Category Archives: Family Life

Summer Family Fun


Summer is my all-time favourite season, flowers are in bloom, people are out walking around, and it’s beach season! I wanted to share some of my favourite places to bring my family during the summer.


Magic mountain – Always a hit with the young, and young at heart! Magic Mountain is an outdoor waterpark that now has amusement rides, an arcade, and 36 holes of mini golf. Whether you want to take a leisurely tube ride around the lazy river, a swim in the huge wave pool, or a ride on one of the many water slides, magic mountain has something for everyone.


Magnetic Hill Zoo – Located just across the street from Magic Mountain, the Magnetic Hill Zoo has over 400 animals spread over 40 acres, making it the largest zoo in Atlantic Canada.

They offer daily feeding shows, pony rides, canteen, and one of the largest outdoor playgrounds I’ve ever seen!


Parlee Beach Provincial Park – This beautiful beach is located in Shediac, NB, just a 20 minute drive from Moncton, and well worth the trip! It boast the warmest salt water in Canada, has a great restaurant on-site, beach volleyball courts, and daily activities for the kids.

If you happen to be heading to the beach on a Sunday, don’t forget to stop at the Shediac Park Market, located right in the center of town.


Hopewell Rocks – Home to the highest rising tides, Hopewell Rocks is a must see! I recommend planning to spend an entire day here so you can experience some of the highest tides in the world, then a short 6 hours later walk on the ocean floor, 52 feet below!

I hope that everyone gets a chance to get out on this beautiful long weekend! Just a reminder that the provincial parks in the area will have free admission on Monday August 1st, to celebrate New Brunswick Day.



You BBQ’d What!?!

Nothing tops that sweet, smokey smell that begins to radiate through the community this time of year. Nothing pairs quite as well with sunshine as something fresh off the grill. From classic items like hotdogs and burgers to more modern BBQ favorites like kebabs and salmon we all have our go-to BBQ recipes. These are all delicious choices, but I like to get a little creative with my grilling. I would argue that most anything you would normally cook in the oven can be adapted for the grill! Here are some of my personal BBQ favorites!

1. BBQ-Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza (4 servings)

This option is a fun way to get the whole family or a large group of friends involved in cooking supper!

4 individual flatbreads
BBQ sauce
Fresh spinach
Diced peppers, red onions, broccoli
1 pkg. of Goat’s Cheese

1.Spread the sauce on one side of each piece of flatbread.
2.Set the BBQ to low heat
3.Place the flatbread on the grill
4.Have everyone add their own toppings to their pizza
5.Once the cheese melts, remove from the grill. You can buy pizza lifters for the BBQ or you can do it using a large spatula. If the bread was thick enough it should be easy to remove.

You can adapt this to whatever your favorite pizza sauce and topping combo is! Curry, pesto, tomato, béchamel, and flavoured oils are all good sauce options. Some other great pizza toppings are corn, diced meat, asparagus, eggplant, and zucchini.

2.French Fries (4 servings)


8 small-medium sized potatoes
Olive oil
BBQ seasoning mix (onion powder, cracked black pepper, sea salt, and garlic)
Tinfoil or grill pan

1.Cut the potatoes into fry-sized strips (~cm²)
2.Lay the fries in a single layer on foil or pan
3.Drizzle oil on fries and toss them around.
4.Sprinkle seasoning mix to taste
5.Turn the grill to high and place the tinfoil or pan on the grill.
6.Toss the fries around every 5-10 minutes
7.Remove when they’re cooked to your preference (Approx. 30 mins).

3.Circus Donuts
1 pkg. of old fashioned sugar coated donuts

1.Place the donuts over medium heat until they have a few grill marks! Simple as that!

4. Brussel Sprouts

brussell sprouts (I use frozen)
Balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper
Cooked bacon (optional)

1.Toss all ingredients together in a bowl
2.Wrap in tinfoil leaving an opening at the top
3.Place on grill on high heat
4.When the top is crispy, they’re done!

Brussell sprouts can be substituted with asparagus or zucchini

4.Sticky Salmon (4 servings)mare_fennel_and_dill_rubbed_grilled_salmon_v
1 pkg. of frozen salmon fillets
Real Maple Syrup
Fresh Dill

1.Thaw salmon
2.Brush the maple syrup on the fillets
3.Sprinkle a generous amount of dill
4.Wrap individual fillets in tin foil
5.Place on the grill (medium-high) for approx. twenty minutes or until the fillet is flakey

Do you have any odd BBQ favorites?

Affordable DIY Costumes

It’s that time of year again! Time to try and figure out how your child is going to wade their way through the masses of superheroes and fairies to the magical land of sugar-high happiness. However, while your child is dreaming of lollipops and mars bars, you don’t have to stay up all night worrying about what they’re going to wear! Here are a few tips and ideas to inspire you this Halloween!

My mother wasn’t overly into Halloween costume shopping, so we tended to simply find supplies around the house and get creative! We swapped thick goopy costume makeup for Mom’s cosmetic bag and pre-made suits for some of Dad’s construction supplies! One year my parents managed to transform Christmas supplies and a big piece of plastic vapor barrier into a “dancing bug” (I LOVED it).

All of the costumes above can be created for about $10 (that’s cheaper and cuter than VV Boutique (a.k.a. Value Village) !!!! If your child is willing to sport some FREE 3D glasses, Helium balloons, and a walker made of plumbing supplies, Carl from UP is sure to win first place in any costume contest!

Another really adorable trend is dressing your kids up like household items! There is something oddly funny about an 8 year old dressed up as a box of KD or a flower pot. A lot of great costumes can be made from taking a look around the house and making a trip to the Dollarama!

Here are a few step-by-step instructions for adorable and affordable Halloween outfits!

Earthy Princess

-Natural feathers ($1/ bag Dollarama)
-Brown headband ($1 Dollarama)
-Turquoise beads ($1 Dollarama) -optional
-Brown Tulle (2$/ yard Fabricville)
-Suede ($4 Fabricville)
-Eyeliner (you likely have this already)

1.Get your daughter to wear a white long sleeve shirt and neutral leggings.
2.Wrap the tulle around her hips and secure with a strip of frayed suede/ safety pins
3.Use leftover suede as armbands (or turquoise beads)
Braid your daughters hair.
Place headband around forehead to secure the feathers.
Make a few marks on her cheeks with your eyeliner
if you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars, you can purchase a brown tutu at Walmart or VV Boutique

Carl Fredricksen from UP

This is probably the cutest costume I have ever seen.

-3 lengths of Plastic Pipe ($3 hardware store)
-2 elbow joints ($2 hardware store)
-2 Tennis balls ($1 Dollarama)
-Helium Balloons ($3 Great Canadian Dollar store)
-String ($1 anywhere)
-Kids 3D movie glasses (FREE)
-Dress Clothes
-Bow tie
(DIY Bow Tie)

1.Dress your son in formal clothes (don’t forget the iconic bow tie)
2.Assemble the pipes and elbow joints in the shape of a horse shoe (ie. 2 vertical and 1 horizontal connected by elbow joints)
3.Cut an “x” shaped slit in the tennis balls large enough to slide the pipes into.
4.Stick the tennis balls onto the open ends of the plastic pipes to finish off the walker!
5.Tie your helium balloons to the walker and have a wonderful time taking pictures of your adorable little man!

Flower Pot!

-1 large flower pot that your kid can fit inside (~$5 Walmart, scope out thrift stores for a better bargain!)
-Lots of Fake Flowers ($4 Dollarama)
-Cord ($1)

1.Cut the bottom out of the flower pot
2.Drill/ Cut holes in the sides of the pot (2 front and 2 back)
3.Cut 2 pieces of cord long enough to go over your child’s shoulders
4.Feed the cord through the holes, tying knots on each end.
5.Glue/ Tie a few fake flowers to a headband for your child to wear.
6. Fill the pot with fake flowers!

Have a blast making lots of “sweet” memories with your families this Halloween 🙂

*For more costume inspiration check out Dollar Store Costume Ideas
**KandeeJ has some sweet video tutorials for mom friendly costumes!

Meet Zia Martell!

We’re SO excited to introduce to you the newest member of the Martell team… Zia Martell!


Zia was born to Pierre and Jess on July 27th at 8:08 pm. Pierre laughs when he talks about the day Zia was born. He and Jess both being entrepreneurs, after realizing that the baby was on her way they both continued working from home (and during their visits to the hospital) not letting a little thing like emerging life get in their way ;) Jess did payroll and Pierre worked on building beautiful custom homes for people! Even better, they downloaded an app to track contractions while they waited! (I honestly didn’t even know that there was one!).

Jess working on her way to the hospital

When it comes to being an entrepreneur and a father Pierre describes it as… “a walk in the park”!  Contrary to the way some dads are thrown into fatherhood, to Pierre it’s in some ways like he’s being training for it his whole life. Both he and Jess are used to having to perform on little sleep because of the work it takes to close deals and generally manage a business. Staying up late at night for a baby is just part of the routine! (I think we’re all wishing we had had it that easy hah)

The hardest part about being a dad, Pierre says, is not being home to be a dad. While he still is lucky enough to be able to work from home more than many other people, Pierre still hold that the absolute best part of his day is getting to go home to his little girl.

Hope you’ve enjoyed your first introduction to little Zia and we’re sure you’ll be seeing more of the little princess!

Get Dad a Cottage For Father’s Day! (and 4 other great gift ideas)

Dads are the hardest to shop for. Every year in June I seem to find myself in Canadian Tire, wandering  the halls and wishing that my dad wanted something specific. And, every year I end up just giving up and grabbing a gift card because I can’t wrap my mind around what my dad would need, let alone want. And so, this year it’s time to have an action plan. That’s right, ladies. No more wandering around aimlessly in a store that smells like duct tape and tires. It is time. It is time to take control.

It doesn’t matter who you’re shopping for, having an idea for a gift (even if it’s vague)  makes for  a much more successful trip. And so, to help you this Fathers Day (which if you haven’t realized is coming up soon… like the 17th) we’ve complied a list of 5 great gift ideas for your father this season. Also, feel free to let us know in the comment box what your great gift ideas are!

1. A Cottage! – Now, I know what you’re thinking, “you guys at Martell are crazy! I can’t afford that!”. But what you don’t realize is getting the Dad in your life a cottage may be cheaper than you think. For only $25 dollars you can buy a ticket to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club Dream Cottage Draw. Not only will you be giving Dad the chance at a new cottage but also helping kids in the Moncton area! To learn more about the draw and about our involvement click here!

2. Meat. – Yup. It’s just that simple. Get the #1 Dad in your life the finest and most masculine food you can afford. Depending on your man’s tastes, steak, lobster, sausage, or really anything else that he loves will be well appreciated. Make sure when you give it to him (cooked or uncooked) in a way that makes sure he knows that it was a special buy just for him. Here’s an idea: make it even more exciting by putting some bows on the (wrapped) meat, placing it in the (turned off) BBQ, and having your children blindfold their dad and lead him to the BBQ where he can unwrap his special Father’s day surprise (and then get to work cooking it!).

3. A Ticket to The Game – Pick your poison…uh.. I mean sporting event and get the Dad in your life  couple of tickets. Whether he takes you or takes a buddy, he’ll appreciate the “man time” that you’ve given him. If that’s out of your price range, it’s okay! There are great alternatives: Get him a jersey/hat/tshirt from his favorite team or give him a gift certificate/money for him and his buddies to go out to a sports bar during one the “the games” so that they can enjoy it there (mini sports vacation?).

4. Gadgets – Men like having new toys and so the Dad in your life will light up when you get him a new gadget to play with. Depending on his interests a tablet, video game, tool, model airplane, or music instrument might be the perfect gift for him this June. Whatever you decide on make sure that you have everything ready that it needs to work (are the batteries included??) so that he doesn’t have to wait to use his new toy.

5. A Craft – This one is more for your kids, but if they’re young they’ll likely need your help to do it. I know that my dad still has “happy father’s day” art work that my brothers and sisters and I made 20+ years ago on display in his tool shed. While meat, gadgets,  and hockey tickets might be nice there’s really nothing like a personal touch. So, get those hands dirty and help your kids make a hand-print Dad’s Day card or get our the crayons and get those tikes to draw a mural of your family. No matter what you do he’ll love that you put so much thought to him and he’ll really understand just how much he is appreciated by his loved ones.


Happy (early) Father’s Day to all the dads out there! We love you!

How To Help Your Child Through Exam Time




June is upon us which, for those of us with older school aged children, means exam time. Yikes! Exam time can be stressful on students, teachers, and families but it’s really the stress on the individual student that can be most harmful. When stress takes over it’s likely that your child’s academic performance will suffer which is a losing outcome. In order to avoid an “academic meltdown” there are several ways in which  you at home can help them to not only manage that stress but also aid them in studying more productively and creating a work ethic that will last for the rest of their lives. Here are 4 tips on how you can help your child survive (and excel!) at exam time:



1. Eat Well – Nutrition is very important when it comes to brain activity and managing stress and anxiety levels. On exam day and during the days leading up to it, students need to be getting nutrition that will give them the sustainable energy they need to focus. Too much or too little food can slow them down so make sure you’re providing regular healthy meals for your child (especially breakfast!). Snacks are also very important to keeping alert. Offer your child a banana or some other fruit either while they’re studying or right before the “big test”. A banana will give them energy for longer than a chocolate bar or some other sugary treat. For more info on how to eat well during exams check out this article.


2. Help with Revision

Study partners are a great way to increase learning and you may be the best one for your child! Especially if your child is social, it may be hard to focus when studying with classmates. Offering to help your child study information may be giving them the boost they need to succeed. Depending on your child’s learning style using cue-cards, reading to them, or even creating a study “game” may help them ingest the information easier. Sidenote: I actually learned my times-tables when my mom sat me down and made me play the card game ‘War’ with times-table flash cards! Try figuring out what learning style your child has by getting them to take an online quiz (like this one) and then customize your help from there!


3. Give Encouragement

Encouragement is a key to the success of a child no matter how big or small the ‘test’. Make sure that you are being positive and encouraging to them about the work that they are doing. While bribing them with money and gifts may be tempting, try to avoid it to allow them the chance to develop a personal desire to succeed. It it seems like your child is being overwhelmed by the anxiety and stress of a particular exam, remind them that it is not the end of the world and that you have faith in their abilities. You want your child to value education but make sure they keep a realistic view of the value of each exam so as to not get overwhelmed.


4. Communicate

Sometimes we all need to blow off some steam, students included. If it seems that your child is beginning to crumble under the pressure it may be a wise idea to encourage them to take a break and talk to you about their struggles. Make sure that your child knows that they can come to you and just vent if they need to. This not only creates a trust and a sense of camaraderie between you but may also help to ‘let out’ some of the pressure that the student is feeling (pressure that may be negatively affecting their studying and exam performance).


What do you do to help you child/children around exam time?