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.
This week we made a bird feeder out of materials we had laying around.
With Earth Day being last weekend we have been talking a lot about the environment, recycling and nature. My 6 year old has been asking alllllll the questions. Why do people litter? Why do we throw away so much stuff? Why do we drive everywhere? You don’t realize the amount of waste you create until you have a kid in Grade One calling you out on every piece of plastic you throw away. I have been smuggling saran-wrap and ziploc bags into the garbage like a rum runner smuggling contraband booze in the 20’s.
So we decided to make a bird feeder with things we have laying around the house to a) give him something to do so I don’t have to answer questions about my non-compostable plastic containers and b) to show him that we can reuse and re-purpose things.
What you will need:
- toilet paper roll
- peanut butter
- bird seed
- patience – because they will want to do it all themselves
Gather supplies ahead of time before you tell your child you are making something. They are impatient and will ask you 10000000 questions while you are setting things up. Pour the bird seed onto a plate to make clean up easier. Don’t worry about cleaning off all the toilet paper off the roll. This isn’t Pinterest. No one has time for that. *not noted on the supplies list but this would be a good time to make sure you have a glass of wine ready for after you make a mess with the kids. If you sit and drink the wine until your husband gets home he may even clean up for you*
Get them to cover the roll with peanut butter. This works on their fine motor skills, grasping and pinching muscles which help with writing. That is what you say to your husband when he comes home and sees peanut butter all over the counter and you are on the couch with the wine we mentioned above. You may have to hold the roll for them at the end so it does’t slip onto the floor. No one has time to mop. Unless you have a dog that will come clean up the mess on the floor. Then let the kid do the whole thing.
Roll the peanut butter covered roll in the birdseed pressing down so the seeds stick. Notice how long your kids’ fingernails are and how much dirt is under them. Add “bath time” to the list of things your husband needs to do while you help your self to another glass of wine after he gets home.
Thread the string through the tube and tie a knot so it can hang in the tree. This is great practice tying knots with your kids so they don’t end up wearing velcro shoes for the rest of their life. Nothing wrong with velcro – it is just really really hard to find velcro shoes when they get past size 3. I’m saving you time and money.
Take the cute picture to post later on Instagram to show everyone that you craft with your kids. #goals #instalove #blessed
Hang it in the tree in a spot they can see out the window so they aren’t asking you to lift them up a million times. Make sure they are inside to watch the birds eat. No bird will come to the bird feeder when an excited kid yells “BIRD! A BIRD IS HERE EATING! MOM I SEE A BIRD!” every time they come close.
Check the time. The husband is probably home soon so get that wine ready.
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!”
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.
8 tips on how to stay sane while indoors and how to keep the little ones entertained.
By Pauline Halina
Winter is here and it’s starting to get (c)old.
There is nothing like waking up to your phone alerting you of an Extreme Cold Warning or the dreaded Extreme Snow Fall Warning. I sigh and reminisce about the warmer days, the days of chasing a toddler around the yard, the days of stepping outside without needing Sorels and a down filled jacket. Snow days are all fine and dandy if you live in an area where the snow ploughs are out first thing in the morning or the neighbourhood boy gang is out shoveling sidewalks. I complain, dear readers, because I live in rural Alberta and I am a mother to two beautiful children, 2, and 11 weeks and we are all confined to the in-doors. It was so cold in December that the water line from our cistern to the house actually froze. We had no water because it was FROZEN! Other than that, my snow days consist of drifting snow, severe wind chill warnings and waiting for my husband to come home so he can hop in the skid steer to move snow just so I can get the truck out of the yard.
I also complain because my newest edition, Baby E, has seen the outside world a total of 3 whomping times. (Not counting hurried trips from the truck to inside the grocery store and back again) We crave to be outside again. We need to be outside again! But this “-20 weather but feels like -30 crap,” has our house on lock down. I seriously have jealousy issues when my husband ventures outside to do his daily farm chores.
Our day starts with me frowning at the weather station that sits on our kitchen island as it teases me.
“You’re not going outside today because it’s -25.”
So I fill my coffee cup with my strongest brew and prepare to bring out the Play-Doh for the 2-year old so he can leave chunks of it in inconspicuous places for me to find later. The poor kid loves to play outside but Mother Nature has us under her house arrest. My hatred for Play-Doh is growing by the day and there are only so many seasons of Paw Patrol on Netflix! I listen to him whine, “Outside mama, outside!” But I have to gently remind him that it’s just too cold and miserable.
So what do we do with all our time, you ask. How do we get through these cold snaps? Here are my 8 Go-Tos for staying sane during these chilly Albertan cold spells.
Rural folks, make a plan! Make a grocery day – snow shoe it to Wal-Mart if you must! Actually just throw ‘er in 4×4 and make a trip into town!
If it’s freezing, make sure the vehicle is started a head of time so when the little ones get in, they are toasty warm.
Stock up on washable crayons or markers. Let the toddler colour in the bathtub or on the windows try to keep them busy as possible or else all hell breaks loose. They will love this idea! Just make sure it’s the non-toxic and did I mention, WASHABLE. Or here’s a fun one, grab a large storage tote and fill it full of snow and dump it in the bathtub. Grab some sandbox shovels and some tractor toys and have your own winter sandbox! Literally zero clean up!
When babes are napping, do something that takes your mind off the weather. Read, catch up on The Bachelor, or be super mom and clean something.
Keep in contact with friends, I repeat, don’t go silent. You may live in the middle of nowhere but it ain’t Antarctica honey. Cold days can he hard, but complaining to your friends some how makes things so much easier. Get it off your chest girlfriend! Oh and if you can, try to invite some over for a movie or wine night!
This one is my favourite but not my husband’s. Online Shopping! Ugh, you have no idea how much this has saved my sanity – plus you get to go into town to check the mailbox! Hello new present to me from me. Might as well stop at Timmy’s for that double double while you are at it.
Plan a tropical vacation. We are taking the family and fleeing to Cancun for 10 days for that much needed Vitamin D. Honestly, this is a must. If your family can swing it, ditch the snow for sand. (Go back to Step Five to prep for Step Six)
Go the gym or attend a fitness class once a week. If you can go more than once then great! Living outside of town can make driving into town during icy road conditions a little less favourable so try to aim to attend a class or make it to the gym once a week. Find a sitter or leave the ninos with Dad, and head to town to release some endorphins. Once you get home, you will feel renewed and refreshed.
We all have that one room, one closet, one drawer or one cupboard in the house that is pure chaos. Take a deep breath and count to 10 because we are going to venture there. Take an afternoon and reorganize whatever nightmare is lurking in that godforsaken area. When the sun comes out, and it will eventually, you will feel so much better that you finally tackled that mess of a space or closet. You go Mama, you finally organized that dreaded space!
Eventually, the temperature will rise and the wind chill will dissipate. It will be a beautiful day with the sun beaming through the trees and the snow will be just wet enough to build that perfect snowman. A day where the baby can finally ride along in her stroller to take in the peaceful rural surrounding that is her home. The toddler can dive into snow hills and chase the dogs around as they discover long forgotten toys buried in the snow. The day will come mamas, and when it does, you will still have that tan from Mexico, and you will be sporting that cute sweater you ordered from Amazon. And when you go inside to put the dog toys away, you will be beaming because you organized that nightmare that is now the dogs’ storage cupboard and you will think to yourself…Mom = 1 , Winter = 0.
Pauline Halina grew up on a dairy farm in central Alberta. After completing her journalism degree at Mount Royal University, she pursued a career in Marketing and Advertising. After falling in love with her husband, they left the hustle and bustle of the city to return to their farming roots and to help out on the family grain farm. Together, they have two beautiful children and can’t imagine raising them in any other environment. The farm is a home and a way of life. Join Pauline as she reveals her life on the farm and how to keep up in the country.
We’ve all been that parent yelling “Be Careful!!!” from the ground as your child is climbing up higher and higher, running faster and faster, and pedaling harder and harder. As adults we are only seeing the worst case scenario. The crashing and the tears. But we sound like parrots constantly telling our kids to be careful.
It is also hurting their confidence. Can you imagine if every time you unloaded the dishwasher your mom came running into the room yelling at you to be careful? After all there are knives in there. You may cut yourself!
So what can you say instead? We’ve rounded up our top 6 below:
Top 6 Things To Say To Your Child Besides “Be Careful”
- What’s your next move? – We’ve all seen our kids stuck in a position that they want to be rescued from. They climb too high and aren’t sure how to get down. Instead of running up and plucking them off, walk over slowly (as long as they aren’t in real danger of falling far) and ask them what their next move could be. I’ve done this so many times with my kids that they mostly can figure it out by the time I get there because they have had time to stop, breathe, and think about that next step.
- Sticks need space. Can you move that stick without hitting any people? If not, you need more space. – This one is pretty self explanatory. You know your child is going to pick up that stick and turn it into a light saber, twirling baton, sword etc. Make sure that you let them know it is ok to wildly swing it around as long as they are doing so in a safe space.
- !s that rock stable? – Jumping from rock to rock whether at the beach or at the park is great fun. Just help them be aware that some rocks move so they can get their balance right.
- Notice your body. – I think I say this more than any other. Having them notice their bodies and what they can/can’t do is so important so they can make the decision to move ahead or not. It also helps if you have a child like mine that has grown so much so quickly and has become clumsy. By getting him to be aware of his body and how it moves he has crashed into less things.
- Do you feel safe? – Teaching the kids when they should push themselves and when they should turn around and try a new option is a skill they will use forever.
- I’m here if you need me. – We are here to help push our kids to be independent but in the end they still need to know that we are here to help if they really need it. Not do it for them. Help them.
By Nadia Goodhart
“I am just one person, how can I make a difference?”
I used to ask myself this question all the time. Then I started volunteering. I couldn’t believe how many organizations run on volunteer manpower. From boards to soup kitchens, they all relied on the generosity of individuals to get them through the year.
Why should you volunteer?
- Volunteers live longer and are healthier.
- Volunteering establishes strong relationships.
- Volunteering is good for your career.
- Volunteering is good for society.
- Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose.
Volunteering exercises your mind and your body. Some organizations need physical man-power like sorting food to fighting fires while others need critical thinking skills like on sitting on a board to translating services into another language.
You can volunteer with friends, neighbors, co-workers or family. You will meet people outside your social circle that want to give back to their community. You will also meet friendly faces (the do-gooders of the world) and may make lifelong friends.
If you are a stay at home parent, unemployed and looking to get back into the workforce, or looking to get into another position at your current job, volunteering is a great asset for your resume. You will learn skills or build on experience that you can take with you into your next job. You can also get references from the volunteer coordinator or supervisor to take to your interview.
There are so many organizations that run on volunteer hours. Volunteers bring diversity, new skill sets and a sense of purpose. Organizations that have a strong volunteer base are usually more successful, have a strong community bond and are more likely to make you feel valued and part of a team. You may work for the less fortunate to gain a better understanding of their situation. You may be able to lend a voice, be an advocate for the vulnerable and show that you care for those who need help. It will also get you aware of your local community’s needs.
Who can volunteer?
There are organizations that require you to be 16 years or older but there are some that welcome kids to volunteer with their parents. The organization would be able to provide you with guidelines of who they need and what duties are involved.
Where can I volunteer?
Some of the organizations that need volunteers year-round are local festivals, community boards, sports teams, religious institutions, charities, Food Bank, vulnerable sector groups just to name a few. Talk to your friends or co-workers and get an idea or where they have volunteered or would like to. Look at social media to see what organizations are doing call out for volunteers.
Do you have a skill that you think others may benefit from? Do you want to work with like-minded individuals? Do you want to grow your network? There is probably an organization that is looking right now for you to apply. You are just one person, but mama YOU will be making a difference when you volunteer.
“Volunteering ignites positive changes on so many levels. It provides much-needed resources to people in need, your community, and worthwhile causes. It also has so many personal benefits. Volunteering helps me feel connected to my community, inspires kindness, and keeps me mentally and physically active. It’s the kind of activity that keeps you coming back for more!” – Jody Spencer – founder of Because Edmonton Cares
Nadia volunteers for a variety of organizations throughout the year. This year, she organized a campaign at her workplace to get people to volunteer 150 hours for Canada’s 150th birthday. Her goal is to seek ways to help her community be a better place. Nadia lives in Edmonton and is a mama to 3.
The snow is here and maybe here to stay. There’s always fun to be had outside – snowman making, tobogganing, and fort making. Sometimes having someplace to go and play inside can prevent full-on hibernation mode and expend some energy in a warm and cozy environment.
Here’s our list of places to take your kids for some indoor fun in and around Red Deer.
Red Deer Museum offers great programming for kids and the chance to have fantastic art & cultural experiences.
Red Deer Public Library. Have you looked at their calendar? With 3 branches there is something going on all the time. And if not, there’s always the books to take your kid away on a ride through their imagination!
Jump 360 Red Deer offers lots of trampoline fun!
Treehouse Indoor Playground Red Deer has events, daily specials and lots of indoor fun – 11,000 square feet of it to be precise.
If you’ve got an artist on your hands, Color Me Mine has creative outlet options for your kids. They could even make some Christmas gifts for grandma and grandpa. Two birds, one stone there!
Lazerforce offers indoor laser tag for all ages.
Outside the City
You can find all kinds of fun inside Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Museum including interactive mulit-sport games.
In Blackfalds, the Red Deer Kinsmen Indoor Playspace, located in the Abbey Centre, has 6 levels and over 2600 square feet of fun for your child 12 years and under.
The Sylvan Lake NexSource Centre features a children’s playspace & programming for the whole family.
Also in Sylvan Lake, much like the RDPL, Sylvan Library has programming for kids and of course – books!
In Penhold, the Multiplex Area offers drop in programming and special events.
There’s also the Penhold Library!
Central Parkland Parentlink runs programs and playgroups in the smaller towns and rural areas too!
Did we miss anything? Where do you take your little one to play in and around Red Deer?
Have your little ones ever been to an Arden Theatre show? With pre-show activities and always having amazing people hit the stage, it’s a go to in the Edmonton area. We’ve got the scoop on a very special deal for you & your kids to get in on the fun!
On November 5, at 2pm, Bobs and LoLo from Sing Dance and Play with Bobs and LoLo from Treehouse TV will be on the Arden Stage! This performance is a part of their Family Series called Noisy Theatre- a series which is child-friendly and provides a relaxed environment that caters to toddlers and adults!
Special Promo For AM Readers!
Two tickets for the price of one! To receive this offer, call the box office at 780-459-1542 to book your tickets and identify ALBERTA MAMAS as the place you’ve received the special offer from! That’s it!
For more informtion on the show visit stalbert.ca/bobs-lolo2017