World Mental Health Day is this weekend and as parents with children who have a mental health illness will know, finding adequate treatment is virtually impossible.
Growing up in a small town outside of Edmonton there was always one field trip we looked forward to the most – Fort Edmonton Park.
It was always in June close to the end of the school year when we packed into school buses with our pockets full of change to spend at the candy store. I still can’t walk into the park without thinking about those raspberry and lemon hard candies that came in the little brown paper bag. Even though the candy store was definitely the highlight when I was 10, I still credit Fort Edmonton Park and the way their incredible interpreters brought Canadian history to life for my love of the past.
Last week we were invited to Metis Crossing which is Alberta’s first major Metis Cultural Interpretive destination. Located about 1.5 hours North East of Edmonton by the Town of Smoky Lake, it is an easy day trip through some beautiful country.
With Covid cases rising we are on the lookout for more things to do with the kids that create a sense of “normal” for them without risking being exposed. We were reassured by the Metis Crossing staff that protocols have been put into place to still get the experience you want with the safety you need. Plus, with all of this online learning from home, the trip is kind of like a field trip!
Updated July 2020
There is almost nothing better than a road trip, with the exception of going on a road trip and making a pit stop to see that world’s largest honeybee or a real-life UFO landing pad.
In honour of all things weird, here’s our ultimate list of all things roadside in Alberta.
Planing a trip to see the “Worlds Largest” in N.E. Alberta, see our tip and our trip here.
Spring in Alberta means lilacs. Those fragrant little flowers start popping out in June and it seems like everywhere you walk you can smell them. Unfortunately the season is way too short. That is why we want to help you preserve the smell of Spring with this beautiful, easy recipe for Lilac Sugar.
Lilac Sugar can be used to replace regular sugar in cookies, biscuits, scones, tea, cocktails, salad dressing, marinades and more. Wherever a hint of floral, fragrance could be used to elevate your dish! The taste is not over powering but if you want just a bit you can always mix in half lilac and half regular sugar.
This will keep in the pantry for months so make a big batch (the recipe below is easily doubled, tripled or quadrupled depending on how many lilacs you can find!) and enjoy the smell of fresh, beautiful lilacs until they come back next year.
Lilac Sugar Recipe
1/4 cup Lilacs
3/4 cups Sugar
Step 1 – Pick the flowers you want to sugar. When you are using flowers for baking and cooking make sure you collect the flowers from an area you are familiar with so you know if they have been sprayed with any chemicals or toxins.
Step 2 – Pick off the flower parts from the stem trying to remove as much green stem as possible. If a little gets into the sugar it is OK but for looks you basically want just the flower. They are very easy to pull off with your fingers. Avoid using scissors as it will bruise the petals releasing the fragrance before you want to. If you can do this step outside it is best as tiny bugs and twigs will come out.
Step 3 – Rinse and wash the flowers to remove any other unwanted bugs, leaves, or twigs. Shake the flowers under a gentle stream of water to keep the flowers intact.
Step 4 – Spread the flowers evenly on a tea towel to dry for at least an hour. You want the flowers to have no excess water on the petals or your sugar will clump.
Step 5 – Once the flowers are dry layer the flowers and the sugar into a mason jar. Don’t worry about even layers as you will be shaking the jar over the next few days. Make sure to leave a few centimetres of room at the top of the jar to allow for movement when shaking.
Step 6 – Shake the contents of the jar every day for a week. I usually put the jar by the coffee maker to remind me to shake it every morning. As you go about your day if you walk past the jar give it a little shake too. The more you shake the more the flavours and fragrances come out. This is a great job for kids!
Step 7 – Once a week passes the sugar is ready! You can sift the sugar to remove the flowers and leave just the flavoured sugar or leave them in. They are edible and make a beautiful addition when you use the sugar.
There has been a lot of talk about supporting local as we deal with Covid-19. Local restaurants, food suppliers, and local stores.
One area that hasn’t been talked about as much is supporting local authors. Yes, we can all support local bookshops easily now but what about the local authors that write the books?
It’s a weird time. Days are blending together, time doesn’t matter, putting on real pants has gone by the wayside, and for most kids the severity of the situation has probably sunk in. They are missing friends and family, their activities, and the freedom to play in the park. Parents are struggling with working from home, layoffs, teaching their children, and more.
This isn’t easy.
So we wanted to write to the Easter Bunny and let him know that it’s OK to chill a bit this year.
My kids are 8 & 11 and are in Grade 3 & 6. Just like us sometimes they need a break. So I let them stay home from school even when they’re not sick.
We don’t over schedule (as much as we can with two active kids) but sometimes life piles up. Big family changes, busy weekends, changes in school, and growth spurts sometimes all pile up in one messy ball of emotion and they get to a point where they just cannot function.
So they get to stay home. No questions asked.
I will say that this does not happen often. We trust them to make a judgement call when they need it and this power has yet to be abused. So far in this school year the youngest has taken one day and the oldest has taken two. They are rarely sick (knock on wood) and although we travel occasionally they don’t often have to miss a ton of school.
I can usually tell as soon as they wake up that they are going to use the “free pass” that day. Sometimes they will wake up, start playing into it and talking about staying home but 99% of the time they perk up, eat their breakfast and continue on with their day. But the other 1%? They tell me they just need a day.
A day to stay in bed. Read. Build Lego while listening to their podcasts. Watch their favourite cartoons. Cuddle.
I know the privilege I have to be able to work from home and adjust to their needs. I am grateful I have kids who do not take advantage of this. I get that this will not work for every family.
But for us this works. And as they grow up and become adults I hope that they learn that it’s OK to take a day to recharge.
Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter
We got married young. Really young. Like so young that now when I see people that are 21 I can’t believe that I was already married and expecting our first child young. Neither of us brought a lot of stuff coming into the marriage. We both lived on our own for a bit but when you’re a poor student you don’t exactly have the nicest things.
So when we got engaged I was REALLY excited about the registry part. I know I know I should have been thinking about marrying the love of my life blah bah blah. But what I really was excited for was two things: