a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Dec, 2011

Advent activity #5 – sappy things and sweet things

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

I will spare you the gory details of how we obtained our Christmas tree. We went to a cut-your-own tree farm and had a rather mediocre experience. As Mark pointed out, it would have been much nicer had it been a snowy wonderland instead of a slog through muddy fields. Or perhaps my expectations were a little too high?

At least Piper had a good time. She is a pretty happy dog, no matter what.

Santa pup

Anyway, yes, we got a tree, and it’s a pretty little tree, despite all the trouble we went through to to get it.

Our advent activity was to set it up, and as a bonus, it was followed by cupcakes from The Cupcake Lounge that we enjoyed by the “fire.”


I chose vanilla, and it was pretty darn good, but I secretly regret not trying the gingerbread.

Apparently Chocolate Chocolate was a good choice:

ready to eat

This year I was more than happy to sit with a Bailey’s and watch the girls decorate. And it turned out quite well.

Also worthy of note, Emma doesn’t need a stepstool to reach the top.

Tree decorating

Note to self:

  • Buy more lights for the tree, and make sure they’re pretty and warm, not blindness-inducing LEDs. (Who decided that orange was a Christmas colour anyway??)
  • Next time, cupcakes should be accompanied by a good cider or nog! :)

This post is part of my 25 days of Christmas advent activities (although I’m actually doing only 12 this year). You can read more about the countdown calendar idea here.

4 Responses to "Advent activity #5 – sappy things and sweet things"

1 | Valerie

December 15th, 2011 at 10:57 am


we’ll be going tree hunting this weekend. Do you think the weather was the problem or did you not like where you went? I wasn’t thrilled with our last year’s choice so would like to try somewhere new.

2 | andrea

December 15th, 2011 at 11:05 am


I think the weather was a big part of it. And as much as I enjoy supporting the local economy I found it a bit on the pricey side for what it was…

3 | Nadine

December 15th, 2011 at 12:15 pm


Your tree is so beautiful !
As cliche as this might sound, I think that size really doesn’t matter , sometimes the smaller trees hold the greatest treasures !
We also got ours from a cut-your-own-tree farm but thankfully the weather last week was not as yucky as it is now !
I think that next year we’ll get a smaller tree so our daughter (who is no where near 7ft ) will also be able to reach the top. She has been begging to help decorate for a number of years now but this is a “task” that I have selfishly been keeping to myself… I’m sure that a bit of Baileys in a hot beverage will persuade me to relegate my functions as tree decorator !

4 | Tiana

December 15th, 2011 at 9:31 pm


We bought ‘warm’ led’s this year and they are actually very nice. We still have some old lights kicking around and they are not as warm as those, but they don’t give off that icy blue office light that they did a few years ago.

comment form:


NAC Ottawa culture days

Fall fun at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Joan of Arc Academy in Ottawa

OMS Ottawa Montessori schools

terra20 Ottawa

Bugs at the Canadian Museum of Nature Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Kathy: I have had the PC credit card for a few months..Seemed to be working well, was enjoying getting the most points I could. But then I started to notice
  • capitaljunk: Great! Will have to try this on a lazy day :)
  • Lynn: Really enjoyed that smartphone article. I worry about online literacy all the time - how will I teach my kids when I barely know the rules myself? It'
  • Misty Pratt: Yum, I'll have to try and find this!
  • Brenda A: I love small happinesses.
  • Tom: A San Diego LASIK center advertising $499 an eye is simply too cheap to be possible.
  • Amy: I do something similar but brown up a couple slices chopped bacon and some onion before adding the garlic. A couple of my favorite variations to your

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (16) and Sarah (14). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


My right hand is actually a camera

Connect with me at these places too!

The #dailylunches project – 1000 lunches and counting

Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's the latest:

Created with flickr badge.

Click the photo for details: what it is, where I ate it (if it's worth a mention!) and how to cook it (if there happens to be a recipe). You can also read more about this project right here.


On the nightstand

... check out past nightstand reads right here.

All hail the mighty Twitter