{FAMILY} Monster Trucks Aren’t Just For Boys

Monster Jam

I’ll confess, each year when I see that the Monster Jam® event is coming to town, I suggest that my husband take my son for a boys night out. Foolishly, the thought of taking the girls hadn’t ever crossed my mind.

Not only does Monster Jam® offer fun for the whole family, but it features highly-skilled athletes – some of which happen to be talented women, going head-to-head in adrenaline-pumping, engine-revving races.

This year, Canadian contender Cynthia Gauthier will be behind the wheel of the Mutt Dalmatian monster truck. Raised by a mechanic father, Gauthier grew up with a passion for anything with an engine, competing in dirt bike races, and eventually joining the Bad Habit team that went on to the Monster Jam World Finals in 2015. With a female Canadian contender in the race this year, now’s a better time than ever to show your girls that extreme sports aren’t just for boys!

Monster Jam

Cynthia Gauthier | Mutt Dalmatian Monster Truck Driver

Enter below for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the opening night of the Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series, coming to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on April 7th at 7pm ($100 value):

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Contest runs from Monday, March 20th to Sunday, March 26th. Entrants must be able to attend the April 7th event at 7pm in Vancouver, BC. Winners will be contacted by email once the contest closes. 

Click on the image below to learn more about what you can expect from this rip-roaring event! Monster Jam

{FOOD} Surprise Your Sweetheart With A Foodie Prize Pack

There’s one thing that I love (almost) as much as I love my family: food – so it makes perfect sense for me to celebrate the upcoming day of love with the gift of grub!

Through my business, I’ve been fortunate to work with Brad Hill – an incredible photographer and publisher of the Foodie Book series. Not only have I enjoyed creating buzz for his business, but the books have opened my eyes to new culinary destinations that I might not have otherwise discovered.

After the launch of his first book – the North Shore Foodie, a group of friends and I started our own food tour – working our way through the featured restaurants in the book. It’s been a great excuse to veer away from my usual restaurant spots and try something new, and I look forward to eating my way through the East Van edition next!

Photo: Jamjar

Recipe for Mujadra (lentil stew) in the East Van Foodie book

Photo: Jamjar

To celebrate my love for food, I’m excited to be sharing with you a chance to win a copy of the East Van Foodie book and a gift certificate for $40 to enjoy a delicious meal at Jamjar. Enter below for a chance to win this gift pack fit for a foodie – one that you can keep for yourself, enjoy with a friend, or gift to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.

About the East Van Foodie Book:

It’s a dazzling coffee table book filled with mouthwatering images of delectable dishes. It’s a collection of recipes ranging from vegan fare to courses fit for carnivores – from simple everyday meals to complicated culinary processes that will push you outside of your cooking comfort zone. It’s a story book filled with the history and heart behind some of Vancouver’s most esteemed dining destinations, and it’s a book of discovery, where you’ll learn something new about the tools, tales, and tastes that come from the kitchens of our city – and from around the world.

About Jamjar Restaurant

Tantalize your tastebuds with the flavours of folk Lebanese food, cooked with passion and made from scratch in a cozy setting on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. Using fresh ingredients and the aromatic spices of East Mediterranean cooking, Jamjar connects diners through communal sharing, nodding to Lebanese culture and the art of sharing food while enjoying the company of family and friends.

Photo: Jamjar

Enter for a chance to win below.

Note: Entrants must live in the Greater Vancouver Area.

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{FAMILY} The Nutcracker: Celebrate Christmas With Clara

To those who know me or who have been following my blog, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Nutcracker ballet. I’ve seen the holiday classic for 35 consecutive years now – 3 times last year alone, and 2 times planned for this year.

Each year I wonder if I’ll tire of the dreamy dance, and each year I’m pleasantly surprised by clever twists, captivating costumes, challenging choreography and the new dancers that grace the stage to perform my favourite ballet.

I leave each performance anticipating the next, and the tradition continues year after year.

Ballet BC Nutcracker

Ballet BC presents a run of performances each Winter, performed by either the Alberta Ballet, or the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. This year, one of the most prestigious dance companies in the country – the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, will be returning to the stage, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

The role of Clara will be performed by Sophia Lee – a Vancouver-trained ballerina and Principal Dancer for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this talented and versatile artist will bring to her role as the leading lady.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the holiday tale, here’s a brief synopsis:

Danced to Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, the story follows the wondrous adventures of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The turn-of-the century fantasy is set in a stately mansion where young Clara’s Christmas dream world features toy soldiers, dancing mice and a mischievous bear who steals the Christmas pudding. When Clara’s Christmas gift comes to life and defeats the evil Mouse King, she’s whisked away to a magical kingdom, where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns. Whether you’re beginning a new holiday tradition or revisiting an old favourite, you’ll be enthralled by Clara’s escapades with her Nutcracker Prince.

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 a pair of tickets to the December 10th performance at 2pm. Enter to win below:

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Ballet BC Nutcracker

More Info:

Artistic Director: André Lewis
Choreography: Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Costume Design: Paul Daigle
Scenic Design: Brian Perchaluk
Lighting Design: Michael J. Whitfield

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{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

 

Back-To-School Finds: Butler Overboots {Giveaway}

We’ve had months of beautiful Summer weather in Vancouver, but with the return of the rain comes the return of routine for many families like ours, as we prepare our children for back to school. And while I’m looking forward to the excitement of a new school year, this time of year is always especially chaotic as I prepare my children for school with one-on-one shopping trips for school supplies, outfits and gear for their Fall extracurriculars. So much to buy, so little time! My son is starting Kindergarten this Fall so I’m making an extra effort to start him off on the right foot for the school year. We’ve purchased a new backpack and lunch bag, and he has hand picked a brand new outfit to wear on his first day! And one necessity that I’m happy to have already included in our collection of outdoor wear is sure to come in handy this Fall – the Butler overboot – a great solution to the shoe-changing challenges of the children of our rainy city. Rain boots Unlike any other boot I’ve seen, this overboot makes it quick and easy for kids to transition from indoor to outdoor footwear on rainy days. The boots are designed to comfortably slip over slippers or running shoes, so children can seamlessly transition from inside play to outdoor fun. I wish I had discovered these when my children were in daycare – it would have been much easier for their teachers to get the kids ready to play outside! Rain boots I was introduced to the Butler overboot by a great little online shop called Amelie & Max, whose mission is to “curate a selection of Canadian and international brands for discerning modern parents who are looking for ethical, durable, high quality, multifunctional innovative apparel, shoes, accessories and lifestyle products for the entire family.” A Canadian mom-run business with a great purpose for parents. They have my support. We’ve been trying out these adorably colourful and easy-to-wear boots by our river, and so far my kids love them! They’ll be great to keep in their cubbies at school for rainy day wear. Thanks to my friends at Amelie & Max, one of my lucky readers can WIN a pair too! Enter below, and good luck.Rain boots a Rafflecopter giveaway

You Can’t Handle The Tooth! {Giveaway}

Fact: teething bites (pun very much intended).

I’m on my third tooth-bearing child, and let me tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. No matter how much practice you get, those baby chiclets will sneak up on you, and hit you like a slap in the face. One minute your baby is sleeping well and melting your heart with sweet little smiles and giggles, and the next, the pterodactyl from within unleashes its unruly wails as those tiny little white nuggets push their way through to the surface of your poor baby’s gums.

Sleepless nights, soaked-through tops, and the biting (oh the biting!). Unfortunately, teething is inevitable. We have to let nature take its course – it’s just not optional. What is optional though, is how we deal with the disastrous childhood milestone.

As parents we have two choices: we can grin and bear it – suffer through the raw pain of parenting a teething toddler for the months (sometimes years!) of agony – or, we can numb the pain for our poor little biters by providing them with the right supplies they need to dull the distress.

Cue: Lou Lou Lollipop Teething Necklaces. Unlike many teething necklaces I’ve seen on the market, these cute little silicon-based gems come in a wide range of modern, wearable, hip designs that can be worn without looking “like a mom” when out and about with your little drooler.

teething necklace

I thought so many of their designs were cute and totally wearable (I love the black one above, it looks like it’s made of wood!), but I wanted something unique that would fit with my brand/personality, so the lovely ladies of LouLou Lollipop Finery made me this beautiful custom set for my little teether and I:

teething necklace2

I love the colours, and my oldest daughter likes to wear the larger necklace sometimes too so she can “twin” with her baby sister.

My littlest loves to prance around with her necklace in hand and take a little nibble as she plays. It’s adorable, and it keeps her drooly gums preoccupied which is of course a big win for me.

Not only did I get my own custom set, but I’m giving away one of these lovely necklaces to one of my readers!

teething

Enter now for a chance to WIN your very own LouLou Lollipop teething necklace – in the design of your choice ($30 value)! Check out their site to see more styles, and enter below for your chance to win.
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About LouLou Lollipop Finery:

Lou Lou Lollipop Finery is a premium brand of modern, hip silicone accessories designed and handmade locally in Vancouver by two sisters, Eleanor and Angel.

Product features include:
* FDA approved high quality food grade silicone
* Made with non-toxic materials (no- BPA, PVC, phthalate, latex, lead, cadmium, or heavy metals)
* Features breakaway safety clasp as an added safety measure
* Silicone is anti-microbial; does not harbour bacteria or mold

Note: LouLou Lollipop teething jewelry is intended to be worn by adults. It is NOT a toy. It should not be worn by babies/children or left with any child unattended. Adult supervision is always required.


 

Canuck Place Adventure Race {Giveaway}

The Canuck Place Adventure Race is a unique outdoor fundraising event that allows families of all ages to train and participate as a team. For many participants, this is a great way to fundraise for an important cause while honouring a loved one who has recently lost their life to a life-threatening and incurable illness.

Meet The Ross Family.

Last year, the Ross family raised over $3,000 through their participation in the race. Through competing as a family, the Ross’ were able to honour their late daughter, Gabrielle, who lost her life at the age of 3, to a terminal genetic disorder called I-Cell. Canuck Place offered care and support services for the family, and provided them with a comfortable space where they could enjoy their last days as a family with their beautiful daughter.

The Ross Family

Read more about The Ross Family and their experience at Canuck Place HERE.

Since 1995, Canuck Place has offered 24/7 world-class health services for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, in a home-like setting. Canuck Place has since become a global leader in pediatric palliative care, and has helped over 400 children and their families throughout BC.

How Can You Help?

On September 13, 2015, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice will be hosting their annual outdoor adventure race at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, BC. This fun, family-friendly day filled with outdoor adventure, will raise funds to provide children and their families with the respite care they need. Support Canuck Place by participating in the multi-sporting event which includes kayaking, mountain biking and trail running in a beautiful setting, and enjoy a community BBQ lunch. Unable to participate? Bring your family and friends and cheer on the race participants!

Canuck Place Adventure Race

WIN A Canuck Place Adventure Race Prize Package!

Enter for a chance to win a prize package which includes 1 entry in the Canuck Place Adventure Race, and an 8 X 10 autographed photo of Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks (total prize package valued at $125).

ENTER HERE:
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Fundraising Note:

The Canuck Place Adventure Race is a fundraising event. Funds raised support Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in providing critical clinical care and programs for BC’s children with life-threatening illnesses and their families who love them. Therefore, Canuck Place asks all participants to do their best in reaching the fundraising goals, and Canuck Place supports all participants in doing so through tips and tricks, and helpful newsletters (examples here: http://bit.ly/1rL418L). However, if the goal is not met, no penalty applies.

Why I Quit Using Cloth Diapers {+ Review & Giveaway}

I successfully used cloth diapers for baby #3, and I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it for as long as I did (almost a year). I saved a lot of money (especially since the cloth diapers I was using had a great ROI – I was able to sell them for a great profit), and I felt good about my small contribution to the well-being of our planet. But all good things must come to an end. My baby grew out of the stock of cloth diapers that I had, and I had to make a decision: reinvest in the next size up, or transition back to disposable diapers.

Cloth Diapers

12 months in cloth diapers

With my little one now on solid foods and soiling her diapers much less frequently, and a busy schedule of rushing around with my two older children, convenience won and I decided to transition away from cloth diapering. While I enjoyed the experience, it was time to move on.

While I was happy with my decision, I felt tinges of guilt as I tossed the disposables into the trash. I was aware of the environmental impacts of my decision and feeling guilty for turning my back on my goal to be a more environmentally-friendly household.

When I received a package in the mail filled with cleaning products and diaper supplies from an earth-friendly brand called Seventh Generation (a brand that I had worked with a few years ago), I was excited to try out their diapers again! I felt like I had found a nice balance between both diapering worlds – a disposable diaper that would offer the convenience factor that I sought, but that was also gentle on my baby’s skin and the environment, made of only all-natural ingredients.

Seventh generation

We love what we see on the labels

I’ve tried other “green” diaper brands in the past, and found the side tabs to be quite fragile, and the absorbency to be too weak for overnights. The Seventh Generation diapers have thick and secure tabs, and stretchy waistbands making it easy for my little crawler/walker to get around comfortably. They haven’t leaked through lengthy wears, and fit nicely.

But I’m a big believer in trying before I buy – and luckily for you, you can try out these great products too! Enter below for a chance to WIN a Seventh Generation package of goodies ($50 VALUE)*, including:

  • A package of Seventh Generation Free & Clear diapers
  • A package of  Seventh Generation Free & Clear baby wipes
  • A package of Seventh Generation 100% recycled bathroom tissue
  • A package of Seventh Generation botanical disinfecting wipes
  • A bottle of Seventh Generation biodegradable dish soap 
  • A box of 100% Recycled Facial Tissue

*Sorry friends, this contest is only available to CANADIAN RESIDENTS.

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BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Mini {Giveaway}

BABYBJÖRN has always been a trusted brand in my house. All three of my children spent their earliest months cradled in the comfort of a BABYBJÖRN carrier, and I felt comfortable knowing that they were safe and secure, snuggled up against my body.

BABYBJÖRN Mini Bouncer

Last month I was invited to a BABYBJÖRN product launch, and I couldn’t wait to see what they were bringing exclusively to Canada. When the lovely team from BABYBJÖRN revealed the new Bouncer Mini, I was immediately impressed. The sleek and compact design was stylish and functional, and the unique features made it a baby product win in my books.

BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Mini

Bouncer Mini - Light pink, Cotton (3)

Product Highlights:

  • Powered by babies. While most baby bouncers are battery operated, this bouncer provides a natural way for babies to learn to soothe themselves, strengthening their motor skills and providing them with the comfort they seek.
  • Designed for newborns. Many baby bouncers are designed for babies up to the early toddler months, catering to the needs of more developed babies. The Bouncer Mini was designed specifically to meet the needs of newborns who haven’t fully developed their muscles – offering comfortable support for fragile head and back muscles.
  • Cradles your baby for you. As much as we’d all love to hold our babies 24/7, there are other things that we need to do, hands-free. The Bouncer Mini is light and mobile, easy to move to any room, and the safety features provide a reassuringly easy place to lay your baby so you can get other jobs done.

The BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Mini is not yet available in stores, and will only be sold exclusively in Canada, however I have one to give away to one lucky reader! Enter below for a chance to win – the perfect gift for expectant friends, or for your new baby boy or girl. ($159.95 value)

BabyBjorn Bouncer Mini

Available in grey or light pink. To learn more about this product, visit BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Mini 
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Light Up The Holidays With The Nutcracker Ballet {Giveaway}

Last year was the first year that I was able to share my annual holiday tradition of seeing the Nutcracker ballet with my daughter, and it was a memorable mother-daughter experience that we will never forget. It was the first time that my little ballerina was able to watch professional dancers perform the Christmas-themed ballet on stage, and she watched the entire performance wide-eyed – completely in awe of the magic that unfolded on the stage before her.

This year I can’t wait to surprise her again with tickets to the Nutcracker (presented by Ballet BC), this time performed by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet – one of the most prestigious dance companies in the country.

“We excitedly present this ballet each year as it ties our past to our future. With Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, we are very happy that Vancouver is part of our exciting touring season and that we are working with Ballet BC.”

– André Lewis, Artistic Director of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Nutcracker

Photo by Vince Pahkala

Sprinkled with a few Canadian-themed surprises, this rendition of the Christmas classic promises to surprise and intrigue even the most knowledgeable of ballet connoisseurs, and the sparkling tutus, magical characters, and life-like set decor (snow falling from the sky – a childhood favourite scene) make the Nutcracker an unforgettable experience for the whole family to savour.

Not only is the Nutcracker the can’t-miss event of the holiday season, but it supports young artists across Canada who aspire to pursue a career in dance.

“Casting over 70 talented, aspiring young dancers from close to 20 dance schools across the Lower Mainland, this gives us a chance to support the local dance community. This marks the first opportunity for these young dancers to perform with a professional ballet company. We are excited to provide this experience to so many young artists.”

– Emily Molnar, Artistic Director of Ballet BC

Nutcracker

Photo by Vince Pahkala

Share this magical ballet adventure with your family and treat them to an evening they won’t forget.

In true Christmas spirit, I offer the gift of dance through a giveaway for Bits of Bee readers! Enter below for a chance to WIN a pair of tickets to this year’s unforgettable performance of the Nutcracker ballet.

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NUTCRACKER

Choreography: Galina Yordanova & Nina Menon
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE
DECEMBER 12 – 14, 2014 • Performances at 7:30 pm
DECEMBER 13 – 14, 2014 • Performances at 2:00pm

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