Back to school, back to our routines and back to the neighbourhoods we call home. 

There is no time like the fall to remind us of home – the streets we live on, the shops we frequent and the places we meet. Fall is brimming with tradition and this urban Mom is eager to get her family in full swing. A recent trip around my neighbourhood brought me to theField House at Parkdale Market. This is an amazing food boutique where everything is grown and produced locally. Fall comfort cooking with my kids is a wonderful tradition, especially with fresh local products. Have a look at my tip sheet for cooking with kids for ideas.

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

A lot of families planning to head out on a family a road trip. Along the way there is not a lot of choice for food.

It is great to have some food on hand or even pack a picnic of options.
A few ideas using all of our in season produce:
Curried Chicken Salad with Peaches. Switch it up and serve it on Romaine lettuce leaves, half a pepper or cucumber rounds.
With all the choice of fresh fruit, pack some straws and make fruit Kabobs. For a little sweetness add some sponge cake to the pattern.
If you have a chilled vessel, Peach Milkshakes are a favourite in our family.
Raw veggies served with hummus or a homeade herb dip is a good way to refuel.
All recipes are on
Be sure to pack wet wipes and a few road trip game ideas!



small maple leafMITK Quick Tips

Stand out in a crowd. Use a bright coloured backpack. The bright colour allows you to be recongizable in a crowd.

Keep food cool. Pack a lunch bag cooler. A tip for keeping things cold is to freeze your juice boxes overnight and use them as ice packs the next day. It's a great treat at the end of a hot day to have a cold drink.



small maple leafPack it all in Checklist

Here is a great  little checklist to help you 'pack it all in'. There are so many places to go and people to see, be ready for anything.




Don’t forget:


  • Hat
  • Towels
  • First Aid Kit
  • Dry Bag
  • Water Bottles (green option -  many water stations out there)
  • Cool Scarf
  • Rain Poncho
  • Wet Wipes
  • Umbrella (for both sun and rain)

Into the Night

  • Flashlight
  • Kleenex
  • Sparkles
  • Glow Bracelets (safety)

small maple leafNeed some time away from the crowds?

Pack some travel games and find a quiet spot. A travel game selection can be found at Scholars Choice

A few of my favorites are:


~ Yikers

~ Magnetic Checkers

~ Cards


 From my family to yours, have a safe and happy Canada Day! 


Father's Day Gifts for the Man who has Everything

As a mother and as a daughter, I have run the gamut on Father’s Day gift giving over the years.   From barbeque accessories, to clothing and ties, sports equipment, gadgets and fishing gear, I have seen it all and I have run out of ideas. 

This year, as I was spring cleaning, I noticed a few things tucked away on the top shelf of the closet.  My husband had tucked away a few of the school crafts, hand prints, photos and squiggly scripted homemade cards that the kids had given him over the years.   Absent were the gadgets and fancy neck ties.  There was not a trace of the store bought cards or fancy gift bags. 

I used to think it was really hard to buy something for the man who has everything, the I realized that we were missing the point. 

The point of Father’s Day is to thank a man for being a wonderful father or husband.  The best way to do that is to give a gift from the heart, one with meaning, one that will be appreciated and cherished, one that will be tucked away on a top shelf or sock drawer for years to come.

What Dad does not appreciate a sweet picture of his kids for his desk or side table.  Using a few props and craft supplies, create these cute keepsake pics.

Simple hand made crafts not only give you’re the opportunity spend time giggling and creating with your kids, these gifts are the ones Dad’s will cherish 

Still looking for the perfect gift?  How about the gift of time.  Make some memories with Dad today, enjoy Westfest, go to the movies, throw some balls around.  I love the ideas of participating together in a community event.   This run for Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is a great day out for a good cause.'s-cancers.aspx

Whatever gift you choose to give this Father’s Day, take time to enjoy all of the little thigns that make your family fabulous – including a fantastic Dad. 


Putting the Squeeze on Cancer: Great Canadian Standemonium Fundrasier for Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

Kids take a stand by fundraising to support programs and research for cancers that impact children. 

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON to the Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s fun fundraising campaign that lets kids help put the squeeze on cancer. 

Participation is easy, fun and open to everyone.  You just need to register your stand and you are one your way.  Fundraising starts online where each child participant has their own personalized headquarters to track their progress and accept donations.  Funds raised support cancer programs and research into cancers that impact children. TAKE a stand against cancer, all you have to do is MAKE a stand. Get started today.

Make the Stand

The kids and I have turned our puppet theatre into an adorable and functional lemonade stand.  We have also created a mobile stand using our wagon.  Need more inspiration.  Check out some fun stands on my Lovely Lemonade Stands Pinterest board.  Here



  • Paint and decorate with bright colours.
  • Consider using chalkboard paint to make an instant sign on the stand.
  • Paint large letters that stand out.  Remember, kids lettering and handwriting are really much cuter than adults. 
  • Attach pinwheels, streamers, balloons or other moving decorations to draw attention. 



Spread the Word

Make sure that people hear about this June 21st event well before the date.  This will allow them to make time to drop by your stand that day or to make an advance donation. 

Be sure to let people know that you are raising money for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.



  • Contact your local paper and give them the details.
  • Create a flyer and deliver it to neighbours.
  • Make a “Coming Soon” sign for your lawn. 
  • Tell you teachers and school friends.
  • Hang up posters in your neighbourhoood.
  • Call your relatives near and far.
  • Have Mom and Dad send an e-mail to their contacts.
  • Get Mom or Dad to create a Facebook event for your stand.
  • Include a link to your online stand with all of your advertisement



Stand Out to Attract Customers

We are hoping for great weather for our June 21st, Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium, but we cannot rely on the sunshine alone to bring out customers.  We will have to make some noise to get their attention. 



  • Use Ontario produce when you can and let customers know that your lemonade is fresh.  Display a basket of colourful lemons on your table to get attention.
  • Make great signs.  Use large letters, arrows and eye catching colours. 
  • Put out a bowl of water for dogs.  This will help to attract people who are just out walking their dogs. 
  • Play music and get your groove on.  Dance, dance, dance.
  • Offer baked goods or watermelon for sale at your table as well. 
  • Bring out your pom poms and shout out a lemonade cheer.



Stay busy, keep it fun!


Stay busy between customers, it will make the day fly by and will attract people to the activity at your stand. 


  • Make crafts - friendship pins, bracelets and keepsakes
  • Chalk
  • Skipping
  • Cheering
  • Hopscotch
  • Jacks



Customer Service for 101 for Kids


Young entrepreneurs and community builders gain valuable experience by participating in the Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium.  Principals of marketing and good customers service are essential to fundraising success.  


  • Be polite and cheerful.
  • Smile at your customers and thank them for stopping by, even if they don't buy anything.
  • Give the customer your full attention when they arrive. 
  • Engage the customer is small talk, “How is your day going?  Did you have a lemonade stand as a kid?”
  • Upsell by suggesting baked goods.



We are so excited to participate in this event.  We are counting down the days.  Spread the word and tell your friends to get involved.  It's easy and fun.