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Saturdays with Stella: Get to Know the Column


Hi, readers! I’m sure you know that this is not my mom. This is my own little column I will be updating it every Saturday as the title suggests. This is a great opportunity for kids my age to have a weekly column to read that is written by a kid their age. This article is to show how a kid thinks about a broad selection of topics. Sometimes I will talk about simple kid pleasures such as realising it’s a snow day to finally being let outside after … [Read more...]

Books I Can Remember Reading in 2012


In follow-on from Dani's post, I'll list out the books that I can remember reading in 2012. I love looking at what books other people are reading, so I thought you might enjoy it too. While Dani was able to keep her list accurate by using GoodReads through the year, I wasn't able to get into the habit of using it so I have to rely on memory. (There's always next year, right? I really do like the GoodReads site -- you can find me here on … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: Better Late than Never!

Red roses with silver

Our family was visited by not only Santa, but the stomach flu over the past few days. As a result, our Christmas dinner was delayed from December 25th to today. 10 adults and 4 kids will be arriving in a couple of hours! It will be so nice to have everyone here. We have the new dining room table set up pretty for all the adults, and a separate "kids table" for the four cousins (I always loved being at a kids table when I was a kid, didn't … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: Tasteful Vignette and a Merry Christmas Shout-Out to You!

Tasteful Christmas Vignette

If you celebrate Christmas, then please accept this big huge "Merry Christmas!" right at ya' -- from me to you! Wondering what's the inspiration behind this lovely and oh so terribly tasteful Christmas vignette? It's our "special" family holiday tradition! Well, technically speaking, it's not actually a tradition yet, because this is the first year we've done it. But I was interviewed and asked what "special holiday traditions" I celebrate … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: Homemade Wooden Ornaments for the Christmas Tree

Wood Christmas Tree Ornaments

Hubby picked up a lathe from one of the local second-hand sites and turned these wooden ornaments. I hope the recipients find them as charming as I do. … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: How to Make Your Home Smell Like Christmas Without Using Chemicals

Natural Christmas Smells, Package

My neighbour just popped over with a little gift (have I mentioned before how much I love my neighbourhood? Oh, I do!) for me. She follows this blog and knows that I've been trying to eliminate the number of toxins that my family is exposed to, and brought me over a sweet little package for making my home smell all lovely and Christmas-y -- naturally, without chemicals. She said it is her new "go-to" hostess gift ... but also perfect for … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: What if you have none?


At this time of year, when every form of media imaginable -- from commercials, movies, and television to magazines and newspapers -- are promoting the "warm glow" of holiday happiness and family togetherness, it might seem like you're alone if you are not feeling the Christmas spirit. Well, you're not. I just thought maybe you might want to hear that. So don't beat yourself up if you're just "not feelin' it." There's a ton a reasons why you … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: From the Archives


Everyone has been hugging their children just a little bit tighter since Friday's horrific shooting in Connecticut. Hubby and I haven't been actively following the media reports. For a number of reasons, but mostly because we don't want to expose our kids to the 24-hour news cycle. In an effort to avoid co-opting the grief of these parents as my own, I will step away from blogging about it. But this doesn't mean any words are flowing for me, … [Read more...]

Books for Tweens: Warp Speed by Lisa Yee

Book, Warp Speed by Lisa Lee

Next in Stella's book recommendations for her peers (she is 10) is Warp Speed, by Lisa Yee. In fact, she's asked me several times to post this up, but I'm just getting around to it now. Marley is the central character in this book. As a seventh grader, excluded socially from most of his school's crowds, he would rather remain invisible or run at warp speed so that he can escape from the bullies. He does, however, find some solace in the AV … [Read more...]

It’s Monday. Let’s Do A Giveaway, Shall We? How About a Delicious Gift Basket from Nature’s Path!


One of the things I am most looking forward to over the  holiday break is being able to skip the morning madness. Instead, breakfasts can be long and lazy. And hey, maybe even a little decadent -- like this Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Red Berries cereal from Nature's Path Organic Foods? Mmmm .... chocolate covered raspberries and strawberries! Perhaps even better than the decadence is that Nature's Path foods are USDA Certified Organic … [Read more...]

Get Your Memories Off Your Hard Drive!

This is a photo album. You're welcome.

This post is to encourage you ... motivate you ... and gosh, darn it, INSPIRE you to get your memories off of that computer hard drive and out in the open where you and your family can enjoy them! Printed Books Creating a printed book with your memories is actually easier these days than printed out your photos and putting them into a photo album. Oh sorry ... do you forget what a photo album is? (Is this like a rotary dial phone and I'll … [Read more...]

Please turn your iPad away from my child!

iPad in a coffee shop

  So, here's the scene: You're sitting in Starbucks, you've got a nice two minutes of peace assured because you've just purchased an overpriced cookie for your toddler to enjoy while you suck back a Christmas Blend coffee, and then ... oh wait, what the? The guy over on the next table is watching Game of Thrones on his iPad and a racy, sex scene has just come on the screen. Naturally, your toddler is captivated by the moving pictures and is … [Read more...]

It’s Friday, Friends. Have some Heart!


Today's Friday music video is thanks to some old high school friends on Facebook. It's conversations like this that make Facebook worthwhile ... And if this wasn't entertaining enough, a fourth person (who I dated in high school) jumped in to the conversation at this point to add:  Now, THAT is a great way to start off a Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay safe, laugh lots. Julie xo … [Read more...]

Makeup Primer, Arbonne, and my Cosmetics Quest (Part 2 of 2)

deacon book

This post is a continuation. To read Part 1, click here.   As I was telling you in my post yesterday, I went to an Arbonne party. I had fun. I tried stuff. I bought stuff. Arbonne is different from a number of other products on the shelves of my drugstore because they are formulated without: Parabens Formaldehyde donating preservatives The following petroleum-based ingredients: Benzene Mineral … [Read more...]

Makeup Primer, Arbonne, and my Cosmetics Quest (Part 1 of 2)

Book inscription by Gillian Deacon

This post is part of a personal quest to find and use face and body products with fewer toxins. To catch up on this series, you can start here.  So have you heard of ARBONNE? I hadn't heard of this company until just recently, and now it seems all my girlfriends are mentioning it of late. Like Tupperware, Stella & Dot, and other direct-to-consumer businesses, Arbonne is sold at parties in people's homes. I'm sure you've been to similar … [Read more...]

BIG Bedside Tables Reveal!

Master Bed - Wenge Wood

I love piles of books--waiting to be read, half-read, already-read, or just looking pretty. Hubby jokes that the pile get so high on my bedside table that one day he's worried he'll find the pile collapsed on top of me. (I figure there are far worse ways to die!) Because of my book-collecting affliction and the long rectangle shape of the master bedroom, he thought BIG bedside tables were in order. No more tall, toppling piles. These tables … [Read more...]

It’s Friday, Friends. Let’s Celebrate True Colors.

Today closes out an international anti-bullying campaign. In schools across our city, kids are shown videos, encouraged to act out skits, and generally work hard not to roll their eyes as they're told over and over again that bullying is bad -- don't be a bully. None of it, in my opinion, truly prepares the teachers or the students for how to effectively deal with kids who are bullying and kids who are being bullied. I wish I knew the answers; … [Read more...]

Books for Tweens: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Book cover for: The One and Only Ivan

Stella goes through books like I imagine most kids go through cheerios. You'll find four or five hoarded under her pillow case, others scattered about on her bedside table with an overflow pile on the ground beside the bed. Her massive, double-sided bookcase is already filled and she's reluctant to part with any of them. I used to indulge her taste for books with constant trips to Chapters. But between the cost and the sheer volume of books … [Read more...]

Where did that Baby come from?

Picture of It's not the stork book

We have a beautiful addition to our neighbourhood gang -- a new baby! In trying to explain to Max, who is 4, that his friend has a new baby sister, some questions arose. Yes, *those* kind of questions. Stella, our 10-year-old daughter, immediately jumped right into this and offered that he could borrow her book It's NOT the Stork. "Um, I'm not sure Max is ready for that book," I blurted out. You see, Stella is like a walking encyclopedia. … [Read more...]

This Blog has Some Major Competition!


Sometimes it feels like one should just throw in the towel when it comes to blogging. There is always someone funnier, more poignant, cooler, or quirkier. I've seen bloggers lament this before, and admit to their own feelings of inadequacies. But really, I can't be bothered with that. I spent most of my youth feeling insecure. So I'm totally over it (or drank it out of my system in university years. Whatever). I don't see my blog as … [Read more...]

Terra20 Gift Certificate Winners!

terra20 gift cards

Last Monday, I announced a giveaway for Ottawa's new eco-store Terra20. And today, I'm happy to share the names of the lucky winners! The winner of the $50 gift certificate is Jacquie Baillie who that she was most surprised to read about the parabens in tumors. The winner of the $100 gift certificate is Sarah McCormack who wasn't surprised by the article but "i have just had my head in the sand on this topic.  i have made big changes in the … [Read more...]