{FAMILY} This Is How We Do Spring In Vancouver

May Quote

For me, May is the month of milestones. It’s the month I gave birth to both my first born, and my littlest bee. It’s the month we celebrate the birth of my mother, and the gift of motherhood. It signifies the start of my writing career, and the anniversary of our move to BC’s North Shore where we now call home.

May is not just about the flowers that bloom after April’s showers, it also marks the beginning of a slew of sunny days in Vancouver – and we plan to take full advantage.

Spring Vancouver

River dipping and berry picking in Peekaboo Beans – perfect for a day of outdoor play

This weekend, we did just that. We toddled along the tippy rocks that decorate the river’s edge. We dipped our toes in the icy cold water, and watched as river bugs and tiny fish splashed past our feet. We picked salmon berries from the bushes that line the river’s long and winding corridor, and we turned our faces to the sun and soaked up its warming rays.

Cloey's Outfit: Peekaboo Beans

Cloey’s Outfit: Peekaboo Beans

 

Spring Vancouver

Spring Vancouver

Gavin’s Outfit: Peekaboo Beans

After a quick lunch at home, we headed back outside for some old-school fun on our new trampoline. The weather was so warm that we decided to set the kids up with a fun cool-off-in-the-sun activity that we used to do in our childhood days – we set up the sprinkler under the trampoline, put the kids in their bathing suits, and hours of fun ensued.

Springfree Vancouver

Springfree Vancouver

 

As the day cooled off, we wound down with a little quiet time before heading in for dinner. My hubs and I sat back and sipped on ice cold beers while we watched our little ones bond – enjoying every moment of Spring in Vancouver.

Spring Vancouver

 

We had a full day outdoors – and it didn’t cost a thing.

I can’t wait to see what else May has in store for us. With this beautiful weather and so many more milestones on the horizon, May truly does make it seem as though all things are possible.

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:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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.

Family Fun at the Grey Cup Festival {Giveaway}

Wrap up the Canadian football season with a 3-day festival full of fun for the whole family in downtown Vancouver from November 26th – November 30th!

Grey Cup

On November 30th, 2014, Vancouver will once again play host to the Grey Cup, the 102nd CFL championship game, which will be held at the home of our BC Lions – BC Place Stadium. This year’s Grey Cup Festival promises to be a ROARing good time for the whole family, with an epic line up of kid-friendly events and activities to get your family revved up and into the spirit of the game leading up to the final showdown of the season.

The Grey Cup Festival kicks off on November 26th, and includes a plethora of free events over 3 days for families to enjoy leading up to the final game on November 30th – including live concerts, a street festival, a parade, and an action-packed family zone!

Because the list of activities is so long, I thought I would share with you the top events for you to enjoy with the whole family:

TOP FAMILY EVENTS AT THE 102ND GREY CUP FESTIVAL IN VANCOUVER

Nissan Family Zone – Jack Poole Plaza, Nov 27-29, 11am-7pm (FREE)Grey Cup

Highlights:

  • Family-friendly live entertainment will be happening daily on the Canadian Direct Insurance Stage, featuring a lineup of talented performers.
  • The CN Safety Zone will be set up, including football tips and railway safety lessons from the experts.
  • Football BC will be running fun football activities – including the opportunity to toss the pigskin with a CFL alumni!
  • The Canadian Forces will be presenting a fun and interactive obstacle course for kids to get active!

TELUS Street Festival – Canada Place Way, Nov 27-29, 11am-9pm (FREE)Grey Cup

Highlights:

  • Live radio station broadcasts, food trucks and interactive exhibitors (face painting, photo booths and even a giant jenga game).
  • Experience 15 concerts over three days right in the heart of it all at the PlayNow.com Main Stage, featuring local up-and-coming Vancouver artists like Delhi 2 Dublin, The Matinee, BESTiE, Dominique Fricot and more. (Complete concert line up)

Save-On-Foods Grey Cup Festival Parade – Saturday, Nov 29 10am-12pm (FREE)

Start: 10:00am at Smithe & HornbyGrey Cup

Finish: 12:00pm at Dunsmuir & Granville

Winding through the streets of downtown Vancouver, the parade will be a celebration of Canadian football, spirit, and the coveted Grey Cup will make an appearance!  It promises to be an event filled with floats, marching bands, smiles, and fun.  Get ready to ROAR on the Shore starting at 10am! And be sure to catch the Purolator Tackle Hunger campaign. Purolator will be collecting non-perishable food items from the parade crowd, which will contribute to their Tackle Hunger campaign, providing food for those in need.

And More!

  • Cheerleader Extravaganza – see all of the teams’ cheerleaders and dance teams perform at the Vancouver Convention Centre in a FREE family friendly event
  • Calgary Grey Cup Committee Pancake Breakfast – FREE pancake breakfast from 11:00am-1:00pm Thurs + Fri on the PlayNow.com Main Stage
  • CFL Alumni Autograph Sessions – daily in the Vancouver Convention Centre from 11:00pm – 7:00pm

Don’t miss out on the party of the year!

GREY CUP FESTIVAL FAMILY FUN GIVEAWAY

Make your Grey Cup experience one-of-a-kind by entering for a chance to win this amazing family package, which includes:

  • Family Set of Official Grey Cup Festival Apparel ($250 value)
  • 4 VIP spots to the Grey Cup Parade (including breakfast) ($400 value)
  • 2 VIP Red Truck Lager Tailgate Concert Series passes (for the grown ups) ($300 value)
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a child (aged 6-14) to be in the one of the VIP Vehicles in the Save-on-Foods Grey Cup Festival Parade!
  • TOTAL VALUE: $950!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Raw Beauty Talks + The Collective #EmbraceVancouver

Beauty, confidence, and self-love. Three things that every woman should feel about themselves, yet also three of the most challenging things for many women to embrace. In my case, those three things have been overshadowed by my love for my three children, and I know that I’m not alone.

Before children, I took the time to make myself feel beautiful. I felt confident in my own skin, and took the time to love myself (my mother always said that “you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself first”).  But when I became a mother, all of my love went to my children, and my self-confidence, self-love, and comfort in my own skin fell to the wayside. My body changed, my priorities changed, and my “me” time was replaced with “we” time. It’s not that my self-confidence and self-love had diminished entirely, they had just become less important in a world where there were so many other things to focus on.

“RAW strives to help women everywhere find confidence in their raw, unique beauty so that they are no longer imprisoned by society’s conventional standards of beauty.  We want every woman to feel comfortable in her own skin so that she can take on the world and live life to the fullest.”

As I browsed through my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, feeling especially self-conscious about my outward appearance after wading through a sea of picture-perfect faces and perfectly-posed smiles, I scrolled past an image that caught my eye. It was an image that I had seen on my Facebook feed in the past. An image that had gone viral overnight when it was originally posted by an Australian woman who wanted to break the barriers of photoshopped and overly-filtered images that graced the pages of mainstream media outlets everyday.

Taryn Brumfitt

Taryn Brumfitt‘s image (above) sparked a global conversation about body image, encouraging women to open up about how they truly feel and speak about their bodies. Her image has since received over 100 million hits, and has led to the creation of a documentary film that was created with the over $330k raised through a viral Kickstarter campaign.

On September 30th, Taryn is coming to Vancouver to share her unique story, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say! I’m going to enjoy some time away from the kids to remember who I am, to remember what makes me feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable in my own skin.

Raw Beauty Talks

No makeup, no filters. Just my raw face and a smile.

Join me for an unforgettable evening of honest talk, cocktails, and fun! More info and tickets below.

#EmbraceVancouver with Taryn Brumfitt

Presented by THE COLLECTIVE + RAW Beauty Talks

When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 from 7-10pm

Where: Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island, Vancouver BC

SPECIAL OFFER: Use the code “bee” when purchasing your tickets and receive 15% off the regular ticket price!

BUY TICKETS

Learn more about how you can join the movement.

10 Things I Love About #Vancouver

Vancouver, BC Canada – where you can swim in the ocean and ski on the mountains on the same day. Where you can enjoy four seasons of weather. Where beautiful people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds can live harmoniously. Where foodies, outdoor adventurists, artists and shopaholics have a plethora of options to satisfy their passions.

I was born and raised in the most beautiful city in the world. Here are just 10 of a million things that I love to do, see, and enjoy in and around my beloved city by the sea:

1) North Shore Hiking

There are so many beautiful hiking trails in and around Vancouver. My family enjoys strolling through the forested outdoors of the North Shore as often as possible.

 

Hiking Vancouver
2) Local Mountains

Only a 30 minute drive outside of Vancouver, there are several local snow-topped mountains to choose from, where you can ski, snowboard, toboggan, or just take in the sights.

Mountains Vancouver
3) Granville Island

The earlier years of my childhood were spent living right in the heart of Granville Island, possibly the most beautiful of Vancouver locales. A community of artists, artisans, and chefs, it’s easy to get lost in the culture and beauty of this little “island” by the city.

Granville Island Vancouver
4) Science World

A unique architectural structure nestled in the heart of the city, this destination is a must for families, filled with fun, adventure, and science – fun for the whole family!

Science World Vancouver
5) Ambleside

The best place to take a family walk with your dog – a serene stroll through trees and onto a path that runs along the water’s edge. This is a special place for my husband and I as we’ve visited it regularly for the 12 years (and counting) that we’ve had our Dalmatian. This is where he proposed to me.

Ambleside Vancouver

6) Boating

One of the best ways to enjoy the sights of Vancouver is by boat. Our family spends as much time as we can on the water.

Boating Vancouver
7) The Beaches

Vancouver is known for it’s beautiful beaches, are there are plenty to choose from in and around the city. Our favourite is the beach at Cate’s Park in North Vancouver – the perfect spot to spend the day with the family.

Beaches Vancouver
8) Apple Picking

Only a short drive out of the city, you can enjoy a taste of the country. There are a few farms that offer apple picking, pumpkin patches, and family fun. A great way to spend a quiet day outside of the city.

Farm Vancouver
9) The River

Steps from our front door, we are so fortunate to live beside a beautiful river. This is the perfect place to take a cool dip, and sit back and relax amongst our natural surroundings.

River Vancouver

10) Capilano Suspension Bridge

Another must for a family day outdoors is the Capilano Suspension Bridge – where you can stroll through forested trails, and take in the breathtaking views as you cross a bridge suspended 70 metres (230 ft) above the Capilano River. There is so much to see and do here, it’s no wonder this is a top tourist destination in Vancouver.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

What is your favourite thing to see/do in Vancouver? 

Linked up for Monday Listicles

Vancouver By Water

To wrap up our Summer, our family headed out for a day on the water, exploring the most beautiful city in the world – Vancouver, BC. We launched our boat at Cate’s Park in North Vancouver, and headed out on a nautical jaunt along our city’s breathtaking coastline, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the scenic landscapes that surrounded us.

One

 We headed up Indian Arm to our first destination and favourite spot – Bedwell Bay. A quiet little cove nestled in Port Moody, BC, Bedwell Bay is the perfect spot to wakeboard, tube, or enjoy a serene picnic lunch on the surrounding semi-sandy beaches.

Two

We then headed over to the other side of the water, to a quaint little community in North Vancouver, BC called Deep Cove.

Four

And then kicked it up a few knots and raced under the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge (Second Narrows).

Three

On the other side of the North Shore, we waved at tourists on the docks of the Lonsdale Quay, and admired the beautiful yachts docked at the neighbouring Seaspan shipyard.

Five

As we made our way towards downtown Vancouver, we stopped in the Burrard Inlet to show our children a truly historic site – do any of my fellow Vancouverites remember the floating McDonald’s, aka “McBarge” that graced our waters during Expo ’86? Well, my friends, it’s still there:

Six

I remember eating here as a kid, and can’t believe that it has been sitting in the ocean, untouched, for nearly thirty years now.

Next, we headed towards the Vancouver skyline, and what a sight it was!

Ten

I’ve lived in Vancouver for my entire life, and have never stopped loving the architecture of Canada Place, and the newly updated and award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre – complete with a living roof! I really do love where I live.

Confession: we didn’t quite make it as far as Science World on this boat trip, but a tour of Vancouver from the water wouldn’t be complete without a shot of another architectural favourite, the Telus World of Science:

Nine

This picture was taken earlier in the week, but I had to add it in to complete the tour!

After a sun-filled day on the water, the sun began to descend and we headed back to the boat launch where we pulled our little boat out of the water for the last time of the season.

Eleven

If you’ve enjoyed my little water tour of Vancouver and want to experience it for yourself, there are some great boat rental places around the city.

Check out Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay, or Granville Island Boat Rentals and enjoy a water tour of my beautiful city firsthand!

Shop Vancouver – Posh Shopping Tours

Last week I had the privilege of perusing some of Vancouver’s local shops and boutiques, thanks to the guidance of Posh Shopping Tours. I was born and raised in the heart of Vancouver, so I was privately skeptical, thinking I had already discovered all of the local shops that my city had to offer. Much to my surprise, each of our tour stops unveiled a new, creative and inspiring designer, paired with a story and style unique only to our coastal metropolis.

The tour began with refreshing mimosas, as our group of bloggers browsed the racks of our first store, and gathered for an overview of our day’s events.

(Left to Right): Amber of Strocel.com, Raj of Pink Chai Style, Eschelle of Mumfection, Me, and Michelle of Elastipantcity

Nestled in a residential area in a quaint Vancouver eastside neighbourhood, the first shop did not disappoint. With a wide range of eclectic items – from flowy Summer frocks, to locally-made jewelry and second-hand shoes, each item was unique to the store in which they were housed. The store owner, also a local clothing designer, was warm and welcoming, happy to answer our questions about each design. This was just a small introduction to the unhidden gems that we would discover throughout the tour.

Beautiful artwork displayed on the side of one of our shopping tour destinations

Once we were finished shopping at our first stop, we loaded into an air-conditioned car, and were greeted with adorable swag bags, filled with locally-made hand-picked items. We settled in, and went on our way.

Brandy, the owner of Posh Shopping Tours made sure we were all comfortable as she took us on a luxury shopping scavenger hunt around our city, each stop as exciting as the last, each shop with its own local flare and welcoming store owner/designer. While our tour included shops that offered a range of themes and price points (offering items from yoga jeans to evening gowns), Posh Shopping Tours offers its guests a range of tour styles, catered to each shopper’s interests and budget.

Here’s just a small glimpse at the highlights of our shopping tour:

One of my favourite stops was a unique local boutique that offered new, thrift and vintage clothing – with a philanthropic twist – all proceeds from sales were given to support the Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS). A great selection of clothes with all sales used to fund a great cause? How could I not make a purchase?

Love my new jacket!

I had such a wonderful time learning about the unique local designers and hidden boutiques that can be found around our city, and look forward to returning to many of our tour’s shopping destinations in the future.

Whether you’re an out-of-town visitor, or a local Vancouverite, Posh Shopping Tours gives a whole new meaning to “retail therapy”. To learn more, please visit their website: Posh Shopping Tours.

Top 5 Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails on the North Shore

I’m a big fan of Jessica from North Shore Mama – both as a fabulous person and an awesome fellow blogger, so I was thrilled when she asked me to write a guest post for her blog!

*****
After reading a recent article in the Vancouver Sun about a child plummeting down a mountainside on a hiking trip with his parents, many NorthShoreresidents may be second-guessing their desire to trek up the trails with their little ones.
I’ve always loved hiking – it’s the only physical activity that I can enjoy without it feeling like gruelling exercise – so I feel fortunate to live in North Vancouver where we’re blessed with so many great hiking destinations.

 

While some spots may be more geared towards the hard-core, avid hikers (Grouse Grinders, I envy your passion and determination), we are also graced with a plethora of trails that are scenic, family-friendly, and a great way to keep the kids (and parents) active in an outdoor setting. Here’s a list of my top 5 favourite (suitable for under 5’s) hiking spots on the NorthShore…