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Alberta Mamas

Ultimate List of Alberta Roadside Attractions

Updated July 2020

There is almost nothing better than a road trip, with the exception of going on a road trip and making a pit stop to see that world’s largest honeybee or a real-life UFO landing pad.

In honour of all things weird, here’s our ultimate list of all things roadside in Alberta.

Planing a trip to see the “Worlds Largest” in N.E. Alberta, see our tip and our trip here.

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In Recipe on
June 17, 2020

Lilac Sugar Recipe

Spring in Alberta means lilacs. Those fragrant little flowers start popping out in June and it seems like everywhere you walk you can smell them. Unfortunately the season is way too short. That is why we want to help you preserve the smell of Spring with this beautiful, easy recipe for Lilac Sugar.

Lilac Sugar can be used to replace regular sugar in cookies, biscuits, scones, tea, cocktails, salad dressing, marinades and more. Wherever a hint of floral, fragrance could be used to elevate your dish! The taste is not over powering but if you want just a bit you can always mix in half lilac and half regular sugar.

This will keep in the pantry for months so make a big batch (the recipe below is easily doubled, tripled or quadrupled depending on how many lilacs you can find!) and enjoy the smell of fresh, beautiful lilacs until they come back next year.

Lilac Sugar Recipe

1/4 cup Lilacs

3/4 cups Sugar

Step 1 – Pick the flowers you want to sugar. When you are using flowers for baking and cooking make sure you collect the flowers from an area you are familiar with so you know if they have been sprayed with any chemicals or toxins.

Step 2 – Pick off the flower parts from the stem trying to remove as much green stem as possible. If a little gets into the sugar it is OK but for looks you basically want just the flower. They are very easy to pull off with your fingers. Avoid using scissors as it will bruise the petals releasing the fragrance before you want to. If you can do this step outside it is best as tiny bugs and twigs will come out.

Step 3 – Rinse and wash the flowers to remove any other unwanted bugs, leaves, or twigs. Shake the flowers under a gentle stream of water to keep the flowers intact.

Step 4 – Spread the flowers evenly on a tea towel to dry for at least an hour. You want the flowers to have no excess water on the petals or your sugar will clump.

Step 5 – Once the flowers are dry layer the flowers and the sugar into a mason jar. Don’t worry about even layers as you will be shaking the jar over the next few days. Make sure to leave a few centimetres of room at the top of the jar to allow for movement when shaking.

Step 6 – Shake the contents of the jar every day for a week. I usually put the jar by the coffee maker to remind me to shake it every morning. As you go about your day if you walk past the jar give it a little shake too. The more you shake the more the flavours and fragrances come out. This is a great job for kids!

Step 7 – Once a week passes the sugar is ready! You can sift the sugar to remove the flowers and leave just the flavoured sugar or leave them in. They are edible and make a beautiful addition when you use the sugar.

Dear Easter Bunny: It’s OK If You Want To Half-Ass It This Year

It’s a weird time. Days are blending together, time doesn’t matter, putting on real pants has gone by the wayside, and for most kids the severity of the situation has probably sunk in. They are missing friends and family, their activities, and the freedom to play in the park. Parents are struggling with working from home, layoffs, teaching their children, and more.

This isn’t easy.

So we wanted to write to the Easter Bunny and let him know that it’s OK to chill a bit this year.

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In Lifestyle, Parenting on
February 21, 2020

Unpopular Opinion – I Let My Kids Stay Home From School When They’re Not Sick

My kids are 8 & 11 and are in Grade 3 & 6. Just like us sometimes they need a break. So I let them stay home from school even when they’re not sick.

We don’t over schedule (as much as we can with two active kids) but sometimes life piles up. Big family changes, busy weekends, changes in school, and growth spurts sometimes all pile up in one messy ball of emotion and they get to a point where they just cannot function.

So they get to stay home. No questions asked.

I will say that this does not happen often. We trust them to make a judgement call when they need it and this power has yet to be abused. So far in this school year the youngest has taken one day and the oldest has taken two. They are rarely sick (knock on wood) and although we travel occasionally they don’t often have to miss a ton of school.

I can usually tell as soon as they wake up that they are going to use the “free pass” that day. Sometimes they will wake up, start playing into it and talking about staying home but 99% of the time they perk up, eat their breakfast and continue on with their day. But the other 1%? They tell me they just need a day.

A day to stay in bed. Read. Build Lego while listening to their podcasts. Watch their favourite cartoons. Cuddle.

I know the privilege I have to be able to work from home and adjust to their needs. I am grateful I have kids who do not take advantage of this. I get that this will not work for every family.

But for us this works. And as they grow up and become adults I hope that they learn that it’s OK to take a day to recharge.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

In From the Editors, Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
February 13, 2020

Use the Fancy Dishes

We got married young. Really young. Like so young that now when I see people that are 21 I can’t believe that I was already married and expecting our first child young. Neither of us brought a lot of stuff coming into the marriage. We both lived on our own for a bit but when you’re a poor student you don’t exactly have the nicest things.

So when we got engaged I was REALLY excited about the registry part. I know I know I should have been thinking about marrying the love of my life blah bah blah. But what I really was excited for was two things:

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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.