The Suzuki Foundation Fall Family Challenge

Get outside and explore the wonders of nature

The Suzuki Foundation Fall Family Challenge

The Suzuki Foundation Fall Family Challenge

As we all become more settled into our back-to-school routines, get used to homework each evening, and the cooler weather sets in, I know my family tends to start spending more time indoors than we did during the summer. Your family is likely the same. But the David Suzuki Foundation is challenging us to do the opposite—they want us to get outside and explore the wonders of nature in our own neighborhoods this fall so we can learn how we are connected to the environment and how our actions affect it

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, adults spend an estimated 9.3 hours a day sitting in their cars, workplaces, and homes. Their findings also show that the average North American child spends as few as 30 minutes playing outside each day and more than seven hours in front of a screen. Not good. What is good is researchers have found overwhelming evidence that time outside makes people healthier, happier, and smarter. Not a surprise, right? This is why, for the second year in a row, the foundation is challenging all of us—as families—to put down the electronics and get outside.

To get in on the challenge, all you have to do is sign-up at and each week you will receive an email containing fun outdoor activities, instructions, and tips. Throughout the challenge, you can stay connected with other families who are also taking part to get more ideas and inspiration by using the hashtag #getbackoutside. You can also stay connected to other participants by following the David Suzuki Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is a challenge I am up for. How about you?



Why You Should Visit the Baby Show in Ottawa

Green and Healthy Living Vendors and So Much More!

Why You Should Visit the Baby Show in Ottawa

Why You Should Visit The Baby Show in Ottawa

If you have a baby OR are expecting a baby OR you know someone having a baby, AND you live in Ottawa, then the place to be this weekend, September 28th and 29th, 2013 is the Baby Show!

The only category I fit into in the list above is: I live in Ottawa. Even though I am well past the "having babies" stage, I'll still be attending the show. Why? Because I love supporting local businesses, especially those that offer green and healthy living products and services.

There will be several vendors at the show that focus on green and healthy living such as Kardish Health Food Centre, Little Lotus Yoga, Rainbow Foods, terra20 and more. For those of you wanting to attend because you have or are about to have a baby in your life, then the impressive list of vendors and service providers taking part in the show will not disappoint. You will find everything from baby photographers, baby accessories, baby resources/information, birthing services, cloth diaper vendors and SO MUCH MORE. As a bonus, if you are attending with small children, there will be live shows to keep them entertained as well as play and rest areas.

To make things even more fun, on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 between 8pm and 9pm, you'll have a chance to win one of six $25 gift certificates from local eco store terra20 and VIP access passes to the show. Follow @thebabyshow for your chance to win.

I will be at the baby show for a part of the weekend live tweeting and keeping you up to date on all the happenings. Fellow YMC bloggers, Candace Derickx and Joe Boughner will also be in attendance along with a few other Ottawa-based bloggers you may know: @bitofmomsense and @canadiandadblog. We all hope you come down to see what the amazing, hard-working vendors taking part have to offer. In fact, if you buy your show tickets in advance, you will save yourself a few dollars!

Need more reasons to convince you to come out? Here are five:

  1. LEARN about the newest and latest products, how to best care for yourself and your baby. Through pregnancy and postpartum.

  2. SAMPLE some of the newest products on the market. Try before you buy!

  3. PURCHASE the hottest new products at special show rates.

  4. EXPERIENCE invaluable seminars from leading parenting and health experts about pregnancy, safety and how to care for your bundle of joy.

  5. ENTERTAINMENT by your child's favourite characters to key speakers to make your life easier and to make you the best mom that you can be.

Hope to see you there!


How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Avoid BPA-lined cans and do it yourself by following this step-by-step

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Back when the dangers of Bisphenol-A became well-known, I set out to eliminate as much of it as I can from my home. One of my mottos is “Better safe than sorry.”

One of the things I cut back on and have pretty much eliminated is canned foods. The only canned products that come through my doors are those that come in BPA-free cans (click for a list of BPA-free canned products in Canada). I realized that a lot of what I was buying could easily be made at home. Sure, it’s not as quick and convenient as picking up a can at the store, but it is so much healthier and you know exactly how it was made and what’s in it. Plus, it’s fresher and tastes much better. Like this pumpkin puree I make each fall.

Now, you can’t make pumpkin puree with the same pumpkins you carve to make jack-o-lanterns, you must use “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins.”

These pumpkins can be easily found at most grocery stores during the fall and when you find them, stock up, make a huge batch, and freeze it to make things like cookies, muffins, pies, loaves, soups, lattes…‘tis the season for everything pumpkin, right?

  Preheat oven to 350°F.

  Slice each in half and remove the stem. I usually bake two pumpkins at a time.

  Scoop out the seeds and save them for roasting!

  To easily remove the stem, make a cut on each side, and snap it off.

  On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the pumpkin halves facing down.

  Bake for about 1 hour. Timing will depend on the size of the pumpkins. You will know they are done when a fork slides through easily.

  Let the pumpkins cool. Once cooled, scoop out the insides and place in a food processor or blender.

  Process until there are no chunks left and the puree is smooth.

  Separate into one cup potions and place in storage jars suitable for the freezer.

These 2 pumpkins gave me 5 ½ cups of puree. Not bad. And so much cheaper than the canned version!