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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

In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
June 15, 2018

Discovering My “Weaknesses”

Have you ever done one of those personality tests?

A while ago I did the 16 Personalities Test  and it was terrifyingly accurate. Well, other than it saying I should have been a nurse or a teacher. Blood grosses me out and I’m just going to be honest here, sometimes, other peoples kids make me crazy. This will be a discussion about “weaknesses” but try not to think of that as a purely negative term.

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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

 

In Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
June 11, 2018

The Best Father’s Day Gift I Ever Got

By Rob Burtt

I will never forget the birth of my first child. It’s not that the latter two births were less significant, it’s just that the first was such a surreal and sobering experience. I remember this  6 lb. 3 oz. little girl meeting the world for the first time. I recall having her bundled up little body placed into my arms and thinking “Wow, I’m a Dad.”

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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 Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
May 21, 2018

Book Review – How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

By Leah Ison

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.”

There have been many stories about the curse of time that have sparked the romantic in me. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Winter’s Tale and Outlander to name a few. When I came across How to Stop Time, I immediately grabbed it, not just for it’s whimsical cover, but for the excitement of possibly finding a book that will pull me away from my own curse of time as a work-at-home-mom. Take me away, I demanded!

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In Health, Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
May 11, 2018

Ramadan 101

By Mona Ismaeil

The time has come when you may find yourself in those awkward situations where you offer your colleague something to eat or drink and they say they are fasting! Ramadan is near! It doesn’t have to be awkward! Here is what you need to know about Ramadan and your workplace:

What is Ramadan?

The Holy month of Ramadan is a very spiritual month for Muslims around the world. For 30 days, Muslims will refrain from food, drink, smoking and spousal relations from sunrise to sun set. Between these hours, Muslims fast. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.  There are a number of reasons Muslim fast during Ramadan. The first is that it shows devotion to Allah (God). Secondly, during periods of fasting there is a heightened spirituality and closeness to God. The time of the year includes more prayers, reading of the Holy Qur’an and gathering in remembrance of God.  Next, Muslims practice self-control and finally there is a recognition of the many blessings we are granted. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims are required to give a percentage of their wealth to those in need in an act of charity.

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5 BIG Emotional Mistakes People make while buying or selling Real Estate

By Sajida Pellegrini

Buying and Selling real estate is usually  a very emotional process. As a REALTOR® I  know  part of my job is to remain objective and keep my clients on track. This is because people may not be thinking as clearly as they would like to during the process, which can lead to mistakes that can cost them.

Why do people make emotional mistakes in real estate?

Real estate transactions often coincide with important life events both happy and not so happy. For example having a baby can be an amazing joyful experience, however it is often accompanied by many stress factors. Parents  are overwhelmed with so many important decisions about the baby, and now have to also think about logistical issues of perhaps needing more living space to raise a family.  And can they  afford to upgrade to a larger home?

Other emotional life events that often accompany a real estate transaction include divorce, a death in the family or moving to a new city.

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Summer Camps With Kepler Academy

One of our favourite child care providers in Edmonton is offering summer camps this summer! Using the same innovative approach to education Kepler Academy has joined these approaches and curriculum to day camps in July and August for children ages 5 to 12.

There are three summer camp modules for your kids;

  •  The Amazing Race
  • The Arctic
  •  Real-Life Superheroes

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