[Series] Playgrounds : Round Up By City

Are you looking for new playgrounds to venture to this summer?

Have I got a list (or eight…) for you!

 

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My boys and I are always out and about in various areas of the lower mainland. We love exploring new parks and new communities. (Which, by the way, will be so much more fun and easy with our new Yuba Boda Boda that we have in a week or two!!)

With the summer weather bound to hit soon (please?!) there’s plenty time for new slides to cruise down, swings to rock out on and climbers to conquer!

 

 

I’ll be running a series over the next two weeks about the different cities in the area that we like to explore and which parks are our favourites and why.

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Stay tuned if you’re looking to broaden your horizons!

 

Links (will be activated once the post goes live) :
New Westminster
(North) Surrey
Burnaby
Vancouver
(Downtown) Vancouver
Richmond
Tricities
“Around Town” (from all over the lower mainland that don’t fit into an above category)

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[Bucket List] Summer of 2016!

It’s just a couple of days away from the official start of Summer!

I don’t know about where you are, but we have had a gorgeous Spring in between some very wet and dreary days. We’re getting some much needed rain to hopefully help with the usual water restrictions and drought that seem to happen every year.

Summer’s around here are HOT. We’re lucky enough that there are so many waterparks to keep us cool in the coming months.

Want to know what else we plan to do this Summer? Check out our Summer 2016 Bucket List below! I’ll be blogging throughout the summer as we cross them off – be sure to check the bold text (IE : Take a Hike) as the summer progresses and we complete it, I will blog and link it! I look forward to sharing our summer time adventures with you!

 

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Summertime is Upon Us! ❤

Take a Hike!
We got into hiking the summer before we got married. I love the scenery and the serenity of it. A friend and I would go hiking every other weekend or so to various trails around the Lower Mainland. Check out the website for a list of many, many trails – you can sort by level, distance, transit friendly or by area. One of my favourites is Admiralty Point, though Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock is a close second! I’m hoping to get out with the boys for some trail walking this summer – maybe some of the easier/shorter ones will be better for us though so both the boys can walk it.
http://www.trailsbc.ca

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Go Geocaching!
My husband and I got into geocaching a few years ago. If you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. It’s a modern spin on a treasure hunt. But there isn’t any actual treasure involved, just bragging rights! (Though occasionally there is a small loot you can swap something you bring for)
Geocaching makes for a fun, adventurous day! It gets you moving and out of the house – and exploring little nooks of your city that you normally wouldn’t even think to pay attention to!
http://www.geocaching.com

Make a Geocache!
It’s simple! All you need is a container and a sense of adventure. Che11406792_10155668187340570_2046230358974184400_nck out the link below for suggestions on what to include and where to put it.
http://www.geocaching.com/guide/

Go to the Beach!
Sunset, White Pine, Jericho or White Rock. Any beach will do for building sandcastles, dipping our toes in the water, combing for seashells and enjoying a picnic. Or perhaps hot dogs from the amazing hot dog vendor by Sunset beach?
http://bcmag.ca/travel/five-great-beaches-in-the-lower-mainland

Make and Deliver Treats for the Neighbours
We are moving this summer – how perfect would it be to introduce ourselves to our new neighbours and bring over some fresh baked cookies or cupcakes! While Jason knows the neighbours (it’s his childhood home!) it will be nice to re-introduce ourselves.
Here’s a favourite simple chocolate chip cookie we like to make.
http://www.marthastewart.com/344840/soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies

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Go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge!
Capilano has come a long way in the past ten years. When I went as a child, we went across the bridge, looked around and were done within twenty minutes. Boring! But now they have a ton of interesting things for those that like heights! The bridge is still the main attraction, but now they have also included the Cliff Walk, Tree Top Adventures and a few other sights and activities, included in the admission! Also, for the price of a single visit, BC residents (with proof of address) can get a membership for an entire year! Score! We got our memberships a few months ago and definitely need to go back this summer!
http://www.capbridge.com

Make Stepping Stones for the Garden!
How cute would it be to add these into our garden each year?! We could do handprints or footprints and see them grow. Their footprints could lead a path throughout our garden.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-CONCRETE-How-To-Make-Stepping-Stones/

Spend the Day on Granville Island!
There’s so much to do here! There’s the spray park and playgrounds. The Kids’ Market. Adventure Zone, if your kids are old enough and you want to browse for an hour or two, sans children. Food Market, where you can grab some picnic lunch items and sit along the docks outside (though, watch out for the Seagulls, they can be a bit feisty!) or out on the grassy fields while flying a kite.
Parking can be hard to find during the summer weekends but it’s not impossible! Just be prepared to dodge pedestrians while scouting a spot. Pay parking is a bit easier to come by, if you’re up for spending some money to do so.
There are plenty of buskers around the Island so you can usually catch a performance or two – anywhere from music to a man juggling fire while riding a unicycle balanced on a suitcase, stacked on top of a baseball bat…
http://granvilleisland.com/discover-island

Thirty Handmade Days
Photo Credit : ThirtyHandmadeDays.com

Play with Spray Sidewalk Chalk!
This looks like so much fun. The boys would have a field day decorating the driveway with this… I can picture a fair amount ending up on them, but nothing a quick play in the sprinkler can’t handle! Check out the Thirty Handmade Days link below for a recipe.
http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2011/06/summerfunforkids/

Go Berry Picking!
We went last year and it was fabulous! We had fun picking berries, though Dean ended up snacking from the bushes and was stealing from our buckets as well and we didn’t actually pick much – we bought pre-picked from the farm after some time in the fields though! I swear, they need to weigh kids on the way in and then again on the way out and charge for what they snatch. There are so many different farms – check out the link for a compiled list, below! We particularly like Krause as it has a few extra things, beyond just the fields.
http://www.findfamilyfun.com/berrypick.htm#.U4ehzRboa2w

Join a Summer Reading Program!
We join one every year, even though Dean is too young to be reading the books himself. They offer prizes and contests and activities throughout the summer, on top of the encouragement to read for a short time each day. I think most local libraries have a reading club – get down to yours and check it out!
http://www.surreylibraries.ca/5370.aspx

Go to the Burnaby Central Railway!
At Confederation Park, located near Willingdon and Hastings, is a miniature train. It’s perfect for those train-lovers that are borderline obsessed. My guys will have a blast riding the rails on miniature steam engines.
Rides are approximately 10 minutes long and tickets are $3.50 each, or a book of twelve (no expiry) for $30. Children under three ride for free.
Confederation Park also has a spray park, playground, running track and a library and indoor pool if looking for an escape from the outdoors.
http://burnabyrailway.org

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Go to a Fancy Ice Cream Shoppe!
What says “Summer” better than a scoop of tasty ice cream on a waffle cone?! The list below is so tempting, we may be crossing this off the list multiple times!!
http://dailyhive.com/vancouver/best-ice-cream-metro-vancouver

Build a Sandcastle!
The hard part about this is going to be to build one before the boys destroy it. Bonus points if they can handle the temptation and actually help with the building! It won’t be as epic as these in the link, but the boys will be impressed, nonetheless. (Mainly because I won’t let them see the link so they won’t be aware how RAD they can actually be!)
https://www.buzzfeed.com/alannaokun/epic-sand-art?utm_term=.qtQBWMbKv#.fdpw6xMJ7

Go on a Bike Adventure Around Vancouver!
Come on, we knew this was going to be on the list. I have a renewed bike obsession. I love riding and the boys are pretty into it, too. Dean loves riding along side and is actually pretty darned good at being a cautious and courteous rider. Looking for some local paths? Click the link for some suggestions in your area.
https://bikehub.ca/maps-route-planning

Discover a New Playground Nearby our New House!
As we will be moving into a new neighbourhood, it’s a great time to explore close to home. We’re not moving far but it definitely changes up what our “local” parks will be. We’re going to be venturing out in search for a new go-to playground.
The Lower Mainland has many fabulous playgrounds – here’s a small start of a list of parks worth a trip out of your area for! There’s many more not on here though.
http://www.vancouversun.com/playgrounds+Metro+Vancouver/11166738/story.html

Make a Handmade Bird Feeder!
Dean and Sammy LOVE animals. They really like watching birds but tend to get excited and chase them. I would love to hang these outside the front window so they can see the birds come to eat but they can’t bother them while they eat.
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g678/bird-feeders/

 

Do you have anything that would be on your bucket list? I always love to hear more ideas of local fun things to do!

 

 

How Time Flies…

When you’re being put through sleep deprivation torture!

It’s been almost a month since I posted! Seriously, that went fast.

We’ve been up to plenty around here – barely a relaxing weekend (or weekday, really) since!

My husband and I took the boys up to visit my parents in the Yukon for nine days. It was fun and relaxing with the normal amount of chaos that follows any family with children around.

The flight was decent – Sammy was cranky, but he was teething so it was expected. We had lots of adventures while out there : hiking, canoeing, riding a locomotive and a trolley, playing at the waterpark and a few other things.

The boys had trouble adjusting to the sleeping arrangements. Dean wasn’t comfortable in a new surrounding overnight without his white noise machine that also projects a picture onto the ceiling and gives a bit of light. The nights are not very dark – maybe an hour or two of actual darkness, the rest is dusk. Sammy was getting some major teeth growing through and he was ANGRY! We have had six teeth show up in the past three weeks… Poor little man. This made him cranky, tired and not want to sleep his regular hours. He was also nursing less (teething related, maybe?) About 5/8 mornings we were there, he was waking at 5-6am or earlier (4am, *cough*) and then refusing to go back to sleep.

We were sad to leave but also thankful to get home and have the boys get back on schedule.

Hiking at the Research Forest
Hiking at the Research Forest
Family photo at the Research Forest
Family photo at the Research Forest
Copperbelt Mining Museum
Copperbelt Mining Museum
Sammy and Grandpa
Sammy and Grandpa
Grandma and the boys
Grandma and the boys
Walking through town on the trolley tracks with Grandpa
Walking through town on the trolley tracks with Grandpa
Sammy and Grandma
Sammy and Grandma
Carcross Desert
Carcross Desert
Daddy and Dean on the train
Daddy and Dean on the train
Mommy and Sammy at the Copperbelt Mining Museum
Mommy and Sammy at the Copperbelt Mining Museum

The boys and I have been keeping busy, as usual. We’ve been spending many hours out at local parks, in the backyard and finding relief in air conditioned buildings (library, Science World, malls) when we’ve had too much time in the sun.

We just got a trampoline in the backyard a couple of weeks ago. The boys are loving it. Me and Jason are loving it more. Once the boys are in bed, we’re usually out there playing on it. I’ve been busted twice by Dean when he’s caught me during bedtime routine with Daddy. We’re planning on setting up the pool again soon – properly this year so it’s not all crooked and lopsided.

"Safety Test"  We all know that's not the real reason...
“Safety Test”
We all know that’s not the real reason…

Dean is getting excited for preschool to start – even though it’s still three months away! Jason and I have been going to meetings and observation days and he’s always asking if it’s his birthday so he can go to school yet. I’m so smitten with the school – it’s perfect for him. It’s a parent participation so *I’m* excited for it, too. I’m looking forward to being able to help in the classroom 1-2 times per month. The teachers are wonderful – I nannied two kids that went through the school while I was caring for them (and a third that went to the school after I left when I had Dean) so I know the teachers fairly well. There have been a few changes in staff (the teachers switched their days – MWF teachers moved to T/Th teachers and vice versa) It’s just an overall perfect fit for us.

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Sammy is growing far too fast. He’s on the move, trying to keep up with Dean. He’s been full-fledge crawling for a couple of months now. He’s mastered cruising furniture. And now he has started to try to stand unassisted! Someone please tell my 8 month old that he is only 8 months old and IS NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THESE THINGS YET! He’s also started to push things through the house – chairs, activity table, stools, book shelf… It just doesn’t end!

We’re going to have a busy and fun filled summer ahead – hiking, swimming and so many more days spent outdoors!

I hope to start getting more regular (and more thoughtful!) posts but unfortunately, with Sammy’s current sleep habits, it’s hard to fit much time for anything!
I finally got some time to start browsing different ideas for sleep training methods… Now to figure out what works best for our family! I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Bucket List for Summer 2014

The Lower Mainland is packed full of so many different things to do and places to go. Everywhere you turn, there is an adventure waiting for you!

I have compiled a list of things that I want to do this summer – either solo, as a date with the husband or as a family adventure. There are quite a few things on my list that will have to wait until next year when I am not pregnant though. Something tells me that my husband won’t let me climb The Chief while pregnant…

 

 

At The Beach [completed]
Sunset, White Pine, Jericho or White Rock. Any beach will do for building sandcastles, dipping our toes in the water, combing for seashells and enjoying a picnic. Or perhaps hot dogs from the amazing hot dog vendor by Sunset beach?
http://bcmag.ca/travel/five-great-beaches-in-the-lower-mainland

Berry Picking
A friend of mine went last summer and I am pretty interested in going this year! I did some berry picking on an aunts orchard years ago (at least 10 years ago!) and would love to stockpile the freezer with some frozen berries for the year to come! There are so many different farms – check out the link for a list from http://www.findfamilyfun.com!
http://www.findfamilyfun.com/berrypick.htm#.U4ehzRboa2w

Berry Picking!
Berry Picking!

The Zoo
I know, many people are against the zoo for ethical reasons. I’m not for bringing animals into captivity, but I am all for teaching my son about animals and helping to foster a love of all things furry, fuzzy and scaly. Debating aside, I want to take Dean to the zoo. Between the train and the animals, I think he will have a blast! It will be a fun and educational experience.
http://www.gvzoo.com

Maplewood Farm
Again, animals. It’s a great little farm just off the highway in North Vancouver. It has cows, sheep, rabbits and many other animals! They are easily accessible from transit (though if you are coming from further than Burnaby, it’s definitely a commute better done by car – and they have free parking!) It’s stroller friendly and isn’t too bad when it’s been raining, but you’ll still want to wear your mud boots!
http://maplewoodfarm.bc.ca

Maplewood Farms
Maplewood Farms

Suspension Bridge
Capilano has come a long way in the past ten years. When I went as a child, we went across the bridge, looked around and were done within twenty minutes. Boring! But now they have a ton of interesting things for those that like heights! The bridge is still the main attraction, but now they have also included the Cliff Walk, Tree Top Adventures and a few other sights and activities, included in the admission! Also, for the price of a single visit, BC residents (with proof of address) can get a membership for an entire year! Score!
http://www.capbridge.com
Lynn Canyon is another suspension bridge, located in North Vancouver. It has many more paths and trails than Capilano so it would make for a better day of hiking, rather than more strictly sightseeing. Admission is free! Can’t get cheaper than that! It’s best to chose a route before you begin – there are many different routes of different skill and distances. We usually have one in mind but end up getting lost along the way when we stop paying attention. It’s a large park so, as usual for hiking, come prepared for twice the length of a hike as planned with extra water and food!
http://lynncanyon.ca

A Day on Granville Island
There’s so much to do here! There’s the spray park and playgrounds. The Kids’ Market. Adventure Zone, if your kids are old enough and you want to browse for an hour or two, sans children. Food Market, where you can grab some picnic lunch items and sit along the docks outside (though, watch out for the Seagulls, they can be a bit feisty!) or out on the grassy fields while flying a kite.
Parking can be hard to find during the summer weekends but it’s not impossible! Just be prepared to dodge pedestrians while scouting a spot. Pay parking is a bit easier to come by, if you’re up for spending some money to do so.
There are plenty of buskers around the Island so you can usually catch a performance or two – anywhere from music to a man juggling fire while riding a unicycle balanced on a suitcase, stacked on top of a baseball bat…
http://granvilleisland.com/discover-island

Kid's Market on Granville Island
Kid’s Market on Granville Island

PNE/Playland
I think Dean is a bit young for this still. And I can’t go on any of the rides, since I am pregnant. But I still wanted to include it on the list as a “maybe”. While I would love to go spend the day walking around and exploring the exhibits and watching the shows (and I’m sure Dean would, too, depending on how crowded it is!) I just don’t know if it’s worth the admission costs. There are tons of exhibits happening this year, including Game of Thrones, Kidz Discovery Farm, Timber! – A Stompin’ Lumberjack Shindig, ToonTown – Interactive Play Area and other exhibits, plus nightly concerts included in admission. It’s definitely worth it for the cost – but I’ll have to debate if it’s worth it for the cost with a
toddler who is a bit of a wildcard when it comes to open areas, filled with thousands of people, that he can’t run free in!
http://www.pne.ca/thefair/index.html

Geocaching Treasure Hunt Day
My husband and I got into geocaching last year. If you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. It’s a modern spin on a treasure hunt. But there isn’t any actual treasure involved, just bragging rights!
We stuffed Dean into an Ergo last Spring and walked around Lynn Canyon with my in-laws and found a few caches. In one of them was a Travel Bug (I won’t go into details but check out Wikipedia’s page to GeoCaching for explanations) We took that Travel Bug with us to Hawaii, where we ended up finding two more (one of which, I regret to admit that we still have an need to get rid of but the caches we’ve found since Hawaii haven’t been big enough to place yet!) Geocaching makes for a fun, adventurous day! It gets you moving and out of the house – and exploring little nooks of your city that you normally wouldn’t even think to pay attention to!
http://www.geocaching.com

Geocaching
Geocaching

Create a geocache of our own
This was our goal last summer but after getting busy with moving in August and some household renovations, we didn’t get a chance to make one before the weather turned wet and cold. Anyone can make one and list it. You just need some creativity and a few household items! Check out the link for all the information you need to start your own.
http://www.geocaching.com/guide/

A Visit to La Casa Gelato
Have you heard of this place? They have an insane amount of gelato in flavours you can’t even imagine. Curry gelato, anyone? I love the Hazelnut gelato, along with about half of the flavours. The best part is that you can try a few samples so if you are having troubles deciding if the Wasabi gelato is your thing or not, you can get a taster before ordering a double scoop cone!
http://www.lacasagelato.com

Lots of local hiking/trail walks
I got into hiking the summer before we got married. I love the scenery and the serenity of it. A friend and I would go hiking every other weekend or so to various trails around the Lower Mainland. Check out the website for a list of many, many trails – you can sort by level, distance, transit friendly or by area. One of my favourites is Admiralty Point, though Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock is a close second! I’m hoping to get out with Dean for some trail walking this summer – maybe some of the easier/shorter ones will be better for us though so he can walk it and I can survive it!
http://www.trailsbc.ca

Jason and I at the top of The Chief in 2011
Jason and I at the top of The Chief in 2011

Visit a Farmers Market
There are many Farmer’s Markets in the lower mainland. And quite a few vendors tend to rotate through a few of them as they are on different days. A couple favourites of mine are Royal City Farmer’s Market in New Westminster, where I used to take the kids I nannied (pre-Dean) after school for a treat and to wander the park and the Burnaby Farmer’s Market at Deer Lake Park. Check out the link below for a market near you!
http://www.eatdrinkbelocal.com/farmers-markets-lower-mainland/

Make a Salad from Ingredients I Grew
Yes, here I go talking about my garden again… This list isn’t all about places to go and things to see, you know. I’m looking forward to a fresh-from-the-garden salad that we can put together for dinner one night, complete with strawberries from the garden for dessert! (Now to just hope that everything is ripe at the same time to make this happen!)

Fresh salad from the garden!
Fresh salad from the garden!

Whistler Day Trip
I want to pack up the car for the day with picnic things, sand pail, towels and changes of clothes and hit the road for a fun day-long adventure. Along the way to Whistler are various stops for sightseeing and activities. Horseshoe Bay has the ferry terminal, where we can see them sail in and out. Porteau Cove is a family hot-spot. Jason spent many summers camping there with his family. We usually stop there to stretch on the drive, walking along the water or having a picnic. Britannia Mines are shortly after that, but while we may stop to check out the GIANT dump truck (with wheels as tall as me!) we will likely skip the tour of the gold mine and building until Dean is a bit older. After Britannia Mine is Shannon Falls and The Chief. The walk to the Falls is nice and it’s another good stretching point for certain little active boys who love to explore nature. Or we may continue to Brandywine Falls, which also has a few trails and views worth checking out. And then, finally, is Whistler. There’s a lot of activities that are focused on the older children (biking is a big one with a few skate parks and things like Go-Karting and mini-golf) but walking the Village and some of the beginner level trails are more suited for us with our little man (and my pregnant belly)!
http://www.britanniaminemuseum.ca

A Day at Dinotown
I have childhood memories of my grandma and grandpa loading up the grandkids and taking us to Dinotown. I’ll be honest, when returning to it as a teenager with the daycare I worked at, I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t as amazing as I remembered but the memories I have from there are still wonderful! It was recently relocated and it’s been spruced up a bit. As Dean is starting to get into dinosaurs and he’s just happy to go exploring, I think this will be a hit.
http://www.dinotown.com

Dinotown!
Dinotown!

Attend a City Festival
There are so many cities that hold festivals throughout the summer. Sapperton and Surrey Fusion Fest are two of the top-recommended ones that I’ve come across. There are plenty of different ones with their own unique spin on the focus and all feature a few family oriented activities and events. Check out your cities website for dates and locations near you!

New Westminster Quay Day!
We go so often that crossing this off the list won’t be hard! It’s a fun-filled boardwalk that is close to skytrain and easily accessible by car. We love to spend the day there. The River Market (aka Quay) has many delicious food places to eat at. There’s a circus school upstairs that has some drop-in slots, but even if you aren’t attending, it’s fun to go and watch a class that is running. They have Farmer’s Markets and Artisan Markets (check their website for dates and times) There’s tons to see and do outside of the River Market, along the boardwalk. There’s three great parks (two to the NE end, one to the SW end), along with sand volleyball courts, grassy areas and the fun tug boat play structure and World’s Tallest Tin Soldier. Dean loves to watch the choo-choo’s chug along the train tracks on one side of the boardwalk while the boat’s speed along on the other, plus you can watch as the skytrain’s cross the bridge!
http://rivermarket.ca

Running into the sunset at the Quay!
Running into the sunset at the Quay!

Science World and the Vancouver Aquarium
I wasn’t going to include these two locations on the list as these are both places that we have memberships for so aren’t really a “summer” thing – especially as it gets much more crowded than during the school years when day camps bring children in. I try to avoid these places, but I’m sure we will likely still be attending at one point or another.
http://www.scienceworld.ca
http://www.vanaqua.org

Burnaby Central Railway
At Confederation Park, located near Willingdon and Hastings, is a miniature train. It’s perfect for those train-lovers that are borderline obsessed. Dean will have a blast riding the rails on miniature steam engines. Rides are approximately 10 minutes long and tickets are $2.50 each, or a book of twelve (no expiry) for $25.
Confederation Park has a spray park, playground, running track and a library and indoor pool if looking for an escape from the outdoors.
http://burnabyrailway.org

Mini Steam Engine at Confederation Park
Mini Steam Engine at Confederation Park

Spray Parks, Wading Pools and Playgrounds

There’s plenty of different parks that I want to go to, but don’t want to list them all individually. Just a few, including ones that I listed above, are :

  • Queens Park, New Westminster (Spray park, petting zoo, playground, gardens)
  • Grimston Park, New Westminster (Wading pool, playground)
  • Blue Mountain Park, Coquitlam (Spray park, wading pool and playground)
  • Central Park, Burnaby (Playground, outdoor pool, pitch and putt, walking trails)
  • Confederation Park, Burnaby (Spray park, playground, running trail, train, walking trails)
  • Bear Creek Park, Surrey (Spray park, playground, outdoor pool, running train, train, gardens)
  • Green Timbers, Surrey (Walking trails, dock with wildlife, fishing)
  • Stanley Park, Vancouver (Spray park, playground(s), outdoor pool, walking trails, train)

 

 

Anything you plan to do this summer that isn’t listed? Let me know! I’m always looking for new adventures!!