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10 Tips for Camping with kids

Unfortunately I don’t think we will get out camping this year, just too much to do around the house, but over the last few years I have been taking note from others as well as

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Family friendly Campsite – 
We have a lot of friends that go camping in the bush and the truth is that is hard when you have kids. Especially if you are tent camping! You want to make sure that you have the necessities to make the transition from home to camping easy for your child to slip into and get back home to! Family friendly campsites also don’t usually allow a lot of noise after 11 so your children can sleep. Also, most of them have toilets, showers, electric hook ups, and some even have playgrounds! But if your child isn’t a fan of showers, pack a large Tupperware and bring enough water to bath your child in it once or twice over the trip depending on the length of the trip.

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Bring an extra tent for playing with toys – 
I like this idea because being outside and trying to entertain your kids for long periods of time can be hard! Kids love the idea of being able to go into their own little tent and have fun, play with their toys and this gives you time when they are in a safe place and you can get meals done, or enjoy some adult time.

Glow in the dark Hide and seek
This one is really fun, and you can even get the kids to hide them or you can hide them and then when it gets dark you can go around looking for all the toys or stars that you hid around the camp site, another idea is glow in the dark paint, and you can paint rocks and hide them around the camp site – this is a good morning activity. Also bring glow sticks because these are nice to put around the kids so when it gets dark you can see them – What kid doesn’t love glow sticks!

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For kids under 2 – Confinement
Kids under 2 are hard because they are exploring and some aren’t good at listening, talking and its very easy for them to run off and get into trouble! We took Pearce tent camping when he was 1 and it was a crazy weekend! Some things we used to help confine Pearce was, we had a plastic portable highchair that we brought and clipped to a folding chair, while we sat around the fire, he sat in the chair this kept him a safe distance from the fire. We also used a playpen to keep him safe distance from the fire and when we couldn’t watch him closing this was helpful. We also joked that having a leash would be super helpful at this age as he was walking around parts of the camp site and we were constantly chasing him. My Ergo 360 was also awesome this trip as we went on a big hike to a hidden waterfall and wearing him was so much better than carrying him as a lot of it wasn’t easy for him to walk!

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Campfire Banana Boat
Having a yummy treat is always fun for kids, I like this one because the kids can make it themselves and then you can put it in the fire for them! Cut open a banana length wise and pass it to the kids, let them stuff it with marshmallows, chocolate chips and sprinkles or whatever yummy stuff your brought then wrap it in tinfoil. Place in the fire or on a grill for 5 mins, and then let it cool for 3 minutes, pass a fork and give it to the kids to enjoy!Camp-fire-Banana-Boat

Portable toilet –
Even if you have a campsite with washrooms its not always fun to take your child that far in the middle of the night, if your child isn’t comfortable going outside, a portable toilet is also super helpful! It’s also good if your child isn’t familiar with going outside during the day, because it may be too far for them to get to when they acknowledge they have the urge to go!

Bug catching kits
Honestly this one was a huge life savor for us last May long, We took Pearce and my Nephew Sawyer camping with us while I was pregnant and my mother in law went to the dollar store and got them each bug catching kit, with a net, some tweezers, magnifying glass and each of them a little bug holding chamber for them to play with, they played with it for hours! We hardly had to come up with other ideas!

Make Rock friends by decorating rocks around the campsite 
Crafts while camping can be a lot of fun, if you’re in a campsite with a lot of rocks have the kids collect them from around the campsite and decorate them. Bring with you some paint and other things to decorate a rock friend with. If your campsite doesn’t have a lot of rocks, bring some blank paper in case, and let the kids find things in the campsite to paint and stamp on paper, Nature artwork such a leaf stamping always makes for an excellent camping keep sake to remember the trip by!

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Bring a special flashlight for the kids
Getting the kids their own special flashlight before a camping trip makes it exciting, have them pack it in their own little backpack with some other fun outside toys so that they feel like they packed their own fun. Pearce loves playing with a new flashlight and seeing what he can find when he shines it in dark places.

Pack food the kids like. 
Camping is already tough on kids, its out of their routine and out of the norm. Its best to ensure you pack food you know they will eat, so even though sometimes that means they won’t be eating a ton of vegetables, it means they will eat enough. Also packing a special bag of treats for after it gets dark or when they are behaving or to distract them from something else is a good idea to have on hand! (I don’t suggest showing how many you have but to grab it from hiding and give them it, so they don’t know there is more on hand!)

But Most importantly have fun, and don’t put too much pressure on things. Expect to be dirty, pack for all seasons and just enjoy it! Life is too short to be upset about dirty hands.

xOx Chelsea

Pearce’s first camping Trip August 2016

Cultus Lake Water Park – 35 Year Anniversary

I can still remember being about 9 years old sitting on the couch with my Dad, looking at Channel 2 (if you remember this was the channel that showed you everything that was on one side and on the other was ads). We saw the ad for Cultus Lake Waterslides (now Waterpark) commercial come on and this was the year the Valley of Fear opened. My dad being the razzer he is said, “There is no way you would go on that”, being the natural competitor, I am, I responded “Yes I would”. Weeks had gone by and a new guy had joined my Dad’s soccer team, he had a little girl my age and he wanted to get her to meet some people so he asked my dad if he could take the two of us to the Water Slides.

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My dad asked me that night if I wanted to go – Of course I did, he made sure to bring up the Valley of Fear, and how I needed to prove him wrong. That weekend I did it, I sat in the very front of the three-man tube on the valley of fear. I remember as they pushed us down hanging over the edge as her dads weight in the very back weighed us small girls down, After going down the monstrous drop, I remember almost touching the top of the other side and screaming, terrified but also having so much fun. This was the first time I had ever done something so brave. I can recall we proceeded to go on several more times, and many of the other slides. Still 21 years later this day stands out in my childhood memory as one of the best days ever.

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Driving up to Cultus Lake Waterpark this past week was so nostalgic for me, the beautiful drive by the farms up to the twist and turns as you approach the lake. Its always been a place filled with happy memories for me, always having so much fun, trying to cram as many slides into a day as possible. Always testing out the new waterslides and feeling brave when I concurred something that scared me.

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Its been about 10 years since I had been, and a lot has changed! So many new slides have been added, so many new hot tubs, and the giant pirate ship. It has grown so much, it used to feel gigantic as a 9-year-old girl, but now as a 30-year-old woman with its growth it is still a huge park. Something about going to a place that brought you so much joy as a child and bringing your children is so sentimental.

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When we pulled up to the waterslides Pearce’s excitement was electrifying, the almost 4-year-old little boy looked at the gigantic park and wanted to do it all – With none of the fear I had expected. We were so blessed to have been gifted this experience to make these memories that I know he will remember for years to come!!! I could barely get Brooks changed into his water stuff fast enough because Pearce was so excited to start the day! We spent hours on the turtle slides, in Tot Castle, going around and round in the lazy river, stopping for a quick hot tub here and there, and fighting off the buckets of water at the Pirate ship. The park was so family friendly, we ate at the new Grab and Go lunch spot picking up some 35-year anniversary cups as souvenirs to remember our trip forever.

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Park Owner Chris Steunenberg

While Pearce played with friends, I got to listen to owner Chris Steunenberg who purchased the Park 25 years ago and saved the park from closing with his wife. They have managed to create an amazing family experience that is truly fun for all ages and forever growing as BC’s largest and best waterpark. 5 years ago, the family bought the mini golf course across the street from the Waterpark and created Cultus Lake Adventure Park, an amusement park with 18 rides, catering to all family types from families with small children to older kids or even just to get away as a date night for Mom and Dad. This year to celebrate 35 years they have come out with the anniversary souvenir cups that has customer artwork of Cultus Lake Waterpark and the amazing Family and employees it houses – you can refill the cup all over the park for super cheap, get one before their gone!

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Our Family truly didn’t feel like we could do both parks justice in 1 day, So we stayed at the Waterpark open – close, and to my surprise both the Kids (4 and 3) had 0 meltdowns, 0 arguments, It was only smiles, laughter and running from attraction to attraction and the babies didn’t seem to mind either, having naps along the way in our arms. I never dreamt the day could go so well. I thought for sure there would be some tears, but to Pearce it is the happiest place on Earth – I know this because he told me so and he has asked me to go back a few times a day since we left!

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We plan to head back to Cultus Lake Adventure Park very soon!! This year on every ticket to the water park, you get a $15 off ticket to the Adventure Park, so how could you not take advantage of this awesome deal and spend some time with the family in this amazing place.

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I hope you all get out to these fantastic parks, this summer and help them celebrate 35 years in the business. And Hey, your kids might even sleep in the next day like both mine did!! Thank you again to Vancouver Mom, Destination Cultus (Cultus Lake Water Park and Adventure Park) and Crisp Media for hosting such an amazing event for my Family – We will cherish these memories for always!

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xOx Chelsea

 

Family Trip To Vernon, BC

For May long weekend this year we traveled to Vernon, BC. We usually go to Kelowna as my husband participates in a hockey tournament there, however this year we were brought to Vernon for my beautiful friend Richelle’s Wedding. It was our first time to Vernon, so we went a few days prior so we could do some adventuring around town and of course help to prepare for the wedding.

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My sister came up with us to help with the kids as my husband couldn’t get up there till Saturday morning due to work. So, we left Thursday morning after Pearce’s swimming lessons. Traffic was heavy until we got out of hope – I usually find this if you leave the day before the long weekend in the late morning. We made good time with two kids, only stopping in Kelowna for food and bathrooms, and grocery shopping. Driving to Vernon is absolutely beautiful, you will drive through gorgeous Kelowna, the Stunning Lake Country and come into the picturesque small-town Vernon.

 

When we go on Family Trips we find it easier to stay in Air B&B’s with kids its nice to have laundry and a yard so we got an upstairs to a house with a full yard, that was equipped with a trampoline, swing set, sand box and tons of space to run around for the kiddos. For the adults it has a nice big deck, with deck swing and BBQ to entertain us. The weather was a little uncooperative for our weekend up there, it was sunny on Thursday, Cloudy on Friday, Rained Saturday, Sunny Sunday and Monday. However, we made the best of it! Thursday, I attended the rehearsal dinner and rehearsal, we dined at Temptasians Restaurant and Lounge, the food was delicious, and the company was just as sweet. Then we headed to the Wedding location, Historical O’Keefe Ranch, a beautiful ranch tucked away down a windy beautiful road. Arriving at the ranch you feel like you arrived at a western movie, with its on-site Blacksmith shop, Pottery Shed and General store its like you took a walk back in time – More on the ranch to come!

 

Friday, we took to explore downtown Vernon, Downtown Vernon reminds me of my hometown Mission. It has a beautiful downtown core, with lots of amazing murals painted all around town, Quaint little shops and delicious restaurants all around! My son absolutely loved Vernon Teach and Learn toy store, we may or may not have spent 45 mins hanging out with the Thomas display out front. Going inside that toy store is like walking into a child’s dream. It has the biggest Thomas the train selection I have ever seen, as well as their own Thomas The Train Table for the kids to play, and delicious ice cream that my son may or may not have gotten in my hair. After the toy store, we cruised over to Harry’s fish and chips and had the most delicious fish and chips. I usually find fish and chips a really heavy meal that often leaves me not feeling so hot after, but I found Harry’s to be super light and not heavy at all! They were also super accommodating for the kids making us feel very welcome!

 

After lunch we popped into the Little Plum Boutique which is a adorable store that offers new and used clothing, the new clothing is from local vendors from all over British Columbia and the used she does on consignment for people looking to get rid of infant, toddler and kids shoes, toys and clothing as well as maternity. She also offers a parent’s room in case you need to change or nurse while out and about downtown – if you are ever caught downtown and need to nurse or change your childs diaper they have you covered with free diapers and wipes. We snagged a couple of great pieces here, a pair of pleather converse for Brooks, and a raincoat. Pearce got his first ever potato head and she was so kind to gift him with a toy police car. The owner was so sweet giving us information on the area and letting us know where else to go check out that was family friendly. I wish we had a store like this in my home town, it truly is one of a kind. On the way back to the car we popped into Shambhala Clothing where Pearce picked out a braided bracelet as a souvenir to remember our trip forever. PS – her gorgeous plants in the window aren’t for sale!48389659-2264347380502336-6940580774248710144-o_orig

Later that day Pearce and I headed back to O’Keefe Ranch to set up for Richelle’s big day, Pearce loved running around the ranch and seeing all the animals that the ranch has to offer. Richelle’s amazing team turned the barn into a stunning wedding space for her special day.

On Saturday I headed early to get ready with the girls (I was a bridesmaid; did I mention that?) We had our hair and Make up done by local vendors and enjoyed delicious snacks and soaked in the last few hours of Richelle as a Caldwell. After getting ready I took Brooks back to my sister and headed to the wedding with my husband Chris and Pearce in tow. The Ceremony was lovely taking place in the O’Keefe rose garden, after which we took to explore the ranch and get more beautiful pictures. The Reception took place in their barn with food by EATology — the best food to date that I have ever had at a wedding. The wine was my favorite from The Indigenous World Winery, and the cake and cupcakes were delicious and were supplied from Cupcasions Kelowna. The speeches were heart warming, hilarious and moving, bringing us from laughter to tears in minutes. Richelle and Brandon’s big day was charming, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.

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Sunday, we had an amazing family day heading over to Lake Country, BC to go to the Kangaroo Creek Farm. My expectations were low for this I thought it would be a little farm with some Kangaroos, but I was blown away, It was a massive space with tons of activities for the kids, endless space for the animals and kids to run around and with a great lay out where nothing felt overcrowded. Pearce loved the goats (of course) and chickens, Brooks was a big fan of the Bunnies and the rest of us really liked the albino Kangaroos. After the kangaroo farm we went back to our Air B&B for BBQ lunch and some naps. It just so happens my dad was in town playing in a golf tournament the same weekend so got to watch him play in the semi finals on Sunday Night. Pearce got to play with his cousins Cylas and Ellody. We had a lot of fun at the game, so we ended up going on Monday to catch the finals where my dads team won 8-1 and then from there we headed home.

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Driving home on the Monday of the long weekend I am usually super stressed about, but it was surprisingly not that bad – I think it may have been because we left around 1 pm and took the Agassiz – Mission way home that our traffic was minimum. Overall, I had an amazing weekend. I always love getting away and exploring new places and we loved our trip to this area of the Okanagan that I think we may just be thinking of another family trip to the same area next Summer. Especially if there’s wine involved!

 

Here is my speech from the Wedding:

 First, I would like to start by saying, how incredibly beautiful you look Richelle – Brandon you look great as well.

I have been bugging Richelle for weeks that I was going to come up here and rap her exes’ names as seen on 5-year engagement however I was struggling to come up with a rap that warren and Geoff, Wissam. rhymed – and no one but Brandon is worth mentioning – you found the right one! I met Richelle in grade 8 and we just clicked, we liked all the same things, and just overall got along really well. If your here today you probably know how incredibly caring, selfless and overall amazing Richelle is. I couldn’t be happier than I am right now standing beside you. Growing up with you has been so much fun, we have countless memories, from playing basketball together, to countless trips to Victoria together. One thing has always remained the same no matter how much time has passed or how far apart we are from one another we always have each other back and are always there for one another and I’m grateful.

Now for a little advice on marriage for both of you. My husband and I have been married 3 years this year and my only advice is to always support your partner, continue to date them, and always communicate how your feeling – don’t let things fester or you might end up throwing a pot at the ceiling – but in all seriousness I wish you two nothing but years of happiness, love, laughter and maybe a couple more babies! Now let’s raise our glasses and toast to the beautiful couple Brandon and Richelle

 

 

Also Here is a list of vendors from the wedding:

Photography: Phil from P.Tography

Videography: Rylan Kinnin

Cake: Cupcasions in kelowna (also did cupcakes)

Make up artist: Blush & Blossom Boutique Spa (Amy)

Hairstylist: Red Sky Hair – Tandi

Food: Eatology

 

We had so much fun at the Kangaroo Creek farm I highly recommend you check it out if you are ever in the area.