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.
Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Jasper, Drumheller and Red Deer? Yes! We often overlook Red Deer as a summer destination but we have discovered there is SO much to do in Red Deer and area. From great camping, lakes, rivers, outdoor water attractions, good food, and more; read below why we think adding Red Deer to your Summer Bucket List is a good idea!
Red Deer Summer Bucket List:
The International Children’s Festival of the Arts: Stories Alive is a one-of-a-kind kids experience that happens right here in Alberta. St. Albert, Alberta to be exact! This annual cultural extravaganza is happening Tuesday, May 29 through Sunday, June 3, 2018.
There’s no shortage of fun at this festival!
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.
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!”
At some point in the next month, the snow will melt and at some point, it will reach above 10 degrees and we’ll be able to send our kids back into the neighbourhood onto their bikes. The trouble is is that your child has grown, and now their knees are hitting the handlebars and now they need a new bike. Not to worry, Alberta Bike Swap is here to save your bank account, and not just for your kids because you need a bike too!
Alberta Bike Swap is a registered non-profit and gives people a safe place to sell, donate or buy a bike, and bike swaps are happening across Alberta in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer.
“Bikes sold at the swap are safer than a garage sale purchase because our squad of volunteer bike techs perform a basic safety and mechanical check of each bike.” – Alberta Bike Sales
What do you need to know before you head to a bike swap? Well, that depends on if you’re buying or selling, but here are some factoids.
Selling a Bike:
- If you want to sell your kids bike, it won’t be accepted to sell if it’s from a box store (Canadian Tire, Walmart etc.). They do this for quality assurance.
- Have a bike that no longer fits your child and you’d like to donate that bike? They can do that too, please make sure the bike is in good condition and it’s is decent working order.
- It costs $2 to get into a swap and that money goes to a local charity.
- You don’t have to be there to sell you bike which for me is a win-win. If you’re just there to sell your bike, you just drop it off. Boom. Easy. There is a 15$ fee to put your bike in the sale, which ensures that only good bikes are going to be at the swap. No one is paying 15$ for someone to sell their 50$ bike. If you’re an AMA member, the cost to “rack” your bike is $10.
Buying a Bike
- Swaps. Get. BUSY. Get there as early as you can (see locations for dates/times below). You may be waiting outside so dress accordingly. The bike racks are set up at 6am in Edmonton and Calgary, and yes, you’re welcome to line up at 6am.
- There is a $2 admission, but kids 12 and under are free.
- They only accept cash or debit cards. No credit cards.
Locations & Dates
When: May 5, 2018
Where: City Centre Parkade, 340 10 Ave SW
When: May 12
Where: Kinsmen Sports Centre Fieldhouse, 9100 Walterdale Hill
When: April 28, 2018
Where: Exhibition Park North Pavillion 3401 Parkside Dr. S
When: April 27, 2018
Where: Exhibition and Stampede Wildrose Room Higdon Hall, 2055 21 Ave SE
When: May 11, 2018
Where: Salon B Westerner Park 4847A 19 St
Spring has sprung in Central Alberta! Sort of? It is time to start thinking of things to do – as a family and for date night! Or even just something for a little me time – like shopping local!
Here are some events to take you through the spring and get you out and about!
April 20th is the Our Best to You Red Deer event.
Take a peak at what’s coming up at the Styling Sylvan Spring Fashion Show in Sylvan Lake on April 24.
We happened upon what looks like an interesting event for parents of picky eaters. On April 24 – Picky Eating and Everything Toddler Nutrition in Red Deer.
Bull Skit Comedy in Red Deer brings you Get Ship Faced on April 27th, which, with a name like that just sounded too interesting to leave out of the list.
On April 27, Experience the Magic of Local Business at the Ponoka & District Chamber of Commerce 2018 Trade Show.
The Picket Fence Spring Market takes place April 29th in Olds.
May 5th is the Red Deer Mini Maker Faire 2018
The 3rd Annual Mother’s Day Tea Party is being held in Red Deer on May 5th. Details and tickets on Eventbrite.
The All Things Pretty Market runs May 5 & 6th in Red Deer.
The Kinette Club of Ponoka their first Glitter and Smash Annual Princess and Superhero Party on May 6th.
May 6 is the Spring Mom to Mom Event in Lacombe.
If you’re looking for a date night idea, Crystal by Cirque du Soleil comes to Westerner Park May 9-13th.
On May 11 Westerner Park hosts the Alberta Bike Swap. An opportunity to buy, sell, trade, swap and even learn more about safe cycling practices.
The Town of Blackfalds is hosting a Mother’s Day Tea Party on May 12.
The Sylvan Lake Farmers Market runs every Friday, May 18 through September 28th.
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has 3 “No School? No Problem! Drop in Fridays!” coming up in May & June.
The Central Alberta Children’s Festival is coming up June 1 & 2nd, 2018!
Also on June 1, 2 & 3rd is the Central AB Humane Society Garage Sale.
The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede hosts 3 action packed days of events Jun 7 – Jun 9.
The CLC Fitness Centre in Olds hosts a beginner hike; great for kids – the Family Hike on June 8.
In Red Deer on June 21 is the National Aboriginal Day Event .
The 5K Foam Fest is in Red Deer on Juner 23rd.
Another great resource for fun happening all over Alberta is the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies website.
Any great events your planning to attend that we’ve missed? Comment below! We’d love to hear about them!
In today’s new economic world where there are more and more people working from home, doing contract work and basically overall entrepreneurs, work health benefits is the one thing I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about lately. So we teamed up with Alberta Blue Cross to chat about the benefits of benefits and shopping for them.
2.5 years ago my husband lost his long time stable job. A story many of us went through this past recession. Many people lost their jobs and in turn lost their benefits. Some maybe even noticed, but personally I used them a lot! I got massages and saw my chiropractor regularly. As well as saw a physiotherapist after injuring my shoulder! My kids went through a few month spurt there of sickness after sickness requiring antibiotics and other medicines as well.
Since then, my husband went back to work after 9 months of being off, for about 4 months. The business we had created in the time he was off from his job had started to take off and our family made the decision that entrepreneurship would be our full time life.
Between his business and my contract work, we no longer had any employer health benefits.
We saught out some advice from Blue Cross under their Individuals and Families plan. We were able to pick out a plan that worked for our budgets and projected needs.
Getting benefits was really important to me, not only to get some help with dental cost, but as an assurance that I needed to take care of myself.
If you’ve read any of my other posts or know me, you will know that I am all about self care. Taking care of ourselves, helps us take care of others (family, friends and so on), but also keeps us healthy in more ways than one. When we take the time to make sure we are healthy we are:
- More efficient
- Boosting energy
- Helping with sleep
- Combating and preventing future disease
- and my personal favourite, we are generally happier!
If you are shopping around for benefits for your entrepreneur/working from home/contract life, or maybe you need top up from a spouses plan you can Contact Blue Cross and they will get back to you pretty quickly!
Do you let your kids miss school to go on vacation?
This week we are leaving for a vacation (YAY!) but for the first time I wondered about pulling the kids out of school to be on holidays.
***Full disclosure I am still getting on that airplane no matter what the consensus is because this Mom needs a vacation. Although travelling with kids sometimes feels like more work…
We have pulled them out of school the past few years without a thought but this year my oldest is in Grade 4 and it feels different. His teacher was amazing when we told him our son would be missing a week and a bit of school which I was grateful for. He said there’s no point giving him work to do while we are away. When we get back he will see what he missed and what he needs help catching up on but not to worry about it while on holidays.
I am a firm believer that kids don’t need to be in a classroom to learn. By making sure our kids get the travel bug early I hope that they will never stop exploring and questioning how our world works. I am just wondering if we should keep that exploring to two months in Summer?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below or on Social Media.
I don’t know about you but winter has been LOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG. The kids are starting to feel cooped up and their behavior is reflecting that. We’ve rounded up our favourite ways to entertain the kids and we’ve even rated the activities so you know how long you will have.
- 0-5 You can enjoy your coffee but drink fast because they will know they are being distracted soon. Easy to set up and execute though so recommended for mornings when you aren’t fully awake yet and need some time before you adult.
- 5-10 Pour a coffee and sit somewhere comfortable. You will have time to leisurely drink it AND if you’re prepared you may even have time to flip through a magazine (you won’t have time to read the articles just look at the pretty pictures in Home and Garden and dream of a clean and organized home without Goldfish crackers smushed into the couch) or scroll through Instagram.
- 10-15 For this one you will have time to clean out the dishwasher, get a clean mug, pour a coffee, and Pin seven different “recipes for picky eaters” that will never actually work. Even if you puree spinach and try to hide it in rice and call it HULK RICE because it is green; your toddler will still refuse to eat it.
- 15-20 Wipe down the counters, sweep that rice off the floor from last nights supper with picky toddler (see above), plan supper for that night (it will be chicken nuggets & fries because you are still exhausted from last nights dinner battle), pour a coffee and you will STILL have time to Facebook creep all those people you went to high school with.
How to keep the kids busy inside during long Alberta winters:
- Build a Fort – It can be a blanket thrown over two chairs or you can get creative with boxes, tables, couches, and more. They won’t care as long as they can’t see you when they are inside. Throw in a blanket, a pillow, and let them have their afternoon snack inside for added time. Time Rating: 17
- Dance Party – Put on a kid friendly playlist (one of our Alberta Mamas made a fantastic list of 26 Kid-Friendly Dance Party Songs) and let them go crazy. Time Rating: 4
- Sensory Bins – Sensory bins are a great distraction and can range from easy (throw some pom poms and cups into a large container with tongs) to more labour intense (check out this snow and paint one Live It All In did with her kids) Time Rating: 8
- Painters Tape Racetrack – This is a favourite because it takes no effort and it will keep them entertained for a long time. You can even start the track, pass them the roll of tape and let them go crazy. At the end of the day just peel the tape up! Time Rating: 20+
- Pipe Cleaners and a Strainer – Start a few pipe cleaners to get them going and then walk away and let them create. Depending on the age you can add beads to work on those fine motor skills and playdough to create sculptures. Time Rating: 3-7 depending on their age
- Audio Books – When you just can’t quite wake up yet but your toddler is demanding another book put on an Audio Book. We found a cheap cd player that we put in our kids’ room and gave them a bunch of CD’s we’ve found at garage sales. You can also find them at your local library. Time Rating: 2
- A Box – The easiest one to set up but the longest thing they will play with. Make it a fort, attach some milk jug caps for buttons and paper plates for wheels and make a car, add blankets for a bed for their favourite doll, sit them inside with crayons or paint and let them go nuts. The list goes on! Time Rating: 20+
- Stacking Toys – Challenge them to build a tower as tall as they are with blocks. They will have to figure out how to make it sturdy enough to withstand the height guaranteeing you some quite time. Time Rating: 12
- Obstacle Course: Make a whole house obstacle course for them using stools to climb under, string between chairs for “lasers” they have to get through, painters tape in zigzags they have to balance and walk on, a small garbage bin they have to get a ball into. The possibilities are endless! Time Rating: 16