a peek inside the fishbowl

Our backyard compost bin

We are a little bit compost crazy here at Casa Fishbowl. We have a city-issued green bin, a backyard composter (it’s big and black with two hinged flaps on top) as well as two big “cages” for leaf compost in the back corner of our lot.

We’ve been using the big green bin all winter for all of our compost (in partnership with our Kitchen Cone, which I still love), but now that it’s warmed up a little I’m starting to divert scraps into our covered backyard bin again. Why am I starting now? (a) The sun is high and warm enough to start melting the frozen interior and (b) because I like the rich and gorgeous soil that I get from it.

Every few days I’ve been adding a bowl full of what I consider to be the “best” scraps to our backyard compost:

  • egg shells
  • coffee grounds
  • orange and banana peels
  • carrot tops and peels
  • apple cores

Today I also tossed in a couple handfuls of dry leaves in there (it’s important to get the right mix!). It felt really good to do so too. I don’t even consider it to be extra work… this is how much I love Compost Harvest Time. In a week or two so I’ll pour in a bucket of water and give the whole thing a good turn with a pitchfork. Poking holes in it will help speed up the process.

Are you compost crazy like me? You might also be coveting this compost thermometer from Lee Valley. (I am. Seriously.) And related to all this blue bin/black bin/garbage talk, I just noticed that terra20 carries these special brackets to keep the bins off the garage/shed floor. Yay spring!

p.s. speaking of spring, don’t miss the terra20 and Tiggy Winkle’s giveaway going on right now!

12 Apr, 2014

Weekend reading: April 12 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

I’m very excited to be posting this giveaway from Fishbowl patron, terra20!

I’ve written about terra20 before, it’s an eco-friendly retailer here in Ottawa. They have two locations in Ottawa – Pinecrest near the Ikea and Wellington West – and have an online store as well. Have you been? If not, there is no better time to check it out because (a) you could win $$ and (b) Earth Day is coming up and terra20 has planned all kinds of things to help celebrate.

On Saturday, April 19, terra20 will host a family-oriented pre-Earth Day event from noon-4:00 p.m. at the Pinecrest store. Everyone is invited to come and take part in the festivities.

Kids will love the fun activities that will teach them a few small ways that we can all make a difference. Special activity stations include colouring on locally produced plantable seed paper (plant it later and watch it grow!), composting demos, non-toxic mini manicures, healthy snack preparation demos and snacks, and an upcycling education station where guests will learn the stories behind some of terra20′s most innovative and waste-reducing brands and products.

And here’s something really cool: terra20 is also collecting previously loved sweaters throughout the month of April, and sending them to Toronto company Cate + Levi to make adorable upcycled puppets. Anyone who brings in a sweater will receive a coupon to redeem on the special batch of puppets that will be created from the terra20-collected sweaters. (And if they’re anything like the ones they have in the store now I can tell you THEY WILL BE ADORABLE.)

To help YOU try something new and become better acquainted with all the great products terra20 has on the shelf, they’ve given me one $100 gift card to give to one lucky recipient.

Interested? Please read the following carefully:

  • In order for your entry to qualify, tell us, in honour of Earth Day, what you do to tread a little lighter on the planet. Do you pack litterless lunches? Bring your own mug to the coffee shop? Collect water in a rain barrel? Let us know in the comments below!
  • For a second entry, take a look through the terra20 website. If you want, you can leave a second comment telling us what you might buy with your gift card. Leave a link so we can see what it is!
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • The winner of this giveaway must pick up their gift card at terra20 in a timely manner at the location of their choice (Pinecrest or West Wellington).
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to me for posting at andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.

I will draw one name using Random.org at noon EST on April 17, 2014. I’ll contact the winner via email at that time. That’s it! Over to you!

We have a winner! Thank you everyone for your entries, and thanks as well to Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s for hosting this sweet spring giveaway!

Surely I’m not the only person in Ottawa who can’t wait for spring to finally get here. I want sun! And green grass! And warm breezes! I do sense some impatience out there, and I have noticed a few Very Enthusiastic family members have already dug their scooters out of the shed and last season’s flip-flops from the basement. :) 

ANYWAY. I am very pleased that Fishbowl patron, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s, is hosting this very springy giveaway. There may be snow on the ground today, but even THINKING about spring makes me feel better. Thank you Tiggy’s!

One lucky family can win:

  • This soft, huggable, and very cuddly Jellycat Bunny.
  • Sidewalk chalk! If there’s anything that can occupy kids for long periods of time, it’s sidewalk chalk. And brand name stuff is the way to go here. This Crayola Sidewalk Chalk is awesome for hopscotch grids, practicing ABCs on the sidewalk, and drawing racetracks for your scooter or Plasma Car.
  • Squap - sounds weird, but looks pretty cool, and it’s a great way to get your kids playing outside!

Interested? Here is the nitty gritty:

  • In order for your entry to qualify, please leave a comment below and tell me what toys your child likes to play with outdoors. That’s it!
  • For an extra entry, comment on this Facebook post too. Just let me know you did so in a second comment below.
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to me for posting at andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
  • I will draw one name using Random.org at noon EST on April 15, 2014. I’ll contact the winner via email, who will have to pick up their winnings at the Westboro location of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s.

This is not a requirement of the giveaway, but if you’re a fan of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s I highly recommend you follow them on Twitter and Facebook for advance warning of sales, contests, and other great insider scoop.

Sounds good? Over to you! Good luck!



NAC Ottawa events

Christmas ideas from Saunders Farm!

Frogs - a Chorus of Colours - at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

Funhaven - Ottawa's destination for birthday parties and fun

terra20 Ottawa celebrates Earth Month

Ottawa Gymnastics Centre - Westboro

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

IMAX 3D - Journey to the South Pacific

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  • andrea tomkins: You make a good point lacoop, we are definitely not alone on this planet! Easing our dependence on cars is a good idea for many reasons. I do wish the
  • lacoop: We also made the decision to be a one-car family. We also make a point of biking and walking where ever possible: cheaper, better for the planet, an
  • andrea tomkins: Me too! It's really inspiring!
  • Lisa from Iroquois: Love the Yellowberry story.
  • Michelle: Yeah I got a rude awakening about the loading the offer stuff to your phone and it was for spending over $100 for 10000 points . The customer service
  • andrea tomkins: I don't this has ever happened before... but the winner according to random.org is commenter #87 - Nicola - the VERY last person to enter. :) Congr
  • andrea tomkins: Comments are officially closed to new entries! Stay tuned for the winner!

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 (14) and Sarah (12). I am the Editor of the Kitchissippi Times as well as Capital Parent Newspaper. I'm also 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!


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The #dailylunches project – 660 and counting!

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


A year before

  • 2013-04-23 No articles on this date.

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