Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park over the last few years so I thought it was about time I checked it out.  After an early May camping trip to Carson-Pegasus with other homeschool families didn’t pan out due to heavy rain, I made a reservation for the last week of May and luckily had great weather.

At about 2 hours from Edmonton, Carson-Pegasus makes for a great weekend roadtrip, or even daytrip, and having Whitecourt 25 minutes away makes it easy to grab any forgotten items and provide additional activities.

The lady at the gate pulled my reservation quickly and I paid $8 for a bag of wood and picked it up just past the gate. I was only there for one night due to prior planned activities in the city, but I went through 2 bags of wood (which were a good size).  We had the fire going from 7-11 and then again in the morning for over an hour.

We stayed in Site 95 and had lake views through the trees.  There was an outhouse adjacent to us and a trail ran behind our site.  It made for a great area to walk before bed and watch the sunset.  There were several small boats out on the water and people fishing off the dock that was further down the trail.

Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

View from our site

Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

McLeod Lake

We arrived around 4:30 pm, I set up the tent and then we got ready for the beach. Kids seem to not mind the temperature of the water and will play in anything!  I found it chilly, but it didn’t seem so bad after a few minutes.  The girls played in it for about an hour. They also spent time playing in the sand and on the playground.

Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

Saturday morning we checked out the playground within the campground. It was about a 5-10 minute walk from our site, uphill on the way there.  There’s a couple of benches there and the play area where the girls had fun with kids they introduced themselves to and played games with.

Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

We heard loons frequently at the beach and into the evening at our camp site. We also saw squirrels and ducks on our evening walk. We didn’t have any major issues with mosquitos, but we were fairly covered up at our site and our clothes sprayed with Deep Woods.  Ticks could be present since you’re in the woods and near tall grass near water. Always check your clothing after a walk. 

After we checked out, we went into Whitecourt for a visit to Rotary Park.  It’s a huge recreation area with soccer fields, playground, splash park, washrooms and river slides! The girls had a blast coming down on their tubes. We’ll definitely be coming back for a day trip to Rotary Park, and perhaps pay a visit to Hard Luck Canyon

Get Back To Nature: Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

Rotary Park, Whitecourt

 

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Bacon & Egg Potato Salad

Potato salad is a favorite of mine and a summer staple, from picnics in the park to backyard BBQs. It’s a great dish to beat the heat and prepare earlier in the day, and leftovers make great lunches.  It’s so versatile too, add what you have in your fridge and change it up each time! 

I’m not a food blogger so don’t expect precise measurements – I’m a bit-of-this, couple-spoonfuls-of that type cook. But it’s tough to go wrong with a potato salad, as long as the potatoes are cooked that is!

The summer heat sometimes takes my appetite away, so while I was mildly hungry last night, I didn’t want something too filling.  Adding the protein of bacon and eggs gave this potato salad a boost and made a nice, cool supper.  

Bacon & Egg Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes, boiled and cooled – I prefer to use baby potatoes, easy to quarter them and I leave the skins on
  • Dressing – whatever you like.  I used a combination of Miracle Whip with a splash of Coleslaw and Bacon Ranch dressings
  • Red pepper, diced
  • Hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • Bacon, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme, fresh is you have it
  • Chives, diced – I uses scissors for easy cutting, and with my chives in bloom right now, I also sprinkled some of the blossoms over it too (yes, they are edible!)

Chill until supper.  Enjoy on the side or have a larger portion as an entree. 

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PJ Masks LIVE! Time To Be A Hero

PJ Masks has been a favorite in our house since they debuted almost 2 years ago. The stories of young superheros Catboy, Gecko and Owlette have been replayed over and over and then carried over into pretend play.  

It was so popular in our house last year that it was the theme of Kai’s 4th birthday. Masks (thanks to the talented Cold Lipstick’s Garden), superhero training complete with an obstacle course, and a completion certificate rounded out the activities.

PJ Masks LIVE! Time To Be A Hero

PJ Masks LIVE! Time To Be A Hero

Just posted today was the announcement of the PJ Masks LIVE! tour coming to Edmonton on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 6pm.  According to the Facebook event, presale begins Thursday June 8, 2017 from 10am-10pm, password CATBOY, (although Winspear and tour website lists presale from Tuesday June 6 at 7am-Thursday at 10pm) with tickets on sale for the public on Friday June 9. This will be at the Winspear and I’m sure tickets will go fast!!   

You can follow along on the Facebook event page for the Edmonton show, buy tickets through the Winspear box office here, or visit the tour’s website for all tour locations and dates (Sorry, only Canadian shows are in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and BC). 

PJ Masks LIVE! Time To Be A Hero

Feature photo credit PJ Masks Live
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Children’s Educational Classes, Drop-in Programs, Events & Festivals – June 2017 + Canada Day

Edmonton does not have a shortage of fun family activities.  But sometimes it’s nice to pass on the bouncy house and food truck events for something a bit more educational. As homeschoolerss / unschoolers, we use many of the great attractions, events and festivals in Edmonton and beyond as our classroom. Here’s a list of some of the great learning opportunities going on in and around Edmonton for June. Some of the activities require pre-registration and / or are additional costs, so check the event link or attraction website for full information (links provided). 

Alberta Aviation Museum

Weekly drop-in programs, Wednesdays 10:30-11:30, Ages 2-6

June 24 – Blatchford Field 90th Anniversary Celebrations 

Alberta Legislature

Free tours 362 days a year

Algora Interpretive Centre – Legislative Assembly Visitor Information, free

June 29 – October 1 – The Dream We Form By Being Together

Art Gallery of Alberta

Drop-in programs every Wednesday 10-11am, Ages 3-5

Free admission Tuesday and Wednesday evenings 5-8pm, free for youth 17 and under and Alberta post secondary students throughout 2017. 

June 18 – Making History, all ages

July 1-2 – Denton’s Canada Day, free admission all weekend

Edmonton Filipino Fiesta

June 9-11

Edmonton Pride Festival

June 9-18

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

June 7-8 (sold out) & 23-24 – The Music of Harry Potter

June 25 – Symphony in the City (Alberta Legislature Grounds, free)

Edmonton Valley Zoo

A variety of daily talks and presentations, May 7-September 2, full list visit here

July 1 – Canada Day Birthday Celebration

Elk Island National Park

Free admission for 2017 to Canada’s National Parks.  Get your pass online here, or in person at MEC, Camper’s Village or CIBC branch locations.

July 1 – Canada’s 150 Birthday Celebration

Festival Place

June 12 – Dancing for Musical Theatre, Ages 10+

June 24 – Stage Combat 1, Ages 13-15

June 25 – Stage Combat 2, Ages 16+

John Janzen Nature Centre

Drop in programs, included with admission

Monday and Thursday

10:30 – Hello, It’s Me

11:30 – Lead and Learn

Saturday

1pm – John Janzen’s Backyard

2pm – Guided Trail Tales

Sunday

2pm – Guided Walk

June 4 – Insectapalooza, all ages & no pre-registration required (cost included with admission

June 8 – Playdate With Nature: Everyone Needs a Rock, Ages 2-4 (full, wait list available)

June 15 – Pond Exploration for Homeschoolers, Ages 5-8 (full, wait list available)

June 27 – Dinosaur Adventures, Ages 3-5 (full, wait list available)

June 29 – Playdate With Nature: Big and Little Bugs, Ages 2-4 (full, wait list available)

John Walter Museum

Open and free to the public every Sunday (March-Nov) and Saturday (July-September)

June 8 – Urban Pioneers for Homeschoolers, Ages 6-12

June 17 – Father’s Day at John Walter Museum, Ages 8+

June 25 – Walterdale Tea Party, free

June 30 – Ice Cream Afternoon, Ages 3-5

Muttart Conservatory

Muttart Kid’s Corner – Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:30-11am, included with admission

June 22 – Magic Seeds, Ages 3-5

July 1 – Canada Day @ The Conservatory

St. Albert International Children’s Festival of the Arts

June 4-5 for the public – Various musical theatre and stage performances plus numerous artistic, cultural and musical site activities.  Tickets available here.

Telus World of Science

Science Demonstrations are performed weekdays at 11am, 12pm and 1pm

June 1, 8, 15, 22 – The Science Garage Maker Club – Rocketry, Ages 10-17

June 3 – 4 – Science of Survival (S.O.S.)

June 14 – TWOSE Tots, Ages 2-5

July 1 – The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition

Touch A Truck

June 4 – Fort Saskatchewan

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

May 22 – Sept 4 – Feature Exhibit, Where We Came From

June 10 – Ukrainian Heritage Foods Workshop, Ages 7+

University of Alberta Botanical Gardens

June 4 – Kurimoto Japanese Garden Spring Festival

June 16-18 – National Garden Days Celebration

Wellness Within

June 3 – Spiritually Mindful Kids, Ages 6-10

June 17 – Reiki Kids Level 1, Ages 6-10

Youth Art Walk

June 18

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Fort Edmonton Park 150 Summer Pass + Special International Children’s Festival of the Arts Offer

I have lived in Edmonton just over 12 years, and last summer was the first time I experienced Fort Edmonton Park.  The girls and I enjoyed a full day there, learning about the first settlers to Edmonton, the growth of the city and way of life in a different time. We explored the old fort, town buildings, learned about different modes of transportation, and had fun at the carnival.  It was an excellent learning experience for them and myself and I can wait to go back this summer! 

Fort Edmonton Park 150 Summer Pass + Special Intl Children’s Festival of the Arts Offer

Fort Edmonton Park 150 Summer Pass + Special Intl Children’s Festival of the Arts Offer

Fort Edmonton Park is opening for the year this weekend, starting May 20.  Many families opt for the membership that gives you unlimited visits from opening weekend till the end of September, with a whole list of bonus offers like discounts on gift store purchases and ticketed event.  

New this year, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, is the Fort Edmonton Park 150 Summer Pass.  It allows unlimited all-inclusive access from July 1-September 4, for 2 adults and up to 4 admissions of lesser value (child / youth / senior).  It’s a great alternative to a membership as you can bring friends, cousins, neighbors, etc with you. For a membership, all members have to be registered, none are transferable.  On the 150 Pass, only one adult is required to be registered and the rest are flexible!  For more details and to compare admission possibilities, click here.

If you’re looking a cheaper alternative for visiting the park this year, and want to take in another local favorite, St. Albert’s International Children’s Festival of the Arts and Fort Edmonton Park have teamed up for a special offer.  With the purchase of every Children’s Festival Butterfly Pass (which includes 1 feature performance, and unlimited access to all site performances and Toddler Town for $20, on Saturday June 3 and Sunday June 4), a coupon for a free child’s admission to Fort Edmonton Park will also be included! You can’t beat that!  Be sure to purchase you Butterfly Passes in advance, as many of the popular feature performances sell out quickly.  For full Children’s Festival information, including schedule and ticket purchases, chick here.

It’s shaping up to be a great summer of fun and adventure in Edmonton and surrounding areas.  What are some of the favorite activities you’re looking forward to? 

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Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

Mill Creek Ravine North and South (north and south trail off of 82 Ave) are fairly well know Edmonton trails, but do you know of the lesser know Upper Mill Creek Ravine tucked away in the Minchau neighbourhood, in the Mill Woods area of Edmonton? 

Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

Adjacent to Minchau Park, a large green space and playground, and Barbara Danelesko Park, Upper Mill Creek Ravine is a granular trail that runs from about 34 Street and 34B Ave to around 40 Ave and 50 Street and also doubles as an off leash dog park. I parked in a mini cul de sac at the SE corner of the trail. 

Full Google Maps version here (click off satellite and zoom in to view the trail system better).

In researching the area (thanks YEG Parks!), I learned about two Edmontonians that the neighborhood and parks were named after.  August Minchau was a Polish immigrant that settled in the Mill Woods area around 1894.  Barbara Danelesko was a mother and well respected community member that tragically passed away during a random home invasion in 1994. 

Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

Minchau Park

Upper Mill Creek Ravine is definitely one or the more challenging trails that I have encountered so far in Edmonton.  The dirt path has many steep hills which would make it especially challenging for young children or strollers, although I saw a few jogging strollers along the trail.  I did the whole trail with a return trip, but a smaller portion of the trail would work well for younger kids, as there are many entrances along the path, and a few set of wooden stairs leading down to the ravine trail. Bikers also use this trail frequently for its challenging nature.

Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

It took me 45 minutes to walk each way, with a few short breaks for pictures and water along the way.  With kids, I would definitely allow for more time, for breaks and exploring. There are many spots to take a break along the way – resting on stairs, fallen logs, and even a picnic table. Pack a few snacks or a picnic lunch, and lots of water and find a nice log by the creek to have a bite and enjoy the scenery. 

Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

It’s a pretty secluded spot with not much city noise.  Mill Creek trickles along side the trail with wooden bridges scattered throughout the ravine. While is it fairly open to the sun in the springtime, I’m sure there was be an excellent tree cover in the summer with lots of shady areas. I can’t wait to check it out later in the year and see it as the seasons change. 

Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

Get Back To Nature: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

So if you’re up for a challenging trail that is sure to break a sweat, Upper Mill Creek Ravine is an excellent place to explore! 

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25 Activities For Screen-Free Week

May 1-7 is Screen-Free Week, and as we finally emerge from a long winter and the gloominess of a mixed up spring, I have to admit the kid’s tablet time has been on the rise lately.  With extended screen time comes moody kids and sleep issues. It’s time to detox for a week and get things back on track.  

Working from home and being with the girls all day everyday means I tend to use screen time as crutch to get caught up on work or a bit of quiet time to recharge and get through the day.  So I have to be prepared this week with activities to do together and ones they can do on their own to fill the time.  Here’s a list of activities to get us through the week.

  1. Coloring
  2. Biking
  3. Yoga
  4. Nature Walks
  5. Beauty and the Beast with SCA Fine Arts
  6. Painting
  7. Lego
  8. Gardening
  9. Library Visits
  10. Crafts
  11. Canadian Road Trip at the Winspear
  12. Discover a New Playground
  13. Reading Aloud
  14. Crystals Growing Kit
  15. Skating
  16. Puzzles
  17. Rollerblading
  18. Visit a Recreation Centre
  19. Poetry Tea Time
  20. Pretend Play
  21. Baking Together
  22. Spring Cleanup of a Green Space
  23. Board Games 
  24. Meditation and Breathing Exercises
  25. Dance Parties

25 Activities For Screen-Free Week

There may be the occasional tv show or hockey game watched (go Oilers!) but hopefully we will be able to put the tablets away and reconnect more.  Do you plan on taking part in screen free week?  What activities do you have planned?

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Five Reasons to see the Movie Ballerina (Especially if you Homeschool)

Beauty and the Beast has been taking over the box office since it opened. While it does look amazing, and my girls want to see it, I think we might wait till it is available to rent so we can watch it with the lights on and fast forward any frightening scenes.

But there is another movie currently in theatres that hasn’t received a lot of promotion but it is totally worth watching, especially if you have young ones that might not be ready for Beauty and the Beast just yet.  My youngest stumbled upon the trailer for Ballerina back in December and had been anxiously awaiting it’s release.  Initially, we weren’t sure when it was coming out, as it was released internationally first, but it opened February 24 in Quebec and March 3 in the rest of Canada and we were able to see it last week. 

Five Reasons to see the Movie Ballerina (Especially if you Homeschool)

The story is of a young orphan girl named Felicie living in the French country side in the late 1800s.  She has a dream of making it to Paris and becoming a dancer! When I saw the trailer, I knew we had to see it.  One daughter loves dancing and the other loves Paris, so it was a perfect fit! But there are many reason why everyone should see it, especially homeschoolers, as it will provide a launching ground for further learning! 

Here are five reason why you should see Ballerina: 

  1. It’s Canadian! – Well actually a Canadian-France collaboration.  In a world where Disney and Pixar dominate, the fact that a Canadian produced (Montreal) feature film has been granted widespread international release is pretty awesome and should be supported. It will be released on April 21 in the United States under the alternate title Leap. The movie also features Canadian singer Carley Rae Jepsen as Odette, the caretaker. 
  2. Beautiful animation –  There are stunning views of historic Paris and the French countryside and the detail inside the Paris Opera Ballet (Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris) was excellent as well. Aurelie Dupont, a former principle dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet and their current director of dance, choreographed the dance sequences and animation of her and Jeremie Belingard’s dance moves helped create the elegant ballet scenes.
  3. Cultural and arts references – I grew up listening to Scottish and Irish jigs and reels and the Shannon Reel that is played in the tavern reminded me of Leahy’s Call to Dance. Since watching the movie, we have spent time browsing YouTube and listening to other examples of cultural music and dance. The Nutcracker is also a focus in the movie, as the girls are auditioning for the part of Clara. The girl that voices Camille is Maddie Zeigler, a dancer in real life, known for her performances in Dance Moms and most recently numerous Sia videos.
  4. Homeschool lessons abound – After we came home, we looked up the history of the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Paris Opera Ballet, and we even had a discussion on orphanages and adoption. 
  5. Ballerina is a movie about hard work and determination, standing up for yourself against bullies and proving you’re worth it.  A few not so great choices were made along the way but the characters persevered. 

Check out the official trailer for Ballerina on YouTube. If you have seen it already, what did you think?   

Feature photo credit
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Edmonton + Area Craft Shows, Spring Markets & More! March – June 2017

We’re in the middle of a deep freeze here in Edmonton, with the snow continuing to fall. My mind has been wandering to all the warmth of spring, the fresh scent of flowers in bloom and new beginnings .  

Easter, seasonal, and handmade markets and more are on the schedule for the next few months.  Click on the event name for further information on their social medial event page or website.

March

March 11-12 – Curated. Spring Market #YEG

March 11-12 – Mom, Pop & Tots Fair 

March 18 – Crafters to the Rafters Spring Market    

March 18 – Anniversary Faerie Market 

March 24-26 – Make It Edmonton

March 25 – Wholly Handmade March 2017

March 26 – Spring Edmonton Pop Culture Fair – March 26 2017

April

April 1 – Edmonton Easter Eggstravaganza Market!

April 1 – Spring Has Sprung/2nd Annual!

April 2 – 7th Annual Swing Into Spring

April 8 – Lovable Littles Market – Spring

April 22 – Edmonton Resilience Festival     

April 22-23 – The Witchery Market

April 29 – The Mom to Mom Shop and Swap                

May

May 5-May 7 – Butterdome Spring Craft Sale 

May 6 – Hand2Hand Mother’s Day Sale

May 13 – White Barn Market

May 27-28 – Nest in the City Spring 2017

June

June 3 – Joy It’s June – Vendor Event & Craft Sale

June 3 – Wholly Handmade June 2017

June 24 – The Original Edmonton Witches Market June

If you know of any shows to add, please add the information in the comments or email me the details. Happy shopping!

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Four Ways to Enjoy Winter in YEG

We’re crawling out of the deep freeze and temperatures are on the rise, maybe only briefly, but I’ll take it for now! Working from home and homeschooling means we have the luxury of staying inside on the coldest of days, but after a few days in, the kids are climbing the walls and cabin fever is setting in. Getting outside and soaking up the Vitamin D is the best thing you can do when the winter blues start to take hold.

Here are four fun, family oriented ways to be more active this winter.  

Traditional Winter Fun 

Skating and sledding are my family’s favorite winter activities.  I’ve never been a skier but I hope to introduce snow boarding to the girls in the next few years (and get reintroduced myself).  Edmonton is home to many city maintained skating surfaces, sledding hills and cross county ski trails, so be sure to check out the City of Edmonton website for a location nearest you as well as their Winter Chalets for warming up and bathroom breaks. Edmonton Ski Club, Snow Valley, and Rabbit Hill all provide downhill skiing and snowboarding in and around Edmonton, with skiing in the Rockies only a few hours away.

Four Ways to Enjoy Winter in YEG

Skating at City Hall

Try a New Activity 

Have you always wanted to try snow shoeing or maybe even sledge hockey? Try a new winter activity this year and get inspiration from ParticipACTION and their 150 Paylist of activities. There’s even chances to win prizes if you register on their website.  

Winter Festivals

Edmonton is the Festival City and the fun doesn’t stop just because the temperature drops. Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival (Jan. 14-15, 2017), Ice on Whyte (Jan. 26-29 and Feb 2-5, 2017). Flying Canoe Volant (Feb. 3-4, 2017), Silver Skate Festival (February 10-20, 2017),  as well as numerous community winter celebrations and Edmonton Ice Castles (on daily till the ice melts) are fun, family friendly ways to experience the best of winter in Edmonton. 

Four Ways to Enjoy Winter in YEG

Ice Sculpture at the Flying Canoe Volant festival 2016

Four Ways to Enjoy Winter in YEG

Edmonton Ice Castle 2016

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

When the sun is shining and the air is crisp, bundle up and go for a walk on your favorite summer trail and see it in a different, glistening white, light.  If you have kids, talk about the change of environment and how animals and plants adapt to the changes. Or take part in Winter Walk Day, February 1, 2017. 

Four Ways to Enjoy Winter in YEG

Beaumaris Lake

What are your favorite winter activities? 

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