a peek inside the fishbowl

21 Jul, 2014

A gentle reminder as you start your week

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

A gentle reminder

20 Jul, 2014

Someone got a hair cut

By andrea tomkins in Easy ways to make kids happy,Ottawa

Sometimes a good haircut can really change things around, don’t you think?


My own hair appointment isn’t until August. I needed a new place to go so I took it to Facebook (crowdsourcing for the win!) where I received many suggestions but Mint Hair Studio won out. Woot!

Other exciting things:

  • The girls and I placed a large order of temporary tattoos from Tattly.com and are anxiously awaiting their arrival. Eep!
  • Speaking of deliveries, did you know that you can order stamps from Canada Post and have them delivered to your door for free? (That is, if you spend more than $25, which is easy to do.) I have a reason for a big stamp order, but more on that later. The girls and I (Ok, maybe just me) are pretty excited about it.
  • We received a lovely Edible Arrangement from a Fishbowl reader yesterday. It was such an unexpected surprise. (Thank you WL! I tried emailing you but I’m not sure if you received my note.) You know what’s interesting… how quickly everyone ate it all up.
  • For some reason, lots of folks seem to be reading this archived post about Lusk Falls Trail in Gatineau right now, perhaps looking for more information about it. My advice: you may feel like you want to die halfway up to the fire tower but it’s totally worth it. DO IT. And bring the kids.
  • Don’t forget to enter this Saunders Farm giveaway! To summarize: You can win tickets so you can work up and appetite in the mazes and on the jumping pillows and then sit down for a delicious dinner of locally farmed goods. Heaven.On.Earth.

19 Jul, 2014

Weekend reading: July 19 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

To help celebrate their amazing community of farmers and a brand spanking new kitchen, longtime Fishbowl patron Saunders Farm has announced a couple of really cool dinner-related events. All of the food will be local and fresh! fresh! fresh! and will also feature local craft beers and craft VQA wines from Ontario.

Chef Whitney Toogood recently joined their  team and she comes from good stock. (No pun intended.) Chef Whitney has worked at some of the best restaurants and caterers in the city including Aperitivo, Wellington Gastropub, Thyme and Again Catering.

There are the two special Farm Dinners scheduled for summer 2014:

Farm Dinner #1: July 24

This is a farm fresh family-style gourmet dinner served with craft VQA wine, local craft beer pairings by Savvy Company. (I love Savvy Co.!) It takes place from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Tickets are $80/person (or $55/person for a non-alcoholic ticket) and the dinner includes the following courses:

First course

Saunders Farm field greens with fried squash blossom stuffed with fresh peas and homemade ricotta cheese and drizzled with raw honey. (Local suppliers: McNeely Dairy, Acorn Creek Farm, Saunders Farm)

Second course

Roasted ‘BLT’ gazpacho served with bacon jam on fresh-baked crostini. (Local suppliers: Acorn Creek Farm, Saunders Farm, Seed to Sausage)

Third course

Apple wood smoked beef short rib with Saunders Farm maple rhubarb BBQ sauce, sour cream, chive and potato spaetzle and sautéed patty pan squash (Local suppliers: Acorn Creek Farm, Saunders Farm, O’Brien Farms beef)

Fourth course

Black Raspberry and Chocolate Mint Pavlova (Local suppliers: Acorn Creek Farm, Saunders Farm, Beking Eggs, McNeely Dairy)

Ack. Doesn’t that sound awesome? But wait… read on!

Family Farm Dinner #2: August 21

This one is a little different. Dinner #2 is a classic pig roast with corn on the cob, farm fresh salads, and seasonal fruit crumble with ice cream. There’ll be live music by the bonfire, and musicians take note! This event is BYOU (Bring Your Own Ukulele), mandolin, guitar or other stringed instrument. It will take place from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids under 12 years.

Drooling yet? You can win tickets to one of these dinners! Please read the following carefully:

  • This giveaway is for two separate prizes: (a) two tickets to first Farm Dinner and (b) two tickets for the second Farm Dinner as described above.
  • In order for your entry to qualify, please leave a comment below telling us which dinner you’d like to attend.
  • Please make sure you’re available to attend before you enter.
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
  • That’s it! (I like easy giveaways, don’t you?)

I will draw the winners using Random.org at 9:00 a.m. EST on July 22, 2014. I’ll contact the winners via email at that time and post the name here as well. If you don’t win, you can buy your tickets online right here.

That’s it! Over to you. Good luck, and I hope to see you at Saunders Farm this summer!




NAC Ottawa family events

Summertime fun at Saunders Farm!

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Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

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  • Elizabeth: Welcome home! Enjoying your weekend reads. Elizabeth
  • Misty Pratt: Except for the fact that someone has to do those minimum wage jobs, and it's usually new immigrants and low-income people with families to feed. So th
  • Natalie: My two cents. We have tried Supperworks, in fact we were regulars until recently. We were never disappointed. Their entrées for four fed our family o
  • Javamom: I guess one of the things we find hard to accept sometimes is that occasionally, time is more valuable than money. I get it, although I have not tried
  • future landfill: And yet, and yet. I've had a few decades of street photography, snapping pics of people and events in public places, cafes, pubs. Sometimes obviously
  • Colleen: It does sound fun, but a bit steep for my family.
  • andrea: We have winners! Dinner #1 on July 24 was won by nathalie d. Dinner #2 on August 21 was won by Madga. Congratulations! Thank you Saunders Farm

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 (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times, Capital Parent Newspaper, 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 – 758 lunches and counting!

Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's a recent one:

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.


  • My latest post at the MediaSmarts website is about passwords. Is this something you've talked about with your kids? Given the proliferation of devices in households (often one per person now) it might be an important topic for discussion. How have you handled passwords in your household?

    - #
  • I'm over at the MediaSmarts blog today, putting together the online privacy puzzle.

    - #
  • I had a really interesting conversation with my 14-year-old daughter recently. She was wondering why so many adults assume that teenagers are all the same: a bunch of lazy, self-involved jokers who are glued to their devices all day. I didn’t have an answer for her, really, only that people tend to generalize, and that this is Never a Good Thing, no matter who it is we’re talking about. [Read the rest at MediaSmarts.ca]

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