Category Archives: around Vancouver

Iona Beach

IMG 8536Today Miss G and I trudged off the beaten path a little to check out somewhere that’s been on my mental list for a very long while now… Iona Beach.   Nestled in a quiet area out beside the Vancouver Airport, Iona Beach is definitely unique.  After you pass the farms lining the airport runway, you come to Iona Beach Regional Park, a piece of rural heaven just outside of the city.

IMG 8494Now I must admit that there were some very serious tears when we got out of the car and Miss G realized that this beach was not the awesome playground-having beach she’s used to visiting.  Our saving grace, however, was this lookout tower that was cool enough to {at least semi} make up for the disappointment. 

IMG 8499While there were tons of swampy beach areas to explore, we opted  to head out for a walk on the park’s jetty.

Plane Watching at Iona BeachWe were definitely the odd ones out in a community of bird watchers and dog walkers (every single person we passed had a dog or binoculars and/or a camera with a giant zoom), but what we really loved was the plane watching!  They were amazingly close and basically came one after the next.

IMG 8524IMG 8521The other fascination during our jetty walk was with potato bugs.  I’m not sure if Grae has seen these much in the past, but they were plentiful and she certainly loved them.  

IMG 8515What I didn’t realize when I suggested we check out the jetty was that it was 4.5 kms long!  We made it a couple of kilometres out before Miss G called it quits and asked to turn around.  On the way back, there were definitely a few bouts of carrying, several sitting breaks, and even an attempt to crawl ‘because it’s easier for tired legs’.  (Note to self: bring the stroller next time!)

Next time the mood strikes to plane watch or take a long walk out into the ocean, we’ll definitely go back. If you’re in the area and want to visit, simply head to the airport, and before arriving to the terminal, take a right onto Templeton… You’ll run right into it!

♥ 

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Learning to Cook at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

There is absolutely no doubt we love our neighbourhood Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.  Whether it’s for Mother’s Day lunch, a lunch play date with friends, or an evening workshop that yields an awesome new change, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. has left us delighted again and again.  

IMG 8351Being the uber generous, community-focused company that they are, RMFC invited Miss G and I, along with a pile of our blogger mama and munchkin friends, down to the restaurant for a toddler cooking class this morning.    Now while this could be a challenge given our crunchy ‘food philosophy‘ as one of our lovely readers called it, the thing I love most about this place is that their philosophy on food totally jives with ours.  Their ingredients are as simple and natural as possible, plus they’re most often organic and/or locally-sourced.  Win!

IMG 8366Our morning began with Suzanne, the restaurant’s co-founder and owner, fearlessly leading our kiddos through the process of making their own mango guacamole.  What I loved most is that Suz allowed the kids to do the prep work themselves… No watching an adult cook around here!  She gave them the tools, modelled the process, and set them free to be the capable little chefs that they are.

IMG 8357Some avocado, mango, lime juice, and fresh herbs later, Gracen and her little friends had a delicious dip for their carrot sticks.

IMG 8390Next up was a simple and much better for you version of lemonade…  A bunch of freshly-squeezed lemons, a little pour of pure maple syrup, and a lot of icy cold water and we had a drink that will be perfect for hot summer days.

IMG 8401After that, we made my personal favourite… Suz’s apple pie popcorn (you can see our slightly modified version here).  Oh my goodness.  I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a sweet popcorn nearly as delicious, and Gracen agreed all the way.  When it was time to move onto making our pizzas, I basically had to pry her popcorn bowl out of her hands, promising to keep the crumbs for later.

IMG 8410Together, Portia (one of the sweet little ladies belonging to Jessica of North Shore Mama) and Gracen shared the duties of making a pizza from scratch.  Grae covered her half in chicken, mango, and cheese, and ate all 3 pieces once out of the oven.  

Despite the fact that Grae had had an early morning and had a couple of meltdowns during the workshop, it was such a wonderful morning.  Because it’s hard for the combination of friends, cooking, and delicious  food to equal anything but wonderful, really.

Once again, we owe Suzanne and Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. a huge thank you for graciously having us all down to experiment and learn.  If you’re in Vancouver, or Canmore for that matter, I highly recommend visiting a RMFC location for one of their weekly family pizza nights.  I promise it will be a blast, just as I’m sure one of their onsite birthday parties would be. 

Also, as a little treat, one of RMFC’s Facebook fans will be chosen at random and given 2 tickets to enjoy their family pizza night!  Be sure to ‘like’ their page to qualify.

♥ 

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A Morning at 6 Pack Indoor Beach

Hello.  My name is Jen and I’m a rainy day activity hoarder.  

It’s true.  For the last year and a half, I’ve kept a running list of awesome programs and places around the Lower Mainland to visit on rainy days. For some reason, however, I’ve been rationing them out very slowly.  Does this classify as torrential downpour? Only the third day of rain in a row?  Could we get away with just visiting one of our regular places?  I have absolutely no idea what the reasoning behind this craziness has been.  Was I afraid that I’d suddenly run dry of things to do with my toddler and we’d be stuck at home staring at the wall? Did I think that we couldn’t visit these awesome places again after the initial time?  I have no clue.  What I do know, however, is that now that we know we’re headed back to Kuwait in a short 5 months (and back to the Okanagan in just 3), there’s no more rainy day activity qualification system in place.  Little Nest? We’re going.  Maritime Museum? Yup, there too.  Watermania? Absolutely. Art Gallery? Morning drop-in at Collage Collage? Salmon Hatchery? UBC Gymnastics? Cowboys and Angels?  Let’s do it!  

IMG 6613One of the other places that has been on my list forever is 6 Pack Indoor Beach.  Located on the very industrial Mitchell Island, 6 Pack Indoor Beach is essentially a giant warehouse filled with sand (in the most awesome way possible).  During the evenings and weekends, they’re host to volleyball leagues and tournaments, but during weekdays when it’s a lot quieter, families are welcome to come and enjoy their Lil’ Diggers drop-in program.  

IMG 6614IMG 6619And that’s just what Miss G and I did today.  

IMG 6616The beach was quiet…  With a few teenagers practicing on the far court and two other moms with munchkins playing, Gracen and I had more space than we could ever want.

IMG 6624IMG 6642While we brought along a little bag of sand toys, 6 Pack already had all of the bases covered.  From shovels to buckets, rakes, sand castle moulds, balls, frisbees, and tractors, it was all already there for us to play with.  Or course laying and rolling around in the sand was just as much fun too.

IMG 6647As was burying ourselves.

IMG 6661We spent two and a half hours playing, and even then Gracen wasn’t ready to go.  And I can’t blame her… She had just discovered this perfect jumping ledge and was working hard on her sand dives.

IMG 6667The nice thing about the indoor beach is that while you can get dirty to your heart’s content out on the sand, when you’re finished there is spacious foot washing ‘sink’ and full-on showers in the bathrooms.  There’s also several picnic tables and comfy wooden loungers come lunch time. 

I’m so glad we finally made our way to 6Pack.  It was the perfect rainy day get away and we’ll definitely be headed back soon.

6 Pack Indoor Beach is open 7 days a week, with the Lil’ Diggers drop-in program happening weekdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  The drop-in cost is $7 and they also offer a punch pass that gives you 11 sessions for $60. Plus, they do birthday parties! 

♥ 

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Trimble Park

IMG 6486While we have many favourite playgrounds around Vancouver (like this one, this one, this one, and this one), both Gracen and I love discovering new ones to add to our list.  Especially since come spring, we spend most mornings out at a park or playground of some sort.  

So after a quick peek around the web, the three of us (yay for weekends!) packed up some lunch and headed out to West Point Grey Park, which was spoken of very highly by fellow Vancouver parents.  

IMG 6487Upon arriving, I realized that although the park was new to us, I’d been there countless times before with the children I nannied throughout my university (and beginning teaching) days.  I guess I should have made the realization based on the area and park address, but whole ‘West Point Grey Park’ title threw me off.  I, and everyone I’ve ever heard speak of the park, have always called it Trimble Park.  Who knew its actual name was something different?!  

IMG 6486Name confusion aside, this park was a lot of fun back in the day, and is even better due to some recent (or at least semi-recent) additions.  

IMG 6503Included are three separate play structures (2 big ones and a teeny tiny one for very little ones), 6 slides, 2 sets of swings (baby, toddler, and regular included), a tire swing, hanging bars, a teeter-totter, and lots of space for playing in the sand and rocks.

IMG 6492IMG 6494A fun addition since my last visit is this rock climbing wall.  Though still needing a tiny bit of assistance, Gracen loved climbing up and liked hanging out on top with all of the big kids even more.

IMG 6499The other thing I love about this park is the natural play areas.  This little cove of trees was a favourite of the kids I nannied, and Grae loves it too.  She’s hiding here.  Can’t you tell?

IMG 6502To top it all off, the park has basketball courts, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds, plus public washrooms (warm water and soap included!)

Another great park to add to our favourites list.  ☺

♥ 

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A Local Favourite: Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company {& a Giveaway!}

IMG 6283After our recent Shopping Sense tour, some of my {awesome} mama blogger friends and I planned on grabbing a cup of coffee, sitting down, and catching up for a bit.  The thing was, it was already lunch time, we were all hungry, and the kiddos were tired of being restrained in shopping carts. They needed to play.  So where can you go to catch up with friends, grab a fresh delicious meal, and let your kiddos play all at once?  Luckily we were in my hood and I knew the perfect place.  Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company.  

IMG 6284I’ve written about Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company before, but if you haven’t heard their story before, it’s truly pretty amazing.  First off, their entire menu is designed to use the freshest, most nutritious ingredients possible.  The produce they use is local and organic, the meats are Canadian and free range or organic, and their seafood is all Ocean Wise approved.  Their promise is that their food includes minimal salt and sugar and absolutely no GMOs, additives, or preservatives. (Talk about a place you can feel good about eating out at!)  Of course, every single thing – from dough to sauces to breads and desserts – is made fresh on site.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Rocky Mountain Flatbread restaurants are all carbon neutral.  Amazing, right? (Read about how they do it here.)  In addition to all of this, they pride themselves on being family-friendly, which is huge when you’ve got munchkins in tow.  The Main Street location, which we visited, has an awesome little kitchen area, complete with felt food and miniature aprons, that kept our wee ones happy during a nearly two hour visit. And as always, the food was delicious.

DSC 0108What I just learned about Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, and didn’t know before is that they do all kinds of fun special events.  Some, like their family nights, date nights, and pizza making nights happen on a weekly basis, and others, like the Green Cleaning Products workshop I’m attending next week, happen only on special dates.  
 
In addition to the cleaning products workshop, the Main Street location is hosting a Kid’s Camp this Spring Break too.  It takes place on March 21st, from 9:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. and kids aged 7 to 12 will have a blast learning how to make their own lunches out of fresh, local, organic ingredients.  Included on the menu is homemade ginger ale, healthy kale chips, individual pizzas, veggie dips, and their signature BEET brownies!  Goodness gracious, how I wish Miss G was old enough to attend.  The next best thing is being able to help a couple of other local kids go though.  Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company has very generously given us TWO spots (valued at $35 a child) to give away to Mama.Papa.Bubba. readers.  Yay!
 

Please note that this camp takes place in Vancouver, BC on March, 21st and is open to children ages 7 through 12. The winners will be chosen at random on Friday, March 15th, 2013.  

 

There are FOUR ways to enter.  Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each:

–> Leave a comment telling us why your child would enjoy this camp

-> ‘Like’ Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company on Facebook, come back here and leave a comment saying you did so (or already did)

–> ‘Like’ Mama.Papa.Bubba. on Facebook, come back here and leave a separate comment saying you did so (or already did)

–> Follow us on Twitter come back here and leave a separate comment saying you did so (or already did)

–> Tweet about the giveaway and leave a separate comment saying you did so  

(Win a FREE  Kid’s Camp spot on    )

 

Obviously the more times you enter, the better your chances of winning. ☺  Don’t forget to leave your email address!  The winner will be announced on March 15th and contacted via email.  Good luck!!

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Sunday Adventures

IMG 6222IMG 6224IMG 6227IMG 6226IMG 6229Something I absolutely love doing on weekends is going on little family adventures.  Driving to a part of the city we don’t frequent often, parking the car, and exploring.  Add in a sunny gorgeous day after a long run of rainy ones, and it’s that much better.

Today, we made our way to the Dunbar area, an old university stomping ground of both Brad and I.  We parked the vehicle, toured a toy store, and found the nearest playground.  Afterwards, we walked along, Miss G stopping at each bus stop, sitting on each park bench, and hanging on each bike rack {because these are all very important things when you’re 2}.  We eventually made our way to somewhere I’ve had on my ‘to visit’ list for a very long time now… Kokopeli Cafe.  Well-known for being family-friendly, the place was absolutely packed with munchkins and their parents.  So packed in fact, that we actually couldn’t get a table – inside or out – for quite a while.  We’ll definitely be back to experience it at a quieter time, but I can already tell that it will become a rainy day favourite.  We just had drinks this time around, but the baked goods looked amazing, I was envious of our table neighbours’ lunches, and the kids play area was the biggest I’ve seen in a cafe in Vancouver.  Oh – and the bathrooms have special toddler-sized sinks, they sell world’s yummiest granola, and there’s a 25 cent ridable alligator out front.  Can’t ask for much more than that, can you?

Here’s to Sunday adventures.

♥ 

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A Rainy Get Away: The Bloedel Conservatory

IMG 6103It may be another rainy, miserable day in Vancouver today, but Miss G and I got away from it all by spending our morning at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.  Warm, humid, green, and echoing with the calls of birds, it’s the perfect get away from the gloom and grey of yet another rainy day. 

Just see for yourself…
IMG 6108IMG 6118IMG 6111IMG 6123IMG 6124IMG 6131IMG 6129IMG 6146IMG 6152IMG 6139IMG 6119Beautiful, right?  Not to mention that Gracen adores searching out birds, smelling flowers, and trekking along the paths.  

 

During the winter months, the conservatory is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week.  Adult admission is $6.50, children’s admission for ages 3 to 12 is $3.25, and children 2 and under are free. 

♥ 

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The Last Crumb

IMG 5887It seems like one of our weekend traditions has become going out for afternoon tea as a family of three.  We have lots of little local cafes we love to support around the city, but one thing I’ve noticed is that many of them close between 4 and 5, which often doesn’t work out well with Gracen’s afternoon nap.  

So today, we headed down Main Street to try something new.  I’ve had my eye on The Last Crumb for a long time now, and as luck would have it, they were open until 6.  We made our way inside, ordered drinks and chose a couple of baked goods (they have tons of gluten-free options too), and made our way upstairs to a quiet table in the corner.  

IMG 5888While they don’t have a kids’ area like many of our favourites do, I did spy a big empty corner near the washrooms that would make a perfect kid-friendly space, so maybe it’ll happen one day?  I don’t know… I do realize not every establishment wants to cater to children and I completely understand, but I can still hope right? ☺

IMG 5894Our drinks were good, the baked goods were yummy, and the overall space was lovely – bright, open, and modern.  Gracen loved watching food being made from above and I enjoyed {politely} checking out the afternoon tea set-up a couple of ladies had next to us.  

It was a lovely way to end our Saturday and we will most definitely be back.  

The Last Crumb is located on 3080 Main Street and is open every day of the week except for Mondays.

♥ 

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Family Day at Collage Collage

After a morning spent at Granville Island with friends, we headed to Collage Collage, a local art studio and shop that specializes in creative experiences for children.  Since it was BC’s first ever Family Day, Collage Collage was hosting a special event where families were invited to come in and work on decorating a family of wooden nesting dolls together.

IMG 5441We arrived to find everything set up for us and ready to go.  Miss G was given a large paint smock, and together  we painted all of the pieces according to Grae’s colour selections.  While the paint dried, Gracen got washed up and played with the felt boards in the little nook, and then we drew the faces on with pencil and markers afterwards. 

IMG 5442The project was difficult enough to absolutely require our involvement, but easy enough to allow Gracen to participate in the process fully. In the end, we left for home with a very happy bubba and our new nesting dolls in a box.

IMG 5443And judging by its popularity already, I just know that this colourful wooden family is going to quickly become a favourite.

♥ 

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North Pole BC at Maplewood Farms

I don’t know what it is, but  I’ve hit a major lucky streak recently.  I swear I’ve rarely won anything in my entire life, and throughout the last few months, I’ve won a conference ticket, photo book credit, and most recently, a giveaway from Kidsvancouver.com (an awesome online resource for Lower Mainland families – check it out if you haven’t already!)  My prize?  A family pack of tickets to North Pole BC, operating up at Maplewood Farm this year.  We were very excited to check it out, and luckily the weather cooperated quite nicely for us.

Our evening consisted of story time with Mrs. Claus, a personal visit and photo with Santa, a stop by the North Pole post office, a visit to Santa’s toy workshop, and a quick stop at elf school.  Here is our night in photos…

IMG 3556Waiting patiently for the action to begin.

IMG 3557Story time with Mrs. Claus.

IMG 3560A visit to Santa.

IMG 3564Lovely horses in the post office.

IMG 3570Santa’s toy workshop.

IMG 3581Elf school in the barn.

IMG 3585Goofy Gracen and Papa.

Overall, Gracen had a really good time.  Each element was done nicely and the elves and other staff members were all really lovely.  Did it feel like we were visiting the North Pole?  Well, not really… But I blame that partly on the lack of snow.  The event is a little pricey (everyone 18 months and up pays between $15 and $20 admission, depending on when you go), but you certainly can’t complain when you’ve won your tickets!

Thank you Kidsvancouver.com and North Pole BC!

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