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!

unnamed

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!

Lighthouse Labs Teaches Teachers Coding

By now, we’ve all heard about the benefits of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the classroom and beyond. This section makes up a large portion of jobs for the current and next generation, and understanding these areas of learning make for more stable futures for children. The BC curriculum has been changed as of recently, meaning all students will be learning coding skills by the end of grade nine. “Preparing our kids for their future is our most important job, and getting teachers trained to teach coding and the new curriculum is just one way we are doing that,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education. To help introduce these technologies to teachers, Lighthouse Labs has been called on to provide a learning opportunity for British Columbia teachers to gain insight into specialized coding. In partnership with Kids Code Jeunesse, these two-day workshops are intensive training opportunities so that teachers can pass on new digital literacy to the children in their classrooms. All Lower Mainland districts have been welcomed to the sessions, which began in November. Even for students not interested in STEM, learning these elements of education opens their minds to new possibilities and teaches analytical thinking and problem-solving.

www.lighthouselabs.ca

WAMS Foundation Fundraiser!

It is that time a year again! The WAMS Foundation, Walk a Mile In Our Shoes, is hosting its 5th annual fundraiser at the Roundhouse community center on March 3rd! The WAMS foundation seeks to help MS sufferers fund alternative treatments, and with a country with some of the highest MS rates in the world, it is important that patients have options.

The fundraiser supports a different person each year, and this year it is for a woman named Shaneel. Shaneel is a wife, daughter and sister who has been living with Multiple Sclerosis for 12 years. She was diagnosed in 2005, just 6 days before her 25th birthday. At the time, she had her full independence working full time in the financial field with aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder.

Her initial symptoms that led her to visit the doctor was a combination of unusual feelings, which included numbness and tingling in her fingers along with a lack of balance and daily fatigue. Just days after her visit to the doctor and MRI tests, the results had proven that Shaneel has Multiple Sclerosis. This was just the beginning of the journey she was about to be faced with. Shaneel is severely affected by this horrible disease and needs our help to raise money for treatment in Mexico.

We ask that please purchase you tickets now by following the link below, as it assists us in having adequate food and libations for everyone (including of course, jello shooters). If you can’t attend but would still like to support Shaneel, please do so by clicking on the link and purchasing a ghost ticket or two.

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/lyle-construction-presents-wams-5th-annual-fundraiser-tickets-31270369517?utm_term=eventurl_text

As a reminder, the WAMS foundation is a volunteer run not for profit organization. No one takes a salary and every penny earned goes to those who need it most.

Help the SPCA with National Cupcake Day!

Looking to start the year by making a difference? By getting involved in National Cupcake Day™, animal lovers can help save the lives of animals in our communities simply by baking cupcakes and giving them away in exchange for a donation.

National Cupcake Day™ is cross-country event presented by the BC SPCA, the Ontario SPCA and participating humane societies.  This year, Cupcake Day falls on Monday, Feb. 27 (the last Monday of February), but animal lovers and bakers are encouraged to fundraise throughout January and February.

“I’m excited to test out some new cupcake recipes and decorating techniques this year,” says National Cupcake Day™ spokesperson and cupcake crusader, Kristina Matisic.

“What I love about this event is that it’s super easy to get involved and cupcakes are simple to make. Plus, who can say no to a delicious cupcake, especially when it’s for such a great cause?”

Last year, Canadians raised more than $615,000 through their baking and fundraising efforts. Since the campaign’s inception in 2013, $1.85 million has been raised, with proceeds going to participating SPCAs and Humane Societies across the country.

How you can get involved:

  1. Register for FREE at www.nationalcupcakeday.ca
  2. Receive for your Cupcake Host Kit to arrive in the mail or download it online.
  3. Customize your Personal Fundraising Centre online and ask your friends, family and colleagues to support your fundraising efforts.
  4. Send your friends and family an email through your participant centre, encouraging them to show their support by donating online.
  5. Plan your National Cupcake Day Party for home, work, school or wherever you think people would love to eat cupcakes.
  6. Hold your National Cupcake Day Party on Monday, Feb. 27or any day in January or February that works for you.
  7. Bake, decorate and eat!

Visit nationalcupcakeday.ca to register, bake and donate.