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Island Parent Celebrating

30 Years

The Resource Publication for Vancouver Island Parents

December 2017

the Question of santa Claus

Holiday Gift & Book Recommendations

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December 2017  3

18 Holiday Happenings

Moss St. Market’s

Photo: The Butchart Gardens

23 rd annual Features    12 Christmas


Saturday and Sunday Dec 9+ 10, 10am to 4pm Over 80 vendors! Cards, crafts, clothing, toys, jewelry, purses, pottery, glassworks, woodworks, bath products, preserves, chocolates, baked goods, hot food, winter veggies, treats, oils, wine, cider, and much, much more... Sir James Douglas School & Fairfield Community Centre 1330 Fairfield Rd 4  Island Parent Magazine

Columns 5 Sue Fast: Editor’s Note


10 Erin Skillen:

15 Holiday Gift &

Book Recommendations    18 Holiday       Happenings    22 Susan Gnucci:      The Question of Santa Claus      23 Ways to Give   24 Jerri Carson:      The Sounds of the Season   26 Fabulous Finds In Every Issue Island Parent Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Party Directory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Family Calendar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Family Services Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46, 47 Preschool & Child Care Directory . . . . . . . . . . . 48, 49 Business & Professional Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

Sue Fast


Island Parent Magazine 830–A Pembroke Street Victoria, BC V8T 1H9 250-388-6905

Linda Frear

Post-Married Mommy 36 Emillie Parrish:    Cooking With Kids   38 Greg Pratt: Dadspeak       40 Cindy Knott:    Healthy Families, Happy Families   42 Diana Hurschler:     New Parent Pages 44 Sarah Milligan: Is There an App for This?   50 Laura Trunkey: Maternity & Beyond   52 Erica Van Dyk:   Nature Notes 54 Allison Rees: Cut It Out!

RaeLeigh Buchanan

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Island Parent Magazine, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is a monthly publication that honours and supports parents by providing information on resources and businesses for Vancouver Island families. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without the permission of the publisher. Annual mail subscriptions (12 issues) are available for $35 (GST included). Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement 40051398.

On the Cover

Everett M. (3). Photo by Katrina Massey, Katrina Massey Photography,

25 Days to Make Merry this Month Dec 1. Salute the Sea of Lights Boat Parade, leaving Royal Victoria Yacht Club at 6:30pm, passing Cattle Point around 7pm, Willows Beach at 7:15pm, then back past Gyro Park at 7:45pm. Visit Dec 2. Enjoy the Ogden Point Light Up (3-5:30pm), a fun family event supporting the Mustard Seed Food Bank, with music, kids crafts and Santa. Stay for the lighted Truck Convoy, leaving Ogden Point at 5:45pm. Dec 3. See the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade at 5pm along Beacon Avenue and then walk to the waterfront for the Lighted Sail Past immediately following the parade. This twofor-one treat is a seasonal Sidney highlight. Dec 4. Marvel at the Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens. Enjoy carousel rides, along with thousands of coloured lights, seasonal decorations, and children’s activities. Until Jan 6. Visit Dec 5. Sing along with the Choirs in the Courtyard (Dec 1-12) at the Greater Victoria Public Library Central Branch’s acoustical courtyard where various choirs will perform their favourite Christmas carols. For times, visit Dec 6. Support Habitat for Humanity during the 10th annual Gingerbread Showcase at the Parkside Hotel from 9am-9pm (until Jan 2). Vote for your favourite bear and make a donation. Visit Dec 7. Attend the Christmas Card Making Workshop with April Caverhill at Delta Victoria Ocean Point Hotel from 6-8pm and leave with up to 20 hand-crafted Christmas cards for friends and family. Everyone welcome. $25. Visit Dec 8. Celebrate Christmas Lights Across

Canada, the annual cross-country light-up at 6pm. See the giant sequoia sparkle with thousands of lights on the front lawn of the Legislative Assembly. Stay for hot cocoa and seasonal treats. Dec 9. Make recycled cards, crafts and a small green swag with a CRD Parks naturalist at the Beaver Lake Nature Centre from 11am-2pm. Materials supplied. Bring family and friends. Visit Dec 10. Celebrate the season at Royal BC Museum’s Wonder Sunday: World Celebrations from 1-3pm. Included with admission. Dec 11. Stroll amidst the Festival of Trees at the Bay Centre in support of BC Children’s Hospital. Tour the enchanted forest and vote for your favourite and be entered to win prizes. Visit Dec 12. Happy first day of Hanukkah. Dec 13. Attend the Naden Band Christmas Concert at the Royal Theatre (Dec 11, 12, 13) at 7:30pm and help support the annual Salvation Army Toy Drive. $10, plus an unwrapped toy at the door. Visit Dec 14. Be entertained at CBC Radio and Our Place’s Christmas Carol featuring Gregor Craigie, Arthur Black, Khalil Akhtar and more. First Metropolitan Church, 932 Balmoral Rd at 7pm. Dec 15. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas in Old Town at the Royal BC Museum and visit Santa (Fri-Sun only, from Dec 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 11am-2pm) to have your photo taken (by donation) and share your holiday wishes. Visit Dec 16. Bring your kids, your camera, and take some free photos with Santa (Dec 2, 9 and 16) at Victoria Public Market at the Hudson

from noon-3pm. Donations will be accepted for CFAX Santa’s Anonymous. Dec 17. Get creative at Family Sunday from 2-4pm at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria with hands-on artmaking inspired by the current gallery exhibit, Picturing the Giants: The Changing Landscapes of Emily Carr. Visit

Sue Fast Editor’s Note Dec 18. Head to IMAX Victoria at 6:15pm to see Polar Express, an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. Dec 19. Be spellbound at Milner Christmas Magic, a family-oriented festival of lights and music from 5-8:30pm at Milner Garden (Dec 1-3, 8-10, 15-20) in Qualicum Beach. Dec 20. Bake and decorate small-batch vegan sugar cookies (see recipe on page 12). Dec 21. Discover the Christmas traditions of early Victorians at the Helmcken House OldFashioned Christmas, Dec 17-31 from noon4pm. By donation. Visit royalbcmuseum. Dec 22. See the Live Nativity Scene, running four times nightly on Dec 21-23 at 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8pm at Topaz Park. Free. Dec 23. Take a 90-minute Christmas in Old Victoria walk and learn how Christmas was celebrated during the days of Fort Victoria and the gold-rush era. Meet outside 26 Bastion Square at 3:30pm. For dates and times, visit Dec 24. Bundle up for a Free HorseDrawn Trolley Ride downtown. Saturdays and Sundays 11am-3pm (until Dec 24). Visit Dec 25. Have a Merry Christmas!

December 2017  5

Island Parent on for Vancouver Island


30 Years

The Resource Publicati

December 2017

The Question of Santa Claus

Book Holiday Gift & tions Recommenda

Please visit any of our valued partners to pick up your latest copy of Island Parent. GREATER VICTORIA Thrifty Foods Fairway Market Real Canadian Superstore Save-On-Foods (except Westside) Lifestyle Market Country Grocer (Esquimalt & Royal Oak) Quality Foods Market on Yates & Millstream Western Foods Recreation Centres Public Libraries Serious Coffee Victoria Gymnastics SOOKE Western Foods Village Foods Seaparc Recreation DUNCAN Thrifty Foods Save-On-Foods Real Canadian Superstore 49th Parallel Public Library

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For a complete list of where you can find a copy of Island Parent Magazine, go to 250-388-6905 6

Island Parent Magazine

Island Parent notes


#ArriveAndShop in Downtown Victoria

The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), BC Transit, City of Victoria and Modo have partnered to create #ArriveAndShop, a toolkit that highlights the various transportation options to get and stay downtown. The partnership is intended to encourage people to enjoy the holiday season while choosing sustainable transportation options—to take Transit, join Modo, or shop in the evening when it’s less busy and any other means to make parking easier. #ArriveAndShop will launch with a contest asking people to share images of how they get downtown by tagging their posts on social media with #ArriveAndShop for a chance to win two Harbour Air flights, a six-month BC Transit pass, a three-month pass to Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, and a $100 Modo gift certificate. Along with sharing different transportation options, the toolkit highlights some of the ways businesses can help ease the pressure on parking and other transportation issues. The toolkit is available at

19th Annual Spirit of Giving

Step into a winter wonderland set under a canopy of twinkling lights surrounded by beautiful live fir trees for Christmas time in Centre Court at the Bay Centre. While you are there, help spread the holiday spirit to families supported by the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Drop off your financial or nonperishable food donations, or have your gifts wrapped at the by-donation wrapping station (until Dec 24). The Mustard Seed will receive 100 per cent of the profits. Stop by the mistletoe in Centre Court for a

chance to win a $100 Bay Centre gift card. And make sure to visit the C-FAX Santas Anonymous Society’s Tree of Wishes (until December 15) at Centre Court. Special holiday wish cards, created by local children in need, adorn the tree. Choose a gift, shop for the child’s wish, and bring the gift back to the tree so it can be transported to the workshop for delivery to local children in need. Other Spirit of Giving mall locations include Hillside Shopping Centre, Mayfair Shopping Centre, Tillicum Shopping Centre, and, new this year, The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson, Saturdays only. For information, visit

Eagle Extravaganza

The end of the salmon run is a signal to the Bald Eagles that it is time to return to Goldstream for their annual salmon feast. Record numbers of Bald Eagles have been returning to the park—up to 276 in one day—for the past five winters. This winter, from early December to late February, Goldstream Provincial Park’s Visitor Centre will be celebrating the return of the Bald Eagles with special programs and exhibits focusing on birds of prey. Keeping the Visitor Centre open at this time of year is due entirely to public support from donations at the door. School programs by donation occur on weekdays (teachers must book ahead). Check out the weekend and holiday activities, too—something for the kids when school is out. Don’t forget to make a track-print card or wrapping paper to take home for Christmas. Hot coffee and baked goods are available at the Visitor Centre, and the fire is usually lit for you to warm up by after a nice brisk walk along the river. Open 9am-4:30pm daily (closed Christmas day). For more information, phone 250-478-9414 or visit

Annual Classical Christmas Concert

Victoria Children’s Choir presents its annual Classical Christmas Concert on Monday, Dec 4 at 7pm at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Avenue. The crunch of snow, twinkle of lights, and whisper of the wind come alive in song at the Classical Christmas Concert. Ninety singers perform a variety of yuletide songs from around the world—winter carols, traditional music, new compositions, and sing-a-long songs from Canada and around the world. The Choir is joined by special guests: Victoria Children’s Choir alumni singers; the Victoria Baroque Players; gentlemen from the St. Christopher Singers. Tickets are $20, general seating. Children age seven and younger are free. Purchase tickets online (, or by phone at 250-721-0856. The Victoria Children’s Choir is made up of girls and boys aged eight to 18. The choir sings a wide-ranging repertoire, with music from many countries, centuries and styles. For more information, phone 250-721-0856 or visit

The Belfry’s A Christmas Carol

A ghost story for Christmas, the Belfry’s acclaimed production of A Chrismtas Carol returns, along with some of the best-loved Dickensian characters of all time. A story of love, generosity and second chances, it takes the audience through the darkness and into the light of true joy and celebration. A Christmas Carol is a powerful story for any time of the year, and a beautiful way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season. It makes people happy and reminds us that it’s not too late to become a better person, to think about others and to be grateful for the love in our lives. Tuesday through Sunday until December 17. For tickets, visit

Blue Bridge Christmas

Blue Bridge Theatre presents two perennial favourites, It’s A Wonderful Life and Shop Around the Corner. Featuring some of Victoria’s most beloved performers, Blue Bridge present these two classics as if they were old time radio plays, complete with the versatile Foley sound man creating all the sound effects—live. Shop Around the Corner runs Dec 14 and 16 at 8pm, and on Dec 17 at 2pm.

It’s A Wonderful Life runs Dec 15 and 17 at 8pm and on Dec 16 at 2pm. Tickets $30/$25 with a special youth price of $15. Call 250-382-3370.

O Christmas Tea

Fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean, and Dr. Seuss will delight in a rollicking Christmas romp through a world steeped in tea, as James & Jamesy present their uproarious holiday-themed comedy, O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy at Victoria’s Royal Theatre on December 17 at 7:30pm. After writing a letter to Santa requesting tea, the duo must deal with the catastrophic repercussions that come from having their wish granted. Audience members of all ages join them in their action-packed quest to save the world, ever finding innovative and hilarious solutions to keep them, and their hopes, afloat in a sea of tea. Aaron Malkin, who plays James, added that the duo will be incorporating more of the vibrant fun, meticulous choreography and playful Christmassy adventures that sold out houses last year. Ticket prices: $34.75 adult, $24.75 student. For more information, visit

Nanaimo Theatre Group’s Christmas Pantomime

Ben Crocker, “the wittiest and most original writer working in pantomime today” hits the mark with the beloved Puss in Boots. Will the beautiful Esmerelda find true love or will she be forced to marry the wicked ogre Grimgrab who has brought the kingdom to its knees and plunged her parents into irretrievable debt? Will Jack, a simple miller’s son, with the help of his cat Puss and the Good Fairy Priscilla, save the day or will the “sassy and rude” bad fairy Pernicia who’s on the Ogre’s payroll, intervene? Come one, come all for some fun-filled entertainment. There will be something for all ages to enjoy at this delightful theatrical journey. Tickets: $16. Shows are at the Bailey Studio, 2373 Rosstown Road, Nanaimo, December 21-23 and 26-31. There are only four matinees (December 23, 26, 30, 31) which begin at 1:30pm and evening shows at 7:30pm. For tickets and more information visit or 250-758-7224. Get your tickets soon as these shows are sure to sell out.

December 2017  7

Family Christmas Carol Sing-Along

The Magic of Christmas December 1st - January 6th

A family tradition

Tens of thousands of coloured lights n Twelve Days of Christmas displays n Rose Carousel n Outdoor ice rink n Nightly Carollers & Festive Brass n

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Sometimes it just takes a memorable moment to give a child a lifelong love of music. The Victoria Philharmonic Choir (VPC) 9th annual Christmas concert on Thursday, December 21 at 7pm gives children a taste of choral experience, singing traditional carols like Silent Night, backed up by four-part harmony from the 70-voice VPC, conducted by Peter Butterfield. Adults are welcome to sing along as well—and listen to the choir’s performance of other seasonal works. The front benches are reserved for those with small children—first come, first served. The concert will be at St. Mary’s Church (1701 Elgin Road) in Oak Bay. Doors open by 6:30pm, the concert starts at 7pm. Tickets are $20 regular, $10 student, and free for accompanied children 13 and under, available from Ivy’s Bookshop, The Shieling, Tanner’s Books, Long & McQuade, online at, and possibly at the door.

Ballet Victoria’s The Gift

The Gift delivers everything you expect from a Ballet Victoria performance, beautifully executed dance, brilliant costumes, complex choreography, humour and, as always, several new additions and surprises. For the annual holiday show, Artistic Director Paul Destrooper goes even further and brings in the Victoria Symphony. The music soars throughout the theatre as the dancers soar through the air and the story based loosely on the ancient tale of Pandora’s Box unfolds on stage. The Gift will play three family-friendly shows at the Royal Theatre on December 28 at 7:30 pm, December 29 and 30 at 2pm. While Ballet Victoria strives to make The Gift a family tradition, there are new exciting changes every year that keep the show vibrant. Tickets to The Gift are available at the Royal Theatre Box Office, by phone at 250386-6121 or online at Children’s tickets begin at $25, senior/students at $23.20 and adult tickets begin at $30. Ballet Victoria, now in its 15th season, is an innovative company dedicated to originality. Artistic Director, Paul Destrooper and his team of 10 professional dancers, perform at various venues throughout the province, provide community and school outreach performances and collaborate with many of Victoria’s professional arts organizations. The company has presented over 50 new works and will add to its growing repertoire this season.

Pass It Around

Come and experience over 1,000 years of combined history and unique stories that make up the robust cultural heritage of Victoria. For one single discounted admission of $30 you can visit 10 of Victoria’s cultural and heritage sights. These include Abkhazi Gardens, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Emily Carr House, Maritime Museum of BC, Point Ellice House, Robert Bateman Centre, St. Ann’s Academy, and Wentworth Villa. When you visit one or more of the member sites you support local heritage conservation and interpretation. Explore Victoria’s Heritage and discover the stories of the people who created, lived

and worked at these sites. Come to know our fascinating history—and take those experiences home with you The $30 discount pass saves more than $20 in adult admissions, so don’t pass it up, Pass It Around. Passes are available through the Tourism Greater Victoria Visitor Information Centre. For more information, visit

Ski and Snowboard Free With a Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass

Grade 4 and 5 kids (9- and 10-year-olds) can enjoy some free skiing or snowboarding this winter, courtesy of the Canadian Ski Council. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass is back, offering Canadian school children up to three free

days of skiing or snowboarding at each of over 150 ski areas nationwide. The Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass booklet includes up to three ski-free coupons at each ski area, and discounts or rebates on lessons and equipment rentals. Just visit snowpass. ca, complete the online registration form, upload a photo, proof of age/grade, and pay an administration fee of $29.95 including taxes. You only need to apply once for a SnowPass and it’s valid until the end of Grade 5. This means if you apply in Grade 4 the pass is valid for two years. Your child’s SnowPass will be mailed to you, giving you hundreds of ways to save this season. Or you can get an application form through Grade 4 and 5 elementary school teachers or at Sport Chek stores.

Be a Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor

By becoming a mentor you can help a child succeed. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is seeking volunteers who are committed and consistent, willing to serve at least a year, but hopefully until a child graduates high school. Studies show that by doing so, the mentoring services help kids stay in school, avoid risky behaviour, and experience first-hand the importance of helping others in their community. Professional staff will work with you, the child and the family throughout the course of the mentoring relationship to provide necessary training and support. Funding allows BBBS to carefully make and support more matches. Sometimes, the supply of volunteers and kids is greater than the necessary agency funding. To find out if mentoring is for you, to use the self-assessment checklist, to fill out the application form, or for more information, visit•

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December 2017  9

Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis Artistic Director Fellow & Examiner CSC-CICB Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma

So. Much. Fun.


es, there are those who love the holiday season and enjoy going all out to make it as magical as possible. It truly makes them happy and they are passionate about knocking it out of the park each year. I am not one of those people. I went shopping November 1 and it was like a giant leaf blower had sent any trace of Halloween off the face of the planet and

on my own while working and attempting to maintain a social life. I do a lot as it is, and much of it on my own. Stretching myself any further to give Martha Stewart a run for her money in some Pinterest-fueled holiday-gasm ain’t happening. So here’s what I know: • I will bring Thrifty’s seven-layer dip to parties. I don’t care if I was supposed

Christmas had marched in to puke all over the place. Starting the insanity November 1 means just under two months of mayhem before an inevitable anti-climax. It’s completely bonkers. Let me be clear—I don’t hate the holiday season. I love connecting with people, the spirit of giving and the excitement on my kids’ faces. There are many, many great things about the holiday season and what it brings out in people. But then there’s the reality of what this behemoth of expectations means logistically. As a separated parent I am generally in a state of chaos in my non-holiday state. Yes, I only have my kids with me 50 per cent of the time, but I still run an entire household

to bring something homemade. It’s damn good dip and people like it. • I am buying wine in bulk and leaving it in my car for easy grabbing on the go as I hustle between multiple events. • I am using gift bags for presents. Eco-friendlier due to re-use, but more importantly it takes only five seconds to wrap a coating of tissue paper on the gift and toss it in. • The gifts will be special and thoughtful. That’s where I’m driven to put some time in. But because I struggle to keep surprises, I probably already told you what it is. • Yes, there is a row of zombies hanging off my mantle, and nothing else. My son

2017 Fall Children’s Classes Photo credit: David Cooper

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Contact Welcome Wagon Today! Victoria & Vancouver Island 1-866-518-7287 Nanaimo 250-756-9794 Or online at:

10  Island Parent Magazine

made them and they’re adorable. They also take less than five minutes to hang. • And yes, that is a purple Christmas tree. My kids and I picked it out together. Here’s the other thing that gets to me

Erin Skillen Post-Married Mommy about the holidays. My husband and I separated on Boxing Day two years ago, so Christmas is like the anniversary of a really terrible day. And we’re not alone. While some couples wait a bit longer to do the deed, during and immediately after the holidays is a very common time for couples to separate. The first business Monday in January is sometimes called “Divorce Monday” because of the surge of calls divorce lawyers get. Their business generally increases by 30 per cent in January, as couples have called it quits or are eager to do so and start making changes before getting too far into a fresh year together. So while the holidays are joyous for many, they can be a highly emotional time for those whose relationships have run their course. I’m extremely fortunate that my ex and I can share Christmas and open gifts from Santa together with our kids. Many separated/divorced parents are not able to be with their kids for the holidays. If you have friends in this situation, please reach out and show them you’re thinking of them. And if you’re struggling with weighing whether to end your own marriage as you push through the holidays, please know that you are not alone. While my domestic abilities will not be lauded at any point during the horridly-long Christmas season, I will focus instead on ensuring my kids have a fantastic time that is as stress-free as possible. We will have fun celebrating with family and friends. So. Much. Fun. We may not be decked out in Christmas sweaters and caroling through the neighbourhood, but we will be enjoying the company of people we love—as we eat seven-layer dip and I drink wine.

Open House

Saturday, January 27, 10am–1pm Now accepting applications for 2018/19

• before and after

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• small class sizes • supportive and

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Erin Skillen is the co-founder and COO of, an education company that helps parents navigate the toughest job in the world. She’s also a mom and a bucket list slayer.

A local non-profit for all children (Since 1973) 5575 West Saanich Rd 250 592 4411


• lovely rural location

connecting children to nature

December 2017  11

Grandparent I S L A N D

2 0 1 7

Get Grandkid Equipped Here & There 10 Things to Do with Your Grandkids

Island Grandparent is Growing! What started out as an annual publication will now be available 2x per year

Christmas goodies Thank you to everyone who entered the Christmas Goody Contest. The winning entry—Small-Batch Vegan Sugar Cookies—in the draw for a $50 gift certificate is printed below, along with a few other sweet treats.

Small-Batch Vegan Sugar Cookies recipe. Our favourite holiday recipe at the moment is a small-batch sugar cookie te to despera is r daughte my when for perfect is which It makes just a few cookies up and coming event ity ommun family/c no have we but cookies e decorat bake and It is a great don’t want three dozen cookies lying around the house going to waste. by hand shaping cutters, cookie holiday basic dough for rolling out and cutting with balls by attened fl simple into shaped when well works for younger kiddos, or also cookie shaped tree as Christm a use to like often We scoop. cookie a hand or with vegan a is It nts. orname as cutter, and then place round rainbow sprinkles on top dairy with those for safe it’s and it, enjoy to recipe but you don’t need to be vegan or egg allergies! 2 Tbsp vegan butter substitute 3 Tbsp white sugar 1⁄2 tsp vanilla 1 scant tsp egg replacement plus 1 Tbsp water, mixed and set aside 1⁄2 cup flour 1⁄4 tsp baking powder pinch salt chopped 2 Tbsp sprinkles or other add-ins if desired (mini chocolate chips or nuts are tasty too!) also works). Preheat oven to 350˚F (since this makes a small batch, a toaster oven and egg revanilla add then creamy, until sugar and te Beat together butter substitu combined. until gently mix and nts ingredie dry ng remaini Add . mixture placement . Shape or scoop as desired, and bake 10 to 12 minutes Arianne T.

Peanut Butter Crunch

Distribution through your favourite location starting december 4

Base: 1 cup peanut butter 1⁄2 cup brown sugar 1⁄2 cup corn syrup 2 cups Rice Krispies In saucepan, heat peanut butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, but do not boil. Add Rice Krispies. Pat into greased 9" x 13" pan. Refrigerate for one hour. Cream Topping: cup margarine 2 Tbsp custard powder 3 Tbsp milk 2 cups icing sugar Blend well. Spread over base. Put in fridge until firm. 1⁄2

250-388-6905 12

Island Parent Magazine

Topping: 2 squares semi sweet baker’s chocolate Melt together. Spread over topping. Chill.

2 Tbsp butter

These are similar to Nanaimo Bars but even better! Darla G.

White Chocolate Unicorn Bark This makes a great, colourful gift. Like candy cane bark, but even prettier. 600 g good quality white chocolate food colouring (pink, purple, yellow, blue—think “unicorn”) 1–2 tsp sprinkles 1 Tbsp small candies (mini ju jubes, Skittles, chocolate chips) 4 tsp mini marshmallows or 5 separate Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave). Pour chocolate into 4 cookie sheet a Line g. colourin food in Stir using). you’re colour each for bowls (one parchment onto te chocola of with parchment paper and spoon the different colours k or knife, toothpic a Using puddle. big one in puddles so that they join and form tray so the shake Gently . blended slightly until together gently swirl the colours allows. marshm mini and candies s, sprinkle with e Decorat evenly. sits te the chocola boxes. gift as Christm in Refrigerate until hard then break into pieces and package Will keep in the fridge for up to one week. Megan R.

Chocolate Snowballs This is a chocolaty twist on traditional Russian tea cakes. Your friends will be delighted when they realize there’s chocolate in the centre of each cookie. 1 pouch (496 g) Betty Crocker* Sugar Cookie Mix cup butter melted 1 egg 1⁄4 cup all-purp 1⁄4 cup Dutch ose flour cocoa powder 1⁄2 cup finely chopped almonds 1 tsp almond extract 60 milk chocolate kisses 3⁄4 cup (175 mL) icing sugar Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, melted butter, egg, flour, cocoa, almonds and extract until soft dough forms. Shape dough into sixty 3 ⁄4" balls; wrap each around one chocolate kiss. Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Cool slightly for about 5 minutes. Roll cookies in icing sugar. Cool and store in a tin. Edna V. 1⁄2

Let my family show your family the way home

Choosing the right Real Estate Agent just got easier!

As a 3rd generation Realtor, born and raised in Victoria, I am dedicated to providing the highest level of service and look forward to assisting you with all your Real Estate needs.

Paula Wensley

Office: 250-388-5882 Cell: 778-678-7387

Cracker Jack e. It will fill This recipe for homemade Cracker Jack is an all-time family favourit love). lly several small gift tins or one large tin (for someone you reeeaaa popcorn 24 cups popped corn (about 1 cup unpopped) *Don’t use microwave vanilla tsp 1 1 cup butter 1⁄2 cup corn syrup 2 cups brown sugar 1⁄2 tsp baking soda 1⁄2 tsp salt 1 cup nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans) melt butter, Preheat oven to 250˚F. Put popped corn in large bowl. In a medium pot, tly. Reduce constan stirring boil, a to Bring salt. and syrup corn sugar, brown in stir heat, stir from Remove stirring. heat and allow to gently boil for 5 minutes without and mix corn popped over mix sugar Pour nuts. in baking soda and vanilla, then 15 every stirring hour, 1 for bake and pan roasting large a in well. Put this mixture like Just pieces. minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and break into smallish Cracker Jack from way back when, but fresher and tastier. Enjoy! Vicki S.

December 2017



Come on out to our outdoor ice rink!


December 3rd 3:00PM - 4:30PM

City Centre Park

Live the Lifestyle

Visit from Santa 3:15 - 4:15PM

Bring a can of food and skate for free!



New Year


December 31st, 9:00PM - 1:00AM


Or join us for our 9TH ANNUAL FAMILY

NEW YEAR’S PARTY Hosted By Playzone


• crafts • face painting • snacks

December 31st, 7:30 PM - 10:30 PM Countdown at 10PM!


• ice skating • party favours • mini golf

* some conditions may apply

• door prizes • playzone • and much more!

Call for Ticket Information 250-391-1738

$3.20 Admission | $3.20 Skate Rentals

DEC 1ST - DEC 18TH Monday - Friday Saturday Sunday

4:30PM - 7:30PM 12:00PM - 7:30PM 12:00PM - 6:00PM

DEC 19TH - JAN 2ND Monday - Saturday 12:00PM - 7:30PM Sunday 12:00PM - 6:00PM

14  Island Parent Magazine


Gift & Book

Recommendations The following gift ideas come from some of our local merchants and businesses. To find out more about any of the businesses listed below, please refer to the ads in this issue. From Kool & Child (Nanaimo)

Preschool: Magna-Tiles. Magna-Tiles® were invented to teach children about shapes through play. Magnetic tiles in geometric shapes available in translucent, glow-in-the dark, and solid colours. $34.99$167.99. Children: Plus-Plus Construction Blocks. The “hashtag” construction system. Made in Denmark, these solid little construction blocks can be used for 2-D and 3-D construction. $9.99-$69.99. Juvenile/Teen: Slapzi. Think fast and react quickly. The clue is a word and the answer is an image. With multiple ways to play, this is a great multi-age group card game. $29.99.

Adult: Canadian Trivia— 150th Edition. Canadian Trivia 150th Limited Edition is a fun and informative way for knowit-alls to test their knowledge of Canada. Geography, History, Arts, and General knowledge questions cover the 150 years of Canada. $29.99.

From Momease Baby Boutique

Baby: The Padraig Cottage Baby Slippers handmade in BC with pure wool. Dyed and crocheted by hand. Extra soft sheepskin lining and tough leather soles for long lasting comfort. The Baby Slipper has the elasticity to stay put without being overly constrictive on young growing feet. Newborn to toddler sizes. $32+. Baby: Skip Hop Explore & More 3-Stage Activity Centre. Easy to assemble, with toys that can be positioned anywhere for baby, it features a 360-degree rotating seat that turns and stretches for bouncing. Discovery Window lets baby see their feet while they play. As baby grows, activity centre converts for easy cruising—ultimately becoming a clean, sturdy table for colouring, playing and more. $169.99. Toddler: Farm Hoppers Boun-

cy Toy. Will keep your little one amused for hours—and wear them out for bedtime! These inflatable bouncy animals are whimsically fun, and brightly coloured with soft, easy-to-grip ears or horns for children to hold while they bounce around. Made from a high quality, BPA-free plastic, and can help with core muscle development as well as coordination skills while having fun. Pump included. $35.99.

December 2017  15

Child: The Hape Toys Gourmet Kitchen. An all-in-one wooden kitchen that inspires mini chefs to cook everywhere and everything. Encouraging collaborative & creative play, the Gourmet Kitchen can be combined with the Hape Gourmet Fridge, food & other cooking accessories for the complete ‘mini chef’ experience! $159.99.

From The Mothering Touch Centre

Baby: Rotating Music Box by Hape Toys. Ages Newborn+. A soothing and gentle toy that will encourage young children to explore and experience music in a fun way, the colourful Rotating Music Box is ideal for newborns and up. $27.99. Baby: The Wimzle by Fat Brain Toys. Ages 6M+. The Wimzle is the perfect unique sensory toy. Full of spinning, textured, squishy features, little hands will love to explore every twist and turn. $19.99. Baby/Preschool: Rollobie by Fat Brain Toys. Ages 12M+. Rollobie is an adorable sensory toy. Turn her horns to change her eyes from awake to asleep. Send her rolling across the floor to hear the hidden rattle. $19.99. Baby/Preschool: Stacking Music Set by Hape Toys. Ages 18M+. Make wonderful music and explore melody and rhythm with this innovative set. Children can stack the differently sized blocks, exploring music and shapes as they play. $49.99.

Juvenile/Teen: IMAX BluRays and DVDs. Over 25 titles on for 50 per cent off. Coral Reef Adventure, Dolphins, Hurricane on the Bayou, and Dinosaurs. Something for everyone. BluRays regularly $29.99; DVDs regularly $24.99. Adult: IMAX Victoria Annual Pass. From National Geographic Where will you go this year? It could be Store—IMAX Theatre Preschool: Trans Truck almost anywhere. Unlimited documentaries Transforming Construc- in 2D and 3D. $5 Hollywood films and tion Vehicles. Half truck, exclusive perks. $51.25. half awesome action figure. Models include From Oyaco bulldozer, cement mixer, Baby/Preschool: Gro-clock. Give the gift excavator, crane and of a good night’s sleep to the parent on your dump truck. Set com- list. The Gro-clock uses fun images of the bines to make one huge stars and sun to communicate when to go figure. $22.99. back to sleep and when it’s time to get up. Children: Soap- Parents set the clock to display a cheerful stone Carving Kits. smiley sun at progressively later times of Designed and made morning, training the child to get up only by local carvers, stu- once they “see the sun”. SRP: $59.95. dio stone kits will Baby/Preschool: Gro Friends Breathable inspire creativity Toys. A perfect cuddly companion for baby in up and coming with soft, velour graspable hands and made artists. Kits contain of a breathable, hypoallergenic fabric to everything you need make snuggle time even more snuggly. to make your own SRP: $24.95 soapstone carving. Baby/Preschool: Bumbo Playtop Safari. $32.99. Convert any smooth surface to a safari play


Island Parent Magazine

From Pumpkin Pie Kids (Nanaimo)

Baby/Preschool: Great Pretenders Fire Breathing Dragon. Fire breathing dragon costume featuring quilted dragon wings, textured velour scalelike material and dragon hood. Ages 3-5 years. $44.99. Baby/Preschool: Djeco Glitter Box Glitter Dress. Glitter board art kit with four dream dresses that you can decorate with sequins. $23.99. Children: Family Pastimes CoOperative Games: Ogres & Elves. Play together to get the ogres and elves to share their treasures. Requires tricky teamwork with each game increasing in difficulty. For ages 7-adult. $14.99. time with the playtop Safari Suction Tray. The Tray easily suctions to the Bumbo trays, highchair trays and tabletops for endless entertainment. With its included bead maze, mirrored book, elephant toy and spinning ball, it’s a good thing there’s a snack and cup holder to keep refreshments close at hand. SRP: $34.95 Baby/Preschool: Ollie the Owl. Ollie is a unique and adorable sleep aid with built in CrySensor technology, helping baby (and Mum and Dad) to get quality ZZZ’s every night. The latest must have baby sleep essential, Ollie will grow up with little ones and become their trusty sleeping companion, whether on the move, at home or staying with their grandparents. SRP: $59.95.

From Toying Around

Preschool: The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. A funny read aloud bedtime story. Is there a scary creature in the deep, dark wood? One brave little mouse doesn’t think so. 24pgs. $24.99. Children: Unlikely Friendships for Kids by Jennifer S. Hollan. Hardcover books for children ages 7 and up. Each features five compelling stories like The Monkey and the Dove. A perfect gift for young animal lovers. 48pgs. $12.99. Juvenile: Oh Yikes! History’s Grossest, Wackiest Moments by Joy Masoff. An illustrated encyclopedia of history’s messiest, dumbest, grossest and weirdest moments. 306pgs. $22.95.

Adult: Attracting Beneficial Bugs to your Garden by Jessica Walliser. This refreshing book delves into the fascinating relationships between insects and plants and will help you make your own insect-friendly garden. $31.95. 240pgs.•

From Victoria Bug Zoo

Baby/Preschool: Finger and hand puppets. From one-finger ladybug puppets to whole-hand hermit crabs, our arthropod puppets will make you wish you had more fingers. $4-35. Children: Bug Collecting Kits. Inspire a future field biologist. Various collection kits include nets and other collecting devices, binoculars, magnifying glasses and viewing containers. $5-10. Juvenile/Teen: Starter microscope sets. For the budding young scientist, a first glimpse through a microscope can reveal a world of wonder. $15.99.

December 2017  17

Holiday Happenings Butchart Gardens presents the 30th annual Magic of Christmas from Dec 1-Jan 6, 2018 when the Gardens sparkle with tens of thousands of coloured lights and seasonal decorations. Miles of fresh evergreen swags and wreaths, holly, ivy and winter berries adorn the walkways and lamp posts. See the Twelve Days of Christmas displays tucked into the landscape. Get into the Christmas mood with traditional carollers and festive brass music from 5-9pm. Whirl around the outdoor ice skating rink. Skate times run on the hour during admission hours and are 40 minutes. Skate rentals available; children’s helmets on loan. Garden hours from Dec 1-Jan 6, 9am-9pm, except Christmas Day when the hours are 1-9pm. Kids 12 years old and younger are invited to bring a handcrafted paper snowflake and exchange it for a cup of hot chocolate in the Coffee Shop. (Limit of one per child per day). Also, children under 12 years of age will be given a list at the admission gate to identify each of the Christmas highlights displayed throughout The Gardens. Upon presentation of their list at the Visitor Centre, participants will receive a Christmas treat. Visit or phone 250-652-4422.

18  Island Parent Magazine

Father Christmas in Old Town at Royal BC Museum from Dec 1-3, 8-10, 1517 (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11am-2pm). Visit with Father Christmas in Old Town, have your photo taken, and share your holiday wishes. Photos by donation. Then take in the sights and sounds of Christmas long ago in Old Town. Marvel at the huge Christmas tree, visit the woodcobbled streets lined with festive garlands, and see the shops decorated with Christmas finery (until January 9, 2018). Visit Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Showcase

Canada’s National

is in a new location this year at the Parkside Hotel & Spa’s atrium (810 Humbolt Street). Feast your eyes and nose on creative inspirations constructed out of gingerbread. More than houses, they are sculptures and unique works of art created by professional and amateur chefs. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Canada.” Bakers are encouraged to let their creativity lead the way, whether it is finding inspiration in travel, traditions and cultures, or adventures with friends. Vote for your favourite—if

you can choose just one! All funds raised support Habitat for Humanity Victoria, helping make affordable homeownership possible for low-income families living in the Victoria region. Until Jan 2, 2018 from 9am-9pm. Visit gingerbread-showcase.html. Celebrate the 26th annual BC Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees

in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. This year, the Festival will be decking the halls of The Bay Centre, transforming it into an enchanted forest celebrating our local community. As sponsors of this event, local businesses, organizations and individuals decorate the trees—in a sometimes wacky, often irreverent and always beautiful fashion. This season, trees are on display throughout The Bay Centre until Jan 2, 2018. Come browse through a holiday wonderland and cast a ballot for your favourite tree. Admission is free, though a $2 donation is suggested for every vote. Sooke hosts its eighth annual Festival of Trees at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort and SEAPARC Leisure Complex until early January. Visit

Celebrate Christmas in Sidney.

Come check out the Nerdy Days of Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday Dec 2 and Sunday Dec 3 from 11am-4pm where you’ll find nerdy treasures in the silent auction and you can visit with Santa. Entry by donation with proceeds going to Victoria’s Hospitals Foundation.Celebrate Tuba Christmas on Saturday Dec 9 from 1-3pm. Tuba players from all over B.C. and the Pacific Northwest come together to play much loved Christmas songs in a big way. Enjoy Music in Market Square on Saturday Dec 16 from 1-4pm. The Greater Victoria Concert Band presents their gift to you; a free admission concert of favourite holiday tunes. For more information, visit

Christmas at Hudson Market (until Dec 24) has everything you need for under the tree, and on the table. You’ll find local


fo r

e R u d olp h’s r


Santa Bus stickers Candy canes Holiday music

Friday, December 15

Saturday, December 16 9:00am–2:45pm

Santa Shopping Shuttle

Downtown  Mayfair  Uptown Uptown  Mayfair  Downtown } Schedule at


Holiday Events at Market Square.


7:40am–3:00pm Various routes, check online

} } }



Enjoy a classic downtown tradition with your family this holiday season. HorseDrawn Trolley Rides running Saturdays and Sundays (noon-2:30pm) until Dec 23, horse-drawn trolleys will circulate throughout downtown, making it easy to take in all of the sights and sounds of the Christmas celebrations. The trolleys are free of charge, compliments of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. Two trolleys will circulate on a pre-set route throughout the downtown with four stops at: Store St. and Chatham St. (in front of Capital Iron); Johnson St. near Wharf St. (in front of Willie’s Bakery); Langley St. at Bastion Square (across from Re-Bar); and Government St. at Fisgard St. (in front of CRD Plaza). For more information on entertainment in the downtown area, visit

Santa Bus is Coming to Town!



BC Transit’s


Hear Carol Singers (Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm until Dec 23), take a Carriage Tour (Saturdays and Sundays, noon-4pm until Dec 23) embark on a Gingerbread House Scavenger Hunt, take in the Festival of Trees Dec 1-Jan 2 at Mary Winspear Centre), drop by Teddies & Toys at Sidney Museum Once Upon a Teddy Time—the Toys Came Out to Play (daily from 10am4pm until Dec 31). This beautiful exhibit is a must for all the family. Over five hundred Teddy Bears have come out to play in Sidney Museum and they have brought along their favourite toys. Open 10am-4pm daily, admission by donation. To download a brochure with details about these and other seasonal activities, visit

Victoria Regional Transit Commission Transit Info 250·382·6161

Licenced group childcare for children 1 to 5 years Open 6:30am – 5:30pm 2758 Peatt Road, Langford  250-818-9225 or 778-265-5955 December 2017  19

artisans selling their goods, plus the delicious food at the permanent vendors. Santa will visit the Market on December 2, 9 and 16 from noon-3pm and there will also be a free Gingerbread decorating station on the same dates. Take advantage of the gift wrapping station, by donation to the SPCA, on December 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 11am3pm. Come down for a stroll and enjoy the festive decor, delicious food, and Christmas shopping. Visit The Christmas Express at the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, running 13 nights over three weekends, Dec 1-3, Dec 8-10, and Dec 15-23 from 4-9pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30-8:30pm). Ride behind Samson, the museum’s 1910 steam locomotive, through festive light displays and exhibits in the forest and on the trestle. Visit Santa Claus, dance to live Christmas music, make a Christmas tree craft in the schoolhouse, watch the model train, and warm up with hot chocolate in Train Station Treats. Santa will ride the first train, leaving at 4:30pm and then will be in the main museum for pictures and visits. 2892 Drinkwater Road. Visit or call 250-715-1113.

Live Nativity Scene. The First Christmas, an outdoor Nativity pageant, features Wise Men from the east, the Angel Gabriel, shepherds with flocks, an innkeeper, King Harrod with his soldiers, townspeople, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. This outdoor depiction of the Christmas story runs four times nightly on Dec 21, 22 and 23 at 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8pm at Topaz Park, between Quadra and Blanshard. Parking is available at S.J. Willis school and the park’s lot off Quadra. Free. H e l m c ke n H o u s e Old-Fashioned Christmas at Royal

BC Museum from Dec 17-31 (noon-4pm). Step through the doors of the oldest house in B.C., still

on its original site, and experience what Christmas would have been like in Victoria over 100 years ago. Decorations, music, and firsthand accounts will take you back to Christmas past. Free with museum admission or by donation. For information, visit

Milner Christmas Magic

at Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach. Stroll through tens of thousands of lights, enjoy local musicians and storytellers, stop by Santa’s shop for a visit, pop into the Teddy Bear Cottage and try to count all of the old bears, and enjoy tea or hot chocolate in the tea room. Dec 1-3, Dec 8-10, and Dec 15-20 from 5-8:30pm (last entry at 8pm). Adults $5, children $2.50. For more information and the entertainment schedule, visit or call 250-752-6153.•

* Rosemarie Colterman& Tom Oak *Personal Real Estate Corporation

Providing exceptional residential real estate services since 2003: • Professional • Informative • Client-customized • Trustworthy & reassuring • Celebratory! o: 250.592.4422 e: w:

20  Island Parent Magazine

3 Easy Ways to Order


Call Customer Care 1.800.667.8280


Visit your local store


Visit Timing & Pickup

Please note that we require a minimum of 24 hours notice to guarantee platter orders.

Be merry Eat happy


Connect with us December 2017  21

The Question of Santa Claus D

uring the holiday season, the question many parents grapple with in terms of their children is the question of Santa Claus—to believe or not to believe. This issue has baffled parents for generations. And it’s not always an easy one to deal with, particularly if you have two parents with opposing views. Some people believe it is equivalent to lying to a child to promote the myth of Santa Claus and that can be traumatic when the truth is actually discovered. Other people see no harm in allowing a child the magic of believing. After all, it’s only for a few short years and most children figure it out at some point anyway. I remember my own childhood back in the 1960s. My parents had us believing in everything from Santa Claus to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Even by the time I entered grade school, I never thought to question the existence of Santa Claus. I wanted to believe. And so, I steadfastly ignored other children who tried to enlighten me on the subject, and instead, held onto my own convictions. I was shocked therefore when at the age of seven, I was pulled aside by my older sister who matter-of-factly announced there was no Santa. No Santa? How could that be? You may as well have told me the sky had fallen. I knew my older sister often teased me, as older siblings are inclined to do, so at first, I scoffed at her announcement. A seed of doubt sprouted, however, when she pointed out that the candy we always found in the bottom of our stockings was the exact same kind as in the candy dishes on our living room coffee table. I debated

22  Island Parent Magazine

her logic, but I stubbornly insisted Santa had probably run out of candy and had been forced to improvise. My sister then pointed out something even more damning—Santa had delivered exactly what she had asked for last Christmas even though she hadn’t bothered to write a letter to the North Pole. I was convinced our mother must have written in her stead, but again, doubt gnawed at me. After stewing for several days, I finally resigned myself to the

fact my sister was probably right. And so, I passed along the revelation to my little brother. After all, I figured if I had to suffer the bad news, then he had to as well. He was dismayed and wondered if this meant an end to our presents. I must admit, I hadn’t thought of this line of reasoning, so I spent an anxious Christmas that year lying in bed at night willing Santa to be real so I would be assured of receiving my

presents. In the end, we did receive our gifts, and I don’t remember ever actually confronting my mother or father; it was simply an unspoken expectation for years that we believed. And so we pretended long after we really knew the truth. When I had my own children, my husband was emphatic about being straightforward with them so we told our sons the truth from

Susan Gnucci the very beginning, and we freely admitted supplying the presents under the Christmas tree. I remember having to caution our sons that many children did believe in Santa so it would be unkind to tell them otherwise. Each year at Christmas, my older son would roll his eyes with an exasperated sigh when he found out his best friend still believed. He was annoyed it meant yet another year of having to play along. Admittedly, there were definite benefits to our strategy—at least I didn’t have the awkwardness of attempting to explain how Santa could be at two shopping malls at the same time, or how his weight kept fluctuating as we came across thinner or fatter Santas, or why he apparently didn’t know other languages when he received letters from children around the world. Yes, it was certainly easier, but somehow, I missed that magical element of the holiday season. All of us at some stage in our lives have to have something to believe in, even if it is only for a short time. And when wisdom or cynicism (or both) finally catch up with us, it’s still nostalgic to reminisce about our own innocence. So, how to handle the age-old question of Santa Claus? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer, but I think if I had the chance to do it over again, I would allow my children to make up their own minds. If they asked me about Santa, I would turn the question over to them—“What do you believe?” I think we would all be surprised at their answers.

Susan Gnucci is a local author and a proud “nonna” to an adorable three-year-old grandson. She enjoys sharing her experiences as a first-time grandparent.

Ways to Give


his season, don’t just ask what your children want to get for Christmas, ask how they want to give. When children are involved in the gift-giving process, they learn the joys of contributing and helping others. Whether your family can give time, clothing, food, gently used/ new toys or cash this holiday season, there are many ways to help others. Here’s a sampling of charity drives, not-for-profit organizations’ wish lists and how your family can help an individual, family or group this season. Create Your Own Ways to Give. Talk to your kids about the ways your family can help others in your community. Some ideas: Organize a Fundraiser. Rally friends, neighbours and family to organize a fundraiser—maybe a garage sale, bake sale or bottle drive—and donate the proceeds to one of the following organizations or another of your choice. Volunteer Your Time. Visit a senior’s home, help with snow removal (or in this climate, rake leftover leaves or clean gutters), or gather a group to go carolling and spread holiday cheer throughout your neighbourhood. Shoe Box Campaign. Pack a gift-filled shoe box and help bridge Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Possible gifts: arts and craft supplies, books, toys, and sporting goods. Visit Mustard Seed Food Bank. Drop off non-perishable food and financial donations to the Lighted Truck Parade (Dec 2) or at one of five gift wrap stations (Hillside, Mayfair, Tillicum and the Bay Centres, along with The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson). Visit Salvation Army. Volunteer families are needed to man “Cheer Kettles” (the round plastic containers used for donations) in various malls. Children (with a parent) are welcome to help, too. Shifts range from one to two hours. All money goes to the Family Services branch of the Salvation Army and is used to buy food for hampers that are distributed to local families. Visit•

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#109–1633 Hillside Ave  250-598-1888 December 2017  23

The Sounds of the Season


ecember holiday music conjures up festive melodies and harmonies sung by strolling carolers. We also hear jingling bells, angelic harps and choral music. We tune into popular standards such as “Jingle Bell Rock” or “Deck the Halls.” We rarely hear mention of tubas as being part of the holiday music season. The tuba is usually associated with “oompah-pah” at the back of the brass section in the band. Yes, it is true that the tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched instrument of the brass instruments. However, the stereotype of the tuba playing “oompah-pah,” isn’t necessarily true. When given the opportunity, the unique, low pitch of the tuba can be beautiful whether playing bass lines or performing as a solo instrument. Introduce your family to the sound of the tuba this holiday season. “Tuba Christmas Victoria” is a free event with tuba players from all over B.C. and the Pacific Northwest joining together to play holiday tunes at Mar-

ket Square on Saturday, December 9. This is an excellent and unique opportunity to hear more than 70 tubas, as well as euphoniums, performing seasonal and traditional music. This year marks the 43rd anniversary for Tuba Christmas. The first “Tuba Christmas” was in the ice skating rink at New York City’s Rockefeller Center in 1974. Over 300 tubas and low brass instruments played that day, beginning a holiday tradition. It is now global with more than 200 cities around the world participating in this free festive event. It only happens once a year so you don’t want to miss it. An informative book to read with your family before you attend “Tuba Christmas Victoria” is Live Music! Brass by Elizabeth Sharma. This book has photographs of the different brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones as well as the tuba. See pictures of the upright tuba, the wrap-around tuba called the sousaphone, and the smaller baritone eupho-

nium. As well, there is a chapter called “Sound Activities” to learn about creating sounds and how to make your own trumpet from a tube. A fun picture book to read is Tubby the Tuba by Paul Tripp. Tubby the tuba plays “oompah, oompah” with the orchestra, but he really wants to play a more melodious

Jerri Carson tune. Meet the instruments of the orchestra in playful illustrations and also a frog who sings “bug-gup! bug-gup!” The book comes with an accompanying CD with a performance of the Tubby the Tuba music with full orchestration. Tubas have some of the richest tones of all instruments and by attending “Tuba Christmas Victoria” you will be able to appreciate its powerful sound and enjoy holiday music at the same time.

Jerri Carson is a retired music teacher. She now spends her time playing the piano and cello.

Maxine Fisher M.Ed., RCC, MTA

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24  Island Parent Magazine

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Oly Active Baby Car Mirror

Redesigned to celebrate Hape’s 30th Anniversary. Pound the balls to send them tinkling over the xylophone, or remove the keyboard to play it on its own. Promotes fine motor and problem-solving skills—and making music, too. 0 months+

Friendship Activity Cube

Five sides of endless entertainment. With five different play surfaces ranging from a ball maze and shape puzzles to gear explorations and colourful mazes, little ones will enjoy spending time with Pepe the pup and his friends. Ages 12 months+

Ultimate LED Hanging Chair

Want a “hangout” all your own? This chair is the perfect place to read a book Makii Tiny Tot or spend some alone time. You’ll love the Convertible Bike LED lights that add a nighttime glow, and A three-wheeler that becomes a two-wheeler—when you’re ready. With airless tires, the two large pockets to store your stuff. wall-friendly hand grips and a water-based, non-toxic finish, this convertible bike has For use indoors and out. Ages 4+ it all for the beginner. Supports up to 20kg (44lbs). Ages 12 months +

Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada’s gold Star Toys and games of 2017 26

Island Parent Magazine

360 Cross

Ready for any kind of road test, indoors or out. With a two-sided driving system, we challenge you to find a terrain this remote control flip car from SilverLit can’t handle. Reaches speeds up to 12km (7.5mi)per hour. Assorted colours. Ages 5+

NinjaLine Intro Kit

Train like a Ninja Warrior—in your own backyard. Set up the seven hanging obstacles in any way you want on the 11m (36ft) slackline and get training. Increase the challenge by moving the obstacles farther apart. Ages 5+


An excellent introduction to working with Arduino programming. Advance your knowledge of electricity, engineering, circuitry and programming. This kit, used alone or combined with other Snap Circuits, makes prototype coding a snap! Ages 12+

My Fairy Garden: Magical Cottage

Grow your own magical, real, live fairy garden. Connect with nature as you grow the seeds, care fot the plants, and play with Freya, the fairy, and her adorable woodland friend, Hazel the chipmunk. It’s a fun grow-and-play-with set. Ages 4 +

Animalia Tropical Rainforest Animals

Explore the tropical rainforest without getting bitten, eaten or rained on. Learn about the tropical rainforest while you build five animals using the easy-to-follow instructions. And if you want to, make up a few creations of your own. Ages 5+

December 2017


Family Calendar

For calendar updates throughout the month visit

D ecem b e r Our Generous Sponsors




Nanaimo & Area Home Learners Monthly Meetup 1pm at Oliver Woods Community Centre Resource library, gym time, parent support, special events throughout the year. $5/family drop in fee; $20/year-long membership




Victoria & CRD The 37th Annual Dickens Fair 10am at James Bay Community Centre 140 Oswego Street One of Victoria’s oldest and best-loved holiday craft fairs. Great local foods, crafts and handcrafted treasures. $2, Children under 12 free 250-381-5323. Santa Shuffle Fun Run & Elf Walk 10am at Vic West Community Centre 521 Craigflower Rd Lace up your running shoes and help fight poverty one step at a time. Pledges raised for The Santa Shuffle will support people in your community who may be struggling to make ends meet. Pledges vary. 250-588-9126. Winter Wander 1pm at Devonian Regional Park Join a CRD Regional Parks naturalist to explore

28  Island Parent Magazine

this beautiful seaside gem. What plants and animals make this park home? Come and find out. Meet at information kiosk in parking lot off William Head Rd. 5+ years. BC Transit #54 or #55. Free 250-478-3344. IEOA Truck Light Convoy & Food Drive 5:45pm in Greater Victoria Come and watch the IEOA Convoy and cheer on the Island Equipment Owners Association members in their annual convoy as they spread a brilliant glow around town to raise awareness of donating to local food banks. Food bank donation, free. 250-382-4362. Nanaimo & Area

1701 Douglas St #6 We want to help make sure that every kid has a gift to open on Christmas. Bring an unwrapped toy, and in exchange receive a delicious doughnut from Yonni’s Doughnuts and a coffee from Discovery Coffee. Free. 778-433-2787. admin@victoriapublicmarket. com. Craigflower Elementary Holiday Craft Fair 9:30am at Craigflower Elementary School 2766 Admirals Road Unique handcrafted items and popular products for everyone on your list. Refreshments available and great raffle prizes to be won. All proceeds support Craigflower students. Free. craigflower.sd61. 250-384-8157.

Winter & How Plants/Animals Survive Nanaimo & Area 10am at Linley Valley Parking Lot Discover what happens to plants and animals over Parksville Lion’s and Save-On-Foods Family Skate the winter months. $8/person. 250-756-5200 12:15pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy This popular session is back. Pond hockey not availSunday RD able. Children must be accompanied by an adult 19+ years. Free. 250-248-3252. Victoria & CRD


Going Squirrelly 10:30am at Francis/King Regional Park What does it take to survive as a squirrel? With a CRD Regional Parks naturalist, discover what keeps these furry creatures busy at this time of year. Meet at Francis/King Nature Centre off Munn Rd. 5+ years. Free. 250-478-3344.




Nanaimo & Area Glow in the Dark Skate 6:30pm at Frank Crane Arena Skate in an atmosphere of dimmed lighting and special effects. Regular admission. 250-756-5200

Christmas Toy Drive 11am at Victoria Public Market

Dad’s Night Out Skate 6:30pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Dads, bring the kids to enjoy a skate together. Sponsored by Building Learning Together. Free. 250-248-3252




Victoria & CRD Christmas Storytime 10:30am at Central Branch Library Ho, ho, ho! Enjoy a festive storytime, a craft and a tasty holiday treat in anticipation of Christmas Day. For young children and their families; children under three must be accompanied by an adult. Register online, or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875.







Victoria & CRD Christmas Storytime 10:30am at Juan de Fuca Branch Library Ho, ho, ho! Enjoy a festive storytime, a craft and a tasty holiday treat in anticipation of Christmas Day. For young children and their families; children under three must be accompanied by an adult. Register online, or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). DigiLab: Photo Booth 7pm at Oak Bay Branch Library Take selfies or group shots with DigiLab’s photo booth. The library will provide a variety of craft supplies, so you can get creative with your prints. For ages 13-18. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). Comox Valley & North Island

Victoria & CRD Christmas Storytime 10:30am at Bruce Hutchison, Esquimalt and Juan de Fuca Branch Libraries Ho, ho, ho! Enjoy a festive storytime, a craft and a tasty holiday treat in anticipation of Christmas Day. For young children and their families; children under three must be accompanied by an adult. Register online, or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). Giggles and Wiggles 10:30am at Oak Bay Branch Library Little listeners with extra energy will enjoy actionfilled stories, songs and rhymes followed by free play and stations. For young children and their families; children under 3 must be accompanied by an adult. Drop in. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL).

Nativity: Creches of the World 3-7pm at Comox Valley Presbyterian Church 725 Aspen Rd This event features over 200 nativity scenes from around the globe, displayed with notes on their origins and stories the lenders might wish to share. Live music and children’s activities are also featured, including a photo booth with costumes. Free. 250-331-0156.




Victoria & CRD

Christmas Storytime 11am at Saanich Centennial Branch Library Ho, ho, ho! Enjoy a festive storytime, a craft and a tasty holiday treat in anticipation of Christmas Day. For young children and their families; children under three must be accompanied by an adult. Register online, or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). Crafts for ’Tweens: Poetry and Holiday Card Making 1:30pm at Esquimalt Branch Library Tweens are invited to channel their inner poets to create a holiday card of found poetry using upcycled books. Supplies provided. For ages 10-12. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL).

Wonderful Wintry Weather 10:30am at Langford Heritage Branch Library Celebrate wintry weather with tales of snow and forest friends. Enjoy songs, rhymes and a paper craft. For ages 3-5. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). Sankt Nikolaus Traditions Storytime 1pm at Nellie McClung Branch Library Start the festive season with a Sankt Nikolaus Day

White Chocolate Mandarin Orange Cake


White Chocolate Christmas?

Forest Festivities 11am at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park Join CRD Regional Parks naturalists in the spirit of the season. Make recycled cards, crafts and a small green swag with broom. Material and instructions provided. Drop in anytime with family and friends. Meet at Beaver Lake Nature Centre off main parking lot. BC Transit #70 or #75. All ages. Free. 250-478-3344

Be merry Eat happy 1.800.667.8280

Connect with us December 2017  29

celebration filled with traditional stories, songs, and crafts. Learn simple songs and phrases in German. For children and their families. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL).

Shop Local. Ship Local. Nanaimo to Victoria: Free shipping on most website orders over $100

Cookies and Crafts Open House 2pm at Greater Victoria Public Library Branches To celebrate the holidays, and to thank you for supporting your library, each branch will have free, festive refreshments for all and crafts for the kids. Come in for a treat and a chat. Drop in. Free. gvpl. ca. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). Santa’s Pancake Breakfast 9am at Burnside Gorge Community Centre 471 Cecelia Road Tis almost the Season. Drop by for the annual Santa’s Pancake Breakfast with all the essentials: a delicious pancake breakfast, live entertainment, organized crafts and an opportunity to get a photo with the Jolly Ol’ man himself. $10/family. 250-3885251. burnsidegorge. ca/events/2017-santas-pancake-breakfast. nanaimo & area “Handmade for the Holidays” Craft Market 10am at Nanaimo District Secondary School 355 Wakesiah Ave Mark your calendars for Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s second annual craft fair. With handmade crafts from over 70 Island-based vendors, this market is a great place to do some holiday shopping. Kids will be able to write a letter to Santa. By donation.

sunDay Kool Toys & Teaching Tools

#102 – 2517 Bowen Road Nanaimo 888.390.1775



victoria & CrD Christmas Pageant at St. Luke Cedar Hill 10am at St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church Cedar Hill Cross Rd. at Cedar Hill Rd Free. 250-477-6741. st.lukes@ nanaimo & area Parksville Lion’s and Save-On-Foods Family Skate 12:15pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy This popular session is back. Pond hockey not available. Children must be accompanied by an adult 19+ years. Free. 250-248-3252 Canada 150 Skating Day 12:15pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Glide into winter with two free skate sessions. Check


Island Parent Magazine

#8, skating, off your ParticipACTION Playlist and celebrate Canada 150 with friends. Free family skate: 12:15-1:45pm. Everyone welcome skate: 2-3:30pm. Free. 250-248-3252.




Victoria & CRD Naden Band Christmas Concert with Toy Drive 7:30pm at Royal Theatre 805 Broughton Street The best Christmas concert deal in town! The Naden Band presents a family-friendly concert with seasonal musict. Order tickets online at rmts. ca or call the box office at 250-386-6121. Tickets are $10 each—please bring an unwrapped toy as well to support The Salvation Army Toy Drive.

Under the Bird Tree 10am at Francis/King Regional Park Birds are fun for little ones—especially when they are by a winter feeder. Join a CRD Regional Parks naturalist and look for our fine-feathered friends, make a birdseed craft and enjoy a short exploration in the woods. No fee, but you must pre-register by December 8 as space is limited. 5 years and under. Free. 250-478-3344.



Victoria & CRD


craft. For ages 3-5. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL).




Victoria & CRD DigiLab: Photo Booth 3pm at Central Saanich Branch Library Take selfies or group shots with DigiLab’s photo booth. The library will provide a variety of craft supplies, so you can get creative with your prints. For ages 13-18. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL).

Wonderful Wintry Weather 10:30am at Central Branch Library SATURDAY th Celebrate wintry weather with tales of snow and forest friends. Enjoy songs, rhymes and a paper Victoria & CRD craft. For ages 3-5. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). Museum Tots TUESDAY th 11am at Maritime Museum Introduces children 2-5 to the fun world of muVictoria & CRD THURSDAY th seum learning. Crafts, songs, dance and play time. $7/children; $5/members 250-385-4222. Wonderful Wintry Weather Victoria & CRD 10:30am at Oak Bay Branch Library Celebrate wintry weather with tales of snow and Wonderful Wintry Weather forest friends. Enjoy songs, rhymes and a paper 10:30am at Esquimalt Branch Library Storytime is a...Drag craft. For ages 3-5. Register online or call for more Celebrate wintry weather with tales of snow and 2:30pm at Central Branch Library information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL). forest friends. Enjoy songs, rhymes and a paper Join Victoria’s Drag Queens, Kings and Things for




December 2017  31

Childbirth Fear Study

a festive afternoon. Enjoy a drag storytime, music, sing-along, crafts and games. Everyone welcome; children under 3 must be accompanied by an adult. Register online or call for more information. Free. 250-940-4875 (GVPL).

Are You Pregnant?

Help researchers in the UBC Department of Psychiatry learn more about women’s childbirth concerns!

Nanaimo & Area

If you are pregnant and 18 years or older, you are eligible to participate Participation requires 1.0 to 1.5 hours of your time and involves an online survey and a brief telephone interview. You will be asked about your background, reproductive history, current pregnancy, mood, feelings about childbirth as well as any history of sexual abuse or trauma. Register for the study at: See our Facebook page:

Winter Wonderland on Ice Sponsored Skate 1pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Toy Drive and everyone welcome skate. Sponsored by Todd Sjogren, BMO Financial Group and Anthony MacAulay, Notary Public Corp. Free. rdn. 250-248-3252. Starlight Skate 7pm at Nanaimo Ice Centre An opportunity to come out and enjoy soft light “stars” and passive LED glow lights. A great time for couples and families before dinner or that night out with friends. Regular Admission. 250-756-5200


Our web site:



Victoria & CRD Image used with permission from Kimberly Kirk (

Wee Winter Ones 10am at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park Bring your little one to celebrate winter with a CRD Regional Parks naturalist. Your child will explore the winter woods using their senses and look for creatures enjoying the winter season. No fee, but you must pre-register by December 13 as space is limited. 5 years and under. BC Transit #70 or #75. Free. 250-478-3344 Nanaimo & Area Winter Wonderland on Ice Sponsored Skate 12:15pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Free family skate sponsored by Parksville Lions and Save-On-Foods. Free. 250-248-3252




Nanaimo & Area

Little Steps Therapy Services offers the following services for all children: Little Learners therapeutic program for school readiness. Connections therapeutic groups for school-aged children. Clinical services including behaviour consulting, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, physiotherapy, art therapy, music therapy, and feeding therapy.

Winter Wonderland on Ice Teen Skate 7pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Grab a friend and come celebrate the holidays at the magical Winter Wonderland on Ice. Admission and skate rentals are free courtesy of RDN Youth. Free. 250-248-3252.

Contact our offices at 250-386-1171 or by emailing 32  Island Parent Magazine




Mon, Dec 4: David Cameron

Victoria & CRD

Mon, Jan 8: Ruth King

Winter Holiday Storytime 10:30am at Sidney/North Saanich Branch Library Join Virginia for stories, rhymes and songs that celebrate the season. Stay and make a simple winter-themed craft. All ages. Please register by email or phone. Free. 250-656-0944.

Mon, Jan 22: Colwood Wed, Jan 31: John Stubbs, Rm 1151 Mon, Feb 5: Willway

Nanaimo & Area

Wed, Feb 7: Poirier

Winter Wonderland on Ice Sponsored Skate 10am at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Free everyone welcome skate sponsored by Gord Johns, MP. 250-248-3252

Mon, Feb 19: Crystal View Wed, March 7: Hans Helgesen Mon, March 12: Savory

Holiday Swim 1:30pm at Ravensong Aquatic Centre 737 James St. Join in reindeer pool games or visit with Santa. Regular admission. 250-752-5014 Dunk With Santa 3pm at Nanaimo Aquatic Centre Show Santa how good you are at swimming…or show him how naughty you can be by trying to dunk him in the dunk tank. 250-756-5200


Wed, March 14: Lakewood Mon, April 9: Saseenos Wed, April 11: Millstream

Join Us!  6 – 7 pm Ready, Set, Read



Children ages 0 to 5 years

Victoria & CRD Child Friendly Christingle Carol Service at St. Luke Cedar Hill 4pm at St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church Cedar Hill Cross Rd. at Cedar Hill Rd., Free. 250-477-6741. st.lukes@

Join us for pre-bedtime fun! We will be playing games, enjoying snacks, and listening to a few delightful stories and songs. This FREE evening is for children aged 0 to 5 years and their parents/caregivers. Running shoes suggested, wear pajamas if you like.

Nanaimo & Area

For more info contact

Winter Wonderland on Ice Sponsored Skate 1pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Free everyone welcome skate sponsored by Tim Hortons. Free. 250-248-3252




Merry Christmas! Family Christmas Service at St. Luke Cedar Hill 10am at St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church, Cedar Hill Cross Rd. at Cedar Hill Rd. A Family Christmas Service, with carols, readings and communion. Everyone Welcome! For more information, call 250-477-6741, e-mail st.lukes@

Enter Our Online Contests Every month at you can enter to win great prizes! Prizes include:

• Family Getaways • Gift Certificates • IMAX Passes • Books, CDs & More One entry per family per week. Check out the prizes and enter the contests by visiting December 2017  33 or visit Free. stlukes- information about relevant local resources, advocacy and counselling support, help with paperwork 250-477-6741. and parenting support. 250-382-1004.




Nanaimo & Area Boxing Day Skate 1pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Join your family and friends for this annual skate. All three ice surfaces open. Enjoy skating around the Winter Wonderland, or play pond hockey. Regular admission. 250-248-3252




Nanaimo & Area Coast Capital Free Swim 7pm at Beban Pool Admission to the pool only; weight room not included. Free. 250-756-5200




Nanaimo & Area New Year’s Eve Family Celebration 5:30pm at Oceanside Place Arena 830 W. Island Hwy Includes skating in the Winter Wonderland, playing pond hockey, craft making, selfie station, special guests and live music. End the evening with a balloon drop and countdown. Food available for purchase. Skate rentals free. Tickets required. Free. 250-248-3252.

O n g oin g

Cowichan Valley

Family Cooking Classes 4-6:30pm at Cowichan Green Community. Geared to families who face challenges accessing Cowichan Valley or preparing healthy foods, or who are recent imFamily Storytime at Cowichan Library, Duncan. Bring migrants and would like to connect with their comthe whole family for stories, songs, rhymes and fun. munity. These classes aim to share inexpensive meal For ages 0-5. Tuesdays 10:30-11:30am. 2687 James plans that yield high nutritional value while offering participants the opportunity to gain confidence in St. the kitchen and to connect with other families in the Cowichan region. Pre-registration required. Nanaimo & Area Mondays. or contact Jennifer at 250-748-8506. Saturday Breakfast Club 9:30-11:30am at Munchkinland Family Place, Parksville. Enjoy a parent and tot exploration and a Mother Nanaimo & Area Goose circle time, plus songs, stories and breakfast. Saturdays except November 11. Free. Suitable for Drop-In Science Studio families with children 6 years and younger. 250- Thursdays and Saturdays 10am-noon at NS3 Science Studio. 248-3252. Children can explore the many features of the Science Studio including KEVA blocks, marble wall, air CHILDREN field, wind tunnel, and a variety of discovery boxes. $4/child; adults free. Schedule subject to change, so Cowichan Valley please check for most current schedule. 4355 Jingle Pot Rd. 778-971-6893. Family Storytime at Cowichan Library, Duncan. Bring the whole family for stories, songs, rhymes and fun. For ages 0-5. Tuesdays 10:30-11:30am. Lions Free Skate Sundays noon-1:30pm at Frank Crane Arena, 2687 James St. Nanaimo. Until March 25. 250-756-5200. Nanaimo & Area Drop-in Gym Plus for Kids Pick up an Active Pass and come to the after school drop-in activities until December 21. Craig St Common, Drop in Gym and Lego Time, Mondays 3-5pm; Wednesdays, Drop in Gym, 3-4:45pm; Thursdays, Drop in Gym and Craft Room, 3-5pm. 250-248-3252.

Choirs in the Courtyard Noon-2pm December 1-12 at Central Branch Library Courtyard Enjoy a seasonal sampling of choirs from Greater Victoria in the courtyard, one of the city’s sweetest acoustic spots. Check for a calendar of exact times and list of choirs. Drop in.


Parkville Lions and Save on Foods Winter Wonderland on Ice December 15 to 31 at Oceanside Place Arena, PRESCHOOL Victoria & CRD Parksville. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Circles It is a holiday tradition to take part in this magical Victoria & CRD A safe, supportive place to meet others in a similar skating event. Special lighting and décor makes situation and to share information and resources. you feel as though you are skating on an outdoor Good Morning Storytime Thursdays 10:30-11:15am at Sidney/North Saanich For information about groups near you, call 250- pond at night. Even if you do not skate, come by Branch Library. Bring you littlest ones to the library 384-8042. Province-wide toll free information and and view the lights from the deck. Strollers welcome. for stories, songs, rhymes and movement. Until support line at 1-855-474-9777 or email grgline@ 250-248-3252. December 21. Ages 0-5. Winter Wonderland 2017 December 26-30 at Frank Crane Arena Parent Support Circles Young Parent Weekly Drop-in Parenting isn’t always easy. Sometimes it helps to talk Take a moment and escape to the annual Winter Thursdays 10am-noon at Kiwanis Family Centre. Come and enjoy a hot meal, socialize with other things through with other parents. At the Parent Sup- Wonderland. This year, the arena will be transformed young parents, enjoy a kids’ craft, let your little one port Services Society of BC, they believe that every into a fantasy theme. This is a “loonie” skate sesexplore the fully equipped playroom, or have a look parent is the expert of her/his own family. For more sion with all skate and helmet rentals free. Drop in in the ‘free’ store for gently used children’s items information about groups near you, call 250-384- during any of the public times. Everyone welcome. and household supplies. Staff available to help with 8042 or 1-877-345-9444 or visit Call 250-756-5214 for details.•

34  Island Parent Magazine

GIVE-A-$HEET You Can “Bridge People to Nature”

DID YOU KNOW... Your donation to Phase II of the

“Bridges to Nature” Floating Boardwalk Campaign Will ~ no matter the size ~

* Each $heet of fiberglass decking will cost aprox $500 * Each $ection of the Phase II floating Boardwalk Project will cost aprox $5,000 $800,000 is required to span the lake

Make a Difference

Call 250.479.0211 or visit to donate

“Give-a-$HEET” and help Bridge People to Nature Today!

December 2017  35

Build a House of Your Very Own

Send Us Your L Stories! Island Parent is looking for articles for upcoming issues. Some of our best content comes from people just like you—Vancouver Island parents who are passionate about their families and are dealing

ooking for a fun way to fill up those days when the kids are home from school? Building your own gingerbread house is a day-long activity that will teach baking skills and help kids work on their patience. While you wait, take a trip to the Gingerbread Showcase at the Parkside Hotel. It’s the perfect place for inspiration. Having kids help make gingerbread cookie dough is a great way for them to learn basic baking skills. Depending on the age of your child, they can help with simple tasks or follow the recipe on their own.

Gingerbread Dough Recipe 1⁄2

cup of butter at room temperature cup of brown sugar 1⁄4 cup of molasses 1⁄2

Emillie Parrish Cooking With Kids

1 small egg 2 cups of flour 1 tsp cinnamon • cream together butter and sugar 1 tsp ground ginger • crack and beat in an egg • measure dry ingredients and mix with 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves wet ingredients 1 tsp baking soda • roll out dough and cut out shapes • separate egg yolks from egg whites 1. Cream together the butter and sugar • beat eggs and icing sugar into stiff peaks in a bowl until well mixed.

Kids will learn how to:

with the day to day issues of raising children in our community. Share your experiences, your thoughts on a particular issue, your ideas on places to see or projects to do—anything related to parenting. Check our Writer’s Guidelines at for specific information on submissions. We’d love to hear from you. Please email submissions to

36  Island Parent Magazine

Enlarge the gingerbread house template 2. Beat in the molasses and egg. pieces (on opposite page) to make the house. 3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingreMake sure that sides are all the same height dients together (to make sure the spices and and that the roof pieces will overlap the baking soda are well distributed). edges of the house so that the house is stable. 3. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet

ingredients. It will form a very stiff ball of dough. 4. Chill for 30 minutes. 5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. 6. Roll out the dough to 1 cm thick. Then cut out your gingerbread house pieces. Lay the paper pattern on the dough, and use a knife to cut out all the pieces. If you are making a large gingerbread house, then it’s best to roll the cookie dough out on the cookie sheet so that you don’t have to move the pieces.


PIANO! Learn !

spoonful at a time. How much sugar you need will depend on the size of your eggs. 3. When the frosting is ready, put a damp towel over the bowl to keep it from drying FUN out and hardening. SEASONAL 4. The easiest way to frost a gingerbread house is with a frosting bag. If you don’t PRIZES! have one, the fill a plastic ziploc bag with frosting and cut a tiny hole into one corner for the frosting to come out.


WITH MARY ROGERS! BMus (Piano Performance) UBC, ARCT and BCRMT






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Roof X2

7. Use the extra dough to make cookies. Put the gingerbread house pieces and cookies onto greased cookie sheets. 8. Bake for 12–17 minutes until the pieces are firm and starting to brown. 9. Allow to completely cool on the cookie sheet before moving.

Royal Frosting

3–4 cups of powdered sugar (sifted if it’s lumpy) 2 large egg whites 1 tsp flavour extract (vanilla, almond, lemon) 1. Whisk together egg whites, extract and 2 cups of sugar until smooth. 2. Add in the remaining sugar and beat until the frosting forms stiff peaks. If it doesn’t form stiff peaks, add more sugar a


1. Starting with one corner, frost the side and back of the house along the edges that will sit on the base and connect to each other. Work your way around the house until you have all four sides frosted to the base. I like to put on a second layer of frosting on each of the joints before moving on to the roof. 2. When the sides are firmly set (about 1 hour), then you can frost along the top of the pieces to add the roof. 3. Allow the roof to set firmly before decorating (at least one more hour). 4. Decorate with nuts, dried fruit and candy. Get creative and have fun. Emillie Parrish loves having adventures with her two busy children. She lives in Victoria and is the author of the fermentation-based blog

Sat. Feb. 10 at 1pm

VIU’s Malaspina Theatre Tickets $12 each or two for $20 250-754-7587 | Mid Island

December 2017  37

Serving the Families of Vancouver Island for Over 23 Years The Kiddies Store

Mixx 2 Stroller • Ready as ever for the stroll ahead now with a look that is just as sleek as its design • With premium fabrics, leatherlook accents, chrome wheels and a one-piece fuss free, compact fold no matter which way the seat is facing. Finlayson St. Douglas St.

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38  Island Parent Magazine

Learning to Love December


h, yes: December. That most glorious of months when we were kids because, well, toys. Lots and lots of toys. Not as simple as a parent, is it? It’s actually quite surprising to realize that, on this side of the parent/kid divide, December is kinda stressful, and certainly not always as fun as we remember it being. But if we try, it can be tons of fun‌maybe even more than it was as a kid. First off, let’s just acknowledge that this is an expensive month. Those Christmas gifts don’t come for free, and there are always lots of other things going on that require some extra spending. That’s a new twist to December being the most magical month of the year, isn’t it? It’s the most expensive month of the year, too. It’s not always realistic to save up throughout the year for December spending; you just kinda go for it and hope for the best. Seriously, that’s the best advice I’ve got. (Although I just accidentally typed “go for the bets,â€? which makes me think I should consider some time at the casino this month to make up for the cost of the latest Hatchimals and superhero costumes). Here’s one of my favourite December Christmas parenting moments, and I look back on it fondly, even though it wasn’t that wonderful at the time. But that’s what parenting is sometimes: finding the wonder in the day-to-day, even when the day-today is not so wonderful. Probably due to the aforementioned financial strain of the month, everyone’s nerves were a bit shot one night, which happened to be December 24. After the kids went to bed, I was dealing with some last-minute Christmas gift procedurals, and drinking my beer from my beer advent calendar, a lovely annual tradition for me which has made my December parenting way more excellent all around. As I was taking care of business and nursing my beer, I put on some Bruce Springsteen. I let the nostalgia wash over me, and that’s

when it hit me: I’m a dad, and I’m doing these late-night, last-minute, December dad things that, well, I never really thought about until now. And, as an added bonus, I also get to see December through the eyes of my children. Look, no one said it’s an easy month for parents, but if you can take a step back (and a beer doesn’t hurt), you can see past all the lowest-common-denominator store advertising and the hopelessly misguided sentiment of worshipping finance that the

Greg Pratt Dadspeak month brings and you can remember what December and Christmas were like as a kid, at least if you had a childhood kinda like mine: it was the most bad-ass time of the year, one you looked forward to for the preceding 11 months. It’s easy to get down on Christmas as an adult, assaulted as we are by the reminder that money seems to come first during this month, and because we feel the pressure of trying not to spend too much of the darn stuff so we can afford to survive in January. And, really, it’s about trying to find that balance, isn’t it? Fighting back against this embarrassingly consumerist society by not caring about money, but also caring about money so you can continue to take care of your family. (And buy the beer advent calendar because, seriously, who knew advent calendars could be awesome again for adults?) Enjoy December. You only get 18 or 19 of them with the kids before they’re not kids and you’re left wondering where those Decembers went. Enjoy the chaos; enjoy the quiet moments. Hell, enjoy the stress, man. Might as well enjoy every aspect of this fun, frantic, and wild month. Don’t let all the outside stressors and distractions get to you, because, like I say, you only get a handful with your kids while they’re still kids.

Greg Pratt is the father of two children and a local journalist and editor. His writing has appeared in, among other places, today’s Parent, Wired, Revolver and Douglas.

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December 2017


Avoiding Challenging Parenting Situations Planning ahead Healthy Families, Happy Families

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250-519-5311 250-539-3099

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)

Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-642-5464 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490


ll parents can identify situations or settings where their children are more difficult to manage. In fact, most parents can identify the common elements in these settings, such as being hungry, tired or bored. We’ve all experienced a child having a temper tantrum in the grocery store, while waiting at the doctor’s office or while Christmas shopping. Triple P—the Positive Parenting Program suggests that difficult behaviours can be

Your child needs to know what to expect. For example: “Stay beside the shopping cart,” “Use your inside voice,” “Ask before you touch.” Remember, rules should be stated positively and be easily enforced. Don’t wait until the problem starts—take time beforehand to talk about the rules and why they are important. 3. Have engaging and interesting activities available for your child and encourage their participation. Take along

avoided by planning ahead and following these steps: 1. Prepare and organize in advance. Make sure you have everything ready so you’re not in a rush. Explain where you’re going and what you will be doing. Try to avoid times when your child might be tired or hungry, and have an activity bag easily accessible to take along or pull out to prevent them from becoming bored. 2. Set a few simple rules before the outing and discuss them ahead of time.

a shopping list of items your child can help load into the shopping cart, bring a colouring book and crayons to the restaurant or doctor’s office or play “I Spy” to spot different shapes, colors and sizes of things in the room or on the shelf. Bring a snack if you are going to be waiting for a while. Books to read, puzzles, handheld activities to play with can also be distracting. Be aware of when your child is getting bored and try a change of activity.

Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum

250-709-3050 250-755-3342 250-749-6878 250-755-3342 250-755-3342

Port Alberni Tofino

250-731-1315 250-725-4020


North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071 40  Island Parent Magazine

4. Identify appropriate and practical rewards to use in the particular setting. For example, give praise and attention for following rules; offer an activity later in the day such as picking an extra story at bedtime or a play in the park. If an immediate reward works best, try using stars on their shopping list or a stamp on their hand. 5. Identify appropriate consequences. For example, if your child wanders away from the cart while shopping, have them hold onto the cart for a brief period of time. Consequences should be directly related to the behaviour and if it involves the withdrawal of something, a brief pe-

Cindy Knott Ch i ld Yo ut h & Fa mi ly P u b l ic H e a lt h

Happy Families, Healthy Families

riod is more effective than a long one. You can also try using “planned ignoring” for minor behaviour problems like whining or complaining. 6. Have a follow-up discussion. Praise successes, briefly and calmly describe any rules that your child forgot to follow. Set a goal for next time, for example: “Next time we’ll remember our rule about touching and only touch things that are on your shopping list.” Even if there was more than one problem, only choose one to review with your child and set a goal for next time. The important thing is to acknowledge what your child did well. Many problems can be avoided by planning ahead and making sure both you and your child are prepared. Make sure your child has something to do that will keep them busy in a situation where they may otherwise be bored and disruptive. After all, prevention is better than cure, and we may be able to prevent problems from occurring with a little advance preparation. For more Triple P tips and ideas for all ages and stages of development or to find Triple P services in your community, visit or

Makefriends. friends.Don’t Don’tadd addthem. them. Make

Register NOW avoid Waitlists! Learn why ScoutsCanada Canadaisto isthe the nation's #1youth youthorganization organization Learn why Scouts nation's #1 RegisterNOW NOWtotoavoid avoidWaitlists! Waitlists! Register


Find a groupnear nearyou www.scouts.caor or1-888-726-8876 1-888-726-8876 Find group | Find a agroup near you at or 1-888-726-8876

Cindy Knott has worked for over 25 years supporting children and families in Manitoba and now in British Columbia. She is currently the Vancouver Island Triple P Coordinator and an adoption social worker.

December 2017  41

Community Board Making our Community a Better Place to Live Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Child Care Resource & Referral Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Getting a Jump on January


or many of us, January is a natural time to start fresh and new with positive things we want for our lives. You may be thinking about joining a weight loss program or purchasing a gym membership, vowing to save money or get out of debt, or promising to finally declutter the house. Next month is the time many of us are busy making—and quickly breaking—our New Year’s Resolutions. As a busy parent, you likely do not need to be thinking about putting one more item on your to-do list. But if you are thinking about making some changes or doing things a bit differently in 2018, consider some of these simple ideas: Make self-care a priority. As parents, we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list. It is so important for parents

date nights and romantic getaways can help partners maintain connection, and in doing so, make them a better team as parents. Although very easy to neglect, it is important to make nurturing your partnership a priority, because children want an intact happy family. Drop the guilt. That means give up the super-parent syndrome. Learn to be okay with less-than-gourmet dinners and a messier house than what you would like. Ask for help if you need it. Remember what is really important is your children and your family. Kids do not expect perfection, and attempting it would not be good modeling to them. Remind yourself that doing a good job—the best you can do—is good enough. Read to your little one. Set aside time to read to your little ones. Even 10 to 15

to do what we have to in order to relax and renew on a regular basis in order to be the best for all the other people who count on us. Make a list of things you enjoy and try to do at least one of them every day. It may be small things like calling a friend, flipping through a favourite magazine or taking a bubble bath. Whatever it is, make sure it is an activity that recharges rather than drains you. Take care of your relationships. To be good parents, it is very important to get away for a little adult time. Plan to regularly get together with friends. This is particularly important for women, who have the feelgood hormone oxytocin, that makes us want to “tend and befriend.” Men also need to have time with their friends for comradery and to blow off steam. Routinely scheduled

minutes of reading can make a huge difference in a child’s development of language skills. Reading to your baby introduces her to the concepts of stories, numbers, letters, colors, and shapes, and gives her information about the world around her. It also builds memory and vocabulary skills. By the time she is one year old, your baby has already learned all the sounds she needs to speak her native language. Spend a few extra minutes snuggling after reading with your little one every night. This will set the stage for a special time and encourage open dialogue as your children get older. Do not overschedule. Brain research shows that when people are in a daydream like state, they do their most creative thinking. But children these days rarely have a chance to entertain themselves. As a parent,

Kaleidoscope Theatre Phoenix Theatre Royal BC Museum Victoria Children’s Choir Victoria Conservatory of Music Enquire about non-profit brochure or magazine distribution in Greater Victoria: 42  Island Parent Magazine

I am all too familiar with the urge to “follow the crowd” and enroll my little ones into several different classes all before the age of six months. Resist the pressure to become your child’s day planner, social secretary and entertainment organizer. Allow for days where nothing is planned and notice what happens, see what is discovered, and

Diana Hurschler New Parent Pages watch what develops. Day after day of adult-organized activities and events limits the possibility of creativity or self-discovery. For older children, set up activities that allow them to relax (for example, knitting, puzzles, yoga, even meditation) and spend time in nature. Practice mindfulness. Stop the autopilot and start to pay attention to your thinking. Observe that your self-talk is constant. Start to bring awareness to your thoughts and the tension in your body. Remember, feelings come along with thoughts. You can also use the breath. For me, taking a slow, deep, intentional breath can bring me back. Whether you are reacting mindlessly or responding mindfully, your child is drinking it all in. Laugh. The logic for this resolution is simple: Laughter is fun. Research on laughter confirms that it releases endorphins and other hormones that make us feel a sense of connection. Babies and young children love physical comedy—goofy sounds, silly games or doing something unexpected like wearing your pajamas on your head. It goes a long way if they’re having a meltdown and you can make them laugh. Wouldn’t it be nice for your child to grow up with the happy memory of lots of laughter in the house? And finally, remember this: you are the ultimate role model for your children. Imagine the life you want for your children when they are your age. Then live it. Have a happy holiday season and a vibrant, guilt-free and laughter-filled 2018!

Emmanuel Preschool 2121 Cedar Hill Cross Road (by entrance to UVic) Children learn through play in our all inclusive, non-denominational Christian preschool. Great facility; outdoor play area and a gym for rainy day play! Two teachers with ECE certifi cation plus an assistant teacher to help with special needs children. A competent and caring teaching team!

Class Options for 2017–2018: Mon/Wed/Fri morning class Tues/Thurs morning class 5 mornings a week

Phone 250-598-0573

Christmas Eve Family Service Dec 24, 4:30 pm Nativity story— carols—participatory drama

First Met United Church Quadra & Balmoral

Also on Dec 24: Sunday Service: 11:00 am Carols in the Candlelight: 7:30 pm (Brass quintet at 7 pm)

Diana Hurschler, RN BscN, childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding counselor, has been helping families in their childbearing years and beyond since 1998. Diana is the proud mama of four little ones. Email

December 2017


Dear Santa


We provide the best quality music education to young children by blending the pleasure and the joy of music making with sound instruction.

am writing this brief note to clarify my wishes regarding your delivery this year. By now, you will no doubt have heard from each of my children—perhaps several times, in fact. This is all very well and fine, but I feel the need to follow up on their wishes with a few amendments. You see, I was not entirely happy after your visit last year, and I wish to maintain very clear communication moving forward. I am referring, of course, to the disastrous hamster-in-the-stocking episode of last year—of which you have a record, I’m sure. I have broken down my instructions by child, and included some general notes further on in my letter. Without further ado: GIRL, 6: I understand she requested stuffed animals and I must ask for your restraint in this area. We already own several hundred, at least, and any more would strain our household limits severely. Also, please note, items of clothing MUST be pink. Experience has shown that no matter how cute the outfits, if they are not pink, they will not be worn. Any shade of pink is fine. Also, kindly ignore her request for a parrot. Birds of any kind will not be accepted.

Register Today by Contacting:

Jennifer Yuen 250.380.1189

BOY, 9: Regarding any explosive devices he may have requested, please note these are absolutely not agreeable. The same rule applies to flame-creating devices of any kind, and anything that could be used as a weapon: throwing stars, pocket knives, samurai swords, and the like. I know he stated several convincing arguments as to why he needs these items in order to survive, but I must draw the line. Also, if you choose 44  Island Parent Magazine

to bring him a quad, as he requested, you must also be willing to supply a trailer on which to transport it, and a padded safety suit including goggles, helmet, and so forth.

Sarah Milligan Is There an App for This? Additional medical insurance will also be required. GIRL, 11: It seems she may have led you to believe that I support her wish for a smartphone. However, any statements she has made about my support were wholly untrue. Her father and I are not ready for her to own any kind of device which can be used for electronic viewing or communication. Furthermore, we would ask for your restraint in the area of nail polish, earrings, and cropped t-shirts. May I suggest the following as acceptable substitutes: warm sweaters, educational books, and knitting supplies. Above all else, Santa, I must ask that you do not, under any circumstances, supply any kind of Christmas chocolate, Christmas candy, high-bouncer balls, toys that light up, and/or toys that make any noise whatsoever. Furthermore, if you attempt again to bring a living creature of any kind, shape or size into our home, I will have to ask you to leave and not return. Remember, if you make me look good, I’ll keep up the mystery of your existence. But if you make life hard for me, you will find yourself going the way of the tooth fairy. We wouldn’t want that now, would we? Finally, if it’s not too much to ask, I would like to add my own list of wishes—seeing as how you will be visiting anyway. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like two hours of extra sleep per week, a weekly housekeeper, and a haircut; along with these, I will need babysitting services during said haircut. While you’re at it, laundry service would be lovely. And, I wouldn’t mind at all if you supplied a three-week stay at a spa somewhere in the tropics. Thank you for your attention on these matters. I look forward to continuing our relationship in good standing! S​ arah Milligan lives on Vancouver Island. She is grateful to her children for the joy they inspire, not to mention the endless writing fodder.

171024 SMUS_Ed_Ext-IslandParent_ad-4.75x3 copy.pdf 1 10/24/2017 3:06:35 PM

WINTER HOLIDAY PROGRAMS December 18, 2017 to January 4, 2018

A wide range of full and half-day programs for all kids in Victoria ages 5-15, including:

Passion Sports Winter Elite Camp Three days of intensive basketball skill development.

Holly Days

Festive tours and trees are all part of this action -packed camp.

January Jump Start

You’ll literally be flying through the air at this joyful start to the New Year.

Visit our website for information on these and other programs:, or call the Education Extension office at 250-370-6120.

December 2017  45

Family Services Directory

Community Options for Children and Families offers recreational support groups for Children and Youth age 6-18 who have a brother or sister with a disability. The Sibshop Program allows children and youth to connect with peers who understand what This directory, sponsored by Thrifty Foods, features not for profit it is like to be a Sib. Sibkids (age 6-12) and Sibteens agencies and organizations serving children, youth and families. (age 13-18) are play and activity based designed to provide opportunity for participants to share in a comfortable and safe environment. For further 1Up, Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre (1- help finding a job? Need employees? Contact us info call 250-380-6363 or provides support, education and resources for FREE assistance! 9860 Third St. Sidney. 250for parents in the Greater Victoria area through 656-0134. End Dyslexia. Does your child have trouble reading free counselling, volunteer training, a mentoring or is behind in reading? Is your child bright, but is program for single moms, and a support group for Boys & Girls Club Services offer after-school not learning as quickly as you would like? Get ready dads, as well as a variety of integrated life skills and evening social, educational and recreational for September now with Summer Reading Camps and parenting courses which are open to the whole programming for children and youth at 5 locations from the convenience of your own home! Use community, with fees on a sliding scale. For single (Colwood, Langford, VicWest, Central Saanich and research-based programs with fast, lasting results parent members, the Centre provides free toys and Esquimalt) and summer camps both in Esquimalt while working with award-winning speech-language books, a clothing room and bread pantry. Donations and at our Outdoor Centre in Metchosin. We also of- pathologist, Marlene Lewis, who brings many years of gently-used clothing, small household items, and fer support to parents through our Parents Together of experience and proven results in improving readtoys are welcome. Hours: Mon., Tue., Thu., Fri.: 9–4, program and parent workshops. For more informa- ing for children, teens and adults. To learn more & Wednesdays: 12–7. Location: 602 Gorge Road tion on all programs and services visit or please visit or call 250-474-6368. East. Phone: 250-385-1114. call 250-384-9133. Family Services of Greater Victoria (formerly BC Beacon Community Services is a community- Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides high- Families in Transition) is a non profit agency that has based, non-profit agency dedicated to helping quality, adapted sports, recreational and social been serving families since 1978. We provide a full people and improving lives on southern Vancouver programs for kids, teens and young adults living range of services to the whole family in supportIsland and the southern Gulf Islands. Beacon thrift with autism on Vancouver Island. Shawnigan Lake: ing their relationship and through separation and shops fund important LOCAL community services Multisport day camp, bike clinics and family camp. divorce. Counseling, mediation, legal information and programs. Beacon also offers: child, youth and Victoria: Swim, soccer, skate and physical literacy. and a range of group programs are available for family services (including the Peninsula Early Years Nanaimo: Swim and physical literacy. Family events children, youth and adults on a sliding fee scale. Call Centre and child care); counselling; employment take place throughout the year! Become a member us at 250-386-4331 or visit We can help. services and training for people of all ages; home for only $25/year at Call support care; volunteer services and opportunities; 604-685-4049, email or HappyBaby Sleep Solutions helps families creaffordable housing/care/supports for seniors and visit for more ate healthy sleep habits in babies and children so people with disabilities. For Home Support, please information. everyone is well rested and happy. Sukkie Sandhu, call 250-658-6407. For other programs: 250-656M.Ed., has worked with hundreds of families locally 0134. CHOICES Adoption & Counselling is a licensed, in Victoria and worldwide. Sukkie is a Registered professional, non-profit agency that provides Clinical Counsellor so the cost of a sleep consultaBeacon Community Services Employment services to adoptive parents, birth-parents, and tion may be covered under your extended medical Programs. Beacon Community Services offers a adoptees. CHOICES arranges adoptions domesti- plan. For more information visit happybabysleepfull menu of employment services on the Saanich cally and internationally. We are committed to pro- or call 250-857-1408 for a FREE Peninsula and Gulf Islands. We’ve been helping viding a comprehensive, client-centered adoption evaluation. Let’s get started! people find work since 1982! Our programs build on service which best meets the needs of everyone a person’s strengths and resolve barriers to finding in the adoption constellation. Please contact us at HeadWay Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson’s Centre and keeping employment. We also work with our, or call 250-479-9811 supports families living with seizures by offering employer network to support job seekers. Need for further information. parent workshops three times a year, educational

46  Island Parent Magazine

presentations in schools and community groups as well as providing tutoring sessions and one-to-one professional consultations to help your child live up to their highest potential. Keep up to date with the latest research about treatments, lifestyle, and safety issues for your child. We can be reached at, or you can reach the Epilepsy Program Coordinator directly at 250-475-6677. Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) is a registered charity and nonprofit helping individuals and organizations to connect across cultures. Programs offered include immigrant and refugee services, parenting programs, employment services, interpretation and translation, diversity workshops and training, English language training, volunteer placements, youth programs and tutoring, seniors groups, and inter-cultural arts programming. Located at 930 Balmoral Road, 250-388-4728 info@,

Award of Excellence in Child Care

Happy Holidays from ALL the staff at Lexie’s Little Bears!

LDABC The Learning Curve (previously The Learning Disabilities Assn.) supports, educates and advocates for children with learning disabilities and related challenges. Individual and group support, education and consultation is available for children, youth, parents, caregivers and professionals. Please visit our website @ or call us for more information or to book an appointment: 250 370 9513.

December/January spaces available! Register NOW! Our Second Location is NOW OPEN: The Spirit Bear Lodge!

Power To Be inspires people living with barriers or disabilities to explore their limitless abilities through inclusive adventures rooted in nature. With programs for children, youth and adults, year-round adventures include kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking and more. Visit or call 250385-2363 to learn more.

Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS) supports immigrants and refugees living in Greater Victoria. Services are free and include oneon-one counselling, parent education workshops, youth life skills classes, a preschool program, art therapy, language classes and academic support, employment help, computer classes and fun community events like free yoga, tai chi, dance and cooking classes. Visit us online at or phone 250-361-9433.

The Royal City Youth Ballet’s

The Nutcracker Island Exclusive

Friday Dec. 15, 2017 7pm

Photo: Amy Williams

Sooke-West Shore Early Years Centres provide information to families about children and family services, supports, child development and parenting. The Early Years Navigator will assist families with referral information for local early years programming, child care, public health, special needs intervention services, and social supports. The Sooke-West Shore Early Years Centres are hosted by Sooke Family Resource Society and located at the Child, Youth, and Family Centres in both Sooke and the West Shore and can be reached at 250217-9243. Additional information can be accessed at


Tickets Family

$26 $84

(2 adults and 2 children)

Saturday Dec. 16, 2017 1pm

Ticket Centre: 250.748.7529 2687 James St. Duncan, BC

December 2017  47

PresChool & ChIlD Care Directory Central saanICh



Chrysalis Child Care ...............................250-652-0815 a nurturing and stimulating environment for a small group of 21⁄2–5 year old children . Qualified eCe promotes learning through play . chrysalischildcare .ca .


Licenced group childcare for children ages 12 months to 5 years old. Open 6:30am-5:30pm. Leap Forward Dance School offers weekday and Saturday dance classes for children ages 2 and up. 2758 Peatt Road, Langford


Miles of Smiles Nature Junior Kindergarten .......................................... 778-265-4374 Come See Why learning In Nature Rocks! Reggio Influenced Philosophy ages 3-5 . have Your Child Become a Nature Detective today! email mosnjk@hotmail .com .

CorDova Bay Carrot Seed Preschool ............................250-658-2331 Where children can discover, imagine, construct and learn through play . Wondrous natural playground . carrotseedpreschool .com . Cordova Bay Preschool........................... 250-658-3441 a bright and cheerful parent participation preschool with a philosophy of learning through play . 4 yr olds - m/W/F 9:151:15; 3 yr olds - t/th 9:15-12:15 . cordovabaypreschool .org .

esQuImalt Ciara Early Childhood Centre ..................250-386-7369 education and Fun hand in hand! exceptional care for ages 1-5yrs . Inclusive nature inspired kindergarten readiness program with Christian values . Facebook .com/ CiaraearlyChildhoodCentre . Island Kids Academy Esquimalt ..............250-381-2929 high quality child care (ages 1-5) . enriched Curriculum Includes music Classes and Character Development using the Virtues Project . Part -time spaces available . Islandkids .ca . La Pré-Maternelle Appletree Preschool .....250-479-0292 A French Immersion Program. 30 months to school age . licensed Christian centre . prematernelleappletree .com .

Only seconds past luxurious Bear Mountain our highly respected outdoor program will not disappoint! Our “Nurture through Nature” facility is rooted from the Reggio-Emilia philosophies, allowing the children to use their environment as the “third teacher.” Located on 2 acres of forest land, your child will learn and grow in a natural surrounding of tress and wildlife! Newly expanded, we NOW have more spaces available for your Infant/ Toddlers and Pre-Kindergarten aged children. We use the trees from our own property to build the furniture and some of the toys in all three centres. The children enjoy yoga, music, Spanish, signlanguage and an outdoor classroom. In 2016, Lexie Biegun won the BC Provincial Gov’t award of Excellence for Child Care Providers. Please visit our Facebook page for current info and pics.

250-590-3603 Cub House waitlist: 778-432-3600

metChosIn Metchosin Cooperative Preschool .......... 250-478-9241 Gorgeous forested playground . half day play based nature programs . exploration, self discovery, child centered learning nurtured by our wonderful eCCes . West-Mont Montessori School ................250-474-2626 exceptional preschool montessori instruction in a beautiful natural environment . ages 30 months and up . Providing a balanced approach to incorporating French, music, art and Nature . Stop by and experience what it is like to be part of a community devoted to the development of the whole child . open house: thursdays 9-11 am . west-mont .ca .

Resource & Referral


Island Parent Magazine

Camosun College Child Care Services........250-370-4880 Quality licensed facilities on both campuses providing children, newborn to 5 years, with rich early learning experiences in a learn through play environment . camosun .ca/childcare . Full o’ Beans Preschool .............................. 250-360-1148 We offer ‘learn through play’ programming designed to foster your child’s natural curiosity and imagination . Flexible scheduling, 2 .5 and 4 hour programs, qualified staff . Registration is ongoing! saanichneighbourhoodplace .com . Island Montessori House ....................250-592-4411 Inclusive, integrated and nurturing Preschool and after School Care programs . lovely rural setting with a focus on nature and outdoor environmental activities . islandmontessori .com . Lambrick Park Preschool & Childcare....... 250-477-8131 Gordon head’s parent-participation preschool and childcare center . Flexible hours m-F 9am-3pm & drop-ins offered . Play based learning and outdoor play . allergy friendly . Celebrating 40 years . lambrickparkpreschool .ca .

In The Garden Childcare Centre ............. 250-654-0306 a GReat PlaCe to GRoW . offering preschool, full day care, before and after school care for children aged 2 .5 to 12 years old . open all year . Now offering Infant and toddler Care .

oaK Bay Emmanuel Preschool ............................. 250-598-0573 Children learn through play in our non-denominational Christian preschool near uVic . Bright attractive setting . emmanuelpreschool .ca .

Recreation Oak Bay ................................250-370-7200 Fully licensed, eCe Daycare, Preschool and Nature Preschool . Play based, child led learning . afterschool care available .


north saanICh

Gonzales Co-op Preschool ...................... 250-727-1003 an imaginative Reggio emilia inspired learning-through-Play community that focuses on nature, music, and arts . gonzalescooppreschool .com .

Child Care

• Half day and Full day Preschool Programs • Children’s learning is nurtured and supported through exploration, discovery, play and creative expression 3905 Haro Road, Victoria BC

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has opened a brand new licensed child care facility in Royal Oak at 4353 West Saanich Road. We currently have openings in our over 36 months program operating Monday to Friday. For more information call 250-727-0007 and ask for Maureen Hall, Manager or email us at

Looking for child care? Need help with subsidy forms? Taking care of children? Need child care training? Your community’s best source of child care information and resources. Victoria & Gulf Islands: 250-382-7000 or 1-800-750-1868 Sooke: 250-642-5152 Westshore: 250-391-4324 Cowichan Valley: 250-746-4135 local 231 PacificCare (Ladysmith north): 250-756-2022 or 1-888-480-2273 Funded by the Province of BC

Montessori Educare.................................250-881-8666 Beautiful learning environment in Broadmead and Saanichton. 30 months to 5 years. All year round. Neighbourhood Junior Kindergarten....... 250-479-4410 Welcoming, culturally sensitive parent participation program in Lakehill School. Morning and afternoon. For 3s and 4s. See website for details. neighbourhood Oakcrest Preschool................................ 250-472-0668 A welcoming, nurturing environment with a large, bright facility. Learn through play with 2 caring ECEs.

Pre-School Junior Kindergarten 250-479-4532 Educational Excellence to the Glory of God Rainbows & Dreams Preschool................ 250-479-1966 Small classes for 3-5 yr olds in a safe nurturing environment. Children learn through play and fun–developing a sense of confidence, independence and creativity. Highly qualified ECE teacher. Ready Set Grow Preschool....................... 250-472-1530 Inside Hillcrest Elm. in Gordon Head, we help children transition to Kindergarten. Licensed Preschool with highly qualified, warm ECE. St. Joseph’s Catholic Preschool................... 250-479-1237 • A Christian child centre for 3–5 year olds. • A warm nurturing and challenging program • Offered by St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Wiseways Preschool & Daycare................ 250-477-1312 Quality, fully licensed, Christian preschool/daycare for 3–4 year olds. Experienced team of ECEs. Spacious facilities include large playground and indoor gym. Subsidized fees welcome. Call for a tour.

Licenced group childcare for children ages 1 to 12 years old Offering Before & After school care for Vic West Elementary School Open 6:30am–5:30pm 250-590-2722

949 Fullerton Ave

Castleview Child Care............................. 250-595-5355 Learning Through Play & Discovery. Licensed non-profit, ECE staff. Since 1958. Morning or full-time care. Centennial Day Care............................... 250-386-6832 Exceptional childcare and education 35+ years. Nature inspired, play based program. NEW central, “green” building. Christ Church Cathedral Childcare and Junior Kindergarten.......................... 250-383-5132 ECE and Specialist teachers provide an outstanding all-day, licensed program for 3–5 year olds. Spacious, renovated facility with a huge backyard in Fairfield. Little Paws Preschool...............................250-384-3211 A program designed to enhance children’s creativity, interdependence, independence and to expand self-expression. Website: Nightingale Preschool and Junior Kindergarten Ltd....................250-595-7544 We offer education through creativity and play, providing rich learning experiences through a well sourced and stimulating indoor and outdoor environment. Early years reading programme. Arts/Drama programme. Rainbow Express Daycare....................... 250-382-2314 A nurturing environment for children to learn through play and discovery in a natural setting. ECEs and specialist teachers. Close to city centre.

Storyoga Preschool................................. 778-679-4004 Embracing and empowering children exactly as they are. Storyoga Preschool is a nature and yoga based program located in Sidney, BC.


Positive and supportive program motivating children to learn, discover and grow through play. Kindness Curriculum, Jolly Phonics and Active Outdoor Play!

250-383-7445 The Sir James Douglas Playschool.......... 250-389-0500 Fun, creative and educational ECE program for 3-5 year olds to grow and develop life long skills. Come play and learn in our bright and modern centre in Fairfield. Victoria Montessori................................ 250-380-0534 Unique, innovative learning environment combining the best of Montessori and Learning Through Play. Open yr. round. 30mths–K.


v Comprehensive programs for Preschool through Grade 8 v Delivering academic excellence through music, dance, drama and visual arts v Outstanding educators, locations and facilities

View Royal Preschool..............................250-479-8067 Exciting inclusive program in a safe and exceptional care environment. 3-5 year olds. Outside play and themes enrich this program. Full/part-time spaces available.

DUNCAN International Montessori Academy of Canada................................................. 250-737-1119 Offers an enriching environment for preschool children 2-4.9 years with potty training. Nurturing young minds, keeping the spirit free. Parkside Academy..................................... 250-746-1711 Providing high quality early learning and care from infancy to 12 years of age, in a stimulating, respectful, nurturing, nature based environment with fully educated and passionate early childhood educators. Visit or find us on Facebook. Queen Margaret’s School.......................... 250-746-4185 Early Childhood Education Program. Co-ed nurturing curriculum to develop the whole child. Healthy snacks and lunch provided. Queen of Angels Early Learning Centre...... 250-701-0433 We believe that the development of the whole child (physically, socially, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually) encourages each individual to develop to their full potential. We offer an enriched full day program for 3–5 year olds based on Kindergarten readiness. Sunrise Waldorf School Preschool..............250-743-7253 In a warm environment, this nature and play-based program enlivens and nurtures the growing child.

Chemainus St. Joseph’s Preschool..............................250-246-3191 An enriching preschool program allowing children to grow as individuals in a safe and nurturing Christian environment.


SIDNEY Positive Path Early Learning....................250-655-7244 Located near the library and Sidney School, our program has earned a stellar reputation for quality child care and is growing as fast as the children we care for. Space is available for your child to embark on a journey of active exploration and discovery, enjoying a natural outdoor playground and an expansive indoor learning space. Experienced educators foster a lifelong quest for knowledge and guide children with Christian values and virtues.

View Royal Childcare...............................250-479-8067 Preschool structured, high quality childcare. Victoria Conservatory of Music classes. Part time spaces available. 2.5-5year olds.

Island Kids Academy View Royal.............250-727-2929 High quality child care (ages 1-5). Preschool curriculum offered within a warm, caring child care environment. Character development using the Virtues Project. Access to community programs including swimming, skating, Victoria Conservatory of Music. Part-time spaces available.

Aspengrove School.................................. 250-618-2201 Aspengrove School in Nanaimo, an independent school offering Junior Kindergarten for 3 & 4 year olds. Play-based learning, rooted in the same International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum taught in our Kindergarten-Grade 12 classes.

Qualicum Beach Children’s Discovery Centre.....................250-752-4343 Our program recognizes the uniqueness of each child and provides a nurturing, safe and creative learning environment. Licensed preschool, group care and out of school care. Early Childhood Educators. childrensdiscovery Little Star Children’s Centre.....................250-752-4554 Mother, Daughter owned and operated. Earth friendly preschool education inspired by nature. Infused with fun and creative daily yoga practices! Licensed group care. Enthusiastic ECE instructors.

Port Alberni John Paul II Catholic School.....................250-723-0637 “Where children grow and learn through play.” We provide a program that will inspire development physically, socially, emotionally, cognitively, creatively and spiritually. 250.382.3533

December 2017  49

it would trigger a meltdown. And music was played at school a lot. It was played during morning choice time, it was played during music class and weekly assemblies and daily for about a month when the kids prepared for the school musical. There was a teacher who took a bluetooth speaker outside during recess whenever he was on duty. On those days, Angus would go to

School was just one part of the problem. Soon we couldn’t go into stores where music was piped through loudspeakers, or if we had to, Angus would wear headphones and spend the whole time complaining that he could “still kind of hear it.” You don’t notice how prevalent music is as a background noise until you try to avoid it. Then, last spring, in the car, I told Angus that I’d found a CD I thought he’d really like. Just one song, I promised. It’s not Raffi, I promised. Ignoring his whining, I played Joel Plaskett’s Park Avenue Sobriety Test. The whining stopped. When I clicked it off, Angus was silent for a moment. I liked that, he finally said.

the far edge of the school ground, sit by himself and cry. I started to get as worked up about music as Angus did. Do they really need music at recess? I fumed to Mike, as if a boom box was some especially cruel form of punishment; which for Angus, it seemed to be.

Soon, we were listening to that CD every time we drove anywhere. Angus refused to listen to Joel’s back catalogue, but we bought the new album when it was released and played that too. At the end of March, we took Angus to the Alix Goolden for his first concert. Granny was on standby,

Loud & Clear W hen Angus was a toddler, our life had a musical accompaniment. Either Angus was singing, or he was coercing Mike and I to sing, or Raffi was blaring on the stereo. Angus spent hours playing with the tambourines and xylophones in his music box and carried a bag of songbooks and a ukulele everywhere we went. From one-year-old until the summer he turned five, music was the main thing in Angus’s life. And then suddenly, it wasn’t. About the time Angus began kindergarten, he started to apply rules to music listening. CDs could only be played in the car. If I tried to turn one on in the house he would wail until I relented and turned it off. He could tolerate about 30 minutes of CBC’s On the Island in the morning, but if a musical clip was played during that time he’d throw himself on the floor and scream. Music was still okay in the car, so long as it was Raffi—but then one day he decided he hated Raffi with a passion. No substitutions were acceptable, either. As soon as he was in his car seat he’d say, very politely, “I’d like silence, please.” I gave in, because I’d rather have quiet than screaming. I thought it was a phase. It was strange, and a little frustrating, but I wasn’t overly concerned. But then Angus’s rules started to expand beyond home. At school, Angus was fine with singing in circle time, but if music was played on a stereo

Happy Holidays to You & Your Family from All of Us at Island Parent 50  Island Parent Magazine

but we didn’t need her. We stayed until the encore, Angus munching snacks and dancing in front of his seat until he passed out from exhaustion around 10 p.m. Angus’s level of music tolerance at school remained a consistent zero, but soon we could go into stores without the head-

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phones. And Joel was always on in the car. After the concert, his back catalogue was fully embraced—Angus loved to pick out the songs he had heard performed. Soon he could sing all nine albums word for word. We took a detour to Atlin on our summer Yukon trip to see Joel play live again two days in a row. And yes, as much of a die-hard fan as I am, after driving around Yukon and the NWT for a month listening to only Joel Plaskett there were times when I wanted to throw the iPod out the window. I’d try Angus’s old tactic “I’d like silence, please.” But that was always met with the same response: “No! Joel Plaskett!” In August, we started a slow and steady music introduction program. I had success with Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan because I told Angus that Joel loved them. Does he? The truth mattered little to me by that point. The Band and Neil Young were tolerable, but didn’t really stick, but the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have done surprisingly well. The Foo Fighters. The White Stripes. The Black Keys. Angus is at a new school where he doesn’t wear his headphones much at all. We’ve stopped taking a pair when we go out for errands. Last week I took him to Flying Squirrel. I texted a video of him jumping on the trampolines to my mom. It’s so loud! She texted back. And it was, I realized. Music was blaring through the loudspeaker at maximum volume and my kid had a huge smile on his face. It had been one year, and thanks to time, patience, and a lot of Joel Plaskett, we’d come out the other side at last.

Laura Trunkey is the mother of the amazing Angus, and the author of the story collection Double Dutch (House of Anansi, 2016). Find her at


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December 2017  51

Itsy-Bitsy Spider Crawls In Your Home Again

Enter Our W Online Contests

ith the colder and shorter days of autumn, both plant and animal species alike begin to prepare for winter. While trees enter a state of dormancy as their leaves turn and fall, creatures all over Vancouver Island begin preparing their own way to overwinter. Whether they hibernate, migrate, or store food away for later, all wild animal species have adapted

thus not attracted to your warm house. The majority of spiders you find in your house during the winter have actually been there all year. House spiders are among the small number of species that are adapted for living indoors, despite the low food and water supply. These species have been adapting and living with people for almost all of human history. In the late summer, you may

to survive the cold winter months, including the smallest of creatures, like spiders. For some, thinking about spiders in December reminds them of the Christmas spider legend. Originating in Central and Eastern Europe, the legend tells of a poor family with nothing to decorate their Christmas tree. Upon hearing this, a house spider spins its web all over the tree during the night. The next day, the spider web sparkled and glittered in the Christmas morning sunlight, much to the family’s amazement. This story explains the tradition of hanging tinsel on our Christmas trees, which many people still do today. You may still find tinsel webs in your house, even in the middle of winter. Some assume the spiders in their home are escaping the colder temperature outside. However, spiders are cold blooded and are

find more spiders than usual, especially the giant house spider. While this arachnid is not really a House spider or seeking shelter for the upcoming cold season, this spider is actually looking for a mate. As the males search for females, they wander much more widely, often finding their way into homes by mistake through open windows or doors. Throughout the rest of winter you will not find many other spiders wandering outside. However, some spider species such as the Black widow, are able to survive the winter by going dormant. Although they are not commonly found, Black widow spiders in Victoria can survive as adults through the cold months by overwintering similarly to a hibernating mammal. As their metabolic rate slows downs to conserve energy, these venomous yet non-aggressive spiders reside in protected areas in nature or around un-

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• Family Getaways • Gift Certificates • IMAX Passes • Books, CDs & More One entry per family per week. Check out the prizes and enter the contests by visiting 52  Island Parent Magazine

disturbed buildings, such as storage sheds. Other spiders find themselves under leaf piles, with their legs tucked in close, conserving their energy. As they wait it out, many spiders can and will go for months without eating, but will indulge if an unsuspecting meal crawls by. Some spiders remain active

Erica Van Dyk Nature Notes throughout winter as their bodies produce enough natural antifreeze that they will not freeze when temperatures reach as low as -5˚ Celsius, or even colder for some. Combined with finding sheltered areas such as leaf piles or cracks in tree bark, these spiders have a better chance of surviving the winter. While most spiders do not last the winter as adults, they continue the species through egg sacs. As fall progresses, some female spiders lay their eggs in protected sacs made of spider silk, which is able to overwinter with the baby spiders hatching in the spring. This winter, you may have already found a spider egg sac in your backyard or shed. For some people, it may be tempting to get rid of it, knowing of the many spider eggs within, or even tearing it apart for a closer look, but the best thing you can do is to leave it alone. By now, the mother spider has likely died, and for many species, their survival depends on the egg sacs making it through the cold season. Similarly, if you find a spider in your house during this time, putting it outside could be very harmful, as they are likely house spiders that have adapted to the inside conditions. If you want to remove it however, putting the spider in your garage or backyard shed allows for the best chance of survival. Spiders are such amazing creatures and are a vital part of the ecosystem. They are the most important predators of insects—especially ones we don’t like, such as mosquitos. Next summer, when you are sitting outside enjoying the warm sun, you will want those baby spiders that hatched from the egg sacs around to eat those pesky insects!

Erica Van Dyk is a Program Naturalist at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary who proudly admits that she used to be afraid of spiders.

Send Us Your Stories! Island Parent is looking for articles for upcoming issues. Some of our best content comes from people just like you—Vancouver Island parents who are passionate about their families and are dealing with the day to day issues of raising children in our community. Share your experiences, your thoughts on a particular issue, your ideas on places to see or projects to do—anything related to parenting. Check our Writer’s Guidelines at for specific information on submissions. We’d love to hear from you. Please email submissions to December 2017  53

Valuing Emotion


ust as intellect is part of the basic equipment with which a baby starts life, so are emotions. But children must learn how to use their emotions effectively, just as they must learn to use their intellect. Emotions are signals or messages to tell us about the state of our needs, just as physical pains are signals about the state of our body. Learning to use our emotional feelings to help us get through life more effectively is a major challenge of human development. S u r p r i s i n g l y, many adults have never completed this learning process and still handle their feelings like children. Our responsiveness to feelings is affected by what we learn in childhood. Feelings are complicated for most people, especially

54  Island Parent Magazine

for young children. Children don’t have the vocabulary or the mental ability to express themselves when they are upset, and many feelings are difficult to identify. A parent’s task with regard to her child’s feelings is a crucial one. The parent must assist the child to identify feelings correctly, and to express a full range of feelings appropriately, rather than forbid feelings. A child can learn to control his behavior, while using his emotions to identify his needs and problem areas. The parent can then assist the child to take action to deal with the problems causing his feelings. This must be done in a way that meets a child’s maturity level. Babies cry, toddlers scream and throw tantrums and young children express feelings physically and lash out with biting, hitting, kicking…and then they finally use their words. This doesn’t sound like, “I’m overwhelmed because I did too much today.” Or “I feel frustrated and annoyed because I was really hoping to go to the park.”

Four or five year olds say, “I hate you butt head!” Older children say things like, “I hate my life, I wish I was dead.” Or “I want to kill you!” All of this will send

Allison Rees Cut It Out! parents running to their neighbourhood psychologist! What parents often overlook is that their children are simply expressing strong feelings in the only way they know how. Taking this personally, catastrophizing the behavior or punishing a child for acting this way is harmful. A commitment to understand, value and respect our feelings as messages provides growth for our children and perhaps even more growth for us as parents.

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