Valentine's Day Dinner

by Carly
We love to celebrate Valentine's Day with a nice family dinner.  We set the table with our nicest dishes, keeping to a red and white theme.  Jake loves shaped pancakes so I had fun making heart-shaped ones for our special dinner.
I had a few heart-shaped cookie cutters laying around, so after mixing my pancake batter and pre-heating the pan, I sprayed the cookie cutters with cooking oil and placed them in the pan.  Add the batter, be careful not to overfill the cutters.  When the pancake starts to bubble, use a pair of tongs to remove the cookie cutter from the pan.  You may need to gently cut around the edge of the cutter with a knife to loosen the pancake first.  Once the cookie cutter is removed, flip the pancake and cook it on the other side.  Be sure to re-spray the cookie cutters with cooking oil before using them for the next pancake.
Since my husband isn't big on pancakes, I made him some heart shaped eggs, using the same method.
Topped with maple syrup, some powdered sugar and homemade fruit salad, our pancakes made with a lot of love were a big hit!
Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 5 year old son, Jacob.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.
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Parents in the Capital : Lara K

Ottawa has some wonderful bloggers and we are lucky that many of them are Kids in the Capital contributors and readers! We want to share some of our favorite Ottawa parent bloggers on a more regular basis so we have introduced a series of posts called Parents in the Capital. Say hello to Lara!

1. Tell us about yourself and your family (please include a photo if you’d like)
My name is Lara, I am a mom to a 3 year old "with heart" and a healthy 17 month old, who thinks she's 3!  Stinky Monkey has two heart conditions and has had one open-heart surgery.  After a rough first year in and out of hospital he is now stable, growing and doing things all other 3 year olds do.  Having a healthy baby, Bella Bear, was life altering and scarier than having a cardiac kid!  Before I had Bella Bear I was on a very driven career path, I've taken a step back on returning to work this time around to give myself, my knowledge base and most importantly, my family the attention they deserve.  My interests are volunteering with/for other cardiac families, shopping (helping the economy), and giving my kids the best opportunities and lives possible!

2. What is your favourite activity to do with your kid(s) in Ottawa?

The experimental farm is a family favorite for us.  Going early in the morning, packing a picnic and watching the kids explore the animals and amazing play structure ensures lots of great pictures and happy memories!  Also, Stinky Monkey is obsessed with tractors.

3. What is your favourite at home activity to do with your kid(s)?

Swimming, we put a pool in after Stinky Monkey was born, we knew travel would be limited so we invested in a heated, saltwater pool.  We can all keep cool, get exercise and are close to home!  We love to entertain and enjoy watching all the kids have a great time on hot, sticky Ottawa summer days.

4. What was the biggest surprise that parenthood has brought into your life? The source of strength and confidence I have gained. And both my kids are inspirations to me, they teach me to live more authentically, more real and more in the present.

5. What parenting tips/advice do you wish you'd known when you first became a parent?

That is a really hard question for me to answer because my experience becoming a parent was so different.  I suppose I would have like to have known before I had kids how little sleep the human body actually needs to survive and still function!
6. Tell us about your blog and how you discovered blogging.

I discovered blogging through friends (thank you Lara Wellman) that inspired me by their ability to use social media to share their stories and unique lives!
I had the best of intentions to blog regularly when I returned to work, but that hasn't happened. was meant for two things;
  1. To keep family/friends informed of how things were going with the kids, it gives me a space to provide status updates.
  2. As a place to provide other cardiac families with our story of how we are raising a kid "with heart" because our parenting is different, our issues are sometimes different.
7. What do you love best about being a parent in Ottawa?

The number of museums and kid-friendly spaces where we can explore, learn and socialize with so many others in the community.  I am also really appreciative of having CHEO and a great medical community so close to home, I know my kids, if and when they need it, can access great care.

Thanks Lara!

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