10 Things I Want to do Before Mat Leave is Over

It hit me this week that I go back to work in 2.5 months, and I am emotional about it – but that’s a topic for another blog. What I want to talk about today is the stuff I want to do with the boys before I go back to work. I have spent a lot of the summer being anxious and not doing as much as I wanted to with the boys, but it is turning into fall which means our little 4-year-old gets really busy! So, I have got to squeeze in some fun before I go back to work and here is a list of all the fun things I want to do with the boys before I go back in November.

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Vancouver Aquarium October 2018
  1. Science world – I think Science world would be so much more fun with Pearce now as he is older and would probably really like exploring it.
  2. H.R. MacMillan Space Center – When I was a kid it was called the Planetarium and it was actually one of my favorite field trips, I also think Pearce would really like this place as he is super into the moon and stars and learning about Earth. I think he would be mind blown to learn there are more planets.
  3. The World of Kidtropolis – I have been wanting to check this place out for awhile now it looks so cool and I think any kid would love this place.
  4. The Vancouver Aquarium – I usually take Pearce to the aquarium every year he absolutely loves it, we went last October while I was pregnant, But I think 1 more time before I go back is needed.
  5. Cultus Lake Adventure Park – I have never been to this adventure park not even when it was mini golf! So, I am excited to do this – I think we may try to do this on September Long.
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    White Rock,  Aug 2016
  6. White Rock Beach – Pearce absolutely loves playing at the beach and Brooks is really starting to like it too. One of my favorite things to do with Pearce was to take him to White Rock and play on the beach and get ice cream and fish and chips after. Think we definitely need to take Brooks.
  7. All our Favorite Farms – We are big farm visitors and we are blessed to live close to so many, here are the ones we plan to visit: Maan Farms, Taves Farms, Birchwood Dairy Farms, Chilliwack Corn Maze, Krause Farms, Laity Pumpkin Patch.
  8. The Drive in – I would love to take my hubs truck, throw a mattress in the back and sit and watch a movie under the stars with all 3 of my fav guys.
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    Mill Lake, September 2018
  9. Mill Lake in Abbotsford – Its so funny this spot is so close to me and I never go! I would love to take the boys and do a picnic and spend the day there, maybe bring Pearce’s bike so he can ride all around
  10. Stanley Park – When I was a kid one Sunday a month my family would drive into Vancouver and we would spend the day in Stanley Park, or Gas Town and these are honestly my favorite memories I would love to take my boys to Stanley Park for the day – I think they would love it!
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Laity Pumpkin Patch, October 2018

There is so much more I want to do, like walks around Hayward Lake, Trips to the Library, Visits to Great Papa and Great Grandma, but I want to know what is your favorite thing to do in the Fall in the Lower Mainland?

XoX Chelsea

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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