Candlelight dinners

Candlelight dinners. Candlelit dinner. I suspect that for many these words carry romantic connotations. Maybe not for everyone, after all, I’m certainly no romance guru. But, if I google image the words I do get a lot of photos filled with couples, Read more

Q&A with Rideau-Vanier Candidate Catherine Fortin LeFaivre

Ottawa election day is now just one week away! Have you decided who you want to represent your community? I'm quite excited about this week's Ottawa Election 2014 post as it features a candidate from my very own ward, Read more

Free books for Ottawa Kids!

Do your kids like to read? According to a study by People for Education, the percentage of Ontario grade 3 students who “like to read” dropped from 76 to 50 per cent between 1998/99 and 2010/11 and the number of grade 6 Read more

10 Ottawa events that might be more fun the pickles & Lego

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Sometimes, life gets in the way. We have a lot happening, some good and some not so good, but in general, we’re good. Plus, after a very busy summer, a lot has changed around Read more

10 things we’re (I’m) learning in junior kindergarten

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in parenting, school, thoughts | Leave a comment

Karie at 4 233x300 10 things we’re (I’m) learning in junior kindergarten

Several of my friends are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant or are in the new baby vortex, so lately there’s been a lot of talk of breastfeeding, body pillows and belly bands.

It’s strange to think of the little one as a baby. It seems both so long ago and just yesterday. We’re out of the new parent trenches – gone are the days of diaper bags, mommy and baby swim class and dragging a stroller up the stairs. Heck, I live on the edge and don’t even carry around extra pants in my purse anymore!

The little one is a real little person and as I listen to my friends talking, I think about how nice it is not to have to worry so much about that little person’s poop.

However, now we’re in the trenches of junior kindergarten and although it’s going great, I’m finding there’s a whole new list of kid stuff taking over my sanity.

Here are 10 thinks I’m learning about in junior kindergarten…

  1. Paperwork. I’ve filled out/looked at/signed/piled/ignored more paperwork in two months of JK than would fit in the filing cabinet I don’t use. How many “Your child may have been exposed to someone with head lice” notices does a woman need?
  2. Making lunches. The first week was fun. Now it’s not. I give myself another month before I’m tossing a pickle, graham crackers and an onion into my kid’s lunch box.
  3. Discipline. The “communication book” tells me my kid ate a crayon and ran around the class laughing with her shirt over her head. I’m not sure what to do with that. I’m somewhat confident she didn’t learn it from me.
  4. Party panning. Turns out making Rice Krispies squares at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night is not my thing so going forward I’m going to be that mom who always and only signs up to bring the napkins to classroom festivities.
  5. The library. I know which day is library day and I know we’re supposed to return library books. It’s hard to remember those two things at the same time.
  6. The school bus. We haven’t missed it. Yet. We will. Also, bus drivers are good people who I wouldn’t trade places with for all the poutine in the world.
  7. Getting dressed. We haven’t forgotten to wear underwear. Yet. We will. The little one’s preschool uniform made things easy but now I have to convince her that a way too big hockey jersey is a better choice than a way too small Superman pajama shirt covered in crusty applesauce.
  8. School work. She’s learning her ABC’s and 123′s and can sing a mean O Canada. She has also learned the words to the entire Frozen soundtrack, which is loud, and last week I heard her say the word “Pokémon,” which is terrifying.
  9. Making new friends. I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to remember that Olivia J is taller than Olivia P and that Olivia L likes Anna better than Elsa, let alone the names of 20 other kids who at 4 p.m. kind of all look the same.
  10. Songs and games. The anticipation that comes with a game of Duck Duck Goose is not as exhilarating as it used to be and holly hell there are a lot of made up songs to the tune of Frère Jacques.

But you know what…As crazy and consuming as it all is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, especially the poop.

P.S. Yup, that photo is me as a proud JKer.

Candlelight dinners

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in stuff I love, thoughts | 1 Comment

candlelight dinner 300x168 Candlelight dinnersCandlelight dinners. Candlelit dinner.

I suspect that for many these words carry romantic connotations. Maybe not for everyone, after all, I’m certainly no romance guru.

But, if I google image the words I do get a lot of photos filled with couples, scenic views, dim lights, wine glasses, rose petals and some serious eye contact.

Last night, I went out for dinner with a friend so the man and the little one decided to have dinner in the playroom. They sat at the little table, lit a candle, listened to the Frozen soundtrack and chatted. As they dined and talked about all things Anna and Elsa, I dined at a candlelit table with my friend talking about joys, frustrations and the world.

Two lovely intimate candlelight dinners, no romance.

The man always lights a candle at dinner.

I’m not sure when it started, maybe he’s always done it. It doesn’t matter who the dinner is with – me, friends or even just his four-year-old daughter. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kraft Dinner at a tiny table surrounded by Lego or filet mignon with the good dishes in the dining room. When we sit down to eat, there are candles burning. It’s part of setting the table, as important as the fork and spoon. Even at restaurants, he’ll often ask for a candle.

It’s such a simple gesture that brings so much good to a daily life that often finds us on autopilot.

For us, the candlelit dinner does not signal romance but the start of a nice meal. Candles on the table bring not just romantic intimacy but intimacy with friends, family, even a young child. It means dinner time is always a special occasion and a time to slow down – no matter the food on the plate or the day of the week – and connect in a way that goes beyond text messages about swimming lessons and “Have a nice day!” as we rush out the door.

When we finish eating, when the conversation slows and when we sit back in our chairs to digest, the little one usually crawls into my lap to blow out the candle. Just as lighting the candle meant the start of this special time, blowing it out marks its close. When that nice smoky smell fills the room, it’s time to go back to the things that were briefly forgotten – the lunch packing, the getting ready for bed.

But for a time, sometimes for 10 minutes and sometimes for two hours, that bit of flickering light really lets us see each other.

Q&A with Rideau-Vanier Candidate Catherine Fortin LeFaivre

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in issues, neighbourhoods, politics | 1 Comment

Ottawa election day is now just one week away! Have you decided who you want to represent your community? I’m quite excited about this week’s Ottawa Election 2014 post as it features a candidate from my very own ward, Rideau-Vanier. Sandy Hill resident and mom, Catherine Fortin LeFaivre is one of six candidates running in Ward 12, which is arguably one of the most interesting and diverse wards in the city. And just to bring folks up to speed…I’ve been using this blog as a bit of a platform for urban candidates. These posts are not endorsements; participation was open to all urban candidates and I’ve been asking everyone the same four questions.  Catherine Fortin LeFaivre 300x225 Q&A with Rideau Vanier Candidate Catherine Fortin LeFaivre1. Tell us a little bit about your background and why you are running for City Council. What do you have to offer Rideau-Vanier?

I choose to raise my family in Rideau-Vanier because of its diversity, its heritage and its proximity to downtown. However, I am concerned by the many challenges that our ward faces, including crime, development pressures, and income disparity. I believe Rideau-Vanier needs a leader and a problem solver—someone who will not be afraid to stand up for all of its residents, including those who are currently disengaged or too preoccupied by family crises to join the conversation. Having been in leadership positions in the non-profit, the private and the public sectors, I have the skills and experience to successfully advocate for Rideau-Vanier residents.

2. What are two of the biggest challenges facing your community and what do you plan to do about them?

There are many critical issues in Rideau-Vanier and I’ve noticed that they do differ by neighbourhood and by economic status, unfortunately. Issues of importance include concerns around responsible development, homelessness, safe and reliable transportation options, and trucks in the downtown core. However, the issue which has been consistently raised across the ward is the need for more landlord accountability. Slum landlords are having a very negative impact on our neighbourhoods—whether you are a neighbour to these sites or live in these buildings as a tenant. Other Ottawa communities have experienced such issues and successfully dealt with them through an aggressive task force led by the councillor. I will create such a task force, made up of community police officers, bylaw, and other city services, to ensure that irresponsible landlords are pressured to take action. I also support fining landlords who do not properly deal with tenant maintenance requests, excessive loud noise, trash and other basic issues that have been allowed to persist for far too long. Rental licensing seems to be a good idea. I’m also very concerned that many Rideau-Vanier families are being left behind. On the campaign trail, I have met countless single moms struggling to make ends meet, many of whom live in deplorable conditions as tenants of community housing. Many families also have difficulty assessing quality, affordable child care, and healthy food. As councillor I will advocate for all families to ensure that our kids have the opportunity to grow up in safe, stimulating and healthy environments.

3. What can be done to improve Ottawa’s urban neighbourhoods for families and get more families living downtown?

Ensuring that there is safe, efficient and affordable transportation will play a large part in our ability to attract more families to the downtown core. Residents must have more real options to reduce their dependency on car usage. Investing in more connected and segregated cycling lanes is a good start. Taking a long-term view, we must develop our communities in a way that is conducive to family living. For example, child care centres need to be on the way to workplaces and easily accessible by transit. This is often not the case. Also, we must push developers to build units in the downtown core that can accommodate families (i.e. 3 bedrooms units as opposed to small one and two bedroom units). Finally, our ByWard Market needs to provide more community spaces to welcome people of all ages. Earlier in the campaign, I suggested building the new public library here to act as a community gathering area as well as a tourist destination. Moving forward with underground parking would free up space for this type of city investment.

4. In one sentence, what’s the best thing about Somerset Ward?

Rideau-Vanier is a great place to raise a family because of its historic charm, bilingual communities, and diverse residents!

 

Catherine Fortin LeFaivre’s website Catherine Fortin LeFaivre on Twitter   This is likely the last post in my Ottawa Election 2014 series. I’d like to give a big thank you to all the candidates who participated. That being said, I’m always looking for guest contributors. So if you’re a newly elected councillor or a community leader who would like to share some thoughts with urban Ottawa families, let me know.

Free books for Ottawa Kids!

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in guest post, Ottawa businesses, stuff I love | Leave a comment

Books2 300x225 Free books for Ottawa Kids!Do your kids like to read?

According to a study by People for Education, the percentage of Ontario grade 3 students who “like to read” dropped from 76 to 50 per cent between 1998/99 and 2010/11 and the number of grade 6 students who “like to read” fell from 65 to 50 per cent.

Furthermore, a study by National Literacy Trust found that having just 20 books at home impacts a child’s education level and that the more books the child has, the greater the benefits. A study at the University of Nevada found similar results.

I received this in my inbox the other day and LOVE the idea. What a wonderful community initiative! Every child should have some books of their own.

Free books for Ottawa Kids!

A new pop-up book “store” has opened up in the Overbrook/Vanier area.  Kids and parents can get new and gently used children’s books – for free!  

Twice Upon A Time / Il était deux fois is the brainchild of librarian Alexandra Yarrow.  Yarrow knows that even though Ottawa has an excellent public library system, kids also need books of their own at home.

“Books are expensive,” said Yarrow.  “We want to make good quality books available to all families in Ottawa.”  

Twice Upon A Time / Il était deux fois has books of all kinds in English and French for kids up to 12 years old. 

We are open Thursdays between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.   Join us at Heartwood House (404 McArthur Avenue) or invite us to set up a book table at your next community event!  

For more information, contact us at info@twiceuponatime.ca

Also, here’s some info about donating books.

And while we’re on the topic of books, there are some great literacy events coming up…

The 14th Annual Kids’ Lit Café is happening October 25 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Greenboro branch of the Ottawa Public Library (363 Lorry Greenberg Drive). This free event features interactions with published authors and illustrators, snacks, a book sale, crafts and prizes. There will also be author readings and workshops hosted by CBC personality Alan Neal.

You’ll also want to check out the 53rd Annual Rockcliffe Park Book Fair, which runs from November 7 to 9 at Rockcliffe Park Public School (350 Buena Vista Road). Dress as your favourite comic book character and come browse a huge selection of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, bestsellers and even board games, puzzles, CDs and DVDs. Proceeds from Book Fair support  literacy program and other initiatives at Rockcliffe Park Public School. Book Fair also provides annual grants to other Ottawa area schools to support their literacy programs and any unsold books are donated to other local book fairs and literacy programs across the province and around the world.

Happy reading!

10 Ottawa events that might be more fun the pickles & Lego

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in events, Ottawa activities | 1 Comment

Lazy Lego day 300x265 10 Ottawa events that might be more fun the pickles & LegoSorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Sometimes, life gets in the way. We have a lot happening, some good and some not so good, but in general, we’re good.

Plus, after a very busy summer, a lot has changed around here.

The little one has settled into junior kindergarten and her princess obsession has been replaced with a big love of all things Spider-Man and Lego and a plan for a career in water slide park construction.

The man, meanwhile, has been on a food preserving frenzy – meaning I have more applesauce and pickles than most people would ever need and an almost terrifying amount of peanut butter.

And as for me…I have yet to step on any Lego. I’m also drinking beer and eating ice cream as I write this, which means right now, life is alright.

So now, we turn our attention to all things fall and thanksgiving and Halloween. Oh wait, speaking of Halloween…

Guess whose kid is being a character from Frozen for Halloween…

Not mine!

Little one has decided to be Peter Pan. I feel it’s a solid choice.

Anyway, in an effort to recover from our summer hangover (figuratively speaking of course) and to ease the JK transition, we’ve spent the last few weekends being pretty low key.

Although, I’m still enjoying the more lazy Saturdays, I’m thinking it might be time to get back out into the world.

So here’s a list of 10 urban Ottawa fall events that look fun…

We might go to some. Or we might not. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll just stay home, play Lego and eat pickles for a little while longer.

Bob the Builder: Project Build It at the Children’s Museum

October 2 – March 22

Annual Butterfly Show at Carleton University

October 4 -13

Halloween Fun at the Museoparc Vanier

October 26

Potluck Harvest Dress-Up Party at the Children’s Garden

October 11

Thanksgiving at the Farm and A Barnyard Halloween at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum

October 11, 12, 13, 25 & 26

¡Hola! Halloween with Dora and Diego at the Children’s Museum

October 25

Ottawa Storyteller’s Children’s Festival at the Nepean Centrepointe Library

November 8

Halloween at Rideau Hall

October 31

Trick or Treat with the Mayor at Ottawa City Hall

October 25

Halloween Party at Billings Estate

October 26

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