Open Farm Days is an annual favourite for many connecting Albertans to their food sources: farmers. For some (myself included) we are generations removed from the family farm, and I have absolutely zero clue about farms, animals, electric fences (they’re a thing), and how they get cows to move to a new pasture. It’s completely mind-boggling to me.
Last week we were invited to Metis Crossing which is Alberta’s first major Metis Cultural Interpretive destination. Located about 1.5 hours North East of Edmonton by the Town of Smoky Lake, it is an easy day trip through some beautiful country.
With Covid cases rising we are on the lookout for more things to do with the kids that create a sense of “normal” for them without risking being exposed. We were reassured by the Metis Crossing staff that protocols have been put into place to still get the experience you want with the safety you need. Plus, with all of this online learning from home, the trip is kind of like a field trip!
It’s a weird time. Days are blending together, time doesn’t matter, putting on real pants has gone by the wayside, and for most kids the severity of the situation has probably sunk in. They are missing friends and family, their activities, and the freedom to play in the park. Parents are struggling with working from home, layoffs, teaching their children, and more.
This isn’t easy.
So we wanted to write to the Easter Bunny and let him know that it’s OK to chill a bit this year.
My kids are 8 & 11 and are in Grade 3 & 6. Just like us sometimes they need a break. So I let them stay home from school even when they’re not sick.
We don’t over schedule (as much as we can with two active kids) but sometimes life piles up. Big family changes, busy weekends, changes in school, and growth spurts sometimes all pile up in one messy ball of emotion and they get to a point where they just cannot function.
So they get to stay home. No questions asked.
I will say that this does not happen often. We trust them to make a judgement call when they need it and this power has yet to be abused. So far in this school year the youngest has taken one day and the oldest has taken two. They are rarely sick (knock on wood) and although we travel occasionally they don’t often have to miss a ton of school.
I can usually tell as soon as they wake up that they are going to use the “free pass” that day. Sometimes they will wake up, start playing into it and talking about staying home but 99% of the time they perk up, eat their breakfast and continue on with their day. But the other 1%? They tell me they just need a day.
A day to stay in bed. Read. Build Lego while listening to their podcasts. Watch their favourite cartoons. Cuddle.
I know the privilege I have to be able to work from home and adjust to their needs. I am grateful I have kids who do not take advantage of this. I get that this will not work for every family.
But for us this works. And as they grow up and become adults I hope that they learn that it’s OK to take a day to recharge.
Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter
We got married young. Really young. Like so young that now when I see people that are 21 I can’t believe that I was already married and expecting our first child young. Neither of us brought a lot of stuff coming into the marriage. We both lived on our own for a bit but when you’re a poor student you don’t exactly have the nicest things.
So when we got engaged I was REALLY excited about the registry part. I know I know I should have been thinking about marrying the love of my life blah bah blah. But what I really was excited for was two things:
Choosing activities for your children can not only be overwhelming but frustrating as well. There are SO many options out there now. And when your child is young it is impossible to tell what they’re interested in besides listening to Baby Shark on repeat and asking to watch Paw Patrol for the 10000000000000th time.
Whether we like it or not, winter is here for a few more months. Getting the kids to go outside and play seems like way more work in winter especially when they are little. We’ve come up with some tips and tricks to help you get outside and take advantage of the snowy weather. Who knows… Winter may even become your favourite season!
- Dress for the weather – this means lots of layers especially for little ones. It can also mean spending some extra money on things like really good socks (wool based ones are great for warmth and moisture), boots, and mitts. Yes even for yourself! If you are cold you will not want to be outside. We live in a place where it is winter for half the year – invest in some good winter boots. It is a game changer!
- Sign up for winter activities if your budget allows – If you have put money down on a class, chances are you will show up no matter the weather. Ski lessons, snowshoeing, winter hike tours, and skating are all things you can do as a family.
- Enjoy the darkness – With winter comes shorter days but that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. If you live in the city go for a drive to the country and go star gazing. Elk Island National Park, Kananaskis, or really any country road are all great options for star sighting. Don’t want to leave your backyard? Give the kids flashlights and glow sticks to take outside. You’ll have to drag them back in.
- Bring treats – Summer adventures mean ice cream and picnics but you can reward yourself for getting outside in winter too! Get a fancy hot chocolate and go for a walk or instead of finding ice cream, find a new bakery to check out.
- Book a mountain trip – Jasper in January can bring some great hotel deals and if you have a flexible work schedule try booking Jasper or Banff midweek to save some money. Winter doesn’t seem so bad when you are surrounded by Rocky Mountain beauty.
- Make a playdate – Tell the other parent they will be outside so they are dressed appropriately and let the kids build a fort, have a snowball fight, or build a snowman. Playing is more fun with a friend.
- Plan a family toboggan date – Get friends and family together to go tobogganing. Everyone brings their sleds and a thermos of hot drinks and you’re ready. If tobogganing isn’t your thing, find an outdoor rink and have a skating party!
- Use summer toys in winter – Keep the sand toys out to let them build snow-castles and dig with shovels. Bring out bubbles and watch them freeze. Use hula hoops for a winter obstacle course. Just because they are toys marketed to summer activities doesn’t mean they can’t use them year round.
Winter is not going anywhere so you may as well join in. If the kids see you out having fun, they’ll follow suit. And soon enough they will stay outside longer than the time it takes to bundle everyone up. Hopefully.
It’s hard to pick the perfect potluck dish. You want something easy to prep, a dish that will feed a crowd, and something that’s easy to transport.
Don’t worry Mamas, we’ve got you! We’ve partnered with Alberta Turkey and have created the perfect pot luck dish: Turkey Buffalo Mac n Cheese. And the best part? EVERYTHING was made in an Instant Pot because we know you have zero time this time of year. By using the Instant Pot we’ve also cut out on all the dishes you have to do. This is literally a one pot meal!
Why I Love Elf On The Shelf:
We love when December 1st hits and Elf On The Shelf comes back from the North Pole and here’s why:
- The magic of it all! They think it is real and I love the Christmas magic that happens when they believe.
- Let’s be real – it is a parenting too for the whole month of December. The kids definitely act better when “Jingles The Elf” is watching.