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In Explore, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
June 23, 2018

Getting Ready To Fly With My Kids

In getting ready to fly with my kids when we head to Disneyland in September I reached out to some of my seasoned traveller friends. I am NERVOUS! This is our first time flying with the kids. Hubs and I both discussed not wanting to be those people with kids that are crying, won’t sit still or just generally crazy when we fly. At 8 and 6 I’m hoping it will be easier than when they were smaller but what’s that they say, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”

My friend Allison & I got to talking. Allison wrote our very first contributor post and has been a great source of advice for me!

Here are three things that have worked for her when she has to fly with her kids. Yes, I made notes! 🙂

Utilize your library

Allison told me about a super fun audiobook format called the Playaway. You just plug headphones into the “book” and away you go. Now, I have my Edmonton Public Library card handy and took a look but they don’t carry this format. However, the helpful librarian pointed me to melibraries.ca which, with my EPL card, gave me access to St. Albert Public Libraries, where Allison had gotten hers from. Who knew? You can actually join 8 other libraries all around Alberta including Calgary and Wood Buffalo, but I digress. There is of course getting yourself the old fashioned CD player and audio CD’s or the new fangled way, Hoopla and any tablet or old phone. Voila! Last but not least, the actual book for the kids who are old enough to read. A plethora of awesome assistance for entertaining your kids from the Library!

*tip* If you suspect both kids might want to listen to same thing at the same time bring along a splitter!

Obviously, take special care with items from your library. You don’t want to be paying for missing things when you get back! 

The Dollarstore is your friend

You’re already spending a bunch of money on the trip. If you’ve gotta put some things together for the kids, you might as well go where it won’t break the bank. Activity books for one thing. There’s a lot of great options and if your kid goes through the whole thing on the trip there – NBD – you recycle it where you land and one less thing to bring back with you. Fill up a ziploc bag with string, stickers, modelling clay, coloured & white paper, markers, pens, and tape. Allison tells me that I’ll be amazed by what they create.

Keep your eyes open

During the months leading up to the trip, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for things. Chirp magazines for example are great time passer. When I head to LovePizza I’ll be letting the kids share one of the wikki stick packs they get with their kids cut and stashing the other for the trip. Extra trips to LovePizza? Don’t mind if we do! In all seriousness, there are often things you can snag or keep from dining out with kids. I’ll also be looking around for the pattern tape to add to their creativity bag too – or anything else I see that might spark their creativity.

We don’t have super long flights, and we have a stop over which I’m hoping will actually help them stretch their legs – less time cooped up. I know they’ll get hungry too so I’ll have to make sure I have some snacks handy of course. I’m so grateful to have friends who can give me ideas and tips to make this nervous mom just a little less so!

AM Community, have you got any other tips for me?

Edmonton's Child

Campground Review: Long Lake Provincial Park

Long Lake Campground Review

As a camping family we like to try as many new campgrounds as possible each season. Sometimes, we go for the old favourites or the ones that have group availability- but my favourite thing to do is explore new places to camp. This past Father’s Day weekend we stayed at Long Lake Provincial Park, a first for us. A few years ago, on my way home from North Buck Lake Provincial Recreation Area, I drove through Long Lake Campground to check it out and it seemed lovely, so I was excited to finally try it out!

Here’s what I loved about Long Lake Provincial Park:

  • The Lake!

The lake is clean, for Alberta lake standards. There doesn’t seem to be any farming right along the lake and though not a very wide lake (hence “Long Lake”) it seems quite deep. This is only June though, so who knows what will happen to the water later in the season. My son and I swam 3 days in a row with no issues of swimmer’s itch!

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Beaches!

Long Lake Provincial Park has 2 sandy beach options, one is the day use area and one is a private beach reserved for campers. Both have a playground and grassy play area. The day use is much larger, but much busier. Even on a super hot June weekend, we were able to find space though it wasn’t “serene” or quiet by any means. However, this is such a great beach for kids. There are no rocks, extensive shallow area, minimal weeds and lots of soft sand. On the Monday (we turned our trip into a long weekend) there was no one on the beach, so midweek would be your best bet for quiet.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Snack Shack!

There is a seasonal concession and store right in the day use area that is super convenient. It has a great selection of ice cream and the usual fries, burgers, etc. Great for a treat, if you run out of food while camping, want to take advantage of a day trip easy lunch, etc. We needed to buy some emergency supplies (sunscreen and toothpaste) and the store was fully stocked and priced fairly. There is also a laundromat, perfect for emergencies or longer stays.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Farmer’s Market!

On Saturdays from 11-2 there is a bustling Farmer’s Market with locals selling everything from meats, veggies, preserves, pies, knitting, woodworking and more. Bring cash, you’ll find something for sure!

  • The Boat Rentals!

There is a boat house in the day use area that has canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards for rent. All rentals come with paddles and life jackets. This is such an easy way to get out and enjoy the water! We tried SUP for the first time, and it was so much fun! You can rent for 1 hour, 2 hours or the entire day. A $200 deposit is required and you can do it via credit card.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Trails!

There is an amazing paved trail that extends the entire length of the campground, day area and group sites. Perfect for biking and strollers AND it goes along the lake, so the view are awesome. There is also a 17 km trail called White Earth Trail that more adventurous bikers or hikers can explore.

Long Lake Campground review

  • The Sites!

This is a catch 22. The sites are quite open (not many trees in between for privacy and shade) BUT most of them have power and many offer lakeside views….. If you want to be close to the day use beach and amenities choose Loop A. If you want to be near the private camper’s beach and towards the quieter back part of the campground choose Loops E or F. If you are tenting there are some cool walk in tenting sites.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • No Cell Service!

For me, this was a plus. I was planning to unplug over the weekend anyways and turn off all of my social media accounts. IF you need to use your phone, drive up to the gas station off the highway and park. Sometimes forced unplugging is what we all need;)

Long Lake Campground Review

  • Things to do!

Besides the boat rentals on site there are some fun activities in the Long Lake area including paintball and golfing. for a list of amenities in the area check out the Go East of Edmonton website here.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • Fresh Water & No Dumping Fee!

It’s always annoying when you pay for camping only to have to pay again to use the sani dump for your trailer, not here though! There is also fresh water to fill your trailer when you arrive- a huge gas saver:) Bring your own drinking water though.

Some things to be aware of when camping at Long Lake Provincial Park:

  • People

This is a busy and popular place. If you are seeking quiet solitude away from others, this might not be your spot. This depends on what you are looking for, I suppose. We did notice that the day use area was quiet and vacated by about 9pm and the campsite areas were actually quite quiet, considering it was full. You will need a reservation if you are planning to camp here, especially on a weekend.

  • Wood

Firewood can be purchased for $8 a bundle on site- it is a small bundle. Up at the gas station by the highway turn off it is sold for $6 a bundle and looked about the same size. There is a family selling wood from their acreage just south of the turnoff on highway 831. We didn’t check it out because we brought our own wood- but typically these places have the best price for the largest amount.

  • Sites

Most of the campsites at Long Lake Provincial Park are a bit out in the open. There’s no shortage of trees around the park, but not as many in between the sites as I prefer. That being said, many of the sites would be good for camping with groups of friends side by side. Again, it just depends on how much privacy you want, how much you like your neighbours and how yappy your dog(s) are! If you are tenting or have a smaller trailer and want privacy (but no power) check out Loop B which is no where near the lake but almost like it’s own separate campground away from the hustle and bustle.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • Cell Service

Again, this could be a pro or a con. If you are expecting to use your phone or get some work done it could be difficult. There didn’t seem to be any service in the park at all. A short drive back to the highway and you are back at it though.

Long Lake Campground Review

Long Lake Provincial Park can be found about 140 kms northeast of Edmonton and is about 20 kms south of the town of Boyle, Alberta. Given its proximity to the city, I think this makes a great day trip too! Want more Alberta summer travel inspiration? Check out our posts on Day Trips from Edmonton, Glamping Options in Alberta & Our Favourite Campgrounds in Alberta!

Tell us! Where are you camping this summer?

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.

 

Short Day Trips from Edmonton!

day trips from edmonton

Summer and travel go hand in hand, but you don’t always have to leave for days to have fun! Day trips can really help when the vacation budget is strained, you have no camping gear or desire to sleep in the forest, you’ve already used up your holiday time at work and also for kids who sleep best in their own beds at the end of the night!

East of Edmonton:

Day Trips from Edmonton

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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

 

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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Breastfeeding is hard- don’t be hard on yourself (+ Philips Avent Giveaway)

About two months into new motherhood I posted the following to my Facebook;

“Nothing gives you empathy for the modern dairy cow like hooking yourself up to the double breast pump”.

Breastfeeding and pumping CONSUMED my life for Nova’s first six months on this planet. Before I go on – I am going to talk quite a bit about nursing and pumping, but I acknowledge that this is not the road for every mom and baby, and at the end of the day I have written this before – but FED IS BEST. However, I do wear my breastfeeding and pumping hours as a badge of honour. It was hard, painful sometimes, challenging, but also rewarding, connective, and an experience like none other.

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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 Explore, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on
June 6, 2018

Tips for Safe Summer Travel

Summer Travel

Summertime and travel go together like peanut butter and jam. It’s just what we do: the kids are out of school, the roads are safe for travel and it’s too hot to work anyways, right? In our group of Alberta Mama founders we are planning on spanning most of the country and even the states with trips to BC, Ontario, Newfoundland, Montana and California this summer (of course lots of in Alberta explorations as well!). Yet, as most of us dreamily plan our summer travels we focus on the where to go and what to do, but we often forget about the what ifs…. Read more

In Contests, Edmonton, Uncategorized on
June 5, 2018

Win tickets to celebrate our 1 year anniversay with Alberta Mamas in Edmonton this Saturday

You guys,  we’ve officially passed our one year of Alberta Mamas and boy has it been a fun ride so far!

This past year has provided us with so many great opportunities to work with some amazing companies, we’ve been on the radio and on tv, explored Alberta through many road trips and camping, and so much more.

We’ve also had some AHMAZING contributors here at Alberta Mamas and know that we wouldn’t be where we are because of them! And really that’s why we started this blog, to begin with, to give Alberta parents a place to have a voice! And boy are there lot’s of great voices!

We’re celebrating 1 year!

What fun would celebrating being a year old be without a party?! This Saturday we’re hosting an invite-only birthday party and want to give away some tickets for you to come and celebrate with us too!

  • When: Saturday night, June 9th
  • Where: Downtown Edmonton

So how do you enter?

It’s really easy! Tell us your favourite blog post that you’ve read on Alberta Mamas for a chance to win a pair of tickets. Tickets include a glass of bubbly, snacks, and a chance to get out of the house and party with some great people. The winner will be picked this Thursday!