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

 

The Other Vegas – My love letter to this great city!

The Other Vegas – My love lettre to this great city.

It’s already been two months now since my big move from Las Vegas back to Canada; and although I am happy to be back home, the past three and a half years there were a great adventure!

A common reaction when people find out that you live or lived in Las Vegas is always; oh I could never live there. Or, it’s fun for 3 days, but I couldn’t handle living there.

Yes it’s a party city if you’re visiting and staying on the strip; but for those who live there it’s a normal town with lovely people…ok, sort of normal.

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In this post, I would like to give you an insight of what it’s like to live there and what makes Las Vegas so special; aside from the casinos, amazing entertainment and world class restaurants. But before we get started, let me just say one thing; I didn’t leave because I didn’t like living in Las Vegas. My master plan was always to stay 3 to 5 years. I came for an adventure and to further my career; done and done!!! I am very much a Canadian and a Maritimer down to my soul, so there was never any question in my mind that I would stay in the US permanently.

Where will you live?

Ok, let’s move on! When you decide to move here all the locals want to know if you will be living in Henderson or Summerline? It’s very serious business; each side tries to convince you to move to their area.

Driving from one area to the other is maybe 25 to 35 minutes? Which doesn’t seem very far right? But the weird truth is that once you move to one area, you rarely venture to the other side; and when you do, it’s a big deal, lol.

Las Vegas is the most convenient city ever! It doesn’t matter what area you move to, everything you need can be found within a 5 mile radius; everything!!! Your hairdresser, doctors, grocery store, pharmacy….most everything you need is literally a 3 min drive; so there is no need to leave your hood.

Full disclosure, once I settled in and had a friend from Moncton moving to Las Vegas; I too became one of those people who tries to convince new people to move to their area. I believe my exact words to my friend Sean were; “you can move to Summerline if you want, but I won’t go visit you; you’ll have to come to me in Henderson!”

Get back to nature!

When you think of Vegas, I bet that enjoying nature isn’t the first thing that comes to mind? But there are amazing, like freakishly amazing, things to see and do there. Most people that visit and stay on the strip don’t even notice that Las Vegas is in a valley; it’s surrounded by mountains on all sides, which means that there are lots and lots of hiking trails!

The hills are not exactly alive with the sound of music, but they are beautifully colorful! There’s plenty of reds, whites and sometimes pinks and purpleS. Red Rock is a 20 minutes ish drive from the strip; it has amazing trails for hiking and rock climbing.

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But my personal favorite spot to bring friends when visiting was The Valley of Fire; which is approximately 50 minutes from the strip. It really feels like you’re on another planet. There is a zen vibe that you will feel as soon as you arrive. You can even see petroglyphs; how many of you have seen petroglyphs??

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Henderson, where I chose to live because it’s way cooler than Summerline, 🤣😆, is 20 to 25 minutes from the Arizona boarder. My friend and I discovered some amazing and really challenging trails on the Arizona side of the boarder.

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Our first hike was to Liberty Bell, truth be told, we got lost on that first hike so it took us a bit longer than planned. It’s amazing to walk up and down, and up and down the trails to eventually happen upon this enormous rock formation!

The main trail eventually splits into two; one leads to the Libert Bell and the other leads you to the hot springs. Again as you walk these trails, you feel like you’re on another planet; especially if you’re from the east coast where everything is green.

Water fun!

I am from Atlantic Canada, my house was a 15 minute drive from the beach. When I moved to the desert I never imagined that I would be buying my very first kayak there…in the desert.

Like most of my activities, I discovered Willow Beach via Pinterest; I would search fun things to do in and around Las Vegas and go do them.

Willow Beach is less than an hour’s drive from Henderson; and like The Liberty Bell, its on the Arizona side and it’s the most amazing place that I’ve ever experienced.

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Full disclosure the water is cold, that being said, it’s never stopped me from jumping in! It’s in a valley surrounded by mountains; so while kayaking we’ve seen grazing mountain goats and bald eagles flying overhead. The water is so crystal clear that you can see fish swimming under your kayak; pretty big fish.

There’s an area called Emerald Cove where the water is the prettiest color of green. There are a few areas that you can beach your kayak and enjoy a picnic and swim.

I bought a kayak, but you can also rent them; it’s actually easier to rent them. You can also rent pontoon boats, which I haven’t done yet, but it’s on my list.

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No kayak? No problem! In July and August, it’s actually too hot for a lot of physical activities. But if you leave early in the morning before it gets too hot, you can float.

In honor of my Canadian heritage; I bought an inflatable beaver instead of a unicorn or swan. If I am being honest, the main reason I got it was to be able to say that my beaver and I went to the lake, when asked what I did on the weekend. Come on, that’s pretty funny!!

Anything is possible in Vegas!

A few years ago, I made a bucket list; one of the items on my list was to ride a camel. Since Las Vegas is in the desert, I figured there should be a place nearby where you could ride camels? And I was right!! An hour and twenty minutes from the strip is a place called Camel Safari.

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I brought my nephew with me and we had so much fun! I had heard that camels can be assholes, so I was a tiny bit apprehensive; but the camels at Camel Safari were very well behaved. Now I am not a camel expert, but I think that they were so chill because they are happy and well taken care of; they have lots of room to roam with their camel friends when not on safari.

Funny story, some of my coworkers, who have lived in Vegas for a long time, would see my Facebook posts and ask me on Monday morning; where the hell were you this weekend? Lol, I did a lot more activities in my first year there than most locals have done ever.

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Another activity on my bucket list was to go up in a hot air balloon, and guess what? You can do that there too! Please note that they don’t go up during the heat or the summer because of the crazy winds; Las Vegas is freakishly windy…who knew??

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I was a bit nervous that this would be scary, but the feeling of floating was very peaceful and the views were spectacular!

Don’t bet against Las Vegas!

I feel that Las Vegas is like your friend who has super high self esteem and thinks that he/she can do anything; so they basically figure out a way to do everything!

Outdoor skating in the desert sounds ridiculous right? Well never bet against Las Vegas, because they will figure it out.

My friend Lynn asked me if I knew how to skate one cool day in November? Hello! I am Canadian, of course I know how to skate. We ended up skating on the roof top of the Cosmopolitan Hotel overlooking the strip.

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And Vegas doesn’t do anything half assed, the skating rink included fire pits for roasting marshmallows and for making s’mores; chocolate martinis, mini grilled cheese sandwiches with hot tomato soup and snow!! It was pretty magical!

Turns out there are outdoor winter wonderland villages throughout the city that pop up in November and stay open until January.

People laughed when Vegas announced that they would be getting their own NHL hockey team; yeah, they didn’t laugh for long!

I attended the second home game and it was wild! I’ve seen NHL games in Montreal, Boston and Florida; I also spent most of my childhood in rinks, so not to brag, but I know hockey. Believe me when I say that there is nothing like seeing a game in Las Vegas!!!

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Can the opening “show” be a bit tacky? Yes, but it needs to be, it’s Las Vegas Baby! Each game is a party! As mentioned above; I attended the second home game against Detroit and I would say that 65% of the fans were Red Wings.

People come to Vegas to see their team play against the Knights; they actually plan their trip around the hockey schedule; and just a warning that every game ends up being pretty much sold out, so plan accordingly.

As that first season progressed, more and more of the locals began showing up in their Knights jerseys, myself included. But it’s still very normal to see a lot of visitor team jerseys in the stands; and what I love is that there are no crazy cat calls or rude behavior between fans. If you don’t know what I am talking about, try wearing a Habs Jersey to a Bruins game! Let me know how that works out for you, lol.

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That first season the Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. I had to remind some of my friends that expansion teams don’t make it to the finals their first season…like ever! It’s like Vegas didn’t know that it was hard? Lol.

It was an amazing thing to see and experience everyone embrace the Good Ol’ Hockey Game…in the desert.

Hockey’s not the only winter game in town; do you ski?? Guess what? There is a ski hill 50 minutes from the strip. You can ski Mount Charleston in the morning and sit by the pool in the afternoon…ok the only ones sitting by the pool in the « winter » are Canadians.


You name it, you can do it!

Can you partake in a fancy high tea in Las Vegas? Yup! How about some dim sum in Chinatown? Not a problem!

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I seriously don’t think there is one thing that I’ve googled that hasn’t been doable in Las Vegas. It’s like each activity you search, Las Vegas says; yes, challenge accepted!!

The very best part!!

The absolute best thing about Las Vegas, by far, are the people who call it home.

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I’ve never experienced a community so inclusive and inviting. Maybe it’s because the majority of residents aren’t from here? So they know what it feels like to move here and get settled? Or maybe it’s because a vast majority of locals work in the hospitality industry? Whatever the reason is, they are as friendly as the people back home!

I knew a handful of people there when I moved, but not that many; two of my now closest Vegas friends worked at the same company as me, but I didn’t know them prior to moving there.
Lynn W invited me out for dinner my first week there and flat out told me that we were going to be friends; turns out she was right!
I met Shondra during a dinner with a bunch of service technicians; she also pretty much decided we would be friends forever; and I am blessed that she did!
My friend Staci and her husband, Aaron, took care of me as soon as I landed. They helped me get my huge king size bed home and quickly became my family away from home.
I had one close friend there when I moved; Claudia and I had been work partners for over 10 years prior to my big move. Who knew our bond could get even stronger? We got promoted together, visited NY and Paris together and celebrated our birthdays together.
And then there is Travis, Lynn D and Barney who I love and miss already!

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Thank you Las Vegas for welcoming a Maritime girl from the other side of the continent and making her feel right at home in the desert!!

And for those who visit and wonder who would want to live there? Awesome, fabulous people live there; that’s who! ❤️

muah!!!

Liette

 

Valentine Vibe

Valentine Vibe

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This Valentine’s I am feeling a darker, moodier vibe. It maybe because I am back in Eastern Canada where the days are shorter, darker and colder? But I love it! I love curling up on my couch watching the snow fall; that’s probably one of the only thing you can’t do in Las Vegas?

For this Valentine’s Day, my challenge and wish to all of you is to love your life! And to fall in love with yourself! Ok, that maybe easier said than done?

I am finding that the art of loving your life is to not compare yours to others. Everyone, no matter how rosy and happy they look, is struggling with something. Life is hard!! That’s a fact that we tend to forget. But nothing worth having is easy, so appreciate what you have when you have it!

One of my favorite “loving my life” tricks is to find people who make me laugh and to spend as much time with them as possible; bribery works for me, but hey, you do you, lol.
My other trick is to do ridiculously stupid and fun things; preferably with the same people who make you laugh.

As I get older, I really have zero fucks as to what others think of me or my shenanigans. If you think that wearing a crown when you visit Buckingham Palace is dumb; well that’s your prorogative, but we obviously can’t be friends, lol.

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It’s been my experience that my fondest  memories are the ones where I let lose and was a bit extra with the people I love.

I wish all of you a heartfelt, lovely, ridiculous Valentine’s Day! If it doesn’t fill your heart with joy, don’t do it…well unless it’s your job; and who are we kidding, you need to make money. Ok, new plan, is it doesn’t fill your heart with joy, come up with a new plan! Then stop doing it.

muah!!!

Liette

P.S. – some of my crazy cousins are coming over tomorrow; we’ll be decorating Valentine cupcakes, but with a twist! Check out my Facebook page: oui-liette, for pics of our cupcake night.

 

Party Animals – Tips On How To Throw A Wild Party

Party Animals – Tips On How To Throw A Wild Party

2020 is a big year for my friends and I. We’re all having big birthdays, like big, big! As a result, I’ll be hosting a few fun dinner parties, with cool themes of course.

Pick a theme

I love this party animal theme, it’s perfect for a child’s party or baby shower, but I am using it for an adult party. I think the party animal adult twist is clever.

My advice to picking a theme is to find something that inspires you and theme the shit around it!!

Invitations

Your invitations will set the tone for your party, so be as creative and corny as possible.  I was so excited to find these animals, I think they’re super adorable.

If you’ve read any of my other party posts, you may have noticed that I love puns, I think they’re punny! The cornier the better as far as I am concerned. The text for my invitations are always a bit ridiculous.

One of the apps that I use for my invitations and blog posts is called Snapseed.

Front

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Back – these two are my favs!!

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Decor

These little guys were the inspiration for my party theme.

I bought a bag of plastic animals at the dollar store then painted and glued on pompoms and party hats. I’m not going to lie, I had a lot of fun crafting them.

I made them at my moms house; she brought out a TV tray for me to set up all my paints and my hot glue gun. I love that she still uses TV trays!!

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I am obsessed with these little guys, they’re so freaking cute!

I bought a plastic green platter and glued my party animals on it. I think that some of my animals were already drunk, because a few of them could barely stand up!

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I threw some confetti on the tray and voilà!! A party animal centerpiece.

I just moved into my new downtown place; my furniture from Las Vegas finally arrived and my white cabinet fits in perfectly! It’s a great place to set up a bar or a food station.

It’s also easy to decorate and theme. The green feathers are not just for the party, it’s a permanent fixture, but it does add an extra punch of color to my theme.

If you follow my oui-liette Facebook page, you may have seen the video of my crazy cousins helping me decorate. They suggested that I not center my green feathers above my cabinet, they thought that it would be more interesting hung to the side; they were right.

I bought a giant brass giraffe head to fill the blank space. I bought him before I decided on my animal theme, but he fits in perfectly! Sometimes things just all come together.

I think I need to name him, any suggestions? For the party I added a Wild One party hat on him. He may become my party mascot?

My new fav decorating things are tissue paper flowers. They are easy to make, inexpensive and great space fillers.

I added a bunch to the top of my cabinet, love them! To make them take tissue paper sheets, the bigger the sheets, the bigger the flower. Stack them, five or six high. Fold them accordion style then tie the middle. Then gently pull the sheets apart. If you didn’t make these in school, YouTube them.

Table Setting

Some party themes require elegance and restraint, this isn’t one of those. Your table needs to look like an out of control party, so more is more.

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I dug out my most colorful dinner wear; these plates have blue polka dots and the napkins are all kinds of pink.

This was my first dinner party in my new place, so out came my new crystal glasses!! They’re from Nova Scotia Crystal, the Luna pattern; they have polka dots. I ❤️ polka dots!

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Since more is more, I cut ribbon and threw them all over the place and I had some pompoms left from my crafting night, so I dumped them on the table too.

This was probably one of my easiest themes and one of the cutest. What do you think?? Yay? Or nay?

Thanks for reading!! Check out my Facebook page for more party pics and new downtown decor updates! @oui-liette

muah!!

Liette

 

 

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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