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An 11 Year Olds Take On YouthWrite

Hi! My name is Hayden Reeve! You might recognize my last name as I am the daughter of one of the Mamas! I am going to tell you about my experience at YouthWrite®. For a little introduction, it is a non-profit organization with camps for children who love to write. There is also a separate camp for adults who also enjoy writing! Today though, we are going to be discussing the camp for, well, youth! 

Something that I think is quite important and an absolutely excellent characteristic about YouthWrite is the fact that they have a figuratively speaking, bubble type of deal around them.

At the camp, there is absolutely no place for hate. Not of any kind. One of the first things they tell you is that no racism, homophobia, sexism, etc etc will be ignored and it could result in you being kicked from the camp.

I believe that this is something we all can agree on, making the camp a safe place for anyone. At the camp, I also noticed a lot of things they did to create a safe place for those of any gender, race, etc etc. Overall, they work very hard to make sure (and I cannot say it enough) it’s a safe space for everyone.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In Lifestyle, Random Thoughts, Working Mama on
February 6, 2021

Hibernate and Chill

Hey Alberta, it’s flipping COLD! And with COVID there is no escaping the frigid temperatures so I need to come clean.

I’ve become a binger. There is nothing I like better than escaping into someone else’s made up, or in the case of reality TV, escalated DRAMA. I thought I would share with you what I have been enjoying and maybe, you’d like to share as well!

By myself mindless escape

Bridgerton – I’m a crazy fanatic for the age this is set in. With the music and the naughty bits, it’s just divine. I’ve heard people say it didn’t live up to their expectations – so, go into it with only escape in mind.

Selling Sunset – I might have a small girl crush on Chrishell. It’s like a mix of the best real estate shows you’ve watched with the drama of Housewives.

Emily In Paris – Again, not the most titillating of story twists, but hey, it’s in PARIS.

Bling Empire – Have you watched Crazy Rich Asians? This one is just fun!

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In Lifestyle, Random Thoughts on
February 4, 2021

The year we did a lot less

I wondered if it was worth writing about a year with COVID-19. It has taken over our lives and has dictated our activities. I’ve also thought about how different we are from the start of the pandemic in 2020.  The uncertainty and nervousness from March 2020, to now – freezing in Alberta February, 2021.  Almost a year later from our initial lockdown and still no parties, sleepovers, no kids sports, no boozy girl nights (we could gather outside but -25 isn’t my jam).

The global pandemic didn’t stop our life, but it was the year we did a LOT less.

Fewer gathering, fewer people, fewer parties, and instead of the big family reunion this summer, we did day trips in Alberta. More family time, more time alone, more time realizing I’m a terrible baker. More gardening, more time in a hammock. More ordering in from restaurants and giving into buying from Amazon.

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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 

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