Browsing Tag:

winter

5 Winter Activities to Get Kids Outside

Author: Kirsten Clark 

It’s January in Alberta, which means peak season for staying indoors watching movies, reading books, and cooking delicious recipes. But getting outside is still important, even in the middle of winter. After all, who doesn’t feel better after some fresh air and sunshine? This roundup of five winter activities for kids will give you some inspiration to get your family outside!

1. Frozen Sun Catchers from Take Them Outside

“Do you need extra motivation to get outside when the temperature drops below freezing?  Perhaps this craft will be just the thing to get you and your kids outside.”

2. Ice Lanterns from Little Pine Learners

“Try making beautiful ice lanterns. Freeze them during the day and illuminate them at night! You can make a single lantern or a bunch of them at one time.”

3. Easy Snow Painting from Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

“My kids LOVE playing in the snow but when we add color to all that beautiful white ice outside it really adds a creative element to their sensory play! This post will take you step by step on how to easily make your own kid’s snow painting art recipe!”

4. Snow Volcano Experiment from Growing a Jeweled Rose

“Making a snow volcano is really easy . . . Make sure you have lots of baking soda and vinegar on hand, because your kids will want to make their volcano erupt again & again!”

5. Freezing Bubbles from No Stress Homeschooling

“Have you ever experienced -33C weather? Its fantastic! Now before you think I am crazy, I will explain and show you our impromptu freezing bubbles winter activities.”

Kirsten Clark is a college instructor and academic strategist, a writer, a reader, a runner, a podcast junkie, and, most importantly, a mom.  Kirsten lives in Beaverlodge with her husband and son, a curious and energetic toddler, who keeps his parents on their toes! Connect with her on Instagram @kirstenlanae and at thefaucet.net, where she blogs every Monday, no matter what. 
In Camping, Explore, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
November 25, 2020

Try These Fun, Kid-friendly Activities to Change Your Mind About Winter!

Do you feel like it’s the same old thing every year? Quickly after the beauty of fall fades, the next season creeps in. A season that makes even some of the world’s most resilient animals say… yeah, no, gonna sleep through this one. 

I’m talking about winter. 

Winter makes us feel the need to bury ourselves under every blanket in the house, turn on the fireplace, and debate whether letting our kids watch TV for the next 5 months straight is reasonable. Anyone with me? I haven’t always been the biggest fan of winter and my fiance is even less impressed with this particular season. 

Unfortunately (but also, fortunately), our 5-year-old child tends to set the stage for our daily activities, so… OUTSIDE WE GO! He has truly helped warm my relationship with winter. Greatly. I’ve come to actually love it! So I’m going to spend the next little while trying to convince you, while winter isn’t the easiest season to tolerate, it can be one of the most fun! Believe me? 

Safety first! 

First, let’s quickly touch on safety. Safety in the outdoors is always important, but I would say it’s the most critical in the winter with all the ice, snow, and darkness (I know… I’m selling it. Please keep reading!). I’ll keep it short. I strongly suggest you check the forecast and overpack with many layers and backups if you’re heading out. If your kiddo is typically unimpressed with the cold weather, bringing hand and foot warmers can help keep them toasty and you happy! 

Winter Fun in the Backyard 

Read more

5 AWESOME ALBERTA WINTER FESTIVALS AND ACTIVITIES 2019

When your province is a winter wonderland (let’s go with that) 6 months a year there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy winter festivals! Festivals around the province have a component for families too, but often make a great opportunity for date night! Here are our top picks for winter festivals with your family in 2019

Awesome Alberta Winter Festivals and Activities 2019

Read more

In Explore, Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
January 21, 2019

3 different outdoor activities to consider in the winter

Forest Bathing, Teepees, and Snow Painting

Winter can be so long, so dark, so blah. It’s easy to be complacent and not want to get yourself and your little ones bundled up to go out into the chilly cold. There are a lot of places now where you can bring your children to play indoors – play centres, the Science Centre, museums, the pool, etc. – but nothing beats time spent outside. Fresh air is good to breathe, and letting little ones run free is a great way for them to burn off energy. For myself, I find that spending time in nature reduces stress, and makes me feel lighter. If you have the budget, you can do anything from skating to skiing, and everyone can go tobogganing. Below are 3 cheap or free ideas of fun stuff you might want to try, forest bathing, teepees, and snow painting.

Read more

In Explore, Rocky Mountains on
April 4, 2018

Visit Jasper on the CHEAP!

Jasper

If I told you that I spent a blissful weekend in Jasper and it only cost me $178.55, would you believe me? It’s true! A group of friends and I looked into booking a group trip over Easter a little too late and all that was left that would accommodate our tribe of 7 adults and 1 baby was the Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel. We are no stranger to more rustic accommodations, as we’ve done some pretty cool trips to back country lodges, but we way underestimated just how perfect and cozy this place would be!

Exploring Jasper does not have to cost a lot of money!

The Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel is located right off Highway 93 about 1 km past the stunning Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park. It boasts a ton of amenities such as solar power, a huge lodge with sitting area, dining area, full kitchen with stoves and fridges, tons of fresh water, an indoor wood stove, outdoor fire pit and patio! You can rent private cabins or stay in one of the shared ones. The cabins are basic, but include everything you need including cozy bunk beds, double beds, lots of heat and bedding.

Visit Jasper

Jasper/

Jasper

One of the great things about this place is that it’s accessible right off the highway. You don’t have to worry about bringing too much or lugging it all in on your back- just bring what you think you need that will fit in your car. I was worried that noise from the highway might be a concern. Highway 93 just past the hostel was closed for the first night (for avalanche control) but the next day it was open and we didn’t notice any traffic nuisances at all.

Jasper

Jasper

The Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel is the perfect staging point for all types of adventures. There are trails right from the parking lot, the falls only a short walk away and you are about 20 minutes by car from the Jasper Townsite. We had a group that was cross country skiing and snowshoeing and we explored the falls, a great groomed trackset trail along Leach Lake towards the Whirlpool Winter Hub and a somewhat challenging climb along the Pyramid Lake Fire Road. All were lovely and of course included the most gorgeous scenery in the country, in my opinion:)

Jasper

Here is how the cost broke down for me:

  • 2 nights at the hostel in a private cabin- $63.34
  • National Park Access- $19
  • My share of groceries- $46.50
  • Dinner out in Jasper- $34.71
  • Beer at a local Jasper Pub- $15 /w tip
  • Not included in my total- wine I brought from home, equipment (because I own it) & gas (since every vehicle is different).

Jasper

Things you should know before you go!

  • This is not the Jasper Park Lodge, so don’t expect to be pampered. You must bring your own food, cook it yourself and do your own dishes. This allows you to really make it as simple or as complicated as you wish.
  • There is no running water. The cabins have no water but the lodge had tons of fresh mountain H2O in a large tank. Bring a water bottle and enjoy! There are also lots of kettles and pots to heat water for washing.
  • There are no heated bathrooms or flush toilets, outhouses only. This can be a little chilly in the early morning, especially with the “spring” we are having- but this is all about the nature experience!
  • You can give yourself a little sponge bath in the private washing area, but no shower. Hello wet wipes, dry shampoo and touques!
  • There are staff on site who give you a little orientation when you arrive and are there to help answer all of your questions.

Jasper

Jasper

Jasper

The experience was perfect for our group and the baby that was with us did just fine. There was another family staying there as well with a 7 year old and they seemed to be enjoying their experience as well. One of the things that is so great about wilderness hostels is the people- young or old, single or in a group, from Alberta or across the world- everyone usually has a mutual respect thing going on that just makes the whole experience so enjoyable and unique from a hotel. This is important to remember sometimes, especially when you are brushing your teeth with strangers at midnight!

Jasper

You can check out the Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel website here and feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments below. If you’ve been here I would love to hear your stories and what type of exploring you did while in the area. I’m thinking it would be a great summer trip too!

Every Day Girl

*This post is NOT sponsored or endorsed by Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel, Parks Canada or Jasper Tourism. This is simply an account of my personal experience that I thought I would share for fellow explorers:)

By /
In Explore, Rocky Mountains on
March 9, 2018

5 Reasons for Families to Love Marmot Basin Ski Resort

Marmot Basin offers family skiing in Jasper

Tanya here and I’m back to tell you about another great ski resort, this time in Northern Alberta! We like Marmot Basin so much, we’re willing to drive the 400 km from Calgary for a weekend if it means we can spend a couple of days skiing and playing in beautiful Jasper National Park.

Family skiing at Marmot Basin in Jasper

There are many reasons for families to love Marmot Basin Resort in Jasper, but I’ll tell you about my top 5 favourites: 

  • One. The whole family can ski together on the entire mountain

The whole family can ski together on the entire mountain as long as you have confident advanced-beginner or intermediate skiers. Most chairlifts on the hill allow skiers to access green, blue, or black runs, with options for groomed or natural runs, bumps, glades, and even terrain parks (of which there are three on the hill).

The only chairlift that doesn’t give access to a green beginner run is the Knob Chair, Marmot’s highest lift, but there is an easy blue traverse off the top (that would be considered green at most other resorts). Wait until the Knob Traverse has been groomed, and most advanced-beginners should do fine.

I love that beginners aren’t stuck skiing on the lower mountain while the rest of the family leaves them behind, and I like that there is something for all abilities and preferences of skiing off each chairlift. For my family, it means we can all ride up together and then split up to ski something fun or comfortable for each of us, always meeting at the bottom to ride up together again (while we swap stories of our chosen runs).

  • Two. Marmot is fabulous for beginner skiers

 Marmot Basin has a true beginner chair, the School House Chair, with two easy green runs off it, access to the main lodge at the bottom, and conveniently located beside the parking lots for ski in/out access.  There is also a tiny beginner area (serviced by a magic carpet) perfect for toddlers or the complete first timer.

Beyond that, beginners will love everything off the Eagle Express Quad. With runs like Bunny Hop, Old Road, and Sleepy Hollow, you’ll know you’re not in for anything too scary. These are some of the best green runs I’ve seen at a resort and gave me confidence when I was learning to ski as a kid.

After mastering the runs off the Eagle Express Quad, advanced-beginners will have the confidence to ski green runs across the entire resort with access to the mid-mountain lodge.

  • Three. There are so many opportunities to “play” at Marmot Basin

My son loves terrain parks, and so he was in heaven at Marmot with three parks spread around the hill. And you can hit all three in one descent from the top of the Canadian Rockies Express Quad.

My son also enjoyed playing in the trees off the “Old Road” beginner run. Narrow twisty runs resembling a luge track make their way through the trees alongside this run, and parents can just stick to the road (waiting for the kids to pop out on the next switchback lower down).

Marmot is an amazing hill for intermediate skiers wanting to take it up a notch with easy bump runs on low angled slopes. There are also several wide-open bowls off the Knob Chair that are fun to play in on a powder day (and they have easy escape routes back onto the groomed traverse if the kids get scared at any point).

And if groomed terrain is more your speed, there is no shortage of groomed blue and black runs for intermediate/advanced skiers looking to carve some swoopy turns. My personal favourite was Highway 16.

  • Four. There are unlimited ways to challenge every member of the family

 Once you get beyond the green runs, the groomers, and the easy traverse off the Knob, you’re going to want something more challenging – and Marmot definitely delivers here!

I’ve already mentioned the open bowls off the Knob (a dream on a powder day,) the terrain parks, and the variety of runs for skiers of all abilities. Other highlights for advanced skiers include the double black runs off Eagle East (this was my husband’s favourite area on the hill) and the brand new “Tres Hombres” area off the Paradise Quad Chair – full of steep double black chutes.

My boys also discovered that you can climb up above the higher chairlifts to ski down fresh untracked powder (in avalanche-controlled terrain that is still technically “in bounds.”) They carried their skis up the “Peak Run” off the top of the Knob Chair and then skied down into the bowl below. And that’s just one of the many runs that you can “bootpack” your way up if you’re willing to earn your fresh turns. 

  • Five. Marmot Basin is an easy hill to navigate

Step One: Arrive before 8:45am and make your way to one of the upper ski in/ski out parking lots off the School House Chair. There’s no need to use the bottom drop off zone. (It just gets congested and is way too busy.)

Step Two: Carry a small backpack to the mid mountain lodge, hang it on a hook, and make that your home base for the day. Avoid the main base area (which gets very crowded.)

Step Three: Have fun and enjoy this easy to navigate hill where you shouldn’t ever have to worry about getting lost. There’s no “back side,” and you don’t have to worry about kids accidentally ending up at the wrong chairlift or in the wrong bowl. Set an emergency meeting spot for the bottom of the hill (or even the mid mountain lodge) and you’ll always find your way there if you ski down.

We found it very easy to navigate our way around this resort and knew the runs quite well by noon on the first day. No matter how we chose to get down off the top of the mountain, we always ended up at the mid-mountain lodge. And if we went further, we always ended up on Bunny Hop or Old Road. There was comfort in seeing the same runs at the end of each descent and I knew my son would find his way down if we ever got separated.

Marmot Basin offers family skiing in Jasper

Tanya blogs about her outdoor adventures on her website Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies. We are so happy to have her as our regular ski contributor this winter!  To read the previous ski stories she has written for Alberta Mamas, check out the links below:

5 Reasons for Families to Love Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis

5 Reasons for Families to Love Lake Louise Ski Resort

5 Reasons for Families to Love Fernie Alpine Resort

5 Reasons for Families to Love Panorama Mountain Resort

 

 

 

Instagram Mom’s You May Not Have Heard Of – But We Think You Should Be Following

We wanted to take the time to give a shout out to some Instagram Mom’s we’ve been loving lately. These accounts are all ran by Moms in Alberta! They may not have thousands of followers (yet) but we think they are must follows.

  1. Momifer – Warning: This account will make you want to hibernate and bake all day. If Instagram had smellavison capabilities this account would smell like Grandma’s house. Follow her if you like beautiful photos and want to get some baking inspiration.

Momifer

2. The Globe Diary – If you are itching to get on a plane and escape the long Alberta winter this account is for you. Exotic locations, cute coffee shops, and so many beautiful sunsets. We dare you to get through this feed without booking a flight somewhere.

theglobediary

3. My Modern Hijab – This Boss Babe is conquering parenting, running a business and blogging all while wearing the perfect shade of lipstick. Seriously. This woman can rock a bold lip! From fashion tips to parenting you will love reading her perspective on life.

My Modern Hijab

4. Moony_1 – From cute lunch inspiration that ranges from Pinterest worthy to cute ideas you can actually do to talks about struggling with weight loss and mental health; this account is real #momlife. Moony_1 let’s us all know that we’re all in this together and although being a mom is not always glamorous, it is fun and our days are full of love for our kids. And really what is better than that?

Moony_1

5. Organized With Kids – Whether you are looking for great tips to keep the chaos in your house under control or you just want to look at a beautifully organized home during your kids’ naptime and dream of the day when the kids move out and you can have a clean floor for more than 5 seconds, you need to give Organized with Kids a follow.

Organized with Kids

These are just a few of our faves right now that you may not have heard of. We would love to hear some of your favourite accounts!

In Northern Alberta, Random Thoughts on
February 1, 2018

I Live Where The Air Hurts My Face

By Mara Needham

12 years ago I moved to Peace River, a town of 6000 people, (at the time there wasn’t even a Walmart) 500 km north of Edmonton, for a job. Fast forward to present day and I have a wonderful husband and am a stay at home mom to 2 gorgeous children and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

It’s not always easy living 250 from the closest major center (Grande Prairie is a couple hours away). There’s a definite lack of shopping, although thankfully Walmart did set up shop a few years ago, online shopping is my best friend. But this time of year, the biggest hurdle for a lot of people up here is the “I live where the air hurts my face” meme was invented about us. It was -43 (before the wind chill) a few days ago. According to the weather across the world, Peace River was the 6th coldest place on Earth. The north and south poles were warmer than my town.

Now, of course, my Facebook feed was filled with statuses complaining about the cold and how everyone just wanted to go back to bed. While I am not saying that I like it that cold, or that those temps don’t cause problems (we’ve had 3 water main breaks in less than a week in town and there was a gas shortage in a town north of us), I wasn’t one of the complainers. My kids still went to school that day…we definitely had chocolate after school to warm ourselves up, but life didn’t stop for the cold. And here we are almost a week later and it’s a beautiful sunny winter day. Perfect for tobogganing or skiing or snowmobiling The -43 days aren’t all winter, and I like having all 4 seasons.

There is something to love about every season in this town. In spring, our valley starts to green up and the days are longer (in winter often you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark). In summer we have daylight til 10 or 11…giving you more time outside to enjoy camping, boating on the river or whatever your favorite summer activity is.

Fall is beautiful in the Peace Country- the valley is filled with oranges and yellows and reds…local photographers are out in full force, capturing the beautiful scenery. And winter? It’s days like today…watching my kids run and play in the snow, having snowball fights, making snow angels, snowmobiling, tobogganing, skiing, skating…you name it.

So while the air may hurt my face some days…most days it’s pretty awesome.

My name is Mara Needham. I am 32 year old stay at home mom to Grayson (6) and Madeleine (3.5) in Peace River, AB. I have been married to my husband Sean for almost 8 years. I have never written a blog of any kind before, but up until I became a mom I wrote commercials for the local radio station. Find me on FacebookTwitter , & Instagram