mother’s day gift guide

I’ve always knew I would love to be a Mom, but what I didn’t anticipated is how much I would. Maybe except for the lack of sleep here and there, the regular crawling into my bed at 3am and all the worrying about school, friends, and what’s going to happen at the teenage years! But overall, it’s so much more than what I could have ever hoped for! Which makes me appreciate my mom even more!

You know how I love celebration, and thinking about my mom and my boys, I have to say that for me it doesn’t really get any better than celebrating motherhood! So here’s my Mother’s Day Gift Guide, for all the amazing moms in your life!

1-Ciao Bella shoes: I’m totally in love with the Soludos brand. Their shoes are so cute and fun. These would be a great Mother’s Day gift for sure!

2-Straw purse: Got this purse for our Disney vacation and I can’t believe how many people asked me where I got it! I lied a few time, but the truth is that it’s from Wish! You can wear it with everything. I will be using it all summer long. And you and your Mom should too!

3-Anthro Latte Matte Bowls: These are my favorite bowls and they are now available in matte colours. Mixed them up, colour coordinate your kitchen and get ready for upcoming holidays! I guarantee you that your cereals will taste better with these.h

4-Kate Spade Mom bracelet: This delicate bracelet is giving me all the feels. Isn’t it perfect? Wish my two babies had enough money in their piggy bank to get me this for Mother’s Day.

5-Aqua Tote: A mom can NEVER have too many bags. Men, if there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about women, it’s this! Love this Indigo Tote for everyday use. Big enough to store everything y1ou need plus a bag of wipes, a baggies of fishies, an iPad, some stickers and an extra sweater just in case

6-Instax: You know you want one. And this Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to ask for one. Retro, cute and so much fun! If only the films weren’t so expensive. But YOLO!

7-SMEG Espresso Machine: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it!” Well, Arianna, it really doesn’t work like that in my world… but I’m still putting it on the list as the ultimate Mother’s Day Gift! Would love to get this one so bad. This may even be the next impulsive purchase I make!!!

8-Every Mother Counts shirt: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this t-shirt. We all need one!

9-Essential Oils: Every Mama needs essential oils. Get her a Young Living Starter Kit and she will thank you for ever. I swear. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Everyone wants a healthier and safer lifestyle. Why not give it to her. Let me know if you want to know more about essential oils or if you would like to order a kit for the world’s best mom in your life!

10-Rings: My favorite items on this list! I already have these and you should too. I’m a sucker for monograms, and when I saw these rings, I just knew they were meant for me. I got the boys’ name stamped on 1mm rings and I can’t take them off. Super delicate and discreet, yet I can’t stop looking at them. 

This is the best Mother’s Day gift list you will find, but the very best way to celebrate your mom is by spending time with her and never stop finding ways to make new memories. The rest is just a cherry on top! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms.

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disney’s magic kingdom

On our second day, my fav, and obviously everyone’s fav, the day I had longed for over a year, our beautiful Magic Kingdom. The castle, the fireworks, the Dole Whip, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and also, the perfect occasion to finally wear my skirt! Yep, my skirt, which I bought over 3 years ago dreaming of wearing it one day at Magic Kingdom. Well the skirt did not disappoint! And neither did the castle and everything else.

Following a long and hot first day at Hollywood Studio, everyone was very tired, but I still managed to convince them all to wake up super early in the morning for our day at Magic Kingdom. I really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss anything. The last two days were catching up on us big time, still, we were out of the door on time and ready to rock this day. I knew it was going to be hot and sunny again, but I hadn’t planned that by 7:30 am the humidity would have already frizzed my just curled hair. So much for the cute pictures I was supposed to take! Oh well… at least I had the perfect skirt on!

We entered the park with 2 things in mind, first, to recreate our group picture just like we did in 2014 in front of the castle, and then to rush to the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to ride it before the waiting line would be too long. Well, we weren’t the only one with that plan in mind I guess! We made it to the ride but there was already about 2 hours of wait time, so we postponed it and did Peter Pan’s Flight (one of my fav) and It’s a Small World (definitely one of my fav) back to back instead, all that within the first hour of being in the park, not bad, right?

Then it was time for our first treats, FINALLY! So we all had either a Lost Princess cone or a Peter Pan float, except for me, of course, who had to try them both. You know, you got to understand something here, I would have probably just had one like everyone else, but both treats were on my what-to-eat-at-Disney list, and as an almost famous small town blogger, well I felt the need to please my followers and report back on both treats… and now that I have tried them both, well I can honestly say that they are arguably some of the most delicious treats ever. See, isn’t the point of blogging to have an excuse to eat things like Princess Cones and Peter Pan floats? Pretty sure it is.

After that, we split up in half to go ride Dumbo and Space Mountain. I left with my crew while Brian went to Space Mountain with his crew and their fast-passes; his crew being everyone doing the more extreme rides while my crew being the ones who were looking forward to riding Dumbo. Unfortunately for him the ride was “broken”. Fortunately though, they were told they could use their fast-passes in any other ride, so since they only had 10 minutes left to use it, they opted for the closest one and rode Buzz Lightyear… without the boys, which is THE ride they wanted to do at Magic Kingdom!

Meanwhile, we did another one of my fav, DUMBO! Isn’t it the cutest ride of all time? I could spend my day in that ride and never get bored! The colours, the cute elephants, the circus tent, everything about that ride made me happy. Then it was time for some churros, larger than life donuts, and some more popcorn! As I told you in my last post, popcorn was like a meal for Liam in Disney!

After that we rode Under the sea and then finally decided to wait in line for the Mine Train. I am not a big roller-coaster fan, but this ride is adorable, with a few intense corners, but still smooth enough for easily scared kids like mine. Overall, I loved everything about it… except for the 2-hour wait line, I guess. I have to say that now that I have done it, if I had to go back to Magic Kingdom today, I would definitely stay behind and spend that 2 hours exploring more of the park; but we hadn’t done it before, so we really wanted to do it. And we were travelling with one of Snow White’s biggest fan after all!!!

We then grabbed lunch and watched the parade. It was gorgeous, but it kinda seemed shorter than I remembered. Maybe it’s just me and my wish to make moments like this last forever! Then it was time for Big Thunder Railway, which Brian’s crew rode twice in a row since we all had fast-passes booked but the Dumbo crew didn’t really wanted to do it. Then it was time for Splash Mountain, which ended up being one of our favorite moments of the trip. He’s not the type to get adventurous, like he’s usually the complete opposite of it, and don’t ask me why, but when Liam saw the big drop and the water splash it caused, he told me he really wanted to do Splash Mountain. I was sure he would chicken out at some point, but no, he didn’t. And not only he didn’t chickened out, he actually waited in line for over two hours without saying anything about the wait time and the fact that they were not moving as they had to deal with another “broken” ride half way into the line. I actually didn’t do it, as I went back to Logan and my Mom while the others waited it out. I am so happy he did it, as he loved it so much; and the picture tells it all, with is little face, huge grin, 2 little arms up in the air while having the time of his life. MAGIC!

Oh, so while they were waiting in line for Splash Mountain, I had to find something else to blog about or to take pictures of, so I headed out for some Funnel Cake and some more ice cream. So I guess I should officially report back to my followers, before I forget, that these treats were also extremely delicious!!!

Then we did Pirates of the Caribbean and the Magic Carpets. OMG, the Magic Carpets ride is AWESOME. Who knew? I had never done it before, but was simply hilarious! We had an awesome time riding it… like, there’s a camel that spits water on the other riders when you press on the button… I couldn’t have asked for more, it was so much fun, as we laugh and screamed the entire time! Then we had some more Dole Whip and popcorn while we made our way to the Mad Tea Party tea cups ride. I’m not really into the spinning rides, especially after all the treats I have had so far, so we just sat in our cup and enjoyed the smooth ride without the extra spinning.

We then went back for some more pictures in front of the castle before sunset, but I had so many problems with my fancy camera during this trip that our pictures aren’t super nice, or not as nice as I had hoped for, I guess. I know it may sound superficial, but I’m super bummed about it, as I really wanted to take better pictures throughout the trip. I kind of want to cry about it, but between the cam problems, my frizzed hair, the boys’ constant eye-rolling and messing around during picture time, Logan’s tong sticking out everywhere and Liam’s missing front tooth, it wasn’t that easy to get some picture-perfect shots.

It was almost time for the fireworks, but luckily we were able to squeeze a short visit with Mickey and Minnie for some pictures in their 90th anniversary outfits! So cute and so much fun. The boys loved it!

By 8:30 pm, we were all there, in the middle of the street, waiting for the fireworks with a treat in our hands. Honestly, we could have found a better location, but we were all tired, and the consensus was to find a place close to the exit where we’d see most of the show. I was hoping for something similar to what we saw at Disneyland three years ago, where the entire Main Street was part of the show, but it wasn’t. It was still great, but maybe not as spectacular, or as magical. I am wondering if the fact that the boys were not that into it played a part into how much I enjoyed the show, who knows.

I still cried almost the entire time. No surprise there! And at the very end, I felt like I was 10 again, watching Tinker Bell fly down from the castle. I’m not crying; you’re crying!!!

Leaving the castle was emotionally draining. As soon as the last firework blasted, Logan became a mess, crying because we were saying goodbye to the castle. At the same time, I was crying thinking of my kids growing up, and that I will soon have to say goodbye to their magical spirit, and that once it happens, things will never be the same. I mean, I know we’ll be back, but my babies are growing up and I know we will never re-live this trip, or any of our previous Disney trips. And that is the hardest part for me to accept right now. Maybe that’s why I take so many pictures and videos, trying to capture every little thing, moment or feeling.

So many things I didn’t get to do at Magic Kingdom. The purple wall, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger ride, eat a corndog, get the perfect picture in front of the castle and visit the princesses. But still, I have to say that this was a pretty near perfect day in one of the most magical place on earth. Thank you Magic Kingdom for letting me believe and live through all of your fairy-tales and enchanted stories, even at 38 years old. Hope you’ll bring the same joy to my sons as they grow up.

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fun, easy and quick ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and I’ve got a few quick and easy ideas to celebrate your love ones!

This year, V-Day falls on a Thursday, so who’s got time for super fancy breakfast before school or 5 course meals after work? I’ve pulled up a few ideas for you. Perfect to spread the love in just a few minutes!

1- Grab a few pieces of coloured paper and leave some heart shaped love notes throughout the house or at work. It takes a few moments and can brighten up anyone’s day. Your husband, your kids, your coworkers and your Galantines!

2- My boys go crazy for fun and festive breakfast, but I ain’t gonna wake up at 5am to bake some waffles or anything like that. You know what? Buy the grocery store kind and warm them up in the toaster. Served with warmed up Nutella or maple syrup and some fresh strawberries. Why not add some strait from the bottle whipped cream. I’m telling you, it will take less than 5 minutes and you’ll have a love-ly breakfast they’ll definitely enjoy!

3- For lunch, prepare some heart shaped cheese quesadilla the night before and pack it up in the kid’s lunch box. It will be another fun and cute reminder of this special day. Guess what, I might just make myself one too!

4- Last year, we made a super fun and quick snack right after school. Store bought wafers cookies, we melted chocolate and dipped them in it. We then sprinkled some sprinkles! Done in 5, and delicious until the last crumb!

5- Lots of restaurants offer some delivery special for VDAY. So order up a heart shaped pizza for the kids. Easy, fast, with little to none clean-up after diner. Put them to bed early and enjoy a chick flick movie at home with your husband. Babysitters are difficult to find on Valentine’s Day, so reserve one for the weekend and stay home on the 14.

6- In the same easy mind frame, if you’re not into heart shaped pizza, just wait until the kids are in bed, take out the fondue set, open up a box of cheese fondue from the grocery store and voilà! It’s actually our favorite date-night at-home-diner. Baguette, pears, pecans, olives and some salami. You’ll be ready to eat within minutes and again, almost no clean-up!

7- Make some home-made sugar body scrub for your Galentines, mom or daughters. One cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 5-10 drops of Young Living essential oil (Peppermint and Grapefruit are amazing) and a few drop of pink food colouring. Mix it up, split between small mason jar and write a little note. Super easy and fast. And great for the skin.

No matter what you do, being together is the only thing that matters. Whether you are meeting some girlfriends for drinks, skating on the canal, going out for diner, ordering heart shaped pizza, watching a movie at home, or looking at all the Valentine’s the kids brought back from school; Love is love, and it’s all you need! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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mother’s day

So they say better late than sorry, right? Well here comes my Mother’s Day weekend blog post! I know it’s well past us now, but it was just too good of a weekend not to share it; as it had what every great weekend should have: great food, family, flowers and lots of love!

We had decided to switch it up a little bit this year and do something different than our annual Mother’s Day dinner at my mom’s since my brother was working all day long, and it turned out great.

So let’s start at on the Friday… I was invited by Logan’s teacher Mme Janie and Mme Manon to attend a Mother’s Day brunch. The kids had decorated the classroom, prepared breakfast for all the mom’s and learned some cute songs. Logan was super excited to give me the card he had made for me, and I was lucky enough to come back from school with some nice potted flowers for me to take home. It was my last time at a MD brunch in this classroom, and let’s just say my heart broke a little bit as I was walking down the hallway. My babies are growing up so fast and I’m not sure I’m ready to face it… oh well, that’s another story for another time I guess!

So back to the weekend… we had a fun and relaxing Saturday, and then on Sunday morning, the boys woke me up pretty early, and not even to wish me Happy Mother’s Day, but to ask me to charge their freaking Nintendo DS. Yeah, I was kind of upset! But not long after (I reminded them), they remembered what we had talked about the day before and then showered me with love over and over again all morning long. Liam had made the best Mother’s Day card EVER. So simple, with beautiful words and with a Disney castle on the top that he had drew just for me, ‘because it’s your favourite place in the world’ he said, and with another drawing of us in our backyard pool ‘because it’s our favourite place at home’ he added. I also received an awesome recipe book, a beautiful avocado candle (hello guacamole!) and some pink reading socks, of course! Thank you family!

Later on Sunday, my mom and Frank joined us for lunch at Joey Rideau in the Ottawa market. It’s now definitely one of my favourite restaurant in the city, and I wanted to bring my mom there since her and Frank had never been and I thought it was about time for them try it. And they were not disappointed! It was just sooo good, as always! Like best dumplings in town! Frank had the fish tacos and they looked delicious, my mom had a nice warm roast beef sandwich and Brian had a spicy shrimp flatbread… Miam for everyone! We then took a stroll down to Major’s Hill Park for the Tulip Festival. We do try to go every year to watch and enjoy the thousands of flowers scattered across the city. We always talk about going to see different spots, but it seems like we always end up in the ByWard Market, and that’s ok, because it is just so beautiful there! So we took lots of pictures, had a Beaver Tail and some ice cream, and enjoy some time outside. The weather was pretty amazing on that day and being together was the best gift of all. It’s corny, but it’s true!

After a couple of hours walking up and down the Market, the boys were pretty beat up and we decided it was time to leave. Since we didn’t have our usual dinner plans at my mom’s, we decided to drive down to Hawkesbury and crash my mother-in-law’s Mother’s Day dinner with Brian’s siblings. Yep, the boys slept a full hour all the way down from Ottawa to Hawkesbury, but when they woke up, they were pretty happy that they were going to spend some time with their cousins. With both Jay-Jay (Jeremy) and Nini (Noémie) in High School now, they’re super busy and we don’t see enough of them, so the boys were really excited to see them. They all played ball outside for a little while, then had some fun taking some SnapChat pictures, while also (of course) taking advantage of their cousins’ iPads and electronic devices! We had a great BBQ diner: burgers and hot dogs with all the fixings and the best whipped cream and strawberry dessert! I was so glad we made the decision to drive down to see everyone!

So that was my Mother’s Day weekend; now here’s a little piece about me. You know what? Not being a mom was never an option for me. I feel like it’s the ONLY thing I wanted to be while growing up. Well, I won’t lie (and people close to me know all about this), the only thing I ever wanted while growing up was to be the mom of many cute little brown hair girls, but it didn’t happened; and now, I actually feel like I got all I ever wanted, and have all I’ll ever need to be happy, cause I have them. Let’s just say that being the mom of two boys had brought me joy beyond anything I could have imagined. Being their mom is amazing. I now know the names of all the cars from the Cars’ movie, I have watched endless YouTube videos on how to finish Nintendo games and on how to access various Mario Bros’ secret exits, I now own a baseball glove so I can play catch with them, and I have even mastered some wrestling techniques so I play fight with them when they feel like it. I may not braid hair daily, or buy cute dresses or have dance parties, but I have discovered so many new things I now love and couldn’t live without. Well, the one thing I for sure couldn’t live without is them, and I am so grateful to be their mom.

When you’re a mom, you need help from all the other moms in your life. The saying “It takes a village” is so true. My friends help me every day by sharing their fears, joy and triumphs, and by being there for me, at any time of the day. My family and in-laws are always willing to lend a hand and to be there for us. And then there’s my Mom. I could have never done any of this without her. She drops everything the minute I need help with the boys of with anything else. She has played countless games of bingos and memory cards with them. She knits everything their heart desires and also rocks them every chances she gets. I had such an awesome Mimi growing up that I often wondered if my mom would be able to fill her shoes! And she did. She’s just the best. The best thing my Mom gives us is time and lots of love. When I tell the boys that their Mimi is coming over, they’re just so genuinely happy. And I understand this feeling completely, because I feel the same way when she’s coming over. We’ve always been very close, shared the same interests and passion for baking, shopping and going to Disney! The only thing we don’t share is the love for gardening! And luckily for me, she loves it so much that she does most of mine every year! She might OVER SHARE videos on my Messenger account, but if it’s the price I have to pay for having the best Mom, well then I’ll keep on watching all of her funny videos!

I hope you celebrated all of the amazing women in your life on this Mother’s Day; I know I did. Spending the day with my Mom and my boys on that day meant so much. My mother is simply amazing and she takes on so much to make us happy. I’m so proud of her and love her so much. I won’t say she’s my best friend, because she’s so much more: she my mother.

 

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the game, the hearts and the food

Hello February! It feels like I’ve been longing for you for a full month now, or even more. For the first time since Christmas Eve, (touching wood) nobody’s sick. FINALLY! Still, we opted to stay home most of the weekend to catch up on some household chores, and for some cooking and baking. Early Saturday we decorated the house for Valentine’s Day and then made a cute little buffet in the living room. Like most of you, we’re also getting ready for the big game tonight! Go Brady! So today, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes –which I’ve posted over the last year– that you could do for your Super Bowl party or in the next few weeks as sweet treats for V-Day!

Love, love, love to decorate for Valentine’s Day. You know, with all the pink colored stuff, the hearts, the love; what’s not to love! The boys keep on telling me it’s my month because of my birthday coming later this month, because I’m all hearts and holidays, and because pink is my favorite color! I guess they’re right, so I’ll take it. So after we took out all the cute stuff from our V-Day’s decoration box, we decided that baking some heart shaped pop-tarts would be an awesome idea. We made some dough, mixed some berries with sugar and flour and within an hour we had ourselves a little buffet in the living room.  So fun to mix it up once in a while. The boys really enjoyed brunch outside the kitchen for once… I, on the other hand, had multiple panic attacks making sure none of the chocolate glaze would end up on the cream colored couch. Oh well, we all survived… and the couch too! Here’s the link to my pop-tarts recipe from when I shared it on the blog the first time. The recipe was for traditional shaped pop-tarts, but you can have fun with it and make pop-tarts of any shapes or sizes. This time, we went for some mini-heart-shaped-pop-tarts-pop; and they were delicious, and so much fun to eat! And if you add chocolate glaze and sprinkles, you’ve got a winner!

So for tonight’s game, you absolutely NEED our spicy chili, my to-die for guacamole and these heavenly pretzels. You still have time to do all of this before the game, but hurry! This house is rooting for Brady and the Patriots, but the house where we’ll be watching the game from isn’t… so this could be interesting; I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these awesome pretzels end up flying around when the other team score a touchdown! Still, we should all be pretty cheerful for the amazing food we’ll have!

One of the things we’re also super excited about is the Olympics! So starting next Friday, we will be glued to the TV watching reruns of sporting events (damn you different time-zone) while cheering for our country. The boys are already running around the house waving their flags and playing medals ceremony! More on that in my next blog post!

Hope your team wins tonight… I know mine will. And hope you are decorating your house for V-Day, just because it’s so much fun to do so! February is MY month and I plan on enjoying it as much as possible. Can’t wait to go out skating, and skiing, and snowshoeing, or even simply to take a walk; it’s so beautiful outside –once you look beyond the driveway you still have to shovel! Happy Super Bowl Sunday my friends!

 

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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 beautiful christmas home

Can you believe it???  (I actually say that every year around this time…).  But it’s like mind-blowing, yet so exciting, that in two weeks it will already be Christmas time!  Exciting… but, probably like some or most of you, I still have sooo much stuff to do before I can say that I’m ready, with absolutely no idea when I am going to do it or where should I start.  And now, on top of that, well I won’t be getting ahead with any of my baking, cooking, cleaning or shopping this weekend as we are going away on a little family vacation to the States… well, you know, I guess I’ll probably be doing a little shopping after all!!!

Okay, seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a road trip in a very, very, long time; so Christmas preparations will have to wait a little!  I am so thrilled and excited to tell you all that we are travelling to Lake Placid as we have been invited (or should I say my lemon drop life was invited…) for a weekend stay at the Mirror Lake Inn for the Holiday Village Stroll!  Like OMG, woohoo!!!  So, you know, that in itself should be so exciting… and it is… but here’s why all the EXTRA excitement… well this place looks exactly like the kind of place the Gilmore Girls and I have always dreamed of!  I just can’t describe it… yet… but stay tuned, as I will be posting some pictures on my blog’s social media accounts throughout the weekend and will share all about our upcoming stay sometime next week!

I was so excited about our MLI stay that I had to tell you, but for today, I actually wanted to share some of our Christmas decorations, which is the one thing I do have nailed down so far.  I’ve actually started to decorate 3 weeks ago, and bit by bit every single room of the house went through its own Christmas transformation.  Man oh man do we have Christmas stuff.  Like we have been buying new ornaments for our tree each places we’ve traveled to over the past 10 years… so basically, we get new –and often not necessarily matching– ornaments every year… and while every year we tell ourselves that our tree is kind of full and that we got to stop buying more ornaments, well we still do.  And we still find a place for them to hang in our beautiful tree!  Other than ornaments, I’ve actually stopped buying new Christmas’ decorations since we already have way too much.  You know, my Godfather really loved Christmas and really loved to over decorate… and when he passed, well I got a lot of his stuff (actually got his passion for decoration way before that!), so now it’s my turn to overdo it with all his beloved Christmas decoration pieces.

So today I’m giving you a little tour of our home, Christmas decorated version.  I’ve always said that our home was made for Christmas, cause I just love the look of it and the warmth feeling it brings to our family when decorated.  The tree is the first thing that is lite up in the morning (Logan’s duty at 6:30) and the last thing to go out at night.  Like, I could be making this stuff up just to make my blog seems more interesting, but I’m not… so, literally, every day, the boys gather in front of the tree to play board games, or to read, or to have fun with their gazillion stuffed animals (more like 50!).  We actually all love our living room a little more in December with a Christmas tree in it; it’s where Bry sits at night with a glass of wine and where I dunk my chocolate cookie in a cup of milk –you should definitely try that– when I get a little hungry past 8!

We are now all impatiently waiting for Santa to arrive, and our home is like the best place for it.  Close second is hopefully the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid where Santa is scheduled to knock on our hotel room door at 6pm on Saturday to meet the boys!  Just can’t wait!!!  This is so exciting!

So, hope you all have a great weekend while enjoying your beautiful and decorated Christmas home!  Cheers.  And don’t forget that ‘the best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is signing loud for all to hear’.

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vegas with kids? oh yes we did

Never say never.  Yes, we are those parents who brought their kids to Las Vegas!

I’ve been to Vegas a few times prior to our last trip and I’ve always said I would never bring my kids there.  But, well, surprise, surprise, our boys came to Vegas with us for 4 days last summer!

We love Las Vegas.  We had such an incredible time at our Honeymoon in 2009, and then again in 2013, both times staying at the gorgeous Wynn Encore… every time we go to Vegas it seems different yet always so much fun!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to bring our kids to the city of sins, but luckily we had our double stroller (that stroller saved our lives multiple times) and many siblings to help us entertain the boys.

If you’ve read my posts on on our California trip, you know we had the time of our lives over there.  So Vegas is the second part of that 10 days trip.  We left Anaheim on the Tuesday morning, in our rented super nice minivan and drove off to the desert.  It was a really smooth ride, sometime too smooth going 100 mile per hour without even feeling it!  The boys were great, and within less than 4 hours we were at The Mirage checking-in.  We had 2 great connecting rooms with the best Jojo in the world!  Thanks Jojo for the room!!!  My Mom and Frank had arrived the day before and Brian’s family had arrived earlier that day.

We all met at the gorgeous pool for a swim as the HEAT was just crazy.  Wow!  I’ve always been to Vegas in the summer, but I had never seen a Vegas heat wave.  We couldn’t touch the pavement as it would have burned our feet instantly.  It was so hot we even saw an orange construction cone melting on the street.  It went up to 47 degrees at some point.  The air felt non-existent, like it was difficult to breath in.  So we had a few icy margaritas at the pool while enjoying a swim, and then went back inside to cool down and for a nap.

Later that day, we all met at the Forum Shops at Cesar’s Palace to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, yep second time in a week having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory… it was that good and we knew our family would enjoy it.  We had an awesome dinner and the best server.  We then took a walk down the Strip at about 11:30 at night and it was still above 35 degrees…

So the week before we were at Disneyland, and it was magical to see the boys’ reaction when meeting all of the characters… well Vegas was different… as they were scandalized and so confused to see Olaf and some Minions on the sidewalks without their costume’s HEAD while taking a break… so not like Disney!!!

Wednesday was wedding day!  Since the last time we had been there, the restaurant Giada had opened at the new hotel The Cromwell, so we decided to have brunch over there.  The restaurant is simply beautiful.  We had a great booth overlooking the Strip and Bellagio.  We shared a brick oven pizza and ceasar salad while the boys had the fanciest chicken strips and some amazing gelato ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Then, we went back to our room and got ready for the wedding.  Drove over to The Little Church of the West and met up with our family and friends that had made the trip to see my mom getting married.  Took lots of pictures and then it was wedding time, or wedding minutes!  My Mom was gorgeous, and I was the one walking her down the aisle; both of us giggling all the way down.  It probably took less than 5 minutes for her and Frank to get married.  It was quick and beautiful.  We then headed out to one of our favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s.  It was really nice to be all together and celebrating this special day.  We had a wonderful time and the food was delicious, as always.

My Mom and Frank wanted to go to the Paris hotel where a band was playing in a little casino side cabaret.  And that’s when having kids in Vegas started to be a pain.  Until then, we didn’t really had any trouble with the kids, as we were able to go through all of the casinos in all of the hotels, as long as we wouldn’t stop, like NEVER.  You have to be in constant movement in the casinos or someone will come and warn you.  So thanks to our awesome stroller, it was easy for us to keep the kids seated (with the iPad or a toy to play with) for sometime an hour or so.  But that night it became a bit more difficult after we were told we weren’t allowed inside the cabaret with the kids… It was kind of sad for Brian to miss my mom’s wedding ‘reception’, but I understand their rules… so I stayed at the cabaret while Brian was circling around the casino.  Eventually, he left with the boys to bring them back to the room; a 15-minute walk took 1:30 with the stroller due to some of the elevators being broken, escalators too small for the stroller, and some closed walkway.  Basically, it was a pain.  So I stayed a little longer to listen to the band and dance with my mom on this special night.  There was an hilarious couple who were clearly out dancing us; kind of pretending they were on Dancing with the Stars!  It was hilarious!  Right before it was time to go, Jojo caught the bouquet, and then we said our goodbyes to the newly married couple!

On Thursday we took a quick trip to the Premium Outlets, met up with my friends Anik and Jannick who flew to Vegas for the wedding.  Came back for a swim and a nap, and THEN, got dressed up for the big event: LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.  We saw LOVE 7 years ago, but we wanted to see it again.  At first, when we booked our trip, the show was on hiatus.  But 3 weeks prior to our departure, a 10th Anniversary LOVE show was announced.  So we jump at the occasion and bought some tickets for us, Jojo and Brian’s dad.  Red carpet and all for Ringo Star, Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s son and Sir Paul McCartney.  We could see them from our seats; and it was just a unique experience to watch that show and listen to the Beatles’ music with Sir Paul sitting next to us in the crowd.  Fantastic show; we’ll see it again one day that’s for sure.  At the end, Sir Paul came on the stage and sang with us.  It was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

Matante Lulu babysat the boys in our room while we attended the show. Merci Matante!!!  By 10:30 the show was over but we weren’t ready to call it a night, so we all left for Fremont Street.  At 11:00 at night, parents of the year award goes to us!  And it was so inappropriate; the boys saw things they should have not seen for another 15 years!  The naked nuns being one of those!!!  I’ll just say it’s the last time for a while that I will venture out to Fremont Street!

So Friday was our last day of our 10 day California/Vegas trip.  We explored a few more hotels, gambled a little, took a few pictures and met up again with Jannick.  We had drinks at Serendipity on the strip side patio and did a bit of shopping.  Rounded up the gang and had one last dinner at the Mirage buffet.  Our flight was delayed and the boys were amazing staying up late once again.  We got lucky though, as the four of us were upgraded to first class seats for our red-eyed flight back to Montreal.  Let’s just say the boys looked really jet-set in first class with their drinks and provided iPad!  I could really get used to travelling like this!

So, in the end, it was not that bad bringing the kids to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend it (although they seemed to have enjoyed their trip and the night life!).  Logan really enjoyed Las Vegas as he sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ so many times during the week, he was so cute!  Vegas or anywhere else, we just love to travel with people we love; it’s the best.

We will be back in Vegas for sure… next time at our beloved Wynn Encore… but without our boys by our side!  We love traveling with them, and of course I’m already planning on bringing them back to see Mickey soon, but Vegas is our own Disneyland, and we can’t wait to go back by ourselves!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

 

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all you need is…ice cream

All you need is love… and a few sweet snacks!

I had a few things planned for this weekend but with yesterday’s blizzard, some of our plans fell through.

On Saturday, we finished our valentine’s day cards and made some Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.  FAIL.  Not everything we do is a success.  They looked sooo good, but the taste was very disappointing.  The texture was actually like baked play-doh, and it tasted as bad as it could have been with a LOT of sugar!

So we tried another new recipe while watching the snow storm yesterday.  Homemade ice cream sandwich… and we’ve got a WINNER!  This one will be hard to beat.  And it was easy to make, quick, and delicious.  I’m a big fan of ice cream sandwich, but these were something else, and homemade, which obviously add to the fun!  Light, moist and delicious cookie with strawberry ice cream… AMAZING!

I can foresee myself doing this recipe many times next summer for everyone to enjoy at our pool parties, and of course for myself as well!  I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter… perfect snack size… and perfect for the occasion!

I used my guru Martha Stewart recipe for the cookie.

what you need:

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

how to:

Preheat oven at 350.  Butter a jelly-roll pan and cover with parchment paper.

Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the egg, vanilla and salt and mix.  Add the flour and coco powder and mix well.  Spread the mix on the parchment paper.  The mixture is thick, you will need to spread it out evenly.

Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes.  Once it’s baked, let it cool for 5 minutes, then cut hearts with the cookie cutter.  Take out the ice cream. Let the cookies cool for another 5 minutes.  Then add a dollop of your favorite ice cream and add another cookie on top.  Press gently.  Once they’re all done, place the baking sheet with the sandwiches in the freezer for one hour.

It won’t take an hour to eat, so grab one as fast as you can and ENJOY!

This recipe gave me 12 sandwiches.  I guess you can have more if you don’t use the cookie cutters and do square ones; less waste.  But they are so much more fun to eat when they’re made of your favorite shapes!

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day.

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14 days of love

Last year, I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day for 14 days.  Why not… it’s love, and isn’t all about love?

We don’t have family that lives in our city, so date nights are pretty rare.  They used to happen all the time, we would go out one day to the restaurant, then the next day to the movies, then again to the restaurant, and on a good week we’d finish it by going to Royal Thai for dinner on Friday!  But since we’ve had kids, it’s been different!  We sometime sneak in a date when we visit our family on the weekend, as we tell them we’re coming down for the day when we’re actually only passing by to drop the kids… (thanks Mom, thanks Annick, thanks Brian’s mom) but to be honest, it doesn’t happen that often!

So my 14 days of love was for our entire family.  It’s doesn’t have to be an elaborate thing.  Here’s a few things we did last year:

-heart shaped pancakes

-wrote valentine cards for our friends and family

-made some strawberry pop-tarts for my coworkers

-bought myself new red nail polish… it counts!

-had a stay-at-home movie night with v-day popcorn

-went through all the Valentine’s Day cards that we received through the years… (yes, I kept all the cards… since I was a baby… I love these type of souvenirs!)

 This year, I still want to do the 14-day Valentine thing, and here’s a few idea I’ve added on my list:

-go skate on the Rideau canal

-try a new restaurant

-make pink pancakes… this should happen every weekend!

-have the boys answer a little questionnaire about what they love and read it with them one day, like in 10 years…

-make more v-day popcorn… you can never have too much popcorn!

-heart shaped pizza TODAY

-wear fancy rain boots

 So what’s your favorite V-Day tradition?

I hope you’ll try the 14 days of love this year!  Or at least try to treat yourself and your lover a couple times!

Happy Valentine month!

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