Our Bloggers

Welcome to the Best Tools for Schools Blog!  Below  are some of our fabulous bloggers:

Michelle Iuelo

I am a mom just like other moms. I have kids. Two amazing teenage daughters, who are 16 & 14, complete with raging hormones and just the right amount of parental disdain. I also have a 10 year old son. His mission in life is to be the next hockey legend and to know more strange but true facts than any other person alive. I’m back in the work-outside-the-home force after surviving a 13 year tenure as a SAHM. A career that included my own children plus dozens of others we borrowed. All those diapers, tears & impromptu nursery rhymes taught me a few things. 1) Parenting is 98% creative effort and 2% luck. 2) There are always 2 choices and 3) Gratitude is life’s best antioxidant. I owe my greatest debt and most of my sanity to my amazing husband Michael, who reminds me every day that things are going according to plan. The plan: keep all of the Smarties in the box. You can also find Michelle at here blog The Space Between Raindrops, sharing wisdom, gratitude and humour.

Tracey Black

“Lunchtime Solutions”

Tracey is the Executive Chef/Owner of Epicuria Fine Food Store and Catering.  Hired 16 years ago at Epicuria to make sandwiches, it did not take long before she was managing the kitchen and marveling at the culinary opportunities of quality take-home food and catering.   A love for food, design and business naturally led to becoming a partner and then sole owner of Epicuria, developing it into one of Ottawa’s finest food establishments and caterers.

Diane Duff

“Fridays are for Teachers”

 Diane Duff, B. Ed., is a literacy consultant who works with families, schools, and literacy coaches/tutors.  Diane conducts assessments for reading/writing skills and dyslexia; provides workshops for parent groups; leads reading and language curriculum review for private schools, Montessori schools and homeschooling parents; and conducts teacher training in language and literacy development.    Email Diane at aldridge@bellnet.ca  or telephone her at 613-730-7096.  For more information, visit www.aldridgeduff.ca 

“On Track Thursday”

Lisa is a Mother to one son.  Co-Host of MeFest, Half of @Those2Girls & a lover of all things Facebook & Twitter.  When not running to work, the grocery store, hockey practice etc she doesn’t like to waste her fun time doing tedious tasks.  Let On Track Thursday help you find your ME Time & get you back to the FUN!

Amanda DeGrace

“Yoga for Kids”

Amanda is a respected fitness professional and yoga teacher. Energy, charisma and an amazing passion for life are qualities displayed by Amanda in both her everyday life and her yoga and wellness classes. Amanda is CEO of DeGrace Energetics, and creator of the innovative Little Lotus Yoga & Parent Safe programs. Amanda currently teaches in the Ottawa area and presents at educational events and trainings across Canada.  You can learn more about Amanda & her motherhood journey @ http://namastemommy.wordpress.com as she blogs about the roller coaster ride of fun that being a parent brings! Find Little Lotus Yoga on Twitter @littlelotusyoga and Facebook.

Gwen Leron

“Green Living”


Gwen is a mom of 2, a freelancer and the owner of Nayla Natural Care, an online store which carries a wide assortment of organic, natural and eco-friendly items for you and your family. Join the Nayla Natural Care page on Facebook and follow the store on Twitter: @naylanatural

Carrie Anne Badov

“Children’s Book Review”

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Jodi Lariviere

‘Test Kitchen’

Jodi Lariviere is a blogger and food writer with a real passion for healthy, local ingredients. After spending several years as a line cook in the small country town she grew up in, Jodi moved to Ottawa to attend University. It was here that her love and interest in food continued to grow and take shape.  

Jodi has been blogging since January of 2008 with her first venture ‘Simply Fresh’ – a blog about the Ottawa food scene, local ingredients and other local foodies. Since spring of 2010 Jodi has been contributing a food column to the Russell Villager to help further spread her love of food. Recently she has begun her second blog, ‘Vegging for Two’, an expectant Mom’s guide to healthy eating.

You can find Jodi by visiting her two blogs:

Simply Fresh – www.simplyfreshottawa.com
Vegging for Two – www.veggingfortwo.com

Or via email: simplyfresh(at)live.com, Twitter (@SimplyFresh) or through her Facebook Fan Page – just search for Simply Fresh.

Nerissa C.


‘Outside the Classroom – Toronto Edition’

An anthropologist by education and a cupcake hustler by choice… Nerissa is a mother of 4, a professional soccer/basketball mom and a self proclaimed artist and activist.  She is also the founder and owner of The Cupcake Place (www.thecupcakeplace.ca).  You can find Nerissa on Twitter (@thecupcakeplace), by visiting her other blogs: The Cupcake Place (http://thecupcakeplace.wordpress.com/) and Life Beyond Cupcakes (http://lifebeyondcupcakes.tumblr.com/) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/wherelifeissweet).

Gwen H

‘Outside the Classroom – Ottawa Edition’

Gwen Hunter has a degree in English, and has been a manager of 150 people. None of that was as hard as being a mother to her three daughters. Gwen devotes her time to doing laundry, going to doctor’s appointments, driving her children all over town, (dodging) cleaning the house, signing permission slips, and cooking meals that remain largely uneaten by her offspring. In a desperate attempt to maintain her sanity, Gwen blogs at www.usvsthekids.blogspot.com. She can also be found on Twitter @GwenVsTheKids.


‘The Parent Teacher’

Vicky left a career in the communications sector after her son was born to pursue her dream of teaching. Now a mom of two, she works as an occasional teacher while fulfilling her passion for writing through blogging. When not surrounded by children – her own or the ones she teaches – you can also find her running a business on the side. She recently launched a new endeavour as a Peekaboo Beans playwear Stylist. Find out more by visiting her at http://www.facebook.com/ottawabeans or by email vickyb.stylist@peekaboobeans.com.



“The Supply Shelf”

Rebecca is the Community Engagement Manager for Best Tools for Schools.  She writes general content for the BTFS blog as well as The Supply Shelf, highlighting crafts and products found in the BTFS kits. She is a stay at home mom of a nearly school-aged son and a toddler who no matter how old she getst will always be her baby girl.  On her own blog A Little Bit of Momsense she writes about parenthood, easy recipes, fun activities to do with the kids and more. Find her on Twitter @bitofmomsense.

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Candace also blogs for
the Yummy Mummy Club!