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Alberta Parks

In Contests, Edmonton, Style on
January 14, 2019

Edmonton Renovation Show Giveaway!

We don’t know about you but we are SO excited for the snow to melt and the reno’s to begin! But we really don’t even have to wait do we? Lots can be done inside while it’s chilly outside!

With big names like Bryan Baeumler hosts of HGTV’s Bryan Inc., plus, with more than 225 exhibitors and a slew of exciting new features, there’s real advice and real inspiration at the Edmonton Renovation Show!

The 2019 Edmonton Renovation Show runs:

Friday, January 25th, 2019 – 12PM – 9PM
Saturday, January 26th, 2019 – 10AM – 9PM
Sunday, January 27th, 2019  10AM – 6PM

Buy your tickets online here or enter to win passes below in our GIVEAWAY! Did you know, Kids 12 & under are free!

Thanks to the Renovation Show we have a four pack of tickets to giveaway! Tickets can be picked up at the show box office and the draw will be Monday, January 21st.

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Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories

Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories

At the centre of my childhood were simple experiences rich with texture and wrought with meaning.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to appreciate the beauty in the simple togetherness my mom wove into the fabric of our family.  Our family didn’t have a lot of money so my mom got creative.  I find myself using many of her ideas with my own children and I enjoy coming up with my own.  Time is the precious gift our children want above all.  Here are some of my favorite memory makers!  I would love to hear about yours.

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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.

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In Parenting on
May 6, 2018

DIY Bird Feeder You Can Make With The Kids

This week we made a bird feeder out of materials we had laying around.

With Earth Day being last weekend we have been talking a lot about the environment, recycling and nature. My 6 year old has been asking alllllll the questions. Why do people litter? Why do we throw away so much stuff? Why do we drive everywhere? You don’t realize the amount of waste you create until you have a kid in Grade One calling you out on every piece of plastic you throw away. I have been smuggling saran-wrap and ziploc bags into the garbage like a rum runner smuggling contraband booze in the 20’s.

So we decided to make a bird feeder with things we have laying around the house to a) give him something to do so I don’t have to answer questions about my non-compostable plastic containers and b) to show him that we can reuse and re-purpose things.

What you will need:

  • toilet paper roll
  • peanut butter
  • bird seed
  • patience – because they will want to do it all themselves

Step 1:

Gather supplies ahead of time before you tell your child you are making something. They are impatient and will ask you 10000000 questions while you are setting things up. Pour the bird seed onto a plate to make clean up easier. Don’t worry about cleaning off all the toilet paper off the roll. This isn’t Pinterest. No one has time for that.  *not noted on the supplies list but this would be a good time to make sure you have a glass of wine ready for after you make a mess with the kids. If you sit and drink the wine until your husband gets home he may even clean up for you*

Step 2:

Get them to cover the roll with peanut butter. This works on their fine motor skills, grasping and pinching muscles which help with writing. That is what you say to your husband when he comes home and sees peanut butter all over the counter and you are on the couch with the wine we mentioned above. You may have to hold the roll for them at the end so it does’t slip onto the floor. No one has time to mop. Unless you have a dog that will come clean up the mess on the floor. Then let the kid do the whole thing.

Step 3:

Roll the peanut butter covered roll in the birdseed pressing down so the seeds stick. Notice how long your kids’ fingernails are and how much dirt is under them. Add “bath time” to the list of things your husband needs to do while you help your self to another glass of wine after he gets home.

Step 4:

Thread the string through the tube and tie a knot so it can hang in the tree. This is great practice tying knots with your kids so they don’t end up wearing velcro shoes for the rest of their life. Nothing wrong with velcro – it is just really really hard to find velcro shoes when they get past size 3. I’m saving you time and money.

Step 5:

Take the cute picture to post later on Instagram to show everyone that you craft with your kids. #goals #instalove #blessed

Step 6:

Hang it in the tree in a spot they can see out the window so they aren’t asking you to lift them up a million times. Make sure they are inside to watch the birds eat. No bird will come to the bird feeder when an excited kid yells “BIRD! A BIRD IS HERE EATING! MOM I SEE A BIRD!” every time they come close.

Step 7:

Check the time. The husband is probably home soon so get that wine ready.

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?

 

Top 6 Things To Say To Your Child Besides “Be Careful”

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”

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. !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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

 

 

In Camping, Explore, Lifestyle on
February 14, 2018

Get Ready: Alberta Parks Opens Camping Reservations on Tuesday!

How to book a campsite in Alberta

Are you looking to snag one of the best camping spots that Alberta Parks has to offer this summer? Well…..you are going to want to get organized this weekend because regular camping will open for reservations, within the 90 day window, starting Tuesday February 20th!

How to book camping in Alberta.

What You Need to Know:

  • Alberta Parks only lets you book single sites 90 days in advance of the time you will begin your camping trip. SO, this means that if you plan to camp on the May Long Weekend, you can reserve a site starting on Tuesday February 20th.
  • You can book a site for up to 16 days in a row.
  • You need to have an account with Alberta Parks reservation system: reserve.albertaparks.ca
  • Make your account now so that you are not wasting time on opening morning.
  • Think about your needs. Do you want to be close to the beach or playground? Do you require power? How long is your RV? Is a shower house a must? Do you want a park that has interpretive programming? All of this information can be answered by exploring the various campsites here. 
  • Once you’ve determined your family’s camping needs and parks that meet them make a list of the campsite numbers that you would like. You can even see pictures of many of the sites, giving you a better idea of privacy and size. Always have a back up in mind, in case that site is already taken.
  • Do some math. Due to the 90 day booking window if you want to book a site for later in the summer, say over Canada Day, you will have to count back 90 days and then note that date in a calendar to log back in and reserve a site. This is especially important if you really want a waterfront site, plan to camp over a long weekend, must have a power site, are looking for a campground close to Calgary or Edmonton or are planning to stay for an extended amount of time.
  • It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it’s just planning ahead. Once it’s done, it’s done and you can now start to plan the rest of your summer!
  • If you really hate the idea of over planning for summer or just have no idea what your summer availability is like (it is only February…) you can always wing it. BUT, personally, I would never recommend attempting to get a first come first served campsite on any weekend in the summer. During the week, at most campgrounds you will probably be ok. It’s just a risk with kids that I wouldn’t want to take!
  • Don’t throw in the towel if you miss the boat and your preferred campsite or campground is full. Keep checking back! Often as the departure date gets closer people cancel their reservation and if you’re lucky you can snag it once it becomes available.

How to book a campsite in Alberta

Other Camping Options:

Where do you plan to camp this summer?

Booking a campsite in Alberta

Every Day Girl

Why We Skip Thanksgiving At Our House

We don’t do Thanksgiving at our house.

Well not a traditional Thanksgiving anyways. There is no turkey, stuffing, rushing around to family dinners etc etc. The past few years we have decided to skip the food comas and head to the mountains to go camping.

Three days of no schedule, wandering the town, kids playing in the forest, and late night movies cuddled up in sleeping bags with no pressure to go anywhere or do anything. It is blissful.

September is busy. School starts for my husband who is a teacher and both kids are in school full time this year. Activities start up, work is busy, and it feels like some nights we don’t even see each other. Taking the time on the long weekend to breathe and enjoy the mountains as a family is much needed.

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and being grateful. We can’t think of a better way to show our kids how to be thankful and grateful than to spend three days in nature. We unplug and enjoy each other’s company. We get bored. We take the time to slow right down. I still may try to get some pumpkin pie this weekend though.

Box Social Event Planning

Deanne is an event planner from Edmonton that eats too much cheese while chasing around her two active boys. She is married to her favourite person and enjoys travelling the world and exploring Alberta with him as long as they can still have Cocktail Monday every week.

In Camping, Explore, Lifestyle, Northern Alberta on
August 29, 2017

Exploring Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Marten River Campground

About 3 hours north of Edmonton lies a piece of paradise that I refer to as “Alberta’s Ocean”! In fact, Lesser Slave Lake is the largest auto accessible lake in Alberta. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my childhood summers at this lake and even more lucky to have the opportunity to take my son there this past weekend!

Marten River Campground

Here are a few reasons that you NEED to check out Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park either this year before the snow flies, to add to your list of destinations for next year or to enjoy some winter activities.

The VIEWS

Marten River Campground

The number one reason that Lesser Slave Lake is a must see is the absolutely amazing views. The sunsets, the water, the great Boreal Forest that surrounds you- it is breathtaking. Rather than explain it, I’ll share some of my quick iPhone snaps below. Though stunning, the pictures don’t even do it complete justice.

Marten River

Marten River Campground

Marten River Campground

Things to DO

Though Lesser Slave Lake is in quite a northernly location, you certainly won’t find a shortage of things to do. The town of Slave Lake is minutes from the Provincial Park and offers all services, plus hotels if camping isn’t your thing.

  • Inside Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park you will enjoy lounging on the sandy and massive Devonshire Beach. There miles of shallow water and sand, perfect for kids and water activities!

Devonshire Beach

  • Try your luck on the golf course. My husband played a round at the Gilwood Golf & Country Club and loved it! He said it was challenging but fun. Next time I’m planning to go too!
  • Go for a hike on the Lily Lake Trail and Marten Mountain Viewpoint. This 3 km trail will expose you to the beautiful boreal forest backcountry and take you to a perfect little lake for a picnic or fishing trip. (Please note that when we were in the park last weekend (August 26/17) this trail was closed due to high berry crops and bear activity.)

Slave Lake Provincial Park

  • Learn about Birds at the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation. I could write an entire post on this place. First of all the building is stunning and one of a kind! It’s an environmentally friendly space that uses solar panels, composting toilets, water collection, geothermal heating and non toxic resins and paints. Inside you will find interactive activities for kids and adults, displays and sometimes special programming. There is always a knowledgeable Parks staff member at the centre to help answer any of your park related questions. This is a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy day. Check out the gift shop too, they have a great selection of local literature as well as handmade items made by local residents.

Slave Lake

Slave Lake

Slave Lake

  • Go fishing! Lesser Slave Lake is known for its Walleye, Northern Pike and Perch fish. Many people fish while standing in the water, kayaking, or boating. Please note that if you require a boat launch that you can drive your boat into you will need to launch at the river by the town, just south of the park. There is a hand launch at the main campground, Marten River, so aluminum boats and canoes that are easier to launch are recommended.

Fishing

Marten River

  • Learn from the pros! Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park has a wonderful selection of interpretive programs with staff that know their stuff. While we were there we learned all about bats, decomposition of logs in the forest and wolves. Saturday evenings there’s an entertaining show at the Marten River Campground Amphitheater that is not to be missed! My 4 year old son learned a ton of things about nature, wildlife and conservation in a child friendly environment that really held his interest.

Marten River Campground

Marten River Provincial Park

Marten River Campground

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Go CAMPING

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

There are a few options for camping while you are visiting Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. There’s short stay (think overnight camping) at Devonshire Beach, Group Camping at Lily Creek and Marten River, Comfort Camping for a group of 10 in the beautiful Nest cabin and traditional camping at Marten River Campground. We stayed at Marten River and it was just as I remembered in my childhood! The campground is situated on a bank that overlooks the lake with a sandy natural beach below. Sites are well treed and offer many double options if you are camping with friends. There are 4 loops, with loop A and B offering power. The campground is equipped with fresh water taps, sani station, shower house ($) with flush toilets and new pit toilets. Kids will enjoy the playground area that is nestled between loops B & C. Another thing we love about this campground is all the trails. There’s something for everyone from short walks through the grounds to longer biking/hiking trails that take you to the group campsites and beyond. At the onsite office you can purchase ice, wood, pick up an Activity Pack or borrow a game or book. There are over 100 sites at Marten River, some with tent pads. Please ensure you reserve your site ahead of time as this place fills up most weekends. Also, when on the reservation system, take note of the size of the site as not all sites are long enough for large RV units and there are no pull though options.

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Spending time in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park is truly a special treat. If you are a city dweller you will feel as though you have really checked out and connected with nature, I promise. I can’t wait to get back again soon to continue making more memories with my family.

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

For more details about Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park please click here or send me a message at hello@albertamamas.com.

Every Day Girl

*I am an Alberta Parks Ambassador. As such, my role is to expose families to Alberta Parks locations and encourage interaction with the amazing nature opportunities or province has to offer. All opinions are my own.

In Central Alberta, Explore, Rocky Mountains on
August 28, 2017

5 Reasons to go to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

 

We recently had the opportunity to camp at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site in a Metis Trappers tent which you can read about HERE, but there’s so much more to do than just camping at the site.

If you haven’t heard of the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, you’re not alone. Tucked away off HWY 11, in Rocky Mountain House, the park was completely unknown to me and I was completely blown away when I arrived at how amazing this National Park really is.

Here are 5 reasons you need to go before school starts:

It’s Easy to Get There!

Just an hour from Red Deer, 2.5 hours from Edmonton and 2 hours and 15 mins from Calgary, Rocky Mountain House is a quick (we live in Alberta, 2 hours is fast) and is relatively easy to access if you’re in central Alberta. Live further away? Plan a camping trip at the site or the many camp sites in the area. You can find directions to the site on the National Site website.

It’s not that big

You love Fort Edmonton and Fort Calgary right? Well, Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is Fort Edmonton/Calgary “light.” If you have small kids, it’s the perfect combination of not being overwhelming, and lots of spaces to run. Bonus points: It’s not really busy!

Because Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site it’s still a hidden gem, when we went in July, there were a handful of people there. Go now before other people know about it.

The Play Fort

It’s interactive

I’m sure you know a kid that likes Minecraft right? My kids are obsessed, so it was really cool to see a  VR version of the site that was created and donated to the park by local YouTubers.  I don’t have to tell you that despite spending the day at the park learning about local history, this was the kids favourite part. Sigh.

History that you can touch

This part blew me away. You see the image below? It’s an excavation spot from the original Rocky Mountain House. The site is hundreds of years old and kids are welcome to run around in and out of the small holes. Literally playing in the areas where fur traders hung out in the late 1700’s. Knowing that this was a historical landmark I was trying to “shoo” my kids off it, and I was told no, let them play.

Unlike Fort Edmonton or Fort Calgary, the historical touch points are not in one area, but rather spread out. As you’re walking down David Thompson trail at the south west corner of the park, you’ll run into candle making interactive sites or other craftspeople telling you what life was like for the fur-traders and the Metis living in the area that that time. Travel north up the David Thompson Trail and you’ll pass by a small fort perfect for kids to climb as well as a daily puppet show depicting the life of David Thompson. Further north is a Métis village (hello bannok making) and another of the Forts created by the Hudson Bay Company. In all there were 4 Forts on the site at any given time between the years 1799 and 1875.

It’s Beautiful

Situated next to the North Saskatchewan River, the park is the perfect spot for central Alberta scenes. Take the kids down to the water! Follow the David Thompson Trail south of the park to find easy access to the water.  Add that to the proximity to the prairies, and fields of bison, it’s an amazing place to hang out.  We skipped rocks and then took our shoes off for a little wade in the river.

 

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Park Tips

Before you head out here are some things you need to know:

  • Like anywhere in the summer in Alberta, there are mosquitoes so you’ll need sunscreen and bug spray.
  • The park is stroller friendly!
  • Bring a picnic. There are lots of places to sit by the river to stop and have a snack.
  • Don’t forget it’s FREE admission for 2017 with your Parks Pass!
  • The hours change in early fall and the site is closed October 1-May … so you need to head on down before the end of season!
  • If at all possible, and you have older kids, see if anyone is available for a quick tour. There is so much to learn at the historical site, and well worth it for kids in higher elementary – junior high.

Have you been to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site before? Tell us your trip experiences in the comments below.

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