livingfamilytravelmediahome decor

Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Leaving Your Home for Vacation

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  Going on a long trip and wondering where to start? Here's our family's checklist for what to do before leaving for vacation. I hope you find it helpful! 1. Hire a house sitter or someone to check-in on your home regularly: It's important to keep up the regular maintenance such as grass cutting, plant watering, pet care, and mail pick-up. If you are not going to have someone living in your home, then be sure to read #2 below. 2. … [Read more...]

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Australia

Despite the winter weather, there were some beautiful buds.

It's hard to believe that these amazing grounds in the Victoria state of Australia were once unusable swamp land outside of the city of Melbourne. Now, these beautiful and calming gardens, which are the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, are the perfect place to raise the spirit of the groggy, jet-lagged traveller. While the locals will tell you there's not much to see in winter (June to August in this hemisphere of the world), we … [Read more...]

Our Epic Adventure: 6 Weeks in Australia

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Wondering what's up with the radio silence around here? I've been itching to write and share .... but just haven't had a spare moment to do so between end-of-school events with the kids, packing, and then actually doing the travelling bit! And, now -- yes! -- we are here in Australia for our epic adventure. It's something we've been wanting to do for some time now. But as you can imagine, it takes a lot of planning and saving to actually pull … [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...]

Ottawa Giveaway: Tickets to Advance Screening of Earth to Echo Movie!

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It's Monday. Let's do a giveaway, shall we? Remember how excited and captivated you were as a kid to see the movie ET for the first time? I can remember clearly that my neighbours had seen ET at drive-in show (oh, those were sooo cool!)  and I was just bursting out of my skin for my parents to take me too. When we did go, I certainly wasn't disappointed! Now, in 2014, we'll be able to re-live that fun again ... and introduce it to our kids! … [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...]

Hungry

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My boy is changing. The most common thing I hear these days is: "Wow! Did he just grow another inch?" On the one hand, I'm thrilled to witness this amazing change. On the other, I have an irrational longing to kiss his now-gone chubby cheeks and to press my thumb gently into the soft pudge on the top of his hand. My boy is changing. His appetite has changed too. Over and over again, we hear: "I'm hungry!" So much so, that Stella created … [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...]

Stupid Things My Family Does: The Golf Ball Challenge Edition (Part 2 of 2)

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Wondering what this is all about? Here's Part 1 so you can catch up. In my rush to squeeze in some extra golf-ball hunting before the impending deadline, I had not grabbed my phone on the way out the door. (No, not for tweeting ... for telling the time!) This was why I had no idea that the church mass was already finished as I strolled down the street back from the golf course. I could hear a car slow down beside me. The man inside it was … [Read more...]

Stupid Things My Family Does: The Golf Ball Challenge Edition (Part 1 of 2)

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A new topic for the blog is born! Not sure how much mileage it will get, but since Hubby suggested the title "Stupid Things My Family Does," I'm going to guess that he plans on keeping the blog busy with them. Before living near a golf course, I imagined them to be sterile places. But quite the opposite is true. Deer can regularly be spotted enjoying the space during the day, while coyotes howling songs can be heard in the evening. And … [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...]

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

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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...]

My Mom and I went to National “We Day”!

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Hi everybody! It's me, Stella! I know that I have no published anything on the blog for a while ... umm ... because I have homework to be done, books to be read, dragons to be drawn, legos to build, trees to be climbed, and other important business. I promise that I will try and write for the blog more often. Anyways, the real post is about We Day. We Day is an event created by Free the Children to celebrate youth who are working for … [Read more...]

Win Tickets to The National Women’s Show! (Ottawa Convention Centre, March 29 & 30)

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Need a little time away with some girlfriends? I've got tickets to this weekend's National Women's Show in Ottawa and I want some of you to have them! Whatever you're interest, it looks like the Show has got it covered. There are six different zones, so take your pick: Fashion & Style District: check out new trends for work and play Beauty & Wellness: from alternative health to cosmetic procedures Travel & Adventure: dream … [Read more...]

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

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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 …

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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...]

The Winter Resolution: Fighting the Winter Blahs

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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...]

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