livingfamilytravelmediahome decor

What I learned about Ottawa this weekend

A young Festival attendee meets a new friend at one of craft stalls.

This weekend I had the good fortune of attending the Odawa Festival of Aboriginal Culture. I'd like to learn more about Canada's Aboriginal cultures, so I jumped at a suggestion from a friend to attend with her and her family. (Everyone -- Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal -- is welcome at these events.) One of the first things I learned is that Ottawa has a campground smack in the middle of the suburbs, and this is where the festival was … [Read more...]

Bike safety: More than just a helmet

We've had some really horrific and tragic bike accidents in our city as of late. People have always commuted to work by bike in Ottawa, Canada's capital. In fact, I distinctly remember my father biking to work every day from our family's westend home in the suburbs to downtown. But, now more than ever, we need more cyclists. The environment needs it, our bodies need it, and our children need the role-modelling. Unfortunately, our city … [Read more...]

The Joy of Reading: The Lion, the Witch and the Bathrobe


For as long as I can remember, it’s been common for people to observe that Stella is “Daddy’s little girl.” They don’t mean that he spoils her, but rather that she just loves to do whatever he is doing. And as a result, they have now cultivated a mutual passion for the outdoors that is really beautiful. But something else that is beautiful has taken place recently. When it comes to reading, Stella is now “Mommy’s little girl.” Just as the … [Read more...]

Oh, why do they have to grow up?


When I was 13, I was blessed with a baby brother. Sure, some days I wasn't too pleased as a teenager to be sharing a home with a "terrible two," but just like a mother of a child, you grow to love this tiny little person so crazy-fierce. Which is often how I feel about my baby brother (and the sister who followed); as if I'm a second mother of sorts. The reality of course is that I'm closer in spirit to a grandmother than a mother because, you … [Read more...]

On feeling itchy

On Friday night, I went to a neighbour's vernissage. (I like using this word "vernissage" because it makes me seem all cultured-up, doesn't it? Okay maybe not. But I still like it! I used it with my brother on the weekend, but he didn't seem half as impressed as I was. "Verni-what? What word are you using?") Um. Where was I? Ah yes, I was at a vernissage. Which is the opening of an art exhibit and it's the fun part because the artist is there … [Read more...]

The Spring Haircut


My children were both long over-due for haircuts. And Spring felt like the time for it. It's an errand that I had kept moving down on the list until this week. I had an hour's space between after school and when we would have dinner that I thought I'd use this time to strike this task off the list once and for all. So, I piled both kids into the car. Stella, my seven-year-old, was not pleased. To her, getting her haircut is about as … [Read more...]

I try to be polite. I really do.

One of my coffee break favourites is Amber Strocel's blog. Visiting her site is like being welcomed into a friend's home for a chat. She's got this great writing style that is so calm and inviting -- even when she's speaking about something annoying like the less-than-respectful manner in which some marketers approach bloggers, as she did recently in her post: "Moms, Blogging, Marketing and Respect."  Anyone who has worked in sales or … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Camping with Kids

Good Monday morning! My daughter Stella has shared her top tips for successfully camping with kids in a post that is now live on the Kids in the Capital blog. If you are ever in the care of children in Ottawa, this is the blog to hit for ideas! It covers activities, playgroups, books, crafts, cooking -- you name it! -- all neatly organized under the "Categories" listing on the right-hand menu. Definitely worth a visit. Hope everyone has a … [Read more...]

I’ve got a good mother

The lyrics from Jann Arden's song "Good Mother" have been ringing in my heart and mind all weekend. I like to use these kinds of pre-fab holidays as an opportunity to count blessings ("blessings" is a word I use simply for lack of a non-religious alternative). I'm feeling very grateful. Thanks Mom! I love you. xoxxox *************** Good Mother, by Jann Arden I've got money in my pocket, I like the color of my hair. I've got a … [Read more...]

Business Casual

I watched the movie Wall Street this week. Do you remember it? It was an Oscar-winner from 1987, directed by Oliver Stone and starred Michael Douglas as an incredibly wealthy but unscrupulous trader and Charlie Sheen as a young, desperately-eager-to-make-it-big stockbroker. I wanted to remind myself of the movie and its plot because a sequel is on its way. To be released in September, the sequel also stars Michael Douglas as the same … [Read more...]

Skin cancer doesn’t happen in Canada, does it?

When you live in Australia, as we did just recently, you very quickly realize how seriously they take their sun protection. The combination of a light-skinned population with prolonged sun exposure leaves Australians at real risk. The risk is so high, in fact, that according to its Cancer Council two in every three Australians will develop skin cancer before the age of 70. More than 440,000 Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer every year … [Read more...]

This makes me happy …

... so I thought I'd share it with you! What can I say, a group of university, baseball-wearing guys singing Lady Gaga's Bad Romance really makes my day! Check it out. On the Rocks is the University of Oregon's all male a cappella ensemble. … [Read more...]