An unexpected and pleasant surprise! #YMCCommunity

The other week, hubby and I decided to take the littles for a walk to the home improvement store.

This would normally be a half hour errand if flying solo, but when the kidlets are in tow, this stretches out to be a painful 2-1/2 hour mission.

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Hubby decided that the wee Dude should walk along with the rest of us, but I knew better.

Mom’s intuition is ALWAYS right!

I brought the stroller.

Our 4-1/2 yo can barely walk two blocks without complaining about being tired, so I knew that Captain Dawdlepants definitely wouldn’t make the entire journey on foot.

Needless to say, after a half a dozen blocks of constant stopping to check out bugs, attempts to walk off the sidewalk into the street and turning around to run back towards home, Daddy strapped the little man into the stroller and we were on route to our intended destination.

As we meandered through the neighbourhood, a fire truck from the local fire hall drove past us.

Our little guy is nuts about fire trucks! He calls them all “Flynn” like the fire truck from Thomas the Train Engine. So when he saw the truck, his head practically exploded from excitement!

We picked up our pace to try to see it pulling into the station, but we weren’t quick enough as it had already pulled into the back for a wash down. So we went and peered through the window of the bay door for a quick look-see.

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As we were admiring the big red trucks through the glass, one of the fire fighters noticed us and headed our way. Sure that we were going to get asked to leave, the bay door opened up and we were cordially invited in!

The fireman took us to the back to see the truck that was just brought in and was now getting freshened up. He then took us over it the BIG truck in the neighbouring bay, and to the delight of our offspring, opened the driver’s door and let the mites hop inside! They even got to turn on the flashing lights, which sent them into whole new dimension of glee.

When the weelets brains could no longer handle so much awesomeness, we graciously thanked the firefighters for taking the time to visit with us and show us their trucks. They invited us to come back anytime to visit and show us more of the fire hall.

Were you aware that you can visit the fire hall and have a tour of the trucks and chat with the firefighters? If you’re interested, just be courteous and call ahead, they are more than happy to show you around.

You will probably make some small people very VERY happy if you did!

Take the kids out and have a ball watching the Boys of Summer! #YVRBloggers

Memories of Summer when I was a kid include riding my bike EVERYWHERE, freezies, running through the sprinkler, camping out in the back yard and playing baseball.

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Baseball was was a big deal in my house when I was a kid. My Mum always watched the games on TV, I played in Little League and once, my Mum even scored us some tickets to go see the Vancouver Canadians play at Nat Bailey Stadium. It was a great day, sitting in the sun, cheers from the crowd and spending time together as a family!

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Last week I joined the YVR Bloggers at a Canadians game.

Notice the handhelds in use.

Notice the handhelds in use.

The weather was beautiful and warm, the game was exciting and the crowd was awesome at cheering the boys on.

Throughout the game, we were treated to some extra entertainment:

The Sushi Races, featuring Ms. BC Roll, Mr. Kappa Maki and Chef Wasabi. These loveable mascots race around the baseball diamond trying to out run each other to the finish line.

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The grounds keepers danced a little jig to “Cottoned-eyed Joe” as they tidied up the diamond after the 5th Inning. These fellas do this every game! Check out some of the footage on YouTube.

We participated in a few rounds of “The Wave” and the team mascot, Bob Brown Bear, led us in the “Chicken Dance”.

Bob Brown Bear

Bob Brown Bear

In the end, the Canadians beat the Eugene Emeralds 11-7, topping off a great night out with a fabulous group of fun people. I look forward to many more outings with this gang.

Next time you’re looking for a fun night out, be sure to check out the Vancouver Canadians game schedule, pack up the family, head on down to Nat Bailey Stadium and take in a game.

You can chow down on some Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, have a refreshing cold one, and expect an awesome night out with the family. It’s also perfect for a Date Night or getting together with a group of mates.

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Tickets start at $12.50, so this definitely makes for an affordable sporting event to take in.

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A little peace of mind for that “just in case” moment. #SafetyTat

Our daughter was a dream when she was a toddler.

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Although she was very active, she always stayed near Mum and Dad when we were out and about. Even when we were at a busy place, like the playground or spray park  during the Summer, the grocery store on a weekend when everyone else in the neighbourhood was out shopping too, or a local attraction where there was lots of distractions, noise and what appeared to be a forest of legs in eyes of a person under three feet.

Photo credit : Pop Sugar

Photo credit : Pop Sugar

Now that we have two kids, our daughter is almost five and the little Dude is nearing the two year mark, whenever we head out on an adventure, I am more uneasy when it comes to keeping eyes on two mites, especially when they take off at Mach speed in two different directions. Our daughter still stays close and makes eye contact every so often so she knows where we are, but when you have to chase Captain “Watch How Fast I Can Run Away a From You”, you can quickly lose track of the other kid.

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My fear isn’t that she will run off, it’s that a stranger could grab her and disappear.

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With Safety Tat, my fears are more at ease during that “just in case” moment.

Apply Safety Tat to a clean, hair-free area of your child’s arm, where they’re not likely to remove it, write down your mobile phone number on the Tat using the enclosed marker and let your littles go play.

Watch the video on how to apply and remove Safety Tat here.

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Safety Tat has a variety of products available, such as Allergy/ Medical Alert tattoos, pre-printed Anywhere Labels to label your kid’s things, Write-On Tats, multi packs, travel packs, Tat Kisses, Birthday packs and Tats for Seniors. Click here to shop online.

So, the next time you’re heading out with the kiddos and you are concerned that they could potentially get separated from you or their caregiver, be sure to apply a Safety Tat, just in case they do.

How to beat the heat this Summer! #YMCCommunity

Finding ways to stay cool during the Summer can really make Summer that much more fun!

Mom, it's too hot!

Mom, it’s too hot!

When I was a kid, our options were:

1) the sprinkler ; usually a fan-type one that we just jumped back and forth over

Girl jumps through water sprinkler.

2) Slip ‘N Slide ; long strip of yellow plastic that we ran and slid down as the water from the sprinkler fell on it to make it slippery

Slip n Slide

3) a trampoline ; you either tied the hose to one corner of the trampoline and had the water run into the middle where every bounce sent the giant puddle into the air, drenching everyone around. If you happened to have the “mesh” trampoline, we would put that awesome fan sprinkler underneath and have it spray through the mesh. Add some dish soap, and you had a slippery good time.

Photo credit: Little Girl Big Glasses

Photo credit: Little Girl Big Glasses

4) waterballoons ; balloons filled with water and tossed at your friends or an unsuspecting passerbyer

waterballoons

5) waterguns ; this was where the Super Soakers made their appearance!

super soaker

6) swimming pool ; you had to make friends with the kid who had the only pool in the neighbourhood

backyard pool

7) the waterslides ; hopefully there was a Stay-At-Home-Mom with a mini-van that could take a pile of kids

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There are so many options now that I’m a parent.

All of the above options mentioned, are still available, but the sprinklers have improved and are WAY more fun for the kids.

There are water tables, a variety of pools to choose from, and inflatable water gyms/ slides/ castles etc.

inflatable water slide

Inflatable slip n slide

 

Other than buying a pre-made water toy, you can fashion your own DIY ways to keep the little cool this summer.

1) Kids car wash ; Lowes has a how-to guide online here.

Photo credit: Lowes.com

Photo credit: Lowes.com

2) Water blob ; check out this tutorial from Homemade Toast

 

Photo credit: Homemade Toast

Photo credit: Homemade Toast

3) water filled air mattresses; fill, lay back and enjoy the coolness without getting wet

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4) sponge balls; Here’s the DIY instructions from Livingnspired

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5) DIY pop bottle sprinkler; self explanatory

6) a kiddie pool; the whole family can enjoy this too!

Photo credit: Married with Dogs

Photo credit: Married with Dogs

7) a good old fashioned water fight; no one is safe if one of these breaks out!

 

Photo credit: Earnest Parenting

Photo credit: Earnest Parenting

What creative ways have you come up with to keeping the family cool when it gets hot out?

Spend a day at the farm with the kids! {Giveaway} #MaplewoodFarm

Looking for things to do with the kids can be a real chore sometimes.

You want to keep them busy, entertained, burning off excess energy and generally having a good time.

Playground

The playgrounds can get repetitive and often so busy that it’s hard to keep a watchful eye when you have more than one kidlet in tow, especially ones in the “Toddler Years”! These little guys aren’t the best listeners, nor do they understand the concept of gravity. They like to follow in the big kids steps and when it involves climbing the spider-web-like apparatus, my spidey senses start to tingle and my heart races. I’m much more comfortable when we’re in an enclosed, ground level environment.

Climbing web

There is a variety of kid-friendly things to do in the Lower Mainland.

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Maplewood Farm is a quaint little farm that kids love to visit.

The residents include some ponies, horses, cows, donkeys, sheep, bunnies, goats, chickens, goats, a parrot, turkeys, and a few other small birds.

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You can purchase a bag of seed when you arrive and go feed the chickens, ducks and geese in the pond.

The resident parrot will greet you when you go say “Hello!”

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There are several tractors scattered around the farm that the kiddos can hop on and take for a spin. Our little man managed to find EVERY single one of them, and spent a good five minutes sitting on them and pushing them around, but never really pedaling them ’cause his wee leg couldn’t reach the pedals.

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Our favourite spot is visiting with the goats!

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These guys are so friendly that they insist on being pet and will probably butt you in the leg or back side to get your attention. Watch your clothes and bags as they WILL start to munch on anything.

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Little Dude kept asking for Hi-5’s from the goats and when reminded to pet them from “head to bum”, he proceeded to pet the goats bum (under the tail to my shock!).

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The resident Jersey cow, Lima gets a milking in the afternoon and the farmer shows you how to do it or you could go out back and “milk” the demo cow.

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North Vancouver-20140707-00325If you bring your own fresh veggies, you can go visit the bunnies and give them a delicious snack.

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There is so much to see and do at Maplewood Farm that your kiddos will have a lot of fun! Bring a picnic lunch and stay all day, but please don’t share it with the farm animals! They have a special diet and could get sick. The signs posted around the farm will remind you, just in case you forget.

If you have an upcoming Birthday, Maplewood Farm has several party packages available, including one that involves a pony ride!

Maplewood Farm has generously provided Raincity Parent with a 1 year Family Membership to the farm ($126 value)! This giveaway runs from July 14th-20th,  2014 and is open to residents of the Lower Mainland, BC (Vancouver and surrounding areas) only. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you do when the flame starts to fade? Add some #BedroomSpice {Giveaway}

When you first met your significant other, there was a spark…

Photo credit: Diva of Dating

Photo credit: Diva of Dating

This spark ignited into a flame as you got to know each other better. As you continue in your relationship, that flame bursts into a roaring fire. That is until…the kids come along.

Photo credit: The Sugar a Babies Online

Photo credit: The Sugar a Babies Online

Your time gets filled and energy gets depleted when caring for young children, that having a little “Mommy and Daddy Time” comes few and far between. Sleeping or getting your own things done, take priority. My husband and I haven’t had a Date Night since our daughter was born, four and a half years ago, but we do try to have some “Us Time” after the weelets have gone to bed. So what do you do to keep the fire burning? Date Night? A weekend away? What about a sex tape?! Some couples do this to spice things up when the excitement in their relationship starts to dwindle. With the current technology available to us, making your own home video is an easy accomplishment, but what happens if it gets into the wrong hands? Sex Tape from Sony Pictures releases July 18th, 2014 in theatres Sex Tape Sony Pictures has generously provided Raincity Parent a “Sex Tape” gift basket to giveaway to one lucky reader. This giveaway runs from July 9th-17th, 2014 and is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below. *Contestants may enter across other blogs, however you may only win on a single blog* a Rafflecopter giveaway “Disclosure: I am part of the Sony Pictures – Sex Tape Movie program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

My first bike! #MammaCangura {Giveaway} #YMCCommunity

Kids and bikes go hand in hand.

Kids on bikes

When I was a kid, I rode my bike EVERYWHERE! And this was before the helmet laws were in affect. I even rode my bike to places that I should have never gone, like from my home in North Vancouver, over Lions Gate Bridge and down to Second Beach in Vancouver. Not a huge deal to me because I LOVED my bike and I was an awesome bike rider. I was probably 12 years old.

Now as a parent, I want my kiddos to learn how to ride their bikes as well as I did and get just as much enjoyment out of it.

We had a tricycle for our daughter when she was smaller, but never really had the opportunity to pull it out as we live in a condo in a neighbourhood where there is a lot of traffic. The underground parking that we have also wasn’t the ideal location to practice and the parks nearby didn’t have the best conditions for learning to ride a bike.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a significant increase in the number of balance or stride bikes that the little kids are zooming around on. There are metal ones, wood ones and even plastic ones. How do you decide which to choose?

MammaCangura

We chose the MammaCangura B-Bip Balance Bike.

Here are the features for this bike:

  • Reviewed by Prôtegez-Vous!
  • Non-toxic certified plastic frame, lightweight, sturdy and easily washable
  • Removable and washable soft padding on saddle and handlebar
  • Wide range of saddle height settings
  • Synthetic anti-puncture tires; full rim to avoid finger traps
  • Stickers set included. The child will enjoy placing them on the toy, without any health risks: our stickers enjoy the non-toxicity certification.
  • Flush bolts to avoid scratches and injuries
  • Steering lock to prevent sudden turns on uneven ground
  • Hand guards protection

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Our little guy is loving his B-Bip! At 22 months, he’s still using his tippy toes to sit on it, but everyday he’s getting taller and a bit more brave and as soon as we know it, he’ll be taking off and Mum and Dad will certainly get a great workout trying to keep up with him.

MammaCangura has provided a Raincity Parent with s B-Bip Balance Bike ($149 values) to giveaway to one lucky reader! This giveaway runs from July 7th-13th, 2014 and us open to residents of Canada and the US only. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MammCangura made in Italy

#Dinotown…Where fun never goes extinct! {Giveaway}

Do your kids go crazy for dinosaurs?

When I was a kid the Flintstones were one of my favourite shows to watch.

Copyright: Hanna Barbera

Copyright: Hanna-Barbera

This show was much older than me, but a great show never loses it’s awesomeness throughout the generations.

My grandparents even took us to Bedrock City when we were little and it was the most spectacular theme park I had ever seen!

The entire park looked like Bedrock City!

There were dinosaurs and Flintstone themed structures everywhere.

Did I mention how awesome it was?!

Since opening in 1975, the park was renamed Dinotown in 1995.

Dinotown

In 2006, Dinotown went into extinction at it’s location near Bridal Falls in Chilliwack.

But don’t you fret, this year they’ve reopened at their new home at Cultas Lake.

5 acres of “Dino-mite” fun with mini-golf, a gigantic inflatable dinosaur slide, an inflatable water slide, a couple of bouncy castles, a giant dollhouse and loads more fun stuff.

We were invited to join the YVR Bloggers for a fun day out with the family and to check out the new location, meet the Dinotown gang and have a “Dino-riffic” time.

Dinotown is open daily until Sept 1st, from 10am-4pm. The live shows run at 11am, 1 & 3pm, with meet and greets at 12 & 2pm.

Admission

Toddlers (under 30″) FREE
Kids (30″ – 54″) $11.95
Adults (54″ & Up) $9.95
Seniors (65 & Over) $7.95

Click here to get a discount coupon.

Dinotown also hosts birthday parties. Click here for more info.

Be sure to bring along the kiddos swimsuits because they are guaranteed to get wet on the giant inflatable water slide.

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Photo credit: JR Media Group

Pack a picnic and spend the day playing with the dinosaurs. It’s sure to keep the kiddos entertained and guarantee an epic nap on the way home!

Dinotown has provided Raincity Parent a Family 4pk of tickets (2Adults/2Kids) to giveaway to one lucky reader. This giveaway runs from July 6th-12th and is open to residents of BC only. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be ready for any “Occasion” with Oakridge Centre. {Giveaway 2 Winners) #OakridgeStyle

Have you ever been at a loss of what to wear, what to bring or how to be at a special occasion?

The Occasion

Oakridge Centre has launched “The Occasion“, a magazine-style resource for everything and anything that you need to know for any occasion. Here, you’ll find what to wear, what to bring and what to do, so you’ll knock ’em dead at every social gathering.

Recently, I had a couple of social engagements to attend to and I wasn’t sure of the attire for the evening and I had no clue about what accessories to add to my ensemble. Fortunately they weren’t posh dining events or multi-cultural weddings, but if they had been, “The Occasion” has that covered with the “Cultural & Etiquette Guides”.

And in the event that you are playing “Hostess”, The Occasion has a section to help you throw a fabulous bash of your own, from making invitations to practical tips on how to throw a seamless party.

To celebrate this special occasion, they are hosting a contest to WIN a gorgeous Birks Freshwater Pearl Necklace, valued at $750. Please enter here.

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So if you’ve received an invitation to an upcoming event, check out The Occasion and see some suggestions of what outfit would be best suited for the engagement so that you arrive in style instead of standing out like a sore thumb.

To help you get started, Oakridge Centre has generously provided Raincity Parent with a $50 Gift Card to be given away to two lucky readers! Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below. The giveaway runs from July 4th-11th, 2014 and is open to residents of the Greater Vancouver area.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oakridge Style

#YVR Take-Off Fridays are back July 4th-August 29th,2014!

When you think of airports, you think of long queues waiting to check-in, go through security and waiting around for your flight to board.

YVR

Well, YVR has a little something special in store from July 4th – August 29th, 2014.

Take-off Fridays will be returning and there’s a whole lotta fun in store for the entire family!

Take-off Fridays

Check out live DJs and tons of free entertainment, including local musicians and artists, caricaturists, a balloonist and interactive community partner displays. Kids will have a blast meeting mascots, dancing to music, folding paper airplanes and getting their faces painted. And be sure to visit the Customer Information counters or  the YVR Take-Off Fridays Event Booth to ‘Enter to Win’ weekly prize draws and the ultimate ‘YVR Staycation Package’ that includes:

Behind the Scenes Tour of YVR for a family of 4
One Night Accommodation at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport 
$250 YVR Bucks

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Festivities continue at YVR’s Public Observation Area, where families can explore interactive displays and videos for a behind-the-scenes look at Canada’s second busiest airport. Check out airfield action up close with telescopes, discover Sea Island through an interactive model and learn all sorts of interesting facts about YVR.  YVR’s Emergency Response Team will host Airside Demonstrations every Friday in August from 11am – 11:30am. Meet YVR firefighters and watch airfield emergency response vehicles in action!
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Or, simply relax and peruse the shelves of YVR’s world class retail shops to take advantage of special offers and samples. Enjoy YVR Take-Off Fridays lunch specials at more than 30 restaurants.

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Park in YVR’s Parkade for up to four hours for $5 during YVR’s Take-Off Fridays (9am – 3pm).  Parking vouchers available at the Customer Information Counters.  Regular parking rates apply after four hours.

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Take-off Fridays are every Friday from July 4th – August 29th, 2014, 9:00am-3:00pm.

 

The 2nd Annual Paper Airplane Competition will be held Friday, July 11th, 2014 from 11am-12:30pm, where the winner will walk away with a $1,000 travel gift card courtesy of Uniglobe Travel.

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Participants will construct their aircraft with the help of the BCIT Aerospace Technology’s team’s tips and techniques and compete for a chance to win HUGE prizes. Watch as paper planes soar through YVR’s Public Observation Area and kids and adults alike put on their game faces in hopes of a BIG win. A celebrity-judging panel featuring aviation professionals will rate 20 contestants based on distance, creativity of design and aerial acrobatics.

Who knew going to the airport could be so much fun!