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Alberta Mamas

In Lifestyle, Recipe on
August 19, 2018

Farmers Market Salad

 

August is halfway done which means Farmers Markets (and maybe even your own garden!) are bursting with fresh, delicious produce. But what should you do with all these veggies once you bring them home? We’ve made the easiest salad using all market ingredients with a dressing so easy we guarantee you already have everything you need in your pantry. Not only is this recipe easy, it keeps in the fridge for a while making it the perfect make-ahead meal for BBQ’s, work lunches, and picnics in the park.

Easy Farmers Market Salad

Ingredients:

  • tomatoes
  • peppers (the more colourful the better!)
  • cucumbers
  • dill
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • garlic clove
  • salt and pepper

Optional: Chickpeas, chicken, salmon, feta cheese

Recipe:

  1. Cut equal amounts of all the vegetables into bite sized pieces. This salad is great because you can mix in other vegetables you have on hand or adjust to personal tastes. In the one we made we added: tomatoes, cucumber, two different colours of peppers, and dill but feel free to add in mushrooms, carrots, beets, or anything else you have. 
  2. In the bottom of a large bowl mix equal parts olive oil and lemon juice along with one clove of garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk together. Add veggies to bowl and mix thoroughly. Taste test and add more lemon or seasoning if needed.
  3. Now the fun part! If you want to make this salad a whole meal, dice some chicken and add in. Flakes of grilled salmon are delicious to mix in and if you want to make it vegetarian but make it a full meal add chickpeas like we did for the photo. And of course we always advocate adding cheese to everything so we added some feta.

The longer this salad sits in the fridge the more the vegetables absorb all the seasoning and herb flavours so let it sit at least a half an hour before eating. And remember to make lots! It makes the perfect next day lunch. Enjoy!

 

 

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 #cocktailsMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.

 

Risky Play in Your Own Backyard

Risky Play has been one of those terms parenting experts have been throwing around a lot lately. I think we have all seen the video of the playground in New York where it looks like the kids are playing in a junkyard and no parents are around. The fun that the kids are having is apparent in their faces but we have yet to find a park like that in Alberta and realistically no one wants all that junk in the backyard.

A few weeks ago we posted on Instagram (If you aren’t already following us on Instagram you can do that here) a few videos of Deanne’s kids playing in the backyard with tree stumps and boards. We had so many questions about it that we decided to write a “how to” for you to bring more risky play into your backyard without it looking like a junkyard.

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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.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting on
June 24, 2018

28 Things to Buy at The Dollar Store to Encourage Play

28 things to buy at the Dollar Store next time you are there:

In our backyard we leave a basket (basket not bucket so it has holes in it and drains when it rains so you don’t have to bring it inside) full of loose parts play. The kids can play with anything inside and everytime I go to the dollar store I grab a few more things to add to it. Above is the list of standard things that are put in.

The most important part of this is to let them lead! Don’t tell them how to use the items in the basket. Let them explore and play while you sit and finish that coffee while it’s still hot. You deserve it!

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 #cocktailsMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter

5 Ways to Save This Summer

After what has seemed like a never-ending winter, summer has finally arrived! After being stuck inside all winter, Albertans definitely know how to take advantage of our short summer months. Along with longer days come festivals, food trucks, day trips and weekends exploring our beautiful province. The downside? All of these things can be financially draining for a family.

We love doing as many activities as we can in the summer months, but we want to do it on a budget! We’ve teamed up with Servus Credit Union to put together some of our favourite ways to save money this summer while still enjoying everything our province has to offer.

Frugality at food festivals

From food truck events to Taste of Edmonton or The Edmonton Heritage Festival, your food bill can add up quick. Save money by pre-purchasing tickets in advance at early bird pricing. Our family also likes to take a look at the menus ahead of time so we can plan what we would like to try once we arrive. This helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed once you get there. Also, always pack a water bottle so you don’t have to buy one when we get there. This saves more tickets for dessert!

Day trips on a dime

Albertans have so many fun little spots in the province to take the family for the day to enjoy our beautiful landscape and it’s all for free! Pack a lunch and head out early to get a great picnic spot. Some of our favourite day trip spots (depending on where you live) are: Elk Island National Park, Kananaskis Upper & Lower Lake, Wabamun, Blackfalds (they have a great new outdoor pool area!), Discovery Canyon in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.

Save money in the mountains

Planning a trip to the mountains? Great choice! Bring your bikes and enjoy the trails throughout Jasper and Banff as a free activity. Or, as soon as you get to town, stop by the Visitor Centre and talk to park staff about easy hikes for your children’s age and ability. They also have a ton of maps and resources for you to pick up, with many of them offering coupons for local restaurants. If you are at a National Historic Site such as Cave and Basin in Banff, ask the Canada Parks employee at the front desk for an activity book for the kids. Once the kids complete it they can return it to the front desk for a souvenir prize.

A family bicycling in Jasper

Staycation savings

We have so much going on in our city, you don’t even need to travel to enjoy summer! We love the events like the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival because of all the shows put on right in the streets. Park and ride the LRT or CTrain (which every kid loves riding!), and for a modest amount you can enjoy world-class performers from around the globe right in the heart of the city. Having snacks packed will keep younger children entertained while watching the shows, allowing everyone to enjoy the festival longer. If possible, try to get to larger festivals during the week to avoid larger crowds and lineups. The kids will enjoy it better if they can see the whole show unobstructed. If crowds aren’t your thing you can enjoy a staycation by simply finding a new spray park you haven’t been to yet! Stop off at your local grocery store (we love the Italian Centre) to pick up lunch from the deli and spend the day keeping cool in the water.

Wander your local farmers’ market

Farmers’ markets have started to pop up everywhere! Many of them have started bringing out activities for families to entice them to come out. From petting zoos and bouncy castles to bike tune-ups and live entertainment, you can easily spend the afternoon wandering the market. Look up your favorite market online or on Facebook to see any special events and activities they have coming up.

Want to test out some of our tips? We’ve listed some of our favourite events to attend below!

This article was written in partnership with Servus Credit Union. The thoughts and opinions expressed are our own. #partner

We had the opportunity to talk about these and even other fun tips on the radio with Edmonton’s 630 Ched and Calgary Today as well as on Global Edmonton & Global Calgary!

Listen and Watch the spots below!

Edmonton

Calgary

Summer Bucket List – Red Deer

Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Jasper, Drumheller and Red Deer? Yes! We often overlook Red Deer as a summer destination but we have discovered there is SO much to do in Red Deer and area. From great camping, lakes, rivers, outdoor water attractions, good food, and more; read below why we think adding Red Deer to your Summer Bucket List is a good idea!

Red Deer Summer Bucket List:

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In Explore, Parenting on
June 8, 2018

5 Tips For Taking Young Kids To Disneyland

Disneyland.

Even mentioning the word brings up feelings of magic, wonder, and happiness. Unless you are planning on dragging around kids under 6. Then all you hear when you think of Disneyland is: chaos, crying kids, and cash flying out your wallet. But we can help! Our family has been multiple times with young kids and have learned a lot. See our top 5 things you need when you’re taking your kids to Disneyland.

5 Things You NEED to Know:

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In Parenting on
May 6, 2018

DIY Bird Feeder You Can Make With The Kids

This week we made a bird feeder out of materials we had laying around.

With Earth Day being last weekend we have been talking a lot about the environment, recycling and nature. My 6 year old has been asking alllllll the questions. Why do people litter? Why do we throw away so much stuff? Why do we drive everywhere? You don’t realize the amount of waste you create until you have a kid in Grade One calling you out on every piece of plastic you throw away. I have been smuggling saran-wrap and ziploc bags into the garbage like a rum runner smuggling contraband booze in the 20’s.

So we decided to make a bird feeder with things we have laying around the house to a) give him something to do so I don’t have to answer questions about my non-compostable plastic containers and b) to show him that we can reuse and re-purpose things.

What you will need:

  • toilet paper roll
  • peanut butter
  • bird seed
  • patience – because they will want to do it all themselves

Step 1:

Gather supplies ahead of time before you tell your child you are making something. They are impatient and will ask you 10000000 questions while you are setting things up. Pour the bird seed onto a plate to make clean up easier. Don’t worry about cleaning off all the toilet paper off the roll. This isn’t Pinterest. No one has time for that.  *not noted on the supplies list but this would be a good time to make sure you have a glass of wine ready for after you make a mess with the kids. If you sit and drink the wine until your husband gets home he may even clean up for you*

Step 2:

Get them to cover the roll with peanut butter. This works on their fine motor skills, grasping and pinching muscles which help with writing. That is what you say to your husband when he comes home and sees peanut butter all over the counter and you are on the couch with the wine we mentioned above. You may have to hold the roll for them at the end so it does’t slip onto the floor. No one has time to mop. Unless you have a dog that will come clean up the mess on the floor. Then let the kid do the whole thing.

Step 3:

Roll the peanut butter covered roll in the birdseed pressing down so the seeds stick. Notice how long your kids’ fingernails are and how much dirt is under them. Add “bath time” to the list of things your husband needs to do while you help your self to another glass of wine after he gets home.

Step 4:

Thread the string through the tube and tie a knot so it can hang in the tree. This is great practice tying knots with your kids so they don’t end up wearing velcro shoes for the rest of their life. Nothing wrong with velcro – it is just really really hard to find velcro shoes when they get past size 3. I’m saving you time and money.

Step 5:

Take the cute picture to post later on Instagram to show everyone that you craft with your kids. #goals #instalove #blessed

Step 6:

Hang it in the tree in a spot they can see out the window so they aren’t asking you to lift them up a million times. Make sure they are inside to watch the birds eat. No bird will come to the bird feeder when an excited kid yells “BIRD! A BIRD IS HERE EATING! MOM I SEE A BIRD!” every time they come close.

Step 7:

Check the time. The husband is probably home soon so get that wine ready.

In Recipe on
May 4, 2018

Cinco De Mayo Guacamole

Cinco De Mayo Guacamole

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

It’s Cinco De Mayo and I’ve got Guacamole! How lovely Cinco De Mayo landed on a Saturday this year.

Did you know that Cinco De Mayo is the celebration of Mexico’s victory over the French all the way dating back to 1862? Modern day Cinco De Mayo in America also usually celebrates Mexican/American culture. I think as Albertan’s we are great at celebrating all cultures, so fiesta on!

This is actually a pretty basic guacamole recipe, I think having a good basic recipe is a great start and then you can add your own flare from there! (I sometimes add curry powder!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Let’s make guacamole:

  1. Cut open, pit and scoop out two avocados. Mash the avocado with a fork until smooth.
  2. Finely chop the red onion and tomato. I actually use a Tupperware chopper like this. It helps it get finely chopped up.
  3. Squeeze in juice of the lime. I like mine very lime-y so maybe start at half a lime first.
  4. Add garlic powder and salt and pepper to your taste.
  5. Enjoy and FIESTA!

The Bitchin' Housewife

P.S Check out my matching Super Easy Pineapple Salsa Recipe .

Alberta Mamas – One Year Later

Alberta Mamas is ONE! One year ago we had this crazy idea to work with parents around the province to create a resource for families, a place to find hidden gems in Alberta, and a place where people could share their thoughts in a safe place.  But it has become so much more because of all of you.

Alberta Mamas is a community.

We have learned so much from all of YOU! Every contributor post and conversation on social media has shown us that not only do we have way more places to discover in our beautiful province, but also thatAlberta is full of amazing, smart, and funny parents. You have made us giggle with your comments about your kids’ antics, made us feel like we aren’t the only ones dealing with difficult topics, and have offered sage advice when we have needed it.

“At first I loved seeing our passions come together. Passions for community, business and social media. And it’s grown so much more then that. We are all still passionate but it’s been beautiful to know my friends (and community around us) even better. It’s amazing to see the vision we created for community coming together. In a collaborative and inclusive way.” – Jen

We have also learned a lot from each other throughout the past year. It has not been all sunshine and rainbows. The six of us all have strong opinions and personalities which are bound to clash at some point. We can disagree, fight, and push each others buttons like siblings. But in the end we have got each others back 100% no matter what. We hold each other accountable and push each other to be better. We are each others biggest cheerleaders.

“The first thing I thought of when we started this was – yes I get to write stuff! Secondly though, it occurred to me that I would get to WORK with 5 totally different, totally strong inspiring ladies. Like, I have a legit reason to learn, bend the ears of and hang with 5 women I admire on the daily. And then on top of that, we get to read amazing pieces by moms (and sometimes dads) all over Alberta and share them in our “little” community. Makes a gal feel very blessed!” – Chris

When we first started this one of our goals was to give a voice to parents whether they had a blog or not. We have gotten to work with some amazing people and we love hearing their thoughts and opinions.

“I love that we’re creating a community where writers across the province can share their ideas, opinions and writing- whether they have their own established blog or not.” – Kim

We want to thank you all for commenting, liking, writing for us, sharing posts, offering your opinions and more throughout the past twelve months. Each action means so much to us.

We are excited to officially celebrate our first year (details announced soon) because to quote Kim – “Our parties are pretty fun too!”

 

Who are Alberta Mamas?