5 Easy at Home Workouts

easy at home workoutsIf one of your New Year’s resolutions is getting in better shape but the time and expense of a gym just doesn’t appeal to you – I have the solution for you with these 5 Easy at Home Workouts.

I get it, you’re a busy mom/ parent on the go. There are days when you are just happy you’ve had time for a shower and something to eat, let alone a little exercise. It’s also winter – and I don’t know about where you live, but right now it’s freezing and snowy outside! So though I love being outdoors and enjoying winter when I can – the reality is we tend to hibernate in winter. We don’t get out as much, and we tend to be less active in general.

easy at home workoutsFor me, I love things that I can do at home. Because though I do go to a gym and enjoy it, I also love the option of being able to get a workout in without having to go anywhere. Cause honestly sometimes you just don’t have the time to pack your bag, get in the car, drive to the gym… you get the idea. But you do have 10-15 minutes.

And truly 10-15 minutes can do wonders for your overall health, well being and exercise plan. You do not need a lot of fancy equipment to get the blood moving and the heart pumping or to notice the results of your efforts. Plus it’s easy, and I don’t know about you but I love easy. If it’s easy it makes it more of a reality that it is going to happen.

I also like variety. I don’t always want to do the same thing everyday so I like to have options to choose from when I want to switch it up. These 5 Easy at Home Workouts offer a variety of options that are more than just weights and constant repetitions. They are short and great for getting up and moving. They are also easy to do with or involve the kids if you want to. It can even be contagious! My daughter does my 5 minute yoga routine with me most mornings and now does her own periodically throughout the day!

5 Easy at Home Workouts

Easy 10 Minute Workout – Simply using your body and a chair, this workout routine provides 8 strength training exercises to strengthen and tone.

easy at home workouts

Mini Trampoline Workout – Move to your favorite tunes with this low impact workout. I love this idea as you just cue up enough music for the length of time you want – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. and then you jump and move and play. That’s it! Easy. Yes you need a mini trampoline but they are inexpensive. They are also portable and fit just about anywhere.

easy at home workouts

Fun Hoola Hoop Exercise Routine – I think this my favorite one. Even though I am terrible at using one, the laughter and joy from doing this would be beneficial in itself. Besides they say practice makes perfect and if no one is watching you (another benefit of doing it at home) then there’s no need to be self conscious. Give it your all!

easy at home workouts

 

5 Minute Yoga Routine – This has become my cornerstone in my daily routine. I do it each morning and I love it because it is only 5 minutes. It’s easy, it gets me moving and if on the odd occassion I don’t do it first thing like usual, I can easily fit it into my day somewhere else. Because it’s only 5 minutes! Don’t worry if you haven’t done yoga before. Krista takes you through all the moves in the video.

easy at home workouts

 

Easy at-home Exercises – 10 minutes, your body and a couple of soup cans. Voila! Easiest at home workout ever.

easy at home workouts

So before you decide to throw out the idea of getting more exercise this year pick one of these workouts and give it a try. If one doesn’t appeal to you try a different one. It’s only a few minutes, it’s easy and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Regardless of which one you choose, and you could even do a combination, you’ll easily reap the benefits of regular exercise in the comfort of your own home. Tone, strengthen and relieve stress.

Plus there’s no financial investment. You don’t even need workout gear, you could simply do them in your pyjamas (seriously I do it – who’s watching). The biggest thing is to be consistent, even if you only do it once a week but do it consistently it’ll make a difference. So go for it! Make exercise easy and have fun with it. I’m off to play with my hula hoop…

Spring Rally in the Alley

Spring Rally in the AlleyI always love a trip to Heritage Park and this weekend was no exception. I was excited to check out Spring Rally in the Alley an event that I discovered while researching free activities for March Break. It sounded so cool and I couldn’t wait to take the kids and find out what it was all about.

Spring Rally in the Alley runs from March 18-28 and has a variety of activities for kids 3-12. The thing that I love about this is the activities are not just a random bunch of activities they have a theme that connects them! Yes I said I theme and I love a good theme. The Rally is set up around the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race, which is a real international motorcycle race that happens annually in May or June around the Isle of Man. Apparently, it is a super popular race that lasts two weeks and people who want to participate have to register 3 years in advance!

Spring Rally in the AlleyThis made the Spring Rally in the Alley even more exciting. When you enter, you receive a Milestone Challenge list, which is a passport with all the activities listed on it. You complete the activities in random order and once completed you receive a different colored stamp. Once you complete all the activities or challenges and get your stamps, you come back to the front to receive a ballot to be entered for the Isle of Man prize basket.

Now I am a person who loves going from station to station and collecting my stamps. And what a great way to engage the kids because they wanted all the stamps too! It encourages you to go to every activity and at least check it out. And for me personally, it made me do the “Find the Ride” Scavenger Hunt where you had to answer trivia questions, which I wasn’t really in the mood to do, but I wanted that stamp!

Spring Rally in the AlleyI thought the activities were very well put together, with something of interest for everyone (even my 12 year old enjoyed the remote control cars, selfie and scavenger hunt). There were crafts, where you made your own Rider’s Wristband, Practice Run, where you get to drive a remote control car, and my favorite the Cycle Selfie, where you can dress up in leathers and sit on a 1975 Ducati 860GT for a photo!

Spring Rally in the AlleyChloe loved Racing Down the Isle, where you race a tricycle and learn a little trivia about the actual Isle of Man race. Even after she finished her trivia she kept riding around and around on her trike. We went back to the remote control cars twice as well as the Hill Climb, where you try and get your motorcycle up the hill and just on the edge, before it falls over the cliff.

The bonus to all this? Is Reflections in Chrome – A Motorcycle Retrospective, a temporary exhibit “that sheds a little light and insight on our love affair with these two-wheelers”, is also part of the package. Entrance to Spring Rally in the Alley also gains you entrance to these motorcycles! Featuring 40 bikes from the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group. And wow, I love motorcycles, so it was super cool to see the evolution of this vehicle, as well as all the shiny new ones.

Though regular winter admission rates apply to Gasoline Alley, Spring Rally in the Alley is an event I would highly recommend for the family this weekend. Kids and adults alike will become quickly engaged and excited about what this event has to offer. And even if you don’t make it out this weekend, Reflections in Chrome goes until April 24th and is definitely worth the visit! (Where you can still have your photo op on the Ducati- because seriously that is super fun)Spring Rally in the Alley

Break Free – Free March Break Activities for Kids in Calgary

free march break activitiesI always look forward to the March Break with my kids. It is a time of no alarms, no deadlines, and no rushing to be anywhere. It is a nice break from the regular routine, providing some opportunity for time around home as well as doing some fun activities.

For me, the March Break should be just that, a break. Not a week of jam packed activities that are supposed to be ‘fun’ that leave everyone more tired than when we began. I like to balance out the week and do a couple of unique activities we wouldn’t normally do with the rest of the week, more going with the flow and doing what we feel like.

Living in Calgary, there is no shortage of activities and places to go for kids. We have the zoo, the science center and a multitude of museums, which are all fantastic places to go, but I was on the hunt for places and activities that we could do for free. Because I also believe that March Break should not also leave you broke at the end of it.

I had to hunt a little bit, doing a little research and piece some things together but I finally compiled a list of 10 free march break activities in Calgary. And I have to say some of them are quite unique (and I did not know existed).

10 Free March Break Activities in Calgary

Chapters/ Indigo

Chapters and Indigo stores are offering free spring break activities for kids ages 3-12 years old. From March 21-25 each day has a different theme to explore such as Lego and Superheros. Call your local Chapters/ Indigo store early to reserve your spot as space is limited.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

free march break activitiesThe Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center is 36 hectares of nature trails and home to 270 species of birds. It is a beautiful place to take the kids, explore the trails, spot birds of all kinds, and visit the nature center; complete with interpretive exhibits and information about local wildlife. Open Tues-Fri from 10 am – 4 pm.

Devonian Gardens

The Devonian Gardens is a large indoor park and botanical garden located in the downtown core of Calgary. This 1 hectare area contains 550 species of tropical palm trees along meandering walkways, children’s playground, water fountains, ponds teeming with fish and a “living wall.” Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, or sit on one of the many benches while watching the children play at the park.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a unique way to explore the city. Grab your phone and download the app at geocaching.com and go on your own treasure hunt. Using GPS, find other people’s caches hidden around the city. Bring a pocket of trinkets as when you find the cache you are to leave a token behind. Great places to try geocaching are 12 Mile Coulee, Noseworthy Park, and Fish Creek Park to name a few, but you may find some much closer to your home as well.free march break activities

Disc Golf

Disc golf, also known as frisbee golf, is a flying disc game where the aim is to get the frisbee into the wire basket in as few throws as possible. An outdoor activity, disc golf courses are available in several City of Calgary Parks (click here for list of parks).

Calgary Parks

There are lots of beautiful parks here in our city, such as Bowness, South Glenmore, Edworthy and Prairie Winds. All offer their unique history and flora to enjoy. Pack a picnic, go exploring or just stop at one of the many playgrounds.

ROAR Playpark

free march break activitiesLocated on the lower level of South Center mall, next to SportChek, is the ROAR Playpark. This free, unsupervised play space was created in partnership with the Calgary Zoo and has a zoo theme with lots of interactive components. There is a crawl-through tunnel, slide and climb-on creatures, iPad game stations, beautiful wall murals, and interactive educational sliding panels. This is a great spot to take the kids for imaginative play and a well deserved break for you, while you watch them unwind.

Chinese Cultural Center

Learn about the history of the Chinese community in Calgary as well as tour the Chinese Artifacts Museum. Entrance to the cultural center is free but for the museum and special events there is a small fee.

Calgary Public Library

The Calgary Public Library is always a great place to go with the kids. Not only do they have a plethora of books that kids can spend hours with, they also offer various programs, activities as well as free play areas. The Fish Creek Library boasts a giant chess game, as well as an interactive play area for kids on the upper level.

+15 Art Circuit

The +15 Art Circuit, presented by the City of Calgary Public Art Program, introduces you to 14 interesting pieces from the Civic Art Collection. Easily accessible through the +15 system, this free, self-guided tour is primarily indoors with just a few quick trips outside. You can download the free pdf guide to complete the circuit including map and descriptions of the pieces. This Art Circuit is one of the activities I was most excited to discover and can’t wait to do the tour. How unique!

I was very pleased with the number of free march break activities in Calgary. With a nice mix of indoor and outdoor, arts and active to choose from there certainly is something that everyone can enjoy. I can’t wait to explore a couple of these this week! (though I would love to do them all, it’s a break remember?) Which ones are you going to check out?

Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

valentine's day crafts

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to get creative with kids. There are endless crafts ideas with very little materials or preparation needed. Kids will love these easy, simple Valentine’s Day crafts from hearts to cupid!

All you need are things that are red, pink and white, some hearts and a little imagination! Children of all ages can make these easy crafts. Of course, parent supervision is recommended when doing any crafts, besides it is a great opportunity for you to be creative and use your imagination too. My two favorites are the Valentine Person (I love any craft with accordion folding arms and legs) and the Cardboard Tube Cupid (I just think he is super cute!)

Depending on the age of the children you may want to do some prep in advance, pre-cutting shapes or strips depending on the craft you are making. During the craft you may have to assist gluing and folding depending on the ability of the child; but some 3 years olds do very well with these activities with little or no help. The key is to let the child do as much as they can themselves not only because it is their craft but to help them learn certain skills and achieve success. This will also instill a sense of pride in their finished Valentine’s Day craft.

Valentine Heart Wreath

This very pretty, easy craft can be done with children of all ages. Younger children may need assistance with cutting.

What is needed:Valentine's Day crafts

  • different colors of construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • markers/pencil crayons
  • cereal box

Trace a circle, about the size of a dinner plate onto the cardboard from the cereal box and cut it out. Trace a smaller circle about the size of a small plate inside the first circle and cut out the middle. Cut hearts that are approximately the same size out of construction paper, using a variety of colors. Note: smaller hearts will take longer to cover the wreath than larger ones.

Write different valentine words on each of the hearts like love, hugs, kisses, best friend, etc. Then glue the hearts around the cardboard ring until the circle has been covered.

Valentine Person

This is great for children 3 years and up. Younger children may need assistance with cutting out hearts, or have the hearts ready for them. Very easy craft that is lots of fun. Kids love the accordion arms!

What is needed:Valentine's Day crafts

  • red and pink construction paper
  • white paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • markers

Cut one large heart out of red construction paper, this will be the body. Then cut 4 medium sized hearts out of pink for the hands and feet. Cut one small pink heart for the person’s nose. Put pink hearts aside.

Cut 4 long strips of white paper, these will make the arms and legs. “Accordion fold” the strips then glue them onto the red heart, one on each side for arms and 2 on the bottom (where the point is) for legs. Glue on one pink heart at the end of each strip for the hands and feet.

Glue small pink heart in middle of red heart for the nose. For the eyes children can cut out 2 more hearts and glue them on; they can glue on google eyes; or they can draw eyes on using markers. Similar options can be used for the mouth of either cutting out small hearts or gluing them on to form the mouth or draw it on.

Valentine Photo Frame

Great for kids 4 and up. Younger children may use only 1 or 2 colors if desired. Recommended that parent use the acrylic sealer when younger children are doing this craft.

What is needed:

  • small wooden unpainted photo frame
  • acrylic paint
  • paint brushes
  • craft jewels, buttons or stickers
  • acrylic sealer
  • white glue

Paint frame in 4 different colors, a different color on each side. Allow the paint to dry, then spray the frame with the acrylic sealer and allow to dry.

Once the sealer is dry select whatever decorations desired and glue them onto the frame. Some craft jewels may not require gluing as they have a self adhesive backing that can be peeled off and stuck onto the frame.

Add a picture of the child in the frame once dry and there is a wonderful gift for Mum, Dad, or that someone special.

Cardboard Tube Cupid

This craft is best done with children 7 years and up. It has many steps but is easy to do and very cute!

What is needed:Valentine's Day crafts

  • cardboard tube (toilet paper roll is perfect)
  • acrylic paint – peach, pink, white, black
  • paint brush
  • 1″ strip white construction paper
  • 1 gold (pipe cleaner) chenille stem
  • 1 red chenille stem
  • 1 silver chenille stem
  • 2 cotton balls
  • small piece peach felt
  • pencil
  • white glue
  • scissors

Paint cardboard tube with peach paint; let dry. Bend 2/3 of gold chenille stem into a letter “D”. Twist ends to secure and cut remaining long piece of chenille off. Remaining piece will be used to make arrow.

Bend end of red chenille into a small triangle; this will be the point of the arrow. Twist ends and trim long end off. Take remaining red chenille and bend into a red heart; this will be the back end of the arrow. Twist to secure and trim off excess. Take the remaining piece of gold chenille, twist one end onto the arrowhead and one end onto heart. Lay the bow on the table and glue the arrow across the front of it.

Cut the silver chenille stem in half to make wings. Bend both halves into tear drop shapes and twist ends to secure.

About an inch up from bottom of cardboard tube, apply some glue. Glue the 1″ wide strip of white construction paper around the tube and trim any extra. This is cupid’s diaper.

Stand the tube on end, diaper toward the bottom. Poke a hole on each side of tube with a pencil for the wings. Insert twisted ends of silver chenille wings into the holes.

Unroll the two cotton balls. Place some glue on the ends of both and attach to top of cardboard tube for hair.

Lay tube down on its side, wings sticking out to the left and right. Glue bow and arrow to the front of tube. Allow to dry completely. Cut two small circles from flesh-colored felt and glue to the front of the bow as the hands. In place of the felt, paint a piece of white paper peach and then cut out hands.

For cupid’s face, use a cotton swab or a roughed up paintbrush to dab some pink paint on for cheeks. Use the handle end of a paintbrush to dot on two white eyes. Let dry. When white is dry, dot on black. Two google eyes may be used instead of painting on eyes.

Valentine’s Day Crafts for All Ages

Valentine’s Day crafts are fun and enjoyable. One will find that there are many ideas and levels of crafts available, from very easy to a little more involved. Kids of all ages enjoy working with their hands and getting creative. Valentine’s is a great way to teach them about love and giving in a fun, interactive and creative way!

For more ideas on Valentine’s Day crafts check out Kaboose and Enchanted Learning.

Winter Inside and Out

IMG_6907Often in winter it’s challenging to get active. Our bodies slow down, we just want to cozy up on the couch and watch movies. It can be a challenge in the cooler weather to not only get outside but to find fun and engaging winter activities. Both you and the kids start to experience cabin fever as you’ve done all the regular activities inside and out. Not only is everyone bouncing off the walls but you need some fresh ideas to enjoy the winter season. With Calgary winters often being long and chilly it is time to get creative!

For me I like to google it and see what’s out there for indoor and outdoor activities in the winter. Not only does it get my own creative juices flowing and I create activities of my own, I find some really cool ideas. These are just a few of winter activity ideas I recently found, but these are my favorites! So whether you’re inside or out, here are some unique indoor and outdoor activities for winter that will not only keep the kids occupied, but engage their imagination as well.

Outside

You’ve gone skiing, skating, tobogganing, and built many snowmen. There’s even a giant snowfort in your front yard that if it gets any bigger you will not be able to get to the front door. These outdoor activities will expand kids fun time outside and will definitely expand their horizons and create something new.

1-     A winter picnic. Pack sandwiches, cookies, and thermos of hot chocolate. Take a blanket and enjoy a picnic in our winter wonderland.

ice castles2-    Ice castles. Fill a variety of ice cream and yogurt containers with water; let them freeze overnight. Once they are frozen, take them out of the containers and build your castle. For a splash of color, put food coloring into the water before freezing.

3-    A scavenger hunt. Make a list of winter items, get the kids to help you with this beforehand, then go out and see how many you can find. A short list of 10 items is great, and learning about what there is in nature in winter.

4-    Snow mini-golf. Set up a mini golf course in your backyard using a variety of items from the house. Tramp down the snow to make paths, uneven surfaces and use things like hoola hoops, plastic rings, and balls to set up a course. Grab a putter and you’re ready to go.

animal track5-    Look for animal tracks. Winter is one of the best times to find tracks as the snow makes it easier to spot them. Go for a walk and bring a guide book to help the kids figure out what the track is (find one at the local library, find one online or purchase one like Animal Tracks of Alberta
on Amazon). As an option, bring your camera to take pictures of the tracks, so you can look at and identify them at home.

 

Inside

There are many indoor venues to go to in the winter to keep busy; the swimming pool, library, and local museum. At home it can be a bit more challenging, and after baking the 12th batch of cookies, and having multiple friends over, you need a little variety.

1-    Build a fort. Use couch cushions, blankets and cardboard boxes. Let the kids be creative as they build, let them knock it down a few times – and rebuild. Once completed they can enjoy playing in it. (Ensure it is safe and under adult supervision).

2-    Create a play. Have the kids write their own play, assign parts and do a performance. Kids can create the stage, costumes, props and present to friends and family.

IMG_69113-    Make an indoor snowman. This works great with a big group of kids; split them into 2 teams, give each team a roll of toilet paper. One team member is the model and the others wrap the model in tp to turn them into a snowman. Use construction paper to make the nose, eyes and other features.

4-    A puppet show. If you have puppets grab them, otherwise the kids can make their own. They can also make their own puppet theater and present to friends and family.

5-    Play hide and seek. Who says this is just an outdoor game? Set clear guidelines and boundaries about where to hide and let the game begin.

Do you have any great indoor or outdoor winter activities? Share your favorites below!