Mom’s 60th Birthday and BRCA results!

Hey everyone,

Hope the first week of February is treating you well? Although we’ve received a couple dumps of snow, here in Ottawa, the weather has been milder and so enjoyable. #grateful for this week’s weather and being able to enjoy some fresh air!

Last weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. As most of you now know, it’s been just over a year since she was diagnosed and underwent her debulking surgery 2 days before her 59th birthday. I remember her saying that she just wanted to be able to make it to her 60th. Well, I’m SO happy to report that she did, that she is doing SO well and was eager to celebrate her big day. Her 60th Birthday!

My sister and I decided to throw her a surprise party and invite her childhood friends. Some of whom she sees regularly, others only a few times a year. Little did we know, most of them had already set the day aside for her.

Chels and I made dinner reservations at the Big Rig Brewery, as per her request, and our immediate family kicked-off the evening by doing our first escape room at Jigsaw located in the Byward Market. If you haven’t been to Jigsaw, you totally have to check them out. The venue is really nice offering lots of seating with board games and they even have a bar.

As for dinner with her friends, we had asked her guests to bring an old photo of mom and to let us know which song best reminds them of her so that we could put both in a journal for her to read afterward.

Have you ever thrown a surprise party? If so, you know it presents some challenges but if not, *WARNING* it is not easy to do lol My mom is by nature a total control freak (as are we). She has always been the caregiver, planner, organizer etc and she likes to be kept in the loop about everything…and I mean everything, so planning this party was no easy task. A month before, she started asking a million questions. Are we going to big rig, will it just be the 6 of us, what time should I be ready for etc etc etc She absolutely hated not knowing what the plan was and not being in control.

Before getting into the evening itself, I thought I’d share with you a couple of the gifts we bought for her. As previously mentioned, we bought her this beautiful black Journal from Chapters that says “she was one of the rare ones: so effortlessly herself and the whole world loved her for it.” For those who know mom, you KNOW that she is totally one of a kind. The amount of quality friends that she has and the love that they all have for her is amazing and shows how incredible she is.

I also knew that I wanted to pick up a tacky gift, making fun of the fact that she was turning 60, so when I saw the cane in the picture below, I had to have it lol The cane came equipped with glasses, a horn, fan (for heat flashes), a pill container and a caution old lady crossing sign lol so funny, right!

You’ll also notice that I picked up a small pink book entitled “what I love about you and me.” It’s 50 pages long and you have to fill in the blank spaces and note 50 reasons why you love that person. For example: “I like the way….when you…” or “if we were a ….. we would … ” and “I’d love to … with you.” This was such a fun gift and got me thinking about some of my favorite childhood memories. We also treated her to a beautiful bottle of Cognac, the game, cupcakes, board games (her fav) etc.

As for the evening, it was so much fun. We met downtown in the Ottawa Byward Market and surprised her with an escape room. We choose the cabin and it was amazing. I knew that we had to find our way out but I didn’t think that it would be as hard as it was. These games are clearly well thought out. The cabin was a tough one. We all started in handcuffs and the room was almost pitch black. Although we worked hard and really well together, to bust our way out, we didn’t 😦 Apparently we were very close to winning but unfortunately couldn’t crack the last few clues. For those who are looking for a challenging escape room, I highly recommend this one as it has a 15% success rate.


Next up was dinner at the Big Rig. We walked in shortly after 7pm and everyone was already there, waiting for her. Watching mom walk in was priceless. She had no idea that we had planned to have her childhood friends there and, although she was pleasantly surprised, I think she was totally shocked. We spent the evening going through childhood pictures, listening to stories of her in her teens and enjoyed a good meal. Below is a pic of mom and her friends. How lucky is she to have friends that she has known for over 50 years.


Overall, mom had a wonderful 60th birthday. Not only did she have a great time celebrating with her childhood friends and family, she was and is feeling healthy again. What better gift to receive for her 60th bday than the gift of feeling healthy 🙂 I’m so grateful for this and for her 🙂 Happy birthday Moomoo!

BRCA 2 results:

In a previous post, I shared with you that I would be undergoing BRCA 2 genetic testing for breast/ovarian cancer. After a 3 month wait, I’m happy and relieved to report that I do not carry the genetic mutation and, as a result, neither do my children. This news was and is such a huge relief for my family and I. The results showed that I’m not considered high risk. The general population’s risk of having breast cancer is 11% and mine has been calculated at 18%. As a result, and lucky for me, rather than waiting until the age of 50 to be screened, I will start annual mammography at the age of 37. For this, I’m also grateful.

For anyone with a close family history of breast and ovarian cancer, I highly recommend undergoing genetic testing. It isn’t for everyone but for those who woukd prefer to know and like to have control, like myself, I say go for it. These results have brought me much comfort knowing that my children and I aren’t at high risk and has allowed me to put in place the necessary steps to ensure that I will be properly screened.

For those who have undergone similar testing and would like to share about it, please feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend and I thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and read my posts. I truly appreciate your support.

Remember to “look for something positive in every day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.” Life is great :)!!!

Talk soon,


Saturday morning market strolls

One of the best things about summer are the local farmer’s markets and being able to buy fresh and local foods. Nothing beats a Saturday morning visit to one of the many farmers market with the kids. This has become our favourite way to kick start the weekend. Now that our son is three and a half he knows that this means CROISSANTS from Art-is-in. I swear they make the best baked goods and I will seriously miss them this winter.

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Each week we like to pick up different fruits and vegetables from different vendors. This week, strawberries made their appearance and we were all over them. No, literally I couldn’t keep our son’s fingers off of them. We could smell the berries from a mile away. They smelt delicious. So sweet. Our son couldn’t resist them and even before we agreed to buy some the little guy was snatching them and eating them as if the farmer’s stand was his own personal fruit buffet. Our son was literally moaning they were so tasty lol I couldn’t believe it. Of course, we now had to buy from these farmers but we are happy that we did. We bought $10 worth of strawberries, two zucchinis and a bunch of multi-coloured tomatoes. All of which were delicious!


The next stop was the Art-Is-In stand. For once, there wasn’t a lineup. When they first started selling their baked goods at the market you had to line up first thing in the morning or else they would sell out ASAP. By first thing I mean 8am. When the market first started, we didn’t have any kids and found it difficult to make it on time but now that we have two little ones, under four, we make it no problem ;). This year, they seem to be better prepared for their high demand. They always have a lovely selection of croissants, breads, and cookies. Honestly, I find it very difficult to choose just a few things. This week we decided to stick with only croissants. We bought one almandine, one almandine and chocolate, one butter croissant and one chocolate croissant. They were delicious and gone within 24hrs. If you haven’t bought any of their baked goods, you should definitely try them. You won’t regret it.

For those who have yet to visit their local farmer’s market, I highly recommend that you do. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is fun to just walk around and see what is for sale.

If you have a favourite farmer’s market in Ottawa and/or favourite vendor, please do let me know as we would love to go visit it.

Ciao for now,

Ash xo


Canada Day long weekend!

Hey guys,

It’s Wednesday after the long weekend and what a fabulous weekend it was. We spent it at my in-laws home in Dunrobin, right on the Ottawa river. We drove up Friday and stayed until Monday.


Their home is one of the best places to relax and for the kids to have fun. They built themselves their dream home, five years ago, and it is like visiting Le Nordik.

We kick started our Canada Day festivities with a 45 minute Kayak ride on the river with our son. This kid loves water. He always has. I love that he does but it also scares me to death sometimes since he is fearless. Our kayak trip was so relaxing. I’m always amazed at how quiet the river can be. You would assume that it would be busy and loud, overwhelmed with motor boats and sea-doos but it isn’t the case.  At least not where they live. While we were out, we only saw a couple of beautiful sailboats and one couple canoeing. It was as though we had the river to ourselves.

imageThe rest of the day was spent eating good food, playing with the kids and enjoying a cocktail or two ;). Paul, my father-in-law, made the most incredible mushroom, fig and caramelized onion and stuffed hamburgers for lunch. They were to die for. Dinner started with a beautiful strawberry bruschetta with Louis Buillot rose followed by confit de canard with garlic and herb potatoes and strawberries marinated in rum. If you haven’t had duck confit, you must. It is one of the most delicious dishes I have ever had in my life. My in-laws are both French (Mother-in-law is French Canadian and my father-in-law is half Austrian and half French) and make us this dish a couple times a year and each time I am blown away by the flavour.

Other highlights of our day were decorating our Canada day cupcakes, walks with the kids, searching for frogs and resting in the hammock while the kids napped. Note: napping in a hammock is good for the soul. The hammocks never fail us. Julien and I always fall asleep in those things. Once we get in we are down and out.

Last, but not least, we spent our last evening off at my parent’s place. Mom was feeling healthy enough to have us all over and it was just like the good old days. We caught up on their deck, while sipping on sangria, and enjoyed an awesome grilled chicken caesar salad. Mom had had her sixth chemo session, a week before, and will have the summer chemo free!!! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that she can rest, catch a break, regain some energy and enjoy the summer months with her many friends and family.

IMG_20170703_172349.jpgCanada day 2017 will be one to remember. The kids, Julien and I had an awesome weekend and we hope that you did as well.

How did you spend you Canada day long weekend?


Ash xo