a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Feb, 2017

Weekend reading: February 18 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

17 Feb, 2017

Make this clam chowder!

By andrea tomkins in Recipes and Food

I’ve had a hankering for clam chowder but kept putting it off. For some reason, I thought that clam chowder was a complicated dish that possibly involved shucking clams (does one shuck clams?) and loads of time spent simmering and stirring. I wanted chowder, badly, but didn’t feel like investing time in chowder, no matter how much I craved it.

On a whim, I decided to do a quick search for an easy New England clam chowder recipe and this one came up.

Clam chowder recipe!

It’s a keeper!

Worth noting (and not in the original recipe), I added a fresh tilapia filet I nabbed on sale just to give this chowder a bit of heft. (I just cut it up into smaller pieces and added it in near the end while it was simmering.) Next time I will add fewer potatoes and chop them a bit smaller.

I served it up with some bacon and a sprinkle of green onion on top. We ate it with thick slices of buttered baguette and it was PERFECTION.

It was exactly what I was craving and tasted great. It’s a perfect winter meal and this recipe was very quick and easy to pull together. Even better, my eldest suddenly decided she liked clam chowder. The takeaway: MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN.

Tags: ,

15 Feb, 2017

Found Day

By andrea tomkins in Ottawa

Every second Tuesday is my day. My. Day. The newspaper is finalized and sent to the printer’s every second Monday, so the day after is my opportunity to decompress. As you can imagine, this is easier said than done. Sometimes my Tuesday is the only available day for a meeting or I get caught up in errands, but I do try my darndest to keep it clear. You see, I’ve decided that every second Tuesday is the day I devote to filling up my vessel. (This is something I wrote about awhile back in regards to writer’s block. You can read that right here.)

Regular Fishbowl readers might recall the Lost Day I had last week. Well, yesterday I decided to reclaim that day and even out the tally.

After my usual morning routine, I picked myself up, got in the car, and made my way downtown to the National Gallery. Mind you, the siren song of my book (The Witches of New York, it’s soooo gooood!) and the promise of hot beverages and fuzzy blankets was very hard to resist, but I ignored that feeling and set out anyway.

Spoiler alert: I was very happy I did.

At the National Gallery

I started my solitary, leisurely stroll through the Alex Janvier exhibition. Janvier is a contemporary indigenous artist whose work will challenge any preconceived notion you might have about aboriginal art. (By the way, he’s the fellow who designed and painted the gorgeous artwork on the domed ceiling of the Museum of History in Gatineau.)

Alex Janvier at the National Gallery


Next up: a thoughtful exhibition of the photos of Josef Sudek (1896–1976), a.k.a the “poet of Prague.” My favourite photos were his historical views of Prague, but that’s really only scratching the surface of his body of work:

Photo of Prague by Joseph Sudek.

I took a break for lunch at the cafeteria. Have you ever been? The food is good and reasonably priced. I had an apple/brie panini, a bag of chips, and a coffee for about ten bucks.

Lunch at the National Gallery

This pretty view of a snow-covered Parliament Hill was included in the lunch (what a deal!):

View from the National Gallery

After lunch, I went to visit some old friends…


.. and then settled down for some quiet contemplation in the main foyer. There were a bunch of great big red chairs facing Parliament Hill, with wide curving backs that went up higher than my head. A young couple snuggled in one of these chairs on my left, and there was a breastfeeding mother on the right. What a lovely space.

I, too, enjoyed a bright and sunny view while I wrote this blog post. :)

Quiet time at the National Gallery

As I sat there and looked out over this snowy corner of Ottawa, I listened to the quiet hum of people around me and thought about how good it felt to reclaim this day. I was reminded that I am ultimately the master of my own time, and that the Found Days outnumber Lost Days, by far.


Have a great summer at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

terra20 Ottawa

National Arts Centre Ottawa

Lice Services Ottawa - Ottawa Lice Treatment and Removal Experts

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

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

  • Katherine: Organization is so key! And to make it fun - beautiful I think would make it easier to do! ; )
  • mollyvds@gmail.com: Having been through lice removal way more than any family ought to, I would LOVE to win this!
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Welcoming a new patron, plus a giveaway for Ottawa families - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] in January I visited an Ottawa-area lice removal service and wrote about it here. To summarize: I was really impressed with what I saw at Li
  • Alyssa: I've always kept a scheduler or date book of some kind. I'm bad for forgetting to write in them but I'm working on that with a new 2017 agenda I have.
  • devenir millionnaire: Quality posts is the crucial to be a focus for the people to paay a quick visit the site, that's what this website is providing.
  • Misty Pratt: I still haven't figured out "found days." I went down to 4 days/week at the office, and my one day seems to fill up with so many things (yesterday it
  • andrea tomkins: Thanks Claudette! It felt really good to get out. As I get older I'm realizing how important it is to keep my batteries charged. Took me long enough t

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 (17) and Sarah (15). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. 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!

Piper is on Instagram

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter