Release your kids into Coquitlam’s great outdoors

Children are naturally drawn to nature, mesmerized by hopping frogs, slow-moving insects and odd-shaped sticks. The forest is a source of wonder and amazement. If you’re looking for new parks to explore, pay a visit to Coquitlam, which is riddled with trails of varying terrain and offers a reprieve from the city hustle.

One must-visit is Minnekhada Regional Park, a 200-hectare park located just minutes from Coquitlam’s City Centre. Surrounded by old-growth forest and endless views of nature, it feels like you are miles away from civilization. The park is home to 150 species of birds as well as beaver, black bears and singing bullfrogs.

Hiking trails range from a flat path leading throughout the marsh (perfect for younger children) to an uphill climb to the Low or High Knolls, with mind-blowing views looking over the wilderness.

Another place to take a walk in the woods is the urban forest of Mundy Park, rated by TripAdvisor as the #1 thing to do in Coquitlam. Round up the kids for some geocaching (a real-world outdoor hunt using a GPS device in which you search for a hidden container), or play a game of Disc Golf on the free permanent course, or try out the bike skills park.

Looking for someplace to explore that’s just steps from the SkyTrain? A short walk from Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station, you can duck into the Hoy Creek Trail for a peaceful 2.8-kilometre gravel trail (you’ll spot salmon in the creek during fall).

If you’d prefer a flat, paved experience, take a walk around Lafarge Lake, also next to the SkyTrain station, which has a 1.2-kilometre loop – the perfect length for little legs.

Many of these trails and parks are easily accessed by public transit and also offer free parking. Share cars are also available in Coquitlam’s City Centre area. coquitlam.ca/driving

Car Seat Safety with BCAA

A new BCAA survey reveals many parents take risks when transporting their kids such as using a second-hand child car seat and not checking regularly for proper installation. The survey, by Insights West for BCAA, asks parents for their views and behaviours around driving with their kids. BCAA’s Community Impact Senior Manager, Shawn Pettipas, says everyday mistakes could put children at risk.

The survey confirms most parents install their child car seats themselves but many don’t do regular checks and some have doubts:

  • Half (51%) don’t check regularly that their child’s seat is properly installed.
  • 21% are not certain that their child is properly installed in the child car seat.
  • 17% aren’t sure if the seat is correct for their child’s age and weight.
  • 66% install seats themselves.
  • 25% have their car seat checked by a certified expert.

While the survey also indicates many parents and caregivers feel certain they’re using the correct car seat correctly, Pettipas and his team of child car seat specialists see something different first-hand.

“We were surprised with the survey results because at every one of our car seat clinics, we find so many seats improperly installed, kids in the wrong type of seat, second-hand seats, and worried parents baffled after realizing how much they don’t know,” says Pettipas who manages child car seat programs for BCAA. The bottom line is that many parents simply don’t know what they don’t know and may be making mistakes.”

The survey also revealed that second-hand child car seats are an area of much uncertainty for parents:

  • Half (50%) believe it’s safe to use a second-hand seat as long as it’s in “good condition.”
  • Almost one in five (18%) use a second-hand seat (from friends, family or bought from sites like Craigslist)
  • 29% of parents who use a second-hand seat admit to not knowing the history of the seat.

“Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s safe. Not knowing the full history of a second-hand car seat means parents can’t be absolutely certain of the seat’s condition and this can put their kid at risk,” Pettipas says. “From using the wrong type of car seat to improper installation, we understand mistakes can happen and BCAA wants to help by raising awareness about common mistakes and offering support to help parents do even more to protect their children.”

BCAA’s child car seat website, bcaa.com/carseats offers a wealth of car seat information including step-by-step installation instructions with images and printable checklists to help parents and caregivers use child car seats and booster seats correctly.

BCAA’s key tips for child car seat safety include:

  1. Use correct child car seat for child’s age and size. Take note of weight and height limits for car seats.
  1. Ensure proper installation. Read vehicle and child car seat manuals before using child car seat. Proper installation includes the child car seat being placed on an appropriate vehicle seat, positioned correctly and properly secured.
  1. Find a local car seat clinicParents and caregivers can attend workshops, like ones offered by BCAA to learn more and receive hands-on installation education. If a car seat clinic is unavailable in your area or you have questions, contact BCAA’s Child Passenger Safety information line at 1-877-247-5551.
  1. Ensure your child is properly placed and secured in the car seat.
  • Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child’s shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders)
  • Both harness strap latches should be fastened (both have been clicked into the buckle).
  • Harness straps are snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child’s collar bone).
  • Chest clip positioned at the child’s armpit level.
  1. Regularly check car seat position and condition.
  • Wiggle test: Hold car seat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Car seat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  • Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding, cracks in the shell. Clean out every day crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.
  1. If a second-hand car seat must be used, be absolutely certain of its full history.Ensure the seat hasn’t been involved in any collision or dropped. Check for recalls and ensure it is within its expiry date.

BCAA is dedicated to the safe transportation of children. For the past four years BCAA, has donated more than 7,000 new child car seats to families in need across B.C. through the Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way Lower Mainland. This June, BCAA will provide another thousand seats, bringing the total donation to 8,000 car seats.

Applications for the Community Child Car Seat Program are now being accepted from February 16 until March 6, 2017. Community programs offered by registered non-profit agencies throughout B.C. are eligible to apply and encouraged to visit bcaa.com/carseatprogram for program details and to apply online.

Salmon Chum at Noons Creek

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, from 11 am – 3 pm, the Port Moody Ecological Society invites everyone to attend their very special Fingerling Festival. Yes, it’s been 25 years since we first started putting chum salmon into Noons Creek.

A fun, free festival at the Noons Creek Hatchery in Port Moody, located just across the walking bridge on the north side of the skating arena, 300 Ioco Road. We are very proud to announce the City of Port Moody, Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) and Port of Vancouver, as again being tremendous sponsors of this year’s event.

Sandra Niven, Volunteer Coordinator and co-producer of the festival, is seeking over 100 volunteers to make this environmental festival our very best to date. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to register by emailing portmoodyecologicalsociety@hotmail.com. Roles include helping with over 70 environmental organisations and 5,000 visitors, setting up, cooking in our food tent, and assisting with the release of salmon into Noons Creek.

This iconic environmental festival provides an opportunity for children to help release thousands of young chum salmon into Noons Creek to help these fish begin their four-year journey at sea, and to visit the hatchery with its fish-rearing pond and restored wetland. In the Port Moody Skating Arena, over 60 organizations will provide opportunities to learn more about community initiatives and environmental stewardship. We are delighted announce the following as some of the exhibitors that will make up a total of over 60 exhibitors on festival day:

  • The City of Port Moody (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Port of Vancouver (Sponsor)
  • Pacific Coast Terminals (Sponsor)
  • Busters Towing (Sponsor)
  • Nature Trust of BC
  • Mike the Reptile Guy
  • Mossom Creek Hatchery (BIMES)
  • Sea Shepherd Society
  • Colony Farm Park Association
  • Burke Mountain Naturalists
  • Watershed Watch
  • Alouette River Management Society
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
  • Watershed Watch
  • Fraser River Discovery Centre
  • Friends of DeBoville Slough
  • World Wildlife Fund – Canada
  • Wildlife Rescue
  • Port Moody Station Museum
  • Rivershed Society
  • Vancouver Aquarium’s aquabus
  • Plus many more.

There will be First Nations artists and carvers, wildlife artists, Metro Van Regional Parks, amongst others. The ever popular Bobs & Lolo will be back again this year to give performances at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm in the arena. So get in touch and get involved!

Spring Break 2017!

by Jodi Iverson

After the seemingly endless winter, spring has sprung! The kids will soon be set loose for two weeks and parents across Greater Vancouver are looking for fun, local ways to keep the kids occupied. We have compiled some terrific options for March Break to suit kids who camp and the whole family.

CircusWest
Run away to the circus! CircusWest presents a week-long camp featuring all the favourite circus skills like unicycle, juggling, trapeze, trampoline, and acrobatics. On the final afternoon, the camp culminates with a one-hour show, where the campers present their new skills for friends and family!
www.circuswest.com

TumbleTown
New kid on the block, TumbleTown offers two weeks of half or full day camps for little gymnasts aged three to eight. Expect gymnastics-based days including story, arts, and crafts, games, free play and more!
www.tumbletown.ca

Evergreen Cultural Centre
From stage to studio, Evergreen Cultural Centre is a great choice to inspire your artistic camper. Offering quality week-long camps for artists ages six-16, there’s also tons of excitement at the Spring Break Festival, with three different shows. Remember, Evergreen Cultural centre is easily accessible by the new Evergreen SkyTrain that stops right at their front door!
www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca

Europa
Espanol? Si! Did you know bilingual children have been shown to have better critical thinking skills, which can result in better academic performance? Europa Language School offers your camper the opportunity to have fun as they learn and practise the Spanish language and culture at their beautiful new Coquitlam campus.
www.europals.ca

Burnaby 8 Rinks
Have a future Canuck or Whitecap in your house? 8 Rinks Hockey and Multi Sport camps feature professional instruction and the opportunity to hone budding athletic skills in a fun and active environment.
www.icesports.com 

Jump Gymnastics
Jump Gymnastics is a leader in children’s physical literacy and offers full day spring break camps in a positive and safe environment for kids ages three to seven in both their North Vancouver and Yaletown locations. Camps include fundamental movement skills in the gym, cooking, crafts, stories, and outings!
www.jumpgymnastics.ca

Burnaby Village Museum’s Heritage Adventure Camps
“History Comes to Life” for campers at Burnaby Village Museum! This year they are offering 12 days of fun, featuring heritage games, arts and crafts, vintage toys, free carousel rides and more.
www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca

Gulf of Georgia Cannery
In celebration of Canadas 150th anniversary, visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston for free during Spring Break. There are fun activities like crafts, games, and machine demos for kids of all ages! Pick up a Parks Canada Xplorer activity booklet and learn more about Canada’s west coast fishing industry!
www.gulfofgeorgiacannery.org

Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics
Join Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics for two weeks of gymnastics day camps including gymnastics skills building and various themed activities. They offer camps for all ages, toddler to teen. Full and half days available with a before and after care camp option as well! Kids will love the fun tumbling and physical fun.
www.phoenixgymnastics.com

Celebrate Pi Day with Kumon!

Pi Day is observed on March 14 at exactly 1:59 PM and this year, Kumon Canada wants to help Canadian children celebrate Pi Day in a fun and exciting way. Pi Day is a great excuse to engage children in fun math challenges meant to enrich and deepen their understanding of the concept of Pi. Activities might include investigations of the value of Pi, special Pi projects and parties with pizza or other kinds of “Pi.”

Kumon Math and Reading Centre Instructors have compiled four fun activities to help families celebrate Pi, while incorporating the self-learning method that Kumon follows. Here are a few fun ways to celebrate Pi Day and have your kids problem-solve and learn on their own at the same time!

  1. Make a Pi Bracelet or Necklace

To celebrate Pi Day this year, break out the craft kit and make yourself a fun fashion accessory!

Supplies:

  • Different colours of beads
  • Pipe cleaners, thread or string
  • A pen and a pad of paper

Steps:

  1. Write out as many Pi digits as you can colour code each number.
  2. Grab different colours of beads and begin to string them onto the thread or a pipe cleaner you select to make your bracelet.
  3. Start to place the beads onto the thread in order of Pi’s number sequence and the colours you’ve selected for each digit.
  4. Tie up the thread and wear your new accessory – use it to memorize the digits of Pi!
  1. Throw a Pi Day Scavenger Hunt

Conduct a Pi Day scavenger hunt by hiding Pi-themed objects around the house. The objects can also represent the numbers of Pi.

Supplies:

  • Assorted circular objects (fruit, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
  • Assorted number cards that represent the numbers in Pi
  • A pencil and a pad of paper

Steps:

  1. Hide a number of circular objects or numbers around your home.
  2. Come up with a list of the objects kids need to find (provide a few hints just in case!). Here is an example list to get you started:
    1. Three objects that have circular cross sections: cylinder, cone and sphere
    2. The first five digits of Pi
    3. Three items with the word ‘Pi’ in it
  3. Ask children to hunt for the objects.
  4. For older children, challenge them to measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects and then divide the circumference by the diameter, to find Pi.

After the hunt, reward all participants with a delicious prize, like pizza or pie!

  1. Host a Pi Word Challenge

Word challenges are always a hit with children. Here’s a fun way to enhance and test children’s vocabulary and help them learn new words as well!

Supplies:

  • Pencil and pen for each participant
  • OR Scrabble board game letters

Steps:

  1. Challenge children to write down as many words they can think of that include the word “pi” (pizza, pineapple, picture, pie, etc.).
  2. For younger players, help them out by talking and spelling things through and using images for added support
  3. Determine which child has the most number of words written down and offer them a prize!

Healthy Family Expo!

Are you looking for small steps to healthier, more active, eco-friendly family living?WCF - 200 x 100 #2 for blog post

Healthy Family Expo has the answers for busy Metro Vancouver parents at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Sunday, March 26th!

THIS EVENT TURNS THE TYPICAL EXPO ON ITS HEAD! Parents can taste and shop their way around 200+ exhibitors, including the Whole Foods Market Zone, London Drugs Health Zone, Toyota Outdoor Living Zone, West Coast Kids Healthy Baby Zone, Green Living Zone and more. But it’s the kids who will be blown away by the enormous Active Kid Zone, with a giant hamster ball track, rock climbing wall, Springfree Trampolines, run bike and sportball areas, Tumblebus & TumbleTown, Science World fireball show, Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan, Bobs & LoLo and Jessie Farrell concerts and very popular meet & greets with CBC Kids favourites Daniel Tiger & Super WHY!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 26th and grab your 2-for-1 Expo tickets online for a limited time with promo code WCF241, and you will be entered to win the early bird Springfree Trampoline prize! First 200 adults through the door will receive an adult ticket to Science World and partial proceeds of ticket sales support the Canadian Autism Network.

WCF - 200 x 200 #1 for blog postSharing is caring, so the Healthy Family Expo is giving away thousands in pre-expo prizes leading up to the $15,000 Grand Prize Showcase to be won at the main event on March 26th, including a one-year lease on a Toyota Prius c.

To get involved in the fun:

  1. Join the Expo Facebook Event to RSVP to win thousands in prizes from Expo partners at their March 23rd Facebook Party!
  2. Grab 2-for-1 Expo tickets for a limited time using promo code WCF241 (click for tickets!).
  3. Grab VIP Expo tickets to get a loaded gift bag and skip the line at the door! Only 100 available (click for tickets!).

Birth Fair Speakers!

Here it is – the speaker schedule for the Birth Fair! Both days are so jam packed with great information that some people are already buying tickets for both Saturday and Sunday!

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Tickets are just $5 online at www.birthfair.com/tickets, $10 cash only at the door.

Mid-Week Easy Meal! Asian Chicken and Rice Salad

Looking for something easy to make for dinner in the middle of the week between school runs and homework? Look no further!

Asian Chicken and Rice SaladUntitled

Created by: BITE ME MORE – Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat

INGREDIENTS

Rice
2 cups water
½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups Minute Rice® Premium Instant Long Grain White Rice
2 cups Minute Rice Premium Instant Long Grain White Rice

Asian Dressing
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Salad
2 cups roasted deli chicken breast meat, shredded
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 cup chopped cucumbers, unpeeled
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup roasted peanuts

Garnish
2 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

  • To prepare the rice, in a small saucepan bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in rice, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes. Place rice in large serving bowl and set aside.
  • For the dressing, in a medium bowl whisk rice vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds until smooth set aside.
  • To prepare the salad, add chicken, red pepper, carrots, cucumbers, parsley and peanuts to the cooked rice. Pour dressing over to coat well. Garnish salad with green onions, sesame seeds and lime wedges.

Britax Stroller Recall

Please note this safety recall on Britax strollers. Britax B-Agile and BOB Motion Strollers used as a travel system with a car seat carrier attached. For model numbers, click here.

This recall involves all Britax B-Agile and BOB Motion strollers that have Click & Go receiver mounts that attach the car seat carrier to the stroller frame. All models are folding, single or double occupant strollers and all colours are included. Consumers can continue to use their stroller or car seat independently without the car seat attached to the stroller.

The model number can be found on the inside of the stroller’s metal frame near the right rear wheel for single strollers and in the front middle underside of the frame on double strollers.

A damaged Click & Go receiver mount may cause a car seat to fall unexpectedly when using the stroller as a travel system.  This recall does not affect the safety performance of the stroller or car seat when they are used independently from one another.

As of February 16, 2017, the company has received 118 reports of consumer incidents in Canada with 1 report of injury, a bump to the head.  In the United States, the company has received 1,219 reports of consumer incidents and 32 reports of car seats unexpectedly disconnecting from the strollers and falling to the ground, resulting in 25 reports of injuries, including scratches, bruises, cuts, and bumps to the head.

What you should do

Consumers should immediately stop using their Click & Go receivers and contact Britax for further instructions about disposing the receivers and remedy options. Consumers can continue to use their stroller or car seat independently without the car seat attached to the stroller.Remedy kits can be requested by visiting the firm’s website or by contacting Britax Customer Service Department at the dedicated recall line: 844-227-0300 from 8:30 a.m.to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday.  If you live outside of the US or Canada, you should e-mail Britax.

Tax Changes Ahead!

Some of us look towards the tax season with dread, but there’s also lots of reasons to be excited if you have a family. Plus, how great is it that February has an entire day devoted to family? Almost all Canadian families are given an extra day to spend time with each other. H&R Block wants to give Canadian families another reason to celebrate Family Day, by reminding them of all the credits and deductions they’re entitled to. Want more money for your family vacation next year? Then, pay attention.

Changes to benefits this year: There’s a new benefit in town and it’s called the Canada child benefit. It actually replaced the Canada child tax benefit and Universal child care benefits last year. Canadians may be entitled to this tax-free monthly payment that helps eligible families with the cost of raising children under the age of 18.

Last chance for certain credits: This is the last year to claim the Children’s arts tax credit and Children’s fitness tax credit. If your children participated in a program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or development activity (such as tutoring), you may be able to claim up to $250 of the fees paid, per child. If your children played hockey, took horseback riding lessons, or participated in some other eligible program of physical activity, you may be able to claim up to $500 per child for the cost of registration in these programs.

Child care expenses – Canadian’s who paid for daycare or a child care program such as a summer day camp, may be able to claim these expenses.

Other benefits to remember – if you have a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit, you may be eligible to claim a transfer of the unused amount. If you are caring for a dependent with a physical or mental impairment, you may be able to claim the Family caregiver amount .

Whatever you do, be sure to contact a tax professional to make sure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to!