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.
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!”
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.
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.
I don’t know about you but winter has been LOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG. The kids are starting to feel cooped up and their behavior is reflecting that. We’ve rounded up our favourite ways to entertain the kids and we’ve even rated the activities so you know how long you will have.
- 0-5 You can enjoy your coffee but drink fast because they will know they are being distracted soon. Easy to set up and execute though so recommended for mornings when you aren’t fully awake yet and need some time before you adult.
- 5-10 Pour a coffee and sit somewhere comfortable. You will have time to leisurely drink it AND if you’re prepared you may even have time to flip through a magazine (you won’t have time to read the articles just look at the pretty pictures in Home and Garden and dream of a clean and organized home without Goldfish crackers smushed into the couch) or scroll through Instagram.
- 10-15 For this one you will have time to clean out the dishwasher, get a clean mug, pour a coffee, and Pin seven different “recipes for picky eaters” that will never actually work. Even if you puree spinach and try to hide it in rice and call it HULK RICE because it is green; your toddler will still refuse to eat it.
- 15-20 Wipe down the counters, sweep that rice off the floor from last nights supper with picky toddler (see above), plan supper for that night (it will be chicken nuggets & fries because you are still exhausted from last nights dinner battle), pour a coffee and you will STILL have time to Facebook creep all those people you went to high school with.
How to keep the kids busy inside during long Alberta winters:
- Build a Fort – It can be a blanket thrown over two chairs or you can get creative with boxes, tables, couches, and more. They won’t care as long as they can’t see you when they are inside. Throw in a blanket, a pillow, and let them have their afternoon snack inside for added time. Time Rating: 17
- Dance Party – Put on a kid friendly playlist (one of our Alberta Mamas made a fantastic list of 26 Kid-Friendly Dance Party Songs) and let them go crazy. Time Rating: 4
- Sensory Bins – Sensory bins are a great distraction and can range from easy (throw some pom poms and cups into a large container with tongs) to more labour intense (check out this snow and paint one Live It All In did with her kids) Time Rating: 8
- Painters Tape Racetrack – This is a favourite because it takes no effort and it will keep them entertained for a long time. You can even start the track, pass them the roll of tape and let them go crazy. At the end of the day just peel the tape up! Time Rating: 20+
- Pipe Cleaners and a Strainer – Start a few pipe cleaners to get them going and then walk away and let them create. Depending on the age you can add beads to work on those fine motor skills and playdough to create sculptures. Time Rating: 3-7 depending on their age
- Audio Books – When you just can’t quite wake up yet but your toddler is demanding another book put on an Audio Book. We found a cheap cd player that we put in our kids’ room and gave them a bunch of CD’s we’ve found at garage sales. You can also find them at your local library. Time Rating: 2
- A Box – The easiest one to set up but the longest thing they will play with. Make it a fort, attach some milk jug caps for buttons and paper plates for wheels and make a car, add blankets for a bed for their favourite doll, sit them inside with crayons or paint and let them go nuts. The list goes on! Time Rating: 20+
- Stacking Toys – Challenge them to build a tower as tall as they are with blocks. They will have to figure out how to make it sturdy enough to withstand the height guaranteeing you some quite time. Time Rating: 12
- Obstacle Course: Make a whole house obstacle course for them using stools to climb under, string between chairs for “lasers” they have to get through, painters tape in zigzags they have to balance and walk on, a small garbage bin they have to get a ball into. The possibilities are endless! Time Rating: 16
We have all heard of STARS flying int he sky across Alberta to help those around our province having the worst day of their life. We’ve teamed up with STARS to spread the word about their Lottery and how it is helping our friends, families and fellow Albertans.
It’s first helicopter lift off was in 1985 and since then has flown over 36,000 missions.
TIME IS SURVIVAL.
The moment someone is critically sick or injured, their window for survival narrows with each passing second. Their helicopters span long distances fast and ensure patients begin receiving critical care sooner.
THE RIGHT TOOLS.
Every STARS helicopter, education unit, and hangar is equipped with the most advanced medical, aviation and training equipment available. This allows them to deliver world-class care.
Their crew of paramedics, nurses and transport physicians receive cutting-edge training to deliver lifesaving care. Their pilots ensure each patient is transported to the hospital in the fastest and safest way possible.
Being in a car crash is scary. When I was six, I was thrown through the windshield of our family car, close to our home. I was on my way to school.
My body was very sore and I had a really bad brain injury. My family was very worried about me. Our house was far away from a big city, so the paramedics knew to call STARS so the helicopter could carry me to hospital quickly. I was in a coma for three weeks and more than 400 people came to visit me.
Today, I am so much better. I go to school where my favourite subject is math. My teachers and my grandmother help me do my school work. I also play lacrosse and bug my brother a lot.
Even though being in a helicopter was cool, I don’t think I want it to happen again. I know that it took a whole bunch of people to save my life and that makes me happy.
You can read all about the amazing people and stories from the STARS website here.
March 22nd is the final deadline to get your tickets to support STARS. Not only are you helping them help fellow Albertan’s, but you can win some pretty cool prizes too.
There are homes, vacations, cars and even cash to be won.
The early bird deadline is February 28th
You can GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
Have you heard of Pink Shirt Day? On February 28th show your support and take a stand against cyberbullying by wearing pink!
There’s a few big reasons why I can get behind Pink Shirt Day. Here’s Why:
- If you think cyberbullying isn’t a thing, think again. 1 in 5 kids are affected by it. (source: pinkshirtday.ca)
- It is impossible to escape/avoid this type of bullying. In the “old” days we could go home after a rough day and at least get away from a bullying situation that was taking place at school. With technology and connections everywhere, this is so much more difficult.
- We all know that bullying, of any kind, is devastating and can have major impacts for the victim. I was bullied by a particular boy in elementary school. 25 years later I can tell you exactly what the bully said to me, how he made me feel and how no one did anything about it.
- Fundraising, awareness and net proceeds from official Pink Shirt Day shirts, texting gloves and other accessories (sold exclusively at London Drugs) goes to support youth anti-bullying programs- including local Boys and Girls Clubs. Previous to my becoming a mom, I worked for Boys and Girls Clubs and I can tell you first hand the amount of work that goes into these programs and that they have the power to change a child’s life!
- Pink, it’s my favourite colour:)
Purchase your official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt, texting gloves & more from London Drugs and wear it on February 28th to stand up to cyberbullying! Net proceeds of the official t-shirts will support youth anti-bullying programs. This year, Pink Shirt Day is encouraging everyone- no matter what age- to think twice before posting something negative online, and instead use the internet to spread kindness. Nice needs no filter!
We’ve teamed up with London Drugs to support Pink Shirt Day and we’ve got a $50 Gift Card for one lucky winner! Enter below via Rafflecopter. Good Luck!
We’ve all been that parent yelling “Be Careful!!!” from the ground as your child is climbing up higher and higher, running faster and faster, and pedaling harder and harder. As adults we are only seeing the worst case scenario. The crashing and the tears. But we sound like parrots constantly telling our kids to be careful.
It is also hurting their confidence. Can you imagine if every time you unloaded the dishwasher your mom came running into the room yelling at you to be careful? After all there are knives in there. You may cut yourself!
So what can you say instead? We’ve rounded up our top 6 below:
Top 6 Things To Say To Your Child Besides “Be Careful”
- What’s your next move? – We’ve all seen our kids stuck in a position that they want to be rescued from. They climb too high and aren’t sure how to get down. Instead of running up and plucking them off, walk over slowly (as long as they aren’t in real danger of falling far) and ask them what their next move could be. I’ve done this so many times with my kids that they mostly can figure it out by the time I get there because they have had time to stop, breathe, and think about that next step.
- Sticks need space. Can you move that stick without hitting any people? If not, you need more space. – This one is pretty self explanatory. You know your child is going to pick up that stick and turn it into a light saber, twirling baton, sword etc. Make sure that you let them know it is ok to wildly swing it around as long as they are doing so in a safe space.
- !s that rock stable? – Jumping from rock to rock whether at the beach or at the park is great fun. Just help them be aware that some rocks move so they can get their balance right.
- Notice your body. – I think I say this more than any other. Having them notice their bodies and what they can/can’t do is so important so they can make the decision to move ahead or not. It also helps if you have a child like mine that has grown so much so quickly and has become clumsy. By getting him to be aware of his body and how it moves he has crashed into less things.
- Do you feel safe? – Teaching the kids when they should push themselves and when they should turn around and try a new option is a skill they will use forever.
- I’m here if you need me. – We are here to help push our kids to be independent but in the end they still need to know that we are here to help if they really need it. Not do it for them. Help them.
We wanted to take the time to give a shout out to some Instagram Mom’s we’ve been loving lately. These accounts are all ran by Moms in Alberta! They may not have thousands of followers (yet) but we think they are must follows.
- Momifer – Warning: This account will make you want to hibernate and bake all day. If Instagram had smellavison capabilities this account would smell like Grandma’s house. Follow her if you like beautiful photos and want to get some baking inspiration.
2. The Globe Diary – If you are itching to get on a plane and escape the long Alberta winter this account is for you. Exotic locations, cute coffee shops, and so many beautiful sunsets. We dare you to get through this feed without booking a flight somewhere.
3. My Modern Hijab – This Boss Babe is conquering parenting, running a business and blogging all while wearing the perfect shade of lipstick. Seriously. This woman can rock a bold lip! From fashion tips to parenting you will love reading her perspective on life.
4. Moony_1 – From cute lunch inspiration that ranges from Pinterest worthy to cute ideas you can actually do to talks about struggling with weight loss and mental health; this account is real #momlife. Moony_1 let’s us all know that we’re all in this together and although being a mom is not always glamorous, it is fun and our days are full of love for our kids. And really what is better than that?
5. Organized With Kids – Whether you are looking for great tips to keep the chaos in your house under control or you just want to look at a beautifully organized home during your kids’ naptime and dream of the day when the kids move out and you can have a clean floor for more than 5 seconds, you need to give Organized with Kids a follow.
These are just a few of our faves right now that you may not have heard of. We would love to hear some of your favourite accounts!
It is that time of year. Christmas is over, it’s cold, and it gets dark so quickly. The kids are feeling cooped up and you’re ready for a holiday but the after Christmas bank account has other plans for you. So how can you break up the winter months without breaking the bank? Have a Staycation!
Staycations are gaining popularity for a reason. We’ve listed 7 reasons why your next vacation should be close to home.
Why you need a Staycation:
- You can’t beat the drive – We ended up with a hotel about 20 minutes away which was perfect. Who wants to sit in the car for three hours listening to the kids fight and ask “are we there yet?”. If you are in a rural area pick the closest major city and head out!
- Packing is easy – Pj’s, swimsuit, sweatpants and a toothbrush. That’s it. You aren’t going out anywhere fancy so you don’t need much. We went from the pool, to our room, and back again for two days and it was perfect.
- The kids are exhausted at the end of the day – We always get a hotel with a pool which means we swim a lot. This also means that the kids are moving all day so when it’s time for bed they are TIRED.
- A pool with a slide is all you need – Our kids are 6 & 9 and all they wanted to do was swim. They spent hours chasing things down the slide, racing and timing each other, and even climbing up to the top. There are hardly ever people there during the day so we often had the place to ourselves.
- You will have time for you – Let the kids know that this is your vacation too! Let them play in the pool by themselves (if they are older and comfortable in the water) or watch too many cartoons while you read a book or scroll through Instagram. You should come back relaxed too.
- No cooking – Pick a hotel with breakfast included to make it even easier. Head down in your pj’s! The kids will think it is hilarious. Order pizza and pack a few snacks for movies to complete the experience.
- It is a cheap way to get a holiday – No flight costs, gas costs, park passes, admission to tourist attractions or anything besides your hotel cost. We usually use Priceline or Expedia (call the hotel front desk before booking through a third party website. Sometimes they will beat the price by 10% to avoid going through them) and get a great deal on our hotel. Often the best deals are last minute so check often.
Do you do staycations? We would love to hear your tips!
Yes, of course, we want quality time spent with family, to see the excitement in our kid’s eyes, cozying up near a fireplace with some hot chocolate but we’re just going to be honest here.
In the words of Julie Andrews, “These are a few of our favourite things”
- If we are spending money: a Ninja Coffee Bar – I have the blender and I LOVE it. I don’t drink coffee but I could use decaf to make fancy coffee right in my own home!
- The Google Home mini & Chromecast. Play Google Play Playlists & Netflix with just my voice. Find out the temperature or prove my husband wrong about something by using a search engine with just my voice – yes please! Of course, watching Northern Style Exposure use hers on Instastories helped sway me as well!
- Anything David’s Tea. Since quitting caffeine 3 years ago, I’m big on making myself yummy tea lattes. One of my favourite birthday presents last year was their advent calendar but with all the caffeinated teas in there, this year, I’d just love the Caffeine Free Teas Gift Box.
- Diamond earrings. There I said it. This year honestly I don’t want to be all like “don’t worry about getting me something” or “just get me something practical. I’ve wanted small stud diamond earrings for a while, but could never justify buying them for myself. So I want some small simple stud diamonds, like THESE Spence ones.
- A Poppy Barley backpack. Okay, I noticed I may have a tad more expensive taste, but it’s about quality lasting a long time! Again, it’s another thing I just haven’t bought for myself.
- And now to go cheap and simple….. a bathrobe. Seriously, why have I found it so hard to find a good bathrobe? A longer, not crazy thick, but not sooooo thin bathrobe. Like THIS one from Amazon. See not ALL my wants are pricey! (I want grey if you’re reading this Brad….) Ha ha.
- Custom lipstick from Creme De La Creme. We got to go a couple of weeks ago to create a lipstick and I came home with the perfect plum for my skin tone. Now I need a perfect red too!
- Cheese from Italian Centre Shop. Preferably the truffle cheese because I am too cheap to buy it the rest of the year.
- And finally a bottle of Cherry Rye from Hansen Distillery to create cocktails with my husband for cocktail Monday.
- Something reliable to make popcorn with. Seriously, the cheap air popper we have spews burning hot seeds all over the kitchen! Don’t even get me started on how much wasted popcorn that is… It’s not over the top at all, but it’s just something that I keep forgetting to buy. I have heard good things about the PowerLix Microwave Popcorn Popper on Amazon.
- An Apple Watch. I am a lover of all things Apple and I really like having something that can sync easily with my phone and help me track my fitness, to do list, weather and so on. I love that you can customize the colour and type of strap with most models too!
- Something pretty from Eliasz and Ella. Everything this local Edmonton Jewelry company designs I love! I can never have too many Bangin’ Bracelets or sparkly studs. Never. Ever.
- Anything from Rocky Mountain Soap Company! Actually, to be more specific I use their day cream and I swear by it and thus go through a lot. I’d like a bucket of that please.
- Oak and Fort has become my new go-to for clothes. I love the clean lines and simple designs that are easy to throw on.
- A phone charger… again… because whoever is eating socks in my house (we only have socks that don’t match) is also eating phone chargers! They’re always missing. Actually is there such a thing as a phone charger that can never be moved from my bedside table. I want that.
- Something like a course weekend course to improve my photography skills as well as a Lowel Ego Light.
- A portable induction cooktop like this Salton one to step up my YouTube video game!
- Renovations – we need new lights in our bathroom because only half turn on, our kitchen needs to be a different colour than red, and we also need a fresh coat of paint in both of our living rooms.
What’s on YOUR list?