Our morning at @orleansfestival

This morning, Brent and I decided to take the kids to the Orleans fESTival d’Orléans. It started on Friday and runs through Sunday. There are a ton of activities for grown ups and kids. I’ve been super excited about the workshops but between the weekend commitments we have and the fluctuating temperament of our children throughout the day, I won’t be able to spend as much time there as I like.

We made it around 9:30 this morning and got to enjoy a free breakfast served by some local politicians. Even though the kids had recently had breakfast at home, they devoured the various meats on offer and gulped down the classic McD’s orange drink.

Then we got to enjoy a bit of live music. They played some Acadian folk music and some good old stand by’s such as “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain” and “You are my sunshine”.

We then checked out the art on display for sale, the craft room and the community mural room. Bobby was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the activities. He’s more of an ‘observe first, participate later’ kind of guy so we went off to go do our groceries. I plan to go back again tomorrow when our schedule is a little more open. Maybe Bobby will feel more inclined to participate after having already been. There will also be more live shows to catch!

If you can make it out either today or tomorrow, I suggest that you do. There’s a lot to take in from visual arts, culinary arts, dance and music. All performances and workshops are FREE so you can try new things at no cost. How fantastic!

On this day:

In 2011 – from caterpillar to butterfly – step by step
In 2009 – it was ACTUALLY Rubella!
In 2008 – nutritional info of candy bar
In 2007 – we seriously had a group singalong in our basement
In 2006 – Looking for quality Gnomes and I bought my shark dress! I still wear and love it.
In 2005 – deep throating seagull


Even more winning!

As you may be aware, I attend the Orleans Farmers’ Market every week unless I’m out of town. Only recently did I discover that there is a weekly draw to win a bunch of free goods from the vendors and I won on my second try!

This is very exciting because 1- I love winning stuff, 2- I love food, 3-I’m in that mood to try new things cooking-wise.

The Winnings:

Honey, Salsa, Summer Sausage, Apples, Cantaloupe, Red Cabbage and Corn

Leeks, Cherry Tomatoes, Eggs, Gluten Free Brownie, Apple Pecan Sticky Bun, Lemon Cranberry Pound Cake, Pakoras, Maple Cotton Candy and Bell Peppers.

So far we have eaten all the prepared foods. I used one leek with some leftover button mushrooms and creme fraîche to make soup, made the corn as a burger side dish and used the tomatoes on our pasta. Tomorrow we’ll dig in to about half that cabbage. I haven’t cooked much with cabbage, other than making rolls which I do NOT have time/patience/fixings for tomorrow.

I still want to use up 2 leeks in something OTHER than potato soup. Ideas? Maybe a quiche?

On this day:
In 2007 – “Can you guess what it is?”
In 2006 – “my dad’s re-animated corpse just walked into my house”

Making Orleans Better Part 3

I live in the Convent Glen neighbourhood of Orleans and recently discovered that it does not have a community association. At a friend’s suggestion, I contacted the Councillor of the area just to make sure because maybe there WAS an association with no web presence or newsletter, but there was not.

Yesterday I met with Councillor Bob Monette to discuss founding a community association and he is very enthusiastic, which is wonderful. I’ve never actually been a MEMBER of a community association so I’ve never been to the meetings but I have benefited from events and newsletters in the past. We have booked a meeting for the community to get together and start up an association

September 22 at 7pm

Roy Hobbs Community Center

He will be inviting the various groups he has contact with that are against things. You know, “People against the bridge” “People against hedges hanging into the sidewalks” etc. He will also be inviting the media. My job is to get people who want to improve the community involved. I’m thinking that I will print up a simple flyer with the meeting info, listing the benefits of an active community association and giving my contact info for anyone who wants to join and help out before the meeting. So here is my crowd sourcing question for you:

What do you get out of your community association?

I’d really appreciate your feedback!

On this day:

In 2010 – “How on earth do you find a reliable babysitter?”
In 2007 – ” Does anybody remember Magic cards?”
In 2006 – “Now the REAL question…what to wear?”
In 2005 – “Telling people about this is such hard work!”

Making Orleans Better part 2 = Winning part 3 of 3

A few weeks ago I went to the City of Ottawa Infant Information session held in Orleans. Whenever I can, I support social/community events in Orleans because there really isn’t much going on here and there wont be in the future if the little that does go on is poorly attended.

The session consisted of various workshops ranging from child safety to infant massage. Molly and I attended the Kindermusik mini-class since it’s a program Bobby enjoyed thoroughly.

There was also an exhibitors’ hall populated by the Ottawa Police, dental and health services, community resource centres, retailers and more. It was really great to walk around and gather some new info and learn about new services.

Sara, who did a pregnancy shoot with me, had a booth promoting her family photography business. We discussed that my MIL wanted a new portrait of our family and that I would be booking something with her shortly. As I was leaving the venue I noticed a whiteboard with the names of the door prize winners and I was one of them!

I won a gift certificate for Sara’s photo services. Talk about DESTINY WIN!

We did the shoot last week on an incredibly hot evening in a mosquito infested area near the river. I’m happy to report that the shots are GORGEOUS but you can judge that for yourself. Here is a small sample and you can go see more over on Sara’s blog post.

On this day:

In 2008 – “So that was pretty much awesome”

In 2007 – “he’s nothing more than a sexist jerk.”

In 2005 – ” It’s a shame really.”


Making Orleans Better Pt. 1

As many of you know I live in Orleans and I’m not a big fan. However, as there is no way for me to not be living here for the next few years, I need to ovary up and make the best of it. This is the first in a series of posts where I will explore what I actually DO like about Orleans as well as sharing some ideas on what could make it better.

This past Friday I attended the opening day of the Orleans Farmer’s Market. For those of you who are unaware, it runs every Friday from 11am-6pm at the Centrum Plaza.  There were about 8 vendors with definite space for more. However, given the fact that this is not central to the city, I’m not sure more vendors will come unless Orleanians really start taking advantage of this. I bought from 4 vendors:

Art-is-in – Anyone who doesn’t know how fabulous their products are is really missing out. I got two small loaves of bread to have with our supper and ate too much of it at lunch. MY BAD. Best part – no line up like at Lansdowne on Sundays!

Garland Sugar Shack – All I need to say is MAPLE COTTON CANDY.

And two produce growers of whom I did not take note.

I plan on returning every Friday in the hopes that more vendors will arrive as the growing season marches on. The area that hosts the farmer’s market is sort of a courtyard surrounded by a new restaurant in the style of East Side Mario’s (I assume since that’s what used to be there and it’s now called Luigi’s so it’s basically the Super Mario Bros. corner), a pub, The Shenkman Art’s centre, the Y and a couple of little plaza like shops that are very specific and wouldn’t really generate much traffic (pet food store, sporting goods.  I hadn’t truly explored the area before so I was very hopeful when I brought Molly out on a beautiful day to poke about.  We first visited all the stalls and all the vendors were friendly and eager to talk. After we had done that, I kind of stood there looking around the plaza for something else to do.

It’s very unwelcoming.

It would have been great had there been a little cafe or a general stuff shop but my options were very limited. My ideal would have been to grab a latte after the farmers market and sit on a nearby bench sipping it in the sunshine but my closest coffee place was in an actual shopping mall that I would pretty much need to drive to.  This entire area has a lot of potential. The arts centre, the Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, the Y are all destinations that people go to for specific reasons but there is nothing there that offers people a reason to STAY and spend some time, and let’s face it, money. There is no appeal for me to go to a sit down restaurant in the middle of the day but a cafe, an ice cream shop, a boutique etc all have the kind of appeal that draws people into a place to spend even a small amount and gets them walking around the area and possibly spending on a bigger ticket item.

It’s a destination. It’s the start of integrating business into the community. It’s what’s missing from this town.

On this day:


In 2006 – You can choose what to believe.

In 2005 – I feel damp yet alive.