for this one, I swear! (proooobably not gonna happen!!!)
I miss my friends, my family and everyone else in my life so much. But the best thing to do right now is to stay home and do our part. Thanks to everyone else who can’t stay home and have to go to work to do their part, we’re so thankful for all you do.
So if your plans got cancelled as well for Easter, don’t stress out about it, and don’t be sad that it’s not going to be a perfect Easter this year… just enjoy the moment and the fact that you are healthy and have a safe place to eat all of your chocolate treats and Cadbury eggs.
Stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy. Happy Easter My Lemon Drop Life family xox
Easter is only a few short weeks away and being in quarantine doesn’t make shopping for our little bunnies easy. So, I’m bringing you the best AMAZON EASTER LIST you are going to find! Most of these items can be shipped with Prime in a few days. Oh, if you don’t have Prime by now, get it! You’ll get two-day shipping on mostly everything on top of Prime movies and TV Shows… because let’s face it, if you have to stay home for a month like I do, it’s not gonna take long before you’ve seen all the best Netflix has to offer! Bonus, your husband can watch Jack Ryan or Treadstone, so it’s like you got them an early Easter present! So go ahead and fill out that cart… might has well add extra chocolate at the end, because you will NEED it at one point in the next few weeks! Hoppy shopping!
1. Instax: Still can’t get enough. Even if we have 2 in our house, I’m thinking I need one too!
2. Bunny Diffuser: You will need to diffuse lots of oil in the next little while and why not do it in Easter style. I recommend Stress Away from Young Living, especially if you have a few kids running around the house all-day.
3. Le petit lapin magique: Our favourite Easter book (there’s also one for Christmas). Only 2 books in this collection but they are so adorable. The drawings are soft and it’s a perfect gift for your little book lover. Logan loves to read this one to me… it’s the sweetest thing ever for my little bunny lover.
4. Bubble gun: I hate bubbles but the boys love them. It’s spring now, so send them outside and let them have fun. And no more sticky fingers with this bubble gun!
5. Egg Chalk: Need, need, need. We go through so much chalk over here it’s insane. These are super cute to add to your basket loot.
6. Mini scooter: Snow on the ground will soon be all gone and your young ones will love to ride this thing. So instead of giving them an easter basket, organize a treasure hunt around the house so they can find the scooter in the driveway at the end. That’s what I did 4 years ago and it was such a success.
7. Bunnies by the Bay: This one is my FAV. Logan’s bunny. We have 3 (well 5 if you count the 2 we’ve lost along the way) and he sleeps with them every night. Perfect for baby’s first Easter. The entire Bunnies by the Bay collection is awesome.
8. Sushi Go: We have this game and it’s the cutest. Fun too. Play this after diner or on the go at the restaurant. A family favourite.
10. Unicorn Bath Bombs: So many choices on Amazon, but I chose these because of their colors. Perfect for Easter.
11. iPhone Cable Have a teenager on that list? Get them a new cable… cause you know they are going to end up using yours. Love the Amazon Basics line. And the cable works great. I used to know because my boys (not sure which one of the 3) stole my pink one!
12. Jumpin’: We love this game. It’s not easy at all. Lots of levels for everyone to enjoy.
13. Bunny socks: Bought those a few years ago and we still wear them. Adorable, get a pair for each member of the family and then get the cutest picture.
14. How to draw Harry Potter: This item will for sure be in both boys’ basket. We’re obsessed with HP so we definitely need this. And the price is pretty awesome too!
15. Bunny Eye Mask: How cute!?! And inexpensive. Added to my cart already!
16. Mandalorian Lego: My boys can’t wait to get their hands on this set. They are obsessed… who am I kidding… I’m obsessed too!
17. IQ XOXO: Portable game. Perfect for long drives or at the restaurants. Not sure who loves it more, the boys or Brian. Great for the entire family.
18. Rainbow Stacking Blocks: I just love fun toys for babies that are durable and can be used forever. This set would be a great add to any baby basket.
So one of my ultimate dream finally came true: TO HAVE AN AMAZING WHITE KITCHEN!!!
From the moment I walked into my house while doing house hunting about 6 years ago, I knew this is where I was going to stay, but I also knew that this kitchen had to be re-done in white one day. It should have never been brown-ish from the first place. I remember walking through it for the first time and picturing it all-white, and it was so beautiful! So it was my only condition for buying the house. It needed to be white within 6 months. Well, 6 months turned into over 5 years, but we finally did it, we re-did our kitchen, and it is exactly as I’d pictured it in 2015, or even better, and here’s how it all happened.
Last spring, we started to talk about our summer plans, what we wanted to do in the next year, where we wanted to go, Brian was looking at houses on the market for our friends who were looking to move in town, and from time to time he would show one to me and say things like ‘‘look at this one… this one is really nice… would you like this one for us?’’. For me things were quite simple, like let’s not travel this summer and please stop looking at other houses, cause I love my house and I want to stay here, but let’s redo our kitchen, in white, please! Well if you follow my blog you know that we ended up traveling quite a bit last summer, so I guess I didn’t win that one – for now.
So summer happened and my plans were kind of put on hold, and instead of re-doing our kitchen, we went on multiple road trips and had a blast in the pool all summer long! Brian had actually never been a fan of this whole kitchen-reno-project-idea of mine. So I knew it would be a tough sell with him. But then, on my last weekend off of the summer, out of nowhere, I asked Brian if we could go to Ikea on Sunday morning to look at white counter tops, you know, just to get an idea, and he said yes!!! So just like that, this was the beginning of our kitchen reno. So at the same time as our back-to-school, which is probably the most hectic time of the year for me at work and home, we started a huge reno project. I knew that a full kitchen renovation wasn’t going to be easy for us, but man, I was not expecting it to be such an emotional roller coaster. Ishhh… I have to say that he was very good putting up with me for the following two months… still not sure how we got through this. But we did, so good for us!
After that visit to Ikea, I had a pretty good idea where this was going. So here what my original plan looked like: do it all ourselves, let’s paint the cabinets white, let’s take out that awful backsplash and replace it with white subway tiles, let’s put the cheapest white countertop we can find and then repaint the room floor to ceiling. Easy enough, right? I really thought we could do all of this in about a weekend or so. Hummmm, not really. That trip to Ikea was actually a game changer for me. While I thought I would have to settle for the cheapest laminate countertop to stay within our budget, I realized that getting a bright and shiny white Quartz countertop would actually not cost me a leg and an arm. So we shopped around a little and found the perfect all-white countertop at Granstone in Ottawa. Brian sent an email to the store for a quote on a Monday, picked up a few samples on the Wednesday, got some measurements done a week later, and basically, not even a month after sending that original email, all was done and it looked A-MA-ZING.
Granstone went above and beyond all of my expectations. First, their prices were really competitive, like we were so impressed with the price for the Quartz countertop that after receiving the first quote, we immediately asked them to add a quote for the backsplash, which they ended up doing as well. Dealing with them was actually the best part and the smoothest part of our entire reno. Like, I can’t for the life of me visit a renovation store when it comes to picking and choosing between this tile or that one. So many choices, way too many possibilities, and definitely not enough patience. So I sent Brian to pick out a few white countertop samples to bring back home and I selected my favorite one. Did the same with the backsplash. After that, within a few days, our kitchen was completely transformed. Here’s how it went down: on day one the tiles and counter were removed, on day two the wall was prepped for the new backsplash and on day three they brought in and installed my gorgeous Quartz white countertops. I was in love with it from the moment I saw it. Took a picture of my Big Mac meal that evening (because you eat lots of junk food during a kitchen reno) and posted it on Instagram saying something like: “Isn’t this the most beautiful Big Mac meal you’ve ever seen?” with the beaming white countertop in the back. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The following week was the backslash. I think I cried when it was done. We had it installed up to the ceiling and it’s so different and soft and perfect. They did an amazing job and I am so happy we found Granstone in the first place. If you’re thinking about doing a kitchen reno, you need to visit them. Oh, you can try to find a better price or better service somewhere else, but you won’t! If we would have known before, we would have done our kitchen reno years ago. We’ve already sent 2 of our friends there so far and they’ve both had amazing experiences. Ask for Jen, mention the blog, and you’ll get a discount, I swear!
So while the transformation with Granstone went smoothly, painting the cabinet didn’t. The original plan was to do everything ourselves, and now, all that was actually left for us to do was painting the cabinets, and it ended up being like HELL. I’ve had too many meltdowns to count and too many arguments to last a lifetime during that awful month. After the countertops and backsplash were done, I had no time to lose, the eager beaver in me wanted this project completed NOW!!! So I picked up the primer on a Friday night, washed and rinsed the cabinet doors with the recommended product, let everything dry for 24 hours, took the doors off and brought them downstairs in our Dexter’s kill room ready to be spray painted. Then our friends Danika and Scot came over to help us prime the cabinet doors. We were really counting on them to help us with this project since they had already painted their kitchen cabinets by themselves and the result was glorious (and because I had no clue whatsoever what I was getting myself into). So they came in with all the gears we could possibly need for this. They also came with a few advice, like when Scot said ‘’I’m pretty sure you need to sand those doors first, eh’’. But I had been told we could probably do it without sanding first, so in order to save time, that’s what we did. We aligned the 52 cabinet doors and drawers and gave a first coat of primer. Yes, 52. It took about 10 minutes with the spray paint gun, not bad, right?
After an hour of drying time, I went downstairs and that’s when I saw the mess. The primer did not stick to the wood. It had made bubbles everywhere and I wanted to scream. I was in total disbelief and couldn’t understand what was happening to us. So the next day we looked into it, googled what to do now, went back to the store, and apparently the first step for a project like this one is very simple, and it’s called ‘’take the time to sand those freaking cabinet doors first’’. So we brought all of the cabinet doors and drawers back upstairs, then outside a few at a time, stripped the first coat of primer, sanded both sides, and then washed and rinsed them all one by one. It doesn’t sound like much now, but at that point, our renovation project had taken a turn for the worse. Over the course of the following 14 days that’s literally all I did after work and on the weekends, and almost all by myself since Brian was out of town for work for a full week. It was a total chaos. I cried every time I picked up a new piece and brought it outside to work on it. Once we were done, my mom rewashed all of the doors and drawers and we started the primer part again. We gave 2 coats of primer, then 2 or 3 coats of paint depending on the results, and after about 40 hours of work, I was done. Oh, and I only painted the doors and drawers, as my mom ended up being the one priming and painting the cabinet frames while we were at work and the boys at school since you can’t really paint a kitchen with kids running around!
So I said earlier that the first time I walked into my kitchen I knew it had to be white… well I also had a few more ideas that came with it. One of the first thing I did was to order gold cabinet knobs on Amazon, and after 3 different orders, I finally got it right with my champagne gold knobs! Also bought a gold faucet, on Amazon as well, for like a quarter of the price I would have paid in store and it’s AMAZING. I originally went to a few stores to find the perfect gold faucet and I got a ‘’no we don’t, but please come back in like 20 years ago’’ answer. Eh, have you seen my kitchen, B*tch! I also knew that I needed to remove one of the stand-alone cabinet to make the room brighter. And that’s what I did. And it was one of the best decision of the entire project. It looks so much better now. That cabinet was right between the two windows and did absolutely nothing else than store crap. So I removed it, had backsplash installed up to the ceiling, and then decided to put two wooden floating shelves right between the windows. I was a bit skeptic at some point when Brian started to drill holes through my gorgeous ceramic tiles to mount the floating shelves properly, but he installed them like it was his day job and it worked perfectly! And now I’m obsessed with them. It’s like the perfect little spot to store my favorite mugs and candid pictures or festive little decorations. It really opened up the space and the wood gave some balance to all the white. Oh, yeah, about the balance with all the white… well at some point after we had primed the cabinet frames, Brian started to have this idea that it was going to be too white. I was confident it wouldn’t and argued with him that this was actually the point, to have a white kitchen. But after looking at pictures on Pinterest (that he found on his own new Pinterest account!), I decided that painting the island a different color may actually be the way to go. So I wanted pink, he wanted some sort of blue-green, and we settled for blue. A truly unique blue. We bought half a paint of blue. Didn’t like it. Bought another blue. Didn’t like it either. Bought a third blue. Still didn’t like it. Then, we started to mix them together and ended up trying different combinations until we found the perfect blue. With the gold knobs, and the white countertop, it is so beautiful.
The installation of the doors and drawers was bittersweet. I was so happy to finally have a white kitchen, yet so exhausted and tired that I could barely give a sh*t! By that time, all I wanted was to get the walls and ceiling painted asap so we could be done with this and not talk about kitchen reno for a long long time. So instead of doing it ourselves, as originally planned, we asked one of our friend to do it, and within 12 hours, the paint job was all done, which sealed the deal for our kitchen renovation.
It took way longer than I thought, but it was finally over. And now, I am so happy with the results, which is all that matters. Living without a proper kitchen for over a month was hard, especially with two kids. We lived with sealed cabinets for over two weeks, food scattered pretty much everywhere in the living room, tools covering up the kitchen table, cutlery drawers on the floor and way too many take-out meals, but we made it. What’s funny is that I can barely remember how it looked like before without looking at a picture. It’s crazy. It was a great kitchen, but I was right from the beginning, it was sooo meant to be white, and now it is, and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.
Saturday mornings are now my favorites. I sit in my rocking chair with my pink cozy blanket and a latte in my hands and I can’t keep myself from staring and it. It wasn’t easy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if you’d ask me. My kitchen is where I spend the most time in my home. It’s where I cook meals for my family, where we entertain our friends and family, where the boys do their homework, where we share the best part of our day, where I rock my babies when they have sorrows, where we craft and where we love. And now, we can do all those things in my beautiful and bright WHITE kitchen. And that’s a dream come true!