Driving with Kiddo: 6 tips for tear-free, toddler-friendly road trips

Scenes like this from the Icefields Parkway - not yours to behold when you're trying to beat the crying clock of your bambino. Photo credit: Walter Lam/Flickr/CC
Scenes like this from the Icefields Parkway – not yours to behold when you’re trying to beat the cry clock of your bambino. Photo credit: Walter Lam/Flickr/CC

As I drove north on the Icefields Parkway, the western spine of Canada (aka the Rocky Mountains), the road trip was a blur. I was racing against time: trying to get to my destination before my then five-month-old woke up hungry and angry after being in a car for WAY TOO LONG on this seemingly NEVERENDING (translation: two days) road trip.

We sped by so many sights – Castle Mountain, Crowfoot Glacier, Mount Chepheren – instead of stopping to bask in the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies like all the other happy-looking families, we didn’t. There was just one panicky thought on repeat in my head: ‘When is this road trip going to end?’

We were on day two of travel across British Columbia and part of Alberta to go see my partner in central Alberta. Here we were on an incredibly beautiful road trip that people from around the world pay big bucks to come and do. Frankly I didn’t enjoy the scenic surroundings because I didn’t pack enough supplies or give myself enough time to get there. We ended up having to stop in David Thompson, kiddo balling his eyes out and mommy very frazzled for a snack, leg stretch and calm down.

Fast forward a year. Many road trips – Tofino, Victoria, Kamloops, Lesser Slave Lake, Calgary, Drumheller – big and small later, we are starting to find our family travel groove. I once interviewed Micheal A. Palmer – an international traveller, family guy and author. He travelled across Canada with his wife and THREE, yes, three kids a few summers ago and had all kinds of wisdom to share. The uptake: plan, stop often, eat healthy. You can read more here.

The summer of 2015 we explored Alberta. After a few slightly stressful trips, I decided to try to start learning from our four-wheel journeys. Whether I’m driving alone with our little dude or we’re on a trip with the whole fam (mama, daddy + tiny tyrant), if I implement the six tips below, it makes for a tear-free trip.  Read more

Oh Canada – 149 Reasons to love The Truth North, Strong and Free

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Happy Canada day from the land of maple syrup, Bieber and beavers. To celebrate our Country’s 149th Canada I wanted to  share 149 things to love about travel, food and culture from Canada. If you live here, cheers! If you’re coming to visit, here’s 149 reasons you should.

1. Space to roam. We have big skies, big mountains, lots of rivers, oceanfront playgrounds and trees. We have only four people per square kilometre compared to 232 people per square kilometre in Germany. Now that’s elbow room. Read more

Get Outta Town: 5 small town Alberta shopping road trips

Christmas ornaments for days at Greeland Garden Centre.
Christmas ornaments for days at Greeland Garden Centre.

Do you ever get the urge to drive straight out of town until the mega malls disappear in your rearview and the traffic thins out? I do. Lately I’ve been poking around in the suburbs and small towns near Edmonton for my shopping fix, which has lead to some pretty fruitful mini-road trips. These half day or day-long forays into Edmonton’s neighbouring towns are my lazy version of a weekend getaway. They don’t require booking a hotel or packing a toothbrush – they are easy, fun and a fab opportunity to go shopping at local shops and tasting at local restaurants.

Coming from a small town, I am a huge fan of a quaint downtown and family-owned stores. If you’re like me and love to poke little shops across Alberta, from the historic downtown stores of Fort Saskatchewan to the hip and charming boutiques of Leduc’s Main Street then this is your local-loving shopping primer. And, as a wee bonus, I’m also going to share a tiny handful of my fave Edmonton indie shops that specialize in Canadian and Albertan goods. Read more

20 + Reasons Why you Should Visit Edmonton

The Alberta Legislative Buildings and their awesome kid-friendly fountains. See Canada Day note below...
The Alberta Legislative Buildings and their awesome kid-friendly fountains. See Canada Day note below…

You always remember your first time. Your first time visiting Edmonton, that is. I was 14 and a third stringer on the senior girls’ basketball team during my first senior’s tourney. I remember the huge blue skies, biting cold and the world’s biggest mall. We came in third at the tournament, rode the Galaxyland roller coaster and I recorded my first single on a cassette tape (Paula Abdul’s Straight Up, naturally) at the mall. It was a super fun trip that barely even kissed the surface of Alberta’s capital.

Fast forward decade or two and I’m living in Edmonton. It’s not a place I’ve ever considered until meeting my partner. Oh love and it’s convincing ways of taking you on crazy adventures. We left Vancouver on a wet fall day October 2014 and landed in Edmonton on a cool, dry day two days after.

When we first moved people would ask, “Why would you leave Vancouver to move here?” I found it almost insulting, probing and strange question to ask. But then slowly, I started meeting people who said the opposite. “Welcome to Edmonton, how are you finding it so far? Have you tried…..”

Edmontonians are some of the proudest residents and are generally, always eager to share their version of the city with you. So in keeping with the tradition of my new tribe, I thought I’d share some of my favourite Edmonton spots with you dear readers. Herewith are 25 things that I’ve grown to love about Edmonton. So next time a friend from Calgary/Montreal/Vancouver/Victoria asks why they should come visit, I’ll just save my breath and email them this post. So there. I’ve settled in and learned to love where I am, so read below and then book a trip here, you won’t regret it. Read more