CANADA 150- 10 PLACES TO CELEBRATE IN AND AROUND VANCOUVER

Canada Day always brings an assortment of family friendly events in Vancouver and surrounding areas. It is a day of joy, patriotism and celebration. With the mark of Canada’s 150th year, something tells me our local events are really going to step up their game!

Check out this list of events in and around Vancouver that are sure to deliver fun for the whole family as we come together to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

City of Vancouver

1-Canada Place

This is a great event in the heart of Vancouver. Close to Stanley Park, this venue is truly a picture perfect place to celebrate Canada’s milestone birthday. There will be a citizenship ceremony to welcome 150 new Canadians to our city. Along with a youth area filled with great activities for all ages, there is also an awesome lineup of artists ready to ring in the New Year. Sam Roberts, FEFE, Emerson Drive, Hey Ocean!, Dragonette, and more will be at Canada Place performing and celebrating with the crowd. Another exciting addition is the Canadian Forces’ interactive exhibit. As someone with a family member in the Forces, I am thrilled about this opportunity to learn and thank the brave men and women who help keep our country safe.

As always to end the night, there will be a spectacular firework show.

July 2nd brings more fun with a parade and pancake breakfast.

 

2-Granville Island

8:00 am- midnight

Granville Island is always good for an eclectic day that is fun for all ages. As always there are many talented street performers, delicious goods from bakeries and markets, refreshing bevies from the local brewery and a playground and spray park to occupy the kids and cool off.

Definitely an easy place to spend the day; be sure to kick off the celebrations at the Canada Day Parade.

Photo Credit: www.canadaplace.ca

 

Richmond

3-Steveston Fishing Village

6:30-5:00

Spend the day at the Steveston Salmon Festival and Ships to Shore event in Richmond. This really is an enjoyable event for the whole family. Beginning bright and early this is a free event that includes a parade and a huge salmon barbecue. Cooking over 1200 filets in a large, smoked barbecue pit, this tasty attraction is a must see. After a tasty lunch, walk over to the near by Ships to Shore display on the water and explore twenty working and historical ships.

 

Surrey

4-Bill Reid Millenium Amphitheater

10:00 am-10:30pm

No list would be complete without this amazing event. Easily considered the biggest celebration in Western Canada, this party is jam packed with free entertainment. Something to please any age group. Vendor tents and markets, food trucks, organized activities for children, amusement rides at a cost of 1.25 per ticket and a slew of entertainers are only some of the attractions that will fill your day. While adults and older youth will enjoy the 270-foot zip line, and sports zone, this event targets young families with a Kid’s World, Toddler Town and Storyville.

Live entertainment includes sets from Magic! and Hedley.

Fireworks begin at 10:15

Burnaby

5-Burnaby village

11:00- 4:30

A lower key event filled with educational and family events, this Canada Day celebration is sure to please young families who are not interested in fighting the crazy, heavy crowds of larger events. Families can enjoy the regular Burnaby Village museum in addition to all the standard Canada Day activities featured at other events.

6-Swangard Stadium

Free concerts beginning at 6:30

After some fun filled exploration at the Village, head over to the Stadium for some great music and fun. Headliners include Steven Page, the African Heritage ensemble Kokoma and Will Stroet for the younger audience members.

 

Port Moody

7-Rocky Point

Golden Spike Days events are always fueled with fun for the whole family. Beginning at 11:00 this by donation event will be packed vendors, activities for kids, and beer garden. Set on the inlet, this location is beautiful. Enjoy a Canada Day walk or bike ride around the inlet, cool off at the spray park and enjoy a refreshing beer or food truck just a stones throw away at the local breweries.

Trooper will be performing at 9:00 and there will be Fireworks at 10:30.

 

Coquitlam

8-Town Center

12:00-10:30

Town Center is quickly becoming the place to be in Coquitlam. Come down to Lafarge Lake, now easily accessible thanks to the Evergreen Skytrain Line, and enjoy a Taste of Coquitlam. Throughout the day there will be live music along with kids activities. I myself am quite intrigued by the mysterious Bubble Ball activity. Similar to Rocky Point, there is a nearby spray park to cool off at as well as a leisurely walk around the lake.

There will be a beautiful display of fireworks to end the day.

 

Port Coquitlam

9-Castle Park

Noon to dusk

This is a great community event that showcases local talent. In addition to all the standard Canada Day celebrations, food vendors, marketplace and children’s activities, there will also be a salmon barbecue. You will even be able to paint a tile for the Canada 150 Mosaic between 12:30-5:00 which is very cool.

Fireworks at dusk.

 

Maple Ridge

10-Memorial Peace Park- 224 Street & Mcintosh Avenue

10:00-7:00

Maple Ridge is a growing community and is home to several young families. This event brings all the fun of Canada 150 without the long commute. There will be a Farmer’s Market, a community barbecue hosted by local firefighters, and a slew of family friendly activities. Three stages will showcase some great performances or music, culture and dance. Don’t forget to lend your beautiful voice to the Happy Birthday Canada sing along to cap off the day.

PERFECT GIFTS FOR DAD THIS FATHER’S DAY

Father’s Day is nearing. It’s a day we get to celebrate the awesome men in our children’s lives. It’s a day set aside to appreciate the amazing contributions they make, and most importantly, a day to be together as a family.

I love these types of holidays. I don’t know about you, but our every day life is hectic. It’s busy, and sometimes emotions are heightened. Things are taken for granted, and appreciation is not always conveyed. While obviously it is important to humble ourselves and spend days where we cherish and value each other more than once a year on a specific date, I will say, I love these types of days.

Trust me when I say I am aware of how lucky my child and I are to have such an amazing man in our lives. There are too many absent parents in this world, that having presence is by far the best present my husband, my daughter’s father, could give us.

So of course, I am going to celebrate him. The day is spent saying to hell with our everyday normal and simply enjoying each other’s company and making memories. It usually starts with a well deserved sleep in, a yummy breakfast, the day together (usually outside), and a relaxing evening after the babe goes down playing board games or snuggling to a movie he loves.

Father’s Day to me is not a day for fancy gifts. Birthdays, yes, but father’s day is definitely a time for a more sentimental approach to gift giving. To me, it’s an opportunity to mark the day, time and place much like a time capsule. Handprints, photos, things you love about dad are all ways to create a memory frozen in time.

If you’re looking for some last minute options, here are some of our past gifts for Dad.

1- DADDY picture frame

Looking for a last minute gift that is sure to hit your child’s father right in the feels? Using pictures to make a word or sentence will definitely tug at his strings. The great thing about this is that you probably have every picture you’ll need already on your phone to make this memory frame a reality.

At the time of my hubby’s first Father’s Day, our daughter was about 2 months old. Writing the word Daddy in photos was really neat because it was sort of a road map through our first weeks as a family of 3. He was over the moon and let me tell you, this proud papa could not wait to hang it up for all to see.

2- Make your own picture book

Sample title: I love my Daddy, Happy Father’s Day
Sample caption: My Daddy sure does work hard to provide for me and mom, and when he gets home he kisses me and sings his special Daddy song
Sample Caption: You’re the best Daddy it’s true, it’s true and I just love spending time with you! So today of all days I just wanted to say, how much I love you and happy Father’s Day!

To commemorate my husband’s first Father’s Day I did want to buy something special for him. I decided on a watch to mark the special occasion, but I wanted to make a reason for it to represent the day. In searching Pinterest, I found the phrase “I love spending time with you” and it clicked! I wrote a small poem of things our girl loves about her daddy and found correlating photos. I then assembled them into a cute picture book with the last page being a photo of her holding the watch with the caption I just love spending time with you. After reading it, he opened the watch and was too thrilled for words. Although he loves the watch and in his words “enjoys wearing her heart on his sleeve”, the individualized picture book was definitely the big hit of the day.

3- For the time crunched Momma

Last year’s Father’s Day was a little crazy for us. Being between homes after living separately for 2 ½ months due to a relocation, Father’s Day crept up far too quickly for this mom to get creatively crafty. Enter a store bought gift. As irritated as I am sometimes that my favorite bookstore now carries an abundance of children’s toys, particularly when I am there with my kiddo attempting to treat her to a new book, I’ll admit they are my go to location when it comes to a good last minute gift.

4- A sign he’ll LOVE!

Another time crunched creation. For this, I used an old piece of wood we had laying around from our renovation. I stained it using Minwax Jacobean stain that I had leftover from the renovation as well. This is a super simple addition to any décor, and will leave a smile on his face every time he sees it.

5- Personalized plates

I don’t know about the men in your life, but ours love to BBQ. This grilling plate is perfect for any man in your life. As a bonus, all the materials can be found at your local Dollar Store.

To make, dilute some yellow, orange and red acrylic paint with water to make it less thick. Stamp the hands on the plate and let dry for 24 hours to avoid cracking. Draw in the grill using oil based Sharpies and let dry. Bake for approximately 30 minutes in the oven at 300 degrees Celsius. Careful not to over bake as the color may turn. Recommended Hand Wash Only.

Sentimental gifts are nice, but remember, the most important present your child can give their father is, in fact, their presence. Enjoy the day together!

CONFESSIONS OF A BAD MOM

Did you know that moms are the only species on the entire planet, in the entire universe that actually do everything right 100% of the time, seven days a week? No, you’ve never heard that? Oh that’s right, because that is an absolutely ridiculous statement, one however, that often gets mistaken as truth because everyone is so quick to judge you on every little thing that you do. Seriously, I know I just moved, but I’m pretty sure I did not take up residence under a microscope thank-you very much, so back the fuck off.

Thanks to Pinterest and the ridiculous illusions of perfection streaked over social media, I assumed every momma out there was this incredible enigma and that I was slowly making my way to earning the award for world’s worst mother. While other moms are clearly achieving A plus marks, I felt like I was the one in the corner eating paste.

When it comes to fact versus fiction, our guilt and insecurities will alter our realities. We begin to overanalyze our days and focus on inadequacies or perceived losses instead of patting ourselves on the shoulders for picking our battles, and surviving one more day.

I’m a mom. I’m more than a picture perfect Instagram snap. I’m real, I’m human and I sure as hell make mistakes. I get tired and overwhelmed and sometimes just need to shut my eyes to think for five seconds. Some days I’m a great mom, the best of the best, doing everything right, surprising even myself of how flawless the day was with very little left to nit pick; however, today was not one of those day.

            Today, I was a bad mom. Yes, it happens, I am a real person after all and not some creepy Stepford wife, and guess what? My child is still happy, healthy and most importantly alive despite my bad momming.

Today, I cried when I saw what time my little alarm clock woke up. I rolled over and held the pillow tight to my face to block out the noise and sunlight from further fueling my headache.

Today, I hid Green Eggs and Ham because I absolutely could not read that freaking book one more time. I could not, would not in a house, I would not, could not with a mouse. I did not read it here or there. I did not read it anywhere. I did not read green eggs and ham. I did not read it, mom-I-am.

Today, I fed my child teddy grahams and yogurt because she was having none of the delicious veggies I had spent last night cutting up into child appropriate bite sized pieces.

Today, we watched Daniel Tiger, and Sesame Street, and the Dinosaur Train because I had the worst night’s sleep last night thanks to my stupid brain that would not shut off. “If I go to bed now, I’ll get five hours of sleep.” “If I go to bed now, I’ll get four hours of sleep.”

Today, I popped my kid in her stroller and went for not one, but three walks because I really needed some “me” time to listen to music and calm my cloudy mind.

Today, I told my husband I’d be up to help with bath time in a minute, and stole seven to scroll through TMZ and catch up on all the scandals of celebrity life. I did, however, go help after the third time he called me, so maybe not a complete bad momma moment?

Today, I poured myself that glass of wine that I have had chilling in the fridge for three weeks now. Okay, so it was after my child had gone to bed, but even if it weren’t, I would have drank that shit up without apology.

            Today, I was a bad mom. There were a lot of things I could have, and maybe should have done differently. There are a thousand different things I could dissect about today and beat myself to the ground over, but not today. Today, I decided I’m kind of okay with the mom I chose to be because I know that for every less than perfect day I might have, for every day where I’m running on fumes and needing to be gassed up, for every bad momma day, I’ll have a hundred more great ones.

 

Status Update: Today, I actually was a good mom.

 

As moms, we are always so hard on ourselves. We are constantly chasing perfection and losing our minds along the way. I say it all the time, Pobody’s Nerfect and just because you see a perfect snapshot of someone else’s life doesn’t mean their days are made up of perfect moments. Sometimes a little perspective is all it takes to refocus and recognize the real strides of the day.

Today, I cried when I saw what time my little alarm clock woke up. I honored my truth and like a freaking glow stick, I allowed myself a moment to break before being able to shine. Had I bounced out of bed like normal, I would have been less for my kid. I wouldn’t have felt the sweet release of emotions to be able to devote myself whole-heartedly and give my all while I played. I took a note from Dr. Ferber and let myself cry it out.

Today, I hid Green Eggs and Ham because I absolutely could not read that freaking book one more time. Instead, I gave my child the opportunity to discover and explore a new story. Sure, we ended up reading Frozen 7 or 8 times, but today, ANYTHING was better than Dr. Seuss.

Today, I fed my child teddy grahams and yogurt. If this was happening everyday, maybe it would be a cause for concern; however, today my child was fed, and isn’t that always the goal? Mom win.

Today, we watched Daniel Tiger, and Sesame Street, and the Dinosaur Train. I had exhausted the little energy I had left. I felt myself straddling the line between rational and agitated. I knew that she would enjoy the special treat, and I knew I needed the time—more importantly I needed those snuggles.

Today, I popped my kid in her stroller and went for not one, but three walks. Fresh air and a change of scenery can elevate your mood. My kid loves nature and exploration, and is quick to point out every bird, garbage can and basketball she sees. Yes I listened to music, something other than Baby Beluga for the umpteenth time, but I also smiled and got down beside her to wave at buses. Also, babies are subjected to a lot of stimulation throughout the day: so, a little quiet time is always welcome.

Today, I told my husband I’d be up to help with bath time in a minute, and stole seven to scroll through TMZ and catch up on all the scandals of celebrity life. Yes, I love watching my little love splash in the tub, but I also think it’s important for my husband to have one on one time with his child. Being a working dad whose child has an early bed time, the short 2 hour window he has with her is crowded with dinner, bath and bedtime routine meaning it’s important to have daddy/daughter time to solidify their bond. Really, I was just being helpful here.

Today, I poured myself that glass of wine because I wanted to. I wanted to sit on my ass, chug a glass of pinot and watch some Housewives argue over whose the least fucked up. Seriously, watching the women on those shows always makes me feel better about my life. Sure, I don’t drive a rose gold Bentley, but I also don’t throw parties that end in having wine thrown in my face either, so point me?

The reality is, being a stay at home mom is exhausting. While I love being able to watch my child grow each day, and explore our city together through play and laughter, it can be lonely. Some days, I am not my best. Some days I feel low and am unable to roll around on the floor, or muster up enthusiasm to relive Groundhog Day through books and songs.

Having a low-key day, full of snuggles and calm doesn’t make me a bad mom. Knowing that my mental health required this day so that tomorrow would be a kick ass one doesn’t make me a bad mom. Today I wasn’t a great mom, but my kid is happy, fed and sleeping like a rag doll, so I guess today, I was pretty okay, and tomorrow I know I’ll be better.

XoXo

-Anjie

MAGICAL MOMENTS WITH YOUR TODDLER

I don’t think I can truly express how much I love Disney. I mean, I seriously LOVE Disney! I’m one of those people that despite the realities of life, I still believe in fairytales and happily ever afters. Becoming a mom I went from Princess to Queen and while there is a ton more responsibility that comes with the new title, I was glad to pass the tiara down to my beautiful little pea!

Working with children, I see how quickly kids grow up. Thinking back to the stupid naïve kid I was at 10 years old playing with Beanie Babies in the tree in the play yard during recess, it saddens me to see how much trends have changed and how quickly kids are ready to grow up now a days. After all, they are preteens NOT kids anymore. Seriously, when did that happen?!

Knowing that the years are fleeting, you know, since I blinked and woke up with a toddler, I’ve decided I am going to do everything I can to keep that magical sparkle burning bright in my child’s innocent eyes.

1- Photo shoots: I LOVE taking photos of my kiddo. It is actually one of my favorite pastimes. While the majority of them are natural and of her playing in a field, or exploring the sand on the beach, every now and again I like to capture a little whimsy and set up an actual staged photo shoot. Like I said, I am a massive fan of Disney, so of course I needed some accent pictures with beautiful quotes to compliment my little girl’s garden princess room, and what better theme to choose than the magic of a Disney Princess!

Costumes are easy enough to find, the props are a little trickier. I’ve been planning my princess scenes in line with the seasons. Cinderella is easy to capture around Halloween thanks to the magic pumpkins you will be able to transform into little carriages. Elsa is best to do in the winter where, depending on where you live, you can use the snow to capture your scene. Ariel is best to keep for summer and Belle gives more of an autumn feeling.

Whatever direction or theme you choose for your photos, make sure to have fun with it.

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Cinderella Disney Toddler Photoshoot

2- Tea Parties: Fall down the rabbit hole on a Sunday afternoon with a beautiful tea party complete with mad hatter treats and unbirthday merriment. Right now, there is nothing my kid loves more than stirring her teacup with a teeny tiny spoon, so I decided to have a little fun and spruce up a daily activity.

I started by adding lots of color to my table with a fun tablecloth and flowers. Next, I made a few special treats for our party. Cheshire smile cookies and berries with a sign saying eat me. In addition to her play teapots, I went to my favorite store (Home Sense of course!) and picked up a cute, and cheap colorful tea set.

Yes, things like this take a little planning, but I am all about making those amazing memories with my kid and engaging in special moments. Weekdays are chaotic and usually run on a routine. Whimsical weekend activities are my reminder to stop and smell the freshly painted roses instead of rushing around because we are once again running late.

3- Dress up: This is the perfect activity to really create a foundation for creativity and imagination. Dressing up and playing make belief creates a sense of positive expression. While it’s easy to simply view dress up as another form of play, it gets children thinking about how a princess would act, or a doctor, or a cowboy, or a police officer which begins to create an understanding of community.

Also, contrary to societal views, there is absolutely no rules stating that girls can only wear dresses and that boys cannot. While I love, love, love seeing my girl twirl like Cinderella, princess dresses are not the only options in her dress up corner. The other day I walked in to find my daughter coloring in her car costume while wearing a tiara, which made me fall in love with her more and more. She likes what she likes, she feels how she feels, and I love those moments when her personality shines.

Halloween is a great time to pick up some fun costumes and accessories to add to your dress up corner. I have gotten some killer deals in the past thanks to clearance sections and after Halloween sales, but make sure you have a designated place for all the great things you will be bringing home. In my delusional days, I thought it would be great to have her costumes hanging next to a mirror…I was younger and more naïve back then. Sure, maybe when she’s older I’ll be able to have the Pinterest worthy dress up corner, but for now I am happy with my dress up trunk and a few baskets to manage the accessories. After all, if it was good enough for Mr. Dressup, it’s good enough for me!

4-Bubble Dancing: Is there anything as enchanting as bubbles? Seriously, I love everything about bubbles. From the bubbles in my bath, to the bubbles drifting through the air, to the well deserved bubbles dancing around my flute of champagne after a very long, and tiring no nap day. And if I, a twenty-seven year old, feel that happy around a bubble, think of how magical they are for that sweet little toddler of yours.

Kids love new textures and experiences. Bubbles are around us daily. You have endless opportunities to strap on your ruby slippers and float through Oz with Glinda the good witch; all you need is a little creativity. For instance, bubble wrap. Think of the satisfaction everyone feels in popping those tiny bubbles of plastic. Why not try strapping them to your feet and walking around like a dinosaur? Or even simpler, blow bubbles in your milk and listen for the belly laughter that will inevitably follow from your curious toddler.

The world is a messy place; a little bit of suds and magic can go a long way!

5- Disney adventures: Okay, okay, I know this is not as realistic as the other activities in this post, but I CANNOT WAIT to take my kid to Disney for the first time. I am fortunate to live close enough to California that I will not have to sell a kidney to make it to Disney before I’m seventy-five. We have been planning our first trip ever since the strip turned blue and I am so thrilled that it will be a reality soon. Check back for all the tips and tricks I’ve learned when it comes to planning your Disney adventure; post is coming soon to the blog!

Anyways, getting back on track If Disneyland or Disney World is not feasible for your family at this time, no worries; there are TONS of Disney adventures to be had. Really, even going to see a movie in a theater is a pretty awesome thing for a kid. Add a costume and a fun sing along car ride and you’re golden! Another option is to hit up a Disney On Ice show if you are lucky enough to live in a city they tour to. Growing up, my birthday present every year was attending a D.O.I show and it was always so, so magical. I got to wear my Minnie ears and stay out past my bedtime. Not only is it a fun (and cheaper) alternative, it is also such a fun tradition. I’ll be honest, being twenty-seven, I still can’t wait for the show to come to town.

At the end of the day, there are countless ways to bring the magic of Disney into your household. Kids have a habit of growing up too fast, especially in a day and age where technology is such a dominant part of our daily lives. As difficult as it may be, I am determined to keep my little princess believing in fairytales and dreaming about fairies and pixie dust as long as possible.

While kids are destined to grow up, take a night to get a little lost in Neverland, shall we?

XoXo

Mama Lost Boy