a peek inside the fishbowl

13 Jan, 2015

Things I Have Learned Recently

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

I do love my watch!

For no reason whatsoever…

  • No-name Q-tips are TERRIBLE. You might save 50 cents on a package of 500, but it’s really not worth it and you risk puncturing your ear drum.
  • We bought a new garbage can for the upstairs bathroom awhile back and it’s made me ridiculously happy. It’s rectangular and fits the space perfectly. Most importantly, it’s larger than our previous one, so no more dental floss hanging over the edge! No more balled-up tissues spilling out! It’s a godsend. HALLELUJAH.
  • I am wearing a watch again. Mark gave me the watch pictured above for Christmas and it’s been great. No more digging for my phone to check the time! Who knew it could be this easy? (Don’t answer that.)
  • Tea is better than coffee while I work. Remember how I mentioned I have been dividing my day into work segments? I force myself to take breaks away from the computer every hour, if nothing but for the sake of my posture. I put the kettle on the stove and walk for five minutes on the treadmill while I wait for it to boil. For some reason this tea ritual is much more satisfying than making a coffee. It seems to be better for my gut too.
  • Scones don’t have to be chalky pucks of dough! (Long story.)
  • I taste tested a new yogurt brand against my usual Activia plain sweetened. It was the “sweetened” part that was bugging me, but then I compared it to Astro plain 2% and hoo boy, is that stuff tart. No wonder it’s “great for baking” as per the label. I will continue with my Activia plain until something better comes along. Gah. Now I have a huge tub of yogurt to deal with. But what should I bake?
  • There’s a new Panera Bread in town. They sent me a hot lunch the other day and it made my tummy very happy. It’s on West Hunt Club Road near the Lowes. Have you ever been?
  • If you’re using a stand mixer, making two batches of this pizza dough recipe is ridiculously easy. Divide each in half and you have FOUR thin crust pizzas. Four dinners! I stick three in the freezer in separate Zip-loc bags and defrost on the day I need them.

(Tell me, what have you learned lately?)

15 Responses to "Things I Have Learned Recently"

1 | Mary @ Parenthood

January 13th, 2015 at 11:09 am


Astro 2% is our favourite, but we usually add maple syrup to taste and mix in ground flax seed. Unless I’m using it as a substitute for sour cream, such as on fajitas. (I always have plain yogurt and rarely sour cream so it does in a pinch. IMO anyway)

2 | Karen

January 13th, 2015 at 11:43 am


I agree with the nn q-tips…and the same for house brand pain relief. Like the old ad said….’if it doesn’t say Kellogg’s on the box, it’s not Kellogg’s in the box. A comment on quality verses a plug for cereal! Spend the few cents extra and get the product that works better.
– plain oats made with 2% milk is good, that’s it!
– a watch…huh….who knew?!
– natural fibers( wool, down, fur) do the best job to keep us warm! For all the negatives, the same can be said for man- made fibers. Be warm… Hug an alpaca!
-tea is good…

3 | sassymonkey

January 13th, 2015 at 11:53 am


It takes awhile to adjust to unsweetened yogurt. I eased my way in by mixing it with homemade granola. But once you get used to it and you try a sweetened yogurt you’ll find it the sweetened stuff SUPER sweet.

4 | andrea tomkins

January 13th, 2015 at 12:34 pm


Sassy – but isn’t there a plain yogurt that isn’t so mouth-puckeringly tangy? That’s all I want in a yogurt! (Ok, that and good bacteria counts!)

5 | Tudor

January 13th, 2015 at 1:34 pm


I make my own yogurt – surprisingly easy – I stir in a tiny bit of (also homemade) strawberry jam when I serve it to my kids and they love it. You need existing yogurt to “start” your homemade yogurt so maybe that’s what you can use your leftover for!

And I actually like the Life brand Q-tips – but I specifically get the ones with the cardboard tube (not plastic) because then they can do in the green bin.

6 | Kate

January 13th, 2015 at 1:38 pm


I used to be an Astro fan but decided to find an organic yogurt and now only buy Organic Meadow plain yogurt. Usually referred to as the ‘Rainbow’ yogurt in our household as it has a sort of rainbow on the container. It has the best flavour (smooth and not puckery at all) of all the ones I tried. We buy the higher fat one as we eat a high fat no sugar or glutinous grains diet, so I make no claims about the taste or texture of the low fat or 0% version.

7 | andrea tomkins

January 13th, 2015 at 1:41 pm


Tudor: I’ve tried making my own yogurt and it is surprisingly easy and tasty. My question is, does the homemade stuff have the same bacteria counts that the Activia does?

Also, someone should undertake a Q-tip trial. Which ones are cushy? Cheap? I do like the idea of cardboard handles.

Kate: Thanks for the recommendation. I will try it!

8 | Lisa from Iroquois

January 13th, 2015 at 2:41 pm


you can use that left over yogurt to make biscuits to go with soup for a meal. lots of recipes online.

9 | Jay

January 13th, 2015 at 10:39 pm


That gloves are for fools and mittens are where it’s at.

10 | Rebecca

January 14th, 2015 at 7:03 am


That watch is stunning.

I’ve been making an afternoon tea almost every afternoon! I started to use it as an excuse to do what you said – what away from the laptop.

I even try to indulge and drink it on the couch, with no screen, too! (and yes, I find it way better for my gut!)

I often have one with Andy at night too now.

When you make the pizza dough, do you just roll and freeze? Or bake first?

11 | Tricia

January 14th, 2015 at 8:44 am


I use that yoghurt in fruit smoothies…

12 | andrea tomkins

January 14th, 2015 at 11:18 am


Rebecca: I let the dough rise, punch it down, and either freeze it whole in a Zip-loc, or cut it in half and freeze each half separately for two thin crust pizzas. No rolling. On the morning of pizza night, I just take it out of the freezer and leave it on the counter in a bowl until I need it at dinner. Then it’s business as usual. It’s a huge time saver.

13 | Lynn

January 14th, 2015 at 11:54 am


WORD to the cheap Q-tips. Brand name all the way. Also: recently bought some Dulce de Leche at a craft show the the guy recommended mixing it into plain yogurt. It is FANTASTIC. Recommended for a little treat that has bonus cultures and protein.

14 | Ginger

January 14th, 2015 at 1:45 pm


I have learned that if you force yourself to say something positive OUT LOUD about a situation that doesn’t feel positive….you feel less stressed and worried and less “this is the worst thing ever” and more calm and rational. It is how I have made it through our plumbing nightmare. 4 giant tunnels under my house! Positive…it can and is being fixed and come the end of the world those pipes will still be there! :) Kidding aside, it is something I have been working on in all areas when something less than ideal happens. And I feel happier and calmer overall.

15 | White out

January 15th, 2015 at 9:34 am


Astro is still the best yoghurt. Add a few drops of maple syrup to plain to take off the edge.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. 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.

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