The CFL is back in town

My husband is a huge CFL fan. He had season tickets to the Renegades and as soon as the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group started taking deposits for the new team they were trying to bring here he put down deposits. By the time we actually went in to choose our seats we had to buy a third one since we had a daughter in between.

We’ve taken my daughter to Senators games in the past but I wasn’t sure how she would react to a football game when it was finally time for the Ottawa REDBLACKS home opener. Turns out the kid is a HUGE football fan. She got right into it chanting DE-FENCE and Let’s Go RedBlacks. It was awesome watching her and her daddy cheer together as the team pulled out the game by one point.



If you’re a sports fan these are great games. The team loves the crowd and the crowd loves the team.


Now, a few things you should know if you’re thinking of taking in a game with your little ones:

  • There is lots of beer flowing in the stands, some people drink too much. Not so much in the first game we went to, which had a tight scored but at the second one I definitely noticed it.
  • There will be swearing. I don’t think my four-year-old paid any attention to it, but I certainly noticed it.
  • It is loud. If your kids can get into and cheer right along it will be awesome, but if they get scared or nervous around that kind of thing be aware and at least prepare them.
  • It is crowded. There are always people walking up and down the stairs and you will be constantly getting up to let people past you to get to their seats. The stadium can hold over 24,000 people and they’ve been selling out. If you’re child gets nervous in crowds it might overwhelm them. If your child is older have a plan on where to meet if you get separated.
  • It is not cheap. A bottle of water is over $3, a hot dog is around $4, a bag of popcorn is $8. You don’t have to eat at the game but if you’re planning on it take lots of cash.

Now, loosen up your vocal chords and get out there to cheer on the city’s newest sports team. Go RedBlacks!


Balena Park

by Lara

We have so many great parks in Ottawa and we love to hear about what YOUR favourite parks are.  Over the years we’ve written about all kinds of parks around the city.  If you’d like to write a post about yours, send us an email at – we’d love to share it!

Balena Park

We live in Orleans where we have access to a lot of great splash pads, but there’s something so special about the old wading pools that I try to make at least a few visits to them each year.  Balena is a park that is generally quiet and not over crowded, with a great pool and great structures. Structure at Balena

There are three different structures plus swing sets for the kids to play on.  It keeps them entertained for hours on end.

Wading pool

The wading pool is the highlight for the kids.  There is a shallow area for babies (which comes to about mid-shin on me) and the deeper area is probably only about 2-2.5 feet deep.  It’s great because the kids all feel comfortable in the water (this is the first summer, at 5, I’ve let them in without a life jacket on though) and there are lifeguards on duty. Unfortunately the wading pools are only open for a couple more weeks, but if you have a chance, check them out (and the special events they often hold) before then! They also aren’t generally ready for swimmers until about 11 since the pools are emptied every night and have to be re-filled in the morning.



Another feature of all the wading pools is that the lifeguards are all equipped with craft supplies!  When the kids are ready for a break in the shade they can head over and they’ll have an activity to keep them busy! crafts at Balena Park Finished craft from Balena park

Here are a few other Park posts from over the years:

Brewer Park

Carp splash pad


A few other favourites

What’s your favourite Ottawa area park?

Emergency Preparedness

There is a room at the hospital labelled with a sign: “Pandemic Storage.” I walk by this room every day on my way to get a coffee at Second Cup. Sometimes I stop and peer in through the window. There are ladders, drywall and shelves, and everything is covered in a layer of dust. But it is busy in there, and preparations are being made.

I’m not one to be an alarmist, and I recently read a great blog post on the threat of Ebola to non-African countries. In my work as a health researcher, I am well aware of the multitude of diseases that might kill me – it could even be my drive in to work one day. We are at risk of dying from many things, including disease, accidents, and natural disasters.

Despite a healthy perspective on risk, as a mother, I still worry. And as a former Girl Guide, the motto “be prepared” is ingrained in me. Although I don’t see an Ebola epidemic sweeping through Canada any time soon, I am conscious of the need to prepare for any disaster (we all remember the Ice Storm, right?)

The Government of Canada has a whole website dedicated to emergency preparedness. After years of a niggling voice telling me to get my butt in gear, I’ve finally decided to put together our family’s Emergency Preparedness Kit.

Experts urge us to prepare for 72 hours. If a pandemic were sweeping the country, I’m not sure what 72 hours would do for us, but it makes sense when it comes to something like a natural disaster. Here’s what the government includes as part of a basic emergency kit:

  • Easy to carry: think of ways that you can pack your emergency kit so that you and those on your emergency plan can easily take the items with you, if necessary
  • Water: two litres of water per person per day (include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order)
  • Food: that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year)
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-powered or wind-up radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Special needs items: prescription medications, infant formula or equipment for people with disabilities
  • Extra keys for your car and house
  • Cash: include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (travellers cheques are also useful) and change for payphones

This is a great list, and they also include “extras” that you can add. Given that we’re a family who loves camping, we already have a lot of these supplies. It’s just a matter of compiling all of this into a couple of bins, which could be transferred to backpacks if necessary.

Here’s some of the extras I’ll be adding to our family’s emergency kit:

  • extra water for washing/cooking
  • basic tools (hammer, knife etc.)
  • our camping stove, fueled by white gas (we can fill several bottles full and keep them stored)
  • water purification tablets – safe, effective little tablets that will kill bacteria and viruses
  • carbon water filter (my husband owns one, and it’s essential for backcountry camping!)
  • Flint fire starter and matches
  • Camping pots, dishes and cutlery
  • Waterproof food storage bags
  • Some personal toiletries

This might seem excessive to some (just check out this website, and you’ll think my list is tame in comparison!), but it makes me feel better knowing I have this stuff available to me. Living in the modern world, we all too easily rely on convenience – we know we can buy what we need any time of the day. When preparing for an emergency, imagine what you would do if you couldn’t access a store; if your cell phone was no longer working; if you were driven from your home; and if you had no access to electricity. Makes you think, right?

Do you have an emergency preparedness kit? What’s in it?