Running for Mamas

Running.

It seems like a simple activity that we should all be able to do right?  It is cheap, can be done at any time, and doesn’t take any equipment other than shoes.  

Most women that I work with feel really frustrated when it comes to running because just doesn’t feel good.  They leak, they have back, hip, pelvic and/or leg pain, or it just feels awful on their bodies.  

Lots of Mamas I meet love running and want to return to running races or plan a getaway for a destination race.  Some just want to get out for a run a couple of times a week for fitness and for the mental break. Many want to run with their kids and not be stuck on the sidelines watching as their kids grow.  

The most common strategy that I see women take with running is to take it slow.  They start with a slow 20-30 minute jog around the block with plans to work their way up to longer or faster runs.  

And I totally understand why!  I made the same mistake myself nearly 9 years ago when I returned to running after my first baby Avery was born.  

This approach misses a few KEY strategies though, which is why many women find it hard to get past this distance or they quit all together.   

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In Lifestyle, Parenting on
January 19, 2020

What To Look For When Choosing Activities for Your Child

Choosing activities for your children can not only be overwhelming but frustrating as well. There are SO many options out there now. And when your child is young it is impossible to tell what they’re interested in besides listening to Baby Shark on repeat and asking to watch Paw Patrol for the 10000000000000th time.

Throughout my years of planning events for kids where each month I have 3-5 different groups showcasing their children’s programs I have learnt a lot. I can usually tell within 10 minutes of watching a child whether the program is a good fit or not. And no that doesn’t mean the kid always jump right in and participate. Some kids need time and after having my own shy kid I get it. I’ve summed up my experiences over the past 6 years plus participating in numerous programs with my own kids (8&11) to give you the top things you should look for before signing up for any program. Spoiler – Cost of the program ranks very very low on the priority list.

What You Should Look For When Choosing Activities For Your Child:

  • Your own schedule – I know. You’re signing up your child so a super fun, exciting new experience so it should be all about them right? Nope. It’s still all about you. Especially for kids 5 and under not in school/daycare yet. YOU are the one driving them to class. YOU are the one who has to deal with missed naps if the program runs during nap time. YOU are the one deciding if it is worth driving 45 minutes to get to a certain school of music. So YOU have to choose a program that works with your schedule. Trust me. Take advantage now because as they get older you no longer get to choose when their soccer games are or when their piano recital is. So take advantage of this time to fit the activities around what you want. Maybe you want motivation to get out of the house so you find a morning class. Maybe mornings are spent at home so you find something in the afternoon. Or maybe because of work you want to find something the whole family does on Saturdays. Take this moment in your parenting life to choose what works for your family schedule.
  • Frequency – Until you know you are raising the next Picasso where they just want to paint forever; try to avoid signing up for a class/session that lasts more than 8-12 weeks. This gives you enough time to fully enjoy the class and your child gets to feel comfortable in the space. It also leaves you the chance to choose something else after that session ends, sign up for the next level/different type of class (especially for art, music, swimming lessons etc you may want to switch the type of class but stick with the activity) or take a break for a couple of weeks before committing to something else.
  • Meet the teacher that will ACTUALLY be teaching/coaching your child – I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “We looked online and it seemed like a great program on paper” or “we met the owner of the studio and they were great but our teacher wasn’t so good”. The owner will always be on their A game when you’re signing up for a class. Their business is their baby and they want it to be successful so of course they want you to sign up. But who is really teaching your child? Ask these questions and try to meet them before committing to a class.
  • Does the priority of the class match your expectations – Is play based learning important to you? Or do you want more schedules and structure? Do you want your child to learn a new skill each week? Or become proficient in one thing before moving on? We each have our own parenting philosophy and I am not here to tell you which is right or wrong but if you feel very strongly one way or another make sure to check with the instructor before signing up your child. It will save your frustrations later when it didn’t turn out like you expected.
  • Cost – Just because a program is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best fit but on the flip side don’t discount a program just because it is cheap or even free. Some of my kid’s favourite programs were library programs or cheaper community ran classes. Do your research and go into things with an open mind. If you are considering a program that costs more ask why. Is the teacher specifically trained in their area of expertise bringing a lot of value to that program? Will your child leave each session with a completed art project? Find out where your money is going so you can make an informed decision.
  • Do a trial class if you can – Watch your child during a trial class. Even if they are sitting on your lap the whole time are they watching the teacher? Do they seem intrigued by what’s going on? Do they talk about it on the drive home or the next day? If they do any of these chances are you’ve found a good fit. And remember especially for shy kids they may not participate at all at first but don’t pull them out of the program right away. Give it time. And even if you think they are getting absolutely nothing out of it they may surprise you. I thought music classes were a complete waste of time for one of my kids. He never participated or showed any interest in class. But after the session was done he would come home and sing all the songs, do all the actions, and could do all the beats they learned. He just wanted to do it on his own terms at home. So even though he sat on my lap for three sessions in a row staring at the teacher with a scowl on his face, he still learnt something and it was worth going.

In the end no matter the program you choose it can be a great bonding time for you and your child. I just hope these tips help make it the best experience possible.

Box Social Event Planning

Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.

truLocal = Truly Convenient + {Discount Code}

The Mamas love local and we hate grocery shopping.

So, when we learned about truLocal at the Edmonton Home and Garden show, we were intrigued!

Upon further investigation we learned that the basic idea is that they source LOCAL meat and deliver it to your door. Yes, it is subscription based BUT you choose your frequency. You can skip boxes – even pause or cancel at any time – no strings!

It was a real treat getting the box and seeing exactly where the items came from in Alberta. For example these DELISH steaks from Fort MacLeod.

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Hustle is Stupid

I’ve been working as an entrepreneur/mompreneur/freelancer/contractor/business owner whatever you want to call it, for over ten years. I’ve had big clients, tiny clients, and big projects and projects from hell and everything in between. I can say, unequivocally, from my 10 years of trying to make money while raising a family and trying to be a regular human that the “hustle” … is stupid.

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In Edmonton, Events, Health, Style on
January 11, 2020

SkirtsAfire Festival RETURNS to YEG + {Discount code}

SkirtsAfire Festival in Edmonton is self-described as “diverse and daring”. When you visit the festival be prepared to be immersed in powerful, beautiful, engaging performances, exhibits and workshops in Theatre, Poetry, Spoken Word, Design, Art, Dance, Cabaret, Music, Comedy, Yoga, and more.

We have taken in their 2017, 2018 AND 2019 MainStage Productions. In 2019, we had the pleasure of taking in not one, but two plays in one night. Statue and Deep Fried Curried Perogies. Both interesting and thought provoking shows.

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In Christmas, Lifestyle on
January 5, 2020

DECLUTTER FOR A FRESH START OF THE YEAR

If one of your resolutions this year is to get your home in order, you might want to start to declutter as soon as you can at the beginning of the year. There is literally no better time to do this. Your desire to have an orderly home is on the forefront and you will find the energy to accomplish this task. If you still have your Christmas decorations up, this is an even more perfect time. Don’t believe me? Here are three reasons why it is a good time to declutter:

  • Since you already have some of your Christmas decorations out, you can take a look at the items that didn’t make the cut and determine whether you don’t like them anymore, they don’t suit your decor style, or if they are broken. If an item meets any of these criteria, get rid of them and don’t just put all the Christmas decorations back in storage.
  • You likely got a lot of new items over Christmas as presents, so you can get rid of the old items or ones you like a little less.
  • Before you put away the new items, you can take a look at the space and see if there is anything that can be donated or given away (to other family members.)

Once you have the Christmas decorations and new presents taken care of, here are five other areas you might want to consider decluttering for a fresh start:

  • Fall or winter clothes – Any clothes that got continually bypassed during the last few months might be an indication they need to be donated. Regardless of the reasons you didn’t wear them in the last 2-3 months, chances are they won’t be worn in the next 2-3 months either.
  • Outgrown toys – Any toys that your children will “sometimes” play with can probably be donated. Obviously, keep the sentimental ones. Random ones that you got for free from McDonalds or gets played less than 10 times a year, should go.
  • Any papers you have stacked up – Take some time to go through all the paper you have saved/neglected the past couple of months. Recently, I found a package you use to file your taxes manually in a stack of papers my spouse had. I have no idea why he still had this package because we filed our taxes months ago. Take all of your papers out, go through them, and then file or recycle them. You don’t want more paper to accumulate when September rolls around and more paper finds its way into your home.
  • Your pantry – If you have a resolution to eat healthier this year, go through your pantry and donate any non-perishable foods to your local food bank. By having the items out of your pantry, you will be able to stick to your resolutions and eat healthier.
  • Anything that annoyed you throughout the year – This can include things that no longer serve you, things you never liked, things that were gifted to you, or things constantly in your way. Get rid of the items and create some new space.

It might sound daunting to declutter your home, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, by selecting these areas to declutter first, it will become second nature to you. If you are still struggling, when you look at an item, ask yourself if it serves the “present” you or your current intentions. If it doesn’t, it may serve someone else. Good luck!!

Monica Hui is a working mom in Calgary, Alberta, constantly looking for ways to do things faster and faster so that she can slow down to have pretend picnics with her daughter. Her website, www.wishahmon.com, shares efficiency tips to help moms create an easier, prettier, and efficient mom life. You can follow her on facebook or Instagram, @wishahmon.

Other AM Blogs by Monica Hui 

In Calgary, Edmonton, Explore, Lifestyle, Parenting on
January 4, 2020

Winter Play – Getting the Kids To Play Outside

Whether we like it or not, winter is here for a few more months. Getting the kids to go outside and play seems like way more work in winter especially when they are little. We’ve come up with some tips and tricks to help you get outside and take advantage of the snowy weather. Who knows… Winter may even become your favourite season!

  • Dress for the weather – this means lots of layers especially for little ones. It can also mean spending some extra money on things like really good socks (wool based ones are great for warmth and moisture), boots, and mitts. Yes even for yourself! If you are cold you will not want to be outside. We live in a place where it is winter for half the year – invest in some good winter boots. It is a game changer!
  • Sign up for winter activities if your budget allows – If you have put money down on a class, chances are you will show up no matter the weather. Ski lessons, snowshoeing, winter hike tours, and skating are all things you can do as a family.
  • Enjoy the darkness – With winter comes shorter days but that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. If you live in the city go for a drive to the country and go star gazing. Elk Island National Park, Kananaskis, or really any country road are all great options for star sighting. Don’t want to leave your backyard? Give the kids flashlights and glow sticks to take outside. You’ll have to drag them back in.
  • Bring treats – Summer adventures mean ice cream and picnics but you can reward yourself for getting outside in winter too! Get a fancy hot chocolate and go for a walk or instead of finding ice cream, find a new bakery to check out.
  • Book a mountain trip – Jasper in January can bring some great hotel deals and if you have a flexible work schedule try booking Jasper or Banff midweek to save some money. Winter doesn’t seem so bad when you are surrounded by Rocky Mountain beauty.
  • Make a playdate – Tell the other parent they will be outside so they are dressed appropriately and let the kids build a fort, have a snowball fight, or build a snowman. Playing is more fun with a friend.
  • Plan a family toboggan date – Get friends and family together to go tobogganing. Everyone brings their sleds and a thermos of hot drinks and you’re ready. If tobogganing isn’t your thing, find an outdoor rink and have a skating party!
  • Use summer toys in winter – Keep the sand toys out to let them build snow-castles and dig with shovels. Bring out bubbles and watch them freeze. Use hula hoops for a winter obstacle course. Just because they are toys marketed to summer activities doesn’t mean they can’t use them year round.

Winter is not going anywhere so you may as well join in. If the kids see you out having fun, they’ll follow suit. And soon enough they will stay outside longer than the time it takes to bundle everyone up. Hopefully.