Tag Archives: family

Reading

I love to read. Always have. Doesn’t matter what form, books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, I’ll read just about anything.

So when we had children, I was determined to pass my love of reading on to them. I even read to them while they were in the womb (TMI?). When they were little, we read to them constantly and starting taking them to the public library.

Now that they are both in school, they visit the school library once a week and are always excited to show me the books they bring home. And they love going to our local library to pick out even more books.

We also read together as a family. My kids would much rather sit at the kitchen table and listen to an audiobook while colouring, than sit in front of the tv. It’s an activity we all enjoy. In fact, our son likes to read so much, he has read the entire Harry Potter series and he’s only 8!

January 27th is Family Literacy Day and Jessica Roy, the librarian at the Main Branch, asked me to share this with all of you:

Families are invited to celebrate Family Literacy Day at the Ottawa Public Library, Main branch at 120 Metcalfe this Sunday, January 22nd from 2-3pm. Children’s entertainer, Suzanne Pinel will help present literacy awards followed by a fun and highly interactive performance by children’s musician, Doug Barr. The event is free and no registration is required.

You can find more information on our website here:

http://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/main/program?eid=36455

So if you are looking for things to do this weekend or a place to warm up after a skate on the canal, drop by the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Sounds like a lot of fun and great way to further a love of reading in your own children.

 

Food Revolution

I have always been a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s, it started in his days of the Naked Chef. When I heard about his new show Food Revolution, I knew I would watch it and I also knew we would watch it together as a family. As much as I try to tell my kids how important it is to eat healthy, I thought it would help reinforce that idea if they watched the show.

As a family, we have taken Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution to heart and are trying hard to eat less processed food and eat more homemade things. We were already avoiding most processed foods but have taken it a step further and are making more things from scratch. I like knowing what is in my food and my kids are much happier with Mommy and Daddy’s cooking rather than boxed things from the store.

Making things from scratch may take a bit more time, but the effort is worth it to see my kids happily tucking in to their food. Even my son’s lunch box is coming home empty which is a huge feat!

The first big change we made was making all our bread from scratch. My husband is a wonderful baker, a trade he learned at the hands of his father. Watching him whip up a batch of homemade bread is amazing and our kids love to help him mix and knead the dough. In fact he loves making bread so much that he has built himself a bread oven for the backyard and sells homemade loaves at our annual garage sale, but I digress.

The next change we have made is to get rid of our boxed granola bars in favour of homemade ones. I thought I was giving my kids “healthy” granola bars, until I read the ingredients list. If I couldn’t actually pronounce some of the ingredients, why on earth was I giving them to my kids! So I searched the internet and found this recipe that is a winner with everyone (including my husband’s co-workers!). I did however tweek it a bit substituting whole wheat flour in place of all purpose, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (instead of 1/4) and the first time I made it, I used 1 cup of chocolate chips instead of the dried fruit. I love the versatility of the recipe and plan to keep tweeking it to get my kids to try new things.

Homemade cookies, muffins and granola bars

So now we have baking Sundays at our house where we whip up batches of bread, muffins, cookies and granola bars for the week. Now instead of my pantry bulging with boxed, processed food, the freezer is bursting with yummy baked goods. When we need a snack on the go, we just grab a couple granola bars out of the freezer and they are good to go in 15 minutes.

These small changes are just the start of what I hope will be my own family’s Food Revolution. Are you watching the show and making changes too? Would love to know what other families are doing to eat healthier.

Birthday Cake Fun

Now that Spring is here (and the rain!!) the busy birthday season has ended in our family.  Seems when we started having children, my sisters and I decided that all the grandchildren should be born in a three month span (years apart of course).  Starting in early January and ending near the end of March, we had 6 family birthday parties. Makes for a very busy but fun time, especially for me since I seem to be the family birthday cake maker, a hobby I love to do.

As a result, this poor blog of mine has been neglected.  I still haven’t figured out how to do it all and this other hobby of mine seems to be the first thing that gets shoved to the back burner.  But I did want to share some pics of the cakes that helped put smiles on my nieces, nephew and children’s (even my Dad) faces on their special day.

Optimus Prime and Bumblebee birthday cake

My nephew is a huge Transformer fan so I incorporated his two favourites, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee into his cake.  Turned out pretty well I think.

Next up was a Tinkerbell themed birthday cake for my daughter’s 4th birthday. Cake was decorated with buttercream icing with flower and butterfly accents.

Tinkerbell inspired birthday cake

March was a busy, busy month for birthdays.  We had 7 family birthdays, 4 of which required my services.

Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake

For my daughter’s “twin” (my niece who was born 8 days after my daughter), I was requested to come up with a Strawberry Shortcake cake.  Since I have yet to attempt to make figures myself, I relied on some plastic figures I  found at the toy store for the Strawberry Shortcake element. The cake was iced using buttercream icing with fondant accents.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake with figures

My Dad’s birthday was next and although his cake was simple, it was no less meaningful as he is a huge baseball fan.

Baseball birthday cake

Next up were cakes for my son and niece, who were born on the same day, one year apart. So far, planning their birthdays hasn’t become a logistical nightmare!

For my niece’s 6th birthday, she wanted a flowers and butterflies themed cake and this is what I came up with. Again I used buttercream icing and fondant accents. I’m not brave enough to cover the entire cake with fondant yet. Unfortunately, I had also created a flower and butterfly fondant spray which didn’t survive the trip to the party ;(

Flowers and Butterflies

We had a Star Wars Jedi Training party for my son’s 7th birthday (a post on the party details is in the works) and I decided to attempt a Death Star.  It’s not my best work, but my son loved it!

Star Wars Death Star birthday cake

Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed creating the cakes.