Looking for spooktacular family fun in Ottawa this weekend? Whether you’re a fearless adult or a tiny trick-or-treater, the City of Ottawa museums have an adventure that’s perfect for you. Here’s the details, in their own words.

Haunted Historic Village – October 24 and 25
Experience starts at 7:30 pm with the last admission at 10:00 pm
Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Confront your most basic fears in Ottawa’s newest and hottest Haunted Village! Our cast and crew will chill you to the core as you wander unassisted in small groups through creepy forested areas and dozens of historic buildings in the pitch black dark of night. This experience will disorient and frighten you over and over again until you’re not sure what you’ve imagined and what was real. Are you sure you can handle it? We’ve got a safe word, just in case.

Cost: $10/person. Not recommended for anyone under the age of 14. Visitors under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Edwardian Séances – October 24, 25, and 26 from 7 pm to 9:30 pm
Billings Estate National Historic Site

Your senses will be in overdrive during these popular events as you look, listen, and feel for changes in the environment that signal a presence from the beyond. Psychic Connie Adams leads a size-restricted group of participants through a traditional séance in one of Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed houses. Sign up soon as our séances are super popular and sell out fast!

Cost: $30/person. Registration required. Adults only, please.

Ghost Stories of the Ottawa Valley – October 25 from 7 pm to 9:30 pm
Pinhey’s Point Historic Site

A common form of entertainment, storytelling has remained popular throughout human history. During this event, you’ll be led through the site in the dark by a costumed guide, making stops at different vantage points next to historic ruins or overlooking the Ottawa River, and listening to different haunting ghost stories.

Cost: $15/person. Registration required. 14+ years of age only, please.

Halloween Party – October 26 from 10 am to 4 pm
Billings Estate National Historic Site

Child-sized scale models of some of Ottawa’s most iconic landmarks – like Parliament Hill and Rideau Hall – set the scene for some truly epic trick-or-treating! But the fun doesn’t end there. Wear your costume and create your own legendary monster using our large-scale mix -’n’-match book and then use a Nerf gun to capture some of these fiends for further investigation! Have your face painted and be the star of our costume parade!

Cost: $6/person, $10/pair, $16/family

Halloween Hijinks – October 26 from 10 am to 4 pm
Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Looking for a safe location to trick-or-treat but want a more authentic neighbourhood feeling than a mall can provide? Our Halloween Hijinks lets your family enjoy all the fun of going door to door to pick up treats and learn a thing or two along the way from our historic costumed characters like Little Orphan Annie, Popeye and Olive Oyl, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and the all-time classic characters from the Wizard of Oz. Play a game to match our characters to their history and make a 1930s tabletop lantern to take home in your goodie bag!

Cost: Regular admission

Halloween at Horaceville – October 26 from 10 am to 4 pm
Pinhey’s Point Historic Site

Family-friendly ghost stories, turnip and pumpkin carving, making a miniature birch bark canoe, playing fortune-telling games, and crafting traditional Halloween greeting cards make Halloween at Horaceville a great choice for an October weekend. You and your family will be treated to 19th century snacks cooked over an open fire using historic recipes, too!

Cost: $6/person, $10/pair, $16/family

Pumpkin Party – October 26 from 1 pm to 4 pm
Nepean Museum

Looking for a safe, family-friendly place to celebrate Halloween? We’re pulling out all the spooky stops with a costume parade (make sure to don your Halloween best!), fortune-telling games, bobbing for apples, face painting, and pumpkin decorating. The museum is definitely the place to be for Halloween fun!

Cost: $6/person, $10/pair, $16/family

546:1000 Pumpkins!

Disclaimer: The City of Ottawa is a sponsor of this blog and provided the information about the various events. I wouldn’t share them if I didn’t think they were terrific family fun!


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Photo of the day: Adorable AND smart!

by DaniGirl on October 19, 2014 · 0 comments

in Photo of the Day

Oh babies! So! Many! Babies! on the porch lately. I’d ask where they’re all coming from, but with three of my own, I’m pretty sure I’ve got that part figured out.

This handsome fellow was so curious and interested in me and my camera, but he was not at all interested in having those fake glasses on his face. In his mouth, yes, but not on his face. I think he figured he was less “Clark Kent” and more “SuperBaby”.

Brainy boy on the porch

The weather has turned chilly, so these may well be the last chubby, naked baby toes on the porch until spring thaw. I can hardly wait!


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An ode to two t-shirts

by DaniGirl on October 16, 2014 · 4 comments

in It IS all about me

They came from the clearance rack at the Gap. It’s really rather astonishing what a large percentage of my clothes come from there. I’m sure I didn’t pay more than $6 each for them – just plain old cotton t-shirts, one in a nice cool magenta, and one in utilitarian navy blue. I’ve had them for four years at least, probably more.

Man, I love those t-shirts. They are the perfect fit – a bit of a scoop to the neckline, fitted ever so slightly at the waist but not too clingy, and falling to my hips. A bit of a cap sleeve. A decent heft to them, so they’re far from tissue thin, super comfortable to wear under something else or by themselves. And they don’t have that ubiquitous and infernal wee pocket that most t-shirts seem to have over the breast. Who ever decided that we need a pocket there? I swear, it’s the very first thing I check for in a t-shirt and makes it an instant and absolute “no” in my books.

Seriously, I adore these t-shirts. They go with almost everything. Favourite t-shirts ever. I wash them, wear them again, wash them, wear them, winter spring summer and fall. And of course, one of these days they’re going to fall apart from so much loving.

The pink one already has three little holes near the belly button. (Do you get those mysterious holes? I thought it was just me, until I read a long thread somewhere of women lamenting about the tiny holes they get in their t-shirts right about where the button hole for your jeans is. Are they from grease splatters? Overly sharp zippers? Very targetted moths?) I still wear it and pretend I don’t see them. Actually, I pretend that YOU don’t see them. Lalala, this is my favourite t-shirt, it will live FOREVER!

It’s not that I haven’t tried to find suitable replacements. Every time I’m in a store that might sell t-shirts, I try on a few likely candidates. In three years of looking, nothing has come close. Each season that the Gap brings out a new line of t-shirts, I get excited – maybe THIS will be the year that they bring them back. Modal cotton – nope. Slub tees – nope. Crew neck, everyday essential, contemporary fit, fluid, luxe – nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. I went downmarket to Old Navy (nope) and upmarket to Banana Republic, and left singing Macklemore under my breath. (‘I’m like “Yo! That’s fifty dollars for a t-shirt!’ That’s a hella DON’T!”) I ventured farther afield to other stores in the mall, to the grocery store, Costco, even once to a few shops in Westboro. (I won’t make that mistake again. Yikes!)

No luck. Three years of (albeit idle) searching, and the very best t-shirts in the world live in my closet, slowly being eaten away from the belly button out. Now I’m stuck with the age-old dilemma – wear them and love them every day until they fall to pieces (probably sooner than later) or savour them, pulling them out only for special occasions like when you need the perfect t-shirt to wear under your hoodie to go to the library?

Ha, I did a search on Flickr to see if I could find a photo of me wearing them. How about this one from early 2010? So I bought them at least FIVE years ago!

365:365 Fini!

Do you have a favourite and irreplaceable piece of clothing? And do you have a secret dealer for the perfect t-shirt? We may be nearing a time of crisis – I think they’ve only got another three or four years left in them…


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I‘ve had a rush of babies on the porch for portraits this month. Lucky me!! Babies are a lot more work when it comes to portraits: they are terrible at listening to directions, I have to get down on my belly to see them eye to eye, and they have the disconcerting habit of suddenly giving over to gravity and tipping over. No other age group has quite so many drool marks to photoshop out, and I don’t generally have to jump up and down and make animal noises to maintain the attention of teens and pre-teens. Babies don’t even laugh at my knock knock jokes! However, they are truly delightful to work with, because when you get that shy smile you feel like you’ve really earned it.

All the babies I’ve had the joy of meeting this month have been of the girly kind, and then this handsome fellow showed up yesterday. You KNOW I have a soft spot for boys!

Photograph of a baby boy on a wagon in the leaves

Isn’t he just about the definition of autumn adorable? He’s a perfect match for my wagon and that hair!!! *love*


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I have a new obsession: mason jars. And the only thing better than new mason jars is vintage mason jars. Not really so good for food storage, but really quite fantastic for storing other beautiful things, like say sea glass. And sunflowers.

Photograph of sunflowers in a vintage mason jar

Sunflowers + porch + autumn colours + vintage mason jar = happy. :)


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I wasn’t really planning a walk in the woods for today, but I’m glad I made the time for it. There is something about the whispering of leaves in the wind and the gurgle of rushing water (in this case, the Jock River) and the beautiful colours of fall that resets your soul, yanno?

And of course, there are photos to be taken. I have photos of leaves, of acorns, of fallen birches and red oak leaves against a blue sky, but it was this photo that was my clear favourite. It is both exactly what I tried to capture and something completely unexpected.

leafy bokeh

(I kinda wish I had moved the watermark to another spot for this one. Oops!)

I focused on the leaves in the bottom left and opened my aperture really wide to throw the background into focus. The circular pattern comes from shape of the aperture blades on the lens, and that blur is commonly called bokeh. More expensive and higher quality lenses generally make more desireable bokeh. I rented a very expensive lens (that I ended up returning unused because it was broken!) a few weekends ago, and the bokeh was AMAZING. Unfortunately, I only took about six pictures before I realized it wasn’t working properly. Oh well. I’ll get one of my own once that lottery win comes in, and in the interim I like this bubbly bokeh just fine.

Have you been out wandering in the woods lately? I highly recommend making some time to do so!


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Photo(s) of the day: Smashing Pumpkins at the Cumberland Museum

6 October 2014 Ah, me boys

We stood in line for two hours for our turn. They ran out of hot dogs at the concession stand and I had foolishly not thought to pack any food. And yet, we all agreed – the wait was well worth it. For what? To decorate and then launch our pumpkins across a field to [...]

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Photo(s) of the day: Apple picking with three beautiful boys

5 October 2014 Ah, me boys

It was a madly busy but wonderfully photogenic September, and I’m just now starting to catch up. Back a few weeks ago, we went apple picking at one of our favourite places, the Log Cabin Orchard near Osgoode. I was delighted to capture three very different portraits of three very different boys. Each pose and [...]

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Photo of the day: More Peace Tower!

4 October 2014 Life in Ottawa

Can you tell I’ve been hauling my camera around with me at lunch time this week? This season is so brief, and the mild weather has been such a gift, that I can’t help but take as many pretty autumn photos as I can. Like this one! I loved how the colourful maples perfectly frame [...]

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Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: The Peace Tower

2 October 2014 Ottawa's hidden treasures

You know how some treasures are hidden in plain sight? Ya, like this one: The Peace Tower. How many photos do I have of the Peace Tower? I started counting on Flickr and stopped when I got to 40. I gaze upon it every single day, several times a day, each day that I am [...]

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