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In Explore, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on
June 6, 2018

Tips for Safe Summer Travel

Summer Travel

Summertime and travel go together like peanut butter and jam. It’s just what we do: the kids are out of school, the roads are safe for travel and it’s too hot to work anyways, right? In our group of Alberta Mama founders we are planning on spanning most of the country and even the states with trips to BC, Ontario, Newfoundland, Montana and California this summer (of course lots of in Alberta explorations as well!). Yet, as most of us dreamily plan our summer travels we focus on the where to go and what to do, but we often forget about the what ifs…. Read more

In Health, Parenting, Working Mama on
May 11, 2018

Moving Out at Seven Months – Or Across the Hallway

We’ve hit an impasse. My partner, our pediatrician, even family members have all brought up the idea that it is time for Nova to move into her own room.

Avent Monitor

Moving Out at Seven Months – Or Across the Hallway

This is a tough issue – many suggest that co-sleeping (same room, separate beds) should happen until 12 months. On the other hand, our own doctor has suggested that Nova’s health, feeding, and capacity for sleep all would do well if she were to be in her own room.

Why am I fighting this? I absolutely could not tell you. You would think that as I lose sleep every night either staring at this beautiful girl or waking up to every small cough or sniffle, I would be pushing the crib out the door myself. In truth, I could have kept her in the bassinette until she was sixteen years old. Once she outgrew the bassinette I asked my partner if he could move it downstairs to storage while I was out doing errands because it brought me to tears that she would no longer be right there.

Read more

In Health, Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
May 11, 2018

Ramadan 101

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.

Read more

In Calgary, Health on
May 3, 2018

Calgary Bike Swap THIS Weekend – May 5th

Need a bike? Need an upgrade? Have a bike to get rid of? This weekend is the Bike Swap in Calgary!

It’s bike season finally! Despite the name, it’s not about swapping bikes with others but rather a safe place to buy and sell bikes. You can bring your clean and taken care of bikes to be sold by the Alberta Bike Swap people and/or browse for you own bike.

You can unload your bike or even yous kids bikes. There are some restrictions on selling kids bike however, which you can find all about in their FAQ section. If you have one though that doesn’t meet the requirements and want to donate it, they will gladly take it and donate it to a child in need! They will even take bike parts that will also be donated to community initiatives to help repair bikes int eh communities!


When: May 5th 2018

Time: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm (Consigning)

8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Donating bikes)

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm (Purchasing bikes)

Location: City Center Parkade, 340 10 Ave


Check out their video of a past swap!

In Calgary, Explore, Health on
May 2, 2018

Mexico Comes to the Prairies: Cerebral Palsy Association Gala!

Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta

The long winter this year has many Albertans dreaming of heading to warmer parts of the world like Hawaii, Palm Springs and Mexico. Who can blame us, right? Now as we head into May and see signs of spring (even summer!) we can begin to enjoy staying right where we are. This may be the case for most people, but not the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta (CPAA). We have been in fiesta mode for months now and the party is just getting started.

For the past 11 years, the CPAA has hosted our annual fundraising gala in Calgary with a different theme each year. From a masquerade ball to the wild west to celebrating Canada, we have seen it all. For year 12 we are bringing Mexico to the prairies with a Cinco de Mayo theme! With Mexican inspired gourmet food stations, exciting live entertainment and the opportunity to bid on fabulous live and silent auction items this fiesta is sure to have our guests saying Olé!

Fundraising galas are an integral part to any non-profit organization. It’s not only a chance to raise needed funds, but it also brings together a community of valued supporters who get an opportunity to really know the people behind the organization. It can also be the perfect date night, girl’s night, or company party. It’s a fun and exciting way to give back.

Funds raised through events such as our Cinco de Mayo gala support the CPAA’s vital programs and services for individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Through our programs, services and collaborations, we advocate and promote awareness, acceptance and understanding for persons with disabilities to live, learn and work in the community.

We are lucky to have the platform to offer affordable programming for kids and adults of all abilities in both Edmonton and Calgary. With awesome volunteers and instructors, we have everyone dancing, playing music, creating art, and literally diving into a world where they feel included and confident. This is all thanks to events like our gala and we are looking forward to a night of chippin, dippin and margarita sippin!

There are still a few tickets left to our Cindo de Mayo Gala which takes place at Calgary Stampede Park’s exclusive Ranahan’s from 6pm – Midnight, May 5th and we would love for you to join us! Please click here to visit our event website and to order your tickets.

Not able to join us? There is still an opportunity for you to help support our fundraising goal by bidding on some fabulous silent auction items. Take a peek at our online auction here.

For more info on our programs, please visit our website.

Cerebral Palsy Association of Alberta

In Explore, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting on
April 30, 2018

Sunscreen and your Kids

It’s HERE! That big yellow light in the sky that feels kinda warm and that melted all the snow is an indication that spring (and eventually summer) is here! Yes, I legitimately just jinxed it for us all, but it can’t snow all year can it? (Apologies in advance if it does indeed snow all year.).  That being said, when the sun comes out we all need to start worrying about sunscreen and sunburns and protecting our kids from getting burnt.

May is Melanoma month and I’m not saying this to scare you, but I am saying it from a “whitey shade seeker with a large collection of wide-brimmed hats who applies sunscreen on her kids before they leave for school (and packs them travel sunscreen to take to school)” concerned parent to another. Everyone gets hats and sunscreen, and the kids know better than to fight me with it.

Here are some scary facts to get you in the mood for SUNSCREEN!

It was estimated that in 2017:
– 7,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
– 1,250 Canadians will die from melanoma skin cancer.
– 4,000 men will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 790 will die from it.
– 3,300 women will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 450 will die from it.

Source: Canadian Cancer Society

Bare with me for a minute, because I could go on and on all day, but this isn’t just a white skinned person disease (although yes, it’s predominately a caucasian illness), people with darker skins are also at risk for skin cancer. Darker skin doesn’t mean you’re immune, in FACT, skin cancer can present differently in people of colour than in Caucasian skin, which is a whole other topic but you can find articles here and here about that.

If you (or your child) have had at least one blistering sunburn in your lifetime you have a higher risk of developing melanoma (source).

A recent study found that Alberta is on par with warmer countries in terms of skin cancer risk. Many of this can be attributed to our need to bust out of the house when the temperatures are warmer, that our cold (and looooong) winters prevent us from skin cancer and our farmers spending those long days out in the sun with no sun protection.

Hug a farmer today and then slather them with sunscreen. It’s the right thing to do.

What’s a mama to do? Easy peasy.

  • Wear your sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Sunglasses, they’re important too
  • Shade seek
  • Cover your skin.

I’m not saying that you should become a sun hermit like me, although I’m counting on this to give me the most amazing skin when I’m 80, but, you need to look after your biggest organ …


…which is your skin.


What about your kids?


The rules are a little different when it comes to applying sunscreen to babies. According to the Government of Canada, do not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months (unless directed to do so by your Dr.), their skin is much more delicate and sensitive than ours. Keep babies out of direct sunlight to prevent sunburns, overheating and dehydration.  Little babies need hats, shade and fluids when they’re in the heat.


Kids can and should wear sunscreen, and a hat, and sunglasses when outside. I know it can be a real pain in the backside to get a toddler to keep a hat on, so I have no tips there, but keep trying to keep that hat on, and know that one day, in a very very long time from now they will never thank you for it, but you did a good job keeping them sun safe. The suns rays (UV rays) are the strongest between 11 & 3, and it’s best to limit exposure to UV rays during this time. Again, I know, these are the times that kids should be outside playing and having fun. I’m just letting you know.

Skin cancer is a preventable disease and with summer around the corner (fingers crossed) as we send the kids outside to play and ride their bikes and climb trees, can we just slather a bunch of sunscreen on them and pop a hat on their head before they head out?

In Health, Parenting, Uncategorized on
April 5, 2018

The Benefit of Health Benefits

Health Benefits

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.

Sound familiar?


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!


The Bitchin' Housewife

Jen is a yoga teacher, fitness enthusiast and health blogger over at

In Health, Lifestyle on
February 5, 2018

Women’s Heart Health: Under-Diagnosed & Under-Treated

Women’s Heart Health Under-Diagnosed & Under-Treated.

It’s Heart Month and The Heart and Stroke have released their annual report and it’s not looking good for women! Women’s heart conditions are under-diagnosed & under-treated.  Why is that? Well, several reasons, but a main factor is that a heart attack in a woman looks and presents itself different than a heart attack in a man. Compound that will 2/3 of the research of heart health have been done on men, we’ve got a recipe for disaster.

There are some shocking facts from the Heart and Stroke Foundation report;

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada (dying before reaching their expected lifespan).
  • Early heart attack signs were missed in 78% of women.
  • Every 20 minutes a woman in Canada dies from heart disease.
  • Five times as many women die from heart disease as breast cancer.
  • Two-thirds of heart disease clinical research focuses on men.
  • Women who have a heart attack are more likely to die or suffer a second heart attack compared to men.



If that wasn’t enough if you had pre-eclampsia  during pregnancy, “…research shows that a woman who develops pre-eclampsia is at double the risk of developing heart disease later in life.” It really does just get so much more FUN!

So knowing this information, what do we do? We have to advocate for ourselves and learn the signs of a cardiac event. Firstly, know the unique factors that can cause heart disease in women. Secondly, know what to look for if you’re having a  heart attack. The signs of a heart attack in women are not the ones you see on TV. It’s not the clutching of the chest and falling down, in fact, you could be having a heart attack and collapsing on the floor. You can walk and work while having a heart attack. Here are the signs from the Heart and Stroke Report:

  • Chest discomfort Pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness
  • Sweating
  • Upper body discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness

Are you completely terrified? If so, that’s probably a good thing, because as moms and women we put ourselves last, and sometimes we need a kick in the pants to remember that we need to look after ourselves too. If we know the signs and the symptoms we can advocate for ourselves. We can be the Dr. Miranda Bailey in the ER telling the other Dr.’s that we know what we’re talking about and NO it’s not stress or indigestion (yes, I just watched that Greys Anatomy episode and damn it was so good and the timing was perfect!). Give them your best Dr. Bailey stare down and be the Dr. Bailey that you need in your life (all hail Miranda Bailey).



Worry Dolls – What Are They and Why Do You Need To Get Some Right Now?

Lately we’ve been talking about worrying in our house. About how it’s ok to feel worried and how everyone worries about different things but that doesn’t mean that it’s less important.

My one son just tried out for a sports team for the first time and was anxious.

My other son has weekly spelling tests at school that he wants to do well on. And by well he means he wants 100% EVERY time so he works hard at it but he worries.

School is long and exhausting, basketball games have started being more competitive, friendships are changing as they get older, and the list goes on. It was starting to get harder to pull full sentences out from them as they didn’t want to talk about it/didn’t know how to take a big feeling like worry and turn it into words that expressed how they feel.

Then my mom reminded me about Worry Dolls.

I had them when I was little but between all the moving, marriage, keeping track of two kids etc they were lost so I found some on Amazon this week for the boys.

What are Worry Dolls?

Worry Dolls are little dolls (most often from Guatemala) that you keep by your bed. Every night you sit down with your child and they tell a worry they may have to the doll. Each doll is one worry. You then put the doll in a bag and put it under your pillow and the worry goes away.

Spoiler alert… The doll doesn’t actually have magical powers that makes your worry poof away in the middle of the night. The worry goes away because it is a tool to get your child talking about specific things that worry them so you can:

a) be aware of their specific worry

b) offer to help if you can

c) give you an excuse to hug them and tell them that no matter the size of the worry you’re there for them.

I will be starting this with my boys this weekend so I will let you know how it goes!

I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you may have for getting your kids to talk more!

In Edmonton, Health, Style, Working Mama on
January 27, 2018

SkirtsAfire Festival is coming to YEG!

SkirstAfire Festival in Edmonton is self-described as “diverse and daring”.

Having taken in their 2017 MainStage Production, The Mommy Monologues, a truthful, and at times uncomfortable, look at Motherhood in all its glory – we can absolutely agree.

Photo Keanna Hiebert

This 4-day multidisciplinary arts festival focuses on empowering, developing, supporting, and showcasing women artists in all our diversity. They represent and therefore welcome women artists of all backgrounds including trans women, self-identifying women, the LGBTQ2 community, all ethnicities and all abilities. Running in conjunction with International Women’s Day, this festival truly celebrates us – in all our unique, amazing talents.

Sierra Jamerson, Ella Coyes, Mhairi Berg – Key of She 2015, Photo Brianne Jang

The 2018 festival runs March 8-11

SkirtsAfire MainStage Production, The Romeo Initiative by Trina Davies runs March 1-11. We can’t wait to see how this mainstage production moves us, pushes us and makes us think.
But there’s so much more to discover at the festival. Music, art, dance, fashion – even yoga.

Yoga in the Art 2017, Photo by Keanna Hiebert

The schedule of events can be found on their website . We highly recommend you grab some of the awesome women in your life, save the date and check out this festival making #yegherstory since 2012!
Feature photo: “The Shape of Me” by Jane Kline, Photo by Keanna Hiebert
This post was sponsored by the SkirtsAfire Festival Society. As always, all opinions stated are our own.