Eco Energy Audit – Part 2

We finally have our second ecoenergy report.  This is the report that lets us know whether all the work we’ve been doing over the past two years is paying off from an environmental  point of view.
We had an environmental score of 57 (out of 100) and have moved up to 74.  Typical houses of our age (built in the 60ies) are at 61 and the most energy efficient would be 83.  In theory the jump from 57 to 74 has allowed us to reduce our energy consuption by 45%.  This last point is more than true of our gas bill.  This change has also reduced our GHG (green house gas) emissions by 10.1 tonnes per year.
In terms of airleakage, we had a rating of 4.6 ACH.  This is the equivalent of a 1.2 sq foot hole in the side of the house.  To 3.39 AHC or .85 sq ft hole.  This doesn’t seem quite as dramatic.

For anyone out there that is in the midst of doing one of these things, all I have to say is document, document, document.  We have our energy report, but not rebate money just yet.  Turns our our “receipts” were really signed quotes, or receipts for installation, not the purchase of the product, and in some cases non-existant.  We’ve been taking pictures of the work, scouring through old photos to document the work in progress and doing a lot of back and forth to have the report submitted. 

We canceled our CSA service

I was sad to do this.  I was more sad as I was picking through moldy beets at the grocery store, trying to find something edible.  The produce we’ve been getting from Bryson Farms has been outstanding.  It tastes fantastic, it’s colourful, it looks fantastic, it lasts a long time, etc.

Canceling the service is part of our ‘simplification plan’.  The challenge with a basket of produce that gets delivered, is that it arrives mid-week and then I have to plan my meals around what’s in the box.   This is more time consuming that going through my recipe binder and picking out the first  6 meals that look interesting to me.

Always an evolution here at the house.  It will only take a couple of weeks of moldy, wilted produce for me to go back to the CSA.

Fortissimo on Parliament Hill

This has got to be one of the most fun ways to introduce young kids to classical music. There are outfits, drums, marching and best of all from my little guy’s perspective: cannons.  This weekend (August 6-9), up at Parliament Hill you can checkout the honour guard (regular changing of the guard folks), along with 150 musicians, gunners and soldiers.  The pipers start 6:30, and the main event starts at 7pm. 

To get an idea of what to expect, here’s some YouTube Video from the 2007 and 2008 proceedings

For those of you who have later bed times than I do, you can stay to watch the sound and light show.

Update on the Ottawa CSA front

As you may recall, we’ve been ordering groceries from Ottawa Organics for the past month or so.  Here are some thoughts:


  • Arrives without fail every Wednesday
  • I can leave them a check in my cooler for the amount ordered
  • No one has stolen our groceries (big concern of my husband!)
  • The fruit has been very, very tasty.


  • I’ve been ordering some extras off their web site (bread, milk, broccoli) to add to my ‘veggie box’.  When I order the extras, I’m given a total amount to pay and leave the check for that amount. Trouble is, they don’t always have the extras.  This means I overpay and have to take it off the next week’s check
  • The quality has been mixed: we’ve had bruised, punctured plums; moldy raspberries and worm riddled turnips.  Truth be told, when I brought this to there attention, we were given a discount off our next box.

Bytown Mom Conclusion: I’m doing this to save myself time and effort: when the milk doesn’t show up I have to head out to the grocery store on a weeknight; when the turnips have worms, I need to adjust dinner plans 15 minutes before it’s expected on the table.  Tomorrow’s our last delivery from Ottawa Organics.  We’re moving on to Bryson Farms for next week.

How to choose a nanny agency

I know, I know, I’m supposed to be telling you about what I’ve been reading this week, and I have been reading a lot on the bus, but it’s mostly been “The Economist”.  Now that I have a few free minutes, I’m back to looking for a nanny agency and have found a couple of useful guides:

The Canadian Caregiver’s Association – a not for profit group that is trying to implement some industry standards has a guide.  So far the best guide I’ve found is from an agency itself.  I know it’s suspect to get the information “from the horse’s mouth”, but this site was full of great tips and tricks:   If you click on the link, you’ll find the focus is more about hiring the nanny than the agency.  And that’s exactly why I think the list is so great.  I’m looking for an agency that can help me find a great nanny for my family, and this agency has suggestions on how to do that.

The perfect hostess gift

It’s local.  It’s unique. It’s only $10.

Staying current on up and coming musicians and being a working mom don’t always go hand in hand, but it’s just been made easier by my friend Jackie.  She’s produced CD covering unsigned, up and coming Canadian talent.  You can pick-up the CD at the downtown Chapters here in Ottawa.  Not based in Ottawa? Contact her through her myspace page and you’ll no doubt be able to work something out.

You can read the background behind the project in today’s Citizen.  If you’re looking to be extra hip, you can attend the CD launch party Thursday, June 25 at the Parliament Pub’s outdoor patio @ 9pm.

The CD’s targeted at the tourist market, but I love that it’s got local artists and even though I’m based in Ottawa it’s going to be my default hostess gift for the rest of the season.

Got Bacon?

The Piggy Market is a new Ottawa deli, focused on… you guessed it pork based products.  Their pork comes from a local farmer and most of it is processed on site.  If I was going to eat prepared meats, this would be my source.  They’ve got sausages, ham, bacon and according to friends they are all delicious.  Looking for the complete story on this place, wander in an talk to the owner or read the profile from the Citizen.

They also sell ice cream!Why am I writing about a store where I won’t buy the meat? Because I’m happy to see local farmers and businesses succeeding.  If I plan to be in the neighborhood on Thursday-Sunday I might call ahead to reserve a rotisserie.

Clearly designed for foot traffic, it’s located on Winston Avenue in Westboro.  If like me you have no idea where Winston is, it’s the alley across the street from MEC on Richmond Road.  Google maps is misleading, it looks like the streets connect, but Winston deadends at Richmond Road.

Hurry before Runway closes


Take a peak before it closes
Take a peak before it closes

This great little shop next to Bridgehead and MEC, on Richmond Road in Ottawa, is usually too expensive for my budget.  But the owner has decided to retire and as such all inventory is on sale for 50% off.  She’ll be open through WestFest, but will close some time before the end of July. 


If you’re looking for unique jewelry, purses, trendy shirts, jackets and scarves or just a great discount on a pair of Spanx, this is a location to checkout over the next couple of weeks.

I include a picture of the store, just in case, like me you’ve walked by, but not looked up.  I had always thought the store was called Orage, because that’s what’s written in the window.  Had I looked up (or had I been even slightly more aware of trendy ski gear), I would have known a long time ago that the store’s name was Runway.

My life in descriptive video

At least that’s what it feels like with a three year old in the house .

 Mom.  Yes.  There is an orange on my plate…. Mom.  Yes.  Mom, there is an orange on my plate.  Dad.  Yes.  Dad.  Yes.  Did you see?  There’s an orange on my plate.  Mom.  Yes.  Mom.  What’s captivated your attention at the moment?  Is there an orange on your plate .  No, there is not an orange on my plate.  I am eating a grapefruit.  Why?