You know those real pants in the back of your closet? The ones without elastic waistbands or baby puke on them? Yes those ones shoved way back there between nursing bras and hoodies. They have been calling your name for months, screaming for a night out where you don’t have to cut up someone’s food before you can eat your own. A night where you can be out with your girlfriends for a while and just relax. A night where you don’t have to worry about bedtime routines. A night out with your girlfriends.
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.
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.
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
patience – because they will want to do it all themselves
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*
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.
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.
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.
Take the cute picture to post later on Instagram to show everyone that you craft with your kids. #goals #instalove #blessed
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.
Check the time. The husband is probably home soon so get that wine ready.
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.
I haven’t been skiing or even to a ski hill for or over 20 years. There are however days where I think it would be fun to try it again – but the price tag that comes along with it (for something I may not like) isn’t something that I am willing to shell out for…
However, as I was scouring the internet one day I came across information about Never Ever Days. These are for anyone who’s ever considered trying skiing or snowboarding and it’s just $25 (+tax). This ultimate beginners package includes everything you need – equipment rental, beginner lift ticket, and a lesson. The best part is that Never Ever Days has 15 ski areas in Alberta and over 80 across Canada.
Locations for Never Ever Days in Alberta
Castle Mountain Resort – Pincher Creek
Hidden Valley Ski Resort – Elkwater
Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort – Cold Lake
Lake Louise Ski Resort – Lake Louise
Long Lake Ski Hill – Thorhild
Misery Mountain Ski Area – Peace River
Mt Norquay – Banff
Nakiska Ski Resort – Kananaskis
Nitehawk Year-round Adventure Park – Grande Prairie
Pass Powderkeg Ski Resort – Coleman
Rabbit Hill Snow Resort – Leduc County
Ski Marmot Basin – Jasper
Snow Valley Ski Club – Edmonton
Sunshine Village – Banff
Valley Ski Hill – Alliance
How to register
Spots for Never Ever Days need to be booked online and are on a first come first serve basis. Different ski areas have different dates available and anyone age 9 and above can register. To see what dates are available for ski areas in Alberta as well as ski areas across Canada check out the Ski Canada website here.
Have you tried out Never Ever Days? Did you like it? Join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.
It’s a New Year and with that brings some awesome Alberta winter festivals and activities! Whether you’re looking for something to do with the family or get away without the kids we’ve got some ideas on what you can do around Alberta.
Awesome Alberta Winter Festivals and Activities 2018
Banff Ice Magic Festival – January 18th-28th
Taking place in Lake Louise, the Ice Magic Festival features talented ice artists from around the world who compete in an ice carving competition. The ice sculptures are one of a kind, and absolutely breathtaking. General admission tickets for a family of 4 is $30, are available through this website which also lists places of accommodations that include free tickets if you book your stay with them during the festival.
Snow Tubing at Mount Norquay – Until the season ends
Say what? If you don’t ski or snowboard there’s another reason to visit Mount Norquay in Banff. With a new tube lane that opened in mid-December experience the magic carpet and large sliding lanes to go down along with your group of friends or your family. Have small children? No worries there is even a small sliding area, and kids play area.
Ice Castles Edmonton – On until March (date depends on weather)
Taking place a Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, this Narnia like Ice Castle is a must-see that’s for sure! This year’s Ice Castle has 2 ice slides, an ice maze, ice throne, plus more. Don’t forget to book your tickets online beforehand because general admission tickets might be available, however, there are no guarantees.
Ice on Whyte in Edmonton – January 25th-28th & February 1st -4th
It’s true, the best festivals are the cold ones! Check out the International Ice Carving Competition, see how the professionals do it with ice carving lessons, taste some of the amazing stew made at the Whiskey Stew off and more! Tickets for a family of 4 are just $20 and can be purchased online here.
WinterPLAY in FortMcMurray – February 16-18
This annual celebration provides programs and events that celebrate and embrace the magic of winter. Watch a hockey tournament (or register to play) check out amazing ice sculptures, see some fireworks, enjoy local entertainment, and take in this awesome winter event. Get more details here.
Canada Olympic Park in Calgary – All winter long
Winsport offers a variety of winter activities for all ages. Skiing, snowboarding, a snow tube park for all ages, a chance to try out bobsledding (ages 16+) and a skating rink are what you can find here. Get more details here.
Skiing, Snowboarding & Snowshoeing at Nakiska – All winter long
As far as skiing and snowboarding goes, we’ve got some great places in Alberta and Nakiska is one of them! If hitting the slopes isn’t your thing, you can also go snowshoeing on the trails. Snowshoes and limited guided tours are also available! Plan your trip to Nakiska today!
Maligne Canyon Ice Walk – All winter long
Located just 10 minutes outside of Jasper, Maligne Canyon is the deepest canyon in the park and the ice-walk adventure is definitely something to put on your Winter 2018 bucket list! Strap on your ice grips and explore the ice caves, frozen waterfalls, breathtaking ice formations! Book your tour here.
Luna Glamping Northern Lights Resort – February
For a kid-free getaway, you can experience 10 rooms furnished in hotel style luxury rooms which are suspended from the trees or sitting on the ground with attachable feet in the middle of the Boreal Forest. Located just 2 hours North of Fort McMurray, this is an amazing experience. Get more details here.
Of course, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the amazing Alberta winter festivals and activities. We live in a pretty amazing province.
What are some of your favourite Alberta winter festivals and activities?
I’m a self proclaimed introverted extrovert. Yes it is a thing. I think. But if it isn’t we need to make it a thing. I love being around people. My whole job as an event planner is to be cheerful, happy, and be good at working with large crowds and I love what I do. I thrive off of planning and executing events for the public.
But it is work.
I get home after an event or social gathering and crash. I cocoon and try to hide out from the world even shutting off my phone and going off social media *gasp*. I am thankful to my husband who after 10 years of being married to me will see the look in my eyes and just pass me a beer and a bag of chips and sit quietly watching bad reality TV with me all evening when I get overwhelmed.
The holidays make it harder. I want to go and do all the things. I will say yes to everything (work and personal) in September and October because writing it down in the calendar at that time looks like it is doable. But then things start piling up. Kid’s get busier with school activities, concerts and field-trips. Work gets busier this time of year with Christmas events. Friends and family invite you over for holiday parties. It adds up fast.
So What’s an Introverted extrovert To Do?
Over the years I have found some tricks that work to help create some down time when things start piling up and I start feeling overwhelmed.
Schedule alone time – It sounds silly but if I don’t clear times throughout the week to do nothing I feel too full. It could be an hour after the kids go to school to just sit and drink a coffee. Or as soon as your partner gets home from work one day pass them the kids and say you’ll be back in an hour and go for a walk or go sit in a coffee shop with a holiday latte. If those aren’t options take an hour after the kids go to bed for yourself. No cleaning or making lists. Do a face mask and have a glass of wine and breathe.
Really be alone – This means turning off my phone and getting rid of distractions so I can enjoy being by myself. I often use driving as my alone time throughout the week. Nothing is better than being able to choose the music, cranking it up, and singing along. Yes I am that girl in traffic belting out Spice Girls and Meatloaf. (and yes that is a weird music combination but it is magical for a bad mood. Try it. You won’t regret it)
Say no – This is a hard one for a lot of us. I want to be a part of everything and go to all the parties and events but saying no is OK when I’m feeling too full. A burn out right before the holidays isn’t fun for anyone.
Diet – I hate this one because I would love to eat like crap and survive off of black coffee all day but I know better. When I drink lots of water and eat a fruit or vegetable every once in a while throughout the day I am able to cope better.
Hang out with people closest to me one on one – Nothing is better than having a chill night with a good friend. Nothing that is work, drama, or high expectations. Just low key and easy fun.
These are just what I have found work for me. I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you love the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Or do you struggle trying to do all the things?
There are a few quintessential “Alberta” songs, but I have to say that “The Last Saskatchewan Pirates” by Captain Tractor just isn’t a good Albertan song, it’s a great song and was a staple in University pubs when I was in school not that long ago (ok fine, it was 20 years ago). For those not familiar with the legendary song here’s the video in all it’s 1990’s CANCON glory.
Now, imagine the excitement of singing this song while floating down the actual North Saskatchewan River pretending you’re a Prairie Pirate “…stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains.”
All set on the canoe for a 2 hour journey up the river
Here some North Saskatchewan River facts
The North Saskatchewan River is 1,287 kilometres long.
It starts at the Saskatchewan Glacier at the Columbia Icefield and goes through Banff National Park, up through Abraham Lake (via a short visit with the David Thomson Highway) up past Rocky Mountain House, then onto Edmonton, Smoky Lake, and then off to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border where it finds itself visiting North Battleford, Saskatoon and Prince Albert finishing its journey in Lake Winnipeg . (Source)
It’s the home to 12 types of fish including another 90’s and another North Saskatchewan reference, the Northern Pike
If you like bridges, canoeing on the North Saskatchewan in the Edmonton River Valley means you’ll see lots of bridges.
There are a LOT of misconceptions about the North Saskatchewan, including that the river is dirty, doesn’t have any fish and is completely unusable, but when we were meandering down the river we found this to be completely untrue. We didn’t take a water sample and test it in our private lab, but Epcor has some fun facts about the quality of the water here.
Much of the water was so clear you could see the bottom of the river which was a complete surprise to me because I believed that the water was dirty and muddy. I’ve lived in Edmonton for 10 years, I’ve never been near the North Saskatchewan River except for this summer in Rocky Mountain House, because I believed it to be dirty and not safe for humans. The whole time I was on the river I kept thinking, why hadn’t I done this before! It was so relaxing and this whole time I’ve had the great big river that’s easy to access quite literally right there on my doorstep to enjoy.
Views of the “End Of The World” in Edmonton
One of the many red chairs dotted on the river banks for fishing or gold panning.
We did see a lot of people fishing on the shores of the North Saskatchewan as well as gold panners. That’s right, people still pan for gold and they’re right there on the shores of our river. In fact there were many red chairs on the banks of the river, not sure why they all seemed to be red…maybe just a coincidence.
Views of the new bridge and the Waterdale bridge in the background.
If you’ve been living in Alberta and haven’t been on the river you NEED to do this. Whether it’s jumping on the river in Rocky Mountain House (hop on at Nordeg) or in Devon (Haskin canoe does a trip from Devon) or even in Edmonton. It’s definitely one of my “to-do’s” for summer 2018 to make sure I’m taking advantage to make sure my kids know the incredible natural resources in our own backyard.
For a map of how to access the North Saskatchewan around Edmonton, the River City Alliance has made some handy maps which can be accessed here.
Too cliche? Maybe but it is true. Getting married and starting a family was the best choice I’ve made but I have learnt a lot from being married for 10 years.
This weekend my husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. We got married relatively young (21 & 24) and didn’t date for a huge amount of time. We jumped in with two feet and have changed a lot in 10 years.
Here’s what I’ve learned after being married this long:
His chewing still bugs me. I thought this would go away or become cute. Nope. Still can’t stand it.
Watching him parent is frustrating because he doesn’t respond the way I would. Because of this I have learned so much from him and have become a better parent by watching and learning.
He gets cuter with age.
He still doesn’t put the dishes away.
Gift days like birthdays and anniversaries aren’t important. Everyday gestures like how he stops and gets my favourite chips on the way home from work are important.
We fight. A lot.
We make up more.
He knows exactly how to push buttons and piss me off quicker than anyone else but that is because he knows me better than anyone else.
He knows how to make me the perfect cup of coffee and will hand it to me before talking in the morning.
He’s been in the family long enough that I don’t have to explain where he is after Christmas dinner. Everyone knows he is downstairs napping. Usually with kids jumping all over him.
I complain about his snoring but when he is gone for the night it doesn’t feel right.
We can push each other to do more as a couple than we did individually. Settling and living a boring life is not an option for us so we make sure we encourage each other to get out of our comfort zones.
We can have very different opinions on the big topics (religion, politics, finances, etc) couples fight about and still be happily married.
We can still kiss and mean it. Butterflies and all.