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.
We’re done having kids. The boys are now 8 & 11 so we’re out of the baby/toddler/preschooler stage. I have loved every stage but the older they get the more I see a little baby and want to squish their little cheeks and start again. KIDDING. I don’t want to start again. But I need something to keep me company during the day while the boys are in school. Pets are not an option (WAY too much work plus the whole allergy thing) so I’m becoming a Plant Mom.
The other night as I frantically finished up the evening chores and sent the kids off too bad my daughter came up to me and asked me if I would cuddle with her in bed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has answered this way but I told her “just let me finish up the dishes and what I am doing here and I will come cuddle with you.” I guess deep down my hope was that she would fall asleep and I could continue finishing up cleaning up the kitchen, putting away toys they had missed, hang up jackets, prep snacks and lunches. That I could finally sit down and throw on some Netflix or do something that I had been wanting to get done the whole day and needed my alone time to do it.
After about 3 minutes of silence I hear her say “mama are you still coming?” I instantly felt bad, she had actually been waiting. I had given her this hope that I was coming when I didn’t really have the intention of coming to cuddle with her. This mom guilt came over me and I dropped the sponge and went to her room. I invited our son to come and cuddle with us too. I mean was it going to take an extra two minutes of my time, five minutes even to lay in bed with them cuddle recite some Quran and make them feel like they are loved and cared about until the very last minute of the day. It’s about them going to sleep feeling like it was a good day no matter what happened at school or whatever fears or struggles they had at the end of the day it’s us against the world and no matter what mama is there. It was just a simple moment that she’d asked for but I was telling her without really telling her that I had other things that were more important than her.
Perhaps in my head I justify it as I had spent the day with them, running errands for them, rushing around for them, cooking for them taking them to the library, driving across the city with them and many other “mom duties”.
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from Tracey McGonigal, the owner and creative force behind Tracey Bakes YEG. She’s also a busy wife and mama with a full-time day job. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram, sharing photos of her breathtaking cakes and cupcakes.
1. How did you begin this journey into the world of cake decorating?
When my daughter Olivia was born, being a first-time mom some days felt so isolating and lonely. While I was over the moon about having a beautiful, healthy baby I wasn’t used to staying home after being part of the workforce for so long. I’ve always liked to bake but this time gave me the chance to really fall in love with it and it was something I got to do for myself.
2. Can you describe your creative process?
I generally like to sketch out most of my cakes beforehand to plan on how I want to tackle it. I like to keep up with what’s trendy while staying true to a particular style on how I like my cakes to look and meeting up with what my client needs. I also love to work with both buttercream and fondant, I like to be versatile so I’m never bored doing the same thing.
3. What is the most rewarding aspect of owning and operating your own business?
Hands down the awe in my clients and how grateful they are when they see their cakes for the first time. Just knowing I had created something to do that makes all the long hours super rewarding.
4. It’s Sunday morning. How is your family spending the day?
My week is always so hectic (I also work as a full time medical office assistant) and Sunday is a chance to catch up on things like laundry or other “fun” house work. Some days we say the hell with it and do none of the above to do something fun out of the house with our daughter.