I used to go BIG for birthdays. That is actually one of the things Box Social Event Planning did when I started the business. We planned parties for parents that wanted that “Pinterest” party but didn’t have time. We would do such elaborate parties that one time we brought 8 foot trees into a play place to create a perfect Woodland Theme.
But then I stopped. Because I didn’t understand why I was throwing all this time and energy into one day for a little human that wouldn’t even remember it. I still love scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram and seeing beautiful, well curated parties but it just doesn’t work for our family anymore.
I wanted my kids to still have memorable birthdays though. Not something that just blipped by. And then we got the Birthday Banner.
I am not sure when it started but it has become a tradition in our house to hang the Birthday Banner. I remember picking it up at Target (sigh I miss Target even though the Canadian one wasn’t as good as the American one) and hanging it up for one of my kids’ birthdays. It was a September birthday and it was a very busy time for our family between school starting (being married to a teacher in September is not fun) and a busy event schedule for myself. So we threw up the banner and sang Happy Birthday to my youngest around Eggo Waffles topped with whipped cream from a can. Then I brought it out for the next one. Now a few years later it is something my kids love waking up to. It is made out of felt and gets hung in the same spot every time. Sometimes it gets fancy 3M hooks, other times it is held up by green painters tape.
But it is always there.
It took me a while but I have realized that the kids do not care about all the decorations, the cake, the late night party planning. They don’t care whether they have Pinterest worthy handmade cupcakes or a cake bought on the way home from work with a generic “Happy Birthday” on it. They want you to be there. To be present. To sing “Happy Birthday” and watch them blow the candles out not be worried about all the other stuff.
So from now on that is my goal. To be present. And hang the banner every birthday.
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 #cocktailsMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.
Photo: Tessa MW
When my sister and I were young it was always a pleasure to drive with my dad. He worked shift work, and wasn’t able to be with us 24/7- so when we were together it was always enjoyable. He was silly and kind, but most importantly, he played the AM radio loudly. Whatever song was playing, he was always game to “crank it up.” We sang along to Fleetwood Mac and Blondie. We wore our sunglasses at night and walked like an Egyptian. The three of us would ride squished together in “Beulah,” his beige Ford Ranger belting out Broken Wings and wondering what Bette Davies Eyes’ really looked like. It wasn’t just in the truck that the music flowed. When we accompanied him to his building he’d use our portable Fisher Price radio and microphone to play the crackling local station. Anytime I hear any 80’s song on the radio, pieces of my childhood come flowing back.
Risky Play has been one of those terms parenting experts have been throwing around a lot lately. I think we have all seen the video of the playground in New York where it looks like the kids are playing in a junkyard and no parents are around. The fun that the kids are having is apparent in their faces but we have yet to find a park like that in Alberta and realistically no one wants all that junk in the backyard.
A few weeks ago we posted on Instagram (If you aren’t already following us on Instagram you can do that here) a few videos of Deanne’s kids playing in the backyard with tree stumps and boards. We had so many questions about it that we decided to write a “how to” for you to bring more risky play into your backyard without it looking like a junkyard.
K-Days is back this year July 20-29th. The best 10 days of summer! We’ve teamed up with K-Days to give you the top 12 tips for taking the kids and getting the most out of it.
1.Take public transit
Instead of parking, try taking the ETS. There is an LRT station right near the North Entrance of the grounds. Getting into the parking lot and out can take a bit of time, so try out using the public transit system so you can hop on and off the train to your car. Check out the City Of Edmonton Trip Planner to help figure out where to go.
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.
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.
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!
By Gabriela Tellier
Like many Alberta mamas, I am an immigrant mother. I arrived in Edmonton when I was 17 years old and was welcomed to a beautiful city, to a beautiful province and country, that I now call home. Today, I am the mother of two young children and am privileged to introduce to them the culture of their homeland, as well as that of their mother’s. My children are Canadian, and they are also Peruvian.
We recently celebrated Canada Day, a day that is very special for all Canadians, those who were born here, and those who arrived later in life. Inspired by that, I share this DIY. As a mother raising bicultural children, I am always looking for creative and fun ways to teach my children about both cultures. By getting the kids outside to explore, and making art together, I embrace multiculturalism in motherhood and honor the land that gave a home to my children and to the culture that came before them.
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.
By Mara Needham of Peace River, AB
I like to think I’m doing pretty ok in the mom department: I pack my kids (relatively) healthy lunches every day, we are on time for school, we read stories at bedtime and for the most part my kids are happy, well adjusted kids. But I have a confession. There is one area where I am severely failing as a mom: I suck at playing. While I’ll play board games, card games and do puzzles with my kids, when it comes to imaginative play- you know the kind where you’re down on the floor building Legos, having a tea party, playing hot wheels and trains or coming up with new Paw Patrol episodes to act out in the basement- I am awful.