3 Simple Tips To Get The House Cleaning Help You Need

Great news! You don’t need to be a millionaire in order to have a house cleaning service any more.

Mother Sitting With Daughter At Home

Thanks to the rising trend of outsourcing, hiring a house cleaning service has become more accessible to busy families than ever before, and with just a couple of tweaks, you can get the help you need to maintain your home (and your sanity) at a more affordable price. Here are some simple tips to help you get started:

Reduce the scope. 

Instead of having your entire home cleaned, try hiring someone to clean just the kitchen and bathroom(s) (two of the dirtiest rooms in most houses) for you. This will get the dirty work done, but will also cut the house cleaning costs down significantly for you.

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Share the load.

House cleaning doesn’t have to be an adults-only chore. Get the kids involved in keeping your home clean, and consider divvying up the tasks so the cleaning gets done quickly. Consider making vacuuming and sweeping the chores for the grown ups, and have the kids dust the shelves and fold the laundry.

Having an outside company cover the kitchen and bathroom scrubbing will keep you and your little ones free from inhaling any bathroom or degreasing solutions, yet by getting them involved in the process, you can still teach them the value of maintaining a clean home.

Reduce the frequency.

Depending on your situation, you might be able to get away with less frequent house cleaning appointments.

For example, some families will bring in outside house cleaning help once a month to give their home a proper, thorough deep cleaning, and then for the rest of the month, the home is maintained by the family.

This will create a healthy balance between parents teaching their kids the value of chipping in to maintain the home, and enjoying a hassle-free clean up of the house once a month.

Scrubbi logo 2016Interested in giving house cleaning services a try? Check out Scrubbi, a house cleaning startup that provides professional house cleaning help and friendly customer service for busy families all across Canada. Visit them online and get a quote to see if they’re the right fit for your family.

Backpack Buddies in Your School?

We are so fortunate to live in an area with access to locally grown foods to maintain healthy and active lifestyles. But for some in poverty, access to nutritious food is far out of reach, meaning too many children are going hungry. With more than 20 per cent of BC children living below the poverty line, how can we expect them to concentrate in the classroom with growling bellies? Backpack Buddies looks to eradicate childhood hunger by providing a weekend worth of meals to those in need.

This charity helps the Metro Vancouver area fill the weekend hunger gap by providing stocked backpacks for children to take home and share with their families, breaking the cycle of poverty. The program works with local partners and communities to distribute the backpacks through local schools. It was started in 2012 by mother and daughter duo, Joanne Griffiths and Emily-Anne King, and today they have helped deliver more than 8,000 backpacks in the 2015/2016 school year alone. Currently there are nine schools in the Lower Mainland who are part of the program, but you can help! Donate money, food, or time and be a part of the solution to child hunger.

Love a Little Opera

A new Lower Mainland opera company is celebrating their grand opening with a double-bill of shows designed to help young singers achieve their dreams. The West Coast Opera Studio, or WCOS, is a brand new opera company dedicated to showcasing local performers by creating opportunities for them to sing full roles. Entirely funded by arts lovers and the community, the project strives to help underfunded young singers as they prepare for full careers.At 7:30 pm on Friday, July 29, the West Coast Opera Studio will present two beloved short operas: Pergolesi’s La serva padrona and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, featuring casts of talented students and graduates of those smaller, underfunded opera schools that couldn’t give them the same opportunity.

Founder Robin Eder-Warren says that West Coast Opera’s decision to stage an opera starring performers who hadn’t had the chance to sing many full roles came when she saw other small companies in Vancouver begin to disappear. “To pursue future careers in the art form, singers need to have resumes full of experience in a wide array of operas,” she says, “and with the closure of several small companies in the past few years, and the lack of funding from many schools, for many the only opportunities to perform come from what we call ‘pay-to-sing’ companies – and some singers, though they’re really fantastic vocalists, simply can’t afford that. That’s where West Coast Opera comes in.”

For this production, WCOS is teaming up with Opera Mariposa, the acclaimed local opera company that has been showcasing emerging young artists since 2011. “Mariposa was created by young artists, for young artists, and we’re thrilled to help give these singers the opportunities they desperately need for their future careers,” explains Artistic Director Jacqueline Ko, who is lending her voice to the tragic Dido and Aeneas as the Sorceress. “Without experience like this, pursuing professional opera can be next to impossible, even for singers as amazing as those we get to work with this summer. Everyone needs the chance to shine, no matter where they come from.”

The co-production is being funded by a campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, with a fundraising goal of $2500. Eder-Warren hopes that the city will come together to support the arts. “Any contribution, big or small, makes a difference to this project,” she says.

So get out and enjoy a night of culture with the whole family!

La serva padrona and Dido and Aeneas (by G. B. Pergolesi and H. Purcell)
7:30 pm on Friday, July 29  and Saturday, July 30, 2016
Metro Theatre, 1370 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC
Tickets $20 ($18 students and seniors), available at metrotheatre.com and at the door or at (604) 266-7191

Gorgeous Gershwin!

The Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra (VAMSO) season closes on an ebullient note with the concert, Gorgeous Gershwin on May 15, 2016, 2pm at the Orpheum Theatre. Music Director Leslie Dala takes to the piano to conduct and perform the jazz-tinged classical masterpiece, Rhapsody in Blue, while leading VAMSO’s young artists through beloved favourites from the composer’s catalogue, including An American in Paris and Porgy & Bess Suite.

The first ‘serious’ composition by the prolific George Gershwin (1898-1937), Rhapsody in Blue embodies the bustling, audacious spirit of the Jazz Age, as it interweaves brash, charging orchestral passages with melodic explorations by solo piano. Infamous for its hasty creation, the work premiered in New York’s Aeolian Hall in 1924, where it was billed as an “Experiment in Modern Music”, later becoming one of the most quintessential pieces of American repertoire.

Founded in 1969, the Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) is a non-profit institution that has been spreading a love of learning and musical excellence for generations of aspiring musicians. Located minutes away from downtown, VAM’s spacious facility features teaching studios, expansive classrooms, a library, and two recital halls – all set against the scenic backdrop of Vanier Park.

Don’t miss these incredible performances!

Celebrate Vancouver’s First Tree Week!

The Vancouver Park Board presents Vancouver’s first ever Tree Week on April 2 to 10, 2016. To celebrate, the Park Board is now selling more than 3,000 fruit, flowering and shade trees for only $10 each (Vancouver residents only)! Over a dozen tree-themed events, talks and walks will be happening throughout the week.

Vancouver Tree Week supports our urban forest goal of planting 150,000 new trees in Vancouver by 2020 — we still have almost 100,000 to plant in the next four years! Please help Vancouver meet those goals by coming out to Tree Week events, planting trees in your yard, and encouraging your neighbours to do the same.

As you know, healthy trees are essential to a healthy eco-system and provide all of us with clean air, shade and cooling for our homes and streets.

Reserve your $10 tree now, try the Treelationship quiz to find the perfect tree for you and your yard, and check out other Vancouver Tree Week events: vancouver.ca/TreeWeek. Don’t forget to share your “treelationship” on social media with the hash tag #VanTreeWeek!

 

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival!

We know that asking you if you like chocolate is like asking if birds have wings or if beaches have sand. Unless you have an allergy to milk, chocolate usually appeals to all ages. Cacao also has a lot of great health benefits, and great quality chocolate has far more beneficial properties than the stuff you’ll find in commercially produced chocolate bars found at the corner store.

And in sloppy Lower Mainland weather, nothing appeals more than a hot drink. And if like us at WestCoast Families, there’s nothing better than blending the soothing appeal of a hot drink with our favourite sweet eats.

Enter the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, now in its sixth year! From January 16th to February 14th, local cafes and eateries are preparing not just your average hot chocolate, but tons of different flavour blends that will blow your tastebuds out of the water. Vote on your favourites and share pictures on social media in order to win prizes, including hot chocolate from all the different venues across the city. That, and help your favourite local cafe make the claim to fame of offering the best hot chocolate in the city.

To find out more details about the festival, check out City Food and see where you can score the latest and greatest hot chocolate our city has to offer.

G Day for Girls

After the success of previous years, G Day for Girls is back in Vancouver on October 23, with another event in Victoria for those on the island. The event is designed for girls aged 10-12, the confusing time of puberty when girls are trying to carve out their identities amidst heavy media pressure to be a certain way. G Day for Girls was created as a social movement to empower young women going through the tricky time of adolescence, teaching them to be empowered and confident while being kind and considerate of one another. The event is a celebration and creation of sisterhood amongst young women and is designed to show them that the future is bright and full of possibilities. There are also more than 50 volunteers to help to make this day special and educational for all the girls involved. Last year’s event was a huge success so help G Day for Girls be another positive experience for young women in the Lower Mainland. More than 250 girls and their caregivers will participate, listening to engaging speakers and taking part in fun, creative activities.

www.gdayforgirls.com

Word Vancouver

On September 23rd-27th, don’t miss Word Vancouver, Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading. Held during the last week of September at various venues throughout the city, the festival promotes books and authors with free exhibits, performances, and hands-on activities for a wide range of ages and interests.

Programmed authors include: John Vaillant, Aislinn Hunter, Arthur Black, Charles Demers, Emily Urquhart, Amber Dawn, Rachel Hartman, Ian Weir, Andrea Warner, William Deverell, Evelyn Lau, George Bowering, Grant Lawrence, and more; for children: Julie Flett, Robin Stevenson, Deborah Hodge, Robert Heidbreder, and more; comic creators: David Lasky, David Boswell, Julian Lawrence, Michael Kluckner, and more! Such a great collection of Canadian talent!

Free events will take place at various venues Sept. 23 to 27. The big festival day happens on the 27th in and around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library. Come hear musical performances, free readings and panel discussions, and take part in free writing workshops. Canadian authors and book, magazine, and comics exhibitors are all gathered to share a passion for the written word. Fun for literature and literacy lovers of any age!

Dance Your Heart Out!

We all want to keep kids busy and active to benefit their health, and there’s no better way than offering them an opportunity to take part in dance classes where they learn to bend, stretch, improve stability and get an excellent workout. Kids will also learn the benefit of discipline and dedication to their passion and health. Whether your child is one or 18, it’s never too early (or too late!) to get them involved in the art of dance.

When looking for a dance studio, parents should consider several things. First, it is best to find locations that offer a variety of forms of dance, such as jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and more. This gives your child a breadth of participation opportunities! Also, parents would want to consider, as their child’s passion develops, increases or wanes, if they would like a more competitive professional-geared program or one that is more for fun focused. It is also key to visit the studio to assess the building itself. Are there spring floors to benefit dancers and their joints? Are the instructors accessible and familiar in working with children? Is there a fun place to wait for siblings and friends while your little one practices?

Thankfully, all of these key offerings are available at Perform Arts Studios, which has several locations with amazing classes ranging from beginner to professional. They also offer singing and theatre lessons for those with a wide range of artistic talents! Perform Arts Studios is also located the hub of activity at Lonsdale Quay Market (right at the sea bus terminal), giving parents lots to do while they wait for their child. And the convenient location means that anyone from downtown Vancouver can easily hop on the sea bus and mill around the Quay for endless entertainment at this activity hub. You could grab a coffee, do some shopping and still catch that last pirouette!

Register now for their fall classes. They also have events for the upcoming Culture Days.

STAGE Culture Day Dance Demos with Perform Art Studios – Saturday
12:00-12:30, Hip Hop Dance Demo
Join Perform Arts Studio for a live 30-minute Hip Hop dance class. All ages welcome!

FREE Dance Days at Perform Art Studios
Sat, 26th 9:00-3:00pm
Sun, 27th 10:00-11:30am

BC Home + Garden Show!

In the Lower Mainland, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to filling our homes with top-notch housewares. Thankfully, with four weeks to go until opening day, the BC Home + Garden Show has released its full line-up of real advice, inspiration and experts hitting BC Place Stadium from February 18-22, 2015. With Canada’s favourite home, horticulture and landscaping specialists, including HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler, W Network’s Todd Talbot and design duo Janette Ewen + Jef Hancock, plus more than 425 exhibitors and features designed to whip any home or garden into shape, there’s innovation, inspiration and expert advice at every turn.

The BC Home + Garden Show has been a staple in consumers’ calendars since 1971, attracting more than 55,000 qualified visitors every spring. With live demonstrations, shopping tables, cooking classes, garden education, Toyota test drives and “Ask a designer” section, you won’t regret visiting this classic show that will provide you with the best places to make your house a home!