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Tuesday
Jun032014

Grab a Coffee. Change a Life. Tim Horton's Camp Day

100% of all coffee sales today will give thousands of deserving children a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Your daily cup of coffee and a donation will make a world of difference to a child in your local community today. Tim Hortons Camp Day - the annual fundraiser that sends economically disadvantaged kids to camp - is back with the goal of sending even more kids to camp.

On Camp Day, Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurant owners generously donate all proceeds from coffee sales to the Tim Horton Children's Foundation (THCF), helping send kids on an unforgettable, fun-filled camping adventure to help inspire them for a better future. Last year alone, thanks to Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop guests and through the efforts of more than 3,700 Tim Hortons restaurants, a record $11 million was raised in the United States and Canada. More than 15,000 kids were able to experience the life-changing impact of a Tim Horton Children's camp.

"The mission of Tim Horton Children's Foundation is to help break the cycle of poverty by giving economically disadvantaged children the skills and mindset to aspire for a brighter future," said Dave Newnham, vice president and executive director, Tim Horton Children's Foundation. "We've seen time and time again that once a child attends our camp, they return home with a more positive attitude and greater confidence about their future. Our goal is to see more of that with more children. And, Camp Day is our single-most important fundraiser to help make that happen."

With their purchase of coffee today, Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop guests directly impact the children in their local communities who are able to take part in the experience of a lifetime. Guests can also help send even more kids to camp by donating in the following ways:

·        Text CAMP to 45678 to donate $5
·        Online at www.sendakidtocamp.com
·        Rent-a-Tent for a $1 donation in restaurant
·        Rent-a-Cabin for a $5 donation in restaurant

"The success of Camp Day, and ultimately the Tim Horton Children's Foundation, wouldn't be possible without our loyal guests and the generosity and dedication of Tim Hortons restaurant owners and team members," added Newnham.

Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurant owners work closely with local youth organizations and schools in their communities to identify those kids in their community who would most benefit from an experience at camp. Most often, this camp experience is the first time a child has travelled outside their town or city or has ever experienced camp. During their stay at a THCF camp, kids participate in a wide range of first-class programs and activities designed to build self-confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills. The powerful life experiences learned at THCF camps come at absolutely no cost to the kids and their families.

The Tim Horton Children's Foundation started in 1975 in Parry Sound, ON with just one camp and 200 kids. It now operates six year-round camps across North America and has served more than 180,000 kids through its innovative year-round programming. Children attend one of three types of programs offered, including a traditional summer camp (ages 9-12), a year-round camp serving schools and youth groups (ages 8-18) in the fall, winter and spring, and a five-level youth leadership program focused on building lifelong leadership skills (ages 13-18).

Tuesday
May272014

Pack a Picnic, Pick a Pepper…it's in season

Summer is on its way and we are all looking forward to it! Summer is the perfect time for a picnic.  Whether you are dining on the sidelines of an evening soccer game, heading to one of the festivals or lounging by a lake, I have some healthy go to recipes, games and packing tips to help you fill your basket. 

Buy Fressh and buy local is the best way to pack. For recipes and all things in season my favourite stop is www.foodlandontario.ca 

 Be creative and add new recipes when you have the time.  Teach your kids what foods are in season and promote them eating local.   This Wheat Berry Salad with Bacon and Peas can be made up the night before. 

MITK TIP  - freeze juice boxes or water bottles the night before to use as cold packs in your basket.  Use Thermos bottles to keep smoothie cold. 

Where to go, where to go?  Do you have a summer to do list of places you would like to see or things that you would like to do with your kids.  Why not set out on an adventure and pack up some healthy, locally sourced food for picnic fun. 

Still stuck for the perfect picnic spot?  Ottawa Magazine has compiled a list of the top 10 picnic spots in the city. 

Keeping the adventure alive is easy when you incorporate outdoor games and activities.  We often pack in Frisbee, hacky sacks, skipping ropes and bubbles.  We also play charades and compass games.  Scavenger hunts are fun too.

Wherever you land and whatever you pack, have a wonderful and fun-filled summer picnic. 

Thursday
May222014

Ottawa Race Weekend- Tough Runs don't Last, Tough Runners Do! 

I am going to start this blog with my own big shout out to the many people who crowd the sidelines of the race every year to cheer, congratulate and encourage the thousands of runners who pass by.   Thank you, thank you!  

Again this year, there will be an army of volunteers out on race day forming cheering stations.   These groups are supported through the race weekend community spirit fund.   

I encourage anyone who is not running in the Tamarack Homes, Ottawa Race Weekend to set up their own little cheering section as I have with my little team of Mom In the Know fans.   Here are some useful tips. 

 

Make Signs.

Runners love to read signs along the race course to help break the monotony. My all time favourites are: and “You are my Hero Today!”

Bring Noisemakers and Pick an Encouraging Phrase.

 Make sure your little cheer team has something to do besides clapping. Fill old pop bottles with pennies, tie racket makers to a stick. The preparation is half of the fun. Teach them to say things like: "Way to run," "You can do it," "Looking strong," "Nice job," "You're flying," or "Looking good."

Be sure that your team can see you on the course and that you can see them.

Tell them in advance what you will be wearing and put your name on your shirt. Tie balloons to your cheer team’s chair so you can see them too.

Plan to wait

Pack your team a picnic lunch.   Thyme and Again is a great source for fresh, locally prepared foods. Sure to keep your little team full of energy.  Also, plan for the weather.   The race goes rain or shine and so does your cheer team.    Duck into Trailhead for outdoor gear to keep your dry or cool as the weather dictates.   They also have an enormous selection of coolers, water bottles and backpacks to keep you organized in style!

Use Technology. 

Many large marathons have a variety of great services to help spectators follow their runners. See if the race's web site has a sign-up for a runner tracking system, which can send alerts to cell phones, pagers, or wireless handheld devices.

Have a Finish-Line Plan The finish line area can be crowded and chaotic, so make sure you and your runner have a plan to meet up after he or she crosses the finish line.

Tips for Runners

Don't forget to thank those cheering on the sidelines. I know that you are working hard, but these folks have stood for hours, hollering, clapping and jumping up and down.  This is their race too. 

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

Monday
May052014

All Mothers Deserve a Day - Happy Mothers Day!

 

 Pack a Picnic, Pick some Flowers, Give a Garden

This year, give your Mom the things Moms want most.  Give her the gift of your time.  A perfect picnic takes very little planning and is a cinch for Dad and kids to put together. 

 

Plan a simple menu that the kids can participate in preparing.

My husband and kids are planning to pack Rhubarb and Granola Muffins along with Greek Orzo Salad.  The kids are taking care of the fresh snacks of Fruit Kebobs, Cheese and Apples and Peppers with Hummus.  My kids are always so happy to be part of the planning and preparation. 

Put together some fun and games.

Make sure that Mom has some time to put her feet up.  A little relaxation and pampering should also be on the menu.  This is not her day to run after the kids or have to keep them entertained.  Pack a few balls, a Frisbee, shovels and pails, toy cars and butterfly nets.  Extra points for bringing along a copy of Mom’s favourite book or magazine! 

Pick your destination.

Looking for a shady forest area, a beach or a park? There are so many great spots so close at hand.  My favourites are:

 

  • Watson’s Mill in Manotick
  • Rideau Falls
  • Pink Lake in Gatineau Park
  • The NCC Arboretum
  • Jock River Landing in Barrhaven
  • Long Island Locks in Riverside South
  • Rockcliffe Park
  • Petrie Island in Orleans

 

 

 Pick some Flowers

It would not be Mother’s Day without the perfect bouquet of flowers or a plant for Mom.  We always choseOntario-grown cut flowers and potted plants. So much agriculture is done here in Ontario and flowers are just one product of many that we can be proud to say are grown locally.  This Mother’s Day and for any other special occasion, pick Ontario grown. 

 

Give her a Planting Box

With the May long weekend just around the corner, many Moms are anxious to get out into their gardens.  I think that a beautiful box of seeds and plants make a wonderful gift.  Find a pretty box, something recycled works for me, and have the kids decorate it.  Stop in at your local nursery and pick up all of the supplies Mom will need to get her garden growing.  I always like to put in a new pair of gloves, the latest little gadget, a few tomatoes plants and a new hat.  

 

Happy Mother's Day.  

Monday
Apr212014

10 Ways you can make a difference on EARTH DAY!

Clean the Capital

In hounour of Earth month, the kids and I have donned plastic gloves and are carrying plastic bags on our walks to and from school lately.  We are joining the team to keep Ottawa Clean.   This year, Clean the Capitalcelebrates its 20th year of their annual city wide spring cleanup campaign.

I encourage you to join your friends, coworkers and neighbours this year to help clean up public property where we live, work or play. Together, we can keep Ottawa clean, green, graffiti and litter-free.

Build Fairy Houses

Inspired by some of her favourite movies and books, Meghan had the idea to build Fairy Houses in our backyard.  We have collected many items on our walks and while cleaning up our own yard.  So far we have sticks, bark, dry grass, pebbles, feathers and pine cones.  We will also use some papers and treasures from our recycle bin.   I have posted some ideas over on Pinterest

Legend has it that if you place a fairy house in your garden a fairy might come and live in it, bringing luck and magic to the garden and its owner.

 

To attract the fairies to your structure you can leave enticing gifts, such as crystals, silver, or gold. Fairies love natural things with a shimmer and a sparkle, but they do not like magnets or iron. Timing is important when connecting with the fairies. They are most active around a full moon, solstices, and equinoxes, so this would be a good time to leave them a small treat like fruit or sweets, especially chocolate. They love chocolate

Backyard Wildlife

With the fairies settled into their habitats, we have begun to think about the wildlife in our backyard that could also use some love and attention.

Water and/ or birdbaths

All wildlife need water and this is one of the easiest things for us to provide.  From simple dripping water to a container or an elaborate bird bath, outdoor enthusiasts big and small can attract birds, amphibians and small animals to their yards with this simple provision. 

 

Just pick a container and make sure it is kept full of fresh water.  It is also important to change the water and clean your dish or bath on a weekly basis.  This can be done using a scouring brush or a cloth.  If your container gets really dirty, a mild dish detergent will do the trick.  Be sure to rinse well. 

 

The best bird baths at our house are made using the three Rs.  Recycled plastic or metal containers hung over a branch make awesome bird baths.

 

Feed the Birds

We also love to feed the birds.  Here is a link to some fun feeders we have made in the past. 

 

Another great way to be kind to birds it to keep them from flying into our windows.  Suncatchers work well for this.   The easiest sun catcher ever can be made from old cds. 

 

Play in the Mud

Do you know what mudpuddling is?  We just found out that butterflies enjoy hanging around mud puddles, who doesn’t really?   The male butterflies look to mud puddles for salts and minerals to enhance breeding.  To attract these mudpuddlers bury a bucket to the rim, fill it with gravel or sand and keep it moist at all times. 

 

Get into the Garden

Now that it actually starting to feel more like spring it is not too early to turn your attention to your garden itself.  Gardening is one of our favourite warm weather passtimes and we start early getting prepared. 

 

It’s time to get out the planters and decorations.  For Earth Day, you can create some beautiful planters using recycled items.  Here are some great videos and ideas. 

 

Decorate your Driveway

Spread the word.  It’s Earth Day and we are taking it to the streets.  It’s so much fun to decorate our driveway using sidewalk chalk.  Now you can make your own and get the message out. 

 

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

You will Need

 

  • A Mold
  • 1 cup Plaster of Paris
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • Medium Sized Bowl
  • Powedered Tempera Paint

 

 

Find a mold for your sidewalk chalk. Anything from a toilet tissue roll or small paper cup to fancy candy molds will work.

Mix together 1 cup of Plaster of Paris with 3/4 cup of water.

Add color to your mixture using powdered tempera paint.

Blend well and let stand for a few minutes.

Pour your mixture into the molds you chose.

Set aside and let dry completely.

Once dry you can remove your chalk from the mold.

Set it aside to dry for approximately 24 hours more.

Take your chalk outside and create fun masterpieces!

Tips:

Powdered tempera paint is available at most large craft stores.

Experiment with making swirled colors by adding the paint and stirring very little.

Drying time can take from several hours to a few days depending on the size of the mold you chose.

 

Reuse and Recyle around Town

General Junk

Capital Junk provides Full service junk removal for residential and commercial customers in Ottawa and Hull regions.  They  remove junk, from single items to multiple truckloads.   They say that up to 70% of their loads are recycled.

Books

Pack up your old books and head out to the book fairs.  Look for listings in your local paper.  Or consider one of donating your books to the Ottawa Public Library, Goodwill or Value Village .  Here is a list of places that accept used books in Ottawa. 

Toys

I can’t think of anything more recyclable than toys.  Gently used toys have the opportunity to bring joy to some of our littles earthlings.  I love to bring my toys to the children’s schools, local women’s shelters and the Goodwill. 

Women’s Clothing

Our first thought when deciding to recycle or donate used clothing is to take items to the Goodwill or Salvations army.  I have found a wonderful organization that accepts donations of clothing appropriate for business.  These items are then given to women who are  looking for jobs and can use the new outfits for interviews.  Dress for Success.  

Need more resources.  Visit Ottawa Start for a full list of recycling outlets. 

 

However you spend it and whatever you do, have a happy Earth Day. 

 

Julie

 

 

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