Archive for the ‘Home and Family’ Category

The New Couponing: Save Money on Groceries, Part Two

Monday, January 25th, 2016
The New Couponing: Save Money on Groceries, Part Two | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you feel as though you need to take out a second mortgage these days to pay for groceries in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region? My recent blog article entitled “Hurting From Alberta’s Recession? 12 Tips to Save Money on Groceries” mentioned coupons as a way to save money at the till.

Where do you find coupons?

The old way was to clip coupons or rebate offers printed in newspapers and magazines, or pick them up at the grocery store. But much greater numbers of the discounts offered by stores and manufacturers can now be found on the Internet. You can achieve surprising savings this way.

Online Coupon Sites:

These websites provide coupons (for many things, not just groceries) that you can print out from your computer, or have sent to you by mail. You will need to spend time familiarizing yourself with each site’s offerings and be aware of regional offers and expiry dates, but the money you save can really add up.

Canadian Free Stuff
Coupon Click.ca
Free.ca
Grocery Alerts.ca  (see especially: (SmartSource printable coupons Smart Source will also send you sample packs of items, but that is a blog post for another day!)
Mrs. January.com
P&G Everyday (Proctor & Gamble:  Samples from P&G too, some of them full size products!)
Red Flag Deals.com
Retail Me Not
Save.ca
Save a Loonie.com
Saveland.ca
Smart Canucks.ca
Simply Frugal.ca
Valpak.com
Websaver.ca

***Check out this digital couponing app — no more printed coupons: Coupgon  (Read “Coupgon: Digital Couponing for Canadians” for the details.)

Cash Back Smartphone Apps:

These apps pay you cash after you upload a photo of your grocery receipt. Usually, the payment comes after a minimum dollar value has been accrued. The advantages to this system are that you don’t have to carry around printed coupons, and often there will be rebates on items for which coupons are almost never offered, such as produce. Here are four of the best:

Checkout 51   (See “Checkout 51: The Ultimate Guide“)

Snap by Groupon  (See “Snap by Groupon: Everything You Need to Know“)

Zweet   (See “Zweet – New Cash-Back Rebate App” )

CartSmart  (See “CartSmart: Canadian Money-Saving App“)

***For even more information about these apps, plus 2 others.

Other Apps:

Two more apps to make grocery shopping simpler and save you money:

Flipp
Enter your postal code and you’ll see dozens of flyers for stores in your area. Set up your favourites list to find flyers for your preferred stores. The search feature allows you to find just the items you’re looking for, along with local deals. Price matching is then a snap. You can also create a shopping list if you tap on the items you want to buy.

Save.ca Mobile
Browse flyers, redeem cash-back offers, create shopping lists and more.

Do you have money-saving tips to share? Let me know and I’ll feature them in future blog posts. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Is Your Home Burglar Proof for Back to School?

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Is Your Home Burglar Proof for Back to School? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLate August is a busy time of year as families in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region get ready for summer holidays to end and school to start up again.  Something you might not have thought of is the need for heightened home security when fewer people are  home during the day.

Burglary can leave families feeling vulnerable and violated. According to security experts, by far, the most common threat to our home while we are back at work and school is burglary.

Patrice De Luca, V.P. of Customer Care for ADT Canada says the first step in burglary prevention is gaining an understanding of who commits these crimes and why.  “The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or at school,” De Luca explained. “Burglaries also occur at night when there are obvious signs that residents are away.”

Most home burglars are young males looking for things that are small, expensive, and easily converted to cash. Items like cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, and other small electronic devices are high on the list. Quick cash is needed for living expenses and drugs. Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a careful selection process.

“This selection process is simple,” De Luca added. “They choose an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes.”

Is Your Home Burglar Proof for Back to School? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhat follows is a list of suggestions from ADT, providing Protectron’s line of products, to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.

  • The first step, according to De Luca, is to “harden the target” or make your home more difficult to enter. “Remember, burglars will simply bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess,” he says. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Burglars know to look inside your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even inside your garage. Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking attempts.
  • When on a long-term business trip, leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbor to keep a car there and move it around from time to time. Have someone mow your lawn, rake leaves, or shovel snow and pick up your mail while you’re away.
  • Home security systems play a crucial role in a home security plan and are very effective, if used properly, especially when monitored 24-7 by ULC-listed monitoring centres. De Luca cautions that home security systems need to be properly installed and maintained to be most effective. He recommends your home security system include a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas.
  • For ultimate control and peace of mind while you’re at work, he recommends you look into the new fully interactive wireless security systems where you can arm and disarm your alarm, lock or unlock your front door, control lights and your home’s thermostat at the touch of your smartphone. You can even include interior and exterior cameras with interactive surveillance that enables parents to receive alerts to view the comings and goings of their children from school or cleaning staff in video or image format on their work computer or smartphone. More information on home security is available at www.protectron.com.

Check out my other blog articles and checklists on home security:

Home Security Checklist

How Secure Is Your Home?

Summertime Home Security Tips

Home Inventory: Do You Have One?

Fire Safety in Your Home (includes Fire Safety Checklist)

Automate Your Spruce Grove Area Home With Your Smartphone

Looking for a new home with upgraded security features?  Maybe I can help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Much of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe kids are grown, the grandchildren are coming along, and soon you’ll reap the rewards of your lifetime of work. It’s called retirement. But even though you’ve planned for this major change in your life, there are still important decisions to make – including where you’ll spend your retirement years.

To make an informed decision about a future home, whether it’s in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, here’s a brief guideline courtesy of Investors Group:

Location

Will you stay in the home where you raised your children? There may be a deep emotional attachment to the home and the neighbourhood.

Size of home

A smaller home is easier to maintain, with lower utility costs and taxes. But, consider a new home purchase carefully. Perhaps that money is better off in investments that increase your cash flow and your estate.

Buy or rent?

Downsizing to condos or apartments can be an attractive lifestyle choice. The costs of major repairs at condominiums are shared among owners, and repairs are the building owner’s responsibility. On the downside, you may find you’re living too close to neighbours or that condo fees are too steep.

Summer and winter homes

Many Canadians decide to winter in warmer southern climates. If you choose to follow these snowbirds, will you own or rent your residences in Canada and the United States? This decision depends on your personal situation, so you should consult a tax advisor.

Your health

If you have no current health problems, maintaining your present home may be practical. But if health concerns are a consideration, you may want to look at housing options that offer various levels of assisted living.

Your income

Before you begin to make decisions, you’ll want a clear picture of your overall financial situation. You need to review your projected income levels from all sources, including pensions and investments.

Most of all, choose a home where you will be happy in your retirement. Additional information about the varied financial options is available at www.investorsgroup.com and be sure to talk to a financial advisor for professional assistance.

Helping my clients find the right home for whatever life stage they’re in is what I do best!   Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Contents of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Editor Note: This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact an Investors Group Consultant.

Treat Your Mom This Mother’s Day With These Special Edmonton Experiences

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Treat Your Mom This Mother's Day With These Special Edmonton Experiences | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

 

So you’re living on one of the many Edmonton acreages or in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region and need some great ideas for Mother’s Day activities this year?  Whether you want to take mom out for a fancy brunch or celebrate her by doing something totally unique, below are some great ideas to suit every taste.

Get Fancy at the Empire Ballroom Sunday Brunch

If your mom is the type who likes to be treated to elegance and class on her special day, take her and the family out to the Sunday brunch at the Empire Ballroom in the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Edmonton. This beautiful hotel has an amazing view of the River Valley (perfect if the whole family is together and you want a good photo op) and is known for the absolutely delicious food it serves up. Your mom will feel royally treated, and nothing speaks elegance in Edmonton like the Hotel MacDonald.

Try Another Great Brunch Spot at The Moose Factory

Another Edmonton classic that is great for Mother’s Day and slightly less formal is Tom Goodchild’s Moose Factory on Calgary Trail. Many Edmonton families enjoy their special Mother’s Day brunch that features a chocolate fountain! If your mom is a chocolate lover, the chocolate fountain is sure to be a big win for her.

Many other Edmonton and area restaurants also sponsor a special Mother’s Day brunch. Check out these spots featured at Open Table.

Locally, try places such as the Homesteaders’ Kitchen at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain or the Grill restaurant at The Links Golf Course in Spruce Grove – but reservations are a must!

Get Unique at the Rutherford House

For a more unique take on a Mother’s Day activity, head to the Rutherford House to participate in their Social Sundays. The Rutherford House has been preserved through the centuries, belonging originally to the first premier of Alberta, Alexander Rutherford. Every Sunday they open the house to the public and host activities such as old-fashioned crafts and give demos on old -fashioned traditions. On Mother’s Day they will have a special Mother’s Day craft. This is really an event the whole family can be a part of.

Learn About Moms Across the Animal Kingdom

For a more educational Mother’s Day that gets the whole family involved and engaged, the Edmonton Valley Zoo is hosting a special event. They have something for everyone at this event, which runs from noon-4 PM. For moms they’re providing mini massages and manicures, and for kids they have a number of crafts (to make and give to mom of course) as well as face painting, live music, and magic shows. This is a great event if you have little ones who need to be engaged throughout the day.

Get Active This Mother’s Day

The Edmonton Sport Chek Mother’s Day Run is an annual 5k and 10k run that happens each year on Mother’s Day. The event is one of Edmonton’s largest running events of the year and helps raise money for local Children’s Hospitals. This year on Sunday, May 10, head to Hawrelak Park. Cost is $35 ages 11 and up, $25 ages 5-10.

Timetable:
• Warm Up – 8:45 AM
• 2.5 km Ride – 8:55 AM
• 10 km Run – 9:00 AM
• 5 km Run & Walk – 9:30 AM
• Little Legs Race – 10:45 AM
• Awards – 11:00 AM
Register here.

Edmonton is a wonderful place during special days like Mother’s Day because the city really comes alive with celebration. There are so many ways to get out and celebrate mom. From the fancy to the unusual, the city has something happening for every taste.

If you want more information on any of these ideas, or if you need any information on Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, or Parkland County acreages, feel free to call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Plan to Attend Edmonton’s Annual Community League Day on September 20th

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Plan to Attend Edmonton's Annual Community League Day on September 20 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re a resident of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, you should know that there are many opportunities to get involved in the local community and have some fun. Edmonton’s Community League Day is coming this September, and it’s not an event you want to miss. On September 20th, come out to Community League Day and find out why your local Edmonton community league is “Where Neighbours Meet & Great Things Happen.”

About the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues

The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues sponsors this city-wide event, which is held every year on the third Saturday of September. Edmonton’s community leagues are the oldest and most active in Canada. The EFCL was founded in 1921 with one neighbourhood group, and has expanded over the years. Today, there are 147 chapters of community leagues all over Edmonton.

The leagues are all volunteer organizations that focus on creating recreation opportunities in Edmonton. They’ve been responsible for sports fields, community activity halls, and ice skating rinks. Some of the most popular organizations in Edmonton, including the Community Police Radio Network, School Patrols, and Neighbourhood Watch, began with the Edmonton Community Leagues.

League Sponsored Family Events

The biggest event of the year for the EFCL is the Community League Day, although various community leagues throughout the city sponsor family events all year-round. Family days and winter carnivals are fun activities for families and include curling, hockey, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Participants are treated to hot dogs, chili, and hot chocolate around a fire pit, followed by fireworks.

Community League Day on September 20

The annual Community League Day on  Saturday, September 20, promises to be fun and exciting for the entire family. Check with the community league in your neighbourhood to find a schedule of the day’s events. You can expect Edmonton to celebrate this day with lots of fun family activities, like Fall festivals, car shows, street dances, bike rodeos, corn roasts, beer gardens, barbecues, pancake breakfasts, and much more.

The Edmonton Annual Community League Day gives families the opportunity to participate in all the celebrations throughout the city, but it also give residents a chance to celebrate Canada’s multicultural heritage with lots of cultural activities.

What to Expect at Community League Day

Community League Day is set to host lots of great fun like live entertainment, balloon animals, face painting, dog agility demonstrations, dancing, horse-drawn wagon rides, and lots of games for the kids. The annual event has the atmosphere of an old-fashioned fall festival. The 2014 celebration kicks off at 9:00 AM, and ends at 11:45 PM on September 20. Make sure to come early to enjoy all the day’s festivities in your neighbourhood. There’s sure to be plenty of fun activities, music, live entertainment, and great street food to enjoy.

Edmonton’s 2014 Community League Day is sure to be good, wholesome fun. You can join the festivities at one location or plan to visit several around the city.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about events in our region.  For more information about Community League Day or any of the other events Edmonton hosts, please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Overnight Guests? 9 Tips to Host Them in Style!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Overnight Guests?  9 Tips to Host Them in Style! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSummer in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region often means welcoming family and friends from out of town, out of the province or even out of the country for a stay in your home. Whether their stay is for one night or several weeks, you want your guests to feel comfortable in your home, and you want the experience to be as easy and stress-free for yourself as possible. Take some tips from the best hotels.

 

  1. Plan, plan and plan some more! Think about the people who will be staying with you. Any special needs that should be considered, such as dietary or mobility issues, or allergies? Any special equipment needed, such as a crib or baby gate for an infant, toys and activities for the kids?  Organize and clean everything beforehand so you can spend your time enjoying the visit.
  2. Welcome your guests with a great meal and some relaxation. Show your guests where everything is and how to operate basic equipment, such as that toilet with the touchy flush mechanism. Give them a set of spare keys so they can come and go as they please. It’s also a good idea to supply emergency-contact information and general phone numbers, as well as any other essential details about the house and the neighborhood (appliance quirks, security information, remote control codes, special house rules such as no smoking in the house, etc.)
  3. Sleep, and other basic needs! If you have the space, put up your guests  in a private guest room and bathroom. It goes without saying that everything will be spotlessly clean, even if the bedding and towels aren’t new, and make sure the bed and pillows are comfortable. Extra blankets and pillows are welcome. The best guest rooms will also be equipped with a place to sit other than the bed (how about a comfy chair, reading lamp and some current magazines for real pampering?) and a place to store suitcases and their contents. Empty a dresser drawer or two, make room in the closet, supply some empty hangers. If the room you offer your guests usually has another function in your home – not during their residency, please! If the bathroom they’ll be using will be shared, make sure it’s free of clutter and available for your guests’ needs, and well-equipped with essentials such as plenty of toilet paper.
  4. Place a basket of basic travel-size toiletries in your guests’ room: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, shaving cream, soap, hand lotion, tissues, and the like, along with a little note encouraging them to help themselves. Plenty of towels too!
  5. Use a second basket to hold treat and snack items: bottled water or juice, granola bars, small packages of nuts, fresh fruit, etc.
  6. Other nice touches in the guest room: wall-hung mirror, waste basket, USB plug adaptor/charging station, wifi password, fan in the summer or heater in the winter, alarm clock, hair dryer, pen and paper, fresh flowers.
  7. Meals: Do as much pre-planning and advance preparation as you can so that you’re not stuck in the kitchen chopping, cooking and cleaning instead of visiting with your guests. Take a tip from many hotels these days that offer a help-yourself breakfast buffet. Plan for some meals away from home, whether it’s a picnic in the park or visits to local eateries. Keep things simple.
  8. Plan plenty of activities, or at least have lots of suggestions ready. If your guests will be with you for a while, chances are you won’t be spending every minute with them. If they’re unfamiliar with the area, they would likely appreciate a city tip sheet listing local attractions, restaurants, and shops, along with a map and information on getting around.
  9. Household chores: Do as much in advance as you can, and try to do basic household maintenance, such as bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, etc. when your guests are out. Your guests might even be the type who would happily pitch in.  If they offer to help, take them up on it!

 

Planning ahead will minimize the work and stress of hosting and maximize the enjoyment of the visit, ensuring a memorable and positive experience for you and your guests.

Do you have some great hosting tips to share? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Easter in Edmonton: The Best Events Happening Around Town

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Easter in Edmonton- The Best Events Happening Around Town  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamEaster Sunday falls on April 20 this year, which means that with a little luck there will be some warm weather in town to lighten the mood of Easter festivities. If you’re new to the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, or if you’re a long-time resident, there are always lots of great events happening around town where you and your family can celebrate Easter in the community. These are just a few of the events you can take part in this year.

Hop to It at the Edmonton Valley Zoo

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is holding their popular “Hop to It” event again this year. Visitors will get to participate in science experiments and craft making. You can also get a temporary airbrush tattoo, experience the sensations of an egg-themed touch table, and go hunting on a scavenger hunt. The “Get Closer” feature offers guests some fascinating encounters with the zoo’s animal residents, and you can watch the animals hunt for their own Easter eggs. Depending on who finds them, the eggs might be played with, eaten, or even smashed.

How to Make a Monster at TELUS World of Science

If you’re looking for something a little different on the Easter weekend, it would be a perfect time to visit the How to Make a Monster exhibit at TELUS World of Science. The exhibit will show you the latest tricks and techniques that Hollywood uses to bring big screen creatures to life. You will see the work of Academy Award winning effects artist John Cox, including aliens from Pitch Black, the crocodile from Peter Pan, and the ape from George of the Jungle 2. You can also take control of a creature and try your hand at being an animatronic puppeteer. The exhibit’s last day is April 21, which is Easter Monday.

Chop Suey on the Prairies: A History of Chinese Restaurants in Alberta

You can put some “East” into Easter by visiting the Royal Alberta Museum on Easter Sunday. That’s when they launch “Chop Suey on the Prairies,” an educational look at the history of Chinese restaurants in Alberta. The exhibit will examine the popularity of Chinese food in North America and look at the many different settings in which you can find Asian cuisine. What you learn might surprise you.

Easter Eggstravaganza at Rutherford House

The Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site has established a great tradition of hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza. This family event lets visitors explore the historic home of Alberta’s first premier, Alexander Cameron Rutherford; he first moved into the house in 1911. The event features an Easter egg hunt, a sampling of cookies that are baked traditionally in a wood burning oven, and fun Easter-themed crafts.

As you can see, you won’t have to look very far to find great family fun on Easter weekend in Edmonton, no matter the weather.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about your home or Edmonton real estate. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Need More Kitchen Space? Amazing Space Saving Ideas You’ll Love

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Need More Kitchen Space_ Amazing Space Saving Ideas You'll Love | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMost people dream of a spacious kitchen where they can cook with friends and throw the finest of dinner parties, but not everyone can have the ideal cooking space. Big houses are often fitted with an island and plenty of cupboard space but life in a small home or an apartment often comes with a much smaller kitchen. If your house in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region is a little bit too cozy, here are a few simple ways that you can find a bit more space without having to find a new place.

Purchase a Rolling Cart

One of the biggest parts of cooking comfortably in your kitchen is having the stretch-out space for preparation so that you can do all of the things that go into making a fancy meal at once. If counter space is at a premium, you might want to consider a roll away cart that you can use for those moments when you’re really in need of little more room in the kitchen. Whether you use it once in a while or every single day, a stylish cart is a great way to maximize space.  When the evening is over, the cart can simply be rolled away.

Get Creative with Your Storage

If you have a small kitchen, you’ve probably kept your pantry items to a minimum and scaled back your cooking accessories, but there are other means of storage besides the shelves. Instead, think about installing hooks or small racks above your counter so you can use your wall space for storage. You might even want to consider purchasing items that have magnets, or a knife rack that you can attach to your kitchen cupboard to avoid using the space a butcher block takes up.

Consider Installing a Lazy Susan

The biggest grievance associated with an undersized kitchen can sometimes be the massive storage space that is lost to the corner cabinet. Instead of having to push all of your kitchen items to the back of the cabinet where you’ll likely never use them again, consider a Lazy Susan. Whenever you need an item, you can simply spin the shelf instead of having to reach way in the back in the hopes of finding what you’re looking for.

Think of Your Dishware as an Accessory

It might seem like you should store all of your kitchen items in the kitchen, but there’s no reason you can’t get creative about things. If you have any side cabinets or closets where you can store less used items, like fancy dishware or a popcorn maker, you might want to place them there instead. You might even want to consider dressing up nearby cabinets or shelves with nice glassware or dishware so your fine items can reside somewhere outside of the kitchen!

If you’ve purchased Parkland County or Spruce Grove or Stony Plain real estate and you’re working with a cozy kitchen, it might seem like it’s cramping your style. However, simple measures like looking at your storage options and purchasing a roll away cart can make cooking a little bit simpler.

If you happen to have any home-related questions, I’m always happy to help! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

New to Edmonton? How to Settle Your Kids Into a Brand New Neighbourhood

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

New to Edmonton_ How to Settle Your Kids Into a Brand New Neighbourhood | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMoving is tough on kids, whether you are moving across town or across country. It usually means that kids have to leave their old friends, change schools, and, sometimes, adjust to a different climate. Fortunately, children are incredibly adaptable and with a little preparation, the transition can be smooth and painless. If you are moving to the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, there are many community resources available to help make you and your children feel right at home.

Prepare Your Children for the Move and Familiarize Them With the New Neighbourhood

Before you move, you should make a number of trips to the area around your new neighbourhood. Visit the local parks, drive around the streets, and drop into the area community centers. If possible, enrol your child in sports or lessons in your new community before you move. That way, they will have established friendships before enrolling in a new school. With weekly events and an eye toward families, the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove is a great place to check out if your move is taking you to the Parkland County real estate area. A vital community centre such as this is invaluable, especially if your new home is located within Parkland County acreages or Edmonton acreages. Although the land is beautiful and spacious, your neighbours are not very close and an active community centre helps you connect socially with the people in your district. This is very important for both children and adults.

Visit the School Your Children Will Be Attending

No one likes to be dropped off in a new situation, never mind a brand new school. Before you move to your new community, call ahead to the school or schools your children will be attending. Make an appointment for the whole family to visit the school, meet the principal, the new teachers, and perhaps take a tour of the school. Almost all schools encourage new students to come and have a look around. If it helps the students make a good transition, it is as good for the school as it is for you. If you are planning a summer move when the school is closed, ask for a tour and make an appointment to meet the teacher when you register your children for the semester. If you are unsure of which school your child will attend, you can consult with your realtor or check out the Alberta Education website. Here you can look up the schools in your area. For example, for the Spruce Grove Real Estate area and Stony Plain Real Estate area, you would look at schools in  Parkland School Division No. 70 or Evergreen Catholic School Division.

Get Involved in Your New Community

The best way to become involved in the community is to become a part of it. The wider and more far-reaching your social circle is, the better your children will fit in. Throw yourself a housewarming party and invite your neighbours and people from the community. Volunteer to coach a little league team, or run a reading program at the local school. Moving to a new area can be difficult for shy children, but the more involved your family is, the more opportunities you give them to make friends.

The most important thing about settling your kids into a new neighbourhood is not to worry. Children make friends fast and will likely know all the ins and outs of the community before you do. If you prepare them well and keep them involved, they will be happy and well-adjusted, whether they live in a home bought through Parkland County Real Estate, Edmonton Real Estate, or even North Pole Real Estate.

Moving is a stressful event and I am always willing to answer any home-related questions you might have! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Short Month, Lots Happening

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Short Month, Lots Happening | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFebruary in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region can be a dreary month.  Everybody’s tired of winter’s cold, snow and dark, while Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are just a distant memory.  But this short month actually provides lots of opportunities to add a festive touch to day-to-day life.

Chinese New Year

While not a February holiday in 2014 (the Year of the Horse officially begins on January 31, 2014), the lunar new year does often belong on a list of this type.  The Wikipedia article tells us that the lunar new year can occur as early as January 22 or as late as the 19th of February (get ready for the Year of the Goat starting Feb 19, 2015!).  Should you celebrate it this year with dragon costumes, dancing, food, fireworks, money in red paper envelopes, paper lanterns and more?  Did I mention food?  Why not?!

SuperBowl , February 2, 2014

In the US, the first Sunday in February every year is the championship game of the National Football League and is known as much for its great TV commercials (which, sadly, we Canadians often don’t get to see!) as for the game itself.

Groundhog Day, February 2

We all know the story that if the sun shines on Feb 2 and the groundhog sees his shadow, scaring him back into his burrow, oops, 6 more weeks of winter.  Big deal in Alberta where we’re happy if only another 6 weeks of winter is all we see!  Canada actually has three famous groundhogs making their predictions:  Balzac Billy in southern Alberta, Wiarton Willy in Ontario and Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia.  Wiarton Willy, whose festival began in 1956, even has his own statue and is the star of a big winter festival.  Of course, we all know rodents can’t predict the weather, but it’s fun to be reminded that winter will eventually end, and the day gives us a good excuse to watch Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day movie!

February 2 is also the date of a Christian holiday celebrated by many devout Catholics around the world:  Candlemas.   Check out the article in Time and Date.com.

Winter Olympics, February 7-23, 2014, Sochi, Russia

Even non-sports fans find themselves caught up in the hoopla, pageantry and emotion of triumph and defeat at the Olympic Games.  Lots of televisions in Canadian homes will be tuned in to the Games this month.  Whether you just like to watch the opening and closing ceremonies, cheer on your favorite athlete or team, or follow all the events avidly, the Olympics offer another great chance to show our national pride.

Valentine’s Day, February 14

Cupid with his bow and arrow, red cinnamon heart candies, chocolate in heart-shaped boxes, gifts of flowers or jewelry, Valentine’s Day cards exchanged by school kids, mushy romantic ones for the grown-ups…  Love the holiday and get involved, or throw an Anti-Valentine’s Day party!

National Flag of Canada Day, February 15

We Canadians are proud to wear and fly the red maple leaf, but I think most of us are a little hazy when it comes to some of the finer points of our nation’s history.  I wonder how many people these days remember just how young our flag is.  Here is some trivia for you:  Canada’s flag was designed by George F. G. Stanley, who was inspired by the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada.  The design was selected by a multi-party parliamentary committee on October 29, 1964 and approved by the House of Commons on December 15, 1964.  Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the new flag on January 28, 1965 and it was inaugurated on February 15, 1965, replacing the country’s Red Ensign flag.  In 1996 1,000,000 flags were distributed to Canadians in the One in a Million National Flag Challenge for 1997.  Next year, in 2015, our flag will be 50 years old.  How should we celebrate?

Family Day in Alberta, February 17, 2014

Premier Don Getty back in 1990 was responsible for this holiday, making Alberta the first Canadian province to declare a day off work in February, recognizing time for family and the importance of family values.  Nowadays, many communities in Alberta stage special events on Family Day.  What are your plans for this special day?

Do you know why February has just 28 days, instead of 30 or 31?

Blame the Romans who created the calendar.  There are many explanations and theories about this, but it really comes down to February being a month that nobody liked much!

Is February a good month to buy or sell a house?  You bet!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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