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Parenting

In Parenting, Random Thoughts on
June 15, 2018

Discovering My “Weaknesses”

Have you ever done one of those personality tests?

A while ago I did the 16 Personalities Test  and it was terrifyingly accurate. Well, other than it saying I should have been a nurse or a teacher. Blood grosses me out and I’m just going to be honest here, sometimes, other peoples kids make me crazy. This will be a discussion about “weaknesses” but try not to think of that as a purely negative term.

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5 Ways to Save This Summer

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.

We love doing as many activities as we can in the summer months, but we want to do it on a budget! We’ve teamed up with Servus Credit Union to put together some of our favourite ways to save money this summer while still enjoying everything our province has to offer.

Frugality at food festivals

From food truck events to Taste of Edmonton or The Edmonton Heritage Festival, your food bill can add up quick. Save money by pre-purchasing tickets in advance at early bird pricing. Our family also likes to take a look at the menus ahead of time so we can plan what we would like to try once we arrive. This helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed once you get there. Also, always pack a water bottle so you don’t have to buy one when we get there. This saves more tickets for dessert!

Day trips on a dime

Albertans have so many fun little spots in the province to take the family for the day to enjoy our beautiful landscape and it’s all for free! Pack a lunch and head out early to get a great picnic spot. Some of our favourite day trip spots (depending on where you live) are: Elk Island National Park, Kananaskis Upper & Lower Lake, Wabamun, Blackfalds (they have a great new outdoor pool area!), Discovery Canyon in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.

Save money in the mountains

Planning a trip to the mountains? Great choice! Bring your bikes and enjoy the trails throughout Jasper and Banff as a free activity. Or, as soon as you get to town, stop by the Visitor Centre and talk to park staff about easy hikes for your children’s age and ability. They also have a ton of maps and resources for you to pick up, with many of them offering coupons for local restaurants. If you are at a National Historic Site such as Cave and Basin in Banff, ask the Canada Parks employee at the front desk for an activity book for the kids. Once the kids complete it they can return it to the front desk for a souvenir prize.

A family bicycling in Jasper

Staycation savings

We have so much going on in our city, you don’t even need to travel to enjoy summer! We love the events like the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival because of all the shows put on right in the streets. Park and ride the LRT or CTrain (which every kid loves riding!), and for a modest amount you can enjoy world-class performers from around the globe right in the heart of the city. Having snacks packed will keep younger children entertained while watching the shows, allowing everyone to enjoy the festival longer. If possible, try to get to larger festivals during the week to avoid larger crowds and lineups. The kids will enjoy it better if they can see the whole show unobstructed. If crowds aren’t your thing you can enjoy a staycation by simply finding a new spray park you haven’t been to yet! Stop off at your local grocery store (we love the Italian Centre) to pick up lunch from the deli and spend the day keeping cool in the water.

Wander your local farmers’ market

Farmers’ markets have started to pop up everywhere! Many of them have started bringing out activities for families to entice them to come out. From petting zoos and bouncy castles to bike tune-ups and live entertainment, you can easily spend the afternoon wandering the market. Look up your favorite market online or on Facebook to see any special events and activities they have coming up.

Want to test out some of our tips? We’ve listed some of our favourite events to attend below!

This article was written in partnership with Servus Credit Union. The thoughts and opinions expressed are our own. #partner

 

In Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
June 11, 2018

The Best Father’s Day Gift I Ever Got

By Rob Burtt

I will never forget the birth of my first child. It’s not that the latter two births were less significant, it’s just that the first was such a surreal and sobering experience. I remember this  6 lb. 3 oz. little girl meeting the world for the first time. I recall having her bundled up little body placed into my arms and thinking “Wow, I’m a Dad.”

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In Explore, Parenting on
June 8, 2018

5 Tips For Taking Young Kids To Disneyland

Disneyland.

Even mentioning the word brings up feelings of magic, wonder, and happiness. Unless you are planning on dragging around kids under 6. Then all you hear when you think of Disneyland is: chaos, crying kids, and cash flying out your wallet. But we can help! Our family has been multiple times with young kids and have learned a lot. See our top 5 things you need when you’re taking your kids to Disneyland.

5 Things You NEED to Know:

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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.

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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.

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I Suck at Playing…and it’s OK

By Mara Needham of Peace River, AB

I like to think I’m doing pretty ok in the mom department: I pack my kids (relatively) healthy lunches every day, we are on time for school, we read stories at bedtime and for the most part my kids are happy, well adjusted kids. But I have a confession. There is one area where I am severely failing as a mom: I suck at playing. While I’ll play board games, card games and do puzzles with my kids, when it comes to imaginative play- you know the kind where you’re down on the floor building Legos, having a tea party, playing hot wheels and trains or coming up with new Paw Patrol episodes to act out in the basement- I am awful.

I used to beat myself up and stress over my lack of playing ability. I thought in order to be a great mom, I had to be great at everything. But guess what? I don’t have to be. In fact, I’d bet every mom has an area (perhaps even more than one) that they feel they are failing at- even the moms who look like they stepped out of the pages of Vogue or have Pinterest inspired birthday parties or who get on the floor and play with their kids every day. Yet we somehow all feel like failures and that we don’t measure up to other moms.

You know who doesn’t suck at playing? My husband.

He will get down on the floor and come up with elaborate scenarios and situations for Ryder and the pups, build crazy award winning hot wheels tracks and sit and have so many cups of “tea” he has a British accent. He is a fabulous player. And I have never felt the need to compete with him over it.

Instead I am grateful my kids have a dad with imagination and wants to play. But if another mom came along and started playing with my kids, I know I’d feel this twinge of inadequacy in my stomach and that I better get down on the floor cause what if she thinks I’m a bad mom? When did we as moms start putting so much pressure on ourselves to compete against each other and to be the “best”? When we did we start feeling judged if we aren’t “perfect”?

The sad thing is, I can almost guarantee our kids don’t care about any of it. They don’t care what kind of birthday cake they have. They don’t care if you live in yoga pants and ponytails. They don’t care if the pancakes at Easter brunch are boring normal looking pancakes. They don’t care if you have zero imagination. They just want your time and your love. And in return they love you unconditionally, no matter what.

I can also pretty much guarantee that the person you’re competing with is your own voice in your head. I would never talk about another mom the way I judge myself. I don’t look down at the frazzled mom at school drop-off, cause chances are, it’ll be me tomorrow. I don’t go to a birthday and turn down birthday cake because it’s cupcakes with Betty Crocker icing. Let’s stop striving for “perfection”. Let’s stop worrying and putting pressure on ourselves. Let’s all just be who we are, faults and all.

Mara Needham is a stay at home mom to 6 year old boy and 3.5 year old girl. Wife of 8 years. She lives in Peace River and has an unhealthy love of food and country music.  Find Mara on 

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In Parenting on
May 6, 2018

DIY Bird Feeder You Can Make With The Kids

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

Step 1:

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*

Step 2:

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.

Step 3:

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.

Step 4:

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.

Step 5:

Take the cute picture to post later on Instagram to show everyone that you craft with your kids. #goals #instalove #blessed

Step 6:

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.

Step 7:

Check the time. The husband is probably home soon so get that wine ready.

Alberta Mamas – One Year Later

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!”

 

Who are Alberta Mamas?