Planning a kids party doesn’t need to be stressful. #YMCCommunity

We just celebrated our son’s second Birthday.

Happy Birthday

It was a small event, but it was all that we needed.

There was food, toys, crafts and all the kids that attended where completely engaged. We didn’t go over the top with a theme, decorations or food, like all of the Pins that you can find on Pinterest, or a magnificent spread that would have impressed the Beckham’s, had they been invited.

We served pizza, fruits & veggies, some snack foods, juice boxes and water.

The masterpiece of the event was the cake made by Sugar’n’Spice & Everything Iced.

Sebastian's Bday Cake

What a gorgeous cake! And it was so moist and flavourful too!

The party was only for two hours, but that’s all kids need before they start to get tired and grumpy.

Up next will be our daughter’s fifth Birthday Party in October. This one will have an older group of kids, but keeping them entertained and fed is still paramount, we just need to make it more age appropriate.

Birthday Party

How do you find planning your children’s parties? Do you go over the top with planning, decor and food or do you go with the flow and keep costs down by being more simple and frugal?

Shopping made a whole lot easier! #Flipp

Flyers…

flyers

Never around when you’re looking for something specific, or filling up your mailbox. A pain when it comes to comparing between stores. Better used to line a pets cage. Or something you use to start a campfire or fireplace.

Either way, they are wasteful and contributing to the tree shortage and global warming.

Flipp

Flipp is a FREE digital flyer app, that brings flyers into the digital age and allows users to browse through hundreds of digital flyers from all of their favourite retailers through their mobile devices. No more coupon clipping!

This is definitely UBER AWSOME!

When it comes to shopping for my family, I need to save money and time. So, if I can compare flyers digitally between different retailers, I don’t have to wait for a flyer to arrive at my door, leaf through the pile, potentially miss out on something if a particular flyer doesn’t arrive and be able to plan my outing efficiently.

Parents know that shopping efficiently is a HUGE feat when shopping with children! Shopping solo is a completely different story, we like to take as long as possible if it means some peaceful alone time.

Shopping with kids

Check out Flipp, download the app to your mobile device and never be without a flyer again when you’re out and about.

you can download them at the following:

iTunes

Google Play

 

Back to School…time to label EVERYTHING! {Giveaway}

Our daughter starts Kindergarten this Fall.

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We had the orientation back in June and they sent us home with the “shopping list” of all the gear that she’ll need once the school year begins.

There is a lot of stuff that we need to get and we are supposed to put her name on everything.

When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING!

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Her shoes (indoor & outdoor), her rain clothes, her lunchbag (and all the containers inside), her gym strip and bag, her back pack, and all of her supplies (including each and every crayon, marker, and pencil crayon).

When I was in school, my name didn’t appear on anything. But if it was required, the good ol’ trusty black permanent marker was pulled out and my name was printed clearly in bold, black letters so everyone knew that it was mine. But even then, my identity could be erased with a single stroke from another black marker to make it belong to someone else.

Anywhere Labels

 

Anywhere Labels from SafetyTat

Tired of losing kid’s stuff?

Safety Tat now offers the “Label That Brings Stuff Back!”

Uber-durable stickers and tags – customized with your name and an optional phone number – to make sure your important belongings are returned to you.

Great for toys, clothing and coat tags, school supplies, bags and totes, containers, water bottles, electronics, sports gear, and more!

Dishwasher and washing machine safe when applied to any clean, dry solid surface, or care tags on clothing and soft toys.

 

Just in time for back to school, Safety Tat has generously provided Raincity Parent a Camp Combo of Anywhere Labels to giveaway to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs from August 22nd-31st, 2014 and is open to residents of Canada & the US only. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Safety Tat

Summer…you don’t scare me anymore! {Giveaway} #YMCCommunity

I have never been a fan of Summer.

With the weather being warm and the clothing being minimal, I have always been uncomfortable wearing shorts, tanks and (heaven forbid) a SWIMSUIT!

Vintage Swimsuits

Being on the self conscious side, I prefer cooler temps to hide under layers rather than flaunting some skin.

But this Summer is different.

For the past several months, I have been exercising religiously. I have been doing 30 Day Challenges, at-home body weight workouts, a 90 Day Challenge, running, going for hikes, chasing my kids around, and I will be checking out GoodLife Fitness next month, so I’ve dropped some weight and feeling a lot better in my own skin.

The only thing that sucks about showing so much skin, is constantly keeping my legs, pits and bikini line smooth and clean. Thank goodness for Harry’s. These razors definitely do the job and the cost of replacing these blades is much lower than the major brands that I’ve used in the past.

It’s definitely been a challenge to keep exercising during the warm weather that we’ve been experiencing, but I figure, the more I sweat, the more fat my body is burning. As long I keep my motivation up, the working out will become less of a chore and more of a desire.

I look forward to seeing my achievements next Summer, when I hope to slip into a two piece suit that potentially could show a little mid section.

Harry’s Shaving Company has generously provided Raincity Parent a Truman Shave Set to giveaway to one lucky reader! This giveaway runs from August 21st-31st, 2014 and is open the Vancouver, BC area residents only! The winner must be able to pick up their prize! Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post has been written  as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program.

Worship yourself more than the Sun. {Giveaway}

When I was a kid, my Mum would lay out in the sun for hours, baking herself until she reached her favourite tone of bronze.

Dark Tan

 

There was a bottle of sunscreen in the cupboard for us kids, but I’m pretty sure it remained full for my entire childhood. I recall the smell of Coppertone, but for the life of me, I don’t remember EVER using it.

A sunburn was always considered “the base” of our summer tan, so we just went out, got a burn and once it had turned brown, we were good to go for the rest of the Summer.

Flash forward a million years and two kids of my own added to the world, I wouldn’t dare go out in the sun without sunscreen now!

Slathered in sunscreen

The most important thing that I’ve put on my skin this season, is sunscreen. With so much being talked about in the news on the increase of skin Cancer, especially in the younger generation, I definitely slather the good stuff on myself, and most importantly, my kiddos. I’ve even started using a moisturizer with sunscreen on my face. Something I’ve never done in the past because I wore makeup daily that contained an SPF in it. Now that I’m a stay-at-home-Mom with little or no time to get myself ready in the morning, and let’s face it, who really wants to wear makeup when it’s hot and muggy out, only to have it melt part way through your day, a moisturizer with a built in sunscreen is all I need now.

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Cloud Vitamin Cream is more than a sunscreen, it is a SUPER CREAM in my eyes! It contains Retinyl Palmitate, a form of Vitamin A found naturally and in high concentrations in the epidermus of your skin. Created by the award-winning UBC dermatologist Dr. Gordon Telford, Cloud is the first consumer sunscreen to block out the full spectrum of the suns rays, whereas conventional sunscreens only protect from 7% of rays.

Studies suggest that it could possibly reverse sun induced aging, smooth the surface of your skin within weeks, permanently reduce sun induced brown spots, stimulate collagen growth to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and tighten loose skin. Once absorbed, it is virtually waterproof and and it’s powerful sun protecting effects last up to 17 days.

Cloud Vitamin Cream is safe to use on children because it contains no preservatives, fragrances or parabens.

If you would like to purchase Cloud  Vitamin Creams for yourself, visit their website: cloudvitamincream.com.

Cloud Vitamin Cream

Cloud has generously provided Raincity Parent with a Summer Bundle to giveaway to one lucky reader! The bundle contains a sample of Cloud Vitamin A cream and a handy Cloud beach mat, perfect for sunny days. This giveaway runs from August 19th-26th, 2014 and is open to Canadian residents only. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The day I got noticed. #YMCCommunity

It was a regular day and I was busily getting the kids organized and packed up to head to the mall for a little errand running.

 

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The sun was shining, so I planned for us to walk over, which was only a fifteen minute journey.

As per usual, everyone must go potty or get a bum change prior to our departure, so as not to have the “MOM, I NEED TO GO POTTY NOW!”, halfway en route. Little Miss tends to her business and the wee lad has had a poop, so a little extra work is required.

Finally, we’re all sorted and out the door.

We talk and sing merrily as we dawdle along. Checking out the bugs, learning about the trees and singing out favourite tunes.

Once we get to the mall, immediately the request to visit the play area is made, so I negotiate that we do our errands quickly, and then we go to the play area before heading home.

Oddly, people keep looking at me. I get some smiles and double takes, and attribute it to my being on the local news recently, so clearly these people have recognized me.

Double take

We carry on, finish getting what we need and head over to the play area.

Again, more stares.

A little uncomfortable, but now I understand what being a celebrity must feel like. Not that I’m calling myself a celebrity by any means, but having my face recognized is a little weird.

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I let the littles play for half an hour or so, but now it is time to head home for lunch and the little man’s afternoon nap.

When we get home, the mandatory hand washing is required. As we’re washing our hands, I take a quick glance in the mirror…

To my horror, I see a brown smear across my forehead!

When I changed Captain Poopypant’s diaper before we left, I must have got some on my hand. I recall brushing my hair from my face before I washed my hands, so that’s probably how it got there.

ERMAGHERD! THAT’S WHY EVERYONE WAS LOOKING AT ME!

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My daughter was supposed to be my wingman when it comes to stuff like this! Kids ALWAYS notice when you have crap on your face or a booger in your nose.

I certainly hope the people that we had encountered throughout the day didn’t actually recognize me from my TV appearance. I’m sure they’d be telling all their friends, “Yeah, I saw that chick from the news the other day today. She had poo on her face!”

Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?

Capilano Suspension Bridge…a swinging sensation not to be missed! {Giveaway}

Growing up on the North Shore of Vancouver, I was lucky to have some amazing natural attractions in my own backyard.

The mountains, lakes, beaches, trails and a couple of suspension bridges to help us see Nature’s beauty from normally unattainable angles.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of these bridges.

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Originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is well known, attracting visitors from around the world.

I must admit, I had never been across the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Until now.

Wowsers, what an amazing experience! Why had I waited so long to do this?

I took our two weelets out the other day to check it our for ourselves.

North Vancouver-20140722-00367

When you enter the park, the Story Centre takes you back in time explaining the history of the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Strollers aren’t allowed across the bridge, so I called on my Super Mom strength to get us across, twice, while holding their hands, as the bridge swang to and fro and bounced at each step taken by the many visitors crossing the canyon as well.

The suspension bridge

Once across, we headed over to the Treetops Adventure. I followed the mites as they climbed the stairs behind a tour group. No problem. They both blazed across the bridges linking the trees and scooched between legs to get through to the next one.

Treetops Adventure

Treetops Adventure

FYI, small children move quickly and running after them on bouncy bridges is not as fun as you may think.

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When we were safely on the ground, my offspring decided to race along the path to Raptor Ridge where we briefly looked at the owl and hawk that were on display in the pens.

Then they blazed along the scenic boardwalk that rimmed the canyon as I chased the little Dude to keep him from getting too far ahead and climbing on the fences.

We crossed back over the canyon, and were treated to music coming from the Trading Post deck. We popped inside, had a browse around and made a few small purchases. They have a great assortment of maple syrup and treats, as well as some pretty nice clothing that is quintessentially Canadian.

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We were unable to venture out on the Cliffwalk as nap time was fast approaching, there was quite a lineup and the wee lad was becoming a handful. But we had a fantastic time and will definitely come back for a visit!

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a great local attraction! You’ll be pleased with the scenery and amazed at what Nature has to offer.

Be sure to pay them a visit during the Christmas Season to check out Canyon Lights. It’s a spectacular sight!

Photo credit: Vancity Buzz

Photo credit: Vancity Buzz

Hours:

January 4 – March 13
9:00am – 5:00pm

March 14 – April 25
9:00am – 6:00pm

April 26 – May 30
9:00am – 7:00pm

May 31 – September 1
8:30am – 8:00pm

September 2 – October 13
9:00am – 6:00pm

October 14 – November 29
9:00am – 5:00pm

November 29 – January 3
(Closed Christmas Day)
11:00am – 9:00pm

Rates:

Adult ………………………………………… $35.95
Senior 65+ ………………………………….. $33.95
Student 17+ with ID ………………………. $29.95
Youth 13 – 16 ………………………………. $22.95
Child 6 – 12 ………………………………… $12.00
Under 6 ……………………………………… Free

BC Residents Adult Annual Pass ………………. $35.95
(*BC Residents Annual Passes are available for all age categories as above).

The Capilano Suspension Bridge has generously provided Raincity Parent with 4 passes for admission to giveaway to one lucky reader. The giveaway runs from August 12th-19th, 2014 and is open to residents of British Columbia. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

When a moment feels like forever… #YMCCommunity

This past weekend we went on a much needed family vacation.

We chose to go camping in the interior, as the last time we went, our little miss was 2-1/2yo and the wee lad had never had the experience.

Photo credit : Gallagher Lake Resort

Photo credit : Gallagher Lake Resort

The campground was great!

There were options to bring your camper or RV, rent a small cabin or set up in tent village.

We tented…and it was fantastic 🙂

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The lake was quaint, but just big enough for all the guests of the park to enjoy. The beach sand was perfect and progressed at a nice grade so the kiddos could play in the shallows without concern. Out in the water there was a dock that you could swim to and jump off, which the girls enjoyed immensely…until the worst happened.

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It was a beautiful afternoon and the four weelets (ages 16 months to 4-3/4yo) hopped into our inflatable boats and floated out to the dock with the Daddies. They jumped off and swam about, climbed back on and jumped again, and again and again. A few more kids and their Dads swam out and joined in with the fun.

About a half an hour later, four teenage boys swam out to the dock.

They clambered up and their added weight to the existing group caused the dock to tilt and begin to sink. Eventually, the tilt was so great, that everyone started to lose their footing and slide into the water.

I would like to make note, that all four of our kidlets were wearing life preservers.

Once the dock righted itself, my sister-in-law did a head count…one of ours was missing!

Gurgles and screams were heard coming from under the dock!

Our daughter, the eldest, had been sucked under the dock when it tilted as she was climbing up the ladder on the opposite side. When it came down, it came down over top of her.

My husband and brother-in-law immediately swam underneath, located her (her bright yellow life vest was how they saw her in the dark water and limited light), grabbed her, pulled her down and pushed her out to safety.

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She sputtered out the water, but was fine after the ordeal.

I swam out at Mach 10 speed, but as you can imagine this seemed like an eternity.

The teenaged boys had swum away.

Daddy was overcome from the situation and suffered a mild scrape on his forehead, which caused great distress to our daughter. More so that her own predicament that she had just come out of.

She gets this from me. Caring more about others than herself.

After an hour or so, she was herself again, but said that she didn’t want to go back to the dock and that the boys were naughty for making it tip. We explained that it was an accident and that we learned from what had happened.

Lesson 1) The grown-ups should have been more aware and prevented the extra bodies from getting onto the dock. Although, my husband did yell for people to get off as it was tipping. Preventative is better than reactive.

Lesson 2) ALWAYS have your children wear life preservers. Get bright yellow or orange, as we discovered, being in darker water, blue or purple vests make it difficult to see the wearer.

Lesson 3) Comfort your children after an occurrence such as this. We didn’t want our children to become afraid of the water or the dock. It was an unfortunate experience, but the outcome could have been far worse.

The rest of the weekend went off without a hitch and the kids were even taken back out to the dock to see that everything was OK once again.

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Have you ever experienced a heart-stopping event where your children were involved?