The meal time struggle is real.
No matter what you make, bake, cook, or blend there is always someone at the table that is less than impressed with what is for supper. And for some reason it is always supper at our house that is the struggle. The boys go through phases of picky eating and being more adventurous it seems which also throws me for a loop. One day they just want plain noodles and chicken fingers and the next they are shocking you and eating a plate of fish (after 10 years of me coaxing, offering, trying, fighting, bribing… you get the idea) and liking it.
So I’ve come up with some tips and tricks that have helped me throughout the years. These may not work for every family but they have definitely helped ours. I’d love to hear your thoughts on meal times and how you make them more manageable too!
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.
It’s one of my favourite celebrations – Halloween. Dressing up and candy – what’s not to love? Honestly, I’m not big on the scares though – I had nightmares from The People Under the Stairs – look it up, you’ll probably laugh. Whether you like a good scare or you don’t, it’s always fun to get out there and take in the fun that comes along with the day.
Do you head out and enjoy events around Halloween? Which are your fave?
Here are some great looking events we found in and around Red Deer!
Turkey may be the star of the meal this weekend but we thought we would have some fun and share with you a fun, easy pumpkin spice cocktail to serve your guests!
My husband and I do a thing called Cocktail Monday (you can see some of our ideas by following me on Instagram here or searching the #cocktailMonday hashtag) where each week we take turns making a cocktail. We love how it starts the week with some fun and it has become a great way to connect and hang out just the two of us every week.
August is halfway done which means Farmers Markets (and maybe even your own garden!) are bursting with fresh, delicious produce. But what should you do with all these veggies once you bring them home? We’ve made the easiest salad using all market ingredients with a dressing so easy we guarantee you already have everything you need in your pantry. Not only is this recipe easy, it keeps in the fridge for a while making it the perfect make-ahead meal for BBQ’s, work lunches, and picnics in the park.
On a recent family trip to visit Drumheller, we made the best decision and took the slight detour off of Hwy 56 to visit the Rowley, Alberta…the ghost town.
Located between the towns of Big Valley and Munson, about 5 Km down a gravel road, the town has a current population of approx. 10 people and is considered abandoned.
The setting for several movies (including Bye,Bye blues, Pelican Brief, Legends of the Fall), the bulk of the buildings can be found on the main street. Stop in at the town office to take advantage of the free, though tips are greatly appreciated, tours that are offered and get you access into all the buildings. Tours run from 10-6 every day in July and August. Our guide Brayden was fantastic, he was very knowledgeable and offered lots of interesting facts as we made our way through town, and super patient with the kids who asked about a million questions as kids tend to do.
The kids loved exploring the train station (operational from 1925-1965) and old garage with vintage cars. Another kids favorite was the old school house. A really great feature in the old school is that every desk is seated a plush doll with a nameplate of a person who actually attended the school when it was operational.
There are lots of antiquities to be found as you go through the buildings including a bible from 1871 in the church and a large printing press that was used between 1900-1920, that is housed in its own separate building.
Another great bonus is the large covered picnic area and playground located in the middle of town. We were also pleasantly surprised to learn the town offers free no hook up camping on site if you’re planning on staying in the area. While still being fairly central to all the main attractions in the area it’s a great alternative to paying for camping as long as you don’t require all the frills of a power/water site. If you happen to be there on the last Saturday of the month be sure to check out pizza night held in the still functioning salon.
A must stop attraction whether you’re traveling with or without kids. Would definitely recommend going if you are anywhere in the area. We would go back in a heartbeat.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Amanda is a single mom to a fantastic 8-year-old daughter and works full time in emergency services. She has great fondness for all things old and abandoned and can be found camera in hand whenever she has a spare minute.
By Kathryn Wright
I found myself alone with 4 kids aged 1, 4, 7, 11 for two full days last week and wanted to find an activity that was age appropriate and interesting for all of them. I decided that a day trip to Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum would be a great way to spend one of our days together.
Our day started at 9 am. I loaded up my new-to-me minivan with lots of snacks, a picnic lunch, DVDs, water bottles, swim suits and towels, sun hats, sunscreen, bug spray, diapers, wipes (I triple checked that I had them!) and of course keys, phone and wallet.
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.
Have you heard of Willey West? I hadn’t before my Husband came home and asked if I wanted to take the family there for a RVing camping trip. I’m ALWAYS up for camping, especially now that the in-laws have a motorhome we can borrow. We left Friday evening last weekend, once the storm had calmed down!
Looking back at them just hanging out took me back to my childhood trips RVing with my grandparents. It made my heart so happy! But, I digress.
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.