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Rural Journeys

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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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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The One-of-a-Kind International Children’s Festival of the Arts is Coming + {Giveaway}

The International Children’s Festival of the Arts: Stories Alive is a one-of-a-kind kids experience that happens right here in Alberta. St. Albert, Alberta to be exact! This annual cultural extravaganza is happening Tuesday, May 29 through Sunday, June 3, 2018.

There’s no shortage of fun at this festival!

Photo Russell Bingham

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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?

 

In Central Alberta, Rural Journeys on
April 6, 2018

25+ Spring Happenings in Central Alberta

Spring has sprung in Central Alberta! Sort of? It is time to start thinking of things to do – as a family and for date night! Or even just something for a little me time – like shopping local!

Here are some events to take you through the spring and get you out and about!

APRIL

April 20th is the Our Best to You Red Deer event.

Take a peak at what’s coming up at the Styling Sylvan Spring Fashion Show in Sylvan Lake on April 24.

We happened upon what looks like an interesting event for parents of picky eaters. On April 24 – Picky Eating and Everything Toddler Nutrition in Red Deer.

Bull Skit Comedy in Red Deer brings you Get Ship Faced on April 27th, which, with a name like that just sounded too interesting to leave out of the list.

On April 27, Experience the Magic of Local Business at the Ponoka & District Chamber of Commerce 2018 Trade Show.

April 28th is the Red Deer Women’s Show & also the Innisfail Flying Club is hosting COPA for KIDS, where kids ages of 8 to 17 get an introduction to aviation that includes a free flight!

The Picket Fence Spring Market takes place April 29th in Olds.

MAY

May 5th is the Red Deer Mini Maker Faire 2018

The 3rd Annual Mother’s Day Tea Party is being held in Red Deer on May 5th. Details and tickets on Eventbrite.

The All Things Pretty Market runs May 5 & 6th in Red Deer.

The Kinette Club of Ponoka their first Glitter and Smash Annual Princess and Superhero Party on May 6th.

May 6 is the Spring Mom to Mom Event in Lacombe.

If you’re looking for a date night idea, Crystal by Cirque du Soleil comes to Westerner Park May 9-13th.

On May 11 Westerner Park hosts the Alberta Bike Swap. An opportunity to buy, sell, trade, swap and even learn more about safe cycling practices.

The Town of Blackfalds is hosting a Mother’s Day Tea Party on May 12.

The Sylvan Lake Farmers Market runs every Friday, May 18 through September 28th.

May 19 is the Spring 2018 event hosted by The Monkey’s Uncle – A Used Kid’s Clothing and Toy Sale in Innisfail & it’s also opening day at The Market at Red Deer 

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has 3 “No School? No Problem! Drop in Fridays!” coming up in May & June.

JUNE

The Central Alberta Children’s Festival is coming up June 1 & 2nd, 2018!

Also on June 1, 2 & 3rd is the Central AB Humane Society Garage Sale.

The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede hosts 3 action packed days of events Jun 7 – Jun 9.

The CLC Fitness Centre in Olds hosts a beginner hike; great for kids – the Family Hike on June 8.

Pillage the Village 2018 boasts fun for the whole family on June 9th in Olds.

In Red Deer on June 21 is the National Aboriginal Day Event .

The 5K Foam Fest is in Red Deer on Juner 23rd.

Ongoing 

Red Deer Museum, Red Deer Public Library , Kerry Wood Nature Centre  & your local library all have ongoing events and programs to check out too!

Another great resource for fun happening all over Alberta is the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies website.

Any great events your planning to attend that we’ve missed? Comment below! We’d love to hear about them!

Glamping in Alberta

glamping

Don’t get me wrong, camping is great, BUT it can be a large expense to accumulate all of the required supplies. Sleeping on the ground is also not for everyone, myself included! Sometimes it’s nice to just pack your essentials and go, especially when travelling with kids. Thankfully Alberta has many alternate ways that you can spend a night in the great outdoors. Read on to learn all about ‘glamping’ options in Alberta!

oTENTiks

A Parks Canada exclusive, these accommodations are like a cross between an A-frame cabin and canvas tent on a raised wood floor platform. Units are for up to 6 people, with a maximum of 4 adults. There are no bathrooms or running water inside oTENTiks. A table, beds/sleeping pads, lights and small heater are available in most units. You can enjoy TENTiks in Jasper (Whistlers), Banff (Two Jack Lake & Tunnel Mountain Village 2) & Elk Island (Astotin Lake).

glamping

Photo Credit: Teagan Photography

Yurts

Alberta Parks offers a unique experience with yurts! These are insulated, round, tent-like structures mounted on a wooden deck with a vented skylight. Conveniences include lights, an electric heater, electrical outlets for charging your devices, all cooking pots/pans, plates/utensils, a small fridge with freezer, gas BBQ and sleeping areas for 4-8 people. Yurts are available at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park and Pigeon Lake Provincial Park.

glamping in alberta

Photo Credit: Alberta Parks

Equipped Campsites

A new partnership between Parks Canada and MEC, you can now arrive at an equipped campsite that is all set up and ready for you! This includes a tent, sleeping pads, stove with propane, lantern, camping chairs and more. Please note that some campgrounds may offer slightly different items. You can enjoy equipped campsites in Waterton National Park, Banff National Park and Elk Island National Park.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

RV Rentals

This isn’t necessarily the cheapest option BUT it could end up saving you thousands of dollars! If you are thinking about buying an RV, test one out first! This is also a great option for people who have no storage options for a trailer or don’t have enough time to camp frequently or maintain their own RV. Go RVing has a great directory of RV dealers across Alberta that rent trailers, tent trailers and motorhomes. Some even offer roadside assistance and trailer delivery. Also check out WheelEstate, a new online peer-to-peer marketplace for RV’s. It’s like Airbnb or VRBO for vacation trailers!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Cabins

For those who prefer a more solid structure, there are lots of cabin rentals across Alberta. My mom and I stay in a cabin every summer as a girl’s getaway and here’s some of our favourites that include bathrooms and kitchens:

Comfort Camping

Photo Credit: Alberta Parks

Tipis and Canvas Tents

I’ve never stayed in a tipi, but I feel like it would be really fun with kids, allow for some cultural experiences and provide more space than a tent. These are the ones on my list to check out: Sundance Lodge (Kananaskis), Old Entrance B’nB (Hinton) & Blackfoot Crossing (south east of Calgary).

Make sure you check out the Comfort Camping Canvas Wall Tents through Alberta Parks located at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Writing on Stone Provincial Park and Wyndham-Carseland Provicial Park. They all include queen beds, futons, a private deck and gas BBQs.

Alberta Parks

Photo Credit: Alberta Parks

As you search for ‘glamping’ options in Alberta don’t be discouraged if you are having issues finding availability on your chosen dates. Many of these book up quickly, but there are always cancellations so keep your eye on them. Also, you will find more vacancy if you are able to travel midweek or in June or September.

What’s your favourite glamping experience? I would love to hear! Connect with us on social media on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram! Need more inspiration? Click here for our post on Our Favourite Campgrounds in Alberta.

Every Day Girl

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Do Your Kids Miss School for Vacations?

Do you let your kids miss school to go on vacation?

This week we are leaving for a vacation (YAY!) but for the first time I wondered about pulling the kids out of school to be on holidays.

***Full disclosure I am still getting on that airplane no matter what the consensus is because this Mom needs a vacation. Although travelling with kids sometimes feels like more work…

We have pulled them out of school the past few years without a thought but this year my oldest is in Grade 4 and it feels different. His teacher was amazing when we told him our son would be missing a week and a bit of school which I was grateful for. He said there’s no point giving him work to do while we are away. When we get back he will see what he missed and what he needs help catching up on but not to worry about it while on holidays.

No homework was getting done on this trip either.

I am a firm believer that kids don’t need to be in a classroom to learn. By making sure our kids get the travel bug early I hope that they will never stop exploring and questioning how our world works. I am just wondering if we should keep that exploring to two months in Summer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below or on Social Media.