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Litterless Lunches: Top Picks for Teens

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It's no surprise that teens are going to have different lunch needs than a younger child. For one, they need a lot more food! But interestingly enough, I am finding that my own teen, despite a voracious appetite, tends to graze throughout the day when she's at school. When I asked her why, she explained that they weren't given a lot of time to eat and that snacks must be grabbed quickly from a locker in between classes (where they have only 3 … [Read more...]

Litterless Lunches: Top Picks for Elementary School Kids

Bento Lunch Box

Our family is finding that my son's litterless lunch needs as a elementary school kid are vastly different than what my daughter, in grade 8, prefers. In my introductory post, I listed a slew of factors that play into what works or doesn't work for any particular family's litterless lunch needs. For elementary school kids, my experience with both my son and daughter has been that: Kids love "kits" with fun images, shapes, sizes, and bright … [Read more...]

Litterless Lunches: What Works Best?

Options for litterless lunches

Since most elementary schools are moving to "boomerang" lunches (where any remaining garbage from a lunch is "boomeranged" back home for disposal) or "litterless" lunches (where the focus is on environmental care), it's no surprise that parents are in need of solutions that work. But what is a solution that works? Well, I've found that there are a number of factors to consider, depending on your family's particular needs. These … [Read more...]

Minecraft Lootbags (for less than $8 each!)

Minecraft Lootbags

As per usual around here, it was the night before the birthday party and I needed to get lootbags ready for 8 boys. I have a major love/hate thing with lootbags. On the one hand: kids love them and it's so fun to see how excited they get at the end of the party when they receive one. On the other hand: they can get really expensive (and time consuming!) and seem to be an unnecessary distraction away from celebrating the birthday boy … [Read more...]

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...]

A Weekend in Ottawa: The Governor General’s Arts Awards 2015

Ottawa Fashion Blogger Marilou Moles Never Fails to Impress

Last weekend, the Hubby and I dusted off some fancy-pants clothes and headed out to Canada's National Arts Centre to attend the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. I had been invited as a member of the media last year, and was thrilled to be invited again this year because this event is just spec-tac-u-lar. In addition to the actual show, there are some pre- and post-show activities to book-end the experience. Before the show … [Read more...]

Nordik Spa-Nature: Walk in, Float out

Kalla treatment, Nordik Spa-Nature

I wasn't hot. I wasn't cold. I couldn't feel the tension in my shoulders. Nor the nagging, ever-present weight of my head on a weak neck. The room was dim, with candles lit. But I had my eyes closed, blocking out yet another sensory distraction. Only one sense was in action -- under the water, there was sound. A music without words. So primal, it almost felt like it was simply coming from my mind, not entering through my ears. My body … [Read more...]

It’s Monday after a long weekend. You’re overdue for a night with your bestie! #Ottawa #Giveaway

The Age of Adaline - giveaway

  Yes, it's been a long hard winter. You may even feel that it's aged you a bit along the way. But did winter actually feel any easier when you were 29? Well, duh. Everything's easier when you're 29, right?!! A new movie hitting the screens soon is taking that concept to a whole new -- and thought-provoking -- level. (Granted, I think it could make a great comedy too.) Despite joking with our girlfriends that we're 29 years … [Read more...]

Cutting the Cable Brought Us Closer Together

#UnwindTogether

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

tired-lady

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...]

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