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CONTEST CLOSED, winners have been emailed! 

WINNERS ARE:

Forina Tsao of Burnaby

Monique Berichon of Maple Ridge

Aliisa Sarte of Coquitlam

Celina Woycheshen of Pitt Meadows

Jessica Kyle of Surrey

 

 

On Sunday, Nov. 4th 10am-4pm

PoCo Inn Hotel, Port Coquitlam

Learn, Shop, Play & Have Fun! The first 200 Guests receive a free Gift Bag full of gift

Win Tickets to the 2nd Annual Royal Pumpkin Ball!

Royal Pumpkin BallCONTEST CLOSED! Ricky Shetty of Vancouver has won 4 tickets, and is excited to attend the ball!

 

One winner will win 4 tickets to see the Royal Pumpkin ball!

The 2nd Annual Royal Pumpkin Ball On October 28, 2012 is for the little guys, ages 8 years & younger as a safe Halloween option that includes a festive costumed-balland fun activities to entertain the young minds! There will be many wonderful prizes to be won by children and parents alike, photo-ops, and plenty of excitement. Put on your best costume and be ready to sing and dance at this high-energy event kid’s are sure to love!

We welcome back award-winning entertainer Marnie & the Music with Marnie Band!

Pumpkin Patches! Where to go near you!

baby PumpkinIt’s that time of year again! Halloween is right around the corner. I love when seasons change and I look forward to all the new events to come. Looking for some local pumpkin patches with some fun while getting your pumpkins?

Abbotsford:

Apple Barn Taves Family Farm ~ Pumpkin Fest

Maan Farms Pumpkin Patch  

Willow View Farms Pumpkin Patch – 


 
Delta/Ladner:
Westham Island Herb Farm Pumpkin Patch –

Chilliwack:

Petey’s Pumpkin Patch – Chilliwack

Pumpkin Patch at Chilliwack Corn Maze 

 

Langley:
Aldor Acres pumpkin patch

Maple Ridge:
Laity Pumpkin Patch

Richmond:
Richmond Country Farm - Pumpkin Patch

Surrey:
Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch at Gabriel Farm

Vancouver:
Southlands Heritage Farm - Pumpkin Patch
 

Host a Swap by National Costume Swap Day Canada!

Costume Swap DayThe kids are back in school. Your schedule is almost all yours for at least a few hours every day. Coffees are sipped while still hot. Life is good.

Then, you have visions of Halloween.

Before you gulp hard thinking up ways to distract your 7-year-old long enough to keep her away from the Monster High costumes or how to stomach another $40 bucks for plastic masks and same-same off-the-rack getups from those big box stores destined for a box under the stairs, ease back into that comfy café chair across from your favorite pals and split another of those sweet chocolate brownies with them. There is magic in the air.

You look down into your nearly empty latte that you drank surprisingly uninterrupted by tiny people and realize that all of this Halloween costume craziness could be avoided this year.  If only someone in your town would host one of those very cool costume swaps that everyone is talking about over at National Costume Swap Day™ Canada.

That’s when you pitch it to the smiling moms around you – let’s be the ones to host a costume swap!

No one disagrees. This is sweet genius. Get rid of old costumes? Stay out of the costume aisle at the store? Save some serious cash? Friends and neighbors will envy the simple brilliance of it all.

Costume Swap DayBut…(there’s always a but) Won’t it be a lot of work?

No way.  There’s some organizing, a little advertising, a room to rent and costumes to trade. But, the coolest part is that the crew at National Costume Swap Day Canada make it a piece of cake for you to make this the most creative, fun and easy costume-buying season ever.

Plus, you can do something cool like use the proceeds to support your favorite local charity, share the adventure with some other fun, creative and brilliant moms and your kids may even vote you awesome (told you there was magic).

How do you do it?

It’s cake. Head on over to www.costumeswapdaycanada.com, check out the videos, the how-tos and all of the tools. Then, get planning, register your swap, and let the Halloween magic fly.

Lost Child TipsRecently at a school neighbourhood fair I went to with my kids I lost my son for 10 minutes. The longest ten minutes of my life. Yes kids get lost, and you might think you have a handle on where they are at all times but in 30 seconds my son disappeared.

My two kids were on a bouncy castle, one with slides and obstacle type course. My son is 3 and my daughter is 7.  My daughter was really good at making sure he was with her, and I would follow them from entrance to the exit, after several times, this time I decided to stay at the entrance, I thought I could see them come out. My daughter came out and I asked her where’s your brother she says he was going down the slide. I then go to the exit of the inflatable and see he is not there, okay maybe he went again?

I am looking throughout the inflatable and nothing, went around it three times, nope, run around to all the inflatables, nothing. Panic starts to set in, I looked over to pony rides, ran to the park with my daughter, he was no where to be found. I saw a lady with a school shirt on, I asked her to help. 10 minutes later after I am an emotional wreck, the lady found him in another bouncy castle. While I was in sheer panic he was bouncing around and having a good time! I never want to feel that despair again and wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone. So after this happened I decided to research some tips and to share them with you. 

Here are some tips:

  1. Talk to your children about getting lost as it can happen! Tell them what to do if it happened but be careful to make sure not to instil fear

  2. Take a picture of your kids on your camera or smart phone before you enter the busy location, so that way you can show people what they look like and what they are wearing. I almost forgot what he was wearing as panic took over.

    Don’t have that option? Carry a recent photo and description: Always carry a recent, head-and-shoulders, color photo of each of your children. On the back of each photo, write down the child's eye and hair color, height, weight, and birthmarks or other distinguishing characteristics.

  3. If the child is old enough teach them your phone/cell phone and/or home address. Another option is to write your phone number on their arm so if they are found and can’t communicate well the person can call you phone as it would be easily seen. A cell phone is best.

    Also another idea is have them carry an ID card with all information on it. (carry it in their pants pockets or the child’s purse). With this information that can help them be reunited with their parent or caregiver as quickly as possible. I have also heard of bracelet id’s, temporary tattoo id’s and even an just simple writing inside the child’s shoe so the child can show a grown up.

  4. If the child/children are old enough have a safety spot where if anyone gets lost this is the location you all should go to.

  5. Tell them to locate an adult with children or if possible an authority figure to help them find you. It's important children can make the distinction between a potentially dangerous stranger and a 'safe' stranger, (Older children can learn to ask police officers or store clerks, but preschoolers can't yet distinguish uniforms from other types of dark clothing.

  6. Ask your children if they know your real name, the name other grown-ups use for you. The more important and empowering the information seems to preschoolers, the quicker they'll be willing to learn it. Then if they ever become lost, they can tell someone who their parents are.

  7. Try to keep calm and not panic. You may forget vital information such as what your child is wearing which can help locate them more quickly.

  8. Many busy public places such as departments stores, airports and theme parks have specific lost child procedures in place to help parents and children become reunited as quickly as possible. Depending on where you are, try to locate a member of staff or a member of the police or similar person of authority as quickly as possible.

  9. Dress your child in bright clothing such as yellow or bright green. So they can be spotted easily in a crowd, even at a distance. The clothing can be a shirt, hat, or j

re-use crayons for schoolI have never ordered a pre-assembled kit of back-to-school supplies. My oldest child used to feel left out when every other child in his class was given ‘the box’ on the first day of school but now he has no problem bringing his decorated shoe box with more carefully selected school supplies inside.

At this stage of my parenting journey, I’m not even sure I would pay the money to have a green pre-assembled school supplies kit provided for my children because I think we often forget about reusing with back to school. For the last few years, at the end of the school year, I parked their books and supplies in a bag or box and forgot about them in a closet. This year I combed through previous years of supplies and to my delight I won’t need to purchase many new items! Check out the sets I made from mixed sets of crayons – I have four complete sets for each of my kids!
 
I wasn’t sure if teachers would mind if supplies weren’t new and I was reminded by a reader and teacher on the MF fanpage that a crayon color spectrum is really more important for your children than the teacher. Purchasing Crayola products goes against so much of what I believe in because they are a huge company that doesn’t have the manufacturing standards I usually support -  so it’s been a relief to realize it’s up to my kids if they only want 6 beeswax or soy crayons in art supplies that are made in North America and don’t contain petroleum. The Clementine brand I point to at the end of this article for crayons, markers, and glue are all manufactured in the US and that is important. I of course won’t be purchasing the soy or beeswax crayons this year because I’ve done a great job of rounding up crayons in my own home – reusing is always best! And I’ve made 4  complete sets! But when you need to purchase new, avoid the petroleum, plastic, and antibacterial crap on the market and become your child’s eco warrior with back-to-school shopping!
 
Where else can you easily up-cycle with back-to-school supplies?  You know the little interlined work books for elementary school?  I have found more than 10 of these from previous years that only have a few pages filled out . . the rest are blank! I’ve ripped out these pages and will be sending the rest of the blank books with my kids. I have blank printer labels and will be applying these to the front of the books to eliminate the name, grade, subject information my children wrote from previous years. There is a cost savings here and think of the amount of wasted paper each year?!
 
Other supplies that are still in great condition that we are reusing from previous years? Wooden ruler, O’bon coloured pencil crayons, pencils, duotangs (empty and reuse), scissors, and paint! Now here are some tips for purchasing new back-to-school supplies. This is a great time to talk about commercialism with back-to-school. If you want to keep rolling over school supplies each year, stay away from the licensed folders, pencil cases, backpacks, water bottles, etc. That cute little monkey design or Dora and SpongeBob print might be cute for Grade 1 but they are not babies anymore by Grade 2 and might feel embarrassed by bringing what they once loved at this age. Keep supplies classic and simple – there is a secret to longevity by doing this. I would also encourage not to bring small children back-to-school shopping with you. If it’s just going to be a tantrum or fight for the supplies they don’t understand are poor quality and toxic – let kids stay home. Bring older kids with you and explain why and how you are making decisions on what to buy. Have older children go through supplies from the previous year and save what they’ll reuse. Also have them participate with decorating the up-cycled shoe box to bring supplies in.
 
I noticed last year and again this year, companies are doing a lot of marketing for Microban and antibacterial products. Examples of this are pencils, scissor handles, water bottle lids (the worst of all in my opinion), and binders. Normally Microban in plastic contains Triclosan which is a chemical that does not belong in back-t0-school supplies. The original use for Triclosan, a strong chemical, was used in surgical rooms. Why would we turn a classroom into the equivalent of a hospital with antibacterial properties? Skip

Summer Bucket List Ideas, Enjoy Summer to the Fullest, Before it's Over!

Alouette LakeBeaches: Check out a local beach. Don’t let the summer get away from you and you haven’t been to the beach! Look for beach treasures, make a sand castle, splash in the water, look for crabs and enjoy the sun. Centennial Beach, Kitsilano Beach, Crescent Beach, Steveston Park, White Rock beach and more!

Nature Hunt: Have a nature hunt, go to a local park and give the kids a list to find nature items (pick items that are not needed to be picked) to preserve the forest. For younger kids use pictures to help them find the items!

Splashdown Park: Slip and slide into fun! From water slides, to tubing, ramp slide and even an area for the little ones. They are only open until September so go and enjoy some water fun. Also there are great grassy areas to have a picnic but concession is also available. slides

Berry Picking: Head to a Berry Farm and go picking! Here are the 5 best berry farms to pick at as per BC Living

Grouse: Gondola ride up Grouse. Theatre in the Sky, Birds in the Motion, Guided Eco Walks and more! Don’t forget to watch a Lumberjack show, I still remember taking my daughter as young as 4 and her laughing hysterically at the show! Mountain Zip lining for the older kids too!

The Zoo in Aldergrove. Ride the minituare train, see the lions, monkeys, hippos and more! Be sure to check out the schedule before you go so you don’t miss some fun event like meet a reptile or a parrot or see a hippo feeding!

Maplewood Farm, pet the bunny rabbits (bring your own fruit/veggies), rent a mini pedal tractor for 30 min for $4.00 for the kids to check out the farm on. Bring food to have a picnic to enjoy on their picnic tables. Ride a pony, feed some animals. Here is a schedule to check out! 

Owl CentreCheck out OWL's Annual Open House which will take place on Saturday, August 25th and Sunday, August 26th from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. Tour behind the scenes of the facility, from the exam room to some of the pre-release cages not normally open to the public.  Also, if conditions permit, you could see the release of a fully-recovered eagle or two back to the wild.

Outdoor Movies: How fun would it be for a kid to watch a movie outdoors and get to stay up late! Bring the blankets, pillows and goodies and enjoy the show! Fresh air cinema holds events all around Vancouver, be sure to visit their facebook page for one near you! 

Treetop Adventures, cliff walk and cross the bridge at Capilano Suspension Bridge. BC residents enjoy unlimited admission to this Vancouver attraction for one full year from date of purchase. Enjoy all of the benefits of a yearly Membership for just the price of one day's admission . BC kids under 12 free after 5pm until September 3rd!

Be sure to visit Beauty Biodiversity Museum. Create biodiversity crafts, learn at activity stations, explore the Allan Yap Discovery Lab, participate in biodiversity themed scavenger hunts, and watch films in the Allan Yap Theatre. 

Visit a Farmer’s Market. You can find unique items, fresh veggies and fruits, enjoy the sunshine while browsing and also most markets have a small craft  or activity for your child to do! Visit http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/findamarket.asp for the list of markets in your area. Also you could check out the Chinatown night market or the Richmond Night Market to see a really unique market!

Check out one of the programs that Surrey Nature Centre has to offer. They offer wonderful programs, day camps and more! Discover a place to connect with nature, a place to play.  The new Surrey Nature Centre will allow you and your family to explore Green Timbers Urban Forest in new and exciting ways.  To visit the Surrey Nature Centre, please enter at 14255 - 96th Avenue phone: 604.502.6065       

Go to a local Lake so much beautiful ones to check out Deer Lake in Burnaby or Alouette Lake in Maple Ridge. There is so many to explore.  Rent a boat, canoe or just go swimming!

Visit a local outdoor wading pool or a water park. What kid doesn’t want to get wet and splash around on a hot day! Water parks have some great interactive water features and most wading pools have fun themes or water games to play as well. Check one out near you!

Reifel Migratory Bird SanctuaryGo for a Nature walk and see some birds, be sure to check out Serpentine Fen or the bring your own see to . Enjoy nature in Burns Bog or see wildlife at Greater Vancouver Zoo and rent a family bike or bring your own bike with you. Don’t forget to schedule a visit  to the Mountain View Wildlife Conservation Centre for a truly unique experience.  (bring your own bird seed or you can buy some there)

Cold day, go check out a fun indoor play centre, kids love to run around and explore!

Granville Island, one of my fav spots. Eat Fish and Chips outside, browse the local shops, buy fresh fruits and veggies in the market, take the kids to the Kid’s Only Market, be sure to stop and enjoy the playground and fun water park.

Klahowya Village in Stanley Park Klahowya Village in Stanley Park
General admission to Klahowya Village is free and includes the Artisan Marketplace, strytelling and weekend performences. Minitaure train ticket prices are now $5 a person, you can go unlimited times too! (2 and under are free) More info on Kids Vancouver's site as well. 

The PNE is open until September 3.  See a free performance, kids shows, animals, & several great new attractions; and of course over 50 amusement park rides. Make sure to check out the diverse Summer Night Concerts, and new daily program the WestJet Family Fun Series, brand new live guest participation show Family Feud and interactive Star Trek exhibit, then of course the legendary Superdogs and the night time finale, Pop City!

Of course last but not least be sure to visit www.kidsvancouver.com and go to one of the many events that are listed for the lower mainland.

Alouette Lake ViewRecently our family moved to Maple Ridge, which was a big change for us. We have been exploring when we can, it can be a bit hard with  a 3 year old, but when we can we sure love finding more beautiful areas of Maple Ridge!

One day it was hot and I wanted to take the kids to the water park, we knew the only one near by was at Maple Ridge Park, when we drove by we couldn’t believe how many kids and families were there. I love that park but it can be a bit vast for watching 2 kids at, especially a 3 year old who keeps going and going like the energizer bunny. Last time I was there my son would go to the water park and then want to go back to the playground and then repeat and I found it very difficult to watch both kids.

picnic tables at Alouette LakeSo I decided to continue down the road and saw a sign to Alouette Lake, and decided to follow it, another about 10 to 15 min up the mountain following the road signs. We parked and walked up the path to a beautiful breathtaking view. Mountain backdrops, sand, and shallow water for the kids to play in, can’t get much better than that! There is also trees for families that want shade and there is lots of picnic tables just up from the beach. But my kids want to be at the beach and wanted to enjoy the sunshine. The day was warm, but because of the wind there, it was a perfect temperature!

I could not believe how more people weren’t there! It was if people had no idea 15 min up the road was a beautiful little get away!

There is a small concession where you can buy ice cream, freezies, slushies and some packaged snacks (no hot food) and also you can rent canoes and kayaks which would be fun if your kids are old enough to go for nice canoe trip.

Nearby is of course camping, hiking, nature trails and more. Alouette Lake is a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, boating and fishing. The park also has three large campgrounds. Freshwater fishing is available at Alouette Lake, Mike Lake and Gold Creek.

Beach view at Alouette LakeThe beach had some good decent sand, but some areas are a little too rocky then others. Locate the best "castle building" sand before you put your blanket down. The Lake is quite shallow, you can walk pretty far out, but if worried about the little ones, be sure to make sure they have life jackets on. The water was very refreshing, but wasn't super warm at all, but sure is nice on a hot day.

So if you live near by, be sure to check out this hidden gem or make a day trip out for the day and come see it. You won’t regret the day at this beautiful beach or even camp near by! Be sure to bring a chair or blanket to sit on, sunscreen, bring shovels, buckets and other sand toys and if worried about the sun bring a beach umbrella to protect you from the sun. I

A "Greener" Birthday Party thanks to Green Planet Parties!

Birthday BannerBirthday parties are so wasteful, there are some simple things you can do to make a little greener! I received a beautiful handmade 'Happy Birthday' cloth banner that was 11 ft long to use for my son’s birthday from Suzanne of Green Planet Parties. I picked one that is natural, fun colors that I could not only use for my son but also my daughter.

Not only am I not now spending at least around $10 a banner it seems these days per theme each birthday, it looks classy and you can keep it for a lifetime and it will even will become a keepsake!

Birthday Banner Birthdays are so wasteful and expensive, it makes me feel a bit better on saving money over time and more importantly saving the environment! Green Planet Parties offer many different themes of banners: gardening, pirate, monster, jungle, farm, and more!

 

Be sure to check out Green Planet Parties for all their other great eco-friendly, locally produced and artisan handcrafted gifts, biodegradable tableware, reusable decorations, goodie bags and more.

 

Thanks Green Planet Parties for bringing a high quality sustainable product that parents can feel good about buying!

 

A good quote Suzanne of Green Planet Parties loves is by Anne Lappe: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for what kind of world you want.”

Global Mothers LogoGlobal Mothers is a Vancouver-based direct-trade organization that is the first–of-its-kind. Global Mothers is a not for profit organization that is focused on supporting mothers around the world through distributing artisan quality products here in Canada.

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