One of my favourite things.

IMG_0242Birthday Traditions…

From mid April to the end of June, our family has a celebration every weekend.  As the family grows with new partners and grandbabies there are lots of spring birthdays to celebrate. Throw Mother’s Day and Father’s Day into the mix, and our social calendar is full – with family events.

We already have the family tradition of getting together at our home and having Sunday night dinner together – but during this time the gatherings are a little bigger, and usually involve dessert!  I always try to let the birthday celebrant choose the meal plan – including their favourite cake.

This can take some careful planning because in my world of Real Estate, Sunday’s are also Open House days, so it takes some careful planning and often some early-morning prep work to be able to pull a meal together for 12 people… after completing an Open House from 1-3 on Sunday afternoon. My family laughs at my lists, but those lists keep us organized and help make it all happen.

I am writing this blog as I sit at a Sunday Open House. The birthday celebrity today is our 12-year old granddaughter, and her meal of choice includes: mashed potatoes, ceasar salad, steak (with mushrooms – but not for  her), and an ice-cream cake. I normally bake the birthday cake, but I have yet to learn how to make an ice-cream cake, so I cheated this time thanks to Dairy Queen.
(And thanks to Tom from Comfort Pro for fixing their freezers this hot weekend!)

I hope that you will find some time to celebrate some special occasions over the summer months, and enjoy these special moments – with the ones that you love.


Planing a summer Staycation this year?

person-beach-holiday-vacation-mediumSummer has officially begun and Joanne is planning a staycation this year. Why leave this beautiful area when it has so much to offer? Throughout the summer we will be sharing daily posts of local events, attractions and many more ideas for your own staycation this year. Like the facebook page and find out a what the Ottawa Valley has to offer.


Open House in Carp Saturday June 25. 1-3 pm in the Famous Star Wars House.


– We invite everyone to visit our open house at 1196 Upper Dwyer Hill Road on June 25 from 13:00 PM to 15:00 PM.  Recently featured in the Ottawa citizen. Check out the video and article about the wonderful property.

Property information

From Joanne’s Kitchen – Strawberry Shortcake


From the Kitchen…..
It’s important to take advantage of the wonderful crops available to us locally during the growing season. Now that asparagus season is behind us, the next crop to look forward to is STRAWBERRIES. Although we are able to get strawberries year round, from California and Mexico, they simply don’t compare in taste to the local berries we grow right here. June is not complete without a trip to one of the local berry farms for a “Pick-your-own” outing with the grandchildren.  (They really ought to weigh them on the way in and on the way out…)  The following recipe is usually our go-to dessert for Father’s Day – hope that the berries will be ripe enough in time for June 19th.

Strawberry Shortcake

1 prepared Angel Food Cake or 1 pkg shortcake

Whipping Cream – vanilla and a spoonful of sugar

Strawberries – lots and lots and lots

A “true” Strawberry Shortcake is supposed to be made with short-cake, but our family prefers the light fluffiness of an Angel Food cake instead. Because I’ll be doing an Open House that day, making an angel food cake from a mix on Sunday morning is just fine by me. No one will notice that it comes from a package – it’s still made with the same amount of love.

Prepare strawberries in advance by washing, slicing and sprinkling with a few tablespoons of sugar and then refrigerating.

Whip the whipping cream until is starts to stiffen, then add 1 tsp of vanilla, and a few tablespoons of white sugar as well. Finish whipping and refrigerate.

Some people like to slice the top off the cake, scoop out the inners, and fill with the berry mixture. Others like to ice the cake with whipping cream, and then place a spoonful of the berry mixture on each slice as it’s sliced.  Serve it whatever way you like – just make sure not to miss out on eating some local berries this season – before they are all gone!

Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month.

Almonte is a “bicycle friendly” town and for a number of years have designated the month of June as Bicycle Month.  Each year the organizers schedule a series of events for families to participate in, promoting safe biking for families, as a way to both stay fit as well as meet other people in the community.

This year’s organizers have created a “Silver Chain Challenge” whereby participants are challenging Renfrew County to clock their biking kilometres – in a friendly little Ottawa Valley Biking competition.  ( – if you would like to participate)

There are some organized bike tours including a bike ride to Carp, destination Alice’s Café.  Our very own, Perianne Jones, (who competed in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010) will be hosting a “Girl’s Ride” around town. Bicycle Maintenance Workshops are being offered on Father’s Day Weekend, June 18-19th; both elementary public schools are featuring a Bicycle Rodeo, and Saturday, June 25th, there is a Vintage Bicycle Show – (a first!).

So, pull your bike out of the garage, grab your helmet,and pedal on down to Mill Street to check things out!images (1)

Investment Properties.


Investment Properties

While not everyone is interested in or thinking about owning investment properties, there is a real shortage of rental properties in some communities – like Almonte and Carleton Place, and this provides an opportunity! Any community should have about 40% of it’s housing available to the rental market, and that’s because 40% of the population are renters. Almonte has approximately 20% of it’s housing available for rent, and Carleton Place is slightly better with about 23-24%. So, now do you see the opportunity?

One of the challenges is that there are few duplex, triplex or multi-unit buildings available in these towns, and often the ones that do become available are past the point of no-return and would be better off bull-dozed.

An over-looked opportunity is in high-ranch, and side-split or back-split style homes, where the unit can be legally suited into a 3 bedroom up/2 bedroom down home, which can rent for $1200-$1,300 upper and $1,000-$1,100 below. It can be challenging to make a single-family home create cash flow for the Owner by renting out one unit, but throw an additional unit into the mix, (combined with a little extra cash for retro-fitting and likely a little elbow-grease) and a lovely single family home can easily be converted to a nicely cash-flowing duplex!

I am currently working with clients who have a conditional offer on their next project, just after celebrating the anniversary of their first project from last spring.  Want to be included on the list to watch for these types of investment opportunities?
Give me a call! 613-407-4309