a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Aug, 2013

Keepin’ kids busy! Idea #1 is freshly squeezed

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Recipes and Food

I wanted to send a big helloooo and thank you to the fabulous bloggers who held down the fort while we were away on holiday. Please check out their posts (you can read them here) and their blogs too. Thanks again:

I have so much to write (camping! giveaways! test drives of a new vehicle! recipes!) but today I wanted to share something else.

I read this post by Karen Green the other day with a sinky-feeling heart. How could I not. I’ve been there, in that same place. In fact, although our girls are older now I’m still kinda there.

We have days of enjoyment and moments of pure glee and a few snippets of relaxation, but even in the midst of those, I am scrambling for purchase on a constantly churning sea of obligations.”


I like to think that I’m providing my kids a good example of what it means to be a working mother. I’m a parent who is doing the kind of work (fun, creative, fulfilling work) that pays some bills while working from home. I hope that I am showing our daughters that it’s possible to have meaningful and satisfying work and balance it with life as a family.

This summer is a little different because our eldest is gainfully employed (which is frankly kind of amazing, but in the interest of her privacy I am refraining from details) and so every day I’ve been working in the mornings while the youngest one keeps herself occupied. There’s always a promise of things we’ll do later, and although I do my best to follow through, but I often catch myself saying annoying things like “just give me five more minutes” and “give me a second I just need to check my email.”

Now that we’re into the final weeks of summer vacation I decided that it might be a good idea to shake things up a little and, ahem, assign my kid various mini-projects to do independently (keyword being INDEPENDENTLY here) while I work. Who knows, maybe she’ll learn something, and maybe some of these ideas will work for you?

First up: squeezing lemons.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

This doesn’t sound very exciting, but it is. We did this ages ago with a bag of oranges and it was a pretty neat exercise. I was walking by a rack of aging produce at the grocery store and I remembered what a neat idea it was. I grabbed a bag of lemons (50% off!) and decided on the spot that we’d have to do this again.

There were nine lemons in the bag. Here’s the question we asked ourselves: how much juice can you squeeze out of nine lemons?

Any guesses? Well…

You may be interested to learn that nine lemons gave us just over one cup of juice. Not bad eh?

Now, what to do with the lemon juice? Well, I suppose you can make lemon squares (here’s a good-lookin’ recipe) or something like that, but we decided to make lemonade instead. (Sorry my youngest decided. This is about INDEPENDENCE remember??)

As you can imagine, nothing beats freshly squeezed lemonade.

Sarah’s lemonade

3 1/4 cups of water
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste, I use a little less)
1/2 cup lemon juice

It was good. Really good. The family got to enjoy some lovely lemonade, I got some work done, and our backyard composter got a whole bunch of squeezed-out lemons. :)

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The Obligatory Blurb

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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