In Edmonton, Explore on
July 16, 2018

12 Tips For Taking The Kids To K-Days

K-Days is back this year July 20-29th. The best 10 days of summer! We’ve teamed up with K-Days to give you the top 12 tips for taking the kids and getting the most out of it.

1.Take public transit

Instead of parking, try taking the ETS. There is an LRT station right near the North Entrance of the grounds. Getting into the parking lot and out can take a bit of time, so try out using the public transit system so you can hop on and off the train to your car. Check out the City Of Edmonton Trip Planner to help figure out where to go.

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Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories

Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories

At the centre of my childhood were simple experiences rich with texture and wrought with meaning.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to appreciate the beauty in the simple togetherness my mom wove into the fabric of our family.  Our family didn’t have a lot of money so my mom got creative.  I find myself using many of her ideas with my own children and I enjoy coming up with my own.  Time is the precious gift our children want above all.  Here are some of my favorite memory makers!  I would love to hear about yours.

No Bedtime

I will never forget the night my mom first announced it was a “NO BEDTIME” night.  We simply couldn’t believe it was true.  It felt like Christmas!  She armed us with movies, mattresses on the floor, blankies, snacks, board games, flashlights, and let us overdose on tv, and time together.  We often didn’t even make it though the whole night, but this ritual continued throughout our childhood and it was one night over summer that we looked forward to most.

Last summer we began the tradition with our two little ones (8 & 10).  They had so much fun together and made it until 5:30am!  The greatest delight as a parent is to see camaraderie grow between your children and this definitely fosters bonding.  Our children felt they were breaking all the rules! School isn’t even out yet and they are already asking when “No Bedtime Night” is making a comeback.

I say let your children create a memory that will last much longer than the inconvenience of dealing with tired children the next day. Say bye bye to bedtime and let them play (although an after nap is usually required)!

The Picnic Remixed

My children and I packed a picnic lunch and headed out for a day of adventuring.  Nothing summons a rain storm like me packing a picnic.  With crocodile tears streaming down my son’s cheeks, I needed an alternative stat.  I had the picnic blanket and all the fixings but I needed a dry spot.  Our van was the only nearby option.  Necessity is the mother of all invention, and I quickly folded down the seats and spread out our picnic.  I even earned bonus points because I turned on a movie.  The tears were dried and we all ate in glorious peace; a new tradition was born.  Van picnics are now a “thing” and are often requested.  

My daughter, at 11, is getting too old and too cool for van picnics (most of the time).  The grown up version of this looks like us camping out in front of Starbucks, enjoying their free wifi while sipping away on a half sweet-extra hot-no espresso-coconut milk-caramel macchiato, and watching YouTube videos together. She teaches me how to be cool while I teach her how to kick it old school! 

Budgeting 101

One of my favorite ways to get a glimpse into the little humans our children are growing more into every day, is to let them plan a date for us.  We set a budget and then watch the wheels turn as they come up with their perfect way to spend their money and their time.  

We have done pottery making, lunch out, axe throwing, bike riding, rock climbing, “coffee” dates, swimming, arcade games etc.  Not only does this allow them the freedom to choose, but it also reinforces the responsibility of having to weigh decisions with how much money you have, which is a great skill to practice.  (We have been known to add a little extra to the budget for ice cream after!)

Bikes, Bridges & Bubbles

A family bike ride is always fun, but if you add bubbles and bridges – it’s even better!  Last  summer we took our children and biked across the High Level Bridge in Edmonton and stopped half way to blow bubbles off the bridge deck.  It was so fun to watch the bubbles float off over the bridge deck and into the great wide open.  It was also the perfect spot to take some really nice pictures together.  

We continued across the river and grabbed one of “Edmonton’s Best Cinnamon Buns” at the Sugar Bowl.  There is a park across the street with a rock large enough to have a family picnic on!  A very unique experience.  The kids finished off the afternoon playing in the park. Simple, sweet, family fun.

Midnight Pop & Chip Party

Another memory making idea that harkens back to my own childhood.  I will never forget the night my mom woke me up at 2:30 am for a pop and chip picnic in our living-room! The treats were delightful and the time together even sweeter.

It can be hard to find time to get to all the things that need to be done in the day DONE – let alone give one-on-one time to your children! The midnight hours, however, are usually more open.  I encourage you to set up a picnic in the living room and surprise your child with a snack they love in the middle of the night.  

I didn’t mind being woken up for this special date with my mom, and it definitely created a lifelong, and sugary sweet memory.  Totally worth the loss of sleep I promise – at least for your child!  My mom may not remember the moment as fondly as I do – but 30 years later it still ranks as one of my favorite childhood memories.

Pond Adventuring

My kids love pond creatures. During the summer we can be found armed with a couple of little fish nets, an old ice cream pail, and out by the scummiest water you would never dream of setting foot in! The kids love seeing all the little things they catch and usually have a competition about who can get the first snail, minnow, leech etc.  

Fill up the pail with water from the pond, scoop the net through the pond and gently dump the critters into the bucket water. Pro tip: Cut off a couple inches of a pool noodle and tie it to the handle of the net, in case a net goes swimming in the pond.

My kids beg to do this, and it is such a versatile activity.  Have a half hour? Hit up a near by storm pond or community “lake”.  Have a day? Take a drive out to a lake or National Park.  We particularly enjoy Elk Island Park and the park staff are always happy to help identify things.  They also have the pond kits available, just ask for them at the Visitor Centre.

Feel free to manage expectations (and the number of swimming things that come home with you) with our motto, “Catch, Observe, Release”.  Make it a goal to name 5 things you see.  Feel free to google, to roll up your sleeves and get in there with your kids, and to have a lot of fun! 

 Lunchtime Time Out

Here’s an idea to get you in the summer state of mind.  The final days of school are counting down and I don’t know about you, but my kids are getting whiny…and I don’t feel like packing lunches anymore.  Solution: a solo lunch date.  One of my favorite places to go is Pizza Hut for the all you can eat buffet – and because it’s a special occasion, we eat dessert first!  

I love getting to dream up summer plans, reminisce about the past school year and hear all about who’s fighting with who etc, with my children on these dates. The best part is you get to enjoy a solid hour of one-on-one time. Plus, all their friends get jealous and who doesn’t want to be the “cool mom”!

Ice Cream In A Small Town

This is my girl friend’s idea and one I can’t wait to give a go this summer.  She packs up her children and they drive to a small town just to get an ice cream.  I love this idea!  I love that I can make it fit with the amount of time I have, gas in my tank, I can adjust the distance we go by how well behaved the critters in the car seats are, and we get to see some of the places in our beautiful province.  Also, who doesn’t love a good ice cream?!?! Emma’s Cafe & Convenience in Cold Lake is positively precious and loaded with incredible homemade goodies and ice cream!

Alberta is filled with great little towns, and fantastic ice cream stops and I can’t wait to explore both.  I believe learning is best done with our whole body and what better sense to engage, than taste!

I hope this summer you curate memories with your children that will last a lifetime, just like my momma did for me.  Remember that memory making doesn’t require doing something grande or expensive in order to create magnificent, impactful, memories.   To get additional ideas and to see more stories of our adventures in memory making, check out my blog. I would love to hear what you do to make memories in your family.  I’m always looking for new ideas.  Happy Summer of Memory Making!

Xoxo

Layna

Layna Haley is a wife, mom, and full time people lover! She is the founder of the Christian charity, Experience Kaleo, that works to empower women and help them live out their strengths. She is especially fond of Dr. Pepper, fine linen and all things Tiffany blue. Layna is passionate about living with intentionality, making moments count, and women’s role leadership. 

Connect with her on:

Blog: www.lovelayna.com 

Instagram: love_layna_

Facebook: LoveLaynaBlog

5 Podcasts That Inspire Me As A Mom

I spend a LOT of time in my car. Driving to work, then from one place to the next and so, I have the opportunity to listen to things like podcasts. Specifically parenting-esque podcasts because who doesn’t like a little learning when it comes to this “job”. There’s no manual and you can take the advice or leave it. For me, I feel that I’m getting a free injection of optimism, point of view and some general tips. Often it’s even just knowing that other people have gone through a similar situation.

Here are the 5 podcasts I’m following right now, including a few with my favourite episodes.

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In Random Thoughts on
July 12, 2018

Book Review – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

By Leah Ison

Before I dive into this review, I want to thank my family for heeding my warning to leave me alone as I read. Don’t worry, the children were fed. I always make sure to leave Goldfish crackers and water within reach. Besides, I finished this one in record time!

I don’t even know where to begin. The words remarkable and captivating come to mind, but they don’t feel worthy enough.

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In Edmonton, Explore, Uncategorized on
July 11, 2018

What You Need to Know about Borden Pool: Canada’s 1st Naturally Treated Pool!

natural swimming pool

The long awaited Borden Pool is set to open today in Edmonton! There have been a few setbacks, but it’s kind of understandable because this is the first of its kind in Canada. The pool water is treated in a completely natural way! There’s no chemicals added to the water, making it a really unique outdoor pool experience.

natural swimming pool

We checked it out this past Friday and it was impressive for a number of reasons:

  • The water feels good! You know when you go swimming and your kid splashes you and it burns your eyes? Not here! It’s kind of like swimming in a lake, without the weeds. The temperature is cooler than most pools, to attract animals and foster plant life for the filtration process, but that didn’t stop us.

natural swimming pool

  • Soft skin afterwards. As we were getting out of the pool a thunderstorm was rolling in, so everyone was evacuated from the pool deck where the showers are. This left no option for rinsing off. Not a problem though with no icky chemicals to remove. Our skin was soft, not itchy at all and our bathing suits didn’t stink of chlorine! Another plus, us blonde haired mamas don’t have to worry about wrecking our chemically treated hair;)
  • The design is really cool. If you appreciate modern lines and natural materials you will like this place. It’s beautiful! The entire compound is walled by stacked stone, there’s tiled murals in the floor, sleek bathrooms and change rooms as well as an homage to the old pool with a section of old tile wall left behind.

natural swimming pool

  • There’s sand! Kids will love the opportunity to play in the sand, with lots of free play areas. Beach volleyball lovers will be impressed with the court!
  • Huge umbrellas and lounging areas. We liked the comfy loungers and massive umbrellas that provided much needed shade on deck.

natural swimming pool

  • The concept is pretty cool too! There’s a shallower kiddie pool and then a main pool which has a beach style entry that gradually gets deeper. The water is filtered in a separate tank (not for swimming) that works with plants, microorganisms, healthy bacteria, rocks, sand and UV rays.

natural swimming pool

What You Need to Know!

  • The pool is sensitive to phosphate. This is naturally on our skin but especially when we wear certain sunscreens, lotions, hair products or use soaps and laundry detergents.
  • Taking a head to toe cleansing shower is mandatory before entering the pool- hair included.
  • Sunscreen, if applying after your shower, needs to be phosphate free. Staff have some on hand at the desk as well if needed.
  • No cotton materials allowed, approved swimwear only.
  • Like all pools, no glass containers are permitted. Water bottles must be empty prior to entering.
  • Tell staff immediately if there might be an accidental contamination- like urine, vomit or feces.
  • If we want to see this concept thrive and perhaps be implemented in other locations, it’s up to us to treat it right!

natural swimming pool

Borden Natural Swimming Pool opens to the public Wednesday July 11 at noon. It’s across the street from the horse races at Northlands and there is a huge parking lot. Make a day of it and enjoy the beautiful Borden Playground and picnic spaces post swim. As with all City of Edmonton Outdoor Pools, admission is free for summer 2018. So, you really have no reason not to try it!

Every Day Girl

Kimberly Ouellette

Kim Ouellette is a wife and mom to 5 year old who lives in Edmonton Alberta. She is passionate about travel and creating experiences with her family and friends both locally and internationally. You can find her on Instagram at @kimouelletteyeg.

The Alberta Wilderness Association Caribou Flag Project

We’re the Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and we’d like to say “thanks!” Specifically, thanks to Alberta Mamas and Bella Maas for making us a part of their July fundraising collaboration.

AWA is one of Alberta’s oldest conservation organizations, founded in 1965 around a kitchen table in Pincher Creek. Since then our goal has been to raise awareness and inspire people to care about the protection of Alberta’s wildlife and wild spaces. In addition to our day-to-day conservation efforts we host talks, offer hikes, and hold fundraising events like the Climb for Wilderness and Wild West Saloon.

The creation of two new Provincial Parks in the Castle area was a recent milestone for us and represents more than 50 years of advocacy.  Patience, perseverance and resources make all the difference for long-term projects like this one and support from folks everywhere helps make this possible. We love to talk about good news stories and the Castle Parks are great news.

This summer we’re making a special effort to inspire Albertans to take an interest in Alberta’s caribou, which are in serious trouble and at risk of going extinct. We believe that healthy caribou mean healthy communities and to get the communities around us involved, we’ve started a caribou flag design project which coincidentally is a great summer activity for creative kids and parents alike!

The project is pretty simple, only a few supplies and a love for nature are required. You can find all the project details here and while you’re at it you can read all about caribou in Alberta at caribou4ever.ca. Every little bit helps, plus it’s a great way to spend a summer day learning about the animals that live around us.  We can’t wait to see the flags from nature lovers around the world.

Fundraising efforts like the support we will receive from Alberta Mammas and Bella Maas are meaningful and vital. Nothing makes us happier than being given another opportunity to learn about other Albertans that care about our environment and treasure our wilderness. So thank you to everyone involved in this initiative. We look forward to meeting you somewhere down the trail!

Visit caribou4ever.ca to find out more about this campaign and the AWA!

In Uncategorized on
July 9, 2018

7 Simple Ways to Refresh and Rejuvenate This Summer

By Amanda Cook, C.H.N.

Taking time to focus on your needs is neither selfish nor selfless, it’s simply necessary for your mental, emotional and physical health. When mother’s take the time to care for themselves, they’re better able to meet the needs of their family. Have you ever had a bad day and just watch your intimate world fall apart? I have! A mother is typically the centre of the home and when her needs are met, life just flows easier.  

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Free Fishing Weekend in Alberta!

Fishing

This weekend (July 7 & 8th) is Free Fishing Weekend in Alberta! This is a great opportunity to test out fishing with the kids this summer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Marten River

Did you know that Alberta has about 300 stocked waterbodies? For a list of those areas, visit My Wild Alberta a click on ‘Stocking Reports’!

Enjoy your weekend & happy fishing!

Every Day Girl

In Calgary, Edmonton, Events on
July 5, 2018

Bouncy Castle Run Comes to Edmonton and Calgary

Bouncy Castle Fun Run

What’s more summer then bouncy castles and runs? Putting both together!

The Mega Bounce Fun Run comes to Edmonton July 28th and Calgary August 11th! This run is Canada’s largest all inflatables course!

This fun run is about having a good time (adult or with the kids). There are 10, YES 10 bouncy castle obstacles to go over in this amazing event. Instead of racing for time I would suggest trying to be the slowest possible myself. (More time on the bouncers am I right?)

So grab a friend or spouse for date night, or the kids for something fun to do and enjoy one of the most fun races!

Recommend bringing:

  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Playful attitude

Check out the course below and regular asked questions in the FAQ section of their site.