Archive for June, 2012

Introduction to Urban Homesteading

Urban Homesteading in Ottawa can be tricky, especially when you live in a condo. You’re limited by by-laws and the rules of your condo corporation, but there are plenty you can do to help kick start your way to agricultural bliss.

If you feel limited by size, start growing your own herbs indoors. Fresh herbs can add amazing flavour to any dish, as well as add beautiful colour to your kitchen. Plants like Basil are incredibly easy to grow and cheap to maintain, as is Thyme and Parsley.

Once you’ve mastered your herbs, you can replicate and plant vegetables. If you don’t have garden space, just get a big planter (Wal-Mart or the Dollar store will have these on the cheap), fill with soil and plant your seeds (or starter plant if it’s later in the season). For a small family of four, one or two plants per planter should be able to feed you. These planters can fit well on a balcony or in a kitchen. They look pretty nice to boot. As your green thumb grows, think about renewable containers around your house you can use. Invest in a good grower’s book to help you with common plant issues. I suggest The Canadian Edible Garden.

The easiest way you can be assured of your local and homegrown product is to talk to your local farmers. In Ottawa, the Farmer’s Market is located at Brewer’s Park and hosts a variety of sustainable local foods and products. Speak to the stall workers and find out how they get their products to you. Because Ottawa prohibits the use of livestock on your property (such as owning your own chickens or a goat), this is a great way to get products such as meat, milk and eggs to your door without going to the big grocery stores. It may not be true homesteading, but you can still get that fresh, homegrown flavour you desire.


Dani is a local Ottawa area mom and writer who ventured into homesteading when she was pregnant with her daughter. When she’s not fighting earwigs in her garden, she can be found writing at home on her computer, or working on her comedy bit on Twitter @IncredibleMsDee


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fresh local food

It’s market time, and I’m in heaven. If you know me personally then you know I love food and when it’s this time of hear I go crazy. We are starting to prepare planting our family garden. The kids absolutly love it. I get excited with all the fresh veggies and herbs we use in cooking. Time for salas, salads, fresh treats and the best part it getting the kids involved to “pick & eat”

A few week ago my husband and I went on a local foodie tour and we learned about a lot of neat little local spots to buy some great foods like cheese, veggies, meats and more. If your local to the Ottawa area it’s a must do! They offer different types of tours you can find all the info on thier website.

Here area  few photos I took while on the tour

The number one thing I have learned about this tour don’t take where you live for granted. Get out explore and fall in love like I did with food, all over again!

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Banana “Ice Cream”

Banana “Ice Cream”.

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those Jetsons were onto something

those Jetsons were onto something

I’ve talked about my Tuesday mornings before. It’s the morning that comes along every week and turns me into a hysterical Jetson-wannabe. Four kids, three different drop offs. It doesn’t matter how organized I think I am the night before, we are always running late.

Which then fills my brain with distracting ideas about how we could improve our morning routine:

Slide {Am I the only one with children who find EVERYTHING and ANYTHING in their rooms fascinating in the mornings? Length of string, broken LEGO, piece of lint? With a slide like this one, our family rule about not running up slides would be most helpful. Once you come down, you stay down}

Megaphone {“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN’T HEAR ME ASK YOU TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH!?! Everyone on the street and their dog heard me!”}


{Lost track of the time while creating an art installation out of length of string, broken LEGO and piece of lint, you say? Nope. Absolutely impossible with this monster-sized time-teller}

And while I know my obsession with lunch making does nothing to counter the slowness of our mornings, I stand by my belief that every mama should have her hobbies. Bento lunches are currently one of mine.

What I really need on my frenzied Tuesday mornings is the uber-awesome Jane Jetson walk-thru shower and primper. The one that does it all in less than 30 seconds. Only then would the: inside out yoga pants (yep), Christmas-themed hair scrunchies (uh-huh) and traces of the night before’s calming mud mask around my earlobes (yes, really) be forever banished.


I’ll be better tomorrow. I have to be. It’s Wednesday.


Louise Gleeson is a freelance journalist and mother of four. Her professional portfolio can be viewed at and you can follow along as she shares stories from everyday life on her blog at  You can also find her on twitter @louisegleeson

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Sizzling summer days

Being a mom of 4 kids, it’s important to teach them about sun protection. They wear hats and sunscreen and for the most part they keep themselves covered up while out playing. I make sure when they are leaving the house for school, the park or the water park, they are wearing the appropriate sunscreen. I always check to make sure they cover both UVA and UVB rays (I watch the dr. oz show too much I think)

Playing outside for a short amount of time, or going to school I generally have them wear a sunscreen made for sports. I like the Avon sport SPF 30. It’s a spray and they don’t find it at all sticky. They wear Avon SPF 15 chapstick all year round. When they are going to the park to play or to the beach/ water park, they wear the Avon SPF 40 children’s sunscreen. Its water proof and goes on purple so you can see where it has been applied. This one works very well and the kids love having it re-applied because, again, it’s purple.

I generally wear an SPF 40 or higher, yes it’s from Avon( as a sales rep I use and love their products), and I am not usually one to stray, however one day last week when I was taking my kids to the beach, I had forgotten to pack the sunscreen so I stopped at a local store and bought an inexpensive continuous spray on sunscreen with an SPF of 50. Great!! or so I thought. After a couple of hours of water play, my girls decided they were hungry, so as they sat down for lunch and dry off a bit, I decided they needed to be sprayed down again and I figured I should re-apply mine as well.

As it turns out, there is something in this sunscreen I had purchased that caused me to have an allergic reaction and my shoulders were then covered in water blisters. It acted more like I had doused myself in a cooking spray. So for the next couple weeks I am stuck wearing t-shirts!!  I believe it was the Octylacrylamide copolymer that gave me the reaction. It isn’t in any other sun product I use. Regardless of my self-diagnosed allergy, I will not be exposing my skin to the sun for a while.

I should have checked the ingredient list before I purchased it because, just like my mother and my youngest son, I too have an allergy to a certain ingredient that is in this sunscreen. I guess I should just stick to the tried and true. Turning 35 this year I decided to start using the Avon Anew sun because its their age defying line and with 4 very active kids I can use all the help I can get. Also, it reduces the signs of aging while protection your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

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Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Zingy Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, yogurt and plump blueberries is lightly brushed with a lemon syrup then drizzled with a lemon glaze. Bursting with lemony flavor and fresh blueberries, this melt in your mouth will leave you begging for more. Serve a slice of this moist loaf with a cup of tea and start your morning off right. 🙂

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

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For the Loaf:

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
For the Lemon Syrup:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
For the Lemon Glaze:
  • 1 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

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