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A Weekend in Ottawa: Prose in the Park

Photo of table at Ottawa's Prose in the Park

I was flipping through an old newspaper before throwing it into the recycle bin when I came across an article about an upcoming event called "Prose in the Park." Since the paper happened to be old, the event happened to be taking place on that very day. Well, Stella and I were certainly going to need to visit this inaugural event! We drove down from our quiet suburb into the hustle and bustle of Ottawa's Westboro area, where the Parkdale … [Read more...]

All Kids Shine at Starr Gymnastics (Psst! This post includes an amazing giveaway!)

Birthday party at Starr Gymnastics

Our family loves Ottawa's Starr Gymnastics. Both Stella and Max have taken classes there and I'll tell you why: because it's fun and it's positive. For Stella, she appreciated the friendly environment and that she could wear shorts and a t-shirt, since a bodysuit is not required. For Max, we initially enrolled him to help strengthen his core and increase his gross motor coordination, but we stayed on because he was really enjoying the music … [Read more...]

First Camping Trip of the 2015 Season!

Arriving and setting up.

It will come as no surprise to some of you that we chose Achray campground in Algonquin Park for the location of this season's first outing with the pop-up tent trailer. (If you've never heard of Achray and want to learn more, click here and here for details.) Nature was so kind to us! We had beautiful weather, with beautiful people and left with beautiful memories. So, I'd thought I'd share some of this beautiful with you ... … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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