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

 

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

waterslides

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?

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

Help keep the kids from getting too crispy this summer! {Giveaway-2 Winners} #SunscreenBands

Do you remember when you were a kid, a sunburn was just part of Summer?

Sunburn

I don’t ever remember having sunscreen being applied to me before I headed out for a day in the sunshine. My Mum used to slather on the Ban de Soliel deep tanning oil and go lay outside for hours.

Now that I’m a Mum, I wouldn’t thin twice about applying sunscreen to my kidlets before we went out. Even on cloudy days.

Cover your kids in sunscreen

We are now aware of the dangers that can come from too much sun exposure. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause some serious skin damage and can contribute to skin cancer. It is so important that we protect our skin by wearing appropriate clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreens that have a broad spectrum SPF of 15 or over.

UV rays and their effect on skin

Sunscreens should be applied 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and should be reapplied regularly, after swimming, exercise or excessive sweating. For more information on how to use sunscreen correctly, please visit the Canadian Cancer Society’s website.

A great tool to help remind you to reapply your sunscreen are Sunscreen Bands.

Sunscreen BandsSunscreen Bands are a safe, non-toxic, recyclable product that is used along with your sunscreen. They help monitor your exposure to the sun by way of it”s colour changing abilities.

Put on a Sunscreen Band, apply a sunscreen with an SPF15 or higher to your skin AND on the band. Go play or work outside and as time goes by, the band will change colours, reminding you when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen and when you need to cover up or get out of the sun completely.

Colour changing abilities

This technology is so great, that now I feel safer going out in the sun with my kiddos knowing that even if I lose track of time, the Sunscreen Band is there to remind me when it’s time to refresh our application or head for the shade.

It’s also a great way to get the kids to head home from a day at the park and hopefully avoid any meltdowns that normally occur when Mum and Dad say that it’s time to go 😉

image

Sunscreen Bands are to be used with your own sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater and are not recommended for children under 3.

To purchase Sunscreen Bands, please click on this link to find a retailer near you. Or to purchase online, click here. There currently no retailers carrying Sunscreen Bands in Western Canada, but you can purchase them online here. Use promo code “SAFESUMMER” and receive FREE shipping in Canada and the US, and as an added bonus, you’ll receive a bonus sample pack! Sunscreen Bands will be available from Amazon.ca soon!

Sunscreen Bands have generously provided a set of 5 packs of bands to giveaway to 2 lucky Raincity Parent readers. This giveaway runs from June 27th-July 4th, 2014 and is open to residents of Canada and the US only. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PTPA Winner

Fundraising with junk food. It’s time for a change. #YMCCommunity

This year, our daughter is now eligible to participate in organized sports.

kids_and_sports

On the first day for each of the sports that we’ve signed her up for, they’ve advised us that we are to do fundraising for the association that we are a part of.

Guess what they give us?

Yep…chocolate bars! And not your average size chocolate bars, but the family-sized ones that they offer at the movie theatres. We were only given four to sell at $5 a pop, but that’s not my point. And chances are…the parents just pay for the entire lot and tuck it away to snack on themselves.

Fundraising chocolates

Even preschools and organized clubs for kids, fund raise by selling chocolates and cookies.

Girl Guide Cookies

I’ve done a post about school fundraising before.

Now, in this day and age, more and more parents are choosing to provide healthy snack options to our kids rather than candy loaded with sugar.

Having your child in an organized sport or dance club, promotes a healthy lifestyle through exercise. I know I’m not the only one that knows that exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand.

So why are we using our kids to sell this junk?

There are many more options to fundraising that don’t involve junk food. Healthier snack options, raffles, car washes, bottle drives, fresh fruit sales, the list goes on. It only takes a minute to Google “healthy fundraising options“.

Healthy-Snack-Variety-Pak-800

Farm to school fundraisingI think it’s time that the organizers of these clubs rethink how they set up their fundraising. But it’s going to be up to the parents to encourage and demand these changes.

How do you feel about the way fundraising is done where your kids are involved?

Are you prepared? {Giveaway} #Beesafe

With the deep freeze going on east of us, I can’t help but think, “Is my family prepared if this happened here at home?”

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If we were suddenly with out power, how long are we really prepared for if the power is out for more than a few hours?

Do we have enough food and water? Will we be able to stay warm?

My husband and I could manage, but now we have a 4 yo and a 1 yo to look after, so having enough food, water and warm clothes is essential.

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Did you know that you should be prepared for 72 hours? It could take this long for emergency responders to get to you. Follow this link for more information about being prepared.

I am planning on putting together a “tote” chock full of the essentials that we would require to survive for a week in the event of a serious catastrophe.

I’ve poked around the internet and there are kits that you can purchase from companies like: Beesafe Solutions, 72 Hours, Costco, or you could build your own with this list provided by the Canadian Red Cross.

Beesafe Solutions has generously provided an Emergency Kit to give away to one lucky reader. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below. The giveaway will run January 1st – 7th, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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