My kids are getting older, they’re 7 & 9 now, and I’ve been contemplating a summer camp where they actually stay there for a week – the sleepaway camp. I recall being around 8 years old when I attended my first overnight camp and I have really fond memories of it! It was very strange at first, and I was a little homesick too.
We decided to have an expert weigh in on some of the questions I had around knowing if your child is ready for sleepover camp. Alberta Mamas reached out to Dr. Ganz Ferrance, a registered psychologist in Alberta to discuss.
If you travel between Calgary and Edmonton, chances are you’ve stopped at Gasoline Alley in Red Deer. There are many favourite stops for us on Gasoline Alley and one of them is Sweet Market Esso.
We have been really trying to encourage experience gifts (see a great list of ideas for Experience Gifts here) and this Christmas the Grandparents knocked it out of the park. One set of Grandparents got the kids an Alberta’s History Annual Pass which allows us to visit numerous museums and historical sites across the province. Over the break we already used it twice (once for the Royal Alberta Museum and once for the Royal Tyrrell Museum) making it already pay for itself and it’s only the first month! You can learn more about these passes and buy your own here. It is only $120 for a family pass so if you plan on exploring the province this summer we highly recommend this pass.
The other set of Grandparents found another great gift idea. Subscription boxes. You remember how excited you used to get when mail came? Well these boxes make that happen every month! This year Grandma found Kiwi Co. and signed the boys up for a Kiwi Box (5-8 years old) and a Tinker Box (9-16+). We have received two boxes so far and I am so impressed with the quality.
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!
By Mona Ismaeial, photo’s by Mona at Go Nissan North Edmonton.
As a busy work from home mom I definitely Feel the need for family friendly spaces. My son who is just over 2 years old is always in tow. He comes grocery shopping with me, we get oil changes, dr. appointments, meetings and of course out for coffee and meals. For stay-at-home moms, work-from- home moms or just parents who want to take their kids with them rather than leaving them with family friends or a babysitter, there are a few very easy ways businesses can be more welcoming to families.
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.
We’re the Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and we’d like to say “thanks!” Specifically, thanks to Alberta Mamas and Bella Maas for making us a part of their July fundraising collaboration.
AWA is one of Alberta’s oldest conservation organizations, founded in 1965 around a kitchen table in Pincher Creek. Since then our goal has been to raise awareness and inspire people to care about the protection of Alberta’s wildlife and wild spaces. In addition to our day-to-day conservation efforts we host talks, offer hikes, and hold fundraising events like the Climb for Wilderness and Wild West Saloon.
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.