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Calgary

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

 

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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Paddle boarding in Alberta

I make semi-regular trips to Canmore, and when I drive past the Canmore Reservoir, past the turquoise blue water framed by the Rocky Mountains, I’ve seen the paddleboarders out there looking so cool and standing on their boards in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I keep thinking, “I want to do that.”

I finally had my chance to paddleboard otherwise known as SUP (the term SUP refers to stand up paddleboarding) after the Rocky Mountain Soap Women’s Run this past May, and now I’m convinced everyone needs to have a go because it was a) not as hard as I thought* b) really peaceful out on the reservoir! If every parent doesn’t need to spend some time out alone (or with friends) on a lake in Alberta, who does?

*I must preface this with I’m not athletic, or coordinated, and am more likely to be found in my house than out being active in nature. 

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9 Things I’m Looking Forward to This Summer in Alberta

I’ll be working full time so I’ll be squeezing every last drop out of my Alberta summer weekends. Here’s what I’m most excited to experience this summer in Alberta.

The Road Trip

Is there anything better than packing up your wheels, stopping for snacks and hitting the open road? Yes, yes there is. It’s called re-living your childhood. One of my earliest memories is playing cards in my grandparents motor home, road trekking through Alberta, to the States into Mexico. Hanging out, while you watch the landscape race by. Snacking, gaming, talking – the journey more important than the destination. The in-laws bought a small motor home and they’re letting us borrow it – squeee!

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In Calgary, Parenting on
May 31, 2018

Hyundai Sante Fe Roadtrip

This weekend two of the Alberta Mamas went on a road trip down to Calgary for some fun in the sun. We teamed up with Spruce Grove Hyundai to take the Sante Fe XL for the ULTIMATE test. A road trip with four kids!

hyundaisantefe

Deanne and I packed up our 4 kids aged 9, 7, 6 and 5 and headed to Calgary’s Calaway Park and then to the Abbey Centre in Blackfalds. This of course meant that we need stuff for walking around the grounds, but also stuff for a day of swimming and such outside.

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Learn to Bike this Summer with Pedalheads! (+ Giveaway)

Biking camps in Alberta

If you are looking for a day camp idea in Edmonton, St. Albert or Calgary we seriously suggest that you take a look at Pedalheads! Whether your child is just learning how to ditch the training wheels or you need a fun activity for your child(ren) so that you can ALL have a break this summer- this is it!

I’m speaking from experience here, my son tried Pedalheads for the first time last year and he went from not being able to even pedal a bike with training wheels (he had spent 2 years prior on a balance bike) to riding a 2 wheeler sans training wheels in less than 2 classes! He hasn’t slowed down since, and my husband and I get to enjoy the fun part- riding as a family instead of managing the tears and fear.

Biking camps in alberta

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In Calgary, Health on
May 3, 2018

Calgary Bike Swap THIS Weekend – May 5th

Need a bike? Need an upgrade? Have a bike to get rid of? This weekend is the Bike Swap in Calgary!

It’s bike season finally! Despite the name, it’s not about swapping bikes with others but rather a safe place to buy and sell bikes. You can bring your clean and taken care of bikes to be sold by the Alberta Bike Swap people and/or browse for you own bike.

You can unload your bike or even yous kids bikes. There are some restrictions on selling kids bike however, which you can find all about in their FAQ section. If you have one though that doesn’t meet the requirements and want to donate it, they will gladly take it and donate it to a child in need! They will even take bike parts that will also be donated to community initiatives to help repair bikes int eh communities!

 

When: May 5th 2018

Time: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm (Consigning)

8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Donating bikes)

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm (Purchasing bikes)

Location: City Center Parkade, 340 10 Ave

 

Check out their video of a past swap!

In Calgary, Explore, Health on
May 2, 2018

Mexico Comes to the Prairies: Cerebral Palsy Association Gala!

Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta

The long winter this year has many Albertans dreaming of heading to warmer parts of the world like Hawaii, Palm Springs and Mexico. Who can blame us, right? Now as we head into May and see signs of spring (even summer!) we can begin to enjoy staying right where we are. This may be the case for most people, but not the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta (CPAA). We have been in fiesta mode for months now and the party is just getting started.

For the past 11 years, the CPAA has hosted our annual fundraising gala in Calgary with a different theme each year. From a masquerade ball to the wild west to celebrating Canada, we have seen it all. For year 12 we are bringing Mexico to the prairies with a Cinco de Mayo theme! With Mexican inspired gourmet food stations, exciting live entertainment and the opportunity to bid on fabulous live and silent auction items this fiesta is sure to have our guests saying Olé!

Fundraising galas are an integral part to any non-profit organization. It’s not only a chance to raise needed funds, but it also brings together a community of valued supporters who get an opportunity to really know the people behind the organization. It can also be the perfect date night, girl’s night, or company party. It’s a fun and exciting way to give back.

Funds raised through events such as our Cinco de Mayo gala support the CPAA’s vital programs and services for individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Through our programs, services and collaborations, we advocate and promote awareness, acceptance and understanding for persons with disabilities to live, learn and work in the community.

We are lucky to have the platform to offer affordable programming for kids and adults of all abilities in both Edmonton and Calgary. With awesome volunteers and instructors, we have everyone dancing, playing music, creating art, and literally diving into a world where they feel included and confident. This is all thanks to events like our gala and we are looking forward to a night of chippin, dippin and margarita sippin!

There are still a few tickets left to our Cindo de Mayo Gala which takes place at Calgary Stampede Park’s exclusive Ranahan’s from 6pm – Midnight, May 5th and we would love for you to join us! Please click here to visit our event website and to order your tickets.

Not able to join us? There is still an opportunity for you to help support our fundraising goal by bidding on some fabulous silent auction items. Take a peek at our online auction here.

For more info on our programs, please visit our website.

Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta

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?

 

Bike Swap Alberta

At some point in the next month, the snow will melt and at some point, it will reach above 10 degrees and we’ll be able to send our kids back into the neighbourhood onto their bikes. The trouble is is that your child has grown, and now their knees are hitting the handlebars and now they need a new bike. Not to worry, Alberta Bike Swap is here to save your bank account, and not just for your kids because you need a bike too!

Alberta Bike Swap is a registered non-profit and gives people a safe place to sell, donate or buy a bike, and bike swaps are happening across Alberta in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer. 

 

“Bikes sold at the swap are safer than a garage sale purchase because our squad of volunteer bike techs perform a basic safety and mechanical check of each bike.” – Alberta Bike Sales

 

What do you need to know before you head to a bike swap? Well, that depends on if you’re buying or selling, but here are some factoids.

Selling a Bike:

  • If you want to sell your kids bike, it won’t be accepted to sell if it’s from a box store (Canadian Tire, Walmart etc.). They do this for quality assurance.
  • Have a bike that no longer fits your child and you’d like to donate that bike? They can do that too, please make sure the bike is in good condition and it’s is decent working order.
  • It costs $2 to get into a swap and that money goes to a local charity.
  • You don’t have to be there to sell you bike which for me is a win-win. If you’re just there to sell your bike, you just drop it off. Boom. Easy. There is a 15$ fee to put your bike in the sale, which ensures that only good bikes are going to be at the swap. No one is paying 15$ for someone to sell their 50$ bike. If you’re an AMA member, the cost to “rack” your bike is $10.

Buying a Bike

  • Swaps. Get. BUSY. Get there as early as you can (see locations for dates/times below). You may be waiting outside so dress accordingly. The bike racks are set up at 6am in Edmonton and Calgary, and yes, you’re welcome to line up at 6am.
  • There is a $2 admission, but kids 12 and under are free.
  • They only accept cash or debit cards. No credit cards.

Locations & Dates

Calgary 

When: May 5, 2018

Consign: 0800-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0800-1600

Where: City Centre Parkade, 340 10 Ave SW

Edmonton
When: May 12

Consign: 0800-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0800-1600

Where: Kinsmen Sports Centre Fieldhouse, 9100 Walterdale Hill

Lethbridge

When: April 28, 2018

Consign: 0900-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0900-1600

Where: Exhibition Park North Pavillion 3401 Parkside Dr. S

Medicine Hat

When: April 27, 2018

Consign: 1500-1900
Buy: 1915-2030
Donate: 1500-2000

Where: Exhibition and Stampede Wildrose Room Higdon Hall, 2055 21 Ave SE

Red Deer

When: May 11, 2018
Consign: 1600-1900
Buy: 1915-2030
Donate: 1600-2030

Where: Salon B Westerner Park 4847A 19 St

 

For more information please check the Alberta Bike Swap website or their Facebook page