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 featured in March

 featured in March


How Does Winter Wear On You? 

How does winter wear on you? 

We all know how harsh winter can be, especially on your wardrobe, car, and around the home. Here are a few quick  fixes that help you survive the long winter.  


Get Out and Be Active

Here are some great ways to keep your family active!

Take your kids climbing. There are lots of indoor places to climb, a perfect activity for days when the weather is not so agreeable. A quick lesson on the basics of climbing and you’ll be set. Kids use their whole bodies while climbing and it is a great activity to teach problem-solving and help build confidence. And if the kids love it, you can move the adventure outdoors in the spring or summer.  Try Vertical Reality or Coyote Rock Gym.  There is also a small rock climbing wall at Fun Haven

Make a splash. Kids love to make a splash in the winter time.  There is nothing more exciting than swimming at an indoor pool while it is cold outside.  Family swim times are available throughout the week  at city pools.  City of Ottawa Website.   It can also be an adventure to visit the indoor water park at Travelodge or the Wave Pool in Kanata.  


Bring it inside:  There are so many wonderful indoor playgrounds in the Ottawa area and each one is unique.  From trampolines to bumper cars, bowling and everything in between, there are many great offerings to keep a family active.  Keep your eye on their websites to find specials and coupons that come up from time to time. 


Star Gymnastics 

Tubes & Jujubes 


Funatorium Explorium 

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park 

Walk around the block.  Bundle up and get out for a walk with your family.  Take a look at all of the beautiful decorations going up around your neighbourhood.  Gaze at the stars or just have a great talk while you walk. 


Celebrate the first snow.   Make tracks. Make snow angels. Make a snowman. Often the first snow does not last, so embrace it. Kids will be excited to get out there and catch snowflakes on their tongue and dance around. Find your inner child and remember just how fun those first snowfalls can be. 

Try skating as a family. Ottawa has many indoor and outdoor ice surfaces that offer family and  recreational skating. The website has searchable schedules by community. Family skating is a great way to meet people from your neighborhood and keep active. Always remember to wear your helmets when ice skating.  Ottawa Public Skating Schedule.  


Visit the Community Centre  The city of Ottawa operates over 50 Community centres that focus on recreational, social, and cultural activities for everyone.  Check the schedules for each location to learn more about ways you can stay in shape and learn new skills.  Many centres offerer special programs during school breaks and holidays.  Ottawa Community Centres.  

Getting outside and being active with your kids is important. It sets them up for a lifetime of active living. If you make it a habit for them now, it will continue as they get older. Weather can make this challenging, but if you get out as the weather gets colder, it will be even easier when it warms up again. Being active as a family also creates so many great memories they will cherish and keeps the conversation going as the kids get older. 


Keeping Children Warm in Winter's Wonderalnd


Create, Celebrate and Stay up Late. New Year's Eve with MITK

Five – Four – Three – Two – One!

The countdown is on to make plans to ring in the New Year!  Dancing? Dining Out?  House Party? Family Gathering?  There is no shortage of fun events and outings going on around town this year.  For me, a cozy New Year’s Eve at home with my family beats all. 

Kids love to create, celebrate and stay up late.  So I am giving them lots of options this year.  We are going to have a party in our own living room and whoop it up until the ball drops to ring in 2014. 


Let kids decorate and personalize their own party hats and noisemakers with markers, glitter, and tissue.  Use plain paper cones or wide headbands for the hats.

Make a Memory Book or Time Capsule.  Give each child a photos of some their favourite 2013 memories.  Gather fun keepsakes and use an old jar or scrap book put them together.  Encourage kids to comment on photos and tag items with their memories. 

Create a special kids table.  Set up a fun kids table giving them a fun place to sit.  Decorate it with garland and other Christmas stuff you already have around.  

Decorate.  Add a little sparkle to your table by lighting a couple of sparklers as the countdown starts.


Bake a Wish Cake. This is a fun Greek tradition in which you bake a cake with a lucky coin or other trinket hidden inside.  The recipient of the coin is said to have good luck for the upcoming year.

Watch home movies and reminisce. Cuddle up with some popcorn and look over your favourite moments from the past year together. 

Dress up and have a dance party.  Kids love to dress up, so let them put on their best clothes, push the furniture back and have a dance party.  Make it even more fun by wearing boas, tutus, silly hats and glasses. 

Make Memory Books.  Provide each child with a small notebook and have them write and draw their memories from the year.

Talk about resolutions and what they mean.  Have kids write down what theirs are for 2013

Stay up Late

Celebrate Midnight in Another Country.  Let’s face it, some of our kids are just too young to make it until midnight.  Why not celebrate the New Year earlier in the day alongside another country in another part of the world.  If you are in CAnada for example, you could celebrate alongside Paris which would be 6:00 p.m  Oh La La.

Ring it In. Set all the clocks, alarms, and cell phones to go off at midnight.

Keep them Busy. Do hourly activities to help kids count down the time.   Write them on a slip of paper and put them inside of a balloon or envelope.  

Midnight Milk and Cookies Toast

Have a balloon drop at midnight.  You can make your own balloon drop using a drawstring garbage bag.  Till it with balloons and hang it upside down.  Then undo the drawstring at midnight and let the balloons shower down. 


Events Around Town

If you are the type that can’t live without the fireworks and full scale festivities, Ottawa has a number of family friendly events to choose from. 

Head down to Sparks Street for their Capital Countdown.  There will be food, favours, entertainment and the midnight Maple Leaf Drop.  Dress warm. It is forecast to be a cold one. 

Rick Chiarelli’s Alcohol-free Family New Year’s Eve party has a pirate and princess them this year.  What fun?  The party starts at 6:00 p.m. at Centerpoint – Ben Franklin Place with Fireworks at 10:00 p.m.  Kids will love the magicians, dancers, face painters and other live entertainment. 

Closer to the downtown area?  Celebrate at Ottawa City Hall Scottish style.  The 2nd Annual Scottish Hogmanay starts at 6:00 p.m.   There will be Scottish dancing and music, the Glengarry Pipe Band, Scotch tasting, skating on the Rink of Dreams and fireworks at midnight.

However you celebrate, my wish is that you and your family enjoy a fun-filled evening and that 2014 be filled with health and happiness.








The Best Quick Loaf with Crumble-Top


This moist and lightly sweetened quick loaf is fun to wrap up in pretty
packaging - perfect as a hostess gift or to bring to a teacher or
neighbour. The hardest part is deciding which variation to make,
apple, pear or carrot, full-size or mini?
Baking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each baking soda and salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 1 Ontario Egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced Ontario Apples (unpeeled)
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) toasted chopped walnuts 
  • Crumble-Top:
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) each all-purpose flour, large-flaked rolled oats, packed brown sugar
  • and chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
Crumble-Top: In small bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, walnuts, butter and cinnamon;
set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt
and nutmeg. Make well in centre; add egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Sprinkle with
apples and walnuts; stir just until combined.
Spread into parchment paper-lined or buttered 9- x 5-inch (23 x 12 cm) metal loaf pan,
smoothing top. Sprinkle with crumble-top. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 45 to 50
minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 15
minutes. Turn out onto rack to cool completely. 

Pear-Pecan: Substitute pecans for walnuts. In loaf, reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp (2 mL)
and add 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground ginger. Switch apples with Ontario Pears.
Carrot-Walnut: Substitute 1 cup (250 mL) shredded Ontario Carrots for apples.
Mini-Loaves: Use three approximately 5- x 3-inch (12 x 8 cm) loaf pans and bake 20 to 25
Tips: Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or, place into
freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutrients per serving1 Serving: 
Protein: 5 grams
Fat: 13 grams
Carbohydrate: 36 grams
Calories: 280
Fibre: 1.5 grams
Sodium: 295 mg