Gate 52 at YVR was decorated with care as face painters, entertainers, Disney princesses and a magician wandered through the crowd. Children beamed and a few parents let a tear trickle down their face before wiping it away and smiling broadly at their kids. This day was about joy, not illness.
Situated on the coolest corner in Gastown, Vancouver’s Chill Winston is a gem. With a menu full of shareables, veggies from the restaurant’s own farm plot in Tsawwassen, alternative proteins & wild meats that are organic, free run, antibiotic and hormone free, and ocean fare that is exclusively line caught and from sustainable stock, the only guilt you will have is from ordering more.
The large oval Springfree trampoline arrived and one by one, the neighbours came around with a mixture of curiosity and excitement in their smiles. A few friendly dogs wandered by as eagles peeked out of their high nests. I could have been living in the Cinderella movie.
As a child I never had a trampoline. My dad was a physical education teacher and he shared scary statistics about accidents and injuries. When we moved into our current neighbourhood and had children, the local trampoline was both wonderous and daunting. I firmly believe in kids exercising through play, but the huge rectangular mat held by metal springs and rods felt very unsafe. Wanting them to take advantage of all of the cardio benefits of trampoling, I tried rules… ‘only in the middle’. ‘One at a time’. ‘Only when an adult is watching’. But none of these solutions made me feel safe, and it was increasingly hard to clean the house or make dinner when I was standing stressfully watching the kids jump and wondering what I would possibly do if they broke something – or worse. When my son got with a cut due to jamming his bare foot in one of the springs, I’d had enough.
Fast forward to the sunny day when our Springfree arrived. The kids were out at a friend’s and as I watched the crew set it up, my mind raced. I could jump on it every day and eliminate the need for a cardio machine that would hurt my back! The kids could be zipped in one at a time and I could spend time making a healthy dinner without supervising them. OOOH – the neighbour’s toddler could come and use it like a giant playpen! Maybe I could fill it with beachballs…. On and on the ideas streamed. The boys returned home and I didn’t hear whining for three hours. I had to keep going to check on them and the giggles were endless. They wanted their dinner served inside their new ‘fort’.
The Kids’ Perspective on the Springfree Trampoline (in their words):
– You Bounce high – higher than the other trampoline that has rusty springs that cut our feet last time.
– There’s a basketball net and you can do slam dunks without breaking it.
– The nets around the outside help you to play soccer because the ball bounces right back to you and there are no metal rods holding them up to hurt ourselves on.
– The kitten loves to play on it and we chase him around and around while we giggle. He thinks the nets are fun to claw, and they don’t break.
– The mat on the bottom is really cushy and feels good to jump on.
– The staff from Springfree brought over all of the cartons, set up the whole trampoline, tested it by jumping (too cute), and left two hours later with all of the garbage.
– I feel safe and comfortable leaving the kids to jump without my constant supervision.
– Because there are no springs – just flexible rods located underneath and there is netting around the perimeter, my typical concerns about trampolines have been put to rest.
“This post was sponsored by Springfree Trampoline. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.”
Kiss and Makeup isn’t your typical beauty store. An apothecary with a focus on local products and natural beauty regimes, this is one of the hottest beauty experiences around. I’ve heard that celebrities make special jaunts to the new Londsale location while filming in Vancouver, and with the new venue opening in Olympic Village in July, it’s now skytrain accessible. But don’t fret if you can’t come to YVR in person. That’s what the web shop is for.
- Scarves and perfect-for-Coachella ponchos by Jackson Rowe
- Bags by Lloyd and Wolf
- Happy Spritz
- Everything Rahua
- Verso and Rouge Bunny Rouge (exclusive to Kiss and Makeup)
- Sjal Beauty (The Canadian version of Creme de la Mer)
- Blind barber from NYC
- Ilya beauty, CV Skinlabs and rms beauty – (local brands and have exploded into the celebrity market)
I bought some Creme Ancienne by Fresh that was hand-mixed by Monks in France – (I couldn’t make that up). After using it a month the compliments just keep rolling in. But more are always better so feel free to keep them coming. Or you can tell me in person when we bump into each other at Kiss and Makeup.
Denman Street – the urban centre of cool in Vancouver. Rainbow flags, English Bay Beach and bike rentals for Stanley Park sightseeing contribute to the vibe. And now we are blessed with Left Bank. On the north end of Denman, veteran Vancouver restaurateur John Blakeley created the only restaurant blessed with an alley patio and spectacular, moderately priced French cuisine.
I ate a spicy albacore tuna cone and sticky pork rib with my cocktail. Perfection.
Delicate salmon and desserts of a master, I savoured every bite and didn’t want to stop eating.
After the meal, I could have been wandering out into the Marais of Paris instead of a hot Vancouver evening. I would be back.
I came back a few days later, husband on my arm. He must try. We met a lovely theatre actress who comes weekly for the happy hour special. She felt at home and luxurious, as if in her native land across the ocean.
We shared plates, exchanged stories and could easily have been mistaken for old friends in a french bistro.
At Urban Mommies, we’re big fans of anything that makes life easier. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve found something on Craigslist, have wanted to pick it up but aren’t available at the same time as the seller so we’ve missed out to someone with a more forgiving schedule. Next time that happens we’re going to give Zipments a call. Zipments is made for regular people like you and me, who sometimes need a courier once a week or sometimes need a courier once a year. With drivers available 7 days a week from 9am-9pm they are the perfect option for families with busy schedules. We love that Zipments is willing to pick up and drop off things that you’d never think to ask other courier drivers to consider– Forgotten lunches, Craigslist pickups, jackets left behind on field trips, take out food… Zipments is your answer. With a handy app for your phone, they make keeping in touch with your delivery person easy.
Thanks to Zipments, obtaining that much needed Starbucks while the baby is napping just got so much easier.
There have been many times over the years when I’ve wanted Elsa’s powers. Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could build a whole mansion with the flick of a hand like Disney’s Frozen star? Or maybe master a project that’s a tad less extensive – like tiling a floor, using a jigsaw or hanging a light fixture. There are thousands of people across the country who need housing, live in poverty and feel isolated. The power of community and charity can not only transform not only the individuals in need, but also empower the people who want to help others. There are problem-solving women across Canada who can help while working as a team and developing construction skills in the process. The women build with Habitat for Humanity does just this. Perfection!
What family doesn’t want simple, decent and affordable housing? As an ambassador and fan of Procter & Gamble, I have been asked to represent UrbanMommies and put together a team of women in the Vancouver area to build a home! The program is part of a three year partnership totalling $900,000, that will see P&G support Habitat’s family home builds throughout the county, on behalf of its Household Needs brands such as Tide, Swiffer and Mr. Clean. This year there are builds happening in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal and approximately 350 new builds are expected across Canada in 2014.
After a group of ten women (and any UrbanDaddies who wish to help) participate in a build in Richmond in September, P&G will offer cleaning kits to Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help ready the newly built homes for move-in once construction is complete, and will provide welcome baskets packed full of household products to each family moving into their new Habitat home. I am going to try to slip in a few Rainbow Loom treasures from my kids in as well. Because every new home needs some of those.
Habitat for Humanity is a special charity, and I love that one hundred percent of all administrative and fundraising costs are paid for by the operation of nine ReStores in the lower mainland. It’s great when not a dime is wasted.
So… Do ya wanna build a house? Join our team in September for a one-day build! Learn new skills, bond, help others, and be a community. Because love is an open door. (You didn’t think I’d let the Frozen theme go that easily did you?) Please email us to indicate your interest in helping out and I will be in touch!
All Women Build photos provided by Habitat for Humanity.
The American Girl Boutique opened up inside of Chapters on Robson Street last weekend, and my daughter Zara and I got the opportunity to visit it ahead of time and scope things out. Before the event invite I’d heard of American Girl but had no idea how big they are!
Zara is 7 and told me she had seen American Girl commercials on TV, but neither of us had ever seen an actual doll. We had no idea what to expect. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the store at 7am on opening day and saw there was already a very long line up to get in. Some girls brought their dolls along, others waited anxiously to get inside at 10am and see an American Girl doll for the first time. I thought to myself – this is crazy, who waits in line for a doll? Then we went inside, and it became obvious.
The dolls are beautiful. They are really well made, and have gorgeous thick hair, they are endearing; even to adults. The best part about the American Girl experience for me was the fact that they encourage little girls to pick one special doll (maybe even the one that looks most like her), and then buy accessories and items for her. Yes there is a doll of the year released annually, but I didn’t feel any pressure to build a collection of dolls. They are definitely an investment retailing at $125 each, but I would rather buy one American Girl doll than multiple plastic dolls and their houses, cars, and other accessories.
Zara checked out all the dolls before she settled on the one that she felt looked most like her. It was really refreshing to see so many different options of skin colour and hair colour – there was actually 4 or 5 dolls that looked like they could pass as Hispanic or South Asian, definitely a welcome surprise. We also loved the fact that the dolls don’t come with names or birthdays – it lets you really personalize and connect with the experience. Z named her doll Izzy (one of her own nicknames) and decided the day she got her is going to be her birthday.
Once you’ve got a doll you can buy clothing and accessories for her, and even bring her back to the American Girl Salon to have her hair styled or her ears pierced. While I know these things can add up in cost, I think it’s a great way to talk to your little girl about finances. I made a deal with Zara that we can come back in a few months and I’ll get Izzy’s ears pierced but if she wants another outfit for her, she’ll have to save some of her allowance. It’s a great ‘save up for it’ learning experience.
Now that we’ve had Izzy almost a week, I can totally understand why all those little girls were lined up to get into the store that morning. Zara and Izzy are inseparable, from morning to night they are constant companions.
Take a moment to consider this sobering thought – whether you’re driving around the corner or heading out on a road trip, accidents can happen at any time.
Results from safety checks across Canada reveal that between 30-80% of child car and booster seats inspected are installed incorrectly. Is yours one of them?
Fact: Car crashes are a leading cause of death and hospitalizations for Canadian children under the age of 14.
From using the wrong car seat at the wrong age, to relying on Dr. Google for instructions on proper car seat installation, parents are unknowingly making potentially deadly travel safety decisions.
Certified Car Seat Installation Technician and Parenting Expert Maureen Dennis is here to explain 5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe in a Car Seat:
1. Wrong Seat at the Wrong Age. A common mistake made by parents is not using the correct seat for the child’s height, weight, and developmental stage. This can usually be seen when parents move their child to the next stage too quickly (rushing to get them into a booster seat to accommodate a new baby when they still fit in their harnessed forward-facing seat, for example).
Solution: Know the guidelines of when to make a car seat adjustment and know your child’s height and weight.
2. Car seat not securely installed. Another error often made is when attaching the car seat inside the car. In many cases, the seat is too loosely installed and not tightly secured to the vehicle.
Solution: Your car seat should not move more than 2.5 cm (or 1 inch) in any direction at the base of the seat, right at the seat belt or UAS path.
3. Harness on the child is too loose. How tight is too tight? A common mistake is leaving the harness too loose and not having your child secured properly.
Solution: Conduct the “pinch test”. You should not be able to pinch any of the harness webbing at the child’s shoulder.
4. Placing the chest clip. Another common mistake found is where parents place the chest clip.
Solution: The chest clip should always be at the armpit level – not too low, such as down near their belly button, or up too close- near the neck.
5. Improper placement. Even if the car seat is installed and securely fastened, there are still errors that can occur which may harm your child.
Solution: Make sure that seats in a rear-facing position are at a 45 degree angle to support the baby’s head and neck. All forward-facing seats require a tether strap that hooks to a tether anchor in your car, so make sure you don’t forget that step.
Car seat safety cannot be taken lightly. It is important to install your car seat properly and securely in order for it to do its job in the event of a collision or crash. According to a report from the Canadian Paediatric Society, child seats, when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% and the risk of serious injury by 67%. Using a booster seat instead of just a seat belt alone is a reduction of 59% in injury risk.
You know you feel special when a cruise line picks your hometown as a departure port. We luckily got to tour the Disney Wonder prior to her first Vancouver – Alaska sailing. The ship, like the Disney Fantasy was elegant, filled with mystique and the first class service Disney always provides. Here are our top 10 favourite tips when heading to Alaska on the Disney Wonder.
2. Crew members announce each family via microphone, making your little princesses, pirates (and Mom and Dad) feel special from the moment you step aboard.
3. Servers follow your family to each of the 3 dining rooms. This is a revolutionary concept in cruising, and ensures that your personal staff know your menu requirements. Knowing that you liked the dark beer last night, they may suggest a fun alternative. Being aware of kids allergies or gluten-free preferences adds an extra layer of safety to Disney’s already allergy-friendly alternatives
5. Before 9pm kids are allowed in the nightclubs so they can experience a taste of the adult spaces on the ship. Awesome for teaching.
6. Palo is an adults-only restaurant and brunch is over the top. Reservations are required and we’d recommend you make one as soon as u get on the ship!
7. Unlike the other Disney cruise destinations, there are no fireworks on the Alaska itinerary in order to honour the environment.
8. The Spa sells a limited number of passes for the Rainforest Relaxation Room. With water features, lounges and soft music our family will certainly nab a pass for our next cruise. Services in the spa include barber services for men and teeth whitening for women. You may become the 12th Disney princess.
9. Personal training is available as well as boot camps and body sculpting in the gym. The experts in the spa also offer footprint analysis.
11. ‘Ionithermie’ is a special treatment that flushes toxins out of the body and you could lose up to 8 inches during the cruise.
12. The child activity areas are incredible and while on the Fantasy, my kids never wanted to leave. Children are not only outfitted with a GPS so their location in the facilities can be determined immediately, but parents are constantly reachable via wave phone that is provided in the stateroom.
13. The Nursery is for kids from 12 weeks to 3 years and requires an extra fee ($6 per hour, per child). The Oceaneers Club hosts 3-12 year olds.
So head to Vancouver, grab an ocean-view cabin (you don’t want to miss the stunning views) and let the Disney Wonder sweep you off your feet. Your kids will be transfixed by Northwest culture, and you may lost up to 8 inches (if you can resist the glorious food).