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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...]

It’s Friday, Friends. Let’s Shoot for the Stars!

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is just so darn cool that he has my kids shooting for the stars. I love it because it gives me an excuse to remind them to study hard in their maths and sciences if they want to be an astronaut. p.s. Is it just me or are you secretly developing a crush on him too? … [Read more...]

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


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...]

Saturdays with Stella: The Dragon’s Story, St. George and the Dragon


Okay. I’m the dragon that you all know from St. George and the dragon. Or you think you know. First things first, my name is not “the dragon”, its Clive Harmonia. My life’s ambition is to save the wandering albatross, and to find out if knights taste best deep fried or microwaved on “popcorn”. As for the princess, her name is Mud Ash-Felt. I don’t eat princesses because they are gross and high in cholesterol. Anyways, a while ago, a … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: The Not-So-Awesome Things List (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from last week's first 5 not-so-awesome things, here are the last 5 I have to share with you.  #6: When my little brother opens up the bathroom door when I’m using the toilet: I’m trying to go to the washroom like a normal person, and then he barges the door open and announces that he is going to brush his teeth. #7: When you hear the sound of crinkling cellophane and when you go to see what it is, it turns out to be something … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: The Not-So-Awesome Things List (Part 1 of 2)


I've told you about my Awesome Things List before. Over the years, as you grow up, you also start to develop a list of stuff that drives you insane. This is my list of not-so-awesome. #1: Clothes shopping: Mom: how about this shirt?  Me: Too Sparkly.  Mom: How about this one?   Me: Too tight.  Mom: What about this one?  Me: That monkey is so hideous; it’s going to give me nightmares for years. Mom: you are so picky.  Me: We could go to … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: The Sizzling Cheese Balls

chick biscuits

I’m going to tell you right of the bat that I’m not exactly the best cook. Don’t get me wrong, I love to make food. So awhile ago I tried to make cheesy chick biscuits. I started by mixing all the ingredients in the bowl and the likes, but after that it all went down hill. I rolled the batter out and it stuck to the wax paper I was using. Then I realized that we didn't have any cookie cutters, so I just said “cookie cutters are like SO … [Read more...]

20 Dollars of Cheer


It's March 22nd. The snow is heavier than ever. It's getting me down. We Canadians get really quite desperate for Spring and I think I've hit that desperate phase. So I treated myself to 20 dollars worth of flowers from my local grocery store. They have a variety of blooms that go for 3 for $20. I picked some yellow tulips, pink tulips, and some pretty white flowers that I don't know the name of. I spread the flowers out so that I could … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella*: 10 Awesome Things

book of awesome

Have you read The Book of Awesome? There are two of them now and I've read them both. They're great. So in the theme of "awesome," I present to you my 10 awesome things ... … [Read more...]

Apres-Ski Green Beaver Boreal Face Cream and My Cosmetics Quest


Sure, snow looks pretty. But that doesn't mean my skin likes it. Dry, winter skin is sort of a fact of life from December through to April in this area of the world. So I was definitely intrigued when I came across a Green Beaver line of lotion called "Apres-ski." I needed some new cream since I'd run out of my other stuff and our family has had a good experience with the Green Beaver Shampoo and Conditioner, so I thought I'd give this line a … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: Dracotopia (Part 3)

Original illustration by Stella.

To catch up, you can read Part 1 and Part 2. The dragon hatchery was the third highest building but not quite the biggest tree house there. It was twelve feet by twelve feet. It was on the east side of the village and the girls were on the west side so it took them another ten minutes to get there. Liz and Vicky were very tired by the time they got there for they had to scale across a series of logs carved into stair cases, swinging ropes, … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: Dracotopia (Part 2)

Original illustration by Stella.

To start at Part 1, click here. We are done thought Victoria. Suddenly a female voice screamed a command and the dragon froze in its place. “Windisk! You know better than that!” the voice continued. “Stop threatening those …err… visitors” The girl then walked out. She was about twelve years in age. She introduced herself as Cloeshi. Cloeshi wore a toga under billowing robes but her feet were bare and a small wooden hair band type thing … [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*: Dracotopia (Part 1)


On a stormy night before the nineteen thirties, two sisters, twins to be exact, were huddled on a ship by themselves. They had set out on a voyage to Indonesia for a vacation, and all had gone totally wrong. Most of the crew members had fallen overboard, this included their father. Diseases spread, food ran out and the ship seemed to have a knack for getting attacked by sharks. Then soon scurvy began to take its toll. The sisters seemed to never … [Read more...]

With Apologies to my Husband on Valentine’s Day


Dear Hubby, There's no easy way to break this to you. I thought the heart-thumping joy when seeing his face would fade, but alas, it's been four years now and I need to accept that my love for him is simply far stronger than even I could have imagined. (That's right, I'm telling you that I'm in love with another man via my blog. If being in love with another man doesn't have you running for the door, that surely will.) While I've always … [Read more...]

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


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: Have you been to Halifax?


Stella is my 10-year-old daughter and on Saturdays, I let her rent this space from me because she thinks blogs are cool. It is her hope that her writing will appeal to kids her age as well as to the adults who read here too. (For the intro to Saturdays with Stella, click here.) This week, Stella wants to tell you all about Halifax, which we visited last summer on our holidays. source Halifax: A Wonderful Place to Visit! If you ever go to … [Read more...]

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