spring

Spring is here - get outside and enjoy it!

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After a long and (very) cold winter, it looks like spring is finally upon us! The days are longer, and the weather is a lot warmer – so why not take advantage and spend more time outdoors with your family! There are many free activities you can organize that everyone in your family can participate in. From exploring Calgary’s parks to having fun in your own backyard, you and your family don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the season.

Decide on an activity

It isn’t easy trying to decide what activity to do, especially if multiple people are involved. Why not start by getting together with your family and allowing everyone to share what activities they would like to do throughout the spring and summer. Everyone can be tasked with coming up with one or two ideas, which can be recorded on a board or sheet of paper. Once a few options have been decided, you can start putting them in to action. It is a good idea to go through all of the activities and make sure they are possible to accomplish. Are there any age limitations? Is distance or cost an issue? Do they require equipment you don’t have? Depending on what activities have been chosen, you can either decide to randomly draw an activity each weekend or every couple of weeks, or you can plan out activities for the next couple of months (especially if they are time sensitive or require special planning).

Plan your experience

For free activities like visiting city parks or natural areas, the only factor that might prevent you from visiting is the weather or renovations. Check the weather a couple of days before to get a more accurate idea of what the conditions might be and plan accordingly. Some events might take place at certain times throughout the summer and can only be experienced on certain days. If you need to book time off work, make sure that you are able to take that time, and make any other arrangements, like transportation, as soon as possible.

There are many activities that you can even plan in the comfort of your own backyard, like sports, scavenger hunts, tag, and campfires. These activities may require a visit to a local grocery or recreation store, but there are not many other tasks that need to be completed ahead of time. During periods where they weather is more unpredictable, activities like this are more ideal because they can easily be scratched or changed as needed.

Pack a bag (and bring some snacks!)

Before you head out, put together a day bag with plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Don’t forget to bring hats and sunglasses on particularly sunny days. For parents with younger children, a few snacks should also be packed for full-day activities. Snacks do not have to be anything extravagant, just enough to satisfy any hunger cravings, and prevent you from having to spend money on pricier items at stores or restaurants. Multiple snacks can even be combined in one bag to make a fun-looking treat!

  • Fruits and vegetables

Not only is this snack easy to put together, it’s healthy and easy to carry around as well. Cut up carrots, slice an apple, or wash a handful of grapes and store in a plastic container or recyclable plastic bag. When you’re choosing fruits and vegetables, choose ones that don’t have extra peels, stems or pits, and pre-cut anything that can’t easily be eaten on the go.

  • Cheese and crackers

This is another simple snack for shorter excursions, as the cheese should not sit out for a full day, especially if you don’t have a cooler or cold place to store your bag. Consider placing the cheese slices on the crackers before placing them in a container or plastic bag for each child for a more efficient snack break.

  • Energy balls

With so many different variations, energy balls are also a delicious and easy snack that can be made up ahead of time. They can be sweet or savory, and you can bring a couple of different kinds to a weekend activity, so your family can pick and choose which ones to have. Putting the energy balls together can be a fun activity on its own, as everyone in the family can help roll them out.

Have fun!

Sometimes, even the best plans can fail, so always be prepared for weather, injuries or other obstacles that may impact your spring activity plans. Whatever happens, make sure that you make the most of the warmer season enjoy the warm weather with your family!

Get ready for Spring!

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It may have taken a long time for the snow to finally leave, but it's safe to say that spring is finally here! The weather isn't quite warm enough for outdoor activities, but there are plenty of other indoor activities that can still help celebrate the upcoming season.

To help get you and your family ready for spring, why not try out one of these seasonal activities that can easily be done with a few household ingredients:

Baking

  • Use up your leftovers: Do you have a lot of Easter chocolate leftover, and aren't sure what to do with it? This recipe from Bake. Eat. Repeat. uses popular Easter egg candies on top of a haystack to make a festive treat! Not only is it easy to make, this recipe requires no baking at all, and is easy for children of any age to help with.
  • Snacks that are healthy and fun: Strawberries are a versatile fruit, and a great snack for kids to take to lunch or have at home. This spring, why not add a little something extra? Consider trying these pastel-coloured strawberries from Salt & Lavender that are covered in chocolate for a fun treat or dessert. Kids can easily help out by dipping them into sprinkles or dipping the strawberries themselves. For something simpler, Kid Friendly Things to Do has a recipe for lady-bug themed strawberries that only require some melted chocolate and mini-marshmallows.
  • Butterfly pretzels: It may be too soon to see a real butterfly, but consider decorating your cupcakes with chocolate covered pretzels and round candies to resemble a colourful butterfly like this one from Who Needs a Cape. Or, you can use your creative skills to assemble these pretzel butterflies from Butter with a Side of Bread with a variety of colourful candy melts and plenty of sprinkles!

Arts and crafts

  • Garden decor: This craft is easy for children to help with, and after it's done it can be used to spruce up your garden or flower bed. All you need are a few rocks, a brush and outdoor paint! Check out the full instructions at Crafts by Amanda.
  • Food into art: Bow-tie noodles have another use besides a meal option - they can be used to make a variety of springtime objects for an artistic rendering of spring. Crafty Morning shows how you can use these noodles, a few markers and glue to create butterflies, flowers and more.
  • Bird feeders: Bird seeds, water, and gelatine make for a fun craft from Messy Little Monsters. Use whatever cookie cutters you have to make the seeds into fun shapes, and hang them with coloured ribbon. This is also a great activity for kids to get involved in - not only can they enjoy making the bird treats, they can also have fun waiting to see who eats them as well!

There are many different activities that you and your family can do to celebrate the season without having to break the bank or buy extra materials. While these activities are spring-themed, they can easily be pulled out throughout the spring and summer whenever bad weather hits the city!

Home organization trends for Spring 2017

Spring is in the air, and new trends for home organization are making their way through homes across the country. Spring symbolizes a chance for many people to renew and refresh their living spaces, so why not take this opportunity to re-organize the way you store the items in your home? Below we’ve compiled a few of the big trends that are projected for Spring 2017:

Custom closet cabinets

A popular new trend in closet storage is all about customizing your options to fit your clothing and lifestyle. Custom racks to store ties and shelves for shoes that fit in the space you have are increasing in popularity. With customization, you can make sure that all of your belongings have a proper home and stored easily. Proper storage and display can help prevent the collection of clutter, because when your items are displayed nicely and in easy access, you can use the items you have and need more often.

Open storage

Rather than hiding away all your items, why not show them off? This concept is especially popular for kitchen cabinets and shelves, allowing you to showcase dishes and appliances. Open storage is also handy for bedroom closets or storage units and garage storage, as it is easy to grab and pick up items as you need them. Even better, knowing that your items are always on display is a great incentive to keep your belongings organized and uncluttered!

Maximizing space

Utilizing the space that you have is always a priority, and it can now be achieved not just through the furniture you buy, but how you designate and layout the rooms in your home. Multipurpose rooms are a new trend this spring, which allow you to get many different purposes out of the rooms in your home. For example, the guest bedroom can also be a library, and office, or a second entertainment room. Instead of specifically designating a space for guests that only visit a few times out of the year, make the room usable for your everyday life as well. These fold-up murphy beds are a great way to easily transform a guest room into an usable daily space, like an office.