Welcome to one of my favourite holiday traditions: the annual round-up of Christmas, Holiday and Santa Claus parades for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario! Can you believe I’ve been doing this for NINE YEARS?

I feel a little bit like Costco selling its Christmas trees in July by putting up a blog post about Christmas when Halloween has barely slipped from our consciousness, but the first parades are a mere two weeks away. One breath and we’re all golden leaves and pumpkins, and then you blink and it’s ho-ho-ho and shovel the driveway! Here’s all the info I could scare up about 2014 Santa Claus parade line-up, in chronological order:

Photo of Santa Claus at the Christmas parade 2013

[click to continue…]


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While I don’t often regret our decision to opt out of hockey, there is something fundamentally Canadian about hanging out in a damp, chill arena on a Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee watching a practice or a game.

Saturday at the arena

Thanks to my awesome niece, I get to experience it just often enough to enjoy it and remember that it’s only fun for about the first 40 minutes or so. It was a lot of fun cheering her on, though.

hockey girl

Isn’t she awesome? I love that the only girl grandchild turned out to be the hockey player in the family. :)


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Photo of the day: Team Donder

by DaniGirl on November 21, 2014 · 2 comments

in Photo of the Day

I love it when a plan comes together.

This was a half-baked idea that came to fruition thanks to Photoshop, family pride, and a friend who does small-run custom screen printing. Oh yes I did make matching Christmas sweaters for all the cousins. And my brother.

team donder posse

I love how they came out, and the hoodies are wonderfully soft and warm!

Team Donder for the win!


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In the past year, the Youth of Manotick Association (YOMA) has been offering regular activities for local youth, primarily through Friday night drop-ins. YOMA’s activities provide a safe, inclusive and socially accepting environment that helps support local and area youth in building positive relationships, experiencing new opportunities and connecting them to their community. They focus particularly on kids aged 12 to 17, an awkward age where they’d like to get out of the house and socialize, but don’t always have the means to get to Barrhaven for a movie or hang out the way older teens might.

I think this is a fantastic initiative, one that is very much needed in the community. I had the pleasure of attending a recent drop-in to take some publicity photos on a night where the activity du jour was tie-dying t-shirts. I think the photos speak for themselves!

YOMA-4

YOMA-3

YOMA

I would have loved to be a part of something like this when I was young, and I’m happy to support it in my community. YOMA is really still in its launch phase. They’ve had organized some terrific activities for participants, from expeditions to Saunders Farm and ski nights to movie nights and concerts.

Of course, running an awesome program like YOMA costs money. There are two paid youth worker on site at each event, so that parents are not required to volunteer nor cramp the style of their teenaged youth. The youth workers are also available to answer questions and chat with the teenagers. The drop-in program doesn’t have a permanent home, so rental costs are also incurred and drop-ins take place where space is available: the Legion, the community arena, even the local seniors’ residence. The ultimate goal is to build a youth centre, which would offer youth social programs, preventative programs, intervention services, life skills development and leadership opportunities.

Which brings me to my point. You knew I’d get here eventually, right? I mean, YOMA is awesome, but this kind of awesomeness needs a little community support.

Next Friday, November 28 from 6 to 8 pm, YOMA is hosting a fundraising spaghetti dinner at the Manotick Legion. The goal is to both to raise funds for existing programming and to move forward with new initiatives. Gluten-free options will be available. There will also be a raffle and silent auction with some amazing prizes including One Direction tickets, Sens Tickets, NAC gift cards, restaurant gift cards, golf packages and more! And did I mention the celebrity attendees? Our local MP Pierre Poilievre will drop by, and the dinner will be attended by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

You want to go, right? Tickets for the spaghetti dinner are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and children under 11. For tickets or more information call 613-296-1202 or e-mail at youth.of.manotick@gmail.com.

Thanks to the generosity of the organizers, I have two tickets to give away. BUT! This is a fundraiser, remember? So I would be happy to separate the tickets, so any family can have one free admission so long as they pay for the rest of the tickets. That seems fair, right?

If you’d like one of the two free tickets, just leave a comment below telling me some mischief YOU got into as a youth. I’ll do a random draw from all entrants, and we’ll work out how to get your ticket to you. Winner will be selected and contacted on Wednesday November 26. Want to know more about YOMA? Like their Facebook page for updates about the weekly activities.

I’ll be there – see you there!


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Band Aid 30

by DaniGirl on November 17, 2014 · 7 comments

in Happy holidays,My inner geek

The original Band Aid song Do They Know It’s Christmas came out in December 1984. I was fifteen years old, and I adored that song and video. I bought it as a 45 rpm single (kids, go ask your parents what that is) and years later I bought it as digital file. It’s on every Christmas mix I’ve ever made, from mixed tapes on cassette to iTunes playlists.

So it’s little surprise that I would love this: Band Aid 30, a remix organized by orginal Band Aid founders Bob Geldolf and Midge Ure to raise funds toward the Ebola crisis in Africa.

I knew every single participant back in the original Band Aid, back in 1984. It made me feel more than a little old to watch the new one and scratch my head while peering at the unfamiliar faces. Oh wait! There’s Seal, I know him! And Sinead O’Connor. And holy crap, Bono is showing his age, isn’t he? Ooo and, um, that guy from Coldplay. If you’re peering at the screen and puzzling about who all these babies with microphones are, here is the line-by-line list of who sings what, along with the updated lyrics:

‘It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to be afraid’ – One Direction
‘At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade’ – Ed Sheeran
‘And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy’ – Rita Ora
‘Throw your arms around the world, at Christmas time’ -Sam Smith
‘But say a prayer; Pray for the other ones’ -Paloma Faith
‘At Christmas time it’s hard, but when you’re having fun’ -Emeli Sande
‘There’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear’ -Guy Garvey (Elbow)
‘Where a kiss of love can kill you’ – Dan Smith (Bastille)
‘And there’s death in every tear’ – Angélique Kidjo
‘And the Christmas bells that ring there, are the clanging chimes of doom’ – Chris Martin (Coldplay)
‘Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you’ – Bono (U2)
‘Bring peace and joy this Christmas to West Africa’ – Seal
‘A song of hope, when there’s no hope tonight’ – Ellie Goulding
‘Why is to comfort to be feared’ – Sinead O’Connor
‘Why is to touch to be scared’ – Sinead O’Connor
‘How can they know it’s Christmas time at all?’ Bono (U2)
‘Here’s to you’ – All
‘Raise a glass for everyone’ – Olly Murs
‘And Here’s to them’ – All
‘And all their years to come’ - Sam Smith
‘Can they know it’s Christmas time at all?’ – Rita Ora
Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again – All
Feel the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again – All
Heal the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again – All
(source)

Regardless, I will definitely buy this single and add it to my Christmas 2014 mixed tape playlist.

What do you think of the remix? And more importantly, what other songs do I need to add to the Christmas 2014 playlist?


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We love advent calendars. We have so many of them! The boys always get a Lego advent calendar to share, and they take turns opening each day’s treat. We usually get each boy one of those inexpensive cardboard advent calendars with the chocolate that always seems to taste vaguely of soap. And we have a little wooden tree that sits on a set of 24 wee boxes, and each day you open up one of the boxes to reveal a decoration to hang on the wee knobs on the tree. I have a hard time resisting new advent calendars, and would love one day to do the kind of fun “activity per day” advent calendars Andrea describes in this blog post.

I’m super excited about a new advent calendar we’ll have for this year. No more soap-flavoured chocolates! This year, we’re getting a KINDER advent calendar. Sorry boys, you’re going to have to add Mom to your sharing rotation!

And hooray, one of YOU will also be getting a KINDER advent calendar, if you win this fun Kinder Canada giveaway!

The prize pack includes:

  • One KINDER® Advent Calendar
  • One KINDER® Hollow Santa with SURPRISE®
  • One KINDER® SURPRISE® 100g Christmas egg
  • One KINDER® SURPRISE® MAXI 150g egg

Awesome, right? You want to win this one! Here’s the fine print:

  1. This is a giveaway for a KINDER gift basket, which includes an advent calendar, a hollow Santa with surprise, a KINDER Surprise Christmas egg, and a KINDER Surprise maxi egg. (Yum!) The approximate prize value is $32.
  2. To enter the giveaway, two steps are required. Please use the widget below and (a) visit the KINDER Facebook page and (b) leave a comment on this blog post telling me which holiday traditions you anticipate each year .
  3. ONE winner will be chosen at random from all entrants.
  4. This giveaway is open only to residents of Canada, excluding residents of Quebec. (sorry!)
  5. This giveaway will run until 11:59 pm EST on Saturday November 22, 2014.
  6. The contest winner will be required to provide a full name and complete mailing address to be shared with KINDER® for shipping purposes.
  7. While you may enter as many of the KINDER® contests as you like, you can only win once.

Now, let’s see if I can get this newfangled blog giveaway widget thing to work. (You kids and your modern contest widgets, I tell you. Back in my day, we used an Excel spreadsheet and counting on our fingers and toes to run a blog giveaway, and we liked it!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway of a KINDER prize pack

And now, speaking of sweet, how cute is this? Have you heard of “unboxing” videos? I was a little sketchy on the idea, but the boys certainly knew what I was talking about when I mentioned them. Here’s Simon, my little wanna-be YouTuber, in his UnBoxing debut!

He’s a natural, isn’t he? That was our first and only take. Way to take one for the team, Simon! :)

Edited to add: if you really REALLY want to win that KINDER prize pack (and who could blame you?) the amazing Alex has a list of all the participating blogs in this giveaway in her post so you can do a little link hopping for extra entries. You can enter on as many blogs as you like, but you can only win once.


DISCLOSURE: I’m a #KinderMom/Maman/Dad who is part of the KINDER® Canada influencer team. As part of my affiliation with KINDER® Canada, I am provided with special perks and products. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Photo of the day: Throwback Thursday! Revisiting PEI

13 November 2014 Ottawa to PEI 2014

I‘ve been sorting and culling old photos this week. I need to organize them for a couple of annual projects (a calendar for my parents for Christmas, and an annual family photo book) and my hard drive is also more than 80%, almost 90% full. So I’ve had my nose in folder upon folder of [...]

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Photo of the day: Rich autumn tones before and after

11 November 2014 Photo of the Day

I‘ve seen a lot of photographers using an edit that darkens the background and makes for warm, rich tones. I had my handsome model pose for a portrait so I could have a play. Here’s the final edit: Here’s the image straight out of the camera: I think his face might still be a little [...]

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Ingredient of the week: Sprout-yer-own lentils!

5 November 2014 Feed me, Seymour!

Did you know that if you take the regular old lentils that you find in the grocery store (the dried ones in the bag, not the canned ones) and a mason jar, you can grow them on the kitchen counter into crunchy, earthy deliciously green and crazy-good-for-you sprouts in just a couple of days? Lentils [...]

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Ottawa giveaway: Win tickets to the 32nd Annual Signatures Show!

4 November 2014 Life in Ottawa

One of my favourite places to browse pretty things is Ottawa’s annual Signatures Show. We rarely skip a year, and some years I go twice – once with my mom and once with Beloved. It’s a great source of Christmas gifts and I almost always find a few treasures, but it’s also fun just to [...]

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