Winter Adventures – Snow Activities for Kids

Blog custom Snow Activities for Kids

Winter is one of those seasons that you tend to either love or hate. The cold, the snow, the blustery wind and ice. Yet there is a beauty in winter that is unrefined, undiscovered and definitely under appreciated.

Think about how the kids light up with delight when they see those first snowflakes falling from the sky, excited to get home and play in it, even if it is just the tiniest fluff. They’re not thinking about how they have to shovel it or how the roads are going to be. My kids often can’t wait to build a snowman or make a snow angel, and sometimes I have to tell them there just isn’t enough snow. But they go out anyway and try it or create something else.

I believe the key to appreciating winter is going out and doing fun activities that you enjoy, as well as knowing how to dress and how long to stay depending on the temperature. Because you don’t want to get frost bite or hypothermia no matter how much fun you’re having!snow activities for kids

Also exploring winter in different ways allows you to appreciate the unique things that the season offers, as well as providing some knowledge and understanding. Winter is a really beautiful season full of wonder. Think about the sunshine sparkling off the new fallen snow, glimmering in the the sunlight. The beauty and intricacy of a snowflake and how no two are ever alike.

It’s important to teach our children about the season and how to get out and enjoy it. Because let’s be honest, winter is not going to go away. It will always be here and unless you move – it’s happening. And with the growing rates of inactivity in children, it’s even more important to get them active and outside.

8 Fun Snow Activities for Kids

Use these snow activities to teach children about the beauty of winter and how to appreciate it. Children are naturally creative so these snow activities capitalize on their imaginations while using materials that are common in winter. It also helps them learn and question about what’s happening in the season.

Snow Painting 

snow activities for kidsA very simple but creative activity for children is painting or coloring in the snow. I did this with my preschool class at Trico and they were very engaged in it. We only had about 20 minutes that day but we could have easily doubled that time and kept them interested.

Mix a few drops of food coloring and water in a spray bottle and mix together. Pick a spot of undisturbed snow and spray the color on the snow. Sometimes we use plastic cookie cutters as a pattern and create a design. Do this by placing the cookie cutter on top of the snow and then have the child spray their color inside the cookie cutter. Gently lift the cookie cutter off the snow and voila! a perfect shape. You can also buy snow markers which comes with a colored powder that you add water to and mix in the marker bottle. This is a great idea but it is a one use for the mixture. The great thing about them is you have the marker container after the mixture is gone, which you can reuse again and again. Just add your own food coloring and water mixture.

Ice Castles

snow activities for kidsThis is one of my favorite snow activities for kids. It is like building a sand castle but you’re using ice instead! You have to plan ahead slightly to have your ice pieces ready but it is super fun, especially when you have beautiful colored blocks.

In a number of different sized containers, fill them with water and put in the freezer to freeze. If desired add food coloring to your water before freezing – this makes beautiful colored ice to use. Freeze a variety of shapes and colors – from ice cube trays to small yogurt containers.

Once frozen pop the ice out of the containers and let the children start building. They can create towers, cities or different kinds of sculptures. Encourage them to use the snow to help the ice stick together when needed.

Blow Bubbles

snow activities for kidsHave you ever blown bubbles outside in the winter? This is a really cool activity as the bubbles actually freeze. When the bubbles freeze you get amazing crystals of ice forming with unique designs (something you would’t see in warmer temperatures). It’s very cool because children can actually watch the bubbles freeze and the crystals form in the bubble. It’s a fascinating experience and one that will be different every time.

Snow Obstacle Course

Set up a small obstacle course in the snow. Pile up snow to make hills to go over or around, add in things like hula hoops for hopping or smaller piles of snow for weaving in and out of. Get the kids to help you create the obstacle course and then try it out!

Go Hunting for Tracks

snow activities for kidsGo exploring and look for animal tracks with the kids. Winter is one of the best times to see tracks as you have a great surface to create imprints. Help the kids identify the tracks and even create some of your own. This is best done in an area that is undisturbed by human traffic but to get started could be done around your neighborhood to discover dog, cat and bunny tracks.

Tic Tac Snow

Create a giant tic tac toe board in the snow. Use natural items like pine cones or twigs for the x’s and o’s. Taking turns one at a time each, each child places their natural item in a square, alternating until the board is full or one of them gets three in a row. The goal is to get a line of three of their natural items to win.

Snoball Throwing Contest

snow activities for kidsDraw a large circle in the snow. Have the children each create a pile of snowballs. Depending on the number in your group and the age of the children will depend on how many snowballs. With 3-5 year olds I would suggest they each make 2 or 3 each. Children 5 and up 3-5 snowballs. Draw a line in front of the circle for them to throw from. Again where you place this line will depend on the ages of the children. Have each child take a turn one at a time, throwing their snowball aiming to get it into and as close to the middle of the circle. Each child throws one snowball and then the next person goes, rotating until all the children have thrown all their snowballs. Whoever is closest to the middle of the circle wins.

Variation: Draw a circle in the snow for each child participating. Make sure the circles are all the same size and the ‘throw line’ is the same distance from each circle. Each child then throws their snowballs into their circle one at a time. This reduces wait time and allows each child to only compete with themselves, which is often more ideal with smaller children as they remain more engaged.

Explore with a Magnifying Glass

snow activities for kidsI find a magnifying glass to be a wonderful thing. It is very cool to see the world up close and even more so to make it a little bigger. Children often discover things they may not have before by just looking at something through a magnifying glass. In winter, let them explore by looking at snow, ice, tracks, and other natural items. Enhance this activity by getting them to look at different forms of ice and noticing the differences or similarities, like icicles or a sheet of ice over water (like a puddle). You can do this with snow (fresh undisturbed snow, compared to compact walked in snow) and other natural winter items.

If you want to take it one more level, get the children to draw what they saw through their magnifying glass on a piece of paper or journal. (Either have clipboards and pencils ready to do it outside or get them to do it once they return inside. If possible best to do it outside in the moment as they can not only see the item but their memory is the freshest).

Enjoying the snow can be more than the traditional snowmen, snow forts, skiing, toboganning, snow tubing, etc. Not that their is anything wrong with those activities but in some cases they are not always accessible. Expanding children’s horizons and understanding of winter in a unique way makes them love and appreciate this beautiful wonderous season. Plus there are minimal materials and equipment needed and are easy to do in your own backyard. These activities are great for adults too! so get out there and enjoy it with them.

snow activities for kids

What is your favorite snow activity and why? Share in the comments below.

Savor Signature Hot Chocolates at the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest

yyc hot chocolate fest

It’s here again! The YYC Hot Chocolate Fest celebrating it’s 6th year serving delectable signature hot chocolates in a friendly competition all over Calgary and supporting Calgary Meals on Wheels.

This is one of my favorite times of year! Savoring, tasting, testing and indulging in various signature hot chocolates, created specifically for this event. Whip cream, marshmallows, chocolate and caramel sauce; with flavors such as Marble Coconut, Maple Bacon and Theatre Hot Chocolate. Each dripping with flavor and chocolatey goodness. Every year I try to get out and try them all but since I only have 28 days to do it, it makes it pretty tough!

This year there are 77 businesses participating, doubling the participants from last year. That would mean that I would have to have about 3 hot chocolates a day for the entire month in order to have them all. I guess as a hot chocolate connoisseur it’s a must!

yyc hot chocolate festI love the creativity and flare in this competition as the businesses create their own signature hot chocolates. Not only with their combination of ingredients but with the names for them as well. Like the Light Cellar’s White Chocolate Matcha Kiss or Blenz Will You Accept This Rose? There are traditional or classic hot chocolates as well as spirited ones that have that little extra kick. And if you’re dairy free not to worry there are a number of businesses (not all sadly) that do offer a dairy free option which means you can also be in hot chocolate heaven. Can you imagine? Where to begin?

The event runs from February 1-28 and people are encouraged to vote and rate each drink they try which is then used to determine the winner for best hot chocolate. Social media feeds such as Twitter and Instagram runneth over with pictures and comments on all these hot chocolates. Not only luring you out to try it yourself but helping to spread the word about the festival. And some of those pictures… yum! I just want to lick the screen.

There are also prizes for those who try the hot chocolates. You grab a passport from any of the participating businesses and when you go to each vendor and have their hot chocolate they cross off their square. Submit a photo of your completed passport and you could win a fabulous prize pack – even if you’ve only had one. I’ve always been one to ‘complete the whole thing’ (it’s like a scavenger hunt) so I am totally into this.

yyc hot chocolate festI also love going around Calgary and discovering some of the local businesses and coffee houses. It is a great way to promote those little tucked away spots that you may not have found otherwise. And you discover some neat tidbits too. I was at Blanco Cantina on the weekend, who offer a lovely spirited hot chocolate, Blanco’s Chocoloca, and discovered that they are the second largest carriers of different tequilas in Canada. In fact, from where I was sitting the whole wall in front of me was lined with many different kinds. I would have never stepped in there otherwise (and this fact was actually very exciting to my friend who loves tequila).

It also takes you to a lot of places in the downtown area, which for me personally is not a place I go to that often, but again encourages people to go and explore your own city a little more.

I think my definite favorite so far is the Saucy S’more Hot Chocolate at Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market, while the Corbeaux at Analog (basil infused Lindt white chocolate) is a very close second. I don’t know if it’s that big dollop of marshmallow meringue, all that expresso chocolate sauce or the yummy graham cracker crumbs… but with this one I was literally in heaven. So good.

Still, there are many more to try and I only have one more weekend left to get out there! On my list is the Guiness Hot Chocolate at the Fairmont Palliser and the Citrus Ginger Orange at Monogram Coffee. It’s doable right? Of course I’d love to try more but I need the festival to be a little longer! Or perhaps they might deliver? then I could just line them up at my house.

So grab the fam this weekend and get out there and try a few hot chocolates, maybe a Parisian or Lavender Love. Take lots of delectable pictures to put on Instagram and vote for the ones you like the best! It’s a great way to discover what’s in your own backyard and support a local charity while indulging in some delicious hot chocolate!

yyc hot chocolate fest

Winter Adventures – Snow Tubing

Blog Winter Adventures Snow Tubing

You could win a Family 4 Pack for Snow Tubing at Calgary’s Acura Snow Tube Park courtesy of WinSport. Enter here

Snow Tubing is a fabulous outdoor winter activity that has taken many ski resorts by storm! This exhilarating concept of cruising down the snow covered hill on an inner tube is not only fun but a great family activity.

A secondary activity to the toboggan, snow tubing originated sometime back in the 1800’s. The concept of cruising down the hill in a tube slowly gained popularity over the years and really took off in the 1990’s when many ski hills decided to offer an alternate outdoor activity for the increased non skiers that were coming to the hill.

snow tubingAnd let me tell you snow tubing is an absolute rush! We had the pleasure of trying snow tubing for the first time at Winsport’s Acura Tube Park here in Calgary. Boasting 9 lanes and Western Canada’s largest tube park, it is quite different than hopping on the toboggan and zooming down the hill. First off, it is safer as the tube park is set up with lanes, so when you go down the hill you have your own wide space to zip through. Plus it is staff supervised and they moderate when people go, making sure the lane is clear before the next person zooms down.

Second, you can save those legs going up and down the hill with your tube each time because you ride the magic carpet to the top. This allows you to stop and enjoy the ride up as well.

snow tubingThird, the lanes are groomed and maintained. So though you may experience some dips and curves they are none of the bumps or bare spots that you might run into on the traditional toboggan hill. Easier on the tailbone and the rest of the body!

The kids were super excited to give it a try. Children have to be at least 42″ to ride by themselves but children 36″ or more can go if they ride with an adult. Chloe was a little trepidatious but totally wanted to go by herself regardless. Luke, as he does, just watched everyone else go first, getting the lay of the land, seeing what to expect, and was quite confident to go on his own once it was his turn.

snow tubingWhen it’s your turn the staff actually give you a push and launch you down the lane. Either giving you a spin or sending you straight – which they ask you what you’d prefer before they do. Being a little cautious myself I asked for straight the first time I went, but honestly you want to spin! (Just remember to wait a minute or so when you get to the bottom cause you might be a little dizzy). It is so much more fun. Spinning and zooming safely down the hill really is exhilarating. I screamed every time and loved it!

You can also go down in groups of up to 4, where each person is in their own tube but you are all holding onto another tube in your group. This can also be lots of fun and another way to share the experience.

snow tubingPasses for the park are quite reasonable, starting at 18.99 for youth and can be purchased in 2, 3 or 4 hour rides. You also have the ability to reload your cards at a reduced rate for future rides!

The only downside is even though the park has 9 lanes it can get quite busy at the top and hard to determine which line for which lane you are in. Since they are newly opened, they are still working out some of the kinks in the running of the park so that it is smooth and efficient. But they are doing a great job! the staff are so fun and friendly and most people are pretty understanding about being patient and waiting their turn.

Snow tubing is a fabulous alternative to tobogganing and I feel a bit safer as it’s more controlled (you also don’t need to bring any equipment). And with the new bylaws here in Calgary only allowing toboganning on 22 designated hills it provides another great option for kids and families. I also love that it’s local! There are other snow tube parks in the mountains outside of Calgary like Norquay, Nakiska and Lake Louise but if you don’t want the addition of the longer drive then this is perfect! So zip down to WinSport and check it out before the season ends.

Want to experience Snow Tubing at the Acura Snow Tube Park for yourself? Enter here to win a Family 4 Pack courtesy of WinSport. Contest closes March 5.

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar

hot chocolate barDecadent hot chocolate, topped with yummy whip cream, drizzled with chocolate…. something you usually only see at your local cafe or coffee shop.

But imagine creating this in your own home, or creating some other tasty combination. Chocolate orange, Lavender White, Peanut butter… oh so yum! This is the beauty of a hot chocolate bar – a simple but yummy idea that enables you to create these wonderful, delicious combinations to enhance your hot chocolate experience.

The basis of a hot chocolate bar is that you make a plain hot chocolate and then have a number of different toppings and combinations to choose from to add to your hot chocolate that make it… oh, just a little more. Good hot chocolate can certainly be enjoyed plain and definitely warms you all the way down to your toes, but these additions make it a little more lavish, make it a little more fun.

hot chocolate barIt is also super easy to set up. It does not take a lot of time or effort, the most effort you’ll have to make is to decide what yummy toppings you are going to use! I did this twice over the holidays, once for a ladies only night at my place and second as a fun treat for my kids and nieces while away over Christmas. Everyone loved it! It was super fun. We all had half cups at a time experimenting with different tastes and flavors. I had created a list of suggested combinations but of course you could pick and choose whatever you liked. Plus just looking at the spread set out was not only nice to look at but made you want to try them all!

We had chocolate pieces, peanut butter, orange zest, hazelnut sticks, homemade marshmallows (mint and cinnamon), cinnamon sticks, coconut and some essentials oils like peppermint and lavender. We even had a little ‘adult’ version – a splash of Frangelico, if desired for those over 18.

How to Set Up Your Own Hot Chocolate Bar

Start out with your own base hot chocolate – you can either do this by the cup therefore creating and meeting people’s dietary needs, like dairy free, sugar free or use the just add water powder mix. Or you can make a big batch of your favorite hot chocolate in the slow cooker. I have done it both ways and both have their advantages.

Pick your toppings – there are so many to choose from!

  • chocolate chunks
  • orange zest
  • peppermint stickshot chocolate bar
  • 1-2 drops of peppermint extract or essential oil (if using essential oil you’ll need to use very little but depends on your brand. Also make sure the oil is ok for taking internally
  • coconut cream (for the dairy free) or whip cream
  • peanut butter – word to the wise if using this topping advise your guests that less is more with this one as too much pb makes it sink to the bottom and essentially gets wasted
  • shredded coconut
  • marshmallows
  • cinnamon sticks
  • hazelnut sticks
  • dash of cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • cayenne
  • lucuma
  • mesquite
  • or….

Add desired toppings and enjoy! Use suggested combinations or mix and match to make your own.

A hot chocolate bar literally takes about 5 minutes to set up. When I hosted the ladies it was the easiest and shortest prep I ever had to do for a party. And I loved how visually appealing it looked before everyone dug in.

hot chocolate barThis is also something you can set up in your home on the counter somewhere and leave for a bit for people to enjoy. Of course you’d have to put some of the items into the fridge when not in use but for the most part many of them can stay out.

The thing I love about the hot chocolate bar is it can easily be sugar free dairy free and be very yummy and enjoyable. When my kids participated out of all the choices I set out there were only 1 or 2 that they had to avoid. The rest was far game. So it was easy for them to try different things, experiment and enjoy the full experience.

I also love the versatility of it. You can create one for parties, after tobogganning, weddings, birthdays, after skating – and because of the variety of toppings there’s something for everyone!

If you love hot chocolate then you’ll be super excited for the upcoming YYC Hot Chocolate Fest which I am proud to be a part of this year! Watch for more details to come!

40 Wintery Date Ideas – That You’ll Want to Plan Right Away

wintery date ideas

It’s date night. It’s wintery, it’s cold and all you want to do is cuddle up on the couch in your pyjama’s instead of heading out with your partner on the same old date for dinner and a movie. You’d like a spark of heat, forget any spark of romance.

Wintery dates can be challenging as we are naturally more sedentary during this season. Days are shorter, it’s darker sooner, and we don’t have the same levels of energy as the summer time. But it’s important to keep that connection with your partner, that time for just the two of you through all the seasons.

And it doesn’t have to be the same old same old all the time. Because honestly it gets boring right? No matter how much you love your partner and want to spend time with them you’d like to change it up a bit. Not only does changing it up a bit make things more exciting it’s really good for your relationship. Remember that anticipation of getting together when you first met and were newly dating? Getting a little creative with your dates can create those fun and exciting feelings again. And that’s exciting!

So here are 40 Wintery Date Ideas that will not only make it easy to do something different, but add in that spark of creativity and fun, even anticipation, that was present when you first started dating.

40 Wintery Date Ideas

The Budget Friendly

One of the reasons some couples don’t go on dates as much as they’d like is because it can be quite expensive. So they choose to stay home or do nothing at all. Here are some easy budget friendly ideas for a great wintery date.

  1. wintery date ideasGo Skating – most communities have free ice for skating or a local rink where you pay a small admission, all you need is your skates and maybe some hot chocolate and you’re off!
  2. Make a fondue – whether it be dessert style chocolate and fruit or a whole meal, fondues are inexpensive and easy to put together. All you need is a fondue pot and your foods of choice.
  3. Spa date night – create a soothing atmosphere at home with soft music, candles and oils for massaging. Create your spa services menu, then lay back and relax. You can even provide fluffy terry towel robes and slippers so it’s the real deal!
  4. Scavenger Hunt – remember loving these as a kid. Why not do one now? You can create a scavenger hunt list for in the house, the neighborhood or even city wide! Alternatively, you could create clues that send your partner from place to place on a specific route and you could be waiting at the end at the selected location (coffee shop for cozy hot chocolate, wine bar, the bedroom… just saying)
  5. wintery date ideasPlay in the snow – how often as adults do we actually get out and play in the snow anymore? Build a snow fort, a snowman, snow angels or have a snowball fight.
  6. Bubble bath for two – fill your tub with warm water and bubbles. Add a little essential oil to relax and calm, you could even light candles and have a glass of wine.
  7. Watch cartoons – when I discovered this idea I thought it was fantastic! Put on your pj’s, have breakfast for supper and watch your favorite cartoons from when you were a kid.
  8. Date Night Theme – stay in and have a theme for the night i.e. Hawaiian, Australia, Winter Wonderland, Paris, the beach. Create food and dishes according to your theme, dress and decorate appropriately and see where the night takes you.
  9. wintery date ideasDIY Photo Shoot – Grab a camera, head out and start shooting. Trade off being the photographer and the model, trying different poses, outfits and backgrounds. Or shoot nature shots and landscapes around the city. They’ll be no lack of inspiration.
  10. Nerf Hide and Seek – I saw this on Facebook once. The husband came home to find a nerf gun sitting at the front door with a note on it “Saying you’re it, if you can find me”. Seriously how fun is that?
  11. Enjoy a Glass of Wine by the Fire – If you have a fireplace, stoke it up and cuddle up. (If you don’t have a fireplace grab one of those ‘Fireplace in a Box‘ DVDs – seriously they are great and create the atmosphere you want). Enjoy your favorite wine and good conversation with your partner. If you want some conversation inspiration grab The Book Of Questions to learn more about your partner and provoke some interesting conversations.
  12. wintery date ideasBoard Game Night – I personally love board games and really enjoy when anyone plays with me. Pick your favorite board game or two and enjoy some friendly competition with your partner. (Did you know a little friendly competition can be good for your relationship?) Try ones like Taboo, Pictionary and Speed Scrabble.
  13. Bookstore Date Night – this can be done in one of two ways a) go to your favorite book store when they’re hosting an author reading. Whether they’re an author you know or not you’ll expand your horizons and maybe learn something new. b) Or you could try this bookstore date idea from the Dating Divas, which I love, as you not only get out of the house for an inexpensive date but you also learn a little more about your partner.
  14. Set Up Your Backyard as a Winter Wonderland – put up white lights, play music and dance in the snow, blankets, fire pit if you have one, hot chocolate or glass of wine. I have a bench that is perfect for two to cuddle up on wrapped in blankets together. Don’t have any snow, make snowflakes and place them around the yard.
  15. Volunteer Together – find an organization you both care about and check out their website for ways to get involved. Volunteering together can be an incredible shared experience.
  16. wintery date ideas Build a Fort – yes like you did when you were little. Chairs, blankets, do not enter signs. How fun was that to create your own space and hide? Make it big enough for both of you then decide what you’ll do inside your fort – read, play a board game, have a sleepover…
  17. Make Your Own Pizza Night – create in the kitchen with your partner making pizza from scratch. Grab a pizza crust from the store (or be even more adventurous and make your own from scratch), add your favorite ingredients and voila! yummy pizza. Fee each other if you desire or add your favorite wine.
  18. Power Outage Night – have fun without electricity. Pretend that the power has gone out for the evening. Light candles, play games by flashlight, tell ghost stories. You could even adorn yourselves with glow stick jewelry.

The Outdoor Lovers

Participating in outdoor activities with your partner not only gets you outside and active in the winter months it is also great for your relationship as research shows that doing physical activities together make people feel more bonded.

  1. wintery date ideasGo Toboganning – enjoy the fresh air and the wind blowing through your hair as you slide down the hill. You can either share a toboggan with your partner or go down on your own. Perhaps even a race is in order? The size of the hill doesn’t matter, as long as you can slide to the bottom it’ll do the trick.
  2. Take a Sleigh Ride – horse drawn sleigh rides can be romantic and are relaxing and festive. Appreciate the winter wonderland as you cuddle up under a wool blanket and maybe even enjoy a warm drink.
  3. Experience Dogsledding – this is a magical and amazing recreational experience. Originally used as a means of transport by the Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic it’s another opportunity to snuggle up and enjoy the beauty of winter.
  4. Try snowshoeing – it’s a very neat experience to literally walk on top of the snow. Strap on a pair of snowshoes, grab your partner and explore. The great thing about this activity is if there’s enough snow in the city you can go snowshoeing in city parks or use it as an opportunity to escape the city and go to the country.
  5. wintery date ideasGo Skiing – whether cross country or downhill skiing is a full body activity that makes great use of the snow! Chase your partner down the mountain or challenge them to a race. Either way you’ll feel exhilarated after.
  6. Take a Walk in the Snow – there’s nothing like a cozy walk in the cool crisp air enjoying the beauty of winter. Dress warm, hold hands and enjoy each others company as you walk side by side. Enjoy great tech free conversation, the scenery and maybe even some snowflakes (I love taking a walk through the softly falling snow, there’s just something magical about it).
  7. Snow Tubing -an exhilarating and less expensive way to hit the slopes snow tubing is a fantastic outdoor activity to do with your partner. There’s usually a magic carpet so you don’t have to tire out those legs going back up the hill and tubes are provided onsite.
  8. wintery date ideasGo Skating – I know I said this above already but this idea really appeals to me, there’s something very romantic about it! Especially if you can go at night and they have twinkling lights, firepit and music playing over speakers. All you need is your skates and maybe a thermos of hot chocolate and you’re off!
  9. Have a Winter Picnic – Pack up some homemade cookies and a thermos of hot chocolate and head out to the nearest park or even just the backyard. Bring a nice wool blanket and dress warmly (includes snowpants if you have them!) If you go during the day enjoy the sunshine, if you’re out at night perhaps you can even do a little stargazing.
  10. Attend a Winter Festival – there are many winter festivals and events. Check out online what the winter festivals are near you.

The Indoor Adventurers

  1. Laser Tag – combine the classic games of hide-and-seek and tag with a high tech twist. Can you catch your partner? Or will you team up and take out the rest of your group?
  2. Cooking Classes – this is really a good way to spend time with your partner, discover what they like about meals and hopefully transfer some of those skills to the home.
  3. wintery date ideasBowling – is a ridiculously fun way to go out and play with your partner. Yes the shoes are ridiculous (but you have to wear them), you’ll likely discover muscles you never thought you had and possibly twist your body in a way you never thought you could. And it’s so fun. Plus you’ll learn just a little more about your partner in a unique way.
  4. Go to an Extreme Air Park – this is a huge enclosed space with interlocking trampolines with a variety of different activities to choose from. Reasonably priced you can jump to your heart’s content from an hour to an all day pass.
  5. Indoor Go-Karting – zoom around the track with your partner at speeds of up to 75km/hour (depending on where you’re racing). It’s a complete adrenaline rush to race around on go-karts and see how fast you can go.
  6. wintery date ideasCouples Massage – a wonderful relaxing experience, having a couples massage increases feelings of affection, brings you to the present moment and reconnect with little effort.
  7. Indoor Rock Climbing – not only is this activity one where you work together and support each other it is also an activity that boosts brain function and reduces stress, as well as many other benefits. Wow! Who knew? You’ll melt away the stress of the day and then come home relaxed and ready for other types of connection.
  8. Date Night at the Science Center – this is such a neat idea. At my local Science Center there’s an Adult Only evening. They bring out more involved challenges, a fully licensed bar and dj. Each night features a different theme and new riskier science to experiment with. This may be local to only my area but I am guessing that if you google it in yours you’ll find one.
  9. Go to the Theatre – a night at the theatre can open up so many avenues as a couple. Different styles and kinds of theatre can broaden your horizon as a couple and learn more about yourself as well. Some theatres offer dinner before the show so you may not even have to cook!
  10. wintery date ideasGo to a Hockey Game – support your home team and get rowdy (or enjoy quietly) a live hockey game. The excitement of a live game cheering and getting into it is a great bonding experience.
  11. Pottery Night – check out your local pottery studio and get messy with clay! You may even get to have a “Ghost” moment, which yes is so cliche but super fun.
  12. Be Tourists – check out your own backyard as if you were visiting the city for the first time. What are the sites to see? Museums, monuments, etc. Don’t forget your camera!
  13. Go for Hot Chocolate – and not just any hot chocolate. Lots of cafes and local shops usually have a signature hot chocolate that’s just a little out of the ordinary and super yummy! Check out what’s near you and go check it out.

One thing I really enjoy about winter dates is you often come back and want to warm up and cuddle up. So it really creates more opportunities for cuddling and hot chocolate! And who doesn’t want more of that?

These wintery date ideas are not only creative and fun but they instigate a strong sense of play in most of them. Something we adults don’t do enough of! Plus they say that couples who play together stay together! Why? because you are creating experiences, connection and good feelings not only in your relationship but towards your partner. Besides a little creativity breaks up the boredom and adds back that little bit of spice you might be looking for.

wintery date ideas

Have a great wintery date idea? Share in the comments below.

How Many Ways Can You Make Hot Chocolate – YYC Hot Chocolate Fest

YYC Hot Chocolate FestWarm delectable chocolate and sweet cherries delight the palate, filling the senses and warming the soul…aaahhh heaven. The Black Forest hot chocolate, one of 36 possible heavens in the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest this February. A fundraiser to support Calgary Meals on Wheels, this is the 5th year various coffee shops, restaurants and chocolatiers in Calgary roll out their signature hot chocolate recipes and compete for the best hot chocolate in town.

I was very excited to discover this event this year (and wondered why I had not heard of it before). Throughout the month of February you can try as many hot chocolates as you like, then go online to vote for your favorite, as well as leave comments and participate in the additional contests.

Hot Chocolate Fest

Black Forest

I have had the pleasure of enjoying 3 so far, the Black Forest, Australian Summer and the Creamy TLC, all different and unique, all with flavors that are hard to compete with. My goal is to try them all, which will be a challenge in itself in just 28 days, but it’s hard to resist when there are flavors such as Red Velvet, Tiramisu and Butterfinger Peanut Cup to enjoy.

I realize this means that there may be some days where I will have to have two or three hot chocolates just to make sure that I get them all in before the 28th, but sacrifices have to be made, and happily I will make this one.

Hot Chocolate FestI love the idea behind this Hot Chocolate Fest, (especially with chocolate involved!), it’s fun, gets the community involved and is a great way to create awareness. It also supports local businesses, encouraging people to explore the unique coffee shops and niches in Calgary, it’s creative, expressive and supports a good cause! It is also a great social event, one where you can invite friends to join you, and create more of a network online. Who doesn’t love hot chocolate? (yes I realize that maybe someone doesn’t, but many of us enjoy the thought of a nice warm drink on a cold day. It means cozy, it means social, it means tastes buds coming alive with the different and unique combinations to enjoy).

The other thing I love about the Hot Chocolate Fest is many of the vendors offer dairy free options for those of us who wish to do so. When I ordered my Black Forest at the Higher Ground Cafe, I could choose from soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk. Now this did mean no whip cream and my cherry sunk to the bottom, but it was great that this option was available so I could participate too, and my body would be happy with me.

A Hot Chocolate Fest just gives me an all around good happy feeling, making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So whether you are tempted to try one or try them all, go out and check out the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest. Don’t forget to pick up your Hot Chocolate Passport from one of the vendors and check off each one as you go along to enter for additional prizes. I might see you out there. Come back here and share what your favorite was. Happy Hot Chocolate Drinking!Hot Chocolate Fest

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!