Archives for November 2015

{FAMILY} The Nutcracker: A Reignited Passion For Dance

Last year, after 4 years of taking weekly ballet classes, my daughter decided to take a break from the classical dance genre to try something new.

At first, my heart sank. I had grown up with a passion for the arts, and watching my little girl sauté and pirouette on stage each year had made me so proud. But I soon realized that instead of dancing vicariously through my daughter, it was time for me to return to the barre myself, and I’m still taking adult ballet classes today.

When I treated her to a mother-daughter date to see The Nutcracker last year, her passion for ballet was reignited and she decided to give it another try. This year her class will be performing their own rendition of the holiday classic and my little girl is thrilled to be dancing in the Arabian scene – one of our all-time favourite Nutcracker pieces.

Nutcracker

The Arabian dance performed by Alberta Ballet

I’m looking forward to watching my tiny dancer perform on stage once again this year, and I’m excited to share with her our annual holiday tradition of watching professional ballerinas perform in The Nutcracker in the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Theatre again this holiday season.

This year will be my 34th consecutive year of watching the production, and each year I look forward to seeing how each choreographer and dance ensemble put their own twist on the famous Christmas ballet.

Nutcracker

Choreographed by Edmund Stripe, and decorated with more than a million dollars worth of dazzling sets and costumes designed by Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown, this year’s production promises to be an unforgettable event. Ballet BC’s artistic director, Emily Molnar explains the decision to bring Alberta Ballet back to Vancouver:

“Vancouver audiences were delighted with Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker when it was first presented here in 2011. We’re pleased to bring back this magical version of the famous Christmas ballet with its live music performed by the VSO, extravagant sets and costumes and the talented dancers of Alberta Ballet. The Nutcracker is unforgettable family entertainment that is sure to enrich your holiday season.”

Nutcracker

Each year, I like to share the gift of dance with my readers through a giveaway, and this year I’m so excited to be giving away not two, but four tickets to the performance (a $280 value)! Enter to win below, and stay tuned for my review of this year’s show.

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Nutcracker

THE NUTCRACKER

Choreography: Edmund Stripe
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE

December 29, 2015 7:30pm
December 30, 2015 2:00pm
December 30, 2015 7:30pm
December 31, 2015 2:00pm

 

{FAMILY} Wish List: Holiday Outfits For Kids

Each year I create a photo book to gift to my parents and in-laws for Christmas. The photo books highlight memorable moments from from of our year – lost teeth, birthdays, dance recitals, vacations – and each book is always finished off with a photo of my children sitting on Santa’s knee. With my oldest child in her eighth year, we’ve created quite a collection of these books and holiday Santa photos – they have become valuable keepsakes for both our family and the grandparents who receive the books as gifts.

The outfits that my children wear for their photo with Santa and for our family Christmas dinners over the holidays are an important part of the holidays for me. Christmas is one of the few times that I get to dress up my children and snap formal photos of them together to include in those special keepsakes of their grandparents. If it weren’t for the promise of holiday cheer, it would be nearly impossible for me to capture my little munchkins in such happy spirits together.

This year I’d love to dress them in similar outfits – and these three brands have exactly what I’m looking for – but I can’t decide which way to go – fancifully formal? Playfully casual? Or Modernly monochromatic? Here are some of my favourites, maybe you can help me to decide:

Fancifully Formal – Redfish Kids

Kids Holiday Outfits

I was recently invited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular, high-end children’s clothing brand Redfish Kids, and I couldn’t stop drooling over their holiday collection. Assertively stylish and made of high-quality fabrics such as velvet and taffeta, their formal frocks and handsome velvet pieces were simply adorable! My picks: the Simon says vest for my boy, and the Dolce dress for my girls.

Playfully Casual Yet Chic – Peekaboo BeansKids Holiday Outfits

What I love most about the Peekaboo Beans holiday collection is the promising longevity of their products. Their holiday outfits are dressy enough for Christmas dinner, yet comfy/casual enough for my kids to wear to school and for playtime after the holidays have passed. My picks: The Rockslide Leggings and Dazzl’n Dress for my girls, and the cute yet casual Ranger Pants and Looking Good Pullover for my boy.

Modernly Monochromatic – VonBon

VonBon

I just can’t resist a clean, black and white look for the holidays, and Von Bon‘s latest line hits the mark when it comes to fresh, fashion-forward kids wear. The swoon-worthy outfits pictured above would pair perfectly with the red accents of the holidays (and our Dalmatian too!), and the modern pattern screams chic! Not to mention, these adorable styles could be recycled throughout the year.

Which looks do you like best? 

{FOOD} 3 Family-Friendly North Shore Spots Fit For A Foodie

I have always loved dining out. In fact, if I could relinquish my cooking responsibilities entirely in favour of a personal chef, or meals carefully prepared and elegantly served in a comfortable dining environment, I would shut down my kitchen in a heartbeat. I love to eat – but I don’t love to cook. And now that I have 3 children (2 of which are in school), making lunches has become the bane of my existence.

But while I love going out for dinner, I’m getting rather tired of the regular family-friendly dining destinations (I love you White Spot, but a girl can only have so many Triple-O burgers). So for those of you who are looking for locally-owned alternatives to the typical big chain restaurants and coffee shops that are frequented by child-toting families, check out these 3 picks for family-friendly food spots fit for a foodie:

foodieWell Fed Studio

Many of my Fridays have been made better thanks to Well Fed Studio. Not only do they provide cooking classes and high quality, all-natural meals to go, but their magic lunch box program is a fantastic addition to my children’s hot lunch days at school. Unlike the hot dog days, and McDonald’s days we had at my school when I was growing up, Well Fed Studio looks for ways to add nutrient-rich ingredients and essential lean proteins to their carefully-prepared lunches – providing kids with the staying power to learn effectively. Thanks to Well Fed studio, my kids are well fed on hot lunch days, and I don’t have to lift a finger. Win-win.

If you pop into their studio, check out this fabulous special offer.

foodie


 

foodieInGrain Pastificio foodie

If you’re looking for a family-friendly spot for lunch or dinner on the North Shore, InGrainPastificio is a must-visit dining destination. Owned and operated by brother-in-law duo, Alistair Knox and Erick Kauko (infamous for their Deep Cove hot spot Arms Reach Bistro), InGrain Pastificio produces their own pasta in-house using all-Canadian, locally-sourced high-quality grains. Their easily-accessible restaurant offers high-end Italian-inspired dishes in a comfortable, laid-back environment – perfect for noodle-crazy picky eaters like mine.

Want to learn more about how InGrain Pastificio came to be? Check out their fascinating story in The North Shore Foodie book – written by yours truly.


 

foodieTemper Pastryfoodie

Our family loves to go for strolls along Ambleside beach in West Vancouver, and on chilly days, stopping for a treat and some warm bevies afterwards is the perfect way to complete our day. And while we love the usual big-chain coffee shops, a chocolate or mini dessert at Temper Pastry hits the spot for my little sweet-tooth boasting kidlets.


 

www.bradhillimaging.com

For more on these and the many other fantastic, independently-owned North Shore food & drink destinations, check out The North Shore Foodie book – available online and in-stores on November 16, 2015.

The book features the stories behind 37 leading independent North Shore restaurants, bars, cafés, bakeries, breweries, butchers and chocolatiers, and over 100 delicious recipes that come directly from North Shore chefs. Ranging from simple everyday family meals to challenging cuisine that will push you to the boundaries of your culinary repertoire, the decadent, hearty, and nutritious range of featured recipes offers something for every palate and skill level.

Wouldn’t this make an awesome holiday gift?

foodie

Want to win the ultimate North Shore foodie prize? Join us for the Instagram Loop Giveaway, running now until November 19th. Follow along here: Instagram Loop Giveaway

{FAMILY} Middle Child Problems

Hi I’m Gavin and I’m five and a HALF. I was the baby in the family for four years until my baby sister came along, and I love her so SO much I just want to squish her and cuddle her and kiss her and hug her SO HARD. ALL. THE. TIME. But I get in trouble a lot for not giving her space. They say I’m “smothering her” but whatever, I know she loves me.

middle child

I’m the only boy in my family which SUCKS cause no one wants to play ninja CHOP with me. HI-YA! My big sister plays with me sometimes, but it always has to be what SHE wants to play and that’s SO ANNOYING. But when she doesn’t want to play with me, that’s the WORSTEST so I yell at her and bug her and make her as mad as I can. Maybe if I make her mad enough she’ll change her mind and play ninjas with me.

Sometimes I like to just run as fast as I can and then JUMP and CRASH on the ground and roll around like I’m on a stealth mission, like a ninja spy. It’s the FUNNEST, but my mommy always tells me to be quiet and stop thumping because my baby sister is trying to sleep. It’s like she’s sleeping all the time. Nap times are SO no fun.

Being the middle child is the HORRIBLEST. Here’s why:

My big sister gets to do all the fun stuff. My mommy is always taking my big sister to do things that are fun, like going to concerts, and ballet shows (even though ballet is SO GROSS, and so is Taylor Swift, YUCK).

My baby sister gets ALL the attention. My mommy is always carrying her around and kissing her all the time. I wish I was still a baby so my mom would carry me around. Or I wish that my baby sister would let ME carry her around all the time cause then I could SQUEEZE her and HUG her SO MUCH.

I ALWAYS have to share. When my baby sister came home I had to share a room with my big sister. Then she wanted to be alone so now I have to share a room with the BABY. And I’m not a baby I’m a BIG BOY. So it’s totally no fair. PLUS I have to always share my toys with my baby sister. Whenever I have something she takes it away.

Don’t feel bad for me though cause I have a plan. I’m going to be LOUD, and IN YOUR FACE to make sure no one forgets about me. And I do get lots of kisses which I really like. And snuggles and hugs. I like those a lot. Being the middle child can be rough, but hey, at least I’m not HER.