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Unpopular Opinion – I Let My Kids Stay Home From School When They’re Not Sick

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.



Box Social Event Planning

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





What To Look For When Choosing Activities for Your Child

Choosing activities for your children can not only be overwhelming but frustrating as well. There are SO many options out there now. And when your child is young it is impossible to tell what they’re interested in besides listening to Baby Shark on repeat and asking to watch Paw Patrol for the 10000000000000th time.

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Free Litter Pick Up Kits in Edmonton & Calgary

Group walking through the woods with garbage bags for litter clean up.

Now that most of the snow is gone, you have to admit, the amount of garbage around our fine cities is pretty upsetting. BUT, there is a way to help keep Alberta beautiful and our cities are trying to make it as easy as possible with free litter pick up kits!

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The Alberta Wilderness Association Caribou Flag Project

We’re the Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and we’d like to say “thanks!” Specifically, thanks to Alberta Mamas and Bella Maas for making us a part of their July fundraising collaboration.

AWA is one of Alberta’s oldest conservation organizations, founded in 1965 around a kitchen table in Pincher Creek. Since then our goal has been to raise awareness and inspire people to care about the protection of Alberta’s wildlife and wild spaces. In addition to our day-to-day conservation efforts we host talks, offer hikes, and hold fundraising events like the Climb for Wilderness and Wild West Saloon.

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Family Friendly New Years Eve Events Around Alberta

Happy New Year!

The new year fun doesn’t have to stop once you have kids, it just looks…. different… and happens a lot earlier than midnight (thank goodness).

Hit up some of these mostly FREE family-friendly New Years Eve events across Alberta this New Years and then head home to the warmth of your couch to bring the New Years in with your jammies on and a glass of champagne in hand 🙂 Read more

The Most Haunted Places in Alberta


It’s Halloween and there’s no better time to frighten the snot out of yourself, so here’s our list of the Most Haunted Places in Alberta to lose your lunch,  soil your pants and have nightmares forever.

In no particular order, prepared to be paranoid…

La Bohème Restaurant Bed and Breakfast, Edmonton.

The wife of a previous owner was murdered in a room on the top floor, dragged to the basement, dismembered and fed into the furnace of this quaint building in Edmonton. The sounds of her body being dragged down the stairs have been heard by employees as well as strange flickering lights and bedsheets have been tugged off beds in the middle of the night.

Banff Springs Hotel, Banff

Image: Fordito

There are three supposed ghosts at the Banff Springs hotel; the bride, the bellman and the family thar was killed in room 873.

The ghost bride is the oldest story at the Banff Springs Hotel spanning to the 1920’s. There are numerous versions of how the unlucky bride died, but it all seemed to happen on the stairs (did she trip on the the hem of her wedding dress or manage to catch her dress on fire by walking by a candle?).  Then there’s Sam Macauley, a bellman at the Banff Springs who despite passing away in the ’70’s still hangs around the 9th floor helping visitors. The most gruesome  ghost story at the hotel is from room 873 which has been permanently closed off.  The story tells of a man who killed his wife and young daughter before killing himself in this room. Guests that stayed in the room (prior to it being closed)  have reported being awakened by screaming and when they turned the lights on there were bloody handprints on the mirror.

Bowman Arts Centre, Lethbridge.

The story goes that a young Chinese girl wearing traditional clothing was mistaken for a boy and beaten for being in the ladies washroom. This young girl can still be heard crying out from the women’s restroom. Visitors and staff have gone in to try to help the crying girl, no one has ever found her.

Calling Lake School, Calling Lake.

Calling Lake School has been rumored to be built on an aboriginal resting place, and those that are trying to rest, can find no peace (we get it…kids), and many people have noted seeing shadowy apparitions, heard footsteps when no one was there and that eery feeling of being watched.

The Deane House, Calgary


The Deane House has the auspicious title of most haunted place in Calgary. Phones that aren’t connected will ring followed by the smell of cigar smoke, and just to scare you a little more, there’s the blood stain in the attic that changes sizes and colours outside a closet that won’t close.  The Deane House is now a restaurant in Calgary and the food looks amazing. Just don’t go into the attic.

There are many more haunted places in Alberta that are haunted! Where in your town is haunted? Would you go in? I wouldn’t, in fact, I scared the beejeebus out of myself just writing this, so I’ll stick to trick and treating with the kids instead of creeping myself out this Halloween.


Kindergarten- Starting school and a journey!

By Chantal Aird

As the school year comes to an end, I look back at my daughter’s first year of school and cannot believe how much she has grown and advanced in her kindergarten skills. The same could be said of me too.

I have to admit, I felt a bit clueless about what to expect as my eldest started the school year.
As parents, we are not given manuals on how to raise our children. We are given support, forums , and advice from other parents. We are instructed on how to achieve the academic milestones and we practice with our children to prepare them in these skills; however, I was unsure on how to socially equip her. I questioned myself on whether she would make friends, would she listen to the teacher, would she ask for help, and how would she respond to not being around me all day?

In the week leading up to her first day of school, we also had to experience our first lesson on being rejected and not included when a group of children would not allow her to play tag at the playground. After drying her tears and explaining to her that not everyone will include us, but we should always try and include others, I felt my emotions taking over. I had a good cry that night over the fear she would be rejected at school and I would not be there to protect her. I had to assure myself that I had instilled resilience and adaptability in my child and that she would thrive when faced with challenges.

The first week of school was up and down. She hated it one day, and loved it the next. I found open communication with her and her teacher helped with a steady transition to accepting a school day and enjoying it. Starting school is a huge milestone and I learned that parents need to learn and grow right along with their children. Each school year will bring new challenges, new adventures and new achievements. I have learned that I need to be open to each of my child’s learning abilities. I need to be open to accepting help if my child is struggling at school. I’ve also learned the value of building a relationship with the school and other families attending our school. This does help lay a foundation in ensuring each school year is positive and fulfilling.

Next year, my second daughter starts kindergarten. I know I will have more to learn and will come to understand how I can support her and her sister, but I do feel a bit more prepared and equipped.

Here is a quick list of things I learned that will hopefully put a bit less stress on you as your child begins school in the fall!

Unless told otherwise, only label school supplies that your child will take home. I labelled everything only to find out that the class dumps all of the supplies into bins for the classroom to share! Do label things like headphones, indoor shoes, lunch kit, an Art or Portfolio Book and backpack.

Don’t get caught up in the latest fads for lunch kits, backpacks and water bottles. I found the cutest bento style lunch kit and created a whole Pinterest board on bento lunches only to find out my daughter could not even open up the dang lunch kit! Dollarstore water bottles are actually great-especially if you end up having to replace it!

Your child may not know anyone and still be invited to a Birthday Party- if so, go to the party! We found this a great way to build friendships and introduce ourselves to the families. Try and make a goal to at least have one playdate in the school year with a classmate.
Pack for the season. Pack an extra set of mittens or a hat. I also packed an extra pair of pants in case of an accident.

If you want to volunteer in the classroom, get your criminal record check sooner than later. This way you will have it on hand if needed.

Don’t stress about forgetting a book order or participating in a school fundraiser- trust me, you will have another chance! I think we had around 40 Book Order Forms this year.
Prepare. Try and have a lunch packed, backpack ready and clothes picked out the night before school. This helped alleviate the stress in the morning. I also found that if I involved my daughter in packing the lunch and choosing her clothes we had less resistance in eating her lunch and getting ready.

Above all- enjoy the moment! The year goes quickly and the journey will be amazing!

About Chantal: I am an Albertan mom of three girls and I love exploring local cities and hidden gems in our unique province!  I am a local stop for events, activities, tips and resources on creating fun family memories within road trip distance. I am always on the lookout for the next fun family outing but also want to create a forum for parents to share, support and learn from one another. Website: 3chicks1henFacebook: 3chicks1hen, Twitter @3chicks1hen

U-Pick Farms In Alberta

Fresh fruits and veggies right out of the garden – what could be better? Making it a family affair and handpicking the ones you want of course! Here’s a list of U-Picks around the province.

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