Under the light of the moon-Movies on the Square

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I love Sir Winston Churchill Square in the summer. The city organizes all sorts of family events and festivals to bring people to this downtown meeting place. Last night the offering was Movies on the Square, a free screening of Despicable Me on a huge blow up screen.

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The fun commenced long before dusk fell. A D.J. lit up the popular downtown mecca with the sounds of summer, Polynesian dancers delighted young and old alike, even giving mini dance lessons to those willing to shake their groove thing in front of strangers. Free hoola hoops, beach balls and sunglasses were a hot accompaniment to a summer evening that’s weather could only be described as “close to perfect”.

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Families delighted in face painting, balloon making, outdoor chess, table tennis, a bouncy house slide and some cooled off in the city hall wading pool. Food trucks offered tasty delights such as pulled pork, hot dogs, pizza, mini donuts and no movie night would be complete without hot, fresh popcorn.

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In addition to the Amphitheater seating families brought fold up chairs and blankets to ensure a comfy and cozy movie experience under the stars. It was a wonderful night, even long before the movie started my teenager told me how much fun she and her friends were having and the youngest loved the beachy atmosphere.

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A crowd favorite was Spider Man who talked and posed for pictures with all the children. Lots of prizes were given out, I won glow in the dark bubbles ūüôā The movie commenced around 9:45 when nature struggled to dim the lights on a magnificant summer day.

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Movies on the Square will be back on August 30-31. Tips for first time movie goers with young children, It is a long night, the movie does not start till dusk falls. Bring cold drinks and snacks if you are looking for an inexpensive evening. Weather can change quickly, pack cozy blankets and sweaters. Looking for more info about movies on the Square and other city events see HERE

Cheers. Happy Sunday!!

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A Week In July -Edmonton

Edmonton is a beautiful city in the summer. Festival City comes alive with food, music,  culture and fun for the whole family. There is no better way to connect with your family and your city then to immerse yourself into middle of it all. So that is what we did.

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Haley and I took in one of our favorite Edmonton Summer Events, Taste of Edmonton featuring live folk and jazz music on Sir Winston Churchill Square, along with favorite culinary delights from local restaurants.¬†Our tastes vary slightly as Haley has a major sweet tooth and I tend to gravitate towards the main dishes. Haley enjoyed the sweet sensations of deep fried mars bars, chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet, chocolate covered strawberries and ice cream, just to name a few. I savored the flavors of bacon wrapped scallops, green onion cakes, Alberta beef with Yorkshire pudding and my fave jerk chicken. It was a beautiful YEG evening with the sun tickling the noses of those anxiously waiting in lines to try their favorite treats. The Art Gallery gleamed proudly in the background,¬† as a big brother would, proudly overlooking the Square and the diversity of people gathered to celebrate and enjoy the tastes of their fair city. This years slogan “Putting Picnics to shame for 29 years” speaks of the¬† longtime community involvement,¬† the loyal downtown food enthusiasts and the vibrant framework and heart of our city.

2013 KDAYS

For the second year in a row we kicked off KDAYS with the parade. Our group Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby, along with local adult leagues E-Ville Roller Derby and Oil City Derby Girls won a trophy for best crowd engagement. My youngest skater Haley was participating for her first year on wheels but unfortunately missed out due to a fever brought on by illness that led us on a golf cart adventure in the heart of downtown.  Never a dull moment! If you know a youth between the ages of 7-17 who may want to join the fastest growing sport on 8 wheels visit http://www.juniorderby.ca

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Kirk and I also took the girls to KDays for food and fun. Neither of us like the rides anymore but we both appreciate the smiles it brings to them. I love the food, the lights, the smells, the laughter.  The exhibition was a summer staple in my childhood and I am happy to share that with our girls. I never cease to be amazed by how many things can be deep fried or put on a stick.

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Taste of Edmonton followed by the food of KDAYS. Wow. So much food, so litttle time.

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We also took in a concert at KDAYS. Colin James who I saw 18 years ago in Ontario is every bit as captivating as he was in his youth. An amazing guitarist and vocalist,  even the kids were blown away. Colin James we ♥ you.

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Friday we caught up with some friends which turned into an all night affair while Haley led the adults in dances and charades and Morgan tried her best to make us all think we were uncool when we all are very aware of just how cool we are.

Saturday we traveled to Holden, the home of Hwy 14 Roller Derby where Morgan Mayhem was participating in a scrimmage. It is always great to see how the Roller Derby Community pulls together to put on such events. The Junior scrimmage was followed by Coed scrimmage but sadly we had plans back in the big bad city. Below is Morgan Mayhem (jammer in middle) trying to make her way through the pack while being blocked by Minnie Meanie and hit by P.OD Pippy. Notice her feet are not touching the ground. Thanks to Anthony Canada for the fantastic shot.

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The girls had a sleepover and we¬† rushed to meet friends at Pampas downtown.¬† Pampas is an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse that offers a unique dining concept called “Rodizio” offering continuous table side service with every tempting cut of meat available.¬† Yes please to bacon wrapped chicken, orange marinated chicken, rib eye steak, top sirloin steak, beef tenderloin kabob, spiced lamb, lemon pepper pork. Yes more wine please!! Food service and company was fantastic. If you want to know more about Pampas click Here

We left Pampas and headed to Edmontons Whyte Ave to take in some live music at Blues on Whyte. I always have a great time at Blues on Whyte. I meet the craziest characters, see the best live bands and always leave talking about coming back.¬† I think it is the diversity of the people that keeping me coming back. One minute you are chatting with a biker, the next you are sharing a table with a lawyer and his wife or doing a shot with some college kids that are celebrating the fact that it is Saturday. Blues is one of those places where there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet. To me Blues on Whyte is the best of nitty gritty Edmonton. Check it out for yourself Here

A couple of days were needed to regroup and Kirk headed back up North to work. I handled some teenage drama and decided my girls needed some one on one time with their Mom.

Devonian  Botanical Gardens

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The University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden is a magnificent 190-acre property located in Parkland county about 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, with cultivated gardens and plant collections, indoor showhouses, and an intricate nature trail system.

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Must sees include the beautiful Kurimoto Japanese Garden; a Tropical Showhouse with exotic butterflies; Temperate and Arid Showhouses; alpine, herb, rose, peony, lilac and lily collections; a Heritage Garden; Native Peoples Garden; trial beds and more. The kids were gracious to let me take a thousand rose pictures with the promise of homemade lemonade to follow.

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The Garden is a University of Alberta research site and visitor attraction offering children’s programs, certificate programs, Thursday date nights and more. Love nature? Check it out Here

The girls and I zipped back to the city for dinner at Red Robin.The girls like the friendly upbeat atmosphere and service and the meals are yummy. You can see Here

After dinner we ran over to Movies 12.  I love the cheap theatre.  Three movies for under $10 means you can go more often. We saw The Internship with Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson. I laughed lots and even clapped at the end. My girls told me that was inappropriate but when I clapped others followed. There was clapping in the movie, and in the theatre, it was a feel good moment.
Silly comedy,  quick whit and innuendo mixed with real life lessons. The story, by funny guy Vince Vaughn used the storyline of the 80s movie Flashdance to teach life lessons in perseverance, being yourself and trying your best. The characters were as diverse as they were lovable and I needed the laughs so if you are needing some too I recommend.  Check it out Here

Today my garden is calling for some attention and the girls want to go swimming.  This weekend a fave multicultural event Heritage Fest begins as well as Movies on the Square. As I said, never a dull moment!  I hope summer is heating up in your city. Cheers

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THE IN CROWD

TASTE OF EDMONTON 2013

The time has come, I am no longer a part of the in crowd. They allow me to hang out with them at mealtimes, probably because I make them the meals. Sometimes they endure my sarcasm and my attempts at hip humor but one by one they disappear because I am apparently not as cool as them, except when i am baking or handing out money. You know the time is going to come but nothing can prepare you for it. One day you are all of the sudden on the outside looking in. My teenage daughter now prefers the company of her friends.

Look at me. I made chocolate chip pancakes and bought all your favorite snacks. I’m cool, ask anyone. In fact I was cool before it was cool to be cool.

My daughter now comes as a package deal. She no longer wants a quiet night in front of the tele while I stroke her hair. Nights in front of the tele include four texting teenagers and I generally am not invited to hang out.

So now i am going to smother my nine year old Haley with all my love and attention. She still thinks that i am the best date in the world and can’t imagine a time when that will change. I know it will, it is inevitable, but right now i am content to stroll hand in hand with Haleylujah at the Taste of Edmonton, enjoying the sunshine and eating treats till our bellies are full of goodness and our hearts are full of love.

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Heart to Heart

Daily Prompt: Far from Home

by michelle w. on July 15, 2013

Tell us about the farthest¬†you’ve¬†ever traveled from home.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us DISTANCE.

When I moved to Edmonton I was terrified. I felt “comfortable” in my small town. I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t scared. The thought of raising my children in a big city that I didn’t know scared me more then you can ever imagine. I am stubborn though! When people told me that I would hate it and I would be back in six months, the real stubborn me came out. Who in their right mind would sell their house and move their children across Canada without putting everything they had into making it work? Not me, that is for sure. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

I was an Eastern snob, I never even had a desire to visit West let alone live here. I am one of those bitches that thought nothing existed past Ontario (I am not kidding) Mountains Smoutains, who really cared?? Nova Scotia had the Ocean. In my defiance to prove everyone wrong I became excited. I rented a house site unseen in an old neighborhood in North Edmonton and the only thing I really knew is that it was close to the Elementary school and an Old friendly guy lived across the road. They also would take our Dog and that was crucial.

Kirk had been away for six months….six months straight when he flew home to move us.His job in the Oil Sands kept him extremely busy and the best choice for us as a family was to relocate. I sold the house (privately on my own), Packed up eight years of memories, made all the arrangements and when Kirk landed to help pack the U haul he just wanted to go to the beach. It was midsummer, why not? A couple hours at the beach would do us all good. The girls and I spent a lot of time at the beach and we all loved it. We lost track of time playing in the sand and surf and when we went to check on Kirk he was lying in the fetal position on a blanket with a strip burnt into the side facing the sun. OUCH!

We spent that last night at our house packing up last minute items and hanging out with friends. To say the least it was unusual, I hadn’t seen my husband for six months and there was a time when I wasn’t even sure that we would make it and here we were our fist time together in six months surrounded by boxes in a house we had bought together when I was pregnant with Morgan. We had brought both our girls home from the hospital to that house. They had learned to drive their bikes in that driveway, they had childhood dreams in those bedrooms, first birthday parties, first steps, first words. The next day our best friends came to help pack our life into a Uhaul. It was surprisingly quick! Morgan was a mess. She was eight at the time and certain that we were ruining her life. Her Aunt Anna swooped in to the rescue and took her home. The moving festivities were too much for her.

Our friends were having us a going away party. Everyone was expecting to see us soon; I don’t think anyone imagined that we would actually start a whole new life in Edmonton. When the U haul was packed and Haley was settled at my Moms I went back to the house to clean up and pick up the cat. With the house empty it was just that. It was a house…not a home. I had stressed for months about how I was going to ever say goodbye to the place that we raised our children. Oh boy if those walls could talk. We had loved in that house more then anyone in the world has ever loved. We had been husband and wife, best friends, lovers, parents and every imaginable thing in between. When you take the people out of the home it remains just a house. You get to take the memories with you. Some of them I wanted to leave behind…

I stood there in that empty house and I didn’t feel any sadness or heartache. I felt excited for what was to come.

Logistically I have been further away from home then Edmonton but on the 6 hour flight to Edmonton I felt like I was travelling a lifetime away from home and my family and friends. I felt choked but I couldn’t allow my kids to think that I was anything but excited for this new adventure. My Mom gave me a delicate silver necklace with hearts woven together. It is an unbroken circle symbolizing that our hearts would be connected no matter where we were. I have been in Edmonton now for five years and the most valuable lesson that my mother taught me was that the quickest way to travel is “heart to heart”

HEART TO HEART

You never feel so far away

I keep you in my heart

Your laugh, your smile, your silly ways

We are never far apart

Often a song, a movie, a quote

Or something crazy we laughed about

Makes me smile or shed a tear

But never a  useless pout

For miles are not the distance

We measure how far apart

We are never more then a beat away

When we travel from heart to heart.

Michelle DeBay

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/daily-prompt-distance/