Winter Fun in Edmonton

Skating is a fantastic, fun, free winter activity. Enjoyed outside in the crisp winter air, no matter what your age, a good time is had by all.

A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my cousin Jimmy and his wife Allison. We ventured out to Hawrelak Park, which is a favorite place of mine in Edmonton and enjoyed some time on the ice.

Unfortunately we did not have skates for the twins, and though we could have rented some I decided not to this time around. We had a hoot! Luke and Chloe found pylons to push around and ‘skate’ with, while the rest of us played games of tag and chased each other around.

And when we were tired, we took a rest, or just sat down on the ice for something to do. Why not?


Tobogganing Fun for Everyone

Tobogganing is one of the most fun and inexpensive winter activities out there. All you need is a sled, some snow, a hill and you’re off! We took Luke and Chloe for the first time this weekend and it was a blast!

A little apprehensive at first, as I was putting the sled at the top of the hill, Chloe sitting and looking down. But once we started moving and coasting down the hill, her screams of delight filled the air, with cries of “Again! Again!” when we go to the bottom of the hill.

Luke loved it to, ‘crashing’ with D’Wayne after each run. It got to the point where he was announcing they would crash before they even left the top of the hill πŸ™‚

Even adults love this activity. I watched as other parents looked on watching their kids, itching to go themselves, and once they finally did, their entire faces lighting up with smiles and laughs. Then they went up the hill for another run. I cannot think of any adult, unless they had a traumatic experience or a fear of heights, that does not enjoy speeding down the hill. It’s that rush of speed as you fly across the snow, coasting to the bottom. You could hear my own screams of delight as we zoomed down the hill and I had no problems going again.

We had a fabulous afternoon with the twins already asking to go again. And I’ll be honest, I can’t wait to go too πŸ™‚

IMG_0239 - Version 2


Homemade Marshmallows

Well it’s official! I can now make anything without sugar in it. When we went sugar free we really struggled at first, having to avoid things that we loved and enjoyed. But it was just going to take time to figure out how to make these things like cakes, cookies, chocolate, etc. without the sugar in it. What were the substitutes? How did you do it? It was a huge learning curve.

I assured Matthew, my oldest son that I would figure it out. Cause one of the things I did not want to happen in going sugar free was for him to feel denied. That he could still have the yummy treats that his friends did, with the difference being healthier, better for you.

Slowly I began to build my reperatoire, cookies, cakes, muffins those were easy. Bread, new sweet treat recipes, chocolate…we were getting there. Matthew was pretty happy too, except for one last thing, marshmallows. There was no substitute in the store to buy and I had no idea what to do to make them.

He reminded me of this when we went camping this summer, mentioning that it would be nice to roast marshmallows… “I know” I said and assured him that I was on a mission; as marshmallows were the only thing that I could not make sugar free but I knew there had to be a way.

A little while back I found this recipe for homemade marshmallows on Facebook and just about died! This was the ‘missing link’ that I was looking for. The recipe I needed, and it was totally healthy! Sweetened with honey and very easy to make.

So yesterday was the big day. I tried it out and Wow they were stupendeous! They look and taste like an original marshmallow and I don’t care how many my kids eat!

Unfortunately the marshmallows had to sit to set, but I let the kids lick the beaters. As you can see Luke and Chloe were thoroughly enjoying it! Attacking the beater with vigor. Matthew has attested that they taste just like regular marshmallows and just in time for our Halloween campfire tomorrow night.

We are also set for camping next summer! S’mores, rice krispie squares and other marshmallow treats here we come!


A couple quick tips when making this marshmallow recipe:

When letting it sit to set don’t worry about covering it. I made this mistake and ended up losing some because it stuck to the cover. Oops! lesson learned.

When storing them make sure you line the bottom of your container with parchment paper, and layer it with paper in between. Again, they’ll stick and they’ll peel right off the parchment paper. Don’t forget to put one on the top before you put on the lid!

The mixture starts to set quite quickly so have your pan ready to go, and as soon as the soft peaks form, pour it right into the pan. Don’t worry about the beaters you can take care of those later πŸ™‚

Life of Leisure

Wouldn’t it be nice if our lives were always like this? Lounging around on the patio, in the sunshine, hanging out with friends, maybe taking a nap, with our biggest decision being what will my next drink be? Ice water, cooler, juice?

As mothers and parents I think that we don’t have enough of these moments in our lives. Though we love our children and enjoy them, we really do need more of these quiet enjoyable moments where we can just hang out and be. Not worry if little Johnny is cutting his sister’s hair again (yes this did happen at our house the other day), or if the children are drawing on the walls or starting fires.

It is harder to do around the home, but you can do things like go sit in the backyard for a few minutes just listening to your surroundings, sit at the kitchen table with a warm cup of coffee or other warm drink. Even a few minutes in small doses keeps us calmer, saner and ready to tackle the next ‘fire’ that comes our way.


Quiet Contemplation

I often catch my oldest son Matthew in these kinds of pictures; standing (or sitting) and gazing off into the distance, looking deep in thought, contemplating something. I have many pictures of him like this and they are some of my favorite shots of him.

Sometimes he is just watching other activity or something a little ways off, but he looks so peaceful, content, like he is contemplating the meaning of life and will have the answer soon.


Autumn Leaves

One of my most favorite things about Fall is leaf jumping! I absolutely loved it as a kid, making a big pile in the yard, jumping and playing in them. We would create huge piles Β and run and jump. Or we’d bury each other in them and sometimes just lay there.

It’s hard to describe but there’s just something comforting about laying in the leaves, being surrounded by them. Both leaf jumping and lying in the them is something that I still enjoy and love as an adult!

Of course I was super excited to introduce this activity to my kids. Except in our backyard the number of leaves we had was small, being in a newer neighborhood. They loved it too.

On the weekend the kids went to Parkland Park with their Dad, which is an older community in Calgary where the trees are huge and the leaves are abundant. Luke, Chloe and Matthew all enjoyed playing in the leaves, Chloe even laying down and having a ‘sleep’.

I think this weekend we will all have to go and find some more leaves to jump in πŸ™‚


Halloween Joy

Halloween is almost upon us and as parents we get excited about what to dress the little ones up in. The euphoria of the older kids who know what it’s all about eagerly pick out or make their costumes, anticipating the candy rush that is to follow an evening of going door to door. But the little ones, say 3 and under, have no idea what is going on and could probably care less.

Yet we as parents are so excited to get the little ones into a costume cause honestly it is so cute! We can’t wait to get the perfect picture and share it with all our family and friends. Yet many a time we have a picture like this – where the child is crying cause they are so unhappy about this costume thing, whether they are too warm, squished into it, or just don’t like the idea. And we tend to look at the picture and go “Oh poor little guy!” and then gush about how cute the costume is.

You know sometimes we say “The things we do for our kids” but sometimes we should consider the things they do for us πŸ™‚ ha ha


Bonding with Grandpa

I love camping with my kids. Even though the days are longer, bedtimes later and way too many trips to the bathroom (which is usually a long walk to get to), I love being in the outdoors with them, where we literally putz around, relax, have tea, sit by the fire and really just enjoy each other’s company.

Yes our trips are mixed with trips to the playground, or a walk to go and explore somewhere (other than the bathroom), but overall it is just a beautiful go with the flow couple of days where we eat well and hang out.

This year we had the pleasure of heading out camping 4 times for varying number of days, which is more camping than I have done in years. This is due to having a great man come into my life who loves to camp! I also had the pleasure of my parents joining us on one of our trips at Kicking Horse Campground in Yoho National Park.

On this trip we visited Takakkaw Falls, went to the amphitheatre and learned about bears and sat by the fire drinking lots of tea! Both Luke and Chloe enjoyed just sitting and hanging out, which is so different than my oldest Matthew, who needs to be constantly on the move. And Luke, well he is always up for a conversation. Featured in the picture here is my Dad and Luke enjoying some great bonding time while hanging out at the campsite.

The Wordless Conversation

A lot of people have commented that they like my photos, that they always turn out so nicely. I would like to think that when I take a picture that I capture something that’s going on. So it might not always be a group shot with everyone smiling and looking at the camera, though those are definitely nice too, but ones where there’s an activity or a conversation going on. Where you look at the picture and can find something to discuss or surmise just by looking at it.

This summer when we were in Oliver visiting my parents we spent many days relaxing at the lake or playing at the waterpark. Sometimes my parents would come along and hang out though both of them are not really water people. In this shot of Luke and my Mom, we were at the waterpark and my Mum had just laid down on the grass in the shade to hang and watch the kids with me. Seeing this Luke promptly walked over and laid down right beside her. It was so cute. They didn’t really have a conversation just sat there changing positions (as Luke would copy my Mum when she did) and looking at each other. Luke was quite content to just hang out with Gran; which is something that I think we can all benefit from, literally just hanging out with someone we love and care about. Where ‘being’ with them is all that we need.



The Unveiling

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in and attending my sister’s wedding. It is always a fabulous time when I go see my sister in Toronto. She and many of her friends are actors so it is never boring and continually entertaining. Also my sister in general just has this larger than life energy, she is one of those people that exudes joy, laughter and fun, someone everyone wants to be around.

So things like unveiling the wedding menu (in this picture) which can be a very mundane and ordinary event, are turned into fun, exciting and extraordinary events. Leslie feeling very proud of it pulled it out to show us and asked us all to give her a fantastic reaction, which of course we did!

Unveiling the Menu with the Bride, Maid of Honour and Mother of the Bride

I think we should all take a page out of Leslie’s book and make every moment we can memorable, exciting and fun. I know there are times when this may not be possible, but imagine the excitement and joy in each day when you live like this.