Physical Distancing While Socially Connecting

Physically Distancing While Socially Connecting.

5 ideas to help us feel good while we do good.

My previous post; 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid While Socially Distancing, was a funny attempt to lighten the mood a bit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the heaviness of our current situation; this post isn’t as funny, but I think it will help make us feel good.

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Let’s get started! Here are my 5 ideas that will help us feel good while we do  good!!

Feed a Friend

And by friend I mean a support worker!! This is my second week of working from home; and like so many of you, I’ve been working in my pajamas and eating chocolate chip cookies for lunch.
To be honest, I’ve struggled a bit being isolated, but do you know who is struggling more? All the healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, flight attendants, pilots, ticket agents, airport security people, cleaners, corner store and gas station people, 911 operators, police, ambulance employees and so many more!!!
They are working extra long hours so that our society doesn’t completely fall apart.

Those of us who are stuck home seem to be cooking up a storm in order to stay busy; why don’t “we” make a bit extra and drop off some food to someone we know who is working their butts off for the rest of us?

Is your cousin a nurse or a Cosco cashier? Call them up and tell them that you are dropping off a lasagna or homemade soup on their front step, so that they can relax with a home cooked meal after their shift.

On Sunday, my mom and I made a bunch of pâtée chinois; which in English translates to Chinese paste??? It’s meat and potatoes, so not sure what funky French person came up with that name? Lol, it’s Sheppard’s Pie; sorry I digress.

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Single servings of Sheppard’s Pie. My mom put cheese on hers, I went without.

We made a bunch and dropped some off to my brother and his wife. He works in a manufacturing plant, they make air exchangers for hospitals and big buildings. My sister in-law works for an airline; she’s been working crazy hours helping Canadians get back home; knowing that she’s getting laid off soon. 😕

They were so happy to get our goodies; we also gave a few to my mom’s senior neighbors who are scared to leave their apartments.

It warms my heart that others are « feeding a friend » too. My bff’s family own and work at Gustos, an amazing restaurant here in Moncton. Sadly they have had to close until this craziness passes (but will be opening for limited hours daily for Skip the Dishes orders soon). They happen to make the world’s best cheesecake! What did they do with all the cheesecakes they had left after closing??

I’ll tell you what they did; they, as a family, cut up mounts of cheesecake pieces and packed them up and delivered them to hospital workers!!

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Team Judson/Malenfant, my bff with her teenagers doing good for others!

Random acts of kindness

This is probably the easiest to do, be open to being kind and helping others when the opportunities present itself. I dropped off magazines that I was done with and left them in front of my neighbors door with a note the other day; she was thrilled. My across the hall neighbor, who is in his seventies, was outside the other day cleaning off all the cars in our parking lot after a dusting of snow. Canadian Blood Services is in need of blood, book an appointment and save a life.

Is your neighbor or family member one of those still working? Offer to walk their dog? Offer to pick up groceries for them. It doesn’t have to be super complicated.

Be thankful

This one is similar to being kind, but a little different; be thankful and say thank you. I was at the grocery store the other day and I thanked the cashier for showing up for her shift. She was a bit caught off guard and smiled and thanked me for thanking her; man I love Canada! She said that she stays 2 hours after her shift everyday to help sanitize the store as they are short staffed.

I have an office job, I sit at a desk, when not travelling, if my boss told me after my 8 hours that I needed to stay an extra 2 hours to help clean the office, I don’t think I would be very happy? But she has been doing it for over a week! So thank him or her!!

When you go to your corner store, thank the clerk, the grocery store staff, the pharmacy staff…If you are somewhere getting necessities and you see someone who is working,  thank them.

Let’s all just be thankful that when push comes to shove; and when some of us are called to take one for the team, that they do so without hesitation. They show up! So thank them!

Phone a friend

Everyone is saying that we need to be Social Distancing; I heard someone online mention that this is not what we need. We need to be physically distancing from each other, but we need to find a way to socially come together so that we are not alone. I thought that was a great point.

Check in on your friends, family and coworkers. Use technology to stay connected; I have a zoom video date with 3 of my bffs later tonight. And one of my friends in Las Vegas has set up a social mixer video call for this weekend.

I have been FaceTiming with friends all week and my boss has asked that our conference calls be video calls. I can’t imagine being home alone for weeks at a time without seeing the smiling faces of loved ones.

And if you are having a really bad hair day, then skip the video chats and talk on the telephone, old school.

Be kind to yourself

My first week inside I started feeling bad because I wasn’t motivated to work out in my living room or run up and down my stairs. I was comparing myself to all those people who are posting their workouts online. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that people are doing all of that. But I was feeling bad about myself because I had zero motivation to join in. And do you know what? That is ok; we all deal with stress and anxiety differently and we need to give ourselves permission to deal with things in our own way.

Want to have cookies for lunch, go for it! Don’t feel like getting dressed on a random Wednesday? That’s fine!! Do you and do what you need to do to comfort yourself and make yourself feel safe and whole.

I do think we need to be on the lookout for signs of depression in ourselves and our loved ones. But needing to retreat for a moment to re-calibrate ourselves is fine.

For the record, today is a random Wednesday and I am dressed and I just got back from an one hour long walk in the woods! Oh wait, it’s only Tuesday…or is it Thursday?? Oh shit I don’t know what day it is?? But I have real pants on! lol

My last helpful, be kind to yourself, hint is to turn off the news for a bit! At this point, I think we are all aware of the gravity of the situation, but hearing it over and over and over again isn’t helpful; for my mental sanity anyway.

I’ve been seeking out funny and ridiculously silly videos to balance things out a bit.

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Ok the hat, the hair and the face are all the same shade…not good! lol

If you have any other suggestions on how we can do good, please share!!

And if you haven’t read my 5 Bad Ideas to Avoid During Social Distancing, here is the link; it was super amusing, lol.

https://oui-liette.org/2020/03/22/5-bad-ideas-to-avoid-during-social-distancing/

Thank you for reading, sign up to receive my blogs via email if you haven’t subscribed yet; seriously, you’ve got lots of time on your hands!! Lol

muah! stay safe and sane!

Liette

 

Is New Brunswick Weird? 4 super oddball cool things to do in NB.

Is New Brunswick Weird?

As a native New Brunswicker, I don’t think so, but I have to admit that there are some freaky things going on here.

We have a hill that pulls your car uphill; we have a river that changes direction every 8 hours. And we have tides so low that you can walk on the ocean’s floor; if those things aren’t weird, than I don’t know what is?

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Here are a few wonderfully weird things to do and see in New Brunswick! Because let’s face it, normal is boring!!

#1 Super Oddball Cool thing to do in New Brunswick – Sleep in a castle!

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Growing up I’ve always wanted to live in a castle; to be honest I still do.
How many Canadian cities can brag about having a giant castle in the center of their city? And how many of those can you spend the night in?? Soooo…I don’t know the answer to either of those questions; these are rhetorical questions, obviously! My point is, that there probably aren’t that many?!

I do know of a castle that you can sleep in and it’s right here in New Brunswick! Castle Manor, in Moncton, rents out rooms via Airbnb. Sleeping in a castle is our first awesomely weird thing to do in NB.

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Fun fact; when I was a little girl I believed that the Friendly Giant and Rusty lived in Castle Manor. I suspect one of my older cousins told me that fun fake fact and I whole heartily believed them…for a long time.

If you don’t know who the Friendly Giant is? I feel bad for you; it was just the best children’s television program ever! It ran in Canada from 1958 to 1985; think Mr Rogers, but as a giant with a giraffe and a rooster as his side kicks; oh and he played the recorder…oh and every episode ended with a cow jumping over the moon; why? Why not! Look up, waaaay up and google it! Ok, I digress…back to sleeping in castles.

I am not going to lie, after decades of driving past Castle Manor, I was soooo excited to have the opportunity to go in and check it out.

It’s been completely renovated and it’s beautiful!! They have 13 units that you can rent; each comes with a full kitchen, washer, dryer; everything you will need while traveling and more! Each unit has it’s own unique layout and they have done their best to incorporate and keep historic structural pieces.

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I wish I had realized that these were available to rent when I was traveling back from Las Vegas on a regular basis last year. These are perfect for business travelers or families on vacation.

The penthouse suite is gorgeous!!! I could see myself living here; with my crown of course!

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Many of the units have exposed stone walls; they have kept the original staircases and stain glass; no expense was spared!

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Please note that the rooms don’t come with crowns, so you’ll need to bring your own.

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Now can you spend the night in a Castle without a crown? Yes, of course you can; don’t be silly. But should you? My answer is no; my mother always told me to go big or stay home. And if wearing a crown isn’t appropriate in a castle then where can one wear a crown?? And honestly if you’re going to do oddball fabulous things, then be a fabulous oddball while doing them, for goodness sake.

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Now did I go a bit too far with my crown pics? Yes, of course I did; that’s just how I roll! 👸

#2 Super Oddball Cool thing to do in New Brunswick – Chill out with a gang of alpacas

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Have you tried goat yoga? FYI don’t wear your best Lululemons, the goats will poop all over them! Goats are so 2019; Alpacas are way cooler!

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Seriously alpacas are having a moment at the moment, which is great timing because hanging with a gang of alpacas is our second awesomely fabulous thing to do in NB.

I recruited two of my cousins to help me with this visit. They are crazy…I mean they are crazy animal lovers; so I thought they would love being up close and personal with a gang of alpacas and I was right!

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We visited Petitmore Alpacas in Harcourt, NB and you really need to visit them too! I must say that the hour we spent with the owners, Janet, Bart and their family of alpacas filled our hearts with joy; and I am not even being dramatic!! We had smiles on our faces the whole time.

We fell in love with Charlie and Ruthy, two of their females with big personalities. We got to feed them lots of apples and it turns out alpacas love taking selfies! Who knew??

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Above, Charlie and I discovering that we go to the same hairdresser for our highlights, lol!!

As if spending the afternoon with a farm full of alpacas wasn’t fun enough; guess what else you can do there? Shop!!!
They have the softest and the most amazing, hand made, hats, socks and more! This is your opportunity to shop local!!! 

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Here we are showing off our new tuques! We also placed an order for matching ones; you can buy off the rack or place a custom order. To be honest, it was an excuse to go back in the spring! Crazy cousins, from left to right; Brigitte, Liette and Tantan, aka Tania.

Please follow Petitmore Alpacas on Facebook @Petitmorealpacas and check out their hours of operation. During the winter months they are only open by appointment; but will be opening with all the bells and whistles in late spring ish. And if the rumors are true, there maybe as many of 6 new baby alpacas come this spring!
#3 Super Oddball Cool thing to do in New Brunswick – Ice Caves

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Do you struggle to find fun activities to do with your kids or your posse during the winter? You could go for a regular walk in the woods; or you could explore Midland’s ice caves.

The caves are actual waterfalls that have completely frozen up. Someone breaks two holes in the ice to make an entrance and and exit and voilà, ice caves! You can walk behind the frozen falls, making it feel like a cave.

This outing includes:

– A bit of cardio: That first 30 min or so are uphill; I liked that the uphill part was right at the beginning. It’s mostly a slow incline so it’s not so bad. I was feeling the burn by the time I made it to the top though.

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– A relaxing, breathtaking and beautiful walk in the woods: The walk through the woods was so relaxing and the smell of fresh air was so invigorating! Man I love NB!!
Here’s a tip; dress in layers. The uphill portion was a bit windy and cold, but once you get in the woods you’re sheltered from the wind so it gets hot!!

– An adrenaline rush for all the adrenaline junkies out there: Depending on the weather, the hill leading down to the caves can be slick and icy?
Remember that once you get down, you need to eventually get back up! There are ropes that you can use to pull yourself back up.

As soon as I got down, I started contemplating how the hell I was going to get back up; and by contemplating, I mean worrying. I ended up going with the bear technique; which is climbing on your hands and knees. I followed a family; the mother kept saying; stay low and crawl like a bear. I figured if those directives were good enough for her kids, they were good enough for me!! I just feel in line with them; ok, I butted in the line between her kids and the dad. Making it back up the hill was enough adrenaline for me.

Metal spikes on your boots wouldn’t be a horrible ideas… just saying.

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In order to get into the caves, you need to crawl up to the entrance; most ended up sliding in on their bellies or getting pulled in; neither were graceful in case you were wondering.
And to get out you needed to slide down a solid ice slide. A fresh layer of snow would have made the conditions less icy and less dangerous.

The odd look on my face in the pic below is me making the decision that I wasn’t crawling in there!! This is my; “yeah, no!” face.

The line to get into the cave was a bit long; it was very entertaining to watch people figure out what their cave entrance strategy was going to be? Everyone waiting in line were very supportive and encouraging of each other. What I love about Canadians is that we can respectfully make fun of perfect strangers in such a way that no one gets offended; so waiting in line was my favorite part…well it was fun once I decided I wouldn’t be going in. I just pictured myself falling on my face in front of everyone; but it turns out my brother didn’t get the scardy cat gene, so he was ready and psyched to check it out.

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While I was people watching the only two people who made it in and out with a bit of dignity and grace were some 5 or 6 year old boy, who was obviously high on sugar or hyper active? And my brother, who turns out is very graceful and gazelle like.

– The perfect backdrop for next year’s family Christmas cards: It didn’t matter where you stood, the backdrop was beautiful! And the lighting in the woods in the afternoon is magical, no filters in the pic below.

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– It’s also a dog lover’s paradise; which is similar to a Gangsters Paradise. Not sure how many of my readers will get that reference? Lol.
Our journey back was a bit longer than it needed to be due to the fact that we needed to stop and pet every dog we encountered on our way down the hill.

#4 Super Oddball Cool thing to do in NB – Learn a new language!

As if being the only officially bilingual province in Canada wasn’t cool enough; we’ve invented a third; it’s called Chiac.

It’s a combo of English words mixed in with a French base. It’s pretty easy to master once you get the hang of it; example: chu right fatigué. Translation; I am so tired. You can pretty much replace the French word, tellement, which means very, with the English word, right and you’re half way there. You can also replace “I”, which is “je” in French with “ej” or “chu”; and congratulations! You’re speaking Chiac!

Now I’ll get you to the intermediated level; ready? OMG y’était right tannant au party hier soir! Le party était right lame, anyways, on la ditché. Translation; he was such a pain in the ass at the party last night that we ditched him.

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I love these Chiac t-shirts, they are from @dowdstreetstudio, check them out on Insta.

Two words that Acadians love to use are; tannant, which means pain in the ass and picasse, which means cranky. So if you are in the region and someone calls you tannant or face picasse, it’s not a compliment.

Your last lesson will get you through the most important part of your day; ordering your coffee at Tim’s. Here we go; ej prendra un large double double svp.

So is New Brunswick weird?? Maybe so? But only in the most amazingly fabulous way!! Find yourself a few like minded weirdos and get out there and explore!!

Hey, do you know of any fun, weird things to do in NB?? If so, please let me know.

Thank you for reading and please share!!!

muah!

Liette (your favorite NB weirdo)

Bonus funny facts and outtakes

The picture below looked like a lovely shot of the frozen falls and the people waiting for their turns. Until I noticed something a bit disturbing; check out the arrow; it looks like the legs of a dead woman. She was actually not dead, but being pulled into the cave, lol. See I wasn’t lying when I said that there was no graceful way in!!

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Brigitte and I considered getting these at Petitmore Alpaca Farm, but decided on something a little less….extra.

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Another, behind the scenes secret; turns out alpacas can be a bit skittish, so it’s good to use your inside, quiet, voice. I kept having to remind Brigitte of this, but the alpacas were just too cute and she had a hard time controlling her excitement. She also wanted to take one home with her; and by one, I mean like 5!

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Real Poutines! An Acadian Tradition.

Real Poutines! An Acadian Tradition.

(The original idea for this post was to have a fake beef with Quebec, then the direction looked like it was moving to show my American friends one of my family traditions. I think it turned into a sneak peek into what it’s like to be part of a huge Acadian family? Like most of my posts, I just let them be what they want to be. And like all of my posts, I hope it inspires you to make an effort to do things with your family; may it be the family you’re born into or the one you create for yourself).

When I was growing up no one but Acadians knew what a poutine was. Fast forward a few decades and poutines are now a global thing, but those aren’t real poutines.

Sure french fries, gravy and cheese curds are delicious, but they aren’t what we call poutines.

I am not going to accuse Quebecers of high jacking the name poutine from the Acadians; oh wait, yes I am!! Do Acadians have a beef with Quebec for stealing our poutine name? We do!! Have we ever made a fuss over this theft?? No, no we have not! It’s just not in our nature.

Could our Acadians poutines  compete with Quebec poutines in the global market? In a word…no! Our poutines, the real poutines aren’t…how do I say this diplomatically? Let’s just say they aren’t pretty!

What is an Acadian poutine? It’s basically a slimy boiled potato ball with pork in the middle. Am I tempting you yet?

Poutine or poutine acadienne are a staple for French speaking Maritimers (from the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). Although you can now buy them throughout the year, they have traditionally been made for the Christmas holidays.

Before we dive into things, I do need to share a few key words, so my none-Acadians can follow.

râpures  – grated potatoes

poutine – a slimy grayish boiled potato ball

poutine râpé – Acadian poutine, we have had to add the Acadian part since we were ripped off by Québec, lol

râper – verb to grate potatoes

râpe – a home made machine used to grate potatoes. Pronounced rawwwp. This word has an unfortunate pronunciation in English

Épurer – verb to squeeze the water out of grated potatoes

My family has made poutines for generations, there is no recipe per say; you have to “intern” for decades before you can become the top baller. Ok top baller isn’t really a thing to anyone but me, I am hoping it catches on.

I have an un-scientific theory why Acadians originally made poutines and English speaking Maritimers didn’t. I think they just didn’t have the proper manpower needed. Historically, French Catholics had large families while English Protestants had smaller families. I suspect the real reason may have been that the Acadians were poorer and potatoes were cheap and readily available?

My theory is based on the fact that it takes a village to make a batch of poutines. I think the rule is that you need a minimum of 3 aunts, 2 uncles and a combo of 2 nieces/nephew or 2 cousins. One doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide; hey, I think I am going to make poutines today, it takes planning and a team.

In this post I am going to share with you how one Acadian family, mine, keeps the tradition alive.

Most large extended families would have had one or two râpes in the family; yes this word sounds horrible in English, so please refer to my keywords above.

So here’s how it worked in my family growing up. It gets complicated, so please try to follow.

My mother’s father was the top baller because he owned the râpe. He decided when he would make his poutines and the others would plan accordingly. The râpe, again it’s a machine that grates potatoes, would go from house to house to house.

Example: pépère DesRoches, my moms father, would make his on the 21. My mom would make hers on the 23, in the morning. As soon as she was done, she would call my fathers mother and tell her to send someone to pick up the râpe. Once they were done, they would passe it down to my dad’s sister, who would then drop it back off at our house.

I should note that not only were Acadian families large, once you married into another Acadian family the two families often merged to create a super family.

Eventually my moms sister, tante Irène, and my mom got their own râpes, which made our family super fortunate to have 3 in rotation!!

Example of the Acadian super family; my moms sister, tante Irène, who lived across the street from us, wasn’t actually related to my cousins from my dad’s side, who lived next door to us, but she was automatically called ma tante Irène by everyone, related by blood or not. Side note, Acadian families also tended to cluster together. I had 7 cousins living on my street; my brother and I made 9 of us (kids). Needless to say, no one picked on us. The older cousins would look out for the younger cousins; sure the older cousins would beat the shit out of us from time to time, but no one else was allowed to.

Getting back to poutines; you couldn’t just go to the store and buy a râpe, you had to know someone who would make one for you. It was a small motor with a circular thingy that was pierced and would spin quickly and grate the potatoes. It was usually made by someone who worked at the CNR, Canadian National Railway. Ok don’t ask why someone who worked with trains would be making these on the side; it’s too complicated for this post.

Now, let’s fast forward to the present and get to making poutines.

After my moms father passed away, my mom became the top baller. You need a top baller to test the texture and taste the potatoes. The top baller title will make sense, just keep reading.

Today we went to my uncles,  my moms brother, with our râpe in hand to help him make his poutines. Because her little brother and his wife, who are both in their sixties have not yet achieved top baller status. She was needed to oversee everything. I guess it’s a bit like the mafia, there can only be one top baller and once top baller status is achieved, he or she rules for life.

The ingredients are very simple, you need potatoes, porc and porc fat. Peeling the potatoes is a pain in the ass.  I think that 50 pounds of potatoes will make 47 ish poutines. I am not a top baller, nor do I aspire to be, so I don’t need to know the correct potato ratio.

You also have to cut the meet and fat into small cubes. So far I have avoided having to help peel and cut. When the knives come out, I volunteer to run errands, no one has caught on as of yet!!

The next step is to start passing the potatoes into the potato grating machine, la râpe. Now you maybe wondering if you could use a food processor? You can’t.

Here’s were it starts to get weird, once all the potatoes are grated, we call that la râpure. You have to go through la râpure and remove any chunks of potatoes that weren’t liquefied; does it look yummy yet??

That isn’t the weird part, the Râpure is very liquidity, we use a large measuring cup to scoop some of the râpure into fabric square and we squeeze out the liquid, that is the weird part. And it’s at this stage that the top baller comes into play. The raw squeeze potatoes are mixed in with mashed potatoes. This mixture can’t be too dry or too wet. You need to adjust how much liquid you are squeezing out. The top baller also needs to taste the mixture to make sure it’s salted enough. It looks gross, but remember these are just cooked and raw potatoes.

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This next step of making balls is where the baller and top baller names come from. I’ve been calling my aunts and mom the ballers for years, I think it’s funny.

The photo below shows my ballers, my aunt Claudine and my mother, she’s in the red apron. She let me wear my grandfathers white apron this year, which is an honor, she is so happy I am back home. She may also be grooming me to someday be the top baller, but I don’t think I can handle the pressure!

The potato mixture is flattened and the porc is added in the middle. If you put too much meat or your ball walls are too thin, they will bust once dropped into boiling water; please note, ball walls isn’t an official poutine term. Poutines are made in French or Chiac, I am doing my best to translate in English.

As a child, this is the part that you begged to get in on because it’s basically like making snowballs.

The balls are gently dropped into a pots of boiling water. The pots need a constant slow boil. The poutine balls will float to the top and then sink to the bottom of the pot as they cook.

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It takes 3 ish hours for them to cook, all the while you need to keep checking to make certain they aren’t boiling too much or too little.

And voila!! They are ready to eat!! The photos above are why our poutines will probably never go global, but trust me they are delicious!

Once my uncle and aunt’s poutines were ready to eat. That evening there were 11 of us for dinner, you don’t have to be invited, you can just show up. It’s also acceptable to show up with an empty pot, because as soon as we make them, we start giving them away. An Acadian will share their poutines freely, but they won’t share their pots, so you have to bring your own!!

As mentioned above, they look slimy, but keep in mind that they are just potatoes and porc, so not so exotic. We eat them with salt and pepper, others add brown sugar, which seems odd to me, but who am I to judge what others put on their slimy potato balls.

We made my uncles poutines on Dec 21, we made my moms poutines on Dec 23. My mother’s sister, came over to help. My brother and I now have more responsibilities since my father has passed. My mother’s brother joins in for the squeezing part.

This process will go on in several of my families homes around town. Once done and the families come together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the first thing you are asked is: combien de poutines avez-vous fait? Which means how many poutines did you make? The bigger then number the bigger the bragging rights. They will also ask if any have busted, this makes a mess in the pot and is a sign of bad ballers.

Fun fact, the pots are so big that if weather permitting, if it’s cold enough, they are usually stored outside. From the 23 to the 26, there is always a warm pot of poutines on the stove ready to eat. Anyone who enters is offered a poutine. And anyone who is leaving is asked if they want to bring some home.

And this maybe hard for some to wrap their minds around, but we eat these on Christmas morning. Even now my brother, nephew and 3 cousins show up at my moms house Christmas morning for a poutine or two!

That’s my sneak peek at our Acadian tradition of making poutines. I hope you are enlightened and if you are brave enough to want to try one, hit me up next year and I will hook you up!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and I wish you and your families a Happy New Year! May your hearts be happy and your bellies be full!

muah!

Liette

 

 

 

A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

A Winter Wonderland Dinner Party

This Christmas Eve in honor of my big move back to The Great White North, I decided to throw a Winter Wonderland themed soirée. I’ve done a Plaid Christmas for the last two years in a row, so it was time to move on. This theme would also be perfect for New Year’s Eve, birthdays, anytime really. It’s also very inexpensive all you really need is paper and scissors.

In this post we’ll plow through helpful tips on how to turn your dining party into a freaking blizzard. ❄️

A Frosty Table Setting

I always focus most of my energy on my dining table; it would be great to have the budget to transform your whole house, but my budget is frozen this year. (Sorry, if you keep reading you’ll have to put up with my wintery puns…not sorry!!)

Before we talk about what will be on the table, let’s discuss the actual table. When I had my little house, I used to have a large sheet of plywood that I would place on my table to turn my small table for 6 into a big table for 12.

If you’re going to try this idea make sure to place something in between your table and the plywood so you don’t scratch your table top. I had a piece of carpet padding, which worked perfectly.

Also! Did you know that you can rent tables and chairs?? I will be hosting in my new fancy downtown apartment, but my furniture is still making its way here from Las Vegas.

No table? No problem! I am renting one from Clowns Around/Bob Lee Productions, they are located in Dieppe. It’s perfect, they will drop off the table, chairs and white tablecloth and pick them back up afterwards. It’s really not that expensive, you can save a few bucks if you pick it up yourself, but for an extra $35 ish, it’s easier to have them drop off and pick up.

I rented a white table clothe and silver napkins and then then layered white and silver things. In the center is the table I had a big white bowl filled with silver tree balls that I bought at the dollar store, snowballs and a set of mini lights that turned out to have a blue tint which was perfect. I scattered plastic snowflakes on the table that I also got at the dollar store.

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Snow Globes

I like having assigned seating for my dinner parties. Something fun is instead of having regular name place cards are personalized snow globes. I bought snow globes online, there is a slot to put in a picture and to add water. Your guests can take them home with them.

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Social media is a great place to download pictures of your guests if you don’t have any good ones in your phone.

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Here is how my table looked with everything put together.

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Let It Snow!

And you can’t have a Winter Wonderland theme without snow. If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, you can make your own.

I invited my friend over to help me make it snow. I have no idea how many snowflakes we cut? We cranked the Christmas music and chatted away. This is a super inexpensive way to create a bit of drama.

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I tapped these on my light fixture and omg!!! It came out beautifully!! It was the focal point of the room; I named it my blizzard chandelier.

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I may keep these up all winter?? Lol

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I couldn’t host without a Christmas Tree, I bought this tall skinny one. Since I only have a couch and a chair in my living rooms, I added a bunch of white balloons to fill the space. It was another inexpensive way to add a bit of drama to my theme.

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I shot a quick video before my guests arrive, I will be trying to add more videos to my posts in 2020.

Even though I plan events for a living and I am always fairly calm, cool and collected; I had a moment a few hours before my party that I started to feel a bit frazzled. The lead up to the holidays is a lot! We tend to be overtired and can get overwhelmed.

I had to check myself and remind myself that this was meant to be fun and that my guests, in this case 9 of my family and friends, wouldn’t care if things weren’t perfect.

So an hour and a half before they arrived I took a hot bath in my super big bathtub! I love my new place and it was exactly what I needed to chill out!

If you feel yourself getting stressed instead of rushing to get everything perfect, walk away! It sounds counterproductive, but we don’t need added stress. It’s perfectly fine to have your guests help you finish off a few last minute things when they arrive.

I ended up hosting my fancy dinner party in my pink slippers and nobody judged me!!

One last party tip, find an activity or game to play after dinner, we played Jenga and it was hilariously funny!

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Happy New Year!!

muah!

Liette

For additional pictures and videos, follow me on Facebook @ oui-liette

 

 

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

I wanted to take a few minutes to wish you the very best Christmas! I hope you get the opportunity to chill and enjoy these next few days with your loved ones.

Oh my goodness the weeks leading up to the holidays are insane! I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves, why???

I decided that the weeks leading up to Christmas would be the perfect time to move from the US back to Canada; here I am! Eh!

Like many this time of year, I may have underestimated the time it would take or the energy needed to get everything on my list done. One casualty was my annual Christmas card.

I put a lot of thought into my Christmas Card theme each year. I try to make them as ridiculous and funny as possible. Last year’s was just so so, so I needed to nail this year’s.

I had an awesome idea, but it was a total funny fail! We did laugh our butts off trying to pull it off, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

My idea was to show that living in Las Vegas hadn’t changed me a bit. I would of course be dressed up as a show girl, but instead of feathers I would have pine branches. These costumes were my inspiration.

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The plan was to have a headpiece and tail made of greenery that looked like these lovely ladies above.

I recruited my brother and my nephew Jack to help me. My brother builds and fixes things so I thought he would be up for the task.

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Well…let’s just say that I overestimated our costume abilities. I also discovered that duct tape can’t fix everything…oh and that it can easily cut off your circulation if too tight!

Instead of looking like a NB showgirl, I looked like a green angel who got punched in the nose in a bar fight.

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Not one to give up that easily, I decided to change locations. So I gracefully climbed to the other side of the wall.

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Ok, maybe gracefully is a bit of a stretch?? Lol.

After ditching my wings, we did manage to get some cool shots. The life lesson here is to always have a plan b and to laugh your way through your fails when possible.

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I was going to get my friend to photoshop the  cut on my nose, but I decided to keep it as is, because it shows that nothing is perfect. Shit happens, life is messy, you can roll with it or hide away. I choose to roll with it, 99% of the time anyway.

Thank you again for reading! And Happy Holidays!

muah!

Liette

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Shop Local This Christmas!!

Shop Local This Christmas!

With 7 days till Christmas, most of us are still looking for one or two….or seven gifts; hey no judgment here.

Why not skip the herds of people at the mall or Cosco and take a walk downtown? It doesn’t matter where you live, each city or town has locally owned shops that would love a share of your business.

I just moved back to Moncton two weeks ago and today I had lunch on Main Street with my friend, Stacey. After lunch, I braved the cold, apparently I am a weather wimp now, lol; and browsed the little shops that line Main Street.

There was certainly a buzz of life to the downtown area. As I walked down Main Street I noticed new restaurants and cafes that hadn’t been there before. I also noticed people, lots of people!!

I could feel my cheeks getting rosy and noticed that I was signing along with the Christmas music coming from Keating’s; even without snow it was starting to feel like Christmas.

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I popped into The Home Mercantile and was greeted with warm smiles from the staff. I am not certain what I was expecting? Maybe some tacky touristy tchotchkes?? But what I found made me feel like I was home.

Yes I realize, home is in the name, so obviously that’s the point. Maybe I am being a bit mushy and sentimental being back in my hometown? But it made me proud to be in a store filled with items that highlighted New Brunswick, Moncton and Canada.

This store is sassy and funny! Which reflects the people who live here. I bought one of these candles below; in addition to smelling really good, they made me laugh! The one I bought says: Calm the Fuck Down! Seriously, how could I not buy it???

I am a sucker for stationary and loved the mix of French and English cards with local regional  humor.

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I seriously laughed out loud when I saw this very Maritime take on Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; Sex, Drugs and Lobster Rolls!

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I bought a NB Home T-shirt that I will wear with pride and I may need to go back to get a tuque or a baseball hat? I’m short a few stocking stuffers and these would be perfect.

As I left with my new purchases, in my material shopping bag, of course; I thought what a great shopping experience.

I hadn’t been annoyed by slow walkers at the mall. I hadn’t experiences cart rage; you know when you’re at Cosco and someone decides to park their huge cart in the middle of the aisle while they chit chat away; man I hate that! Pull over for goodness sakes!!!

I left feeling relaxed and pleased with my sassy, sentimental purchases.

Tomorrow is the last Saturday before Christmas, the malls will be crazy!!! Call your friend and have them meet you downtown. Grab a bite to eat, pick up a hot chocolate at Tim’s and brows the small boutiques in your area.

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My new t-shirt, my lipstick is extra bright to camouflage the scab on my nose, did it work?? lol, not sure? But it’s healing.

Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!

muah!

Liette

For more pics and quickies, follow me on Facebook @oui-Liette

Time for a quickie?

Time for a quickie?

This post is for my oui-liette subscribers, first of all THANK YOU!! I so appreciate that you took the time to sign up for my blog and that you are faithful readers.

In the next few weeks I will be sharing a post called, You’re So Vain. Which is really, I’m So Vain, but You’re sounds better, lol.

I’ve had a skin cancer scare, I am fine, but I do look like I’ve been in a bar fight; and in my fake bar fight, I won of course, lol.

So I just wanted to give you a heads up, if you are at all squeamish, you may want to skip it, as I will be sharing a few pics that show what I looked like right after my procedure. Which really isn’t that bad, but I have a friend who can’t even listen to someone talk about getting stitches or blood without almost passing out, lol. I want to be sensitive to “those” kind of people.

If I am being honest, my first instinct is to hide away and resurface when I am all healed up, but that’s not real life, blah!!! Ugh!!! Lol.

The next thing that I wanted to share is that if you read my posts directly from your emails, this is what you see:

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Which is perfectly fine, but if you click on the title of the post, it will bring you to my site, which has a few extra pics.

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You will see my header, which changes by the season and my feature image.

And finally, this week I am moving my life back to Canada! I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past three and a half years and it’s time to go back. I will be sharing more posts about my little corner of the world, which is so lovely.

My little blog started off with a bang!! I had great momentum and then my father got sick and passed away. During that time, my blog kept me sane and kept my mind busy; I was pumping out content regularly.

For the past few months I’ve been less consistent; I guess I’ve been mourning and will be for a long time to come. But! The passing of my dad has only reinforced the theme of my blog which is, life is short, live it!!

That’s how my father lived his life and that’s how he would want me to live mine. So everyday, I get my butt out of bed and tell myself, today will be a good day damn it!

Full disclosure, it doesn’t always work, but that’s ok, at least I am trying.

My last, last thing, is that I’ve been on a weight loss journey and will be posting my results in the new year. You may have noticed my cheeks getting a bit slimmer, lol?

I decided that food had been helping me cope with what was happening in my life. Like millions of people out there I was/am an emotional eater. Which was obviously what I needed to do I guess, because I survived without taking a nervous breakdown, so yay me! In June, I decided that I was ready to start using other copping mechanisms, so stay tuned for that.

There you have it, you’re all caught up on my stuff! With the holidays creeping up on us, make certain to get your butt out of bed every morning and tell yourselves that it’s going to be a good day damn it!!! 😬

Merci, talk soon, muah!

Liette

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