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

candles

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...]

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...]

3 Books that Changed My Life

real simple magazine, June 2013

Last week, I treated myself to two magazines (oh, how I still love my printed magazines!). One of these was Real Simple. In it, there was an article "50 books that will change your life." It had been mentioned on the cover, and was one of the reasons I chose this magazine over the many other beckoning covers. Once I got home, I flipped right to that article. I felt oddly disappointed. As an avid reader, I had expected that many of my favourite … [Read more...]

When One Door Closes …

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Lately, I've been thinking about this expression: "When One Door Closes, Another One Opens." The full saying actually goes like this: “When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”~ Alexander Graham Bell I've also heard other variations, like "When one door closes, use the window," reinforcing the notion that there is more than one way … [Read more...]

Pronouns Seem Kinda Antiquated, Don’t They?

This 48-year-old Australian, who identifies as neuter and uses only a first name, is the first person in the state to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the NSW government. (Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sexless-in-the-city-a-gender-revolution-20100311-q1l2.html#ixzz2JKYYUR6r)

It's a touch dusty around here. I know ... I know ... my stupid New Year's Resolution is totally interfering with my "me time" (i.e. blog time). I need to put in an extra hour of walking in at night to be able to hit those 8,000 to 10,000 steps. And then afterwards, I have a spurt of adrenaline that is nice but not nice enough to provide me with any creative writing juice that will keep me up past my bed time. Yet once I get into bed, I end up … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: Dogs or Cats?

dog or cat person?

Wondering what Saturdays with Stella is all about? It is a column written by my 10-year-old daughter, which was first introduced here.  Now have you ever had an argument with a friend about whether dogs or cats were better? You're not alone. I used to be a dog person because we had a big black dog with a white stripe down his chest. I was only a dog person because I had never really interacted with a cat before. Then one of our … [Read more...]

Saturdays with Stella: Get to Know the Column

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Hi, readers! I’m sure you know that this is not my mom. This is my own little column I will be updating it every Saturday as the title suggests. This is a great opportunity for kids my age to have a weekly column to read that is written by a kid their age. This article is to show how a kid thinks about a broad selection of topics. Sometimes I will talk about simple kid pleasures such as realising it’s a snow day to finally being let outside after … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: What if you have none?

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At this time of year, when every form of media imaginable -- from commercials, movies, and television to magazines and newspapers -- are promoting the "warm glow" of holiday happiness and family togetherness, it might seem like you're alone if you are not feeling the Christmas spirit. Well, you're not. I just thought maybe you might want to hear that. So don't beat yourself up if you're just "not feelin' it." There's a ton a reasons why you … [Read more...]

Christmas Cheer: From the Archives

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Everyone has been hugging their children just a little bit tighter since Friday's horrific shooting in Connecticut. Hubby and I haven't been actively following the media reports. For a number of reasons, but mostly because we don't want to expose our kids to the 24-hour news cycle. In an effort to avoid co-opting the grief of these parents as my own, I will step away from blogging about it. But this doesn't mean any words are flowing for me, … [Read more...]

Please turn your iPad away from my child!

iPad in a coffee shop

  So, here's the scene: You're sitting in Starbucks, you've got a nice two minutes of peace assured because you've just purchased an overpriced cookie for your toddler to enjoy while you suck back a Christmas Blend coffee, and then ... oh wait, what the? The guy over on the next table is watching Game of Thrones on his iPad and a racy, sex scene has just come on the screen. Naturally, your toddler is captivated by the moving pictures and is … [Read more...]

It’s Friday, Friends. Have some Heart!

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Today's Friday music video is thanks to some old high school friends on Facebook. It's conversations like this that make Facebook worthwhile ... And if this wasn't entertaining enough, a fourth person (who I dated in high school) jumped in to the conversation at this point to add:  Now, THAT is a great way to start off a Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay safe, laugh lots. Julie xo … [Read more...]

This Blog has Some Major Competition!

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Sometimes it feels like one should just throw in the towel when it comes to blogging. There is always someone funnier, more poignant, cooler, or quirkier. I've seen bloggers lament this before, and admit to their own feelings of inadequacies. But really, I can't be bothered with that. I spent most of my youth feeling insecure. So I'm totally over it (or drank it out of my system in university years. Whatever). I don't see my blog as … [Read more...]

Bullying and Rhetoric

Worried Young Woman Using Laptop At Home

Today, I'm a guest blogger over on Annie Urban's PhD in Parenting. Annie and I like each a lot despite butting heads on a number of issues. But that's precisely the point -- we both understand (and have a strong respect for) the importance of debate and discussion. Otherwise, we end up in rhetoric territory. … [Read more...]

Day of Me

Birthday Card painted by Hubby

This time last year, I had already completed two whirlwind trips to Toronto as well as a more lengthy stay in New York City, followed by a huge family dinner and celebration. Yep, remember Month of Me? I really lived it up, and enjoyed every minute of it. Last night, Hubby asked what I was going to do for my birthday this year. The answer? Not much. I've booked a vacation day off at work and I think I will sit around and blog and drink coffee … [Read more...]

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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No, I'm not talking about the Christmas decor slowly seeping into the malls ... I'm talking NOW. Autumn. Fall. And more specifically, October. It is THE most wonderful time of the year. I've always loved the Fall. As a child, this was easy to explain -- it is my birthday after all. As I got older, there was a birthday plus the family gathering of Canadian Thanksgiving. But there's also the crispness that comes in the air. That feeling of … [Read more...]

The Terra20 Store: My Personal Assistant for Avoiding Greenwashing

@ecoholicnation and @coffeewithjulie

On Friday night, I watched a very interesting episode of CBC's Marketplace. In this season premiere, the show examined products that purported to be "green." You know the kind ... you see them everywhere nowadays -- the label includes something green or has been re-branded with a beige colour and includes words such as "natural," "non-toxic," and "biodegradable." I'm sure I've been duped countless times by these products because I want to do my … [Read more...]

When Time Slips Away

Running in the cornfields

It could be the constant rain today. Or because last week my son started junior kindergarten. Or that the week before that my daughter turned 10 years old. Or it could even be because Hubby turns 40 this month. Or that in the month afterwards, I turn 41. Time is slipping away on me. And for whatever the reason, it's weighing on me heavily these days. It's as if I feel the minutes ticking away more now. The time I should or could or … [Read more...]

It’s Friday, Friends. And it’s all happening at Our House this weekend.

It's been a busy summer at our house. And it will culminate this weekend with a massive family gathering. Among the guests will be my father's two brothers -- all three boys, all in one spot! It doesn't happen often because one is in Ottawa, one is in Toronto, and one is overseas in Germany. Photo taken by my grandmother of her three boys. 1961. In fact, the last time I recall seeing all three brothers together was at my grandmother's … [Read more...]

It’s Friday, Friends. Find Some Time Alone.

I would like to have more time alone with my husband. This weekend, I'm in luck. My in-laws are watching our kids and Hubby and I will have TWO WHOLE NIGHTS alone. I am struggling to recall the last time we had two nights alone. I think it might have been four years ago when we attended a friend's out of town wedding. But even then, it might have only been one night. I just can't remember. Do you ever manage to get time alone with your special … [Read more...]

Over 40 Hair: Oh, the Conundrums!

pixie hair cut

I have hair issues, people. I think this is because I was spoiled by good, thick hair when I was younger -- hair that I could do anything with -- but now it will not cooperate with me at all. (Oh, woe is me, right? Trust me, I'm fully aware that this is a petty problem, but let's continue anyhow, shall we ...) So, for a long time, wearing a short pixie cut worked for me. It was super quick, but it still looked like I had a "style." Here is a … [Read more...]

Garage Sale Finds for Entertaining

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Yesterday morning I awoke to the sound of cars pulling up outside and chatter. All of my bedroom windows were closed, but I could still hear that something was going on. I took a peek and it turned out that two houses on our street were having garage sales. I don't normally do garage sales. I lived in a very petite home that had virtually no storage space for a long time and grew accustomed to the notion of keeping "things" at a minimum. And … [Read more...]

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