Give Your Kids A “Wordplayful” Summer with YouthWrite®

2021 YouthWrite® Camp Theme – Voyage to the Great Unknown

Who is this camp for?

  • Youth in Alberta
  • YouthWrite®, a camp for kids who love to write…just about anything!©
  • Youth 8yrs all the way through 20!
  • Youth can choose in-person or online!

What is YouthWrite?

  • At the camps, young creators can explore new pursuits such as yoga and writing, drumming and words, songwriting, illustrating, cartooning, scriptwriting, improvisation and writing, body percussion and words, and more.
  • They also focus on traditional poetry and fiction – so there really is something for everyone!
  • YouthWrite Society Canada is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a non-profit, charitable arts organization.

Read more

Charcuterie boards and boxes in Alberta

Where to get your Charcuterie Boards and Charcuterie Boxes In Alberta

It’s going to be the summer of the picnic, and there’s no better (or fancier) way to picnic than a charcuterie in Alberta. Picture yourself on a hike in the mountains, your favourite hill, in a botanical garden, or even on a pasture (see Open Farm Days in August). Here’s where you can grab a charcuterie “to go” across the province.

 

Bow Valley (Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Exshaw, and Kananaskis)

Banff Graze Co.

Banff Graze Co. is great for those that live in the area, but also a terrific idea if you’re travelling to the Bow Valley and want to have something special for your lunch hike, or try a charcuterie board instead of eating at a restaurant while you’re in town.

Web: https://banffgrazeco.com/

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Banff Graze Co. (@banffgrazeco)

Read more

In Central Alberta, Edmonton, Explore, Lifestyle on
May 31, 2021

Have you been to the U of A Botanic Garden lately?

I decided we needed to get out and do something as a family, and I knew from friends that you book time slots at the U of A Botanic Garden, so it would be COVID Friendly. Hubs and I checked the weather, booked it on a day when the weather was supposed to be great and then my husband let me know he’d actually never been. The guy grew up in Edmonton but hadn’t ever been to the gardens so I was excited. I myself haven’t been since the Aga Khan garden opened – doubly excited.

We had to wear masks throughout the whole garden, which was understandable.

My kids love the Japanese Garden so we always go there first, trying to spot the coy fish.

Read more

Devon River Valley Trail – Voyageur Park

For those of you familiar with the Devon River Valley Trail in Voyageur Park, right on. For those of you who don’t, go. Especially if you have early bird kids, or if you are one!

A friend and I went on a Saturday morning, met at 530AM in the parking lot, and by golly, nary a soul in sight. We didn’t run into one person on the path and upon returning to our vehicle, there were just a few fellas fishing under the bridge.

There are a few fire pits with picnic tables along the river that would just be amazing with the fam jam and the “beachy” part we came across would entertain my kids for HOURS just throwing rocks in. Didn’t bring them this time – mama needed a break but next time!

Read more

11 Family Friendly Alberta Waterfall Hikes

Mistaya Canyon

Promises of a waterfall, a creek, a canyon, and candy are the things that get my kids hiking. Here are 11 family-friendly waterfall hikes so, Mamas load up your playlist with TLC and start the car.

1. Punchbowl Falls 

A short walk from the parking lot along Miette Road.

2. Maligne Canyon

This popular family hike is a choose your own adventure. From a short hike; viewing the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bridge. Or for a longer less traveled route park at the sixth bridge and walk the entire canyon in reverse order to the first bridge, a 7 km return hike.

3. Athabasca Falls

30 km south of the Jasper townsite go early or late to miss the crowds. If you have the time walk down the stairs to the base of the Athabasca River and check out the inukshuks.

4. Sunwapta Falls 

55 km south of Jasper check out Upper & Lower Sunwapta Falls. Short on time, the Upper Falls are a short walk from the parking lot. The lower Sunwapta Falls is a 3.2 km return hike.

5. Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls

Keep driving south on the Icefields Highway (93) to hike this 3.2 km return trail. The trail initially runs parallel to the highway before turning left to follow a narrow canyon where you view a series of waterfalls before ending at Stanley Falls. A smaller version of Maligne Canyon, but with no railing so stay safe. Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls parking lot is a small pullout approximately 88 km south of Jasper on the north side of Highway 93. You may have to drive past the pullout until you can safely turn around depending on the direction you are driving.

Read more

I Have Nothing Exciting To Tell You.

I am that mom. While we all used to have adventures, tips, and fun stuff to share with you, this pandemic has me at a loss.

My family doesn’t go anywhere.

The most exciting thing we’ve done in the last year is a walk in the River Valley, right after that little dump of snow. It was magical, and our COVID pup Missy enjoyed herself immensely. My poor daughter had a hard time getting back up these stairs, cause, well, we don’t do anything!

And we checked out one of the Edmonton swings, just you know, for something to do on the weekend.

I don’t have the ambition or drive to plan anything. 

My kids spend A LOT of time on their devices. Most of the time it is connected to their friends via Kids Messenger while playing games, and this is essentially their socialization outside of school so I’m not taking that away from them. I want to run away completely. The mountains, the ocean, anywhere but here. But hubs and I both work, and we need to work and we are lucky to work. And we don’t really have anywhere to escape to. I also am very cheap and don’t want to spend money….cause maybe if I save it, when this is all over we can go somewhere so far away and cool, it’s like COVID was just a blip.

Read more

Tips for Being a Great Ally to Your Muslim Co-workers/Friends During Ramadan

The beauty of our great province of Alberta is most evident in the diversity and uniqueness of Albertans. Albertans come from all corners of the Earth. They come from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

On April 13th, over 115,000 Muslim Albertans will be observing the Holy Month of Ramadan. This is a month of heightened spirituality which includes prayer, reading Qur’an, fasting, and giving charity. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dusk to dawn. A total of about 19 hours. This means Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, intimacy, and worldly desires during those hours.  Also, Muslims are expected to control their tempers and behaviors.

If you want to be a good Ally, Ramadan is a great time to start.  As you can imagine, fasting such long hours can take a toll on your co-workers. Although they will do their best to maintain their work, their energy, and their friendly personality they may need a little support from you. So how can you support your Muslim Coworkers? Here are some pointers to help you out.

  Read more

In Calgary, Camping, Explore, Rocky Mountains on
April 9, 2021

Did You Know You Can Hike To a Cold War Bunker in Alberta?

Cold War Bunker Hike in Canmore Alberta

Hiking with kids is always… interesting. I find that if I can entice mine with an end goal to hike to they do MUCH better. Usually we try to find a hike with water (lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc) to get to but this time we wanted something different so we tried the Cold War Bunker Hike just East of Canmore.

When you tell the kids there is an old abandoned cave to explore at the end of the hike they move FAST!

Apparently this was built during the Cold War to house important documents for the Canadian Government in case of disaster. Construction for this project started in 1969 but ended before it was completed. At this time we can’t find any information on why they stopped construction.

The caves go further back than we expected so we highly recommend bringing a couple of flashlights to explore. We used our cell phone lights but having flashlights would have been better.

This trail is easy to do and can be done in all seasons. It is a 4km hike with slight elevation at the end but I would say it is a relatively easy hike for most families. You can see more details on the hike on AllTrails here.

To get to the trailhead:

  • Park in the Heart Creek Trail parking lot.
  • There are two parking areas once you turn off the highway. Park in the West one.
  • At the far West side of the parking lot you’ll see a sign about bears. You found the trail!

 

Growing a baby (and a Festival) in a pandemic

In June 2020, I found myself pregnant with my second child. I rolled my eyes at becoming a part of the now famous “Covid-baby club.” It’s a popular club for a reason and I was now a happy member. We had just recently and successfully hosted our 8th annual SkirtsAfire Festival in March, about a week before the lockdowns began. I remember enjoying the spring and the start of summer, feeling optimistic that in a month or two, things would return to normal and we would all get back to our festival city as planned. Then slowly but surely, things started getting postponed, then canceled, and our case numbers took a sharp turn for the worse. Through it all, as I grew this baby mostly isolated to my home, we planned for SkirtsAfire 2021: a return to indoor in-person performances in a safe way.

Having a baby in a pandemic is different. This baby will be welcomed into the world with masks and the strong scent of hand sanitizer and the rough touch of overly-washed chapped hands. No gatherings of friends and family to hold and kiss the fresh being that just entered the world. Instead, there will be more screen time than I’d like to admit my newborn will have, more time spent with me on my phone texting and emailing pictures and updates, more time spent alone, just our small family. I think of my friends who have had babies in 2020 who have no family in the city, most out of the country even, who have had no relatives allowed to visit and have no known date in the future they’ll get to meet the new addition. My sisters live in Hong Kong and I don’t know when they will get to meet their new nephew. Things I never thought I’d need to feel sad about before.

Read more