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A Different Kind of Birthday Party

a birthday hike

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)

Weaver ants

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

pikachu pokemon cupcakes

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

Full range of mouth guards

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?

Vegetable garden

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

The 2K Family Run, Ottawa

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.)

dime-in

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

greeneggs__large

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...]

Ottawa Staycation: Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park

Fluffy snow!

For a second outing during our Ottawa staycation (you can read about our first outing here), we decided to head up to the Gatineau Hills for a cross-country ski. It would have actually been a sin not to go cross-country skiing with all of the snow we had over the Christmas season here in Ottawa! Everywhere around us, as far as one could see, the world had a bit of a magical gleam to it with mounds of fluffy snow hanging upon the tree … [Read more...]

Ottawa Staycation: Canadian Museum of Nature

Dinos at Canadian Museum of Nature

We rarely do a "staycation," but last week our whole family stayed home in Ottawa on holiday. It did involve chores around the house (like mountains of laundry) and items on the to-do list that never seem to get tackled (like organizing the kitchen cupboards), but we also did some really nice outings to break things up. Plus, lots of hanging out in jammies all day too, of course. One of these outings was to the Canadian Museum of Nature. We've … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: Winter Wonderland

Dragon Dining

Hello! I’m back again! I can not express how happy I was to see how enthusiastic you all were about my new column! (My mom and I have agreed that we will post by noon every Saturday.) I have a topic I hope you will find interesting! I’ll tell you what, if you live anywhere that has a handful of kids (it’s an expression, because it’s pretty hard to carry kids in your hand) and a few yards full of snow, I can guarantee there will be a ton of … [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...]

The Dining Table is Finished! The Dining Table is Finished!

Dining table showing the base

Back in April, I had told you about Hubby's plans to build a dining table. We wanted something BIG ... big enough to host our whole family easily at any time. And he has a strong affection for modern, crisp clean lines. It was a labour of love my friends, but it is now complete and I am thrilled! It is over 9 feet in length, so we'll be able to have 10-12 people around it for sure. After the jump, you can check out some more photos. … [Read more...]

The Year’s Jack-o-lantern: Untitled

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So, usually, we have some kind of theme running throughout the year. One year it was Pokemons, another year it was the Angler Fish. But this year? Nothing ... nadda. Hubby and I are running on empty (and yet, we are still running at full speed!). The result is that this year's jack-o-latern is .... well, it's called "Untitled." Sometimes life just works out that way, but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty darn good anyhow, right? … [Read more...]

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