a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Aug, 2014

Weekend reading: August 23

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

20 Aug, 2014

Westies take note!

By andrea tomkins in - Westboro,Ottawa

Piper gets a cookie

I am working on a new issue of the Extra Helping and it’s almost ready to go. If you like to eat, you might really like this one. And no, it’s not about dog food. :)

(Not sure what I’m talking about? Go/read/signup right here.)


19 Aug, 2014

What has this baby learned in 42 years?

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

Baby me.

The eldest and I went for a walk the other night and somehow got to talking about Traumatic Teenage Events and how they tend to stay with us over the long haul.

Seventh grade was the most challenging year for me. I was tall – all knees and elbows and pointy bits –  and although I had a few good friends in my circle I mostly lived inside myself. I was at a new school among kids who knew each other from kindergarten. I wasn’t one of the pretty girls. I was one of the smart girls, which was somehow a breed apart. I felt like I was born to the role of The Observer, to hover on the outskirts taking everything in but never really being a part of it, whatever IT is. As I type that out I realize that this is a part of me that never really changed although I’ve learned to accept and appreciate it.

Looking back, I think the 40s are the best decade, at least, the best so far. I can honestly say that no longer care about being one of the pretty girls because along the way I have collected some things that are more valuable than smooth knees and perfect hair, things that no one can take away from me. It’s taken me a long time, but I now know myself, and this is no small thing.

1) I know when to say no, and that it’s ok to say no. My time is my own. When it comes down to it, that’s all I really have.

2) Related: I don’t accept bullshit.

3) I know what fuels my fire, whether it’s brain food or eye candy or a giant salad. And I know that if I don’t care of myself, I suffer for it.

4) I am more mindful of the little things, because life is really just a collection of little things, all strung together.

5) I know my limits but I also know when I need to push myself.

6) I am comfortable doing what I do and being who I am. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain really changed my attitude about my perceived “shortfalls.”

7) I know there is no limit on love, courage, kindness.

8) Everyone has a different definition of success, and it is usually not the same as mine. Living up to some one else’s idea of a success is a mistake.

9) Life is too short to be embarrassed by things. Public displays of affection, spontaneous sidewalk dancing or a moment of song are ALWAYS WORTH IT.

Edited to add because I hit publish too quickly:

10) It feels good to be charitable, and to help and elevate others where one can.

11) The view from the high road is always a good one. And there is always karma.

Is age a state of mind? I wonder.



18 Aug, 2014

Growing my own good luck

By andrea tomkins in Oh! Things!

Clover makes me happy.

The container in this photo is a cube-shaped flower pot made out of clear glass. It’s on the smallish side, maybe 4″x4″… the former home of a succulent that my eldest killed from neglect. I was going to pitch the whole thing but at the last minute I was convinced to keep it and reuse it for something else. I added a bit of soil, dropped in some clover seeds, left it on the windowsill, and waited.

The little clovers are so cheery, waving around like that. I wonder if there’s a four-leafer in there somewhere?


NAC Ottawa family events

Summertime fun at Saunders Farm!

Creatures of Light Nature's Bioluminescence at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

Ottawa Gymnastics Centre - Westboro

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Litterless lunch solutions at terra20

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Me and my pet projects



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  • Brenda A: These are super cute and I am off to check out the site. I am tattoo free and happy with that, but temp cuties like these will be great!
  • andrea tomkins: I really liked the tofu in this recipe, but yes, you could totally add shredded chicken!
  • Javamom: I saw that recipe and thought I'd make it myself too although I'd probably leave out the tofu. Not a fan....but it sounds so versatile. If I wanted I
  • Lynn: Also wanted to add: am enjoying your weekend link posts - keep them coming!
  • Lynn: Ooooh...just finished Bellweather Rhapsody myself! I adored it :).
  • andrea tomkins: Lori, You can't earn points just for buying anything at the store, that's kind of the point. You earn points by (1) selecting the groceries that hav
  • Lori Walsh: I've made over 20 trips since the PC points reward card and haven't even earned $20????? I'm almost there however very disappointed :(

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 – 790 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.


  • I'm sharing some of my favourite lunch-related items over on the terra20 blog today. Whether you're packing a lunch for work, for your kids, or just eating at your desk at home, I bet there is something there for you. Check it out!

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  • I have a new post up at the MediaSmarts blog this week. It's my response to a question that I'm asked quite often: What’s the best age to give a kid an iPod touch?

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  • 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?

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On the nightstand

On this date in the archives

Got kids in Ottawa? These posts might be worth a click too:

All hail the mighty Twitter