How to Host a Holiday Dinner Party

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

…because this time of the year is all about being with the people you love (while enjoying good grub).

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.I am so grateful to have partnered with some of my favourite brands for our holiday dinner party. All opinions are 100% my own. Thanks to our sponsors for making this parrrr-tay a great one!

This time of year is magical. While Christmas spirit could be the cause of such magic, it’s also the sense of togetherness that brings on a different kind of cheer. The holidays seem to open-up everyone’s busy schedules, allowing us to visit loved ones near and far.

Playing hostess doesn’t need to be stressful. When I realized that several of my friends had a common Saturday free, I knew it was time to take action and host a holiday dinner party.

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

Our Best Tips for Hosting a Holiday Dinner Party

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Once I confirmed a headcount, I turned to my trusty notepad (I’m a little old-fashioned in this sense) and wrote out lists: my menu plans, ingredients needed, and scheduling.

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Purchase ingredients and supplies in advance. Have a game plan for your big day. You’ll only want to focus on cooking and setting up – not running last-minute errands.

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Be considerate of your guests. Ask attendees in advance about any dietary restrictions. I have friends who range from non-gluten to vegetarians, and I made sure my menu reflected this. (P.S. I opted for a buffet-style setup to give my guests a choice. It keeps things more casual and people are more comfortable in taking what they actually like.)

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

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Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

Give your dining table a holiday makeover. I added elements without going too kitschy: a gorgeous plaid table runner, rustic-wooden placemats, and simple centrepieces gave my table the holiday boost that it needed. In fact, I turned to Linen Chest for all of my decor needs. Their holiday selection adheres to so many themes: from rustic-chic to bright, shiny, and elegant!

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

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You read right: skip the baking. And yes, this is coming directly from yours truly – Little Miss Sweet Tooth and self-proclaimed cookie enthusiast.

Let me tell you why.

Baking can take F O R E V E R.

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

I bake on a regular basis, so I wanted to go out of my element and homecook all of our main dishes instead (yup, everything from scratch).

But still, I didn’t want to skip out entirely on the sweet table. At this point, my friends come over expecting there to be desserts.

So, I turned to Première Moisson.

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

Première Moisson’s product offering is impressive all-year long. I swear, Leo can guzzle-up their chocolatines one dozen at a time.

When I caught glimpse of their holiday collection, I just knew it had to be a part of my party.

I filled my sweet table with their Chocolate Vanilla Reindeer, Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Ornament, Santa’s Sleigh, and their Square Brioche Loaf with Fruits and Almonds. Each bite of each dessert felt like Christmas magic in itself. If you’re looking to amaze your guests with an impressive dessert table, then Première Moisson is the way to go.

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

What’s best is that ordering with them is as easy as 1-2-3. In fact, you can place your order online and choose to pick up at the Première Moisson of your choice. For my holiday dinner party, I pre-ordered everything so that Joe could pick it all up in the morning. Everything was very well packaged so I was able to slip most things into the refrigerator and take them out only once it was dessert time.

Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party. Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

Safe to say, Première Moisson’s sweet treats took the spotlight that night.

Psst: if you want to place an order, just visit their website (and grab your drool bib because everything looks delicious!) 

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Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

Whether it’s with prep work or clean-up, having a friend lend a hand will speed-up the process. Of course, my bestie was with me from start to finish, ensuring that my holiday dinner party was a success.

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Play hostess without losing your cool: here are our surefire tips to throwing (and enjoying) your own holiday dinner party.

Growing up, whenever my mom had guests over, she would always bring out mints towards the end of the night. To follow in her footsteps, I decided to hand out party favours filled with PUR gum. Our family always chews on their gum since they’re aspartame-free and are made with high-quality ingredients.

* * *

I couldn’t be more proud with how everything turned out! Now, time for a nap!

How do you do holiday dinner parties? Do you usually play host or guest?

 

Holly Crinkle Cookies: The Cutest Cookies You’ll Make This Season

Giving my favourite crinkle cookies a holiday makeover.

The perfect addition to any Christmas sweet table.

Giving my favourite crinkle cookie recipe a holiday makeover.

I had never been part of a Christmas cookie exchange before. I see all sorts of ideas on Pinterest and I’m like, “Why haven’t I ever organized something like this?!”

Well, another Christmas season is fast-approaching and I still have yet to participate in one. Instead, I have teamed-up with a group of fabulous bloggers for a Cookie Blog Hop and I can’t wait to show you what they have up their sleeves!

Today, I’m sharing the recipe to my oh-so sweet and oh-so easy crinkle cookies.

Giving my favourite crinkle cookie recipe a holiday makeover.

These crinkle cookies are actually made from a cake mix with a few tweaks to the recipe. All it takes is some simple ingredients (that are most likely already in your pantry!) and a bit of imagination.

Holly Crinkle Cookies: The Cutest Cookies You’ll Make This Season

For the cookies:

1 box chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
3 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp confectioners’ sugar 

For the decorations:
Red decorating frosting

White decorating frosting
3 oz. green fondant

Yields: approx. 18 cookies

Giving my favourite crinkle cookie recipe a holiday makeover.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a bowl, mix together chocolate cake mix, canola oil, and 2 eggs. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

Roll each cookie into 1 inch spheres and coat with granulated sugar, followed by the powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheet, about 1-2 inches apart.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes and allow to cool completely before decorating.

To decorate, use a round frosting tip to create 2-3 circles on each cookie.

Roll 36 small spheres out of your green fondant. Flatten the fondant spheres, giving each a pointed end. Use scissors to cut out a leafy-edge. 

On the back of each fondant leaf, frost out a bit of white decorating frosting. Secure 2 on each cookie.

Serve and enjoy!

Giving my favourite crinkle cookie recipe a holiday makeover.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! I teamed-up with a group of my favourite bloggers and I am so proud to present their delicious cookies… perfect for the holiday season!
Swiss Mountain Shortbread by Kim of Kim Power Style

German Iced Spice Christmas Cookies by Christina of The DIY Mommy

Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies by Jo-Anna of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Cathedral Window Cookies by Rita of Harbour Breeze Home

Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti by Kendra of Joy In Our Home

Cranberry Orange Shortbread by Jen of Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Maple Shortbread Snowflakes by Laura of one house 2 barns

Ritz Cracker Bark (aka Crookies) by Courtenay of Creek Line House

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies by Jennifer of Happily Organized Chaos

Earl Grey Snowball Cookies by Tan of Squirrelly Minds

Gingerbread Cookies by Dannyelle of Life is a Party

Giving my favourite crinkle cookie recipe a holiday makeover.

Bestie Gift Guide: 7 Ideas for Your BFF

She’s the pea to your pod, your partner through it all… here’s what to gift your BFF this holiday season. We present: the Bestie Gift Guide of 2018.

Introduce your BFFL to her newest favourite things.

The ultimate Bestie Gift Guide: 7 gift ideas for your best friend!

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase from our links. Thank you for supporting Fabulous Habits and being a part of our community!

I’m lucky to have several BFFs in my life. Over the years, I have learned to keep my circle of friends small and intimate. At this point, I have known all of them well over the “7-year mark.” You know, the 7-year mark? They always say that once you’ve been friends with someone for over 7 years, then your friendship will last a lifetime.

To continue on with our gift guide festivities, I have compiled a list of items for your best friend.

Bestie Gift Guide: 7 Ideas for Your BFF

The ultimate Bestie Gift Guide: 7 gift ideas for your best friend!

1. The Minimergency Kit is the perfect stocking-stuffer and something vital for your bff to carry around in her purse.

2. Wanna splurge? This GUCCI number is the ultimate in small leather goods.

3. A Diptyque candle is always a good idea. (Psst: this scent is called ‘Lily of the Valley’)

4. Is your bestie always on-the-go? Constantly listening to her favourite podcast? These wireless headphones by FitBit are beautiful and handy.

5. These geometric earrings are unique and less than $10!

6. We can never use enough compact mirrors. Love this gold-plated number.

7. Give her favourite scent a mini-makeover with this beautiful perfume bottle – a gorgeous addition to her super chic bathroom!

Winter Wardrobe: My New Favourite Pair of Pants

Sprucing-up my winter wardrobe with my newest pair of pants… which have easily become my favourite piece of the season.

…because getting your wardrobe ready for this dreaded weather is no easy feat.

Sprucing up my winter wardrobe with my newest pair of pants... that have easily become my faves. How are you dressing for the season?

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase from our links. Thank you for supporting Fabulous Habits and being a part of our community!

If you know me, you’ll know that this time of the year is not exactly my favourite. There are so many reasons why. Aside from the dropping temperatures, huge snowfalls, and other weather-related factors, it’s finding ways to put-together outfits that makes this season even more challenging.

Clunky boots and huge duvet jackets are a must – but they’re not ideal when you’re out on the town, trying to look your best.

During the wintertime, I try to keep it simple. Accessories definitely elevate simple tees and crisp jeans. Dressing my post-baby body has been a challenge all in itself but over the last couple of years, I’ve been getting creative and more comfortable in my skin.

These pants from I Love Tyler Madison have been a game-changer for my winter wardrobe. They’re high-waisted, with a great amount of tummy control. Because of its sleek cut, I can easily fit them into my boots, ready to go outdoors and face any storm.

 

 

Sprucing up my winter wardrobe with my newest pair of pants... that have easily become my faves. How are you dressing for the season?
I Love Tyler Madison pants (The Vicky Waxed); H&M blouse (similar here); Sam Edelman booties, Ardene headband

The pants, better known as The Vicky Waxed, is now a key piece in my winter wardrobe. They are a simple reminder that I can still feel my best, snow storm and all.

Sprucing up my winter wardrobe with my newest pair of pants... that have easily become my faves. How are you dressing for the season? Sprucing up my winter wardrobe with my newest pair of pants... that have easily become my faves. How are you dressing for the season?

2018 Fabulous Foodie Gift Guide

 

10 ideas for your favourite at-home chef. Here’s this year’s foodie gift guide.

Who’s the homecook in your life? In our household, we all appreciate the culinary arts, so this list just came so naturally.

Our first gift guide of the year! This Foodie Gift Guide is a carefully-curated list of items perfect the budding chef in your life.

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase from our links. Thank you for supporting Fabulous Habits and being a part of our community!
 

Our Foodie Gift Guide is a carefully-curated list of items that are perfect for any kitchen. What are you waiting for? Encourage that foodie to make you their next best creation. À la cuisine!

Our first gift guide of the year! This Foodie Gift Guide is a carefully-curated list of items perfect the budding chef in your life.

1. I’ll never say no to a Moscow Mule. This one boasts a copper-plated exterior, which has been so trendy as of late. (Psst: there are SO many choices of ‘Final Touch’ items at Linen Chest – yessss!)

2. Encourage that home chef to host more of their fabulous dinner parties. These napkin rings are the perfect addition to any fancy-shmancy tablescape.

3. Coffee in the morning is a must. Your foodie friend will love this rose gold coffee press – who wouldn’t want something so beautiful brewing their first cup of Joe in the morning?

4. Splurge and make sure your loved one has a dutch oven to their name: it’s a must for any foodie!

5. Raclette for two: at Linen Chest, you can find this beauty of a raclette set. Nothing’s cozier in winter than a delicious meal of hot cheese and meats. Bon appetit!

6. Anything from Hudson’s Bay is surely a Canadian favourite: kiss the cook while they sport this striped number.

7. Ensure that every one of their turkeys is baked to perfection. An oven thermometer is a must for any Chef’s Kitchen.

8. Fizzy water has never looked so good: you can make your own at home with this state-of-the-art Soda Stream.

The Grey Stuff: Buttercream Frosting Inspired by Beauty and the Beast

Making Lumière proud and re-creating buttercream ‘grey stuff’ – and you know what? It really is delicious!

These cupcakes are topped with my classic buttercream frosting and today, we're going Disney-inspired. Here are a batch of cupcakes based on 'The Grey Stuff' from the classic fairy tale!

Disney’s animated film, Beauty and the Beast, was released on November 22, 1991 – that was 27 years ago! On our recent trip to Disney World, I picked up this Chip mug and immediately told myself, “I am so making a Beauty and the Beast-inspired dessert. Yes, yes, yes!”

Beauty and the Beast was my first favourite Disney movie. That list of favourites has expanded over the years (I’m looking at you, Mulan and Moana). I remember as a four-year-old, my aunt gifting me a VHS copy for the holidays. I was ecstatic and so obsessed with it that shortly after, my mother sewed me a large yellow dress for my next birthday party.

These cupcakes are topped with my classic buttercream frosting and today, we're going Disney-inspired. Here are a batch of cupcakes based on 'The Grey Stuff' from DIsney's classic film!

To pay homage to the movie’s beautiful ‘Be Our Guest’ scene, I whipped up these vanilla cupcakes, topped with my classic homemade buttercream. This buttercream is the star player for many of my desserts and I’m happy to share that recipe with you today.

Lisa’s Very Fabulous (and Very Simple) Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks (about 1 cup) salted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • Gel food colouring of your choice (we used a dab of black gel food colouring to give ‘The Grey Stuff’ its signature look!)

Yields: Enough frosting for one dozen cupcakes

These cupcakes are topped with my classic buttercream frosting and today, we're going Disney-inspired. Here are a batch of cupcakes based on 'The Grey Stuff' from DIsney's classic film! These cupcakes are topped with my classic buttercream frosting and today, we're going Disney-inspired. Here are a batch of cupcakes based on 'The Grey Stuff' from DIsney's classic film!

Using a stand mixer, start beating butter, confectioners’ sugar, and milk on slow. As the ingredients start to mix, slowly increase the speed to high.

Add gel food colouring and continue beating until the consistency is thick and forms stiff peaks. If you find your buttercream is too runny, add more confectioners’ sugar, one tablespoon at a time. If too thick, you may add milk, ½ tbsp at a time.

Scoop the buttercream into a piping bag and frost each cupcake generously.

Tell me your favourite Disney movie in the comments below!

These cupcakes are topped with my classic buttercream frosting and today, we're going Disney-inspired. Here are a batch of cupcakes based on 'The Grey Stuff' from DIsney's classic film!

Magical Treats: Golden Snitch-Inspired Cupcakes

A cupcake fit for any brilliant wizard. Don’t worry, no need to be a seeker to capture one of these Golden Snitch-inspired cupcakes!

Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them!

Ever wonder what it’s like to feast in the Great Hall? I certainly do. With an enchanted ceiling, floating candles, and Hogwarts’ brave staff overlooking the room, it must be the most magical feeling, ever. Not to mention, the food looks incredible. I’ll take a second-helping of pumpkin pasties, please!

Since I have yet to receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter, these Golden Snitch-Inspired Cupcakes will have to do. I made them in anticipation of the new Fantastic Beasts movie: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them!

Originally, I wanted to make something that paid homage to Harry’s lightning bolt scar. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite figure out how to freehand the bolt using fondant. With a bit of brainstorming and a lot of rummaging through my pantry, these fondant Golden Snitches came to life.

Grab your Hogwarts robes and bring your appetite. Here’s the recipe for my Golden Snitch-Inspired Cupcakes!

Golden Snitch-Inspired Cupcakes

Ingredients

    • One dozen of your favourite chocolate cupcakes
    • One stick butter, softened
    • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 3-4 tbsp milk
    • 1 tsp burgundy gel food coloring
    • 5-7 oz. white fondant
    • Yellow gel food coloring
    • Cornstarch for rolling/shaping
    • 12 toothpicks
    • Yields: 12 Golden Snitch-inspired cupcakes

Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them!

Process

The most important part in the cupcake-decorating process is temperature. Ensure that your cupcakes are completely cool before frosting, decorating, etc.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk on medium speed. Once the ingredients start combining with one another, increase the speed to high. Add burgundy gel food colouring and continue mixing.

Your buttercream is ready once ingredients are smooth, well-blended, and form stiff peaks.

Using a piping bag, frost each cupcake with your burgundy buttercream.

Take half of your fondant and color it with your yellow gel food coloring. Knead until completely tinted. (Hint: You may need to sprinkle your fingers with cornstarch to keep the fondant from sticking.)

Roll your yellow fondant into 12 spheres, about 1 inch in size. Stick a toothpick through the middle.

Roll ½ inch spheres with your white fondant. You’ll need 24.

To make the wings, start by forming each white fondant sphere into a wing-shape. I make one end slightly pointed and the other end round. Then, with a paring knife, give the wing some texture. (Hint: Ensure the wings remain fairly thick so that you can poke a toothpick through it.)

Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them! Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them!

Insert a wing on each side of the of the Snitch. Place one on each cupcake and enjoy.

Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them!

Come on now, we’ve got a Quidditch game to catch!

Feeling magical? These Golden Snitch Cupcakes are inspired by our favorite wizard and we can't wait to feast on them!

Will you be watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald the moment it hits theatres?

Exploring Montreal with Lauren of Midnight Mom

We’ve got the big city waiting for us… today, I’m exploring Montreal with one of my favourite Canadian blogging mamas.

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

Being born and raised in Montreal (plus its suburbs), it’s nice to know that I have the great, big city waiting for me to be discovered. With new shops, restaurants, and festivals constantly popping up, my upbringing was anything but boring.

When you live in a big city, you sometimes take that big city for granted. Often, I find myself saying, “Oh, I’ll check it out next time,” or, “Well, there’s always next year.”

It’s about time that stops. Now that I’m a mama, I want to be able to show Leo the best of MTL.

I met Lauren of midnightmom.ca last year and the rest is history. I love browsing her Insta for her inspirational thoughts on parenting. Most importantly, her IG Stories are ones to check out. Every weekend, she gives marvelous suggestions of what to do in and out of the city with the kiddos.

Although I don’t see her as often as I’d like (Lauren, a playdate is still in order!), the World Wide Web + social media has managed to keep us in-touch. I often turn to her for activity suggestions and advice.

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

So I thought I’d bring her expertise to you! I’m exploring Montreal by interviewing Lauren and getting the scoop on her favourite things to do within our home city:

Exploring Montreal with Lauren of Midnight Mom

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

“Montreal mom blogger by night, full-time mom and entrepreneur by day. My name is Lauren and I am Hannah, Alex and Leo’s mom.
This blog started off in the wee hours of the night when Hannah refused to go to bed before midnight. Fast forward nine years later, and my third job as a blogger now begins around 8pm.
On my blog and social media accounts, I share my favourite gear, fashion, food, places and spaces for children – both in Montreal and abroad.”

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

FH: Now that winter is well on its way, I fear the winter blues/cabin fever slowly creeping up on me. What indoor activities would be best for me and my little guy? He’s almost two years old.

L: Indoor play centres are a great way to stay warm while also getting some energy out. Two years old is the perfect age because admission to some centres is still free. A few of our favorites nearby include: Jabberwocky Studio in NDG, Kidzilla in Lachine and Le REC Room in TMR. Local community based malls are also a great place to run around, spend a bunch of loonies on rides and have a bit of lunch or an early dinner. I find that the larger malls don’t have as many play spaces for kids and with more people around it’s harder to let them roam free.

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

FH: Quick! You have one Montreal restaurant to order from for the rest of your life, which one will it be?

L: I’m a vegetarian so sometimes my options are limited. I’m a big fan of Copper Branch, specifically their Aztec Bowl. It’s a tasty mix of protein, grains and veggies and you can mix it up every time by making different combinations. They keep popping up all over Montreal and there will be one opening 5 minutes from my house very soon! Mandy’s Salads is a close runner up.

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

FH: Sometimes, we all need a break. When you get time for yourself, where is your favourite spot to relax and unwind?

L: I wish this happened more often but with 3 kids, a full time business to run and part time blogging I find it tough to find a lot of time for myself. I rarely take a break to relax and unwind that isn’t something utilitarian, ie. covering up my greys or getting a manicure before a party. And relaxing usually ends up happening in front of the TV or in a bath at home. That being said, the spa would be my go-to place and I’ve been eyeing the new Spa St James in the Ritz for quite a while now. Hopefully I’ll get to treat myself soon!

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

FH: Montreal is heavy with tourists – nearly all-year round! What is your favourite spot to take out-of-town guests / family members?

L: I come from a family of foodies, many of whom currently live in NYC. So when they come into town we often try the newest restaurants and cute coffee shops. My cousin was in this past fall and we went to the new Ryu in Westmount and made a trip to Melk on Monkland for their maple lattes. I think the quintessential Montreal tourist spot when it comes to food is Mile End. With bagel shops, cute ice cream counters and multi ethnic cuisine it sums up our city. Plus, there are tons of boutiques featuring locally made clothing and home goods.

Playing tourist in our city, I am taking tips from Montreal's very own Lauren of Midnight Mom blog to show us the MTL ropes! Here's to exploring Montreal, my home city!

FH: When you’re feeling like you need a break from the big city, is there a particular spot you like to take the fam? Any road-trip suggestions that aren’t too far from Montreal?

L: I was lucky enough growing up to have a country home in Stowe, VT. I love taking my kids there when we can get away for a weekend. It’s a quintessential country town with activities to do every season. From skiing in winter to hiking and biking in the summer to going on nature walks in spring and fall. In Stowe, our entire family can  take in the great outdoors and unplug. I actually wrote a blog post about some of our favourite places in Stowe here.

What are your favourite Montreal spots?

The Ultimate Fall Bucket List for Families (+ a Free Printable!)

A list of 8 must-do’s for the season. I can’t wait to check off this entire Fall Bucket List for our family.

Here are the must-do's of the season! I present to you: our official Fall Bucket List for Families

In recent years, I have developed “winter blues” every time the colder season comes around. It’s without a doubt that both summer and fall are my favourite times of the year. But when January hits, just shortly after the holidays have wrapped up, I feel a heavy sense of cabin fever.

Lucky for me, the two seasons leading into winter are filled with fun activities for the entire family. I have so many plans in-mind and so today, I’ve put together the ultimate Fall Bucket List – curated for families and little ones!

Here are the must-do's of the season! I present to you: our official Fall Bucket List for Families

Here’s how I suggest you go about your Autumn season:

Here are the must-do's of the season! I present to you: our official Fall Bucket List for Families

  • View Fall foliage
  • Bake an apple pie (Which we did! My mother-in-law whipped-up a very tasty one the day we went apple picking)
  • Make Halloween costumes and take pics! (I already have most of the elements for our family Halloween costume – which I am so excited to show you.)
  • Go apple picking (Done and done! See above.)

Here are the must-do's of the season! I present to you: our official Fall Bucket List for Families

  • DIY a fleece blanket (Who doesn’t love a good throw on a nippy night?)
  • Step on crunchy leaves
  • Watch Halloween movies (This year, I introduced Leo to Hocus Pocus and he was totally into it! Score!)
  • Bake an Autumn dessert you’ve never baked before (Any suggestions?)

 

I’m eager to get all of these items checked off this year. There are so many fun things to do during Fall: the weather is mild and the possibilities are endless.

What do you think you’ll get done from this Fall Bucket List?

Go ahead and save this pic, down below… it’s printer-friendly (sized 8.5 x 11):

Here are the must-do's of the season! I present to you: our official Fall Bucket List for Families

Travel Habits: Disney To-Do List with Toddlers

Enjoy your trip to the max. Here’s our family’s Disney to-do list and how we make every moment magical!

Enjoy your trip to the max. Here’s our family’s Disney to-do list and how we make every moment magical!

When I tell you that I love Disney, I’m really not joking.

I first stepped through its doors (Magic Kingdom, Disney World, to be exact) when I was twelve years old. Everything about it was jaw-dropping: the ambiance, the food, even the air felt different. Stepping through its doors, I felt like there was this magical energy, ready to make me the happiest kid on Earth.

Fast forward two decades later, Disney has remained a huge part of my life. Since that first trip, I’ve been visiting on a regular basis: mainly with girlfriends and my sister.

The moment I became a mom, I knew that trips to Disney parks were something we had to do as a family. Luckily, Joe was keen on the idea, too. So as new parents, we tackled Disney World with our little one – who, at the time, just entered the early phases of toddlerhood.

Enjoy your trip to the max. Here’s our family’s Disney to-do list and how we make every moment magical!

I remember the reactions: “He won’t even remember anything!” “Really? Is it worth it?”

Yes and yes.

But you know what? This is what creating memories is all about. It’s the idea of looking back on certain events, milestones, and travels, and having stories to tell.

So here’s how we do Disney as a young family:

Our Family’s Disney To-Do List with Toddlers

Pack Light

When Leo was first born, I carried around a huge diaper bag to make sure I had everything on me. Call me a “new mom” (which is exactly what I am), but I wanted to make sure that I was “readily prepared” – and yes, guilty as charged, I overpacked.

When we were prepping for our Disney trip, I decided to downsize. I bought a backpack where I could fit only the essentials for a day at the park. I even picked up a small umbrella stroller to make things feel less bulky (and it was perfect for checking-in at the airport).

Make Those Memories!

Take full advantage of the PhotoPass service in Disney Parks. After all, you’ll want to photograph every single moment possible, right?!

Disney PhotoPass is a professional photography service in Disney parks and resorts. Photographers are spread out throughout the premise and you can get your photo taken in prime spots!

I have always loved doing this because it allowed me to enjoy the parks without having to carry around a bulky camera.

Enjoy your trip to the max. Here’s our family’s Disney to-do list and how we make every moment magical!

The Magic of Bubbles

The Mickey Mouse Glowing Bubble Wand is the ultimate souvenir for your little one. As soon as we entered the park, we saw so many kids running around with one.

I couldn’t help but pick up a wand for Leo. It was his first time really discovering bubbles and he had a blast! Also, because they glow, they’re great at nighttime during the fireworks show.

Character Dining

Now, this one could be a hit or miss. Some kids love mascots and characters while others are terrified.

I highly recommend trying one out, so add it on your Disney to-do list! Character dining is the epitome of Disney meals. You’ll create great memories and dine on delicious grub (P.S. I have a picture of Leo crying next to Eeyore – a snapshot I’m sure he’ll appreciate when I show it to his future girlfriend).

Our Favorite Rides

Of course, rides can feel limited when you’re travelling with an ultra little one. But leave it up to Disney to have the best ones for any age.

The ones we frequented (thanks, FastPass!) were:

  • It’s a Small World – Magic Kingdom
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant- Magic Kingdom
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Magic Kingdom
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends – Epcot

Enjoy your trip to the max. Here’s our family’s Disney to-do list and how we make every moment magical!

Have you ever tackled Disney with a toddler? What was your experience like?

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