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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...]

Have you ever spent more than you planned to at the grocery store?

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Did you answer “Yes”? Me too; especially in the winter, when we’re forking out for fresh fruits and vegetables that certainly aren’t local to Ottawa when we’re knee-deep in snow! Parenting in Ottawa: New info resources from Ottawa Public Health This question was just one of many relevant discussions that I found taking place on a Facebook page called Parenting in Ottawa. Ottawa Public Health and its community partners are running the page … [Read more...]

Enough Already!

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So, remember how lovely and positive I was in my last post about winter? Well, it's like the universe heard me and decided to slap me around a bit! It's been cold here. Real cold. "Peter Kimbell, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, said Monday that Ottawa’s current mean temperature for February is -16.3 C. That’s 8 degrees colder than the normal mean temperature for the month in Ottawa, which is -8.1 C." -- CTV … [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...]

We Are So Tired

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Every woman I know is tired. There are reams of articles on this that provide a cultural mix for why: many women now work full-time out of the house; a work day that does not end now that we are tied to smart phones; a marathon of extra-curricular activities for our children; and an outdated division of household tasks where the woman carries a heavier load than the man. I can see how all these could and might apply to the women I know, but … [Read more...]

Inside Her Brain

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We have a new piece of art for our home! Actually, it's not really new. It's been waiting for framing for almost four years now. Since it is so large, the estimate we received to frame it ranged from $800 to $900. So Hubby recently got inspired to try some framing on his own. The matting can be purchased at a local art store (approximately $10-20 for one large coloured sheet), and the glass is ordered custom to fit the wood frame. All up, … [Read more...]

Cauliflower (without cream and cheesy goodness). It’s a Thing. A Yummy Thing.

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Winter makes us crave comfort food, doesn't it? For me, I think about mac & cheese, warm bread and butter, and yes, cauliflower. You know what kind of cauliflower I mean, right? The kind with all sorts of cream and cheese and 10,000 calories. Mmmm ... So, with a craving desperate enough (it's gotta be desperate if I'm going to cook!), I sought out a recipe for cauliflower. And yes, all sorts of yummy, delicious ones popped up. But also … [Read more...]

Does your child need an eye exam?

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This is a sponsored post. Thank you so much for supporting Coffee with Julie! Before my eldest started school, I remember that my doctor recommended an eye exam. Not because she thought there was any problem with Stella's vision, but because it was a standard health test that she recommended. Well, Stella is 12 years old now. I still haven't taken her for that eye exam. I assumed that if there was a problem with one of my kids' sight, I'd be … [Read more...]

It’s Monday. Let’s Do a Giveaway, Shall We? Today’s Theme: Little Luxuries!

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I don't think it will come as any surprise to hear that our family has been on a tight budget for a long time. Why? Well, that's the only way we could manage to take the family to Australia for six weeks this past summer. Like most people, I find the constant monitoring of pennies to be tedious. Enough to make you want to buy a lotto ticket, even. Sometimes, even though you know it not to be true, it feels like you are being deprived. I mean, … [Read more...]

Autumn is the best. And the worst.

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Fall has always been my favourite season. I love Fall colours. I love Fall fashion. I love the fresh Fall air. And as a kid, I looked forward to going back to school and to my upcoming October birthday. But Fall is also other things. It is reminders that I don't want to hear. Like the Canada geese constantly honking their departure, reminding me that it was in a September many years ago that a baby brother was born still. Or the fresh air … [Read more...]

It’s Monday. Let’s Do a Giveaway, Shall We? How about a Back-to-School Gift Certificate for Sears! #RockTheHalls

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As a kid, I loved back-to-school shopping sooo much. (Okay, I loved shopping with my Mom in general, but back-to-school meant I was guaranteed to get some goodies!) Picking out new outfits, cute shoes, and getting excited for the year ahead. Yep, I loved it all! I tried to indoctrinate Stella into this consumerism blitz, but to no avail. She really can't stand shopping and has zero interest in fashion. But, alas, fear not ... this mother … [Read more...]

What Makes Me The Savvy Spender? #UsedHelps

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Okay, so it’s not a huge secret. Everyone who knows me, knows that I like a good deal. My mama taught me how to shop! I simply cannot buy anything at full price; it goes against every fiber of my being. It needs to be on sale. And 10% off is *not* a sale! I like a good 40-60% off, thank you very much. Better yet, how about 80% off? Yes, it’s possible. If you’re willing to hunt. And everyone knows the hunt is the fun part! Where to Find the … [Read more...]

What’s In My Travel Makeup Bag? (Hint: It’s Safer, Cleaner, and More Enviro-friendly!)

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Before taking off on our trip, I stopped into one of my favourite stores -- terra20 -- to see what cosmetics they would recommend for my travel makeup bag. (I started on a cosmetics quest a little while back to use products that do not contain any harmful ingredients and this was another milestone on this journey.) It was a real treat to receive these products all at once. And over the past month, I've had a good chance to give them a work-out … [Read more...]

4 Ideas for Quick, Low-Cost, Thoughtful DIY Teachers’ Gifts

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Psst! This is a heads-up that if you wanted to give your kids' teachers a gift, time is kinda running out! Join my club and check out these ideas that I've hand-picked because they are (a) not a coffee mug, (b) can be created quickly, (c) are very low-cost. Notes of Appreciation for that Special Teacher Here's a great idea from Cyn at Creative Cyncronicity: a sweetly decorated glass jar that holds paper apple cut-outs. On each cut-out is a … [Read more...]

Chefx: Cool New Ottawa Service That Will Make A Chef Outta Ya!

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A = I like shopping local. It feels good to me. Same for eating locally grown food. B = I don't enjoy cooking. Hubby does; but he knows first-hand that it gets tedious to feed a family every night. A + B = Chefx Here's how it works, according to the Chefx website: "Each week, local chefs plan creative, seasonally-inspired recipes our partner farmers and producers supply the finest locally available ingredients; our kitchen team … [Read more...]

Choosing a Charity, Christie Lake Kids, and the #CardelCaresOtt Event

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To catch up and find out why I had $1,000 to donate to a charity, click here. How to Choose a Charity? As I was driving back from the #CardelCaresOtt event, I was chatting with my friend Andrea: which charity should I select ... one I already support or a different one? should it be local or international? helping animals or humans? a large charity with great needs and name recognition or a smaller charity that finds it hard to secure … [Read more...]

I Won $1,000 at a Cardel Homes Event! (#CardelCaresOtt)

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Uh huh, you read that right! I won $1,000! Pretty awesome, right? Oh, it gets better ... Okay, let me back up. A week or so ago, I was invited to a luncheon that was taking place at the Cardel Homes model homes in Blackstone (Kanata South area of Ottawa). The objective of the event was to gather the local media and blogging community as well as charitable organizations, and share how Cardel Homes actively contributes to the communities … [Read more...]

The Thing About Bra Straps

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Bra straps have been on a lot of people's minds these days. One wouldn't think that most of us would have much to say about bra straps. But apparently, we do. As the weather has heated up, and high school kids have switched from their winter wear to summer gear, bra straps are all the rage. Showing them, that is. It's a style. You wear coloured bras, with coloured straps, and ensure that they show. Whether or not the high schools should … [Read more...]

How to Get Your Body “Beach Ready”

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Dear Women of the World, I know, you've been told: your body is not ready for the beach. How do I know you've been told? Oh, perhaps simply by scanning the article titles of virtually every single women's magazine cover in the past month. But have you ever tried to read those articles and follow their advice? I have. Those "3 easy steps" usually involve radically changing my eating habits, my exercise habits, and a variety of painful … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: WordCamp Ottawa 2014 (#WCOttawa)

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Oops, they did it again! The WordCamp Ottawa organizers pulled off an amazing conference this past weekend. For the price of $30, attendees drank in a full day and a half of informative sessions AND were fed lunch and snacks as well. It's by far the best value for dollar of any conference I've ever been to. All up, 320 people registered for the 2014 edition of WordCamp Ottawa. As mentioned in my earlier post, I was going to be speaking. My … [Read more...]

The 10 Best Writing Tips in the Universe! (#WCOttawa)

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    This weekend, I'll be sharing "The 10 Best Writing Tips in the Universe!" Uh, huh. Yep, me and my friend Priscilla the Unicorn. However, I do hope to share at least *some* helpful tips to anyone in my session this Saturday at Ottawa's WordCamp conference. My session's topic? "Writing Tips for Non-Writers (No Grammar Police Allowed!)" Why no Grammar Police? Because I hate them. At their worse, they are peddling … [Read more...]

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