The time was finally right to plant my impatiens this weekend. No more risk of frost, a break from the rain and a successful trip to Connon Nurseries. I like to plant white impatiens in the garden at the end of our patio. We spend a lot of time on the patio, even after dark, and the white flowers really stand out in low light. They are small right now but, as the experts at Connon advise, with some slow release fertilizer and proper care, they’ll spread out beautifully as the summer progresses. I may be stuck in a white blossom rut but annuals like impatiens give gardeners a chance to experiment with colours and textures each season.
When we bought our house 14 years ago, we were concerned about the fact that it had aluminum wiring. In order to get house insurance the connections and receptacles all needed to be replaced. Used in homes from about the mid ‘60s to the mid ‘70s, aluminum wiring is not unsafe, it’s the connections that can cause trouble. When I was speaking with Lindsay Harvey of Defender Electric, she said that home buyers should have a qualified electrician check out the home. If aluminum wiring is identified and you decide to buy the home, hire the electrician to replace the connections and receptacles to eliminate the potential for arching and the possibility of a fire.
It was obvious that my son had allergies, what we didn’t know at first was that he also had asthma. A dedicated athlete, he began to have trouble breathing when he exerted himself, especially when he was practicing football in cold damp weather. It’s pretty scary when you can’t breathe properly. We got as much information as possible from the Asthma clinic at our local hospital, some of which was provided by the Ontario Lung Association. With the right medication and coping strategies, people who have asthma can control it. Ben continues to play football, rugby, baseball and works out thanks to the help he’s received around his asthma. Be informed. As the Association states, if you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.
Life throws stress our way all the time – some days more than others. There is no escaping stress and it can even have an upside. Fact is that it can kill us unless we find healthy ways to cope with it. One of the best anti-stress remedies is exercise. The most stressful job that I had was when I was the editor of a newspaper. That’s when I realized that my twice-weekly aerobics classes, Masters swim club workouts and weekend hikes were not only keeping me physically fit but mentally fit as well. It’s great to have healthy lifestyle choices reinforced and that’s what happened when I interviewed Mark Cormier at McMaster Innovations Park’s fitness centre. The personal trainer and fitness expert says that the reducing stress is one of the major benefits of regular exercise. Busy people need to book time to exercise. At MIP they can do it at work on their lunch hour. Too bad more of us didn’t have that perk!
Most moms appreciate a gift of flowers on Mother’s Day. They also enjoy seeing flowers in bloom at Royal Botanical Gardens. Mother’s Day coincides with the Tulip Festival, a great way to celebrate the day. My mom and I went to the Lilac Festival, which begins at toward the end of the month, several years ago and experienced the added bloom bonus of a display of irises. The view of that garden is etched in my mind, a patchwork quilt of colours and when viewed up close, each blossom was as beautiful as patterned fine silk. Brunch is served on Mothers Day but if you miss it, the gardens themselves are a wonderful gift.
We’ll be toasting William and Kate with china cups full of tea on the Royal Wedding day at our office. We’re elevating coffee break to a regal level with high tea, complete with dainty sandwiches and sweets presented on tiered plates. The invitation encouraged guests to dress the part, so we’re expecting some interesting formal wear including the finest hats for the ladies inspired by the royals themselves. The folks at Ontario Pork have created a royal menu for the day including ham salad sandwiches for tea. They’ll look great along with the cucumber sandwiches that will be on our high tea table. Our sweets plate will include Chocolate Biscuit Cake, William’s favourite. Cheers and best wishes to the future King and Queen.
Over the years our two boys were invited to many birthday parties. They’ve been at hotel swimming pools, laser tag attractions, bowling allies and kids’ homes. I usually dropped them off at the prescribed time and went back to pick them up in a couple of hours if I couldn’t share the duties with another parent. When Sam was quite young, he was nervous about being left alone at a party in an indoor playground. I hung around, catching up on some editing while he and the other party goers went wild on the climbing equipment. Back in the day, there was a ball pit that was really popular with the little guys. The time passed quickly and I noticed that the mom who hosted the party seemed to enjoy herself. There was nothing for her to do but great the guests. The kids had pizza and cake in a party room and that was it. It’s the kind of experience Susan Schulz, owner of Kidtopia Indoor Playground in Oakville describes. With her staff looking after everything including the clean up, this kind of party is really a gift for parents.
If you enjoy watching the Food Network, or simply love food, the Good Food Festival and Market will be to your taste. You will have a chance to taste new products, see cooking demonstrations and find a amazing deals. When I attended I couldn’t believe the number of people who were pulling along suitcases behind them. At the halfway point of the first aisle, I understood that these people knew exactly what they were doing and I wished I had been as well prepared for some exceptional food shopping. The annual show will feature Duff Goldman from Food Network Canada’s Ace of Cakes, who is appearing as a judge for the Royal Cake Decorating Contest and one of my favourites, the Canadian Living test kitchen. You can find the details on the Good Food Festival and Market website. The show runs from April 29 to May 1 at Mississauga’s International Centre.
When time affords it, my husband and I will walk to the grocery store or the video store which are a few blocks from home. It’s good exercise and we aren’t adding to our carbon footprint. Kristie Daniel, Senior Policy Analyst with Halton Region’s Community Health Services suggests making a commitment to walking and cycling more and driving less by taking the pledge on the iCANwalk website. She promotes “active transportation” which means getting from point A to B by using our own energy. The iCANwalk pledge participants can track the number of kilometres walked or cycled to selected destinations. There are prizes for participating but the real bonus is that you will save money on gas, save the environment and improve your health through exercise. It’s also a chance to connect with your partner.
When Mary Jane Quinn, senior marketing communications leader at Ontario Pork, wondered if I wanted a Royal Wedding menu for our website, I said “I do”. She came up with recipes for the three meals for the day as well as afternoon tea of course. The day begins with Palace Poached Eggs with Peameal Bacon on English Muffins and a most fitting and celebratory beverage, Champagne and orange juice. It’s a drink that puts a sunny glow on the day. Reflecting the Royal’s German heritage, Mary Jane chose Westminster Cabbage Rolls for a lunch that can be made ahead of time. When it’s tea time, load up a layer of the tiered plate with dainty ham salad sandwiches and finish the day with a grand meal of Royal Crown Roast of Pork. If you can’t enjoy these dishes on April 29, try them any time you want to give yourself and your guests the royal treatment.