Mother's Day Gift Guide: Featuring YEG Makers

Mother's Day is less than a week away and if you haven't already gotten the mama in your life something special, here are some ideas for gifts from companies and makers that are all Edmonton-based. #Shoplocal this week and surprise a mom with one of our picks:

For the Wine Lover

These socks from Grandeur Design YEG are adorable. Let the mama in your life sit back, relax and sip on her favourite red. These would be great paired with a lovely bottle of wine from Sherbrooke Liquor Store .

 

For the Foodie

This simple but sweet rustic kitchen sign from William Rae Designs is the perfect gift for the home cook. Pair with a yummy treat from The Italian Centre Shop and you've won over any foodie mama. 

 

For the Green Goddess

This fun gift box from PLANTiful has everything a green goddess needs to feel fabulous. Specializing in plant-based and organic skincare you can look great the natural way!

 

For the mama with a Sweet Tooth

The Hungry Hippo Bakery makes the most adorable cookies I have ever seen. You can find them at local markets like the Capilano Farmer's Market.

 

 

For a little Relaxation

These are not your mother's heating pads! Reflaxation makes hot cold packs from organic flaxseed. Fun handmade designs will ensure the mama on your list is stylish while she unwinds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother's Day out there to all of the amazing moms in my life :)

Music Box Babies at the Winspear

Baby P and I had the pleasure of taking part in the Music Box Babies Pilot Program in February and we had an absolute blast. Now open to all YEG parents and little ones Music Box Babies is running a Five Week Program Staring May 17.

Designed for little ones age 0-36 months, these classes are a great way to learn some new songs and actives to engage your child's sensory, motor and memory skills. The activities are simple and the songs are fun and easy to remember. I loved how quickly Paisley picked up some of the lyrics and rhythms and she was soon holding her own Music Box Babies sessions at home. The instructors are fantastic and the Winspear is such an amazing venue right in the heart of downtown so it makes for reasonable access to anyone pretty much anywhere in the city. 

Tip: arrive earlier to find a good parking spot on one of the side streets along 97th. We never had a trouble finding a space and the rates are a bit more reasonable than the import lot attached to the Winspear. 

Classes will be held May 17, May 24, May 31, June 7, and June 14 and the cost for all five weeks is $85. Spots are still available for tots in the 0-12 month age category and the 24-36 month group , if you'd like to be put on a waiting list for the 12-24 month group just reach out to lagosti@winspearcentre.com To find out more about Music Box Babies and to register today click here: https://www.winspearcentre.com/educationwins/families-wins#music-box-babies

'Get your Garden on' this weekend in North YEG

Although there's still a few patches of snow melting off here and there, this north yeg mama can't wait to get her patio garden going once again! There are some great Northside events happening this weekend, check them out and get inspired for the upcoming gardening season!

Dig In Horticulinary Festival

  • When: April 29 & April 30 
  • Times: Sat: 10 - 7 p.m. & Sun 10-5 p.m.
  • Where: Enjoy Centre in St. Albert

Various workshops, dinners and sessions take you through a weekend at the Enjoy Centre with celebrity chefs, gardening experts and more. Tickets for the various weekend session range from $0-$129. Click here to find out more and sign up: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/dig-in-horticulinary-festival-spring-fest-tickets-32661462313

 

 

Kuhlmann's Open House

  • When: April 29 & April 30 
  • Times: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Where: Kuhlmann's Garden Market, 1320-167 Avenue in Edmonton 

Come down and check out all that is the beautiful Kuhlmann's Garden Market for their spring open house. There will be coffee, donuts and face painting for the kids from 11-4. Plus enter to win a $500 prize pack! Find out more about Kuhlmann's here: http://www.kuhlmanns.com

The Root Seller Open House

  • When: April 29 & April 30
  • Times: 9 a.m.  - 6 p.m. 
  • Where: The Root Seller, 16735 Zaychuk Rd. in Edmonton

Join The Root Seller family at their Open House this weekend for free coffee and cake, free tool sharpening, free soil testing and a treasure hunt for the kids. You can visit them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Root-Seller-102544966453842/ 

Happy gardening North Yeggians!

 

GIVEAWAY: SOUND OF MUSIC SING-A-LONG

Now with the northeast leg of Henday complete, Sherwood Park's Festival Place is only a hop skip and a jump away from all of us over in North Edmonton Land, and I',m excited to spread the word about a great family show coming up on March 11th. 

Gather the kidlets, pack them into their car seats and head over to Festival Place this Saturday for Sing-a-long The Sound of MusicKicking off at 12:30 p.m. the show is a great spot for families to share in the joy that the classic has brought to so many generations in a fun and engaging sing-a-long format. Singalong with Julie, join in on the choruses of My Favourite Things, and take in the most successful musical of all time on the big screen. 

Do note that the entire event including preshow and intermission does run about 3 1/2 hours so do be prepared. Tickets are $24 for adults and $12.50 for kids, but the best part? You can see the show for free, we're giving away a family four pass for Saturday's show. Just follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and share & like our contest posts for a chance to win!

 

Party Planning on a Budget

In honour of Baby P's 1st Birthday I decided to put together a little guide with a few tips on planning a birthday party for your little one on a budget. We have a ton of family in Saskatoon so we decided to have a party in #YXE and #YEG just so all of the friends and family could make it out. That being the case I wanted to make sure I didn't blow the budget on either bash so we could still have a ton of fun at both locations and not have to break the bank to do it!

THE FOOD

When you're figuring out what to feed everyone, the dollar amount can add up quickly especially if you decide to purchase assembled food trays or catering. I decided to buy all of the bulk goods and make meat and cheese trays myself. I simply rolled up deli meats, bought pre sliced hard cheese and arranged them in a nice grouping around a couple of dollar store platters. I easily saved $30 or more per tray by making them myself and they were just as tasty as the catered trays would have been for our build-your-own sandwich bar. 

THE THEME 

I tried to pick something seasonal so it wouldn't be too hard to find a couple of decorations, so I went with the flamingo theme. Napkins, table clothes, cupcakes, cutlery and plates were all purchased in the hot pink flamingo colour and then I just accented our set up with a few fun flamingo decorations. I usually rely on Dollarama for this sort of thing but they didn't have too many flamingo items so I ended up getting most of my stuff from Party City. Every item was really reasonably priced and they had such an amazing selection!

THE VENUE

Booking and paying for a venue can put your birthday budget through the roof so instead we leaned on our cousin Shanna. Her condo has a club house equipped with an indoor pool, hot tub and rec room with tables, chairs even a pool table. It was the perfect place to have everyone for Paisley's flamingo pool party and the best part? It was completely free!

THE CAKE

I did think about making a cake myself, but because we were travelling and not at home for this party, I wanted to take the baking burden off my shoulders and decided to order instead. Bakeries often charge a pretty penny for custom birthday cakes and I didn't just want a plain sheet cake, so I decided to order cupcakes from Sobeys. I love ordering from them, you can get vanilla or chocolate with any icing colour you like and they are only $1 per cupcake. We got half a dozen pink and half a dozen white. I pulled out my cupcake stand that I already had stashed away in the cupboard, grabbed a glittery #1 candle from party city and viola! An adorable dessert display for under $15. 

All in all - we spent around $100 total for Paisley's party and it was so much fun. Great memories and we didn't have to shell out a ton of cash to do it. 

Preparing your Planter

  Begonias are a go to plant if you are placing a pot in a shadier location. 

Begonias are a go to plant if you are placing a pot in a shadier location. 

The sun is slowly winning the war against the morning frost, which means planting season must be right around the corner. As the leaves return to the trees, temperatures begin to warm up and the grass starts to green it’s time to dust off those gardening gloves and prep for the summer season. Container gardening has risen in popularity over recent years. Easy-to-care-for planters make a great addition to any yard, patio or balcony says Co-Owner of Kuhlmann’s Greenhouse Anita McDonald. “

You can start to plant as early as the beginning of May, if you have the ability to pull the plants indoors when the weather isn’t favourable. If you don’t have the option however it recommended you wait until at least the middle of the month. “Our weather is very unreliable and you never really know for sure,” says McDonald. “We don’t really encourage doing a lot of planting outdoors until mid May.”

To prepare last years planters for this season start by dumping out the pots. McDonald says you should sift through the soil and dig out all the old root systems. When it comes to mixing your soil she recommends going with the half and half method, combining 50% of your soil from last year with 50% new potting soil. “Our potting soils these days are soilless, there’s no black dirt in there. It’s mostly made up of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite,” says McDonald. “So it’s very reusable.”

  Geraniums come in a variety of colours and are a great medium height container plant for your sunny yard. 

Geraniums come in a variety of colours and are a great medium height container plant for your sunny yard. 

When it comes to selecting your plants, you have to consider where you’ll be placing the pot. “For the shade definitely begonias are the most popular plant,” says McDonald. “ There’s lots of new proven winner plants that are more foliage plants that like the shade like sweet potato vines, silver nettle vines and just the different types of Ivy.” There are also many popular varieties that work well for sunny areas. “A lot of people like to use a stand by of the geranium, which come in all colours,” says McDonald. “In every container you want something tall, something medium height and then you want the trailers. Bacopa is a very popular plant it comes in blue pink and white. Tailing nemesia in yellow and cranberry is just beautiful.” Trailing petunias are also at the top of McDonald’s list. She says the plant requires very little dead heading and it puts out great performance.

When it comes to selecting your containers, whether it’s ceramic, plastic or a hanging moss-lined basket, it’s important to pick something that has good drainage. “Your container should always have holes in the bottom for drainage,” says McDonald. “Containers without holes, if they are out exposed to the rain and we get 2-3 days of rain, they can get very waterlogged and your soil can go sour and your plants will suffer.”

Overall containers are a great option if you’re looking for something a little more low maintenance. “Flowerbeds of course, there are weeds that grow and that’s an ongoing battle,” says McDonald. “It’s a little easier to plant things above ground.”

 Container gardening offers a very versatile and low-maintenance option for gardening enthusiasts.

Container gardening offers a very versatile and low-maintenance option for gardening enthusiasts.

Generations of Art

  Shima Robinson (left) and her mother Elsa Robinson (Right) take centre stage for a collaboration at the SkirtsAfire herArts Festival

Shima Robinson (left) and her mother Elsa Robinson (Right) take centre stage for a collaboration at the SkirtsAfire herArts Festival

As the lights dim, visual artist Elsa Robinson sets up her easel and canvas, clicking paint brush handles together and twisting open jars of paint. Her daughter, spoken word artist Shima Robinson stands confidently in front of the crowd, notes in hand, preparing herself for the performance ahead. A large partially finished painting acts as a backdrop to the creativity about to unfold in front of the audience gathered at the Nina Haggerty Art Gallery, the venue providing an intimate setting with standing room only. The collaboration was a first for this mother daughter pair. “Shima presented three poems at the show. I read through the poems with her prior to the show and selected the words and or phrases that struck a chord with me,” says Robinson. “Those are what I used to create the painting.” As Shima performed her spoken word pieces, Elsa Robinson worked on her painting, brushing on symbols and colours that directly connected to words or themes her daughter was exploring in her poems. “We presented themes of strong family and mother daughter relationships, the sacredness of colour and the beauty of trust,” says Shima Robinson. “She used words that honoured me publicly and that was humbling and very special for the both of us. We shared a very personal relationship in public and that was a good feeling,” says Elsa Robinson.

Elsa Robinson was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. After taking a few art classes in high school and post secondary, she moved to Edmonton in 1984, the same year she welcomed her daughter Shima into the world. Robinson went on to earn her Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of Alberta in 1990. After nearly a decade of teaching, Robinson’s artistic curiosity caught up to her when she completed her first painting in 1999. Continuing to work and support her family, Robinson built up her collection of paintings eventually selling prints and t-shirts of her work at local markets. In 2008 she was nominated by a friend, for the City of Edmonton Cultural Diversity in the Arts Award. Robinson would go on to win the award, which came with enough financial support to allow her to focus more fully on her art. Wanting to gain a formal art education, she decided to go back to school earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art and Design from the U of A in 2013. With such a long list of accomplishments, it’s not hard to imagine how Robinson’s daughter must look up to her. Shima Robinson beams as she describes how her mother has contributed to her own journey as an artist. “She definitely blazes the trail, and not just as an artist, but as a woman, a professional woman, a strong woman, a black woman,” says Robinson. “She models so many qualities that are necessary for getting through and being exceptional.” On the other side Elsa Robinson is just as eager to express pride for her daughters accomplishments. “It’s a beautiful thing,” says Robinson. “She’s using her poetry to heal and my intent with my art is to heal so we connect on that level.”

  A packed house at the Nina Haggerty Art Gallery watch as mother-daughter duo Elsa and Shima Robinson perform a collaborative piece.

A packed house at the Nina Haggerty Art Gallery watch as mother-daughter duo Elsa and Shima Robinson perform a collaborative piece.

Shima Robinson first became interested in spoken word poetry as a Bachelor of Arts student at the U of A. She met a collective of artists focused on producing music, meaningful writing and engaging spoken word performances. From there she began to explore the poetry world, eventually hosting open mic nights at venues around Edmonton including the Naked Cyber Café on Jasper Avenue, the Naked Café on 104th Avenue and The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse on Alberta Avenue. Like her mother, Robinson has a passion for bringing art to the people and currently teaches an ongoing poetry workshop for youth at Boyle Street Community Services Coop. “My goal is to be able to guide people, to act as a counsel of some kind to young people who feel like they have something to say that isn’t being said and where to go from there,” says Robinson. 

Both Elsa and Shima Robinson say that coming together to perform was an extremely rewarding experience. “It was very powerful for me to work with my daughter and for us to share through our respective artistic voices which are both very strong,” says Elsa Robinson. “Over all I felt pleased and honoured to present a work of art with my mother,” says Shima. Both look forward to collaborating in the future. Their presentation was featured as part of the 2016 SkirtsAfire herArts Festival. The festival takes place in the heart of Alberta Avenue and features the work of women in theatre, music, dance, visual art, comedy and spoken word. 

  Elsa Robinson (right) and daughter Shima Robinson (left) proudly stand beside a finished painting that came out of their collaborative performance.

Elsa Robinson (right) and daughter Shima Robinson (left) proudly stand beside a finished painting that came out of their collaborative performance.

Realities of Having a Baby with Massive Amounts of Hair

  1. Other moms chuckle while you hold your five month old under the hair dryer after swimming.
  2. The first words out of anyone’s mouth when they gaze upon your baby are “Oh my god look at the hair.”  I have literally heard this phrase hundreds of times.
  3. A baby mullet is an actual reality in your world.
  4. From afar people just think your baby is wearing a really fuzzy hat.
  5. Seniors will insist on running their fingers through her hair whether you give them permission or not.
  6. Daily baths are a necessity otherwise a serious case of bed head will strike on day two.
  7. Your child has enough hair to put into pigtails but hates having them in her hair, and often ends up pulling the elastics out, of course putting them in their mouth. 
  8. Spit up will often gum up the luscious locks.
  9. Your baby’s gorgeous mane will cause copious amounts of head sweat.
  10. Your baby will of course be adored above all others for having so much hair!

Poinsettia 101

 Photo Courtesy: Erika Hannem

Photo Courtesy: Erika Hannem

We check in with Gardening Expert Jim Hole from the Enjoy Centre for a few tips on keeping your gorgeous plant from biting the dust.

 

Picking out the Perfect Poinsettia

Select a plant that has nice bright green foliage. The coloured part of the poinsettia is called the bracts. Make sure the bracts of the plant are vibrant as well. It’s important to pick out a poinsettia that appears nice and stocky, with a good root system. Also, don’t forget to test out the soil making sure it’s moist.

 

Leaving the Store

Make sure you are purchasing your poinsettia from a reputable grower that properly wraps your plant for the transport home. When temperatures dip below zero the plant needs more insulation than just a thin layer of plastic to survive the journey.

 

Placing the Poinsettia

During the day it’s important to place your plant in a bright sunny spot. At night feel free to move it around the house wherever you’d like to add a bit of extra holiday colour. You will know if your plant is not getting enough sunlight if it starts to drop leaves.

“A lot of people will keep them in a dark spot in the house and then the green leaves fall off,” says Jim Hole  “It’s telling you that they’re in too dark a spot.”

 

How Often to Water

To test whether or not your plant needs watering, Jim recommends sticking your index finger into the soil up to your knuckle. If the soil is moist to that depth you are good, if not hit it with some water. It’s also important to empty out any water in the catch trays.

“Poinsettia’s like moisture but they hate standing water,” says Jim Hole “That will kill them off.”

 

To Fertilize or not to Fertilize

There’s no need to fertilize if you are just keeping the plant through the holiday season. If, however, you do want to keep the plant for next year then you can start fertilizing in the New Year.

 

The Enjoy Centre has a beautiful selection of poinsettias to choose from this time of year. Make sure you stop by and check them out, they are located at 101 Riel Drive in St. Albert.

 Photo Courtesy: Erika Hannem

Photo Courtesy: Erika Hannem