Friday, January 27, 2012

ANZAC Biscuits

(This is reposted from last year and again, I'm a day late!)

Belated Happy Australia Day!  Yesterday I made ANZAC Biscuits, named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp who were given them went sent to fight in World War I. 

A former Australian-Kitchissippi resident (Kathy) - who used to live on Fraser Avenue and who Chaired the Broadview School Council before returning with her family to the land downunder gave me the recipe over a playdate a few years back. 

The coincidence is that - although I didn't know it at the time - yesterday was Australia Day.  So in case you ever feel the need to be adequately prepared for Australia's national holiday, or for ANZAC Day (their April 25th equivalent of our Remembrance Day), I'll share the recipe.

The cookies are yummy, my kids enjoy them. and they're easy to make.  The only caveat - they aren't low fat or low sugar - and rightly so since they were intended to be the source of lots of calories and lots of energy.  They do have a long shelf life - important when sending overseas - and do not include eggs, as poultry was scarce in wartime.


1 cup rolled outs
3/4 cup dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (ie. baking soda)
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup sugar (they are quite sweet so you could probably reduce)
125 g of butter (1/2 a cup)
1 tablespoon Lyle's Golden Syrup (dating back to 1881, this is a British import and apparently something of an icon; you can find it at the larger grocery stores; other syrups may work equally well)


Combine oats, coconut, flour and sugar. Melt butter and add golden syrup.  Mix  baking soda with boiling water and add to butter mixture.  Stir into dry ingreients.  If dough is too dry add another tablespoon or so of hot water until it holds together.

Spoon or roll into balls and place on greaced or lined trays, with room for spreading. 

Bake in a slow oven (150 C or 300 F) for 20 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet for a little bit until they harden enough to move to a cooling rack.

The recipe makes between 20 and 36 depending on the size of the cookie!  Consider your audience.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Encouragement for the Team

My son was in a hockey tournament this past weekend. He's 8 years old and in the Novice C division of the West End Hockey League. 

His team - the Spitfires - made it to the finals and he was thrilled.  They worked hard and only lost by one goal in the third period.  For the kids and their fams it was as much of a nailbiter as any Stanley Cup game. 

Before thee semi-final game, Jesse Winchester of the Ottawa Senators took time out of his practice to come and talk to them.  Really nice!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Giveaway: 2 tickets to Puss-in Boots 3D at the Ottawa Family Cinema

And the tickets were won by @Peady who retweeted on of my tweets on twitter.  Congratulations!

I'm giving away two tickets to the 2:00 showing of Puss-in-Boots (3D) at the Ottawa Family Cinema on Saturday January 28th.  Details of the show are below, or link directly to the post at:

I'm hosting the give-away to raise awareness of the efforst parents go to in order to ensure that children have a play structure to play on while at school.  Please see the article two posts below in that regard!

To win, simply leave me a comment telling why you think it's important for our schools to have playstructures. If you don't like to publicly comment you can also e-mail me at or RT one of my @kitchissippikid (no "s") tweets about the event on twitter. 

Thank you to all the parents, neighbours and friends who support our schools.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Please Help with this Broadview School Fundraiser!

If you want to know why you should support local school initiatives (currently those of both Broadview and Woodroffe elementary schools) to fundraise for yard play structures see my post below at

$5 of every $10 ticket, as well as 50% of concession sales, will go directly to the school and that's huge!  The extra dollar above door price includes the convenience of the advance ticket, the knowledge that you're really helping a great cause, and BEST of ALL, the chance to win TWO level 200 Sens tickets or a skating and pizza party at McKellar Park.

To purchase tickets contact, the school office, any of your friends and neighbours who have children at Broadview, or me at (I have a grade 5er, a grade 3er and an eventually-to-be JKer at broadview.

Equally, a big shout-out for the Ottawa Family Cinema for being such a great local place for our kids (and us!) to watch movies.  Thank you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Parent Councils Struggle to Raise Funds for New Play Structures

This article originally ran in the December edition of the Kitchissippi Times.

Broadview Avenue Public School is the latest of the Kitchissippi neighbourhood schools to begin a quest for play structure funding. Liz Burgess and Claire Todd are co-chairs of the Council and hope to raise $150,000 this year. Even if they meet their goal, the money “won’t buy us a Cadillac,” Burgess stresses.

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board will remove the junior play structure at Broadview Avenue Public School by September 2012 and won’t replace it. They will give the school just $7,500 towards a new one.

“That’s about enough to buy a slide” says Burgess, who has already invested a significant amount of time researching options. She found that almost $60,000 is required to deal with drainage and grounds issues alone.

In a similar situation, the Board removed Woodroffe Avenue Public School’s primary play structure this past summer, leaving the 300 students in Grades 1 to 3 with nothing but empty areas of sand, grass and pavement.

For Woodroffe and Broadview, as for any other school, a complex web of funding must come together before anything else happens: the City will match the Board’s $7,500, Dovercourt Recreation Association has pledged $5,000, the Council is applying for numerous private grants, and fundraising activities will be held throughout the school year.

Another hurdle: although the Board does not provide much funding, it does control the installation process.

“The money must be in the bank before the Request for Proposal process begins,” says Todd, “and installation will not take place for an additional six months after that.”

“We initially thought we could accept donations of services,” adds Todd, “but that will only be possible if the people in question are insured and become certified by the Board.”

Contracts for work at the schools must be sourced through the OCDSB and Board safety standards are higher than those of even the City public playgrounds. Essentially this means schools must purchase “top-of-the-line” equipment, says Burgess.

The Broadview Council co-chairs are both experienced project managers previously employed in the high-tech sector; they know this isn’t a playground project for the faint of heart. Burgess and Todd each spend approximately 30 hours a week on Council matters, the bulk of which are yard and fundraising related. While they agree that parents shouldn’t be asked to personally fund such a basic component part of their children’s education, in the short-term they are worrying less about the big picture and more about just getting the work done.

School Councils were mandated in 1997 by the Ontario government. While described in Ministry documents as serving an advisory function, they are more clearly fundraising bodies that supplement tax dollars to augment children’s education experience outside the classroom. Council documents from neighbourhood schools indicate that a Council budget is typically between one-quarter and one-half that of a school’s annual operating budget.

Yasir Naqvi, the area’s Member of Provincial Parliament, stresses that the Ontario Liberals increased funding to schools by 40 percent over the last eight years while enrollment has decreased by 8 per cent.

That being said, Chair of the OCDSB Jennifer McKenzie points out that most of the budget increases were dedicated to salaries and the costs of decreased classroom size, full-day kindergarten, and a variety of other special projects. McKenzie pointed out that the Board receives approximately $10 million annually for renewal projects across 150 schools. The Board has discretion in how it spends that money but roofs and boilers necessarily take priority over play structures, said McKenzie.

For details on Broadview’s and Woodroffe’s fundraising initiatives, visit and

Monday, January 2, 2012

Plank to Plunk Down for Mito Canada

kate1.jpgMany of you may know little Kate Drury in our neighbourhood. She's been the subject of newspaper articles, TV and radio interviews and the Hope for Kate fundraising initiative. She's a lovely little four year old girl who very unfortunately is also the subject of a rare form of Mitochondrial disease.  Her symptoms include, among other things, developmental delays, deafness and bouts of cyclical vomiting. Her family stays positive but it's been a tough go.  For them and others like them, consider if you can help.

The non-profit organization Mito Canada is raising money to raise awareness about this disease and is doing it by challenging you to do two side planks and one front plank every day.  Your donation will depend on the amount you do (or DON'T do). Since I'm sure many of you have New Year's Resolutions you're hoping to achieve, this seems the perfect way to keep with the program and help out at the same time. 

For more information about this challenge, see
For more information about Mito Canada, see
For more about Kate's story, see last year's CBC interview at


The snow and some cold weather has finally arrived and whatever you might think about winter, the snow and ice does provide A LOT of outdoor opportunities.

Dovercourt currently has spots in all of its outdoor skating programs (one is pictured at right).  Programs start on Saturday and Sunday, January 14th and 15th, and come in three categories: Learn to Skate with a Parent, Learn to Skate 3-5 years and Learn to Skate for 6+.  While lessons can occasionally be delayed becuase of weather, I can say first hand that they are a great way to get outside and see the kids (and parents) in your neighbourhood.  Not only that, but they get you comfortable with using outdoor ice which is a skill in and of itself.  I will also say that the instructors were far better at teaching our kids to skate than we were!. 

Fisher Park has what I'm told is an awesome hockey development program as well as ita own skating and power skating sessions though it is likely too late to register unless you're extremely lucky (though for the record, registration is at the Community Centre office (613) 798-8945 located in the Fisher Park School, 250 Holland Ave. Payment by cash or cheque.)

Information on the outdoor rinks below is taken from the City of Ottawa site at and is current as of December 28, 2011.  The site offers details of all City rinks.  Some rink operators (eg. Westboro) have accounts on and, if so, you can check there to determine if a rink is open and what the conditions are.  Please note that according to the City Rules of Conduct, hockey sticks, pucks and balls are not permitted on ice surfaces without boards and children under ten must be supervised by someone over the age of sixteen.

  • Champlain Park, 140 Carleton,, rink with puddle, field house w/ washrooms, lights, boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 6 to 9 pm, Sat: 11-6, Sun: 12 to 6; (slightly changed from last year);
  • Dovercourt (see Westboro, below);
  • Fairmont, 265 Fairmont, double surface with trailer and lights, Supervised Mon to Fri: 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat, Sun: 1 to 9 pm;
  • Fisher Park, 250 Holland, Ottawa, Rink with puddle, Trailer, lights and boards (listed as having no supervision though that seems odd if there is a trailer);
  • Iona, 223 Iona, Double surface, Field house, washrooms, lights, no boards, Supervised Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 6 to 11 pm, Wed: 4 to 9 pm, Sat, Sun: 11 to 5 pm;
  • Laroche, 52 Bayview, Rink with puddle, Field house, washrooms, lights and boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 6 to 10 pm, Sat: noon to 9 pm, Sun: 1 to 5 pm
  • McKellar Park, 539 Wavell Ave., double surface, lights, no boards, field house w/ washrooms, supervised Mon to Fri: 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat, Sun: noon to 6
  • Westboro (aka Dovercourt), 411 Dovercourt Ave., rink with puddle, trailer, washrooms etc. in recreation centre, lights, boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat, Sun: 10 am to 3 pm. Great family sledding hill at same location.
  • Woodroffe, 180 Lockhart Ave., rink with puddle, field house, washrooms, lights, boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 5 to 9 pm, Sat: 11 am to 7 pm, Sun: noon to 6 pm