7.20.2017

Celebration of Lights from the YVR Observation Deck

Just when you thought summer couldn't get any better, Vancouver's much-loved yearly tradition is just around the corner!  I have many memories of watching the Celebration of Light over the years - from when I was a young child making my way through the crowds with my parents to my teenage years when I made the trek downtown via the SkyTrain with my first cup of spiked Slurpee from 7-Eleven (don't tell me you've never tried it!) to enjoying the show with my own kids and creating new memories of the magical "fire in the sky" show.

Last year we had the time of our lives of watching the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks show from the (very) family-friendly YVR Observation Deck:




I can't rave enough about how amazing our experience was watching the show from the YVR Observation Deck and, next weekend, we get to do it all over again!  Everything about it was geared towards families and people who want to watch the fireworks up close and personal, but also have their personal space.  Here are some of the amenities you have to look forward to when you snag your exclusive tickets to the observation deck:





  • reserved seating (perfect if you have younger kids or are running late!)
  • access to a cash bar and food service (yaassssss!!)
  • dedicated washroom facilities
  • all-ages licensed area, with an alcohol-free zone upon request (we definitely won't be requesting that, haha!)
  • background music and fireworks soundtrack broadcast during the show
  • wheelchair accessible
Tickets are $49 plus applicable fees and are available for purchase via TicketLeader for the July 29th, August 2nd and August 5th shows.  

Hope to see you there!

xo,
kristina


7.12.2017

Roughin' It



You guys!!  I just did something that I haven't done since I was 18, maybe 19.

C A M P I N G

Or maybe it was more like GLAMPING, but that's okay.  At first when I was asked by my good friend and her hubby if I wanted to go camping with them, my first reaction was nope.  There was no way I was going to spend my summer with the very bugs I despised, in the woods completely cut off from the world and the possibility of (gasp!) no showers.

Welcome to #firstworldproblems.

In the end, it didn't take long for them to convince me that it would be an amazing experience for my kids, and then my kids chimed in, "Let's go, let's go!" and that was the end of that.  We were going camping!

All I had to do was sit back and wait of the start of summer.  My friends were taking care of everything - booking the campsite, getting the food and drinks, and making sure the kids would be entertained for four days.  Jadon had been excitedly talking about our camping trip for the most part of June (his teacher said that's all he talked about for the last two weeks of school) and Zoë just couldn't wait to sleep in a tent.

Okay, so we did have a few things that we needed to round up for our camping trip.  First things first, I secured an amazing ride from Ford Canada (we loved our experience last year!) - a Ford Edge Titanium.  It has all the bells and whistles that a busy parent, like myself, needs with a growing family.  There's enough room in the trunk for hockey gear, camping gear, everyday gear and everything gear, as well as many safety features that give this busy mama a piece of mind.




Last year I raved about the Intelligent Access key fob - as long as the key is in your pocket or purse and you're within a couple feet from the car, the door unlocks by itself (I repeat, BY ITSELF!!), leaving you with two hands to wrangle your active toddler or the 500 bags of groceries.  The MyKey® Safety System is also a great feature for those of you with older kids that are just learning how to drive and allows for owners to restrict certain features to promote better driving habits.

For those of you that have travelled the Sea to Sky Highway, you probably know that the stretch of road from Vancouver to Squamish (and Whistler) is full of twists and turns.  This is where the Driver Assist features come into play, including Enhanced Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (I didn't have a chance to try this because, buttons, but perhaps next time), Lane-Keeping System (the best!), Adaptive Steering (also the best!) and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.  Just to feel these features being activated while driving the Sea to Sky gave me the extra piece of mind that my family would be safe and sound should anything happen.

Back to camping prep.  While we did have everything planned for us, I did end up spending the day before searching for camping gear over the course of 7-8 hours (a huge thanks to my bro who tagged along and helped entertain the kids while I wandered aimlessly from store to store LOL).  I just wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything.  Must be that Type A personality or something.  I swear I'm half Type A and half Type B (yes, I totally just Googled it).



Fast forward to the actual days we were camping and I felt like I was in a dream.  A good one.  I had a few chefs on one side and a few babysitters on the other.  The beers were flowing and once the kids went to bed, so did the shots.  We roasted marshmallows nightly, had gourmet meals (and even maybe a BBQ fire LOL), attempted a failed beach day (even at 35 degrees Celsius, the wind made it seem more like 20 degrees), braved the cold showers and fought off an endless army of mosquitoes.

And repeat.

And repeat.

This was pretty much my life for the next four days and I was loving it.  I was relaxed with no care in the world (Type B), but was also intent on making sure the kids went to bed (sort of) on time (Type A).

The conclusion?  WE CANNOT WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR'S CAMPING TRIP!!!!

THE END.

kristina xo


Photo credit (partial):  Modern Fort

6.26.2017

This Is Eight

To say that summer is finally here is an understatement!  We were hit with a heat wave over the weekend and totally unprepared (I'm sitting here writing this post at the mercy of my rotating fan - enough said).  We also celebrated a pretty special day on Saturday - Jadon's eighth birthday!!



I still can't believe my baby is 8.  He woke up telling me how he felt so much older and possibly a little taller, haha!  Oh, buddy, just you wait!  We had a pretty hectic day ahead of us, as we scheduled his party on his actual birthday.  Everything was running smoothly until we had to wait for hubby to get ready (anyone who knows Gary, knows).  

Anyways, one traffic jam later and (only) a half hour late to his own party, we finally showed up at a local trampoline park, Extreme Air Park.  Jadon has been dying to have his party there ever since his older sister's birthday a few years ago and, coincidently, we were just there for a birthday party a couple weeks ago.

Here's a few tips to know about having a party at Extreme Air Park:
  • fill out your waivers before the party
  • arrive early (like 30 minutes before your jump time).  This will give everyone time to check in and have the front desk organize payment, etc.
  • make sure you count and keep track of your Extreme Air Sox as they are given to you
  • ensure that your entire party has their Air Sox and time tags (a sticker with the time that they're allowed to jump until)
  • bring a cooler filled with ice for any items that need to be kept cold (eg: ice cream cakes, drinks, etc.), as you won't have access to your party room until the allotted time
  • bring a water bottle for the kids.  They'll be active for most of their jump time and they tend to get tired/thirsty fairly quickly!
  • kids 5 and under need to have a paid parent to supervise
  • make sure you let the Extreme Air Park team know the final number of your party to ensure that they reserve a room catered to your party size
  • have fun!
Overall, the kids had a blast!  If you're looking for a place to tire your kids out, this is it!  With 42,000 square feet of trampolines and activities, including 3D dodgeball, zero gravity basketball, half pipe and a huge foam pit, there's definitely something for everyone (adults included!).


 


After the party, we headed over to the Dragon Boat Festival in False Creek to hang out with the family.  Then, we were homebound so Jadon could finally open up his presents.  Ah, the life of an eight year old!



xo,
kristina

6.14.2017

A Father's Day Experience + a Giveaway

Isn't it amazing how life comes around full circle once we "grow up"?  Way back when, I remember thinking about how uncool my parents were and how they didn't know anything (because teenagers know EVERYTHING, haha!).  Now I know that they were just trying to raise us, teach us morals and give us the foundations we would need to tackle this thing called life.  There are certain things that I've had to figure out myself, but I know my parents did the best they could.

As I raise my two kids, I realize just how much my dad did for us on a daily basis.  From the time I was five years old, I was a competitive gymnast.  This meant many practices, gymnastic meets, volunteer hours and commitment - not just from myself, but from my dad.  His shifts at work changed quite often (mornings, days, nights), but he always made sure he was present when he could be.  If he wasn't working, he was driving me wherever I needed to be or he was at the bingo hall volunteering or at the bottle drive, car wash, selling raffle tickets / chocolate almonds / his life (?) - you name it!  And let's not get started on those late night pick ups at 12:15am when my shift ended at my local grocery store at 16/17 years old (poor Dad!).

Whatever I needed, I knew I could always rely on Dad.

I initially intended to document a day of experiences with my Dad for this post, but we ended up running behind and didn't get to meet up until later in the evening.  Despite the change of plans, we were able to score Dad (and hubby) an in-store experience and new fit gear from Sport Chek!

Dad is normally a fairly laid back guy, so (as you can imagine) he was completely out of his element when I told him he was going on a shopping spree.  I just assumed he knew why we were meeting up, but when I told him he could get something for himself, he was beyond himself (growing up, Dad would always say by 'assuming' you're making an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' - typical Dad joke, I know)!



We browsed around the shoe department and tried to make Dad 'cooler' by making him try on a pair of Pure Boosts, but that kind of failed haha!  I could tell hat he wast trying to convince himself that he truly needed another pair of runners.  After circling the store a few more times, Dad received a Fitbit lesson from one of the electronics specialists and he was sold!  Nothing like a little nudge and a challenge from his daughter (did you know that you can 'challenge' your friends through the Fitbit app?).  And off he went with his new Fitbit Charge 2!!




Since Sport Chek is our go-to shop for Father's Day gifts, I've put together some budget friendly gift ideas for the amazing dad / grandfather / step-dad / special man in your life just in time for the big day!





1. Fitbit Charge 2 | 2. Adidas Training Pants | 3. Nike Sandals | 4. Jason Mark Essentials Kit | 5. GoPro HERO5 HD Action Camera | 6. Nike Aerolayer Jacket | 7. Nike Flex Distance 2-1 Shorts | 8. Under Armour Sport Wireless Headphones | 9. GT Mountain Bike | 10. Adidas Pure Boost Runners


{win it!}

Father's Day is just around the corner and Sport Chek is generously offering one of our Canadian readers a chance to win a $75 gift card to help out with those gifts for Dad!  To enter, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only and ends Friday, June 16, 2017 at 9pm PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Sport Chek and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation from Sport Chek in order to complete this review.  Note that SwankMama does not accept responsibility for sponsors that do not fulfill their giveaway duties.  Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond, otherwise, a new winner will be chosen at random.

3.05.2017

Unleash Creativity with The WayZoo Colouring Book

Being a working mother, blogger, personal stylist, nurse, cook, housekeeper, personal assistant, dictator (okay, a mom), I constantly get asked how I do it all.  Well, I don't.  My time at work is a vacation and without the support from my extended family (namely my mother-in-law and my brother), there's no way both hubby and I could do this parenting thing.

All the while, I'm fighting this continuing battle with technology - both with myself and my kids.  Our consistent rule is no electronics at the dinner table or during the nightly bedtime routine.  These are the times when real conversations happen.  I'm also trying to incorporate more arts and crafts into my children's lives - colouring being one of them.

When the popular online furniture and décor site Wayfair.ca reached out to me about their new free printable colouring book, The WayZoo, I hoped onto the creativity train immediately.  Ever since Zoë was old enough to hold a crayon, she was busy expressing her feelings and imaginative nature through her drawings, and ever so careful to stay within the lines when colouring (now, not so much, but definitely pretty impressive for a two year old at the time).  After printing The WayZoo Colouring Book on our home printer, the kids were able to choose which pages they wanted to splash colour on and Zoë got to torment her older brother by drawing her little stick figures all over his finished products.  Ah, the benefits of being the youngest!


So, as your kids are channeling their inner Picasso's, make sure you submit their artistic creations to Wayfair.ca for a chance to win one of five art supply prize packs including an easel, chalk, markers and paint!




HURRY!!  Contest ends Monday, March 6, 2017 and is open to legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec).

Disclosure:  All opinions in this post are my own and is in no way sponsored by WayFair.ca.  The contest is separate from SwankMama and SwankMama has no legal obligation to fulfil the contest.

xo,
kristina