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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...]

Driftwood Provincial Park: A First Trip

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Upon the invite from friends of the family, we strayed from our usual mainstay camping fave of Achray in Algonquin Park over to Driftwood Provincial Park for a weekend stay. The pros of this camping spot: short drive from Ottawa (just over 2 hours) waterfront camp sites are available all sites are well-treed and offer space and privacy the vibe was friendly and there were a lot of families the waterfront is sandy and shallow -- … [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...]

All Kids Shine at Starr Gymnastics (Psst! This post includes an amazing giveaway!)

Birthday party at Starr Gymnastics

Our family loves Ottawa's Starr Gymnastics. Both Stella and Max have taken classes there and I'll tell you why: because it's fun and it's positive. For Stella, she appreciated the friendly environment and that she could wear shorts and a t-shirt, since a bodysuit is not required. For Max, we initially enrolled him to help strengthen his core and increase his gross motor coordination, but we stayed on because he was really enjoying the music … [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...]

Coffee Service is Stalled

Photo of WTF note left for Julie

I don't know if I should admit this publicly, for fear of being perceived (exposed?) as the biggest princess on earth, but every morning, Hubby brings me up a cup of coffee to my bedside table. He gets up earlier than I do for his work schedule, and this little "coffee service" ensures that I will never, ever let this marriage falter. You might recall that for our 15-year wedding anniversary, he gave me a special gift. So I thought it might be … [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...]

First Camping Trip of the 2015 Season!

Arriving and setting up.

It will come as no surprise to some of you that we chose Achray campground in Algonquin Park for the location of this season's first outing with the pop-up tent trailer. (If you've never heard of Achray and want to learn more, click here and here for details.) Nature was so kind to us! We had beautiful weather, with beautiful people and left with beautiful memories. So, I'd thought I'd share some of this beautiful with you ... … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: Being Connected Matters #BConnectedConf

Speaking at the BConnected Conference in Ottawa-Gatineau

Attending blogging conferences has been one of the smartest things I've done as a blogger. They allow me to feel connected with people who "get" this crazy need to blog, to learn about a craft that is anything but traditional, and to keep up with technology that moves at break-neck speed. The very first blogging conference I attended was a biggie: BlogHer in 2010. When I'd heard about it, I emailed a local Ottawa blogger I didn't really know … [Read more...]

Mothering & Milestones

mothering and milestones

It's been a while since a new milestone was hit around here. Or, at least, it sort of seemed that way with kids that are almost seven and thirteen. No new words, no first steps, no bedtime rituals to master ... . But I realized this past Mother's Day though that Stella is pushing forward into new milestones. She often stays up past her mom's bedtime (lame as it might be), she now listens to the news, and she makes her own lunches and does her … [Read more...]

Sharing the Magic

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Someone's big sister taught him the magic of climbing trees. On Saturday morning, he was confident enough to climb on his own. Once reaching a top branch, he looked out and proclaimed, "I think it would be amazing to read a book in this tree." We couldn't help but shrug and nod in agreement. Later that same day, his two special friends came out to play. One had a Minecraft book with him. Next thing I know, Max is tearing through the house … [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...]

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Fairies

Stella is grade 7 now. I remember those years as being confusing and rather overwhelming. She's handling it quite well and still managing to maintain her own sense of self despite the ever increasing social pressures that come with high school. In thinking about this, I re-read a post from September 2009. Stella was in grade 2 then. I thought you might enjoy the memories too. ************ My daughter’s tastes are what many refer to as “tomboy.” … [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...]

Dusk & Dinner in Gatineau Park #TheWinterResolution

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In my ongoing quest to not become the most bitter woman on the planet because of winter, I said yes to going for a cross-country ski outing with my family last Sunday. The whole drive there I was plotting my immigration to Australia and what year would be best for the kids' schooling. (I kid you not.) And yet? It was a beautiful (dare I say magical) time with my family. The trails were so peaceful. The time with my son (he can't keep up with … [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...]

It’s Monday. You’re not in Florida for March Break. Would a giveaway help? Tickets to the Ottawa premiere of Dreamworks HOME!

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My kids tell me that *everyone* in their class is going on a trip to Florida for the March Break. Naturally, since I am typing this up while looking out at a ton of snow still on the ground, it goes without saying that we are not in this *everyone* crowd. But we're not crying in our hot chocolate (okay, maybe just a little ;)) ... we've got some fun things planned for the kids, including a night ski on Gatineau's cross-country ski trails. And … [Read more...]

Why is it still Monday? This calls for a giveaway! How about LEGOLAND Discovery Centre passes?

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We are likely some of the only people I know who have yet to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, just outside of Toronto. It's really quite inexcusable considering how cray-cray my whole family (including the Hubby) is about Lego. In fact, you might recall that we took the kids to New York City and the Empire State Building and Central Park didn't make their list of Top 5 NYC Highlights -- but the LEGO store sure did! But perhaps we'll … [Read more...]

The Tranquil Side of Mont Tremblant

Tremblant Lake

Have you ever visited Mont Tremblant in Quebec? It's a spectacular ski mountain, with a beautifully developed village at its base. See this professional photo from the Tremblant website? It's accurate. It really is that picturesque. We've rented a condo there on several occasions for weekend getaways. It always feels special there ... like there is vibration in the air ... like the ground is almost thrumming with the ski vibes. And for the … [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...]

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