Archive | Local Events/Happenings

The Color Run – Happiest 5K On The Planet

Have you heard of The Color Run? It’s known as the Happiest 5K on the Planet and I’ll be participating September 14th because it’s coming to Vancouver for the first time! Vancouverites can sign up for the run here. This is the 2nd year The Color Run has brightened North America since launching in 2012 across numerous cities in the US and five stops in Canada. This run promotes health, fitness, while celebrating individuality as participants are doused in different colours at each kilometre of the race. Watch this video and then scroll down to read some neat facts about how The Color Run is special.

How is this The Color Run different?

– there are no winners or official times. Everyone is a winner!

– over 60% of participants are first time 5K runners. Proven results for getting newbies participating in health & activity with the emphasis on fun!

– runners range from toddlers to grandparents. You can run, walk, or stroll.

– I was initially concerned about the air-born particles of the colour that could be ingested by participants. The material used to brighten the run is corn starch so they’ve thought of that too!

– The Vancouver Color Run  is proud to be partnering with local charitable organization KidsSport Vancouver. The donation that the Color Run will make will ensure that at least 20 more kids in Vancouver will get a chance to play organized sports this year.

I can’t wait to soak in the experience of The Color Run. What are you waiting for? Grab a team of four people, register, make a funky team name and have fun! I’ll post pictures post run to the Mommy Footprint fan page. For anyone that has participated in the run before, please post advice on how to photograph the colourful fun without getting colour on cameras or phones.

color run

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Triple Flip – Locally Made Active Apparel

So it’s not a huge surprise to you that I really don’t like Malls. When I’m inside them I’m always heading to one store with a direct purpose to get in and out as quickly as possible. I stare into the bright lights and don’t understand the allure of spending hours in a place that does little to support my consumer values; supporting locally manufactured items made with earth friendly materials. The majority of my sons’ clothing is purchased 2nd hand but having growing daughters has put a slight dent in my master plan to buy the majority of their clothes already recycled.  Although, to their credit, my girls are very practical like their mom! <grin>  This practicality recently got traded in when we discovered Triple Flip. Do you want to see the faces of my normally very reluctant shoppers?

    

I laugh every time I look at these pictures because they had SO much fun picking out an outfit. And there was a small part of me that actually felt relief that I could experience this mother/daughter ritual and feel good that I was shopping in a Mall without ignoring my core values trying to support locally made clothing. Because if I haven’t mentioned it – Triple Flip’s stretch wear line is manufactured in Canada! So if this is important to you as a consumer, check out a Triple Flip store or shop online. If visiting a store you’ll need to ask where the stretch line is and let Triple Flip know that you LOVE the fact they are manufacturing their house line in Alberta. I think parents know that Triple Flip clothing is high quality and cute designs…but it’s more than that. For me, it’s a commitment to something that makes me feel good and bridges an outing with my girls that we can all enjoy. My girls also got to experience the ultra fab dressing rooms  – talk about all star treatment. I’m not sure another changing room will ever hold a candle to these again.

I look at this picture and again smile. It’s so outside of our norm to be excited about a shopping experience but that is what our day at Triple Flip became – an experience. And although the girls made their choices very quickly, the day was special and I thank Triple Flip for producing clothing that I’m happy to purchase. In. A. Mall.  Life is just full of surprises.

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Rink Rats Unplugged!

Have you heard the term ‘rink rat’ before? At our local hockey rink it refers to the younger siblings that are always scurrying around the bleachers, outer rink, and concession stands while waiting for older brothers and sisters to finish hockey games. Since my daughters have two older brothers that play hockey, they are probably at the rink more than they want to be. Learning to exert patience with waiting for siblings to finish activities can be difficult but after observing the behavior of my own little ‘rink rats’ over the years, I have insight to share on avoiding the electronics trap to keep kids entertained.

My girls are naturally shy. They do not have the personalities to introduce themselves when other children are already playing. I watch them gaze wistfully at groups of children that are playing and my natural reaction is to distract them from the possible discomfort they feel watching from the outside. But lately, they have started to inch towards the kids and will leave the bleachers to interact and I’m so glad I didn’t give them electronics to distract them from boredom. I see it time and time again…you’ve got the child sitting alone, probably shy, getting bored and they reach for mom or dad’s iphone to keep themselves entertained. It’s easy and sometimes we as parents, don’t stop and think why we shouldn’t just hand over the electronics. As a mom of many kids that would love my iphone – here are the reasons they don’t get it:

Shy or quiet kids sometimes need some encouragement with socializing. I am completely happy with having my girls sit on my lap to watch the game but I’ll keep asking them “are you sure you don’t want to go play with the kids?” And it’s almost taken the entire hockey season, but they are starting to join the group of girls and I can tell they are thrilled to be close to the action. But like most things with my daughters, it’s on their own terms and they just need time to feel comfortable.

I really think not letting kids sit idle occasionally is a mistake. My kids are all very busy…some might call it over scheduled but with four we are constantly on the go. And most children these days are busy with sports, music, or art after school, so play dates are non-existent. If kids are left to their own devices while older siblings or parents are busy, they re-discover the fine art of playing. And without toys or ‘stuff’ surrounding them, sometimes they get back to the purest form of play like hide-and-go-seek or climbing to escape burning hot lava or sharks on the floor.

My personal biggie with removing my iphone from the kids is not knowing radiation levels. It’s something I haven’t researched so I’m not comfortable handing it over without knowing acceptable levels. Green Child Magazine wrote a great article about radiation –  the link is here. Another trigger for me with telling my kids they would no longer be allowed to touch or hold my phone was after reading the article about phones being used as ‘shut up toys’. I wrote about this topic and still think a lot of times we are rolling over with excessive electronics just to keep our kids quiet or babysat.

If you want to keep kids close to you and entertained without electronics there are 3 great tools to have in your purse: notepad, deck of cards, all natural nail polish. I realize the nail polish might not work for all boys, but I use it when I’m desperate to keep my girls happy. They only get to apply Piggy Paint occasionally so it’s a treat and they can apply it perfectly by the age of 6. Using the nail polish is a great way for the girls to make friends because usually if another child sees the nail polish appear, they come over and ask if they can use it too. And since the ingredient list is pretty clean on this brand, parents always seem happy with it.

I mentioned keeping cards in my basket. If I know there will be longer periods of boredom I try to keep a deck of Gamewright cards on me. I’ve written about this brand of cards before and can’t say enough about our favourites Sleeping Queens, Too Many Monkey, Rat-A-Tat-Cat, and Zip Zap. Any of these will keep my girls happy for long stretches of time! If you are local to Vancouver, Dilly Dally Kids carries this line of card games or they are available online via Gamewright.

 

And isn’t there just magic with a new pad of paper and pen? My kids all love a new sketchpad or writing journal and look so cute sitting concentrated with their pen to paper. Kids can doodle, draw, play XOs, or Hangman. It sounds so simple but veteran parents know it’s the basics that kids love – and a notepad is no exception. All of the pictures in this post have been taken on different days at the hockey rink and you can see in the below picture, one of my girls was practicing her ‘handwriting’.

We’ve been lucky this year that most of the siblings that bounce around the rink have left electronics at home. All it takes is one kid to pull out an ipod and you’ve got 10 kids all hanging over their shoulder trying to get a peek at the app they are playing. We’ve seen this before and it makes the free play aspect more challenging.  But they are mimicking adults and if you look around, you’ll find people of all ages no longer able to just sit. If they have a quiet moment (and I’m guilty of this) the phone comes out and we get plugged in. We are building a society that just can’t be or focus. This isn’t to sound preachy because with using my phone for a camera I have it with me constantly and I know the kids see that. But limiting their technology is important because although parents swear by learning apps on ipads/ipods,  face-to-face social skills are also important for children’s self confidence and growth.

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Teachers Gifts for Christmas

Every year I put a lot of thought into teacher’s gifts. Why? How else do you thank a person that takes care of your children for the majority of the year? All teachers have strengths and impact our children in more ways than just teaching them abcs. Here are the gifts that are going out my door this week for the special teachers in my children’s lives. Not pictured are gift cards that we’ve already done thoughtful gifts for over the last few years. My favourite thing is to get a number of parents together and collect for a group gift. Even if everyone contributes $10 – you quickly get past the $100 mark and can get them something substantial. This means there is much less waste with little knick knack gifts that they don’t really need. Baking from the kitchen and homemade cards are also special.

Practical:

I think green minded people love practical gifts and most teachers are environmentally focused in their own lives which I love!  If you want to incorporate the symbolic apple in your gift to a favorite teacher – pickup this apple parer, slicer, and corer from Lee Valley Tools. It has a suction base and both kids & adults love using this machine.

Here is how the machine works.

Talk about making apple sauce a snap! You take an apple, place in on the prongs of the machine, turn the handle and are left with apple rings that can be baked, eaten right away, or made into apple sauce/pie filling/desserts, etc. All teachers would love this gift!  And include a jar of apple sauce with the machine with a custom mason jar lid insert for a special touch! The options with a gift like this are practical and endless. Thank you to Lee Valley Tools for working together on this gift idea!

Personalized:

This gift takes a bit of time to coordinate because it’s personalized. We’ve ordered necklaces before from Moo and the Bear Jewelry and although her store is closed for the holidays – you’ll want to bookmark her Fan Page on Facebook for next Mother’s Day or end of year teacher’s gifts. I love the necklace for my girls’ teacher made by Moo and the Bear owner Eleanor this year – thank you so much!

Group Gift:

No it’s not too late – trust me on this one. We’ve been at home with snow days and sick kid days all week so I still haven’t collected contributions to teacher’s gifts yet. But it always comes together – even if it’s last minute. Gift cards that capture an interest in the teachers’ life are perfect. If you don’t know the teacher well enough to know their interests – ask other teachers or the principal. . . they will love to help you!

 

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Dilly Dally Kids – Wooden Wonders

I rarely get the treat of walking into a business to write a review – normally we focus on online stores. So while this article is more directed at Vancouver consumers, the rest of North America will meet an online Dilly Dally Kids later this year when they launch their online store. So bookmark them on Facebook and stay up to date on their beautiful sourcing. The wooden selection at this toy store caught my eye last Christmas where I picked up many wooden characters for stockings and rainbow stackers for gifts. This year at Dilly Dally Kids is no different and the wooden selections are hands down unique. Why? I’m convinced you could replace or never be tempted to purchase the plastic characters we buy purely for the detail and durability. Want to see an example? All kids of any age like staples and dinosaurs are one of these toys. Check out the below design of these hand painted wooden dinosaurs available at Dilly Dally – so bright and fun that a child won’t feel ‘forced’ into sustainable play. All of the wooden play figures ranging from woodland, farm, dinosaur, fairy tale, forest creatures have such great detail. The pictures below were all taken from my visit. . .I had a little too much fun setting up the toys!

Continuing on the wooden journey at Dilly Dally Kids – more wooden wonders kept jumping off the shelf. I think wooden toys are my favourite because at the end of their play life – they can be composted. Especially now with wooden toys covered in beeswax or orange oil, then painted with veggie based paints. Do we not all wish we could do away with the hoards of small plastic toys our children collect over the span of their childhood? There is nothing to do with these toys except continue to pass them down until someone finally puts them in the garbage. Knowing these toys will then outlive our grandchildren at the landfill is not a good feeling. It hurts to give plastic toy characters and receive them! So I’m just a huge fan of wood and a classic toy that all children love – BLOCKS. Normally I would give blocks an age rating of 5 and under but I was reminded by my 6 year old daughter and 8 year old son recently how awesome blocks are. Especially the spheres and different shaped blocks – kids will build and discover with a good quality set of blocks for a long time. Invest in a great set early and watch their play evolve over the years. I love the back wall of block at Dilly Dally Kids – it’s just a solid display of all the different classic block options.

There was more magic to discover and I urge you to checkout Dilly Dally on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. They have classic games, work books, stories, stocking stuffers, Waldorf inspired, and traditional toys. I’ll be sharing more of their selections via Facebook, but the last picture I want to share is the fleet of wooden bath toys that are water safe. I also love wood in a child’s bathtub – although it’s trickier to ensure the toy dries properly; tip the boat over and you shouldn’t have any problems. You’ll find less mold on wood toys than plastic ones with holes in the bottom and you don’t need to worry about anything leaching from the plastic. With many of the wooden toys made in Europe at Dilly Dally Kids – these boats are made in Canada. Great sourcing Dilly Dally and check out their holiday gift guide to view more of their amazing toys!

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