If you are looking for that special one of a kind gift this season - and tons of fun for the family, look no further than the West Coast Christmas Show happening this weekend at the Tradex in Abbotsford.
With so much to see and do, it's got something for everyone.
The show provides great holiday fun for the kids including the Festival of Trees, which showcases amazing decorated trees created by charities in BC....
There is also the Christmas Train, with tracks right on the showroom floor.
And the best part - the first ride is free.
My kids LOVED the train, which had a bell you could ring with brightly lit track and a "Choo-Choo" Charlie backdrop.
Directly across from the Christmas train, is the Fraser Valley Model Club. (which brings out the child in us all).
My son received a model car, which he cannot wait to build this weekend.
And yes, there is even Santa. :)
There are tons of incredible vendors including "Soggy Dog", which is a dog seat cover for your car created by Christine Lamb.
It provides protection for your car's seats from dog hair, dampness and of course, that doggy smell. ;) Brilliant.
It's easy to install and has elastic corners with little pockets on the side to catch sand & hair from falling down the sides of the seat. There are different sizes and is easy to wash and dry afterwards. www.soggydog.ca
I also loved the vendors with products I need like Tupperware from Frances Wright. So many great solutions for storage.
Her items are BPA free and can go right in the fridge (and is dishwasher safe!).
It's a great gift idea for a friend or mom who you know likes to be organized and keep leftover food safe. The little containers are great to send to school for your little one with things like yogurt, pretzels or dip for veggies. www.my.tupperware.ca/franceswright
There was an incredible booth that I have to mention who creates the most beautiful tu-tus I have EVER seen.
I remember about a year ago, I was searching for a tutu for my daughter and couldn 't find anything local. But as luck would have it, here at the West Coast Christmas Show, I found not only one, but DOZENS that my daughter fell in love with.
The woman who designs each one uniquely, is Celia Auclair. Her artistic designs are incredible! Her passion for her tu-tus is evident and we watched as she was making another one right before our eyes.
Of course, we could NOT leave without buying one.
My daughter was adament that she was not leaving without her favourite. There were so many to choose from, and Celia creates ones not just for kids, but adults as well.
So moms, if you know your daughter is in to "girly" or "frilly" things, this is THE perfect gift for Christmas!
Her creations can also be viewed on FACEBOOK at CosmicFlair Designs.
Before we left, we took in the Dairy Famers of Canada Cheese Presentation, which is a MUST-see.
We learned about different cheeses, understanding the different textures and crusts, and of course, how to pair it with different wines.
There wasn't a seat empty!
The Show is on today until 6pm and runs until tomorrow (Sunday) from 10 until 5pm. Parking is free and the cost of admission for adults is $6.00 (Seniors $5.00). Children under 12 are FREE.
For more information about other exhibitors and presenters on the stage, visit www.westcoastchristmasshow.com
I’ve never figured myself for a cruising kind of girl. I grew up taking airplanes, long road trips and camping in the woods. So when I had the opportunity to take my two children (aged nine and six) on the Disney Wonder Cruise, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I think my biggest fear was feeling like I was trapped with nothing to do once I left port.
That’s probably one of the biggest misconceptions about taking a cruise.
We took the Disney Wonder from Vancouver with a stop over in San Francisco, carrying on to LA. It was a six-night repositioning cruise - which offers great deals when you can snag one (approximately $830-2,400 per person depending on cabin)....When we left the Vancouver port, the kids danced to live music on the pool deck with Disney characters.
However, I found myself still having some misgivings about leaving land behind.
My first concern was food. The Disney Wonder provides several restaurants throughout the ship. One of the great things was that we were given a designated table number and time every night, so we always knew our table (never had to wait) and the kids were happy to stick to their same dinner time each night.
Disney has a rotational dining experience, which allows guests to experience all the restaurants on board during their cruise.
My six-year old daughter was thrilled she could wear her fancy ball gown during some evenings and my nine year old son was content when he could show up in runners and jeans.
Each restaurant offers a different selection of food, different attire and different themes. The food every night was exceptional. For breakfast, we opted for the buffet in the Topsiders restaurant. This was perfect for my children who are notorious for wanting different things in the mornings.
As food is included in our cruise, the children could “help themselves” throughout the day with hot dogs, hamburgers, wraps and serve yourself ice cream on the pool deck (this was a big novelty for the kids).
My next concern was keeping the kids busy. This was soon dismissed after visiting the Disney clubs onboard, which provide different activities for different age groups.
The Oceaneer’s Lab offered interactive activities like science experiments, cooking classes and computers (which my son loved) and The Oceaneer’s Club (3-12), which had crafts, dress up, music, and colouring; which was ideal for my daughter.
Edge is a club for ages 11-14 and Vibe for ages 14-17. There is also a nursery for those with babies.
Each child is provided a GPS wrist band as they enter the club and parents must provide a password for when they pick up their child, which is a great security measure. There is also a “wave” phone for parents to take with them, to be contacted by the club at any time, wherever they are on the ship.
The club was great for our children to meet other kids from around the world and spend time doing things they loved. It also was a perfect time for my husband and me to spend a dinner or activity alone (thus able to indulge ourselves as well during the vacation).
Our room on the cruise had a balcony with a surprisingly large, roomy cabin. We had a queen bed with bunk beds, which were a big hit with the children.
A Disney crew member made up our beds and cleaned our room twice per day. The evening service offers turn down service (with special touches like a towel turned in to the shape of an animal and chocolates on the pillows).
There was an itinerary provided each night to use as a reference as to what activities and special events were going on the next day. It was great to know where the Disney characters would be on the ship (which we couldn’t get enough of) and choose which activities we wanted to do as a family (there were dozens to choose from).
If you asked either of my children what their favourite part of the trip was, it would have to be the pool. Both of them could hardly wait to get on the large water slide. They loved swimming in the pool despite the colder weather from Vancouver to San Francisco; the children were oblivious to it.
The entertainment aboard the ship was beyond spectacular. The live-shows each night in the Walt Disney Theatre gave shows on Broadway a run for their money (particularly one show called “Disney Dreams”). The children looked forward to the evening shows and we always returned back to our cabin each night to discuss our “favourite” parts afterwards.
I was able to run each morning on the top deck of the ship which had a track for walkers and runners. There was also a gym which I enjoyed using and a spa to unwind in for some “me” time.
I also enjoyed being in the cabin and sitting out on my deck. I loved looking out at the water and taking in the breath taking views.
I found peace on a family vacation - who knew that was possible as a parent?
On one particular night, guests were encouraged to dress like pirates and come on the main deck for a show. Once there, we were treated to a pirate dual with lots of music and dancing. We even witnessed Mickey Mouse zip line down from the top of the ship.
Soon after, fireworks shot off over the ocean and I looked down at my children with amazement in their eyes.
And with all my misgivings gone, I found myself never wanting the cruise to end.
Photo credit Shimon Karmel
I feel myself squirm in my seat, as Charles Strickland is bombarded with an uncomfortable line of questioning by two lawyers he has asked to represent him.
Charles, who is played by Craig Erickson, is an affluent white man in his 40s, who appears uneasy in the opening scene of RACE; the David Mamet play that is both enthralling and disturbing.
Mitch and Murray Productions, in association with Rooted Theatre Productions and brilliantly directed by David Mackay, depicts the story of two lawyers (one Caucasian, one African-American) who find themselves defending a wealthy, white executive charged with raping a black woman.....
Henry Brown (played by talented Kwesi Ameyaw), an African American lawyer, is unafraid to delve into several politically incorrect things about race that a white man would never divulge.
"Do you know what you can say? To a black man. On the subject of race?" Henry roars at Charles. “Nothing,” Charles replies timidly.
This conversation intensifies when the African-American legal assistant Susan (powerfully portrayed by Marsha Regis) weighs in on the defendant’s credibility.
Her honesty and fierce convictions are battled out with Henry’s partner, Jack Lawson, (played by accomplished actor Aaron Craven) who takes us through his theories of guilt and innocence, shame and redemption.
As a clever courtroom strategist, Jack creates a skillful defense based on the sequins of the victim’s red dress.
Whether you agree or disagree with the characters’ opinions, one thing is for sure, you will be talking about this play for months to come; as it opens up the dialogue on a subject, which up until now, has been considered too taboo to tackle.
Race is currently playing at Studio 16 in Vancouver until December 1st.
So last week, we were sent a "My Pretty Play House" from Cascades.
The cute litte house is made in Canada and from 100% recycled cardboard.
My six year old daughter was instantly smitten!
She couldn't wait to start colouring on it and drawing pictures to make it her own.
She decorated it inside and out and had a ton of fun with it.....
It took me back to when I was a kid and had a playhouse that I played in constantly. What's great about this one though, is that children are able to colour on it and it stimulates their creativity.
We added plush flowers to the outside window and put blankets inside with stuffies. She even put in some of those battery powered candles and plastic dishes in case someone stopped in for "tea".
She drew an address on it and coloured it for days.
The playhouse is part of the line of children's playhouses available at Boutique Cascades. The advantage of this playhouse is its small size and affordable price ($34.99). It fits nicely into smaller areas such as apartments, etc.and was super easy to assemble.
It's for children three years and up - and the best part is that when your child is done playing with it - it can be recycled.
So what do you think? Would you like one of these for your little one?
Well - I've got another one for some lucky reader!
To ENTER: Shoot me an email at email@example.com and in the subject line write "Yes I'd Like a Pretty PlayHouse!"
Want another way to enter? Are you on Twitter? If so, just tweet @empoweringmoms "Yes I'd Like a Pretty PlayHouse!"
I'll notify the winner on November 12th, 2012.
Enter as many times as you like. :) And good luck!
This Saturday, I will be heading to the River Rock for a Night Out with five dear friends. It's the first time EVER that I've decided to stay out with friends for an entire night out (since having children that is!).
But what's so important about the experience is that it is a chance to reconnect with friends, have some fun and a chance to remind myself that I am more than just a mom - I'm also me.
I know to many readers that may seem a tad glib, but take a moment and think about how many times you allow yourself to do something just for you - something that isn't about being a mother, being a wife or being a daughter.
Time out with friends to recharge the batteries, let your hair down and simply be you is not only healthy - it's imperative to your sanity.
Before kids I could go whereever, stay out until whenever, and not feel GUILTY. I think guilt is a big culprit for moms who want to do something for themselves. We feel we somehow shouldn't or don't deserve it because it takes focus off of our children. However, in order to continue to be great moms, we need to give back to ourselves (refill that tank) in order to give ourselves so completely to our children- especially stay at home moms.
For me, I've had five great women friends since my son started kindergarten. We've been together for the past four years - and every month we go out, let off some steam and reconnect with one another. We are all very different, with different interests, jobs and lives - but the thing that bonds us together is our children and our desire to simply be ourselves. And all six of us "GET" how important that is.
So what about you? What have you done lately to give back to yourself? If you can't remember when - then its high time to make a plan to do it soon.
I guarantee you won't regret it.