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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...]

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...]

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...]

Wordless Wednesday: A Walk in the Woods

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P.S. I had originally titled this post "My Family, My Heart," but it seemed too cheesy. But the truth is, that's how this photo makes me feel. Big huge hug and thank you to Sarah for capturing this moment. P.P. S. Want to hear more about me and my family? I'm sharing some tidbits over on Canadian Family. … [Read more...]

Don’t Catch & Release! Catch & KEEP Your Summer Memories! (Blurb Book Giveaway. $50 CAN. Closes 09/16)

Enter the Blurb book giveaway

It's Monday. Let's do a giveaway shall we? Now that we've all survived the first week back to school, it's really starting to dawn on me that summer is over. Don't get me wrong, I love the autumn weather more than any other season, but I don't want to let all those special summer memories just fade away. My poor paper scrapbooking supplies are buried in dust these days. And I can't remember the last time I actually printed off even one of … [Read more...]

A Different Kind of Birthday Party

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Apparently, when you are turning 11, you might not be interested in having a birthday party like you used to have. You might just want something more low-key. Just a few friends over to hang out. Or maybe go for a hike. A hike? Okay, I'd never heard of kids going for a hike for a birthday party, but I thought, "why not?" I had been a little concerned that maybe the guests might not enjoy a hike as much as our birthday girl Stella. But I … [Read more...]

A Visit to See “The Hidden Life of Ants” @ Canadian Museum of Nature

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We make regular visits to the Canadian Museum of Nature here in our home town of Ottawa. It's a fantastic place for both adults and kids (although I admit to being sick to death of the dinosaur section after the millionth visit!). So when I heard about "The Hidden Life of Ants" exhibit (remember this giveaway?), it was just one more good reason to head back to this museum. I went with my two children and brought along my sister Meaghan for extra … [Read more...]

Top 5 Strange Facts about Ants (+ Ottawa Giveaway to see “The Hidden Life of Ants” at the Canadian Museum of Nature)

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Most of us have heard of some strange facts about ants. They are a curious species, with their queens and workers. But you can learn some of the lesser known facts about ants at an exhibit opening in Ottawa TODAY, July 26th, at the Canadian Museum of Nature. For the first-ever stop in Canada, an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian that features 39 captivating large-format images from Mark W. Moffet's body of work. So, if at this point in the … [Read more...]

Cirque du Soleil’s Totem Show in Ottawa: This Local’s Review

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Totem was my introduction into the world of the Cirque, and circuses in general really, since they've gone out of fashion with the greater awareness around humane treatment of animals. I felt like I knew what to expect, having following this Canadian success story with interest over the years. But really, as we all know, a video clip simply cannot compare to an in-person experience. And like the true origins of the circus experience, I feel like … [Read more...]

No, I’m Not Ready for My Canoe Trek.

Groovy Moves course, Pure Life Adventures

These days, the most common question I've been getting from colleagues and friends and a few strangers is: So, are you ready for your big trip up to Northwest Territories? Well, it's on my list. And to be fair a lot important things don't get done on my list. I run out of time. Or energy. Or a combination of both. Plus, I've been really busy getting work done so that I can actually take a holiday. Oh, and there were the birthday parties, … [Read more...]

A Pokemon Birthday Party Was Had

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Pokemons infiltrated our household in 2008. A very cute, and slightly older boy introduced them to Stella when she was five years old and she was hooked. Line and sinker, people! From Pokemon pinatas to complete Pokemon bedroom decor, apparently some people just do not tire of these creatures. And now, just when we thought they were slowing fading away, they have returned back into the house -- all over the house! -- in full force. It seems … [Read more...]

When Your Daughter Wants to Play Football

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As part of a social shopper insights study, I was compensated to write this post. Yes, that means I got paid to go shopping. It's tough work if you can get it, but I'm definitely grateful for the opportunity to pick up some outdoor sports gear for my family. Thanks Collective Bias!  My daughter is a book worm. My daughter is the smallest kid in her class. And my daughter wants to play football. Hubby and I aren't sure where the interest in … [Read more...]

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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This will be our third summer in our new home, and each year we (er, correction: the "royal we") put in a small veggie and herb garden into a  bed that's on the side of the house. The kids love the entire process -- planting, watering, watching the growth, and then picking their own food from their own garden. Here's how ours is looking so far.   We've got red peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, green onions, beans and all sorts of herbs … [Read more...]

The Running Bug

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Last Saturday, Stella and I ran in the 2K Family Run at Ottawa Race Weekend. It's an inclusive race where strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, and toddlers are all welcome.    Have you heard of "chickenpox parties"? It's when a group of parents hold a party and intentionally invite a child with chickenpox to hang out with their children in the hope that their kids will catch it. Well, this is sort of how I imagine I might be able to catch … [Read more...]

Can Gadgets Help Kids Be More Active Or Are They Just Gimmicks?

Front and Side View of a Pokewalker

There's a whole lot of talk lately about kids and their low fitness levels in Canada. This week, as example, Healthy Active Kids Canada just released their annual report and gave Canadian kids a grade of "D minus" (yikes!) for overall fitness activity levels. I've been working with a client who focuses on this, so I've had the opportunity to read into some of the research investigating the roots of this issue and, needless to say, it's a complex, … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day Play-by-Play (Or alternatively titled: Read, Nap, Repeat.)

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1. Wake up, but pretend to keep sleeping so I don't ruin the breakfast-in-bed "surprise." 2. Start to develop caffeine headache while pretending to be asleep, consider ruining the "surprise." 3. Surprise breakfast-in-bed arrives! With pancakes made by Stella herself. 4. With it, a sweet little face handing me a handmade card and a flower he has been growing at school. 5. Also, a sweet little face handing me a diamond ring. Oh, … [Read more...]

Three Fun Games for Pre-Schoolers (and their Parents!)

Go Fish! Card game by Imperial Kids

First things first, I don't enjoy games. I think it's because I'm too impatient ... I don't like the time involved in reading through all the rules, nor do I like it when a game drags on and never ends (I've been known to lose on purpose just so a game would end!). My daughter, who is almost 11 years old now, has a mild interest in games. And since this interest is mild, I only feel mildly like a bad mother for not engaging her more in … [Read more...]

Winterlude’s Snowflake Kingdom

Standing back, here is a view of the ice slides.

Ottawa is my home. And yet, for most of my life, I thought that Winterlude only took place on the Rideau Canal -- you skate, you look at snow sculptures, you have hot chocolate and a Beavertail! These are very fond memories and stand as some of my favourite things to do during this winter carnival. Over a number of years though, there is somewhere else that has edged its way to the top of our Winterlude-heart. It's Snowflake Kingdom. … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella*: Eggs and Hamadeus at Canada’s NAC

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I'm really sorry about there not being a post yesterday  The reason why is that I was going to an NAC concert with my best friend! So I had to postpone the blog post to see it, because who wants to hear about my predictions! You want the actual event!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (excessive use of exclamation marks!) So yesterday afternoon I set out with my friend and her family to go to the NAC to see Green Eggs And Hamadeus. The traffic was … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: My Three Favourite Ottawa Museums

Exhibit at Museum of Nature

Stella is my 10-year-old daughter and on Saturdays, I let her rent this space from me. For the intro to Saturdays with Stella, click here.  Ottawa is the capital of Canada so it is only natural that we have all the national museums right here. These museums are the best ones in the country and are the big cheeses of all the rest. In this post, I will tell you about my three favourites. The Canadian Museum of Nature is quite the impressive … [Read more...]

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