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The Crystal Waters Experience: Where Luxury Meets Relaxation

Summer 2021 went by in the blink of an eye. After months of no travel and lockdowns due to Covid, we finalized our travel plans to Greece once we were fully vaccinated, and couldn't wait to get on the plane. We spent one glorious month in Greece, and had an incredible time.  While we usually do a lot of exploring in Greece, this year we had a busier itinerary than previous years--we travelled across the country visiting many ancient sites, museums, and beaches, putting over 5,000 kilometres on our vehicle--and it was totally worth it.  A highlight of our trip was visiting the island of Lefkada on the Ionian Sea, near the islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Lefkada is a popular island in Greece, thanks to it's world famous beaches, though thankfully not as packed as Santorini and Mykonos. It's rich with lush vegetation, natural landscapes, beautiful mountains, and breathtaking blue-flag beaches, including Kathisma and Porto Katsiki.  My husband and I had the great pleasure o
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Make It A Popcorn Night With Orville Redenbacher

Even though the weather is cooler, we're still spending a lot of time outside enjoying the beauty of fall. It's also the perfect time to enjoy cozy evenings indoors with the family watching a movie, and eating some popcorn--two things that go hand in hand for me! One of our go-to snacks that's also pretty healthy is Orville Redenbacher popcorn. We love it because it tastes good, contains no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives, is made with 100% whole-grain, non-GMO popcorn, and is a high source of fibre.  Since we are also spending more time at home together as a family, trying to keep healthy while keeping our community safe, we are doing more baking and Orville Redenbacher has some great recipes that you can make at home with your children, incorporating popcorn--so fun! I just made these homemade granola bars, and it's a really simple recipe--they're so delicious, too! Orville's Power Crunch Bars Ingredients:  - 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oa

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apple picking at Orleans Fruit Farm  I'm no baker, and rarely post recipes on my blog, but since it's a rainy day in September (during a global pandemic, no less) I thought it would be the perfect time to share this delicious recipe! One of our annual traditions is going apple picking, and we decided to make these simple apple cinnamon muffins that are perfect to eat as a snack, or even for breakfast. They're easy to make--my 12 year old made these on his own.  So yummy! Here's what you need:  2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon  2 cups diced apples (peeled, obviously) 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 cup milk  For the topping:  1/2 cup melted butter 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup ground cinnamon Instructions:  Preheat oven to 375F.  Mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl--set aside.  Mix 2 teaspoons flour with 1/2 teasp

Overwhelmed With Support For Together, Apart: Life During The Coronavirus

We are so overwhelmed with everyone's support with our children's book Together, Apart: Life During the Coronavirus ! We are thankful to have been interviewed on 580 CFRA, 1310 News, CTV Ottawa Morning Live, CTV Noon , CBC Ottawa, Orleans Star, and Ottawa Matters . The support and kind words, feedback, and images we have received from people who have purchased and shared our book have made us so incredibly happy and grateful. You can see more pictures on my Instagram page, too, under my book highlights. We are still selling books, and catching up with orders, so thanks for your patience, as the mail delivery is a little slower these days. (You can either have your books mailed to you, or you can pick up from either my house or my mom's house, too, and we also drop off books to those who may not be able to travel right now). After receiving many requests for Together, Apart to be translated into French, we are happy to let you know that the book is now available

Together, Apart: Life during the Coronavirus

On March 9th, I went away on a work trip to Toronto. I landed back in Ottawa the next day, March 10th, and the rest of the week was pretty normal, with some talk about things shutting down for two weeks because of the Coronavirus, and an increase number of cases in Ottawa. By then, we were all a little worried, especially for how bad the situation was in parts of Europe, like in Italy. On that Friday, our boys had their last day of school--grade 9 and grade 6--before March break began. Well, as we all now know, March break was just the beginning of kids being away from school, and for parents everywhere adapting to working from home, getting used to home schooling, zoom meetings, cooking, baking, and keeping busy at home while trying to not completely freak out with worry about the fact that we were living through a global pandemic. There was--and still is--so much uncertainty, and fear. But at the same time, we are slowly getting used to our new routines. And enjoying more family

Celebrate Love With Local Valentine's Gifts

How are you spending Valentine's Day? No matter what you do, it'll be perfect as long as it's with the ones you love. My favourite Valentine's Day includes a night either out with my husband, or staying in with our boys. Quality family time is always the best gift to give and receive, but there are also some great ideas that are sure to be a hit. Here are my suggestions for some great Valentine's Day gifts to give, from stores found right here in Ottawa, like Schad on Sussex for the perfect sweater, t-shirt, or jewellery, donuts from Ottawa's best donut shop, Maverick's Donuts, or candles, books, and reading socks from Indigo. Another great idea is a gorgeous bloom box of roses from Luxe Blooms. I also love giving the gift of art, and an original painting from local artist Katerina Mertikas is a wonderful idea. How about an at-home spa basket with a gift card for a massage from Innes Massage Therapy, or a cordless curling iron for an upcoming su

From Page To Screen: The Books That Inspired This Year's Oscar Nominated Movies

The 92nd annual Academy Awards take place on February 9th. There are so many great movies nominated this year, many of which I've seen–and loved! Nothing beats an excellent movie except, perhaps, an equally excellent book. Great novels are often a staple of Oscar season, and this year, these are the books that inspired some of the year's best movies, all Oscar nominated films. The books make an excellent companion to the film, and I think it's a great idea to read the book, and watch the movie, just in time for Oscar season. I was on CTV Noon and CTV Ottawa Morning Live talking about these great books, all of which you can pick up at Indigo . (My favourite store, by the way–I could spend countless hours in Indigo looking through all the books and home decor items!) Here are the books worth reading before February 9th: The Irishman This Irishman is the movie based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. The movie, on Netflix and in select the