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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...]

The Winter Resolution: A Weekend Away in Ontario’s Highlands

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In my last "Winter Resolution" post, I shared that I had bought myself ski gear for the first time. Yep, at age 42, I am now the newbie owner of downhill ski gear! It's my way of committing to this "love like the winter" kick I've been on since I first posted about my struggles with winter back in December of 2009. Downhill ski gear is the most recent in a list of commitments I've made since 2009. The others include: A warm down-filled … [Read more...]

The Winter Resolution: Blah, Blah, Skiing, Blah, Blah …

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Thanks to all of you for reading my last post "The Winter Resolution: Fighting the Winter Blahs" and sharing your own tips for how to survive this never-ending season. It helped me feel a little less like this woman in this video. (But just a little. In fact, I wonder if this is a secret filming of me in my driveway?) Winter Blah-Blahs! Shortly after I published it, my son spiked a fever. Then a sore throat. Then a rash. My neighbour … [Read more...]

Celebrating the Chinese New Year: Beef, Broccoli & Shiitake Mushroom Stirfry

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I went shopping to create a meal to celebrate Chinese New Year as part of my membership with the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. And yes, I was paid to do this. I hope you like the post I wrote as a result! #CollectiveBias #shop #cbias As you could probably plainly tell from my post on the Christmas Holidays, I am missing the holiday season. So I thought that celebrating the Chinese New Year would be a perfect excuse to help our … [Read more...]

The Holidays were Happy

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Hard to believe the holidays were only a couple of weeks ago! They seem like forever ago now, don't they? We had a really nice holiday and I feel like re-living it a bit by sharing some photos. So I hope you don't mind indulging me a bit here ... We often do a "cut your own" option for a Christmas tree and this year we went a little crazy and ended up with a seriously HUGE tree. Yes, we had to pull out a ladder to decorate it. I was … [Read more...]

Taking the Kids to NYC: Our Top 5 Highlights

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NYC with kids? Yes, it's do-able and we did it! We are fortunate enough to have friends in NYC, so it makes taking a last minute trip a whole lot easier. Usually, however, it is either Hubby or I taking a solo trip. This time, we took the kids. With Max now 5 years old and Stella now 11, travel is also a whole lot easier. So we felt that the Christmas school holiday break was a window we couldn't resist. We left on December 30th and drove … [Read more...]

10 Reasons Why I Love My Beats Studio Headphones by Dr. Dre

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I was at the mall today. So I can personally vouch that if you have yet to pick out a perfect gift for someone special, you are definitely not alone! It is a busy world out there. But thanks to Staples, I can recommend the ideal gift for that person who seems to have everything: Beat Studio headphones by Dr. Dre. Whether they're a music lover, business traveller, or public transport devotee, these headphones will make life just that much more … [Read more...]

Handmade Christmas Cards

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Do you still send out Christmas cards? I lapsed on this a few years back (okay, so maybe it was more than a "few" years back ... more like almost a decade ago!) and never got back on the wagon. But I still really enjoy the act of crafting with paper. My friend Kerry and I recently got together and spent a Sunday afternoon making handmade Christmas cards. There is something seriously calming about crafting. I had a great time and came home with … [Read more...]

Gift Guide for Young Boys (Age 4-7)

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Are you reading this post because you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet? Eep -- I haven't either! But, hey, there are still SIX WHOLE DAYS before Christmas Eve. And you know what that means? Yep, anyone who has all their shopping done before Christmas Eve is a super-organized super-star! So if you have a young boy on your list, like I do (my son Max is 5 years old), I have some great gift ideas for you! Playmobil Puzzle For … [Read more...]

Remember how you used to scrapbook? Yeah, me too …

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This time last week, I was madly searching throughout my basement for my scrapbooking supplies. My poor scrapbooks have been terribly neglected and ignored for years. But somehow I had gotten myself signed up for a weekend scrapbooking retreat with my long-lost scrapbooking buddies and now I needed to resurrect the stuff. … [Read more...]

I Will Remember.

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I will remember World War I. It began in central Europe in 1914 and in my home city of Ottawa, this is how many families experienced the loss of a loved one: CBC: click here to view this map online, with interactive links. I will remember World War II. My grandparents lived through this time. It is impossible for me to imagine the turmoil, fear, and grief that they must have all experienced. But I will remember. … [Read more...]

We are Thankful for Thanksgiving

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It is starting to become a tradition for us to host Thanksgiving dinner at our home. When it comes to prep: Hubby handles the cooking, while I handle the decor. He doesn't get stressed out at all by having people over or cooking a big meal. In fact, he loves it! So we are especially enjoying this element of having moved into a house three years ago that can handle a large dinner gathering. One thing we didn't count on was our oven dying. … [Read more...]

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