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I Live Where The Air Hurts My Face

By Mara Needham

12 years ago I moved to Peace River, a town of 6000 people, (at the time there wasn’t even a Walmart) 500 km north of Edmonton, for a job. Fast forward to present day and I have a wonderful husband and am a stay at home mom to 2 gorgeous children and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

It’s not always easy living 250 from the closest major center (Grande Prairie is a couple hours away). There’s a definite lack of shopping, although thankfully Walmart did set up shop a few years ago, online shopping is my best friend. But this time of year, the biggest hurdle for a lot of people up here is the “I live where the air hurts my face” meme was invented about us. It was -43 (before the wind chill) a few days ago. According to the weather across the world, Peace River was the 6th coldest place on Earth. The north and south poles were warmer than my town.

Now, of course, my Facebook feed was filled with statuses complaining about the cold and how everyone just wanted to go back to bed. While I am not saying that I like it that cold, or that those temps don’t cause problems (we’ve had 3 water main breaks in less than a week in town and there was a gas shortage in a town north of us), I wasn’t one of the complainers. My kids still went to school that day…we definitely had chocolate after school to warm ourselves up, but life didn’t stop for the cold. And here we are almost a week later and it’s a beautiful sunny winter day. Perfect for tobogganing or skiing or snowmobiling The -43 days aren’t all winter, and I like having all 4 seasons.

There is something to love about every season in this town. In spring, our valley starts to green up and the days are longer (in winter often you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark). In summer we have daylight til 10 or 11…giving you more time outside to enjoy camping, boating on the river or whatever your favorite summer activity is.

Fall is beautiful in the Peace Country- the valley is filled with oranges and yellows and reds…local photographers are out in full force, capturing the beautiful scenery. And winter? It’s days like today…watching my kids run and play in the snow, having snowball fights, making snow angels, snowmobiling, tobogganing, skiing, skating…you name it.

So while the air may hurt my face some days…most days it’s pretty awesome.

My name is Mara Needham. I am 32 year old stay at home mom to Grayson (6) and Madeleine (3.5) in Peace River, AB. I have been married to my husband Sean for almost 8 years. I have never written a blog of any kind before, but up until I became a mom I wrote commercials for the local radio station. Find me on FacebookTwitter , & Instagram


Free or Almost Free Winter Activities for your Family in Jasper

Heading out of town with the kids can be expensive but if you’re willing to get outside, there are lots of winter activities in Jasper for your family for free.


Jasper has lots of hikes, but not all are great for kids. If you’re going in winter and you don’t already have ice grips for your shoes, rent some from a local sports store and that will help with the icy conditions (we rented ours from Jasper Source for Sports). 
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12 Outdoor Winter Activities You Can Do With Your Kids

Our weather is crazy in Alberta and we usually get a lot of winter! Let’s get outdoor and enjoy it with the kids while we can. I hear it’s suppose to warm up a bit this weekend, so go out and enjoy before another cold snap!

  1. Scavenger hunt – Print off this winter scavenger hunt from CBC and go for a walk to find them.
  2. Paint in the snow – You can try mixing some food coloring and water into a squeeze bottle or check out this idea.
  3. Mini time capsule. Spend some time putting some stuff into a waterproof bag/container and bury it in the yard somewhere deep in the snow. When Spring comes around and the snow melts find it and open it up!
  4. Build a target toss game, like this epic one from Disney Family Crafts         
  5. Play X’s and O’s in the snow. My daughter loves this game and we play over and over and over. I bet we could fill a whole field.
  6. Try snowshoeing. Check out your local nature center like the John Janzen!
  7. Hike around a local park. We did this fun Hike At Chickakoo Lake in Spring and my Dad used to take us when we were kids with cross country skis around it. You can look for birds and animals that are not in hibernation as a fun learning opportunity.
  8. Ice Skating. Check out your local community league or find an indoor one, depending on the weather.
  9. Have a bon fire and hot chocolate. Invite some friends over for a fire, roast marshmallows and have some hot chocolate.
  10. Try building a snow volcano, like this awesome looking one from Classy Clutter    
  11. Freeze small toys in ice cube trays or tupperware containers and hide them in the backyard for a fun at home scavenger hunt.
  12. If it’s cold enough, try freezing bubbles! Take some bubble solution and blow bubbles softly onto snowy surfaces and watch them freeze!

The Bitchin' Housewife

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

Winter Fun: The IceWay Skating Trails at Rundle Park

I admit it, I am not a huge fan of outdoor winter activities…. Cold weather is not my jam. Neither is skating around a circle over and over. BUT I proved myself wrong when my family, along with some family friends, decided to check out the IceWay Skating Trails at Rundle Park this weekend. After a Christmas break of being cooped up inside from colds and severely freezing temperatures, we were ready to get the heck out of the house.

Rundle Park has just under 2 kms of smooth, well maintained ice skating pathways that wind you through the trees and beautiful setting in the parks area. We skated the trails at dusk and really enjoyed the Christmas lights and lanterns along the path, though, it would be awesome to see even more lights. Skaters can explore the trails, all of which interconnect, and enjoy larger skating surfaces along the way. It really is a beautiful setting!

Some tips for enjoying the IceWay Skating Trails at Rundle Park:

  • Park your car in the lot in front of the Family Centre (not ACT pool). There’s an indoor heated building (with bathrooms) where you can leave your shoes and put on your skates.
  • Bring hockey sticks or a skating aid for your child if you have one.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • If you are going just before dusk, like we did, a headlamp might be a good idea. It got a little dark in some spots of the trail.
  • Make an afternoon of it and take advantage of one of the many picnic areas with fire pits along the trail. There was a family enjoying a nice hot dog roast while we were out and it looked lovely!
  • Warm up in the warming hut along the trail. Read about this innovative building here.
  • Bring some hot chocolate in a thermos and enjoy a post skate treat by the fire in the Family Centre when you are finished.
  • Always check the ice conditions via the City of Edmonton Notifications, located here.

Another option for fun skating is the IceWay Skating trail at Victoria Park or take a little road trip and check out the skating at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park.

Skating on Miquelon Lake

Where do you like to skate in the Edmonton area?

Every Day Girl

Boost Your Immunity Naturally

The cold weather and the snow are here to stay. Boost your immunity with my favourite natural products!

Before I get to my go- to products let’s talk about a few ways you can boost your immunity without needing to purchase anything.


  1. Get rest. Our bodies require a little more rest in the cold and dark evenings of the late fall/winter months. When you body gets enough rest it can work on the bacteria/virus that’s attacking your system better.
  2. Exercise. Move throughout your day, without overdoing it. According to Medline Plus exercise can help flush out bacteria from the lungs and airways.
  3. Eat Well. This one seems obvious of course, but try to eat balanced meals with nutrients to keep your body running at optimal.

Still feel an itchy throat coming on? Try our my favourite natural immune boosters.

Natural Immunity Boosters

Immune Boosters

  1. A probiotic. These are full of good gut bacteria. Studies are starting to show that a lot of our immunity is in our gut flora and if it’s not running at top notch, it compromises our immune systems. I actually tend to switch my brands often on this one. I like switching up the brands and the potency. I recommend getting one from your health food store that needs to be stored in the fridge. The shelf ones don’t work as well. *My opinion*. These refrigerated ones can cost between $40-$70.
  2. Feel Good Syrup. Locally made in Alberta, this elderberry syrup is a great immune booster. And tastes really good too. 1 tbsp 3/4 times a week to maintain immunity and I use it daily when I feel a little run down to get that extra boost. One bottle is about $20.
  3. Traditional Medicinals Teas. I like the sampler pack myself but you can buy just the one for sore throats or colds etc. Cost per box is about $9-$16.
  4. St. Francis Deep Immunity. A very powerful immune boosting product, recommended to me by my Naturopathic Doctor last year when I was in a series of being sick after sick for four straight months. I was better within days!


Last week one of the Alberta Mamas had the flu and two days later I got the same flu. I took all of these four and I never ended up with the fever, extreme chills or any vomiting! Of course everyone reacts differently and make sure to check with your health are provider to see if these may interact with anything you are taking.


Take care and be well!

The Bitchin' Housewife

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

Winter Charity Drive in YEG

As our very short Autumn will turn to Winter the days and nights are getting cooler. As most of us sit by the fireplace or snuggle under the covers there are so many Edmontonians are left out on the streets with nowhere to call home. Shelters simply cannot keep up with the number of people needing a meal or a place to stay. Many individuals spend their days, on our downtown streets in the cold with just the clothes on their backs. Most not dressed for the cold weather, they are at the mercy of Mother Nature.

What can we do? I am blessed to be part of a conscious interfaith women’s group; Salam-Shalom. We are a diverse group of Muslim and Jewish women that come together with allies to build bridges, strengthen relationships and do well in our community.

Last year, we had the idea of doing a Winter Charity Drive. We called upon our friends and family to make donations of winter items such as toques, gloves, scarves, and socks so we could attempt to help some of the many homeless Edmontonians. We also collected gift cards for Tim Hortons and McDonald’s so that these individuals could go into one of these restaurants, escape the cold and get a warm drink or a meal. Too often individuals trying to escape the cold will be kicked out of restaurants because they have not purchased anything. This idea of giving them a gift card fixes that.

This year we are back at it again! We are very excited to be collecting more items for this winter. Also, we are starting early, so that everyone will have what they need for the winter months. We are calling on all community members to open their hearts (and pockets) to help us collect enough winter items to dress as many people as we can on the streets.

Items we are collecting:

  1. Toques
  2. Gloves/Mittens
  3. Scarves
  4. Socks
  5. $5 gift cards for Tim Hortons and McDonald’s.
  6. Monetary donations

If you would like to donate, please feel free to contact me:

Mona Ismaeil – 780-668-0082  or

Mona Ismaeil is an Elementary teacher by profession but has been a stay at home mom for 4 years. She is a momprenuer, modesty fashion blogger and a world traveller at heart. Living in Edmonton, she keeps busy with her 2 kids, community involvement and just enjoying all Edmonton has to offer.