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Sharing the Magic

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Someone's big sister taught him the magic of climbing trees. On Saturday morning, he was confident enough to climb on his own. Once reaching a top branch, he looked out and proclaimed, "I think it would be amazing to read a book in this tree." We couldn't help but shrug and nod in agreement. Later that same day, his two special friends came out to play. One had a Minecraft book with him. Next thing I know, Max is tearing through the house … [Read more...]

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Fairies

Stella is grade 7 now. I remember those years as being confusing and rather overwhelming. She's handling it quite well and still managing to maintain her own sense of self despite the ever increasing social pressures that come with high school. In thinking about this, I re-read a post from September 2009. Stella was in grade 2 then. I thought you might enjoy the memories too. ************ My daughter’s tastes are what many refer to as “tomboy.” … [Read more...]

Cutting the Cable Brought Us Closer Together

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So, I don't think I've told you yet that we cut our cable. Yep, we did it. It actually felt a bit uncomfortable to do it since the last time I didn't have cable television was when I was a broke student. But the monthly bill for cable adds up, and we weren't really watching that much. A few people we know had already taken the plunge and assured us we wouldn't regret it. And we certainly haven't. We cancelled our cable service in June (it made … [Read more...]

Have you ever spent more than you planned to at the grocery store?

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Did you answer “Yes”? Me too; especially in the winter, when we’re forking out for fresh fruits and vegetables that certainly aren’t local to Ottawa when we’re knee-deep in snow! Parenting in Ottawa: New info resources from Ottawa Public Health This question was just one of many relevant discussions that I found taking place on a Facebook page called Parenting in Ottawa. Ottawa Public Health and its community partners are running the page … [Read more...]

It’s Monday. You’re not in Florida for March Break. Would a giveaway help? Tickets to the Ottawa premiere of Dreamworks HOME!

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My kids tell me that *everyone* in their class is going on a trip to Florida for the March Break. Naturally, since I am typing this up while looking out at a ton of snow still on the ground, it goes without saying that we are not in this *everyone* crowd. But we're not crying in our hot chocolate (okay, maybe just a little ;)) ... we've got some fun things planned for the kids, including a night ski on Gatineau's cross-country ski trails. And … [Read more...]

Why is it still Monday? This calls for a giveaway! How about LEGOLAND Discovery Centre passes?

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We are likely some of the only people I know who have yet to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, just outside of Toronto. It's really quite inexcusable considering how cray-cray my whole family (including the Hubby) is about Lego. In fact, you might recall that we took the kids to New York City and the Empire State Building and Central Park didn't make their list of Top 5 NYC Highlights -- but the LEGO store sure did! But perhaps we'll … [Read more...]

What I’ve Learned from Saying “Yes” to Winter

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If you've been hanging about these parts for some time, you might recall that in 2009, I pronounced a "Winter Resolution." (Side bar: Is it just me, or does 2009 seem like last year, not SIX YEARS AGO. Where are the years disappearing to?) This resolution wasn't ground-breaking. I was not going to become a world-class ice-climbing or move south every winter, but rather I would try to find a way to enjoy the season. Note, I did not say "love" … [Read more...]

Inside Her Brain

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We have a new piece of art for our home! Actually, it's not really new. It's been waiting for framing for almost four years now. Since it is so large, the estimate we received to frame it ranged from $800 to $900. So Hubby recently got inspired to try some framing on his own. The matting can be purchased at a local art store (approximately $10-20 for one large coloured sheet), and the glass is ordered custom to fit the wood frame. All up, … [Read more...]

Birthday Party Ideas for Your Future Pilot

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A special little guy in my life is madly (fiercely!) in love with everything airplanes. With his birthday coming up at the end of the month, I couldn't resist sharing these great party-planning ideas with you from my blogging buddy Stephanie, from Spaceships and Laserbeams. In fact, if you're looking for ANY kind of party theme ideas for boys, Stephanie is your gal! ********** Taking off on the planning for a high flying plane party doesn’t … [Read more...]

It’s Monday. Time for a giveaway! Family passes to see #Ottawa movie premiere of The Penguins of Madagascar

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Monday's are always such a good day to give something back to my friends who come by and spend time here at Coffee with Julie! Especially when Ottawa is so grey and gloomy right now. Today, I have -- thanks to Sara at Allied Integrated Marketing -- two family passes (each pass admits two adults and two children) to the upcoming Ottawa premier of The Penguins of Madagascar movie. Here's the movie synopsis:  “Super spy teams aren't … [Read more...]

The Halloween Re-Cap 2014

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This year, in contrast to last year (where the jack-o-lantern was left as "untitled"), Hubby and I felt remarkably prepared for Halloween. Three jack-o-lanterns had been carved a whole night in advance, while costumes had been sorted out almost a whole week in advance. I took Stella to Target, where we happily bumped into one of my brothers and his two kids, and we hunted around for a costume that appealed to her. In the end, she found a wig … [Read more...]

Coffee, Cards, and Inside Jokes

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I am waiting for my second carafe of coffee to be ready, and thinking wistfully about how different birthdays are as a adult from when you are a child. Do you remember cutting photos out of the Sears catalogue to create a visual birthday gift wish list for your parents? As superficial as it might sound, let's face it ... gifts were really the highlight of a kid's birthday. I can still remember some that particularly pleased me. There was a … [Read more...]

Mungo National Park (aka that big sand dune place), NSW, Australia

A sample of some of the interesting sand formations along the drive tour.

In the late 1960s, a young geologist was studying the Australian landscape and climate when he happened upon one of the world's most remarkable discoveries: human remains that date back more than 40,000 years. The area where these remains and many other artefacts have been found is now designated as Mungo National Park. Outside of Africa, Mungo remains highly unique and it tells of the very long history of the Australian Aboriginal … [Read more...]

And … We’re Back!

A pic from the University of Melbourne campus.

It's been six weeks, more than 32,000 kms in the air, and another 6,000 kms by car since I announced that we had landed in Australia. I had great plans for blogging as we travelled, since I prefer to write while it's all fresh and exciting. But alas, I ran into troubles accessing WiFi and paid outrageous amounts of $$ to my cell phone provider for service and then finally just had to give up and accept that I would not be "connected" with all … [Read more...]

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Australia

Despite the winter weather, there were some beautiful buds.

It's hard to believe that these amazing grounds in the Victoria state of Australia were once unusable swamp land outside of the city of Melbourne. Now, these beautiful and calming gardens, which are the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, are the perfect place to raise the spirit of the groggy, jet-lagged traveller. While the locals will tell you there's not much to see in winter (June to August in this hemisphere of the world), we … [Read more...]

Our Epic Adventure: 6 Weeks in Australia

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Wondering what's up with the radio silence around here? I've been itching to write and share .... but just haven't had a spare moment to do so between end-of-school events with the kids, packing, and then actually doing the travelling bit! And, now -- yes! -- we are here in Australia for our epic adventure. It's something we've been wanting to do for some time now. But as you can imagine, it takes a lot of planning and saving to actually pull … [Read more...]

Ottawa Giveaway: Tickets to Advance Screening of Earth to Echo Movie!

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It's Monday. Let's do a giveaway, shall we? Remember how excited and captivated you were as a kid to see the movie ET for the first time? I can remember clearly that my neighbours had seen ET at drive-in show (oh, those were sooo cool!)  and I was just bursting out of my skin for my parents to take me too. When we did go, I certainly wasn't disappointed! Now, in 2014, we'll be able to re-live that fun again ... and introduce it to our kids! … [Read more...]

Hungry

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My boy is changing. The most common thing I hear these days is: "Wow! Did he just grow another inch?" On the one hand, I'm thrilled to witness this amazing change. On the other, I have an irrational longing to kiss his now-gone chubby cheeks and to press my thumb gently into the soft pudge on the top of his hand. My boy is changing. His appetite has changed too. Over and over again, we hear: "I'm hungry!" So much so, that Stella created … [Read more...]

Stupid Things My Family Does: The Golf Ball Challenge Edition (Part 2 of 2)

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Wondering what this is all about? Here's Part 1 so you can catch up. In my rush to squeeze in some extra golf-ball hunting before the impending deadline, I had not grabbed my phone on the way out the door. (No, not for tweeting ... for telling the time!) This was why I had no idea that the church mass was already finished as I strolled down the street back from the golf course. I could hear a car slow down beside me. The man inside it was … [Read more...]

Stupid Things My Family Does: The Golf Ball Challenge Edition (Part 1 of 2)

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A new topic for the blog is born! Not sure how much mileage it will get, but since Hubby suggested the title "Stupid Things My Family Does," I'm going to guess that he plans on keeping the blog busy with them. Before living near a golf course, I imagined them to be sterile places. But quite the opposite is true. Deer can regularly be spotted enjoying the space during the day, while coyotes howling songs can be heard in the evening. And … [Read more...]

My Mom and I went to National “We Day”!

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Hi everybody! It's me, Stella! I know that I have no published anything on the blog for a while ... umm ... because I have homework to be done, books to be read, dragons to be drawn, legos to build, trees to be climbed, and other important business. I promise that I will try and write for the blog more often. Anyways, the real post is about We Day. We Day is an event created by Free the Children to celebrate youth who are working for … [Read more...]

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