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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...]

Win Tickets to The National Women’s Show! (Ottawa Convention Centre, March 29 & 30)

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Need a little time away with some girlfriends? I've got tickets to this weekend's National Women's Show in Ottawa and I want some of you to have them! Whatever you're interest, it looks like the Show has got it covered. There are six different zones, so take your pick: Fashion & Style District: check out new trends for work and play Beauty & Wellness: from alternative health to cosmetic procedures Travel & Adventure: dream … [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...]

The Winter Resolution: Fighting the Winter Blahs

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Back in 2009, I made what I called "The Winter Resolution." The goal was to find a way to enjoy winter. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. Since then, I've made some excellent progress and don't cower as much when the temperature drops. But I still don't find it easy. It's not "natural" for me ... what feels natural is to run away and not come back until Spring! This winter is no different. Or maybe it is. Because it somehow actually feels … [Read more...]

How Old is Your Heart?

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A friend was recently telling me that her husband had had a heart attack. Her story sounded radically different from those I'd heard before or heart attacks that I'd seen on television. Rather than a sudden shooting pain in an arm or the chest, he had developed a really sore back. So sore, in fact, that he decided he needed to get a massage rather than go to work. She didn't think much about it and expected him to ease out of the pain after a day … [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...]

Raisin Bread Breakfast Cups with Berries

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Hubby was looking for something new to add to his usual repertoire for Christmas brunch and decided on this Raisin Bread Breakfast Cup recipe. Everyone loved them (except for my son who won't eat foods that are mixed! I am hoping he will grow out of this one day soon). So I thought I'd share the recipe with you because they're super easy and light on the belly, so they'd be a nice weekend breakfast treat any time of year. Breakfast Cups … [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...]

This Package Made Me Cry.

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I was working late, so I put a call into home to see how everyone was doing. My daughter's first words were: "A huge package arrived!" (My son's next words were: "Is it for me?") I asked Stella to check the label and see who had sent it. When she told me it was from Posterjack, I too felt excited and couldn't wait to get home! Remember this family photo that I loved so much, taken by local photographer Sarah McCormack? I had told her that I … [Read more...]

Gift Guide for Tween Girls ($30 or less)

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Ah, the "tween." Such a silly, awkward moniker for that age when your child is no longer a "little kid," but not quite a full-on teenager yet either. But it really is a stage of its own and sometimes picking up a perfect present can be a little more challenging. You don't want to make the mistake of getting something too juvenile, but you also don't want to push something on them that's too grown-up either. If you're looking for ideas this … [Read more...]

Acceptance is for the Weak.

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Okay, fine. I guess I *will* have to accept that winter is here and I will reluctantly bring in my patio furniture. This time of year is hard for many of us. We simply just want to hibernate and/or run away to a beach and live on coconut juice. I think this means it's time for me to crank up another Winter Resolution series, eh? Want to join me? I could sure use some company to keep up my morale! … [Read more...]

Meaningful Gifts at Christmas: Have You Ever Considered Giving a Goat? You Should! #PlanGOH

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I'm not particularly religious; so for me, Christmas is about children and the spirit of giving. That’s why I am excited to talk about Plan Canada’s Gifts of Hope program, which lets you give meaningful gifts by helping children in developing countries. Each of the Gifts of Hope are unique and bring real change to children in communities around the world. For example, one of the gifts that you can give is a goat. That’s right – a goat! The $75 … [Read more...]

Gift Ideas for Your Wine-Loving Girlfriends

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Wine and girlfriends go together like peanut butter and chocolate. If you're looking for a special little gift for one of your wine-loving girlfriends, here are my top 5 favourite picks. … [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...]

Peanut-Free Cookie Recipes (Yummy!)

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I'm not sure why, but lately I feel like baking cookies. And I don't want to bake cookies that I can't include in my kids' lunches, so I was browsing about looking for peanut-free cookie recipes when the most obvious thing occurred to me: "Ask my baking-savvy blogging buddies!" But it seemed selfish not to share all this yummy goodness with you. So, here, my friends are some fabulous recipes for you to bookmark. … [Read more...]

Tree Stump Furniture: I’m Obsessed!

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I'm not sure why, but I have developed a massive crush with tree stump furniture. By "furniture," I mean side tables or stools. I love the natural textures and the casual look of them. Plus, they are versatile and can be easily moved around to different rooms. I've been collecting images in a Pinterest board and here are some of my favourites: … [Read more...]

Amanda Lindhout and the Power of the Human Spirit

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Thanks to the Ottawa International Writers Festival, I had the tremendous opportunity to meet Amanda Lindhout and hear her story in her own words. If Amanda's name does not ring familiar, let me explain who she is. She is a young Canadian woman who has published a memoir (A House in the Sky) of her experience as a hostage in Somalia for 460 days. Let that sink in for a moment: Four-hundred and sixty days. These were not 460 days in a … [Read more...]

Easy Appetizers: Bocconcini with fresh basil and tomato

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This easy appetizer is a new favourite of mine because it's light and doesn't leave you feeling all full before a meal. What you'll need: 1. Bocconcini balls 2. Cherry tomatoes 3. Fresh basil 4. Toothpicks 5. Balsamic vinegar What to do: Cut a bocconcini ball in half and slip it on the toothpick. Follow that with a full cherry tomato and then some fresh basil. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the top, and if you like, … [Read more...]

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