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PlanetBox Lunch Ideas


Back in August, I had taken a little trip out to Terra20 with my girlfriend and our kids and we checked out a TON of litterless lunch options. She and her grade-two daughter simply could not resist the PlanetBox lunch kit with the rainbows and unicorns. I can't really blame them, can you? But both mom and daughter are still very happy with how the PlanetBox is working out for them. So much so, that I thought I'd share some of the pics … [Read more...]

Six Recipes for Peanut-Free, Make-Ahead School Snacks

6 Recipes for Make-Ahead Lunch Snacks

Okay, now that I've shared my picks for litterless lunch containers and kits, I think I need to share some recipes for what to put in them! So I've rounded-up recipes from my blogging friends for items that are peanut-free and freezable for school lunches. Enjoy! (And come back and let me know which ones you tried!) Granola Bars We all know granola bars are one of the handiest and easiest things to grab for a lunch ... but what about the … [Read more...]

Litterless Lunches: Top Picks for Teens


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...]

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


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...]

We Are So Tired


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does not end now that we are tied to smart phones; a marathon of extra-curricular activities for our children; and an outdated division of household tasks where the woman carries a heavier load than the man.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...]

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


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...]

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


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...]

How to Get Your Body “Beach Ready”


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...]

What is Therapeutic Yoga? A Q&A with Ottawa’s Jessica Keats

Photo of Jessica Keats

This blog has brought so many people into my life. Jessica Keats is a great example of this. After reading this article in Capital Parent, she emailed me and asked if I would be interested in learning about--and trying--therapeutic yoga. I don't currently see a massage- or physio-therapist on a regular basis, but I've certainly had my fair share of visits over the years. Despite finding these forms of therapy extremely helpful, I've never … [Read more...]

The Winter Resolution: A Weekend Away in Ontario’s Highlands


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 …


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


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?

pic 1

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...]

Easy Appetizers: Bocconcini with fresh basil and tomato

bocconcini cheese

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...]

On Trying Something New

kerry and i

I'm always trying to encourage my children to try something new. Whether it's a new food or an activity, I want them to have these opportunities. I don't expect them to like everything they try, but I believe that the simple act of trying has value in and of itself. I don't think I'm unique here. I think most parents feel the same way. And yet, as parents, are we modelling this kind of behaviour to our children? Are we trying new foods? Or we … [Read more...]

What to Pack for a White Water Canoe Course: On the Water Gear

Gear and Clothing for On the Water

Tomorrow morning, Kerry is picking me up bright and early for our Introduction to White Water Canoeing Course (called Groovy Moves! with Pure Life Adventures). Two bloggers, white water, one night in a tent ... we should have some good tales to tell when we get back! I am teaching myself, with a great deal of help from Hubby, how to pack independently for camping. When we go family camping, he is the "gear guy." I really don't touch a thing. … [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...]

Easy Summer Salad: Broccoli Coleslaw and Ramen Noodles

broccoli coleslaw salad

When I shared the recipe for the Orzo salad, I promised I would also share this easy summer salad with you as well. This one was actually even easier and quicker to make. 10 minutes, I swear. I definitely wouldn't count ramen noodles in the "healthy basket" but they add great crunch to the salad and heh, it's full of broccoli, so how bad can you go wrong? … [Read more...]

Easy Summer Salad: Orzo with Baby Spinach, Feta & Pinenuts

orzo pasta salad

So, listen, it's been almost a full year since I shared the Cold Quinoa Salad recipe with you. Since then, I have circulated this one salad in my repertoire so many times in the last year that even I'm sick of it! On Tuesday of this week, Hubby and I had my parents over for a belated Mother's Day and early Father's Day celebration and I decided to try out not one but two (!) new salad recipes. To everyone's mighty surprise, they both turned … [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...]

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