Calgary's People

Make time for the people you love

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Life is always busy, but when long weekends come around, the last thing families want to be doing is catching up on all the smaller tasks and projects that have been neglected. Organization is a key strategy that can help make sure you and your family stay on track, and have time to spend with each other on weekends and holidays. Below, we’ve outlined a few ideas you can use to make time for your family and friends:

 

Have family meetings

Set a time and day once a week for your family to discuss what events are happening in the coming week, what projects need to get done, and what tasks need to be accomplished around the house. This is a great opportunity to get a complete picture of what is going on with every member of your family, so you can properly plan your week ahead. This could include coordinating rides, planning meals and shopping trips, or scheduling when to pay bills. Make sure someone in your family takes note of everything that is going on, so nothing gets forgotten. This meeting is also a great time for everyone to take a break from school or work to be with each other.

 

Use a calendar

Family calendars are a great way to keep track of tasks, events, and due dates that come up during your family meeting. This way, there is one central area where everyone can view what is coming up in the week ahead. The calendar can come in many forms. Depending on your family and routine, one calendar set up in a central area of your home may work best, or you could synchronize online calendars with each family member. This way, every individual will be able to integrate their personal tasks and events with family ones.

The family calendar only works if every member can have easy access to it, and regularly updates it if new events or tasks come up. Make the calendar a part of your family routine, and consider updating it or revisiting it at your weekly family meetings.

 

Delegate tasks

Make sure each member of your family is contributing to household tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, yard work and cleaning. No one person should be solely responsible for everything, so at family meetings make sure each family member is assigned a list of tasks to complete that week. In order to make this work, assign task that match up with each person’s interests, schedules and abilities. For example, if you have young children, they might not be able to help with supper, they can set the dinner table when they get home from school. If you or your partner have late meetings, whoever is free should be scheduled to give rides to sports or music lessons, or alternate arrangements should be made ahead of time.

Tasks can also be delegated to people outside your family as well. Carpooling can be set up with your children’s friends so you and your partner don’t have to drive as often, or extended family can step in to help with other tasks to free up your time for driving. Alternatively, you can hire out tasks like shoveling, mowing or pet walking to local neighbours or businesses.

 

Keep your home organized

Having an organized home makes for an organized life. Eliminating your clutter, sorting through your belongings, and arranging items to suit your family’s lifestyle can have a major impact on how organized the rest of your life is. Consider making home organization a part of the smaller tasks that each member of the family needs to accomplish each week. Organization should become a part of your family’s regular routine. For example, toys should be put away once children are finished playing with them, and mail should be opened and dealt with each day instead of letting it pile up all week. By accomplishing these tasks on a regular basis, you and your family will have less to do around your home each week, leaving more time for you to relax on the evenings and weekends.

 

Simple changes to your family routine, like setting up weekly meetings and following a family calendar can help make sure everyone stays on track of household tasks and events. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and get the whole family involved in household tasks, and don’t underestimate the importance of having an organized home. Don’t let another long weekend like this one pass you by, and take the necessary steps to get your family organized!

It's time to give back!

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With the holiday season fast approaching, there are many places and opportunities for people to give back to the community through various charitable organizations around the city. There is no greater feeling than knowing you have been able to help someone in need. Whether you decide to undertake a project on your own or with your family and friends, volunteering is a great way to give back to the community in a fun and rewarding way.

If you’re racking your brain for group gift ideas, or are dreading the thought of planning/attending another holiday party, consider starting a new tradition this year, and volunteering with friends and family. This way, you can give back to a great cause and spend time with the people you love. If a volunteer project isn’t a possibility this year, consider asking for financial donations to a charity of your choice, or hold a holiday event and collect non-perishable items for a food bank. There are many worthy organizations in Calgary that can use your help and support!

Recently, the team at Calm Order, together with friends and other volunteers, helped Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary to set up their new offices and homes. Servants Anonymous is a non-profit organization in Calgary that provides programs and support for women who have either experienced or are at risk of sexual exploitation or trafficking.

Calm Order and the volunteers sorted through furniture and other household items that were stored in the organization’s former facility and housing suites, packed up the remaining items, and unpacked them in their new location. This project was assisted by Just Junk, who also generously gathered household items that were donated to the new homes, and helped clear the old and worn items.

For Calgary residents, there are many projects and programs that are undertaken during the holiday season. However, keep in mind that many of these organizations operate throughout the entire year, and are always in need of any time or support you can offer.

The Calgary Food Bank, Calgary Meals on Wheels, The Mustard Seed, and Inn from the Cold all offer volunteer programs that individuals and groups can participate in during the holiday season (and the rest of the year). For a more extensive list of volunteer opportunities around Calgary, go here.

Ghoulish grub and bone rattling crafts for Halloween

Get into the spirit of Halloween whether it’s at home, at work, at school, or for a party. Making a craft or baking a spooky treat is simple and easy to do, and doesn’t require much more work than a regular recipe or activity would require. The best part is you don’t have to break the bank to participate in Halloween fun! Below, we’ve found some great recipes and craft ideas that anyone can take part in during the Halloween weekend that won’t take much time or effort on your part.

Trick or treating and wearing a costume are only one part of Halloween – make your own spooktacular decorations for your home or cook-up some wickedly good desserts for a party! [INSERT TWEET THIS LINK].

For a super-simple Halloween themed snack idea or party treat, try these Witch Brooms from Couponing to Disney. They’re really quick and easy to make, and you can add your own little designs and decorations to them! The amount of supplies you will need will depend on how many you want to make.

Ingredients:

  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peanut butter cup treats
  • Assorted decorations (optional)

Note: these ingredients can be purchased as gluten-free options.

Instructions:

  • Unwrap the peanut butter cups and place them upside down, so the narrower end is facing up
  • Insert the pretzel sticks into the peanut butter cups so the will resemble a witch’s broom standing up
  • If you want to add some flair to the broom sticks, you can alternatively use icing, sprinkles, and other baking decorations to the peanut butter cups.

 

Another great dessert idea that can also be made with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and nut-free options, are these Frankenstein Rice Krispie treats from Big Bear’s Wife.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces marshmallows
  • 6 cups rice krispie cereal
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring
  • 10 drops blue food coloring
  • Melted Chocolate/Candy Coating
  •  Candy Eyes

Instructions:

  • Melt the butter in a large pot and add the marshmallows. Stir until they are all melted!
  •  Add in the food coloring and stir until it turns green.
  • Add rice krispie cereal a little bit at a time and stir to combine.
  •  Press rice krispie cereal into a buttered 9 x 13 pan. Press flat and let cool.
  •  Let rice krispie treats sit for about 30 minutes.
  •  Remove from pan and cut into squares.
  • Melt chocolate according the package directions. Dip the tops of the Rice Krispie Treats into the melted chocolate.
  • Lay on a sheet of wax paper (or a plate).
  • Use some of the melted chocolate and “glue” on the candy eyes.
  •  Fill a ziplock bag with some of the melted chocolate, snip an end off and pipe a stitch mouth onto Frankenstein.
  • Let the Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats sit for about 20 minutes undisturbed or until the chocolate had hardened.

 

If you’re feeling crafty, these Witchy Pinecone Owls from All Free Kids Crafts requires minimal materials – and they look really cute!

Materials:

  •  1 pinecone
  • Black craft felt
  • Colored craft foam
  •  Scissors
  • Glue
  •  Ribbon

Instructions:

  • Gather a pinecone from your yard.
  •   Cut out a triangular piece of black craft foam. Round the edges.
  •  Cut slits in the piece on the rounded side.
  •   Cut out two doughnut-shaped circles of black craft felt.
  •  Fold triangle into a cone. Slide cone into one doughnut piece. Flip up slits to the underside of the hat.
  • Glue slits to the underside of the hat. Glue second doughnut piece to cover up slits.
  • Glue colored ribbon around hat.
  • Cut out small diamond shape from craft foam in whatever color you like and glue onto pinecone.
  •  Cut out two small black circles and two larger colored circles from craft foam.
  • Glue smaller circles inside larger ones and glue onto pinecone.

Read more here.

 

However, if you’re looking for a little more complex craft – this one is sure to light up Halloween night! A Little Claireification has a great DIY Mummy Mason Jar Luminaries that is not only fun to make but will look great around your home afterwards.

Materials:

  • Mason Jars
  • 1″ Gauze Bandage
  •  Googly Eyes
  • Flameless Votive Candles

Instructions:

  • Take a mason jar and wrap it with some gauze bandage tape.
  • Hot glue on a couple of googly eyes
  • Add in a little flameless votive candle (or a regular votive if these will be attended at all times) and boom! 

 

Happy Halloween!