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.

Winter Inside and Out

winter activities

Often 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!

How to Set up an Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg HuntThis weekend I have the pleasure of spending Easter with my extended family. An unusual occasion, my parents and two sisters with our families have come together in my parents BC home to celebrate my father’s 65th birthday. As an added bonus we get to throw Easter into the mix as it falls on the same weekend.

Growing up my sisters and I loved Easter morning. The Easter Bunny would often leave tracks and paw prints, as a a little dirt in the house, as well as fill and hide our baskets and Easter Eggs. We love hunting for everything, in fact this was as much fun as what was in the basket and eggs when we found them. The eggs were the best part. I think because there were so many of them. You’d find one and then there’d be more and more. And sometimes we’d even miss one or two, finding them later in the year because the Easter Bunny had hidden them so well. Now with my own children, I continue the tradition of hiding eggs.

Easter weekend in OliverMy children love it just as much as I did. Peeking out of their room Easter morning, discovering a trail of eggs from their bedroom and down the stairs. Sometimes they discover the Easter Bunny has even left one or two in their room! And they get so excited to learn that he was so close.

Of course over the years I have gotten creative with the hunt. Sometimes hiding eggs outside or making a scavenger hunt out of it with clues inside and a larger prize at the end. In my creativity I got curious, as I do, about the hunt for eggs even began, and what other people were doing with this fun fabulous event.

I discovered this traditional Easter activity has been done for many centuries. Part of a salute to spring it is done in a variety of ways.

The Easter Egg Hunt is a tradition that many children participate in all over the world every Easter. It is a simple activity of finding colored eggs and putting them in an Easter basket. No matter how the hunt is conducted children get excited about this yearly activity.

Easter Egg HuntHistory of the Easter Egg Hunt

Easter originated as part of the pagan spring celebrations with both the egg and the rabbit as symbols of rebirth and fertility. The egg specifically was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in the spring. These celebrations of spring and rebirth were adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In my search I learned that there is no known date as to when the Easter Egg Hunt originated, but that the Easter Egg itself has been around for many centuries. In Medieval Europe eggs were forbidden during the Lenten season and therefore were a prized gift when received on Easter Sunday. Eggs were often given wrapped in gold leaves or boiled with leaves or petals of certain flowers to create brightly colored eggs. This tradition eventually evolved into what is known as Egg Rolls and the Easter Egg Hunt.

Variations on How to Set Up an Easter Egg Hunt

There are many different ways to set up an Easter Egg Hunt. Depending on the ages of the participants and what is used in the hunt. All variations may be set up inside or outside.

You will need:

Easter EggsEggs – colored hollow plastic eggs, chocolate eggs, hard-boiled colored eggs, paper eggs on colored paper (you could color your own eggs with the kids earlier in the week and hide those)

Baskets or fun container for collecting eggs (you could do an Easter craft making your own decorative container or basket)

  1. For each child that is hunting have them choose one color of egg (green, yellow, pink, etc.) Whatever color they choose is the only color egg that they are to retrieve. Hide the eggs inside or out, clearly outline the boundaries and let them hunt! This is great when kids of a variety of ages are hunting because it makes it fair. Older children will not take all the eggs because they are hunting only for their color and it gives the younger children an opportunity to hunt and enjoy themselves.
  2. Set up like a treasure hunt; hide paper eggs with clues on them. For young children, one can simply write the name of the place they need to go to next, like “living room” or “kitchen”. For older children one can develop clues or riddles that they have to solve in order to figure out where to go next. Make as many clues as desired. The last clue will lead the child to his Easter treat.
  3. When doing a hunt for a large group, hide only the colored plastic eggs. Children may use an Easter basket to collect their eggs and may collect as many as they can find. When they are done hunting children then return to the start and trade in all their colored eggs for an Easter treat.

I’m also a firm believer that adults can participate too! All adults need to play and I have watched countless adults enjoy games and treasure hunts. In fact last year I set up a hunt for my friend and he loved it. His eyes lit up and he was so excited as I watched him zoom around finding clues. And of course that is one of the reasons I love that I get to share Easter with my family this weekend. Both my parents and sisters love to play and love to celebrate the holidays, so tomorrow morning there will be a hunt for all of us. And I am sooo excited!!!


Tips for Camping with Kids

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities. Growing up, that is how we spent our family vacations, each year going somewhere different, though we did have our favorite spots; looking forward to it each year.

I always found that our trip was never long enough and that we never got enough camping in for the summer. I could have stayed out there for weeks, even the whole summer. There is something about being out in nature, with just the basics, playing and hanging out that I love.

I find there is a whole different mentality when I’m out camping, no matter what is going on it is more relaxing, more go with the flow and even in some respects ‘lazy’. Routine goes out the window and I just enjoy the fact that we don’t really have to be anywhere at any particular time.

Relaxing at the campsite

This is not to say that we don’t do things while we are camping. Growing up we would often go on a hike or an interpretive walk, or sometimes go and explore a local attraction or historic site. But the whole pace of it is different. There’s no rush, no deadline.

Naturally, I wanted to share and continue these experiences with all of my children. Matthew’s first camping trip was when he was 1 year old, for 1 night and it poured rain. But we have since ventured out again and Matthew loves it. He is quite the good little camper, will help around the site when asked and even learned how to safely chop wood last year (under the supervision and guidance of Grandpa Blue Eagle).

With Luke and Chloe I did not take them out as early, though I wanted to. So they went out camping for the first time this year (and like their Mom and brother), love camping as well. Up until recently I did not have another responsible adult to go with me and I didn’t feel it was prudent or safe to take the kids out by myself (and yes I am a little spooked after reading The Shack, very good book but tragic beginning).

I knew this was the year to go, I had already asked my parents to come with me one weekend and introduce the twins to the camping world, so the intention and plan was there. Interestingly though, I took them out a little earlier then planned, as one day I picked up and packed up at the last minute, when my friend at the time invited me out camping. Literally in 3 hours I had us all packed up and ready to go. When I told the twins we were going camping they were so exicted! Asking when we were leaving. I found this so interesting as they had no idea what camping even was at that point, and yet here they were clapping and excited waiting in anticipation for their trip.

We only ventured out for one night, which I think was smart considering they are still young and it was their first time. We drove out to a Provincial Park near Carseland and joined some friends in their trailer. The kids loved it, though it took them quite a while to settle when I put them to sleep, it being almost 11 pm before they went to sleep.

Bison at Elk Island

Recently we went out again, this time for 3 nights and in a tent. We camped at Elk Island National Park (where Bison are a plenty), just east of Edmonton as I wanted to make a side trip to the Jurassic Forest – a prehistoric park I learned about and wanted to check out (it was fabulous btw and I would recommend for any dinosaur lovers, young and old)

D’Wayne braved it and came with us once more (what a wonderful man!). It still took til 10 or 11 each night for the twins to settle and go to sleep, though I put them down about 8 each night, and usually with them asking to go to bed because they were tired. And though I stuck to a similar bedtime routine from home, pyjamas, brush teeth and story, they still bounced around and played no matter what we did to try and get them to sleep.

And honestly I found the same with Matthew when he was younger. There was no way we could get him to go to bed, and it was even worse because he was by himself and would come out of the tent (at least the twins play with each other and stay in the tent, well for the most part). So we ended up just keeping him up with us and all going to bed together.

The blessing was though they went to sleep late they would sleep in til 9 or 10 in the morning, which threw everything off, but isn’t that what camping is about, throwing routine out the window?

Overall though we had a great time, though all a little tired when we came back and brave enough to head out again one more time in August!

Other than the sleep challenges I think camping in general can be easy with kids with the right attitude, the right support and person to go with. Here are some tips to make not only the kids first camping trip successful but any future ones as well.

Tips for a Successful Camping Trip with Kids

Keep to a routine – I know I said above that one of the things I love about camping is that there is no routine or deadline but even if it is not your regular routine at home I think having some kind of routine, even if it is a loose one, will help the kids and you to have a good time. Keep it somewhat predicatable so they know what’s coming i.e. breakfast, clean up, walk, lunch, play at the beach(or other activity), supper, clean up, hang out at the campsite, bed (and I would recommend keeping whatever bedtime you choose the same while you are out camping, even if it is a later one)

Breakfast time

Feed them on a regular basis – this may sound silly I know but I myself get kind of lazy when camping about meal times. Keep meal times predictable and consistent and provide more snacks (I find I am more hungry when I am out camping and we eat more in general) – don’t give the kids lunch at 4 in the afternoon, and if you’ve just finished breakfast and they say they are ready for lunch, feed them, or at least give them a snack and have lunch sooner rather than later

Plan meals that are fast, healthy and easy – there are lots of great camping recipes out there that are fun, easy and nutritious. You can get creative with those or use some of your regular ones. Make it easy on yourself by ensuring that they are not overly involved and they can be prepared quickly for hungry kids. This will reduce stress on yourself and prevent you from having grumpy children simply because they are hungry.

Have them drink lots of water – when they are outside they tend to burn more energy, are spending more time in the sun and are just more active all around. Keeping them hydrated will make a big difference in their fatigue and hunger levels, as well as preventing them from overheating or getting sick.

Have a consistent bedtime – whether they are sleeping in a tent or camper and end up playing before they actually go to sleep, at least they have a predictable bed time (even if it is later than usual) and wind down before sleep. They will also be contained and even though they might be up the adults can have some kind of adult time. And you never know they might go to sleep sooner… ha ha

Pick a site close to the bathroom and a playground (or as close as possible) – this is especially important with toddlers who need to go to the bathroom more frequently. This will save you making long treks back and forth to the bathroom (I can’t tell you how many times I went to the bathroom with the twins and then went back again what felt like minutes later). Being close to the playground is also a God send as the kids can play and be entertained and you can still keep a close eye on them as you do things around your campsite. My parents always got a spot close to the playground when we went out and it made it easier for everyone.

Bring some outdoor toys and toys that they love (things that make them feel secure – favorite blanket, pillow, stuffed toy)- my son Luke loves to play with his trucks in the sand, so when we go camping I always bring his sand toys. On our last trip our site was close to a big sand pit which he would just go and play in for long periods of time. It was great cause he was within eye sight, not too far away and engaged for a long time. We also bring other toys like a ball and glove, soccer ball, plastic horseshoes.

Start small – for the first few times out do not go on a week long camping trip or a with a long drive to get there. Take the kids out in little bits, one or two nights at a time with shorter drives, not only for the kids to get used to it but for yourself as well 🙂

Bring a nature bag – include crayons, paper, magnifying glass, plant or flower book. Kids love to explore and play in nature, some of these simple tools will enrich and enhance their experience and keep them occupied.

Mom this is a huge dandelion!

Go for a walk/ hike – Take a short walk on a nearby trail. Bring your nature bag and explore.

Do a Scavenger Hunt – you can create one yourself for around the campsite or you’ll find some campgrounds that have some pre made for you to just pick up and follow

Sleep – do your best to get enough sleep not only for the kids but yourself as well. Although tempting to stay up once the kids are finally asleep, if you are well rested you will be better able to handle the kids regardless of their moods. Maybe stay up a little but not so late that you are exhausted the next day

Patience – Be patient with yourself and the kids. You are out there to relax and enjoy yourselves. It is a time to be together and enjoy and appreciate nature as well as each other. You get to know each other on a different level when you are out camping, it is a unique and rich experience. You can adopt a go with the flow attitude and still keep the kids fed and rested so you can all have a wonderful time!

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

I love Valentine’s Day! I have no idea why really, I have yet to have the real romantic Valentine’s that I have dreamed of, but it is one of my favorite holidays.

I find the energy in the air is charged with hope and positive vibes and whether you have a sweetie or not, it is a great day.

I love doing things with the kids as they get so excited about it. I usually make a treat of some kind, whether it be chocolates, brownies or chocolate dream pie (yes there is a chocolate theme here) and I give them a little something, usually a homemade valentine, which might be as simple as a construction paper heart with a note on it.

I usually set up a little scavenger hunt for them as well, something simple but gives them chance to roam the house and explore, looking for things. They love it!

I also love the crafts as there are so many fun and easy things to make around this holiday. One of my favorites is the Toilet Paper Roll Cupid. He is very cute and fun to make. He is a little involved with a few steps that may not be suitable for younger children but they could certainly do it with some adult help.

Cardboard Cupid

I have always loved to the Stained Glass Hearts, where you use tissue and construction paper and put them up on your window. Easy, fun and full of love.

Years ago I was writing for a site call Suite 101 and created an article there which includes cupid as well as some other great crafts such as a Valentine Wreath, photo frame and another of my favorites – the Valentine Person! (I think I love that one because of his ‘accordian’ legs and arms). Go here for details on all these great crafts.

The thing I like about Valentine’s Day crafts is that you can pretty much do anything with hearts – from pictures to people to wreaths and even crystal hearts, which Matthew was making in his class at school, there is no end to the creative ideas and fun that the kids can have this Valentine’s Day!

 

Christmas at the Hive

On the weekend I took the kids out to the Chinook Honey Company in Okotoks. A local honey farm and winery, they were hosting a Christmas family event with lots of activities for everyone.

When we first got up in the morning and I checked the temperature I debated on whether to go. It was -15 C and I knew most of the activities would be outside; and though we would dress for it, I knew for the little ones it might be cold.

As we putzed around and got breakfast going I slowly started to pack snacks and lunch, having decided that we would go and check it out. Though it was cool, I knew there were some buildings there that we could go into if we got cold; and living in Calgary you really can’t let the weather stop you from doing things. If you did, you’d never go anywhere or do anything. Besides this was the last day the event was on and I thought it would be fun for the kids.

Matthew making beeswax snow candle

And it was! It turned out to be one of those sunny clear blue sky Alberta days with lots of fun to be had. They had a scavenger hunt, apiary tours, and pictures with Christmas Critters. The kids could make their own beeswax snow candle, go on sleigh rides and enter the coloring contest. There was also an observation area where you could check out the bees in their hive, we even spotted the Queen.

Luke really enjoyed standing there and watching the bees. He just stood in front of the glass, head tilted up, watching. Chloe loved the animals, they had a horse and two donkeys that you could have your picture taken with. It took us a few tries getting the animals, and the kids all looking in the same direction, but we finally got a nice shot of everyone. Chloe and Luke insisted that they got to hold the rope of the donkey, just like Matthew did and Chloe cried when the donkey had to go back to his pen after the picture (cause she wanted to pet him some more).

They have a full store out there as well full of various honey products, such as beeswax candles, honey sticks, chocolates and the winery. It was decorated beautifully for Christmas, a rustic sort of look. The staff were extremely friendly as well and it’s a great environment to hang out.

They had a big fire pit outside to hang out and have hot chocolate and snacks and they even had carollers out there at one point. We did the apiary tour, which was interesting as the ‘King Bee’ Art, explained and showed us how they set up the ‘hives’ for the bees and how they extracted honey from them. It was fascinating, and all the kids were very attentive.

We learned many things such as how the bees ‘make’ their queen, how long she lives (4-5 years), what the role of the workerbees and drones are. He also told us how Albert Einstein once said that once the honey bee poplulation of the world was zero that we would have 4-5 years left to live; and that the honey bee populations of the world are dwindling and are down by 30%. Farmers are now working hard to keep healthy bee populations as they are so important to our ecosystem.

It is also highly beneficial for us to consume local honey made by local bees, as local honey provides us with immunity builders to environmental conditions in our area. So buying local is not just beneficial to the local economy but good for our health as well!

All in all it was a great day at the honey farm, we learned a lot, we played and we even left with a treasures, beeswax candles and some wonderful memories!