Weekday Recipes:

The Morning Show on CKWS


Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner

Apple Oat Skillet Cookies


Kids in the Kitchen! All Things Local

Kids in the Kitchen! Pizza Many Ways


Keep The Kids Warm and Dry!




Not just for March Break


Fun & Easy Valentines Day Ideas!


Parenting Panel -
Some of Your Questions Answered 
CTV Ottawa Morning Live


Hosting A Howling Good Halloween
October 2018 - CTV Ottawa Morning Live


Great Cracking 
A Twist on Some Fall Classics
October 2018- Rogers Daytime Ottawa


Quick Meals - On the Go! 
September 2018 CTV Ottawa Morning Live

 Back to School - Set Up For Sucess
September 2108- Daytime Ottawa


It's Maple Season, Let's Cook - March 13, 2018


Kids in the Kitchen - March 8, 2018
Rogers TV

March Break Ideas for Kids - February 21, 2018


Honey Oat Apple Muffins & Slow Cooker Lasagna - January 2018

Keeping Kids Warm and Dry - January 2018


A Little Goes a Long Way - Decemeber 8, 2017


Leek Apple and Brie Tarts - December 7, 2017


Game Day - November 15, 2017


Recipes for Leftover Halloween Candy -  November 3, 2017

Thanksgiving Desserts - October 8, 2017

Muffin Tin Fritattas - September 13, 2017

First Time Back to School - August 25, 2017

Back to School Must Haves - August 14, 2017

Back to School Snacks - August 14, 2017

Long Weekend Games - August 1, 2017

Packing 101 - August 1, 2017

Camping Treats - July 13, 2017

Cooking with Kids - July 5, 2017

Maple Mustard Turkey Burgers  - June 6, 2017

Butter Tart Maple Apple Squares - March 14, 2017


Januaury 1, 2017 - Cooking Up Ideas for a Healthy 2017



November 23 - Kid's Week on CTV


September 6 - CTV Morning Live

Fresh Ideas from Foodland

September 23 - CTV Morning Live

Grilling with Rob Rainford


September 21 - CTV Morning Live

Fall Home Decorating and Hacks


September 6 - CTV Morning Live

Get Cracking #wakeupyellow

August 15 - City Montreal

Back to School


August 12 - Rogers TV - Daytime

August 10 - Rogers TV - Daytime


August 9 - CTV Morning Live

Twists on Breakfast





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Candy Counts!

By Mary Taggart

Mark Holleron for Ottawa At Home MagazineOf course, Christmas is for children…I know that and as the mother of four I have honoured that sentiment throughout the holiday season for years and years…and years…but, never at the expense of my décor. 
My children are older now, but even in the toddler years I refused to sacrifice my decorating style to let the children’s tastes dictate our holiday look! Don’t get me wrong, our home is always festive and full of Christmas cheer, it just isn’t done in a homemade crafty way! 
I don’t deny the traditional fun that stringing popcorn and cranberries for garlands brings to family togetherness. I just don’t like the look of them… In our home there are always two Christmas trees. One sits on the main floor, decorated with coordinated ornaments, ribbons and clear lights. The other, found in the basement, where a craft table is set with ongoing opportunities for creating, is an evolution of eclectic merriment! The basement provides the harmony that balances my more sophisticated decorating style with the children’s desire to showcase their own style.
The main floor of our home always offers a base of tasteful holiday décor, but layered beneath the tasteful is fun and whimsy so that children embrace the look too. This is done with ease and simplicity all thanks to one of the most wonderful elements of the season…food!
Does food count as décor? Oh yes it does! Food and the holiday season go together like red and green! Think candy cane, nuts, gingerbread, gumdrops and bonbons’! 
Come the first of December I keep a never ending supply of candy in dishes scattered around the house, vases are not only filled with flowers but candy canes too! Nutcrackers are whimsical tools placed next to nut filled baskets and our kitchen table sports a homemade ginger bread house as a centerpiece unlike the dining table that showcases a more formal floral display.
Decorating for the holidays with taste and style, while appealing to a child’s spirit is all about striking a balance to embrace the whimsy and play with spirited elements in appropriate amounts. It’s all about personal taste when determining just what that amount is. For some there is a high tolerance for crafty child friendly décor, for others that level is low and that is where the beauty of a basement or a designated ‘free style’ room becomes very appealing! 

Mary Taggart is Editor in Chief of Ottawa At Home magazine www.ottawaathome.ca 



Holiday Events and Things to Do


Help Santa Toy Parade

November 23rd, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. 

 Parade Route Below

Help Ottawa firefighters collect toys for those in need.  The Help Santa Toy Parade of lights is a tradition in Ottawa.  Local firefighters walk the route collecting toys from spectators. 

Starts at National Archives on Wellington Street, heading east on Wellington until Bank. The parade turns right, continuing south on Bank Street then turns left on Laurier Avenue. It heads east on Laurier until Elgin Street, where it ends near City Hall.


Here are some great tips for enjoying the parade 

  • Don't underestimate the crowds.
  • Arrive early if you want a good spot.
  • Be prepared for long waits.
  • Check the weather forecast before you head out.
  • Have a plan with your kids in case you get split up.


Here is a link to a list of other Santa Claus Parades in Eastern Ontario



Christmas Lights Across Canada

December 5, 2013 to January 7, 2014.

Downtown Ottawa

Each year, Canada’s Capital Region glows with thousands of holiday lights during Christmas Lights Across Canada. The magic begins with an illumination ceremony on Parliament Hill. Join us on December 5 for an evening that is sure to enchant the entire family.  

More information 


Alight at Night Festival


Thursdays to December 6 to 18

Nightly December 19 - January 4
Check website for hours

Upper Canada Village

Over a HALF-A-MILLION lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees and fences of Upper Canada Village creating a one-of-a-kind magical backdrop for its annual Alight at Night Festival…a true winter wonderland!

More information 




Handel’s Messiah

December 17 - 18

NAC Southam Hall

A sensational blockbuster since its premiere in 1742, Handel’s most beloved composition remains just as popular to this very day. The timeless classic has become a holiday tradition full of memorable choruses, including the awesome “Hallelujah” chorus. Combining thunderous power with gentle tenderness, this deeply moving work will inspire and uplift as a brilliant cast of vocalists, a magnificent choir, and the NAC Orchestra combine for majestic performances of Handel’s most adored oratorio.

 More information


The Nutcracker

December 14 & 15
Centrepointe Theatre

Re-discover the classic that warms the hearts of young and old alike: a holiday tradition that has showcased the magic of the season for years. The joy of dance comes alive with the show that audiences flock back to again and again: The Nutcracker, A Canadian Tradition, and its holiday magic.

More information 



Rideau Center






St. Laurent


Place D’Orelans




Personalized Video Message from Santa 

This is not just for Ottawa residents but we wanted to share it with all of you because it is a really neat idea and our children LOVED it. You can even send it to an adult if you think they have been "naughty" 



Write a Letter to Santa 

Santa Claus
North Pole
Don't forget to put your return address on your letter so he can write you back


Mayor’s 12th Annual Christmas Celebration

Saturday, December 7, from 3:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m.  

Ottawa City Hall - 110 Laurier Avenue West

This fun-filled celebration will include ice skating on the Rink of Dreams, hot chocolate, roasting marshmallows and horse-drawn wagon rides on Marion Dewar Plaza. Inside City Hall meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, decorate a gingerbread cookie in Santa’s bakery, have your face painted, and enjoy live performances. Enjoy special treats from BeaverTails and Lindt!

 More information 


Santa Paws

Bring your favourite furry friend to pose with Santa in the annual Santa Pet Pics fundraiser. All proceeds go to help the animals at the Ottawa Humane Society!

More information dates and times 


Trees of Hope Event

Chateau Laurier

Tis the season when Fairmont Château Laurier decks the hall with over 25 Christmas Trees during the hotel's annual Trees of Hope Event, designed to raise money for the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.  Corporations participate by decorating trees and in turn these beautiful creations are place throughout the public spaces of the hotel for the entire festive season. This is an event that captures the true spirit of Christmas, by combining the beauty and imagination of the teams, paired with the gift of giving for a wonderful cause.  From November 267th until January 4th, guests and visitors can view the trees and vote for their favourite Corporate Tree as part of the People's Choice Awards

More information 



Give to Give Hope


Guest Blog by Judy Lincoln of 10,000 Villages

This week’s theme in the 30 Days of Giving Challenge is “HOPE.”  It is unfortunate to think that, at this time of year, HOPE is all that some people have.  This week, I am here to challenge you to provide hope for those in need – in our community and abroad.  Each day throughout the week, I will be posting ideas and challenges to my Facebook and Twitter followers to encouraging the community to Give to Give Hope. 

The following Guest Blog comes Judy Lincoln of 10,000 Villages.  I am inspired by her words of hope and by the work on the organization that provides hope for so many. 

Judy's Blog

There are so many days where it is humbling to work for an organization that is celebrating 65 years of empowering artisans. Every day it is humbling to work with volunteers who are committed to ensuring we are here for another 65!

Ten Thousand villages began with an idea when Edna Ruth Byler, a Mennonite Central Committee worker, brought several pieces of embroidery home from impoverished women in Puerto Rico in 1946. She showed them to friends and neighbours who placed orders for more and the pieces soon became popular. Fair Trade had been born! Within three years she had sold $30,000 worth of women’s handicrafts. 

The flourishing project eventually moved out of Byler's basement and became known as SELFHELP Crafts. Thousands of loyal customers and volunteers have helped to build this program into the strong alternative trading organization that, in 1996, became Ten Thousand Villages.

In October, the 48 stores across Canada celebrated Fair Trade and our founder, the phenomenal Edna Ruth Byler. She was a forward thinking woman, who saw that employment for women could change their lives.

Today, many women in Bangladesh are changing their lives with Sacred Mark, one of the producer groups that work with Ten Thousand Villages.  They produce these small bars of soap that will do more than just clean your hands–they will show you the true effort it takes, and the results of such effort, to become a clean person.

The women of the Sacred Mark organization have changed their lives, from surviving their involvement in the Bangladeshi sex trade to choosing to earn a living by making soap instead. Importantly, these strong women are provided with a safe and respectful working environment to make products that cleanse hands around the world. Each bar of soap is packaged and sealed with the individual finger print of the artisan who created it, making each one unique and important.

Sacred Mark is one of the organizations which is under a program named “Pobitra.” Founded by Mennonite Central Committee, this program has since been passed on to be run by the Bangladeshi people.

Pobitra seeks to help the poor and unemployed inhabitants of Bangladesh, in the hopes of leading them to a better and safer way of living. These women participate in an eight-month-long training session, which not only educates them in art of soap-making, but also in literacy and peace, human rights, health and hygiene, and mental health. The graduates commit to starting a new stage in their lives, with a different goal and a different means of living. They are seen as being reborn into this new life.

Buying a Fair Trade product supports the women working at Sacred Mark and many more like them around the world.  Fair Trade gifts are a great way to celebrate the holiday season and there many items under $10 that can truly make a difference including the soaps of Sacred Mark. 


Ten Thousand Villages has two locations in Ottawa, 371 Richmond Road (Westboro) and 1174 Bank Street (Old Ottawa South). With over 100 local volunteers, we are proud to be working with a common goal of creating opportunities for artisans to earn a living, and to tell their stories in the National Capital Region. 

You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our blog

To shop online and find stores across Canada, visit: www.TenThousandVillages.ca


Host a Howling Good Halloween Party 

Ideas for decorations, crafts, games, recipes and more 

Take a look at MITK on CTV Ottawa Morning where she demonstrates these great ideas



 Be sure to watch both segments of the video!  

Get your kids involved in the decorating for the party with a few of these easy tips and crafts 

  1. Use a  big roll of caution tape  to criss- cross across doors that are off limits. 
  2. Make signs that warn  Beware or Haunted
  3. Cut monster footprints from cardboard and have them lead from party room to party room.  You can even make a path to the bathroom.
  4. Make ghoulish centerpieces and ornaments from salt dough
  5.   Salt Dough: Easy to roll out dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Salt dough crafts will   air dry in a day or two. If you need immediate results, bake them in the oven at 200    degrees Fahrenheit until they harden. Easy recipe : 2 cups all purpose flour/ 2 cups of salt/   1 cup of water. Mix with your hands until moist and smooth.
  6. Go through your recycling bin and pull out different shaped bottles.  Fill them with water and food colouring to create apothecaries of poison mixtures.
  7. Wrap recycled containers with Halloween themed paper or use felt to create some monster faces. Use them as a treat buckets for your popcorn and pretzel-type snacks. 
  8. Make haunting luminaries.  Wrap clear glasses or vases in orange tissue paper.  Cut out shapes or find other décor items to make a jack-o-lantern faces.  These can be used indoors or out.  Another great idea for luminaries is to drarw or colour shapes and faces on brown  paper bags .  Older kids can cut designs into the bags. Fill the bags a third full with sand. Add a tea light and line your walkway or porch. 
  9. Use leaves.  Take old clothes and stuff them with leaves. Scatter them on the lawn with heads or leave them headless.
  10. Eyes are on you.  Use plastic foam balls.  Cut them in half and paint black pupils.
  11. Make a craft box available to your little party goers.  You never know what spooky creativity will arise. Your box could include:  plastic spiders, stickers, stamps, googly eyes, pom poms, ribbon, pipe cleaners, cookie cutters to trace, different coloured felt and construction paper, scissors, markers, glitter glue or feathers.  Be sure to keep a glue gun near by.  

Play Goulish Games 

If you are giving prizes for the winners of the games, there are a lot of theme related treats out there.  A flashlight or reflective wear make good prizes for trick or treaters.   

Find the eyeballs in the brains

Add marbles to  cooked spaghetti to create this ghoulish game.  Whoever collects the most eyeballs in two minutes wins.  Hint: Add one tablespoon of cooking oil per box to keep noodles from sticking.  Cook at least 3 boxes. 

Broom ball 

They are easy to pick up at the grocery store, but if you have too many guests, you can add to the invite. Bring a broom for some bewitching games.

Scavenger hunt 

Have a scavenger hunt to find treats or for ingredients for a witches brew. Some creative ingredients I came across are:
  • Eye of a newt – dried bean
  • Bat hair – dryer lint
  • Snake teeth – grains of white rice
  • Mouse kidney –kidney bean
  • Owl feather- colourful craft feather
  • Dusty corpse – baking soda in a small plastic bag



Grab the Ghost 


Paper towels 

Small balls




Large paper cirlce 





  • Before the party, make ghosts by draping a piece of paper towel around a small ball, such as a Superball (or in a pinch, a wadded-up paper towel). Cinch the towel around the ball and secure with one end of a 2-foot length of yarn.
  • Have guests draw a face on their ghosts with markers. 
  • At the start of the game, each player is given ten pennies. Choose one person to be the goblin. The other players lay their ghosts on the large paper circle and hold on to the yarn leash. The goblin holds the funnel, upside down, at least 2 feet above the circle.
  • The goblin chooses two numbers on a die, announces them to the group, then rolls. If either of the chosen numbers appears, the players try to pull their ghosts out of the circle before the goblin can slam the funnel down over them. If a player is caught, he must give the goblin a penny. If the chosen numbers do not appear, but the players panic and yank their ghosts out of the circle anyway, it's another penny to the goblin. The goblin, for his part, is allowed to fake a funnel slam, but if he touches any ghost, he must shell out a penny to each player. After three rolls of the die, the next player takes over as goblin. Play is over when one player runs out of pennies. The player with the most coins wins.



Witches Brew 

To make a witches brew add 2 cups of vinegar to a large pot.  Add all of the children’s ingredients from the scavenger hunt, especially the dusty corpse. Have extra dusty corpse to add to the cauldron. It will bubble and froth before their eyes.

Build a Skeleton 

Be sure to wash your hands before this game, because all of the skeletons will be thrown into the pot to make a gruesome gruel. 
With an illustration as a guide use assorted dried pasta to create a scary skeleton. Make sure to have alphabet letters to label and name the skeleton.

Guess the Ghost

Large sheet
Works best with a large group 10 and up. Have one child leave the room. Then take a large sheet and have a different child stand and hide under the sheet. 
Mix up the remaining children in the room and then allow the child who left the room the “GhostBuster” to come back inside. That child then, by process of elimination, guesses who the ghost is under the sheet. 
Then that "Ghost" goes out of the room and a different child becomes the new ghost, mix up the remaining children and repeat until all of the children have had a turn being the ghost.

Poor Joe 

Cold stuffed rubber glove, (latex glove filled with Jello) 
10 small pieces of carrot
Wig, (dolls wig works well)
cold cooked spaghetti 
Dried apricot
2 peeled green grapes
Piece of liver
Guests sit in a circle on floor; lights out except for flashlight narrator reads by. Have each item to be passed in separate bowl. Guests will pick up the item, put it back in bowl, pass it to the next person. While guests pass an item, narrator holds the flashlight underneath his chin to give his face a scary look. 
Action Narrator reads from script

Here are some other hauntingly fun games

  • Monster freeze dance
  • Guess how many worms or candies are in the jar. 
  • Pumpkin pass along (use little gourds)
  • Pin the witch on the broom  (pin up broom,  cut out witch, tape or thumb tacks)
  • Cotton ball relay- (cotton balls - use orange or black, large spoons and two plastic pumpkins)
  • Doughnuts on a string or bobbing for apples  (apples or doughnuts with sprinkles tied to the end of a string and hung from the ceiling)  
  • The Dead Man’s Brains  (instructions and supplies here) 
  • ‘Boo am I’  (spooky characters for charades writing on small slips of paper,  blown up balloons to put the pieces of paper in)
  • How many words can you get out of   F R A N K E N S T E I N  or H A L L O W E E N  
  • Musical Pumpkins

Make some Treat Bags

Use a recyclable grocery bag or pillow cases
Let kids come up with their  own Halloween pattern or picture of a pumpkin, bats, globlins, monsters or ghosts.  You could also use cookies cutters to trace the shapes.  Use paint to colour in the shapes.  Older kids may want to paint free hand.

Serve up Some Spooky Stuff

Serve up some fun using  different sized clear containers.  Fill them freaky fun candies such as gummy worms and chocolate eyeballs. You can also add googly eyes to some of the containers so they keep on ‘eye’ on the kids.  Pumpkins make great serving bowls too (especially with a wiggin’ worm salad). 

No-bones-about-it vegetable skeleton

Veggies come in so many shapes and sizes, they make perfect building blocks.  

Jack-'o-lantern dip

Carve out a small pumpkin (or a few) to use as dip containers (healthier dip choices include salsa, hummus, and yogurt-based recipes). Paint a face on the pumpkin instead of cutting holes, or cut only partway through. Or if you're feeling extra-spooky, carve a large mouth and make the dip spill out through it for a "puking pumpkin" effect. 

Black-and-orange dip

Buy or prepare black-bean dip, and serve with sweet potato chips and orange bell pepper strips.

Get seedy

Don't forget to save your seeds when you carve pumpkins. Roast them in a hot oven with a little salt and olive oil.


Score major cool points with party guests by serving a watermelon carved to look like a brain.
Choose a small, seedless melon and peel off the green skin. Score the white pith with a knife
to resemble the brain's squiggly folds. Then carve to expose the watermelon's red flesh.


Dip peeled bananas in orange juice, then roll in shredded coconut to make white ghosts. Add
small raisins or chocolate chips for eyes, then insert wooden craft stick for a handle (so the
ghosts can flit about hauntingly). Serve as-is or frozen.

Witches' teeth

Core and quarter an apple. Remove wedge from skin side of each quarter to form a mouth.
Insert variously shaped and sized slivered almonds for teeth.


Use a toothpick to carve features into the skin of a whole orange. Insert a piece of pretzel for
a stem. Or remove the fruit's pulp and use to serve yogurt, low-fat pudding, apricot
applesauce, etc.

Black Bean Cat Crudite 

Looking for a Halloween snack that’s both healthy and festive?  This skeletal array fit’s the bill.  No bones about it.  Just assorted fresh vegetables and a bowl of dip arranged in the shape of a spooky cat. 
Assorted veggies of your choice  (celery, cherry tomatoes, broccoli)  


Disguises  aren’t just of Halloween. Surprise your family with these dressed-up, spooky-looking snacks any time of year.  Kids can help my spooning the pizza sauce on the English muffin and making the mummy face with the cheese and vegetables.  

Spooky Punch 

For the punch, you need a glass punch bowl with a hollowed-out raised base. Take the base of the punch bowl and put underneath either a small flashing electric light or just a regular one. They are small, about tea-light size, and you get them at dollar stores. Putting the punch bowl on top with liquid is a great effect, especially when you lower the lights. Kids and adults will love it! Get the recipe. 
Some other great recipes: 
With thanks to Taste of Home for these wonderful recipies and ideas.  

Happy Haunting 



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 the Field 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. 

The red and orange hues of the season warm the windows of shops and eateries.  As we pass The Collected Works, I notice friends gathering over coffee and families looking over the collection of new fall books.   My current Raise a Reader campaign is supported by The Collected Works.  My kids and I love to read together and I look forward to those cold fall days curled up with them around a book. 

Here are some books we love:

How do Apples Grow ~ Betsy Maestro

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf ~ Lois Ehlert

Too Many Pumpkins ~ Linda White

Johnny Appleseed ~ Reeve Lindbergh

The window at Thyme and Again is eye-catching.  Stepping inside, we are greeted by a wide array of fall decorations for the home and table.  I am tempted by a poster of their fall Thanksgiving catering menu – mouthwatering.  The kids picked out festive candles and napkins for our Thanksgiving table.  We will work on some crafts over the next few weeks to complete the look.  Here are some fall craft ideas.

Summer is gone for another year.  Camps and cottages, holidays and travels are over for another year.  Fall is upon us and it is good to be home!