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THE Local Guide for Active Urban Families July/August 2011

Glorious Summer Fun for Everyone! Childcare Ins & Outs The Joys of RVing Visiting Etiquette Friend Management 2.0

Dating after Divorce



July/August 2011



THE Local Guide for Active Urban Families July/August 2011

July-Aug 2011 Glorious Summer Fun for Everyone!

Top Story

Childcare Ins & Outs Growing up Online:

Cyberbullying, Online “Friends” and more…

Summer Fun for Everyone! Things to every day and any day, all summer long!

Dating after Divorce July/August 2011


On Our Cover

Cover model Emma is ready for summer! Photographed by Gina Spanos AG Photography | Photographed at VanDusen Botanical Garden |

From the Editor 6 6 8 11 12 29

Editor’s Note Your Thoughts Contests WCF Presents WCF News Where to Find Us

25 26 27 29

WCM Profile Anita Alberto & Gina Spanos of AG Photography WCM Feature Dating After Divorce WCM Events

More ways to connect!


Features 13 14 17 23

Child Care Choosing Child Care Child Care Preschool for Parents Summer Fun Listings Visiting Etiquette for Guests & Hosts

Columns 10 16 22 24 30

Parenting Growing Up Online: Friend Management 2.0 WestCoast Finds Cool Summer Finds for Everyone! Travel The Joys of RVing Health Children’s Vitamins: Are They Really Necessary? Last Look Great reads for the whole family!

In Our Next Issue Sign Up for Our Email Blast And get Exclusive Access to Online Contests Latest Finds & Deals Special Offers Event Listings …and much more!

September Back to School! Grandparents Consignment Stores WestCoast Mom: Slow Parenting


July/August 2011


In our leisure we reveal what kind of people we are. ~ Ovid, Roman poet (43 BC-AD 17)


une-uary seems happily over, all of my offspring’s year-end recitals, showcases and meet ‘n’ greets have been successfully accomplished, and two months of leisure time now lie before me in all their much anticipated—and strangely terrifying—splendour. The thought instantly occurred to me: what exactly am I supposed to do with my child for the next two months? In previous years, daycare answered that question easily enough, but, this year, as kindergarten looms, I came to the conclusion that there should be a break—at least for part of the summer—from all forms of organized activity, so—excepting a couple of weeks of sport camps—she’s all mine. If leisure truly reveals who we are, I was determined not be shown up by the Fates as the mom who lets her child watch TV all summer long. Weekend trips were booked, outings were arranged, and playdates were heartily begged for. And there’s still half a summer left over for free play and general tearing of hair. I foresee many baking projects in my near future—Snoopy cupcakes, anyone? For those of you with similar terrors scheduling needs, we have put together the ultimate list of summer activities, destinations, events and trips to help keep your whole family entertained and away from any and all flat screens.

your thoughts Just wanted to thank you for a wonderful day out for our family. [Contest winner, May] I can’t tell you how much my son enjoyed his day out with Thomas (enraptured to say the least!) and even his big sister thoroughly enjoyed herself despite earlier protests that she wasn’t really that into Thomas!!! I sincerely hope that the day was a successful fundraiser for the WCRA and I thank [WestCoast Families and WCRA] again for a fantastic opportunity for us to be part of it. Clare Adams I enjoyed all of the coverage you had on dads on in your June issue. As a full-time dad myself, I regularly turn to your publication for the articles and event listings. Would be great to see more dad-centered coverage in your magazine in the future! James Sutton


Photographed by eclipseph

editor’s note

We also take a look at another form of exploration, via family RVing, in our travel column and have some wonderful summer finds for the whole family. Looking forward to fall, we’re also focusing on child care, including tips for parents on how they—as well as their children—can make friends in preschool. Like it or not, kids, especially older kids, spend a fair amount of time online and mostly on social network sites. Teaching your children how to handle online “friends” is just as important as talking about their realtime associates, so be sure to check out the tips in Friend Management 2.0. Last—but definitely not least—we have launched our 3rd Annual Readers’ Choice Awards in this issue. Turn to page 9 for details on how you can win our bigger and better Ultimate Family Pass, as well as other fantastic prizes. We look forward to hearing your feedback on which businesses, products and services you loved and used this past year. However you choose to spend your summer months, I hope you get some time for yourselves—away from offspring, partner and pet—with minimal hair-tearing. See you in September!

Thanks for the great article on biking in this month’s issue. [Utah’s Red Canyon, June] I have been trying to persuade my husband to do something like this for over a year, and this might just convince him that our kids, who are 10 and 12, are ready for this type of adventure! Helena Gordon

Got anything to say, rant about or praise? We want to hear it all!

13988 Maycrest Way, Suite 140, 2nd Floor Richmond, BC V6V 3C3 Tel: 604.249.2866 Fax: 604.247.1331 ­Publisher Andrea Vance Managing Editor Anya Levykh Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso Accounts Receivable & Bookkeeping Jennifer Brulé Administration / Editorial Assistant Jennifer Bruyns Advertising Inquiries 604.249.2866 For distribution inquiries, please contact: Jennifer Bruyns Contributors: Clare Adams, Judy Arnall, Debbie Bowman, Jennifer Bruyns, Sara Dimerman, Carolyn Jabs, Sue Irwin, Gina Spanos Photography, Mandy Fields Yokim

WestCoast Families (WCF) is an independent, regional parenting publication. As the Lower Mainland’s prime resource for happy, healthy & active families, WCF provides informative and relevant content. All contents copyrighted ©. Written permission from the publisher is required to reproduce, quote, reprint or copy any material from WestCoast Families. PUBLICATIONS MAIL 40027247 Published nine times per year in British Columbia, Canada. Total circulation: 50,000 For queries about editorial submissions, please view the contributor guidelines on our website. To submit a community calendar event or share your feedback, please email

Email with your comments, questions and suggestions, and be entered to win monthly prizes! WestCoast Families is proud to have been selected as a mom-friendly employer for the 2010 Progressive Employers of Canada List. And congratulations to our fellow inductees!

July/August 2011



Enter to win any of these great prizes online at!

WIN the Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender! (Value $100) Make summer cooking easy with this innovative kitchen tool that allows you to chop, whisk and blend with ease. Ideal for soups, smoothies, dips and baby food, the Control Grip comes with a stick blender attachment, chopping bowl, whisk and storage jug, all of which are dishwasher-safe. Deadline to Enter: August 15, 2011

Win a Portachef Pro BBQ & 2 Director Chairs ($250 value) from Fraserway RV! Perfect for summer at home or away, your family can enjoy the best of outdoor life. Fraserway RV is Canada’s only national RV dealer and your vehicle to adventure. As well as RV’s to suit every family, they offer quality service and parts, including lots of camping and RV accessories like this Portachef Pro BBQ and these Faulkner brand directors chairs.

Deadline to Enter: July 30, 2011

WIN a Fall\Winter Program of Your Choice from L’Atelier Exploration Studio

WIN a $150 Shopping Spree at Old Navy! With hundreds of items for summer camp and back-to-school, Old Navy is guaranteed to help you check off that list in short order. Everything from tees and flip-flops to writing kits (for those letters home) and towels. $4.50 - $22.94. Deadline to Enter: July 30, 2011


L’Atelier is a brand new exploration studio inspired by the Italian Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, which encourages young children, their parents and their teachers to explore, question, and discover in an exciting and stimulating environment. Explore through courses in clay, light exploration, creative robotics, experimental photography, animation and much more! Suitable for children ages three to 12 years old. Class sizes are limited to eight children per instructor. Deadline to Enter: August 22, 2011

ReadersChoice awards 3rd Annual

is pleased to announce the official launch of our

Enter for your chance to WIN our ULTIMATE FAMILY PASS, which is even bigger and better this year! The ULTIMATE FAMILY PASS Grand Prize (Worth Over $1,700!) includes: One-year family memberships to ALL of the following attractions: • Britannia Mine Museum • Capilano Suspension Bridge • Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden • Greater Vancouver Zoo • Grouse Mountain • H.R. McMillan Planetarium • Maplewood Farm • Museum of Vancouver • Vancouver Aquarium • Vancouver Art Gallery • VanDusen Botanical Garden PLUS: 4 Season PlayPasses to Playland 2012 (April through September) 12 Single Family Passes to Richmond Aquatic Facilities, including Watermania

OR you can win one of these great prizes: • Family Subscription to FOUR of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s 2011-12 Kids’ Koncerts, plus four vouchers for any regular concert in the 2011-12 season • FOUR tickets to one of Carousel Theatre for Young People’s 2012 performances of Literary Classics. • TWO One-Day Family Passes to Vancouver Maritime Museum, as well as a copy of Waterfront by Dr. James P. Delgado

Go online to for full details on all prizes and to cast your vote! July/August Voting is open from July 15, 2011 until September 23, 2011. Contest results and prize winners will be announced in the November/December 2011 issue. All prizes will be awarded by November 15, 2011, and will be good for up to one year 2011 from date of issue.



Growing up Online Friend Management 2.0 By Carolyn Jabs


rue happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice.” Samuel Johnson wrote that line long before Facebook, but the point is still worth making. In many ways, Facebook has hijacked the word “friend.” Turning friendship into something that can be created with a click makes it harder for young people to think about the subtle distinctions between contacts, acquaintances, classmates, companions, buddies, mentors and authority figures. In the past, these people knew some things but not others about you. True friendship depends on trust, something that develops over time, through shared experience. Parents know that reliable friends who like you as you are play an essential role in healthy human development. That’s why so much effort goes into coordinating playdates when kids are little and supervising social occasions when kids get older. These experiences give parents lots of opportunities to talk to kids about how to recognize and nurture friendships. Once kids go online, those conversations often end. That makes parents nervous so many ask to be a child’s “friend” on Facebook. According to a recent Kaplan survey, two thirds of teens with a Facebook account are friends with their parents online. Sixteen percent of the teens accepted a parent’s friend request because it was the pre-condition for a Facebook account. Having a parent as a friend may be a good idea for younger teens who are just getting the hang of social networking. At some point, however, too much parental scrutiny inhibits healthy development on Facebook, just as it does in other parts of a young person’s life. The quickest way to get a grip on this idea is to imagine your own parents lurking at the margins of your adolescent life and posting comments about whatever seemed inappropriate to them. The truth is that making friends involves risk. In real life as well as Facebook, you may trust someone who isn’t trustworthy. Micromanaging isn’t the best way for parents to protect kids either on or offline. Instead, help kids develop the self-protective skills they need by starting conversations about topics like these: Quantity. A British anthropologist named Jill Dunbar has theorized that, because of the size of the human brain, people can sustain active social relationships with a limited number of people. Dunbar’s number is often quoted as 150, which, interestingly, corresponds to the 130 friends the average user has on Facebook. Most teens, however, accept hundreds of friends (though few approach the 5,000 that Facebook sets as an upper limit.) Often, young people have an intuitive understanding that, once they reach a certain tipping point, what happens on Facebook is actually a performance in front of an audience filled with acquaintances. Like it or not, your child is creating what marketing people call a “brand.” What will people associate with his or her name? What will he or she stand for? Public figures are cautious about what they share about their private lives, and Facebook makes everyone a public figure.

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Selectivity. It might seem that the best way to keep Facebook meaningful would be to limit the number of “friends.” That’s trickier than it seems. In a survey by ID Analytics, Inc. nine out of ten people said it was perfectly okay to refuse or ignore a friend request. Other research, however, indicates that declining a friend request can lead to hurt feelings in the real world. Talk to your child about how he or she decides who makes the cut as a Facebook friend. Some people are obvious no-no’s. If your child doesn’t actually know that “friend of a friend,” there’s no reason to give them access to all the personal details available on a typical Facebook page. Strangers are strangers even if they have fabulous profile pics. Other questions don’t have such obvious answers. Is it cool or pointless to be friends with someone who has thousands of friends? Should a Facebook friend share your interests or at least your taste in music? Are there characteristics that automatically put someone on the “Ignore” list? This also gets into the tricky territory of defriending, a process of pruning that is actually quite easy. On every Profile page, there’s a button called “Unfriend” at the bottom of the left column. The other person won’t even know what’s happened unless they’ve activated an unfriend app. According to research at the University of Colorado, young people typically defriend others because their posts are too frequent, boring or obnoxious. Again, this is a great topic for conversation. Does your teen use the unfriending option? When? Has he or she been unfriended? Was a traumatic experience or no-big-deal? Boundaries. For users between 13 and 17, Facebook automatically sets conservative privacy settings so much of what they post won’t appear on their public profile. That doesn’t mean it won’t leak into the wider world. Whatever your child posts shows up on the wall of friends where people your child doesn’t know can see it. Fortunately, Facebook is developing a more robust set of privacy tools. To find them, click on Account in the upper right corner and then on Privacy Settings. Many of the most interesting tools are in the Customize Settings section. Here you and your child can fine-tune decisions not only about what information people can see on his or her page but also on what personal information you’ll allow on pages of friends. For example, you will probably want to suggest that your child disable the “Checking Into Places” feature which allows other people to post information about where he or she is at any given moment. Another recent feature allows Facebook users to make sub-groups of friends by going to Create Lists in the Edit Friends section. Then, you can decide whether a specific list should or shouldn’t see profile information, posts and/or photos. To do this, find the Customize option in the categories under Privacy settings. Clicking on this button will open a menu that includes “Make this Open To.” In that section, you can select “Specific People.” Just drop the Friend List into that slot. Many parents want to monitor everything that happens on Facebook but, for older teens, that’s as counter-productive as insisting that you need to personally chaperone every party or outing with friends. Finding the kinds of friends that Johnson wrote about is something every child must do for him or herself. Parents can coach from the sidelines, offering plenty of advice and encouragement, but ultimately you have to trust that your child will sort through the multitudes to find a few friends worthy of the name. Carolyn Jabs, M.A., has been writing about families and the Internet for over fifteen years. She is the mother of three computer-savvy kids. Other Growing Up Online columns appear on her website

wcf presents Once Upon a Cure

September 24, 6pm, Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver Hunter Syndrome (MPS II) is a rare degenerative disorder that, when left untreated, affects all functions of the child’s body. Until recently, children with MPS II could expect to live into their early teenage years. But there is hope. Recent advances have resulted in two treatments that some children are able to access. We need more. We need a cure. We need approved treatment for every family affected because each of those children deserve life. That is what is at the heart of this charity: giving hope to the children and families who are, or will one day be, diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome. Just like Alice plunged into Wonderland, all families diagnosed with MPSII are plunged into a world previously unknown to them that they must learn to navigate. Just like Alice, this world is beautiful and nightmarish at the same time. The beauty and joy of life is never more clear than when the life of one’s child is threatened. Come out for a truly unique, wonderful, and maybe even unpredictable gala, where we will journey into Wonderland for just one evening. Share in celebrating the joy of life and raising critically needed funds for research, with emcees Kid Carson and Amy Beeman from 94.5 The Beat FM.

Rock-A-Bye Baby Show & Family Fair

August 7, noon-5pm Eaglequest Golf Club Coyote Creek, Surrey Come out for this fun family event and baby show! Includes fashion show, prize giveaways and swag bags.

July/August 2011


wcf news

The perfect pair of sunglasses for you and your kids While many people base their choice of sunglasses on how the frames look in the mirror, eye care experts say the selection process should go deeper. It’s important to know what materials are used in the glasses to make sure they offer good sun protection. IRIS offers the following list of things to look for when shopping for your next pair of sunglasses:

• Polarization. Lenses with polarized films help cut out light (glare) that bounces off surfaces like water or the road, making them excellent for outdoor activities like fishing and jogging. • Tinting. Colours applied on sunglass lenses help absorb varying levels of light in different ways. Grey tints reduce brightness without distorting colour. Brown and rose-coloured tints can enhance contrast for activities like driving and golfing. Special tints can filter out blue light—the part of the spectrum that can cause visual blurring as well as damage to the back of the eye. • Anti-reflective coatings. Applied to the back surface of the sunglass lens, these can help block light coming in from other angles by preventing it from bouncing back into the eyes. • UV protection. A UV protection rate of 100% is the gold standard. Low-end sunglasses are not as likely to be made by materials that offer enough protection to safeguard the eyes from sun damage. For more information about sun protection for the eyes, visit


child care

Choosing Child Care A Parent’s Perspective By Sue Irwin


hoosing child care wouldn’t be a problem for me. I had taught in child care programs, worked with Child Care Resource & Referral (CCRR), knew what quality aspects to look for, my family’s needs, the issues of wait lists and affordability, and so on. What I wasn’t ready for was meeting my precious son and now having to drop him off to someone else! I now know first-hand the heart-wrenching feeling that all those parents I worked with previously were experiencing, and that the importance of a quality program is equal to the importance that my son would be loved. The next hurdle was to find this magic combination—and get in! My husband and I toured programs during my pregnancy and talked about the aspects that we were drawn to. In the end the choice became increasingly clear. We wanted: our child to socialize, but not necessarily in a large group; a quality regulated program; to feel the warmth of a qualified educator; and some flexibility. For us this path lead us to a licensed family child care (LFCC) program. All child care programs look different (their program, fees, hours, educators, and physical appearance, etc.). All of these differences are wonderful because families need choice. Families need to find the right fit. Some things to consider in a family child care provider include the professionalism that we experienced. Our provider’s phone message and email reflect her child care business, she set up a tour for us and was ready with a parent package, explained her philosophy, qualifications posted, and shared specifics of her program as she walked us through her clean, organized setting. It appealed to us that she had different play centres set up, a parent board near the cubbies/entrance, a daily report sheet, attractive displays on the walls, a variety of materials for the children to play with, and a stimulating outdoor area. Her professionalism and passion were evident. Each space has its unique qualities and limitations to work with, but it can be done—and done well!

Our family is very happy with our LFCC program, and more importantly our son is thriving and has a wonderful bond with his provider. I would encourage families to decide what aspects they are looking for, tour programs, and talk to their local CCRR to obtain a referral list and information on how to choose quality child care. I encourage family child care providers to keep doing the incredibly important work that they do, never stop learning, assess their program regularly and don’t be afraid to change things up and step out of the routine! A part of this article was previously published in the Spring edition of Caregiver Connection newsletter.

Child Care Resources Vancouver Child Care Resource Centre – North Shore Child Care Resource & Referral – Richmond Child Care Resource & Referral – YMCA Child Care Resource & Referral – (For Tri-Cities and Burnaby/New Westminster) Sea to Sky Child Care Resource & Referral – Chilliwack Child Care Resource & Referral – B.C. Child Care Subsidy Program – B.C. Family Child Care Association – Daycare Bear – A Canadian information network for parents and child care providers. The Shorty List – A user-review site for daycares, preschools and elementary schools

July/August 2011


child care

Preschool for Parents Tips for Making New Friends By Mandy Fields Yokim


tarting preschool can be a big transition for kids. Thankfully, there are plenty of books and magazine articles focused on getting children ready for preschool and making the transition a good one. Where, though, is the guidance for preschool parents? After all, we’re starting something new, too, and it can be a big change: new morning routines, drop-offs, pick-ups, permission forms (and tons of other forms) to keep organized, a plethora of new artwork to figure out what to do with, field trips, class parties, volunteering and teacher conferences. If you’re new to the experience, it sure can help to make a few new friends along the way who have the same questions or concerns. Here are five tips for meeting other preschool parents: 1. Be a Joiner It is not always easy to join groups, participate in activities, and just generally be social if you’re more introverted. Knowing it can be beneficial to meet other parents, many preschool planning committees make it easier by arranging class “meet and greets” or school picnics. Go to these if your schedule allows because they are low pressure opportunities not only to get to know other parents but also to meet your child’s classmates, which is a good opportunity to put faces to the names you’ll be hearing from your child throughout the school year. 2. Volunteer Not everyone has the flexibility in their schedule to volunteer but, if you do, volunteering can be a great way to meet other parents as well as get to know the teachers and staff better. Most preschools have a parent steering committee that plans fundraising events, family fun nights and educational opportunities. Offering to assist with these kinds of committees is a good way to get directly involved with your child’s preschool experience. Other volunteer opportunities include organizing class parties, which are often run by parents, and these can be great if you prefer working in smaller groups. Class field trips provide another opportunity to volunteer, and because they’re often planned

weeks or months in advance, it makes it easier to adjust your schedule and plan ahead. Regardless of the time you have to give, whether it’s an hour or 20 hours, volunteering can be a rewarding way to meet other parents. 3. Attend Birthday Parties Don’t be surprised if you start getting invites to lots of birthday parties for your child’s classmates. Many parents choose to have parties at fun places that will accommodate lots of kids so they include everyone. While you may not know anyone, your child will and the chances are good that she will have a blast with her little classmates. When I went to my first child birthday party, I knew maybe one other mom and it was a little awkward. I soon got over it when I realized how much fun the kids were having—and that several other parents had chosen to come, too, even though they didn’t know anyone. We all talked about our kids and school and, now, we’ll have some familiar faces to look for at the next birthday party. These events can be excellent ways to meet other parents, if you can just get past that initial “I don’t know anyone!” panic when you walk in the door. 4. Plan Playdates It can be very beneficial for kids to play with each other outside of the classroom. In fact, if your child is particularly shy at school, try setting up a playdate with one or two of the classmates that your child talks about most. Another mom and I planned a playdate—just meeting outside to play and have lunch. Her daughter was having a little bit of a hard time adjusting to school because she was shy and didn’t know any of the other kids. Our children had so much fun and after the next school day, even the teachers commented on the change in the classroom. The shy classmate seemed happier in class, more involved and, according to her mom, she even looked forward to coming to school now that she had a special friend that she knew better. It doesn’t take much effort to send an email or make a flyer about meeting up at a local indoor play place or the park. You may find that other parents are very receptive to the idea and that they appreciate the opportunity to get together in a relaxed setting outside of school. An added benefit: parents can bring siblings of all ages so it can be a family event and your other kids may just meet some playmates, too. 5. Smile and Say Hello Okay, so you’re just not a really social person and you don’t have time to volunteer—what can you do? Simply try to be more present in the moment at drop-off and pick-up. Try to smile and give a friendly hello. It can be hectic and you can easily stay focused on yourself and your own kids, but if you take a moment to look around, you’re likely to see other parents who are willing or eager to chat. Even just a quick conversation with another parent can help ease the transition from a sea of unfamiliar faces into an ocean of possibilities. Mandy Fields Yokim is a freelance writer who lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.


Child Care Resource & Referral Serving Parents & Child Care Providers Your community’s best source of child care information & resources

Child Care BC Helpline Toll Free: 1-888-338-6622

Funded by the Province of British Columbia

July/August 2011


westcoast finds

Native Shoes Lightweight, machine-washable and odour-free, these funky shoes for tots are also easy to slip on and off, and keep little feet safe whether at the park or on the beach. Shown here is Jefferson, Miller and Corrado styles. $35 at Dandelion Kids, Gravity Pope and Kiddo Kids.

Unique Vintage Swim Cap Retro-chic has never been cuter than with these colourful swim cap. Also available in solid pink. $28 at

Playpants Modern Bloomers Created by three Vancouver moms, these fashionable diaper cover-ups come in a variety of colours and styles. $15.95 - $24.95. Available at Off to Bed, Pinky Blue, Dandelion Kids and online.

Season UV Swimwear


The heat is on, and long days at the beach mean one thing—sun protection. For fashionable tots and older kids, this Canadian company has a wide range of fun and whimsical designs that also deliver SPF 50+ protection—even when wet. We love the little Superman one-piece with matching towel/cape ($39) and the girls’ Graffiti Love line ($22-$28). Available at Chic Angels, The Clothes Encounter and online.

You’ve got a busy summer of places to go and things to do, but that’s no reason you can’t stay connected. This ultimate smart phone holder (also compatible with iPhone) attaches easily to strollers, shopping carts, bikes and exercise equipment. $28.99 at West Coast Kids.

Savi Seed These road-trip friendly snacks (they’re a natural seed from the Peruvian rainforests) are not only nutritionally-dense, they pack three times the omega-3s as walnuts, and one serving contains 8g of protein and 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of fibre. And did we mention they’re nut-free? One-ounce snack pack $2.99; five-ounce bag $9.99. Available at Choices Markets, Alive Health Centres, Whole Foods Markets and Drive Organics.


summer fun Things to do and places to go—every day and any day— all summer long, great day (or more!) trips, plus special events for July and August! See ad in this issue

DAILY Bard on the Beach Vanier Park, Vancouver This outdoor summer festival offers daily Shakespeare plays, related concerts and special events in two performance tents all summer long. Bear Creek Park Train & Mini Golf 13750-88 Ave, Surrey Ride the train, play some mini-golf and enjoy one of Surrey’s largest parks. 604.501.1232 | Big Bus Vancouver Tour the city on the vintage doubledeckers and retro open-top buses. Explore the city with a two day valid pass while getting on and off at any one of 22 different stops in the most memorable locations. 604.684.5605 | Britannia Mine Museum Britannia Beach, Hwy 99 Take a ride on the underground mining train, pan for real gold, view rare gems up close, ignite your own dynamite explosion, and more! 800.896.4044 | Burnaby Village Museum 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby See a blacksmith close up. Forge steel. Tour a cemetery, trace family or ride the carousel! Stroll the streets of the 1920s BC Electric Railway tram stop community. This year they celebrate 40 years and gate admission is free! 604.297.4565

Capilano Suspension Bridge 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver This bridge stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above the Capilano River. New this year, try the Cliffwalk- a heartstopping cliffside journey takes you through rainforest vegetation on a series of suspended walkways. 604.985.7474 | Capilano Watershed Tours North Vancouver Discover the Capilano Valley shaped by the glaciers and pioneers of our province on the four-hour bus tour. Learn where our water comes from, and how it is managed. Understand our coastal temperate ecosystems and forest management, and take in spectacular views. 604.432.6430 | Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 578 Carrall Street, Vancouver Journey back in time to 15th century China and enjoy this “window to another world.” And don’t miss the Enchanted Evenings concert series, every Friday night, with performances ranging from jazz and blues to flamenco and world music. 604.662.3207 Fort Langley Enjoy a relaxing day of exploring the fort or shop in the many interesting and beautiful shops set in a historic atmosphere. 604.888.8835 The Great Escape 104-20645 Langley Bypass, Langley A state of the art indoor theme park for all ages, whether you are 5, 15, or 50. There is something for everyone to experience. You’re never too old to have fun. 604.530.1400 |

Greater Vancouver Zoo Aldergrove Stop by any summer day to see all sorts of animals not seen on our farms! Also, check the website for “Family nights in the wild” in July & August. 604.856.6825 | Grouse Mountain 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver Take the Super Skyride, a tram that glides you up the steep mountainside to the mountaintop playground that offers hiking, helicopter tours, paragliding, picnics, logging shows and a spectacular view of Greater Vancouver. And don’t miss the Eye of the Wind Tour for an unforgettable experience! 604.980.9311 Historic Stewart Farm 13723 Crescent Road, Surrey Features a beautifully restored 1894 farmhouse, pole barn, root cellar and heirloom gardens and orchard in a lovely pastoral setting on the Nicomekl River. 604.592.6956 | H.R. MacMillan Space Centre 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver Through innovative programming, exhibits, and activities, kids are educated, inspired and evoke a sense of wonder about the universe, our planet and space exploration. Open 10am-5pm. 604.738.7827 | Kids Market 1496 Cartwright Street, Granville Island Shop and play indoors or enjoy the patio and play area beside the pond! Splash around in the water park that is right next door! 604.689.8447 |

Kitsilano Beach Pool Cornwall Ave at Maple St, Vancouver On the water in the heart of Kitsilano, an extension of Kits Beach. Vancouver’s largest heated outdoor salt-water pool that offers easy access “beach entry” for children. Concession and playground available and a short walk away from Kits Beach! 604.731.0011 Klahowya Village & Miniature Train Stanley Park, Vancouver K lahowya Village is an authentic Aboriginal tourism experience like no other you’ve seen. Jump on the Spirit Catcher train, hear stories, enjoy daily dance performances, and much more. 778.968.1070 Krause Berry Farms 6179 – 248 St, Langley Pick your own berries or buy pre-packed, shop at the farm bakery, sip a berry milkshake on the porch, or enjoy the farmmade fudge and ice cream. 604.856.5757 Langley Centennial Museum 9135 King Street, Fort Langley Check out their newest exhibit; Hooves, Ploughs, and Planting Fields: Juried Agricultural Art from the Fraser Valley. 604.888.3922 Maplewood Farm 405 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver An interactive petting farm for kids ages one to 100. Open daily from 10am-4pm. 604.929.5610 North Vancouver Museum and Archives 209 West 4 St, North Vancouver A series of fun-filled and educational mini adventures for children aged 6-12 years. The museum is closed weekends starting August until September 4. 604.987.5612 |

July/August 2011


summer fun Playland Hastings Park, Vancouver Huge amusement park in Vancouver that is open all summer long. Buy your one-day or season Play Passes online and save. Richmond Go-Karts 6631 Sidaway Road, Richmond Check out the best outdoor go-kart track around. Fun for ages four and up. Weather permitting. 604.278.6184 Richmond Nature Park 11851 Westminster Hwy, Richmond The interpretive centre located at the entrance of the Nature Park features interactive displays and games about the park, the bog and other aspects of nature. There are activity kits, an active beehive, a small collection of live animals and a gift shop. Admission is free. 604.718.6188 | Science World 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver Hands on fun and science education for kids and adults of all ages. Open 10am5pm on weekdays and until 6pm on weekends. 604.443.7440


Splashdown Waterslides 4799 Nu Lelum Way, Tsawwassen Water slides of all shapes and sizes and water play area for toddlers. You can also use the picnic area. 604.943.2251 Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours Kiosk along Park Drive in Stanley Park The one-hour tour departs every 20-30 minutes starting at 9:30 am, daily, rain or shine. Kids under 2 are free. Summerfest 2011 Lonsdale Quay, 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver Enjoy live entertainment, activities for the kids, dance lessons, farmer’s market and free concerts, all benefiting the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation. Surrey Museum 17710-56A Ave, Surrey The first new museum built in B.C. in the 21st century! Various day camps offered all summer long. 604.592.6956 | UBC Botanical Garden 6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver Canada’s oldest continuously operating university botanic garden features a collection of over 7,500 different taxa, many of which are of wild origin. 604.822.4208

Vancouver Aquarium 845 Avison Way, Vancouver Located in Stanley Park, the aquarium is home to over 70,000 amazing animals including beluga whales, sea otters and dolphins. Children under 3 are free! 604.659.3474 Vancouver Maritime Museum 1905 Ogden Avenue in Vanier Park Discover the rich maritime history and traditions of the Pacific Coast. Children under 5 are free. 604.257.8300 Vancouver Police Museum 240 E. Cordova St, Vancouver Learn about the history of policing and forensics in Vancouver. Also offering special forensics-themed workshops for kids aged 8-15 during summertime. 604.665.3346 VanDusen Botanical Garden 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver Explore the 55-acre garden and huge variety of plants and animals. Discover the natural world through outdoor hands-on practical explorations, games and crafts. Children under two are free. 604.718.5898

Watermania 14300 Entertainment Blvd. Richmond Richmond’s Aquatainment Centre with huge swimming pool, two waterslides, sauna and whirlpool. Total entertainment for kids and families! 604.448.5353 WildPlay Element Park 23485 Fern Cresc, Maple Ridge Climb, swing and zip through the forest. Go bungy jumping, walk tight ropes and more! 888.590.7274 |

WEEKLY Collage Collage 621 Kingsway, Vancouver Weekly drop-in craft sessions for children ages two and up. See website for schedule and rates. Confederation Park Miniature Railway Sat, Sun & holidays, 11am-5pm Confederation Park, 120 North Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby. Ride the miniature train for only $2 a ride. Fun for all ages! 604.291.0922 Richmond Summer Night Market Fri & Sat, 7pm-1am - Sun, 7pm-midnight 12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond From bubble tea and eating competitions to snake exhibits and slippers, you can find it all at this annual outdoor market. Best of all, the night market is home to some of the best street food in the Lower Mainland.

summer learning Vancouver Art Gallery Saturdays & Sundays Every weekend the gallery offers unique activities geared towards 5 to 12-year-old visitors and their families. Free with gallery admission. 604.662.4717

Vancouver Farmers’ Markets Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays Multiple locations Come meet your maker at the various farmers’ markets in Vancouver. Enjoy the best in local produce, artisan foods and crafts. Visit website for locations and times.

Vancouver Chinatown Night Market Fri, Sat & Sundays, 6:30-11pm Keefer St. & Main St, Vancouver Shop for gifts items, fashion or modern elec tronics, and enjoy plent y of entertainment, food and fun!


Waterfront Concert Series Portal: Eat Shop Play Stay Saturdays & Sundays, 2pm-4pm White Rock Museum Boardwalk Enjoy the music of local talented bands, while visiting the museum, strolling the boardwalk, and shopping!

Butchart Gardens 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay This National Historic Site of Canada boasts over fifty-five acres of stunning floral show gardens, plus a rose carousel, summer Saturday fireworks and a family discovery walk. 866.652.4422 Foxglove Farm 1200 Mt. Maxwell Rd, Salt Spring Island Home to the Centre for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture, this 120-acre organic farm offers various workshops, culinary events, and cooking classes throughout the summer, and a special farm, arts and culinary camp for kids. Don’t miss the Foxglove Festival on July 24!

Harrison Festival of the Arts Harrison Hot Springs From July 9 to 17, and set among the Village of Harrison along the streets, on the beach and in the Memorial Hall, the Festival presents music from all corners of the globe, a large outdoor art market, workshops, theatre, literary café, art exhibits, day and evening concerts and a full day just for kids on July 14. Imagine Children’s Museum 1502 Wall St, Everett, Washington Voted “Best Museum for Kids,” enjoy the multitude of fun-filled interactive and hands-on exhibits, not to mention the incredible rooftop adventure! Ideal for kids of all ages. Kilby Historic Site 215 Kilby Rd, Harrison Mills Discover life in BC during the 1920s. Visit the general store and working farm, let the costumed interpreters tell you about daily activities, and enjoy the Harrison River Restaurant.

The Royal BC Museum 675 Belleville Street, Victoria With a collection of more than seven million unique objects and documents, there’s something incredible to see every time you visit. Make it a day trip! 888.447.7977 Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre 9811 Seaport Place, Sidney Discover the amazing diversity of the ocean, just in time for sunny days full of beach exploration! Daily programs throughout the summer, from shark feedings to story times! Peninsula Co-op’s Salish Sea School at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is a hands-on/ hands-wet summer camp that combines field and boat trips with games and art! Perfect for curious kids in grades one to five. Victoria Bug Zoo 631 Courtney St, Victoria This small museum located near the Empress Hotel boasts hundreds of the world’s rarest insects, arachnids and creppy-crawlies! Get a bug-guide to show you around and even handle some of the critters yourself. 250.384.2847 |

July/August 2011


summer fun JULY 34th Annual Golden Spike Days Festival July 1-3 Rocky Point Park, Port Moody A fun-filled weekend for the entire family with entertainment, special events and activities, as well as great food! 30th Annual Berry Beat Festival July 9 & 10 Downtown Abbotsford A family-friendly country street festival including musicians, magicians and clowns. Enjoy the‘berried’treasure hunt and the sport and art activities. Browse through local craft and market-style food stands. Happy Birthday Parks Canada! July 16, 9am-6pm Fort Langley National Historic Site Learn to camp, discover what it takes to survive in the wilderness, place your favourite park or site on a map and test your knowledge of BC as they attempt to build the province on a large map. First 100 people receive a free souvenir. 604.513.4777 Party-at-the-Pier July 16 & 17 Foot of Lonsdale Avenue and the adjacent piers A musical festival celebrating the maritime community with orchestra brass, magic, dancing, and a visit from the Kerplunks! Check website for schedule. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Country Fest July 23 & 24 Family oriented and agriculturally educational annual festival that is free to attend. See website for schedule and directions. 604.463.6922


Kidsafe July 24, noon-4pm South Arm Community Centre, Richmond A fun, free outdoor event on promoting safety amongst our children. Get your face painted, make your own child ID kit, watch a Richmond Fire-Rescue demonstration, or visit the information booths of BC Ambulance, Kids Help Phone and Canadian Red Cross. BC Ambulance will have a Medi-Vac helicopter landing in the park at 12:30 p.m. Family Sunday Art Program July 24 & August 28, 1pm-4pm Richmond Art Gallery Family Sunday is a free drop-in art program that offers families the occasion to explore art making together. 604.247.8300 Spirit of the Sea Festival July 29-August 1 Marine Drive, White Rock A family-oriented celebration of the water, land and life of the Semiahmoo Peninsula. Watch the parade and different entertainers, see the children’s carnival or shop at the market!

AUGUST Maritime Festival August 5-7 Britannia Shipyard National Historical Site, Richmond This family event offers the opportunity to see a variety of maritime exhibits, enjoy live entertainment and hands-on demonstrations. 604.718.8050

Art in the Park Festival August 6 & 7, 11am-4pm Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam Enjoy artists’ work, live jazz, watch roving performers, the outdoor café, guided nature walks or crafts in the children’s area. 604.520.6442

Willingdon Community Day Fair August 18, 5:30-8pm Willingdon Centre, Burnaby A perfect family day including carnival games, raffles, BBQ and plenty more entertainment.

Family Farm Fair August 7, 10am-4pm London Heritage Farm, Richmond Enjoy the petting zoo, pony rides, bouncy castle, face painting, live entertainment, Richmond Art Gallery’s “Art Truck,” bake sale, craft fair, demos, concession and more! Most activities are free with gate admission, $2 for adults, free for children twelve and under.. 604.271.5220

LIVE at Squamish August 20 & 21 Hendrickson Fields & Logger Sports Ground, Squamish A family-friendly musical event featuring artisan village, face painting, kids’games and strolling entertainers. See website for more information and tickets. Tickets available for single day, weekend, weekend VIP, and road trip packs: $89-$199. Children 12 & under Free! 888.676.7661

Ponies in the Park August 7, 11am-4pm Richmond Nature Park For one day only giddy up on over to the Nature Park for a pony ride through the woods. Suitable for children 4-12 yrs. Tickets can be purchased on August 7 at the Nature Park on a first serve basis!! Rides are approximately 15-20 minutes long. A parent or guardian must stay with children throughout the event. Abbotsford International Airshow August 12-14 Abbotsford Airport The Airshow Grounds are open to the public from 8am-6pm. See various types of aircraft in use and formerly used by local and foreign militaries. Flying starts at 10am. Check website for schedule and regulations. 604.852.8511

The Fair at the PNE August 20-September 5 2901 East Hastings Street Live shows, exhibits, attractions, concert, agriculture and much more at the PNE as they celebrate their 101st anniversary. Free gate admission from 9am-noon on August 22. Annual Kids Festival August 28 Kilby Historic Site Load up the kids and get out of the house for one last hurrah this summer. Enjoy a full day of entertainment for the kid’s including music, dance and audience participation with children’s entertainment and a piñata party. 604.796.9576 |

July/August 2011



The Joys of RVing By Clare Adams


s a teenager I wasn’t very appreciative of the opportunities afforded by our family RV holidays. Growing up in the UK, my parents took us all over Europe in our trailer, while I generally behaved like—well, like a teenager! Looking back though, some of my fondest memories are of our trailer holidays; the adventures we had, the places we got to visit and the friends we met at campgrounds. I had pen pals from Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and other places. It’s really no surprise then, that first chance we got, my husband and I bought a trailer and now share the joys of RVing with our own young family. RVing requires some degree of practicality and a willingness to be handson. I remember our first hour as RV owners trying to get the trailer unhooked from the car at home and of course, somebody has to empty the black/grey water into a sanidump at some point (preferably without spillage), but we’ve found RVing has given us a great way to work together; learning things new to both of us. We’ve also learned to laugh along the way and enjoy the adventures it affords. There’s no doubt that RVing provides an extremely economical getaway, is a great way to get outdoors and connect with nature, work together as a family and explore some fantastic places. Of course, camping offers much the same, but as a lady of modern convenience, being able to use a flushing toilet, bathe the kids and use a microwave when it’s too wet to barbecue, makes the experience enjoyable, rather than endurable. I also appreciate the added warmth and space that the trailer provides as, living in BC, we do encounter some rather wet weather and there are times that are best spent playing games, reading or even watching a DVD until the worst of it passes.

Resources RV Rentals | | |

Sales/Parts/Service | | |

General Info | | Also check out RVing with Kids 12 Months a Year, the how-to book on family RVing, by Joan van Dolder.


What I love about RVing best though is that my kids are transformed. At home they seem to forever want to be entertained; looking for us to play with them, take them somewhere or, more often, wanting to watch TV. But when we’re out in the trailer they can spend hours upon hours just entertaining themselves: making mud soup, collecting dandelions, looking for bugs, practising skipping or learning to ride their bikes and making new friends. Most of the time they don’t even notice if it starts to rain, other than to switch to rubber boots and head back out to look for worms or jump in puddles. We go for walks, throw rocks into lakes and play pooh sticks in rivers or streams. As parents, we completely disconnect from cell phones, computers, to-do lists and the never-ending list of chores always calling us away at home, and totally unwind. Living just outside Vancouver, we are so fortunate to have so many beautiful places and great campgrounds within a couple of hours’ drive, and we usually try to go away most long-weekends. Provincial campgrounds are great for the more natural, rustic environment and are super-cheap, but book up fast and don’t usually have water, sewer or electrical outlets. We tend to camp more often at one of the private campgrounds (with full hook-ups to meet my need for convenience!), but, again, there is a huge choice and many are inexpensive while offering laundry facilities, kids playgrounds, beaches or even food onsite. I’ve now discovered that with a list on the computer for things to pack at the beginning of the season and one for each trip, I can quickly pack the trailer and each time refine the list to reflect the changing needs of the growing family (scratch diapers—yay!), making it ever easier to head-out and enjoy our precious free time. We haven’t found driving with the trailer to be really difficult at all (other than being careful about where we attempt turnarounds) and both of us take a share of the driving. We’re lucky that the kids are usually so excited about the prospect of going away (they are always counting down the sleeps between trips until we’re off again) that the journeys aren’t a problem and if they start to get twitchy we usually have a Bobs and Lolo CD or two in the car and find a quick sing-a-long to soon gets us back in the mood for the adventures in store. I’m sure when we get to their teenage years, RVing may, along with Bobs and Lolo, eventually fall from favour, but I hope that they will carry with them their own memories of special family times spent exploring in our RV.

wcf feature

Family Etiquette for Guests and Host By Judy Arnall


enjoy visits from our relatives, and I enjoy visiting our relatives, too. It’s wonderful to renew acquaintance with our extended family, and to catch up on family news. However, bringing children to live with another family for a few days (or even weeks!) can be challenging for both hosts and guests. A few simple rules of courtesy can help smooth the way for a fun and pleasant visit for everyone.

Rules for Guests • Parenting styles can clash. Learn the rules of the house, and explain to your kids why things are different here. • Your children might be picky about unfamiliar food. Don’t insist that they eat up, but teach them to be polite in their refusal, and buy lots of bread and cheese and apples. • Teach your children to pick up after themselves promptly. • Communicate kitchen expectations: is this a help-yourself kitchen, or should permission be sought? • Offer to make some of the meals, and take out your hosts, and definitely supplement the groceries and the wine. • Your family should do more than their share of table setting, dish clearing, and dishwashing! • If the home has hazards for children, seek permission to childproof. Older people forget what children can get into. They will appreciate that you care about their home as well as the safety of your children. • Be willing to go to events to which your host invites you, even though you would rather sprawl in front of your hosts’ television. • Don’t hog the house! Plan some independent activities, so the host family has some quiet time at their home. • Bite your tongue when your host disciplines your child. Just let it go without comment (except for abuse of course). If they make a wrong call, talk to your child later in private about different personalities and parenting styles and how to handle issues in the future. • When visiting local points of interest and restaurants, be prepared to pay for your host too. • Be generous guests. And don’t forget to leave a gift. • Before leaving, return all things borrowed, including house keys. Strip beds, and put towels and sheets in the laundry room. Clean up your bags and garbage.

Onya Bags

Rules for Hosts • Show your guests where to find the phone, emergency numbers, laundry facilities, dishes, food, sleep areas etc. • Turn off your security system unless you really need it. Wandering guests can inadvertently awake the entire street at 3:00 a.m. • Recognize that the noise, mess and work level may increase, and find ways to increase your tolerance for it or schedule breaks from it. • If you have special requirements, such as a quiet house at 10 p.m., communicate your house rules. • If your guests include young children, they might be picky eaters, so obtain a variety of foods. • If you publicly offer something to your own child, then offer the same to the visiting children. • Bite your tongue. Some things will annoy you, but try to be diplomatic. The visit will end, but hurt feelings from words said in anger will not. • Include guests in outings and family events. • Don’t discipline guests’ children. Speak up to the parent instead. • Be flexible about sleeping arrangements. Sometimes visiting children get homesick and prefer to pile on the floor with their parents instead of their assigned room. • Respect your guest’s room. It’s their territory for the visit, and hence, is private. • Childproof your house for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. • Offer age-appropriate entertainment for your guest’s children. Sometimes the hosts and the guests each need to bend over backwards, but by following these simple rules of courtesy, communication and respect, the visit will be enjoyable and memorable for all! Judy Arnall is a professional, international award-winning parenting speaker, and trainer, mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery, and the new DVD, Plugged-In Parenting: Connecting with the Digital Generation for Health, Safety and Love. | 403.714.6766 |

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July/August 2011



Children’s Vitamins: Are They Really Necessary? By Debbie Bowman


emember Flintstones vitamins? Back in the day, most kids considered these the créme de la créme of children’s vitamins—though, admittedly, there weren’t many to choose from. Today the situation is quite different. The children’s vitamin aisle is larger and more complex—and it can be somewhat overwhelming. But are all these bottled vitamins actually necessary? Shouldn’t we be able to provide the nutrients our kids need from the healthy foods we serve them? And if we do choose to give our kids extra vitamins, which ones are the most important? It used to be that supplemental vitamins weren’t necessary—you could get all the nutrients you needed from the foods you ate. But, unfortunately, those days are gone. One reason for this is the soil in which we grow our food is no longer as rich as it used to be. Agriculture’s reliance on chemical fertilizers and herbicides is to blame for our soil’s demise. According to Ann Cooper in her book Bitter Harvest, between 1975 and 1997, broccoli lost 53.4 percent of its calcium and 47.8 percent of its riboflavin, cauliflower lost 68.3 percent of its vitamin A, and onions lost 100 percent of their vitamin A. Secondly, we actually need more nutrients then we used to. Anti-nutrients such as stress, pesticides and environmental toxins deplete the body of available nutrients, creating a need to ingest more. When you include this fact with the reality that a growing body has increased nutritional needs, it’s easy to see that our kids need a large supply of vital nutrients each and every day.

Okay, so we need supplemental vitamins, but which ones should we give our children? There are four types of nutrients that should be in your child’s vitamin cabinet: essential fatty acids, a good-quality multi-vitamin, a probiotic, and additional vitamin C. Essential fatty acids are incredibly important for every cell of your child’s body—but if tested, most children would be found deficient in this nutrient. That’s because our standard North American diet is lacking many of the foods that provide essential fatty acids. In addition, we eat other oils and trans-fats that compete with essential fatty acids for placement within the cells. In order to ensure your child is getting enough, you should supplement his diet with either flax or fish oil, in capsule or liquid form. Secondly, a multi-vitamin is like a nutritional safety net—just in case your child has some days with less than optimal food intake. The multi-vitamin chosen should contain nutrients such as vitamin A, zinc, magnesium, and selenium, all of which are low in our soils and therefore, low in the food we feed our children. When choosing a vitamin, also look for ones that are free of artificial colours and sugars. There are also yeast-free and gluten-free vitamins on the market. Thirdly, a probiotic is necessary, as most kids today have been subjected to numerous doses of antibiotics throughout their young life. These antibiotics not only take care of the nasties, they also wreck havoc on the essential flora found in the digestive tract. In order to better ensure a healthy gut for optimum digestion and metabolism, as well as a strong immune system, it’s good to give your kids a probiotic supplement each day. Look for capsules containing a variety of the following organisms: lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and lactococcus. It’s also worth noting that if your child can’t swallow a capsule, these can be opened and sprinkled on foods such as yogurt, pudding or applesauce. Lastly, vitamin C is very important. Though it is not difficult to provide vitamin C by way of diet, there are times when larger doses are beneficial, such as when your child is ill or when his immune system needs a boost. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-stress vitamin, and it’s also one of the most effective vitamins for boosting immunity and battling infections. Vitamin C is also water-soluble, meaning it’s easily flushed from the body—generally within four to six hours—so you don’t have to be concerned about giving your child too much. This also means that when taking vitamin C, it’s best to space it throughout the day, to ensure a regular supply to the cells. To enhance the benefit of vitamin C, look for one with additional bioflavonoids. It’s important to stress that supplements should never be used as a replacement for healthy food choices. Procuring your nutrients from the food you eat is better for you than getting your nutrients from a supplement. For example, scientists know that the vitamin C from an orange is assimilated differently than the vitamin C taken from a tablet. There are components in the orange itself that work synergistically with the vitamin C, and this synergy creates additional benefits one cannot get from taking a supplement alone. As well, organic foods have been proven to be richer in nutrients than their non-organic counterparts. That’s because organic foods are grown in soil that contains the beneficial organisms that enrich our food. So, in order to guide your children toward optimal health and wellness, focus on serving wholesome organic food as much as possible. It’s wise to give them supplements, but regard them as their name implies—a supplement to an otherwise healthy diet. Debbie Bowman is a practicing nutritionist based out of the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island.


Gina Spanos & Anita Alberto of AG Photography Dating after Divorce Photographed by Gina Spanos | AG Photography |

July/August 2011


wcm profile

Anita & Gina

of AG Photography

Anita Alberto and Gina Spanos are co-owners of AG Photography. Here, they share their thoughts on relationships, parenting and following your passions. What’s the lowdown on you? AA: I have a 13-year-old daughter who I’ve raised as a single parent (though I prefer to call it independent parent). Last year I married the love of my life. I am passionate about life, love, family, art, fashion, business, charity work, and being a role model for my daughter. I am a photographer for AG Photography, which is a company I co-own with Gina Spanos. We are celebrating the tenth anniversary of our company in 2011. Gina and I work as a photographic team at weddings and we each have our own portrait division within the company. I specialize in photographing babies, children, “Top Model” parties, headshots, events, yummy mummies (boudoir) and families. GS: I was born in Toronto and I have one older sister. I came from an amazing family; my parents taught us how to be independent and to go after what we were passionate about. I’m engaged to a wonderful man (getting married this September in Kelowna at Summerhill Winery). We have one daughter, Sophia, who is just over a year old. I’m a professional photographer and have been photographing weddings and people for 10 years. I love real life and real moments. I believe that every person is special and it’s my job as a photographer to bring out the amazing soul standing before my lens. How did your business come about? AA: I started photography as a hobby 15 years ago, and fluked into photographing my first wedding in 1999. I thought it was going to be a cheesy experience, but fell in love with it. I finally had found something that satisfied my photographic hunger. While photographing a wedding you get to work with people and families, there’s the adrenaline rush of capturing those special moments, the artistic side of capturing all the details and the couple and it’s such a beautiful event. I’ve cried at pretty much every wedding. I love the beauty of weddings. Gina and I met while I was photographing a mutual friend’s wedding where she was the maid of honour. We started working together and decided to start AG Photography. Over the last 10 years, I have worked hard developing my photographic style. I continue to work on my business by attending photographic seminars and conferences two to three times a year. I now feel established as a professional photographer, but am still looking to take my business to the next level. GS: I’ve always loved photographing people and real life moments. My fiancé handed me a gift one day, and it was my first professional film camera, a Nikon F100. I was so excited but had no idea how to use it, so I went to school for a year, learned the basics and immediately fell in love with photography. I opened my business with Anita as soon as I finished school. Here I am 10 years later and photography is the best thing that ever happened to me. Being a business owner has taught me so much. It’s about letting yourself grow and learning new things every day, like how to understand people and let them be who they are. I just love that I can share my talent with other people and see the joy in their eyes when they see amazing photos of themselves. For me, that’s the best part of being a photographer.

owner who wants to be great at all of them, at times it feels like something has to give. Especially finding time to exercise and take care of myself. Figuring out how to help develop the relationship between my daughter and new husband. Another challenge I have faced has been my daughter’s health. She was born with a birth defect called gastroschisis, a hole in her abdominal wall. She had eight major surgeries by the time she was three years old and still suffers from side effects of the birth defect and surgeries. Learning how to help her manage her pain while living in fear that she will relapse and/or suffer with pain for the rest of her life is a constant. GS: I am always pushing myself to learn something new, be the best I can be at what I love doing the most. A big challenge is balancing my work and family life. I am a perfectionist, and I want to be the best mother, wife and photographer that I can be, so my biggest challenge is trying to do my best in everything while trying to find a good balance. What would you describe as some of the biggest rewards of your work/ family? AA: The biggest reward of work is making people happy. I love creating art that my clients will treasure forever. I really enjoy developing relationships with my clients; many of my clients have become friends. My “Top Model” parties have helped me fulfill a dream to be a positive influence in young girls’ lives by promoting positive self-image and creativity. My daughter has been one of my life’s best blessings. Watching her grown into a beautiful, caring and conscientious young lady has really no words to describe how happy and proud I am of her. Our new life as a family has been very rewarding in the aspect of unconditional love and support that my husband has given to us. Finally finding true love has been my life’s greatest reward. GS: I have the best job in the world, I get to meet so many amazing people, and I get to photograph some great moments in their lives. I am so inspired everyday. I have an amazing fiancé who is so supportive of me and my business. I want to be the best role model to my daughter. I want to teach her to work hard and to be passionate about life, her family and her career. Do you manage to take time-out for your self? If so, what does that entail? Any must-haves? AA: I love walking and running. I also love to rollerblade. I find peace being close to the ocean, although it’s hard to fit it in. I also try to take classes that don’t feel like exercise. I just finished a belly dancing class. Totally out of my comfort zone! It was really fun. Lots of good laughs with the ladies. My musthaves are patience and my wedding ring. I feel naked without it on. GS: I love to go on long runs, clear my mind and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful nature. I also love spa days. My must-have is traveling, I love to travel see different places, take it all in, fill my soul and photograph my experiences. Tell us one or two of the most important life lessons you have learned through being a mom/business owner. AA: Don’t sweat the small stuff. In business and in life. Every problem has a solution. Dare to dream! If you don’t have dreams and goals, you don’t progress to the next level. GS: You have to work really hard to become successful. It takes time, so be patient. It does not happen over night. Surround yourself with people who have positive energy, It takes a team to make it to the top of your game. Always put out good, and good will always come back ten times over. Be open to learning new things, life is about growing. Be passionate about what you do, don’t forget to dream big! And, most of all, enjoy what you do; happiness is good health and that’s the most important thing. Anything else you would like us to know about you?

What are some of your biggest challenges in work? Life?

AA: I volunteer for NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep).

AA: It’s a challenge finding the balance, staying focused, wearing all the hats a business owner has to wear. It’s hard being a mom, new wife and business

GS: I would love to buy a ticket around the world and photograph my journey. Publishing a book of my work is also on the list of things to do.


wcm feature

Dating After Divorce By Sara Dimerman


ne of the concerns that often comes up when counselling parents and children through a separation or divorce is that of introducing one’s children to a new partner. How soon is too soon? How do you know when the time is right? Should the children be a certain age? Should the decision be made in conjunction with one’s ex? Where should the introduction take place—at home or somewhere public? Should the children be told about it in advance or should it be a “by chance” meeting? How should you introduce him or her—as a friend or a boy or girlfriend? Should he or she be included in family gatherings? How will your children likely react or feel about your new partner? Of course, there is not only one formula or prescription that should be followed. However, there are some points that are more generally applicable across the board. Taking the questions above into consideration, I will tackle one, sometimes two, at a time: 1. How soon is too soon? If you are thinking of introducing your children to your new partner within a few months of being separated, then it is probably too soon. Your children have barely had time to get used to the idea of not being together as a family unit and are most likely not at all interested in knowing that you are spending time with someone new. For one thing, they will not appreciate knowing that their father or mother is so quickly forgotten and for another, they will not be happy with you having to divide your time between them and a new partner. Some parents have told me that they are going to wait a year before introducing anyone new into their children’s lives and while I think that it is admirable that they have decided to wait a protracted period of time before adding any more changes into their children’s lives, I don’t think that there is a magic number. 2. How do you know when the time is right? And should the children be a certain age? If you can see that your children have adjusted relatively well and are going through the grieving process as expected, then you may be able to introduce someone new after eight or nine months, for example. In addition to making reasonably sure that your children are ready for the news, evaluate the situation based on how old they are (younger children may accept a new partner more easily than an older child or teen), their personal temperament and personality, and how comfortable they are about talking about the separation and divorce in general. Have you read any books or watched any movies about divorce and new partners in parents’ lives? Watch for their reaction—both verbally and physically—to see how they respond. Maybe ask questions that relate to the movie or book to see where they are at. Also, make sure that your relationship is secure. The worst possible situation is to introduce and expose your children to a new relationship each month. Is your new partner someone who you see being with long term? Have you seen the way he interacts with other children (maybe even his own)? Is he able to pursue a relationship with you and your children in the way that you would like or does he still have a commitment to someone else? 3. Should the decision be made in conjunction with one’s ex? Some parents who have managed to remain amicable after the separation or divorce will sometimes tell me that they have mutually decided on that magic number of months to pass before introducing their children to new partners. Then, I hear a lot of anger and resentment if one of the parents wants to introduce his or her children to another partner sooner than that agreedupon time. Although it is great if ex’s can communicate and discuss when the

time is best for their children, it is better to be able to evaluate the situation at the time of wanting to make the introduction, rather than having to come up with an exact number of months in advance of doing so. Of course each parent wants their children’s interests to be considered first and foremost, but it is very difficult for an ex to remain sufficiently emotionally detached to be the final judge of whether his or her children are ready or not—especially if he or she would have preferred that the marriage had never ended. I have had the opportunity to meet with several amicable ex’s who, with me as mediator, have worked through this issue with their children’s best interests in mind. 4. Where should the introduction take place - at home or somewhere public? And should the children be told about it in advance or should it be a “by chance” meeting? Every situation is unique and some of this will depend on your personal situation and your children’s individual personalities. There are pros and cons to both making the introduction outside and inside your home. The pros to introducing someone new at home is that your children, after making the initial introduction, can hide for a while if they wish, check the situation out from a distance and then advance when they are ready. The con is that the children may not be ready to have a relative stranger come into their house and may resent him or her sitting in a chair that dad used to sit in, for example. The pro of making the introduction out of the house is that everyone is on neutral territory and on more of an equal playing ground. The con is that there may be nowhere for the children to escape. Since my suggestion is to give your children some advance notice of the meeting, rather than it being “by chance,” it makes sense that you invite their opinion as to where the meeting should take place. Some parents prefer not to make a big deal of the first meeting, but prefer to gradually involve their “friend” in gatherings and then eventually evolve into sharing that their relationship is not completely platonic—this can be okay, too. 5. How should you introduce him or her—as a friend or a boy or girlfriend? A friend recently shared a story of how her ten-year-old daughter learnt about her relationship with her new partner. At first, her daughter thought of her partner as nothing more than a “friend.” She had not invited him over when just she and her daughter were together, but he often attended small gatherings where her daughter had an opportunity to chat with him. This allowed her to get to know him in less of a threatening context. Next, my friend visited his house with her daughter so that they could meet his new puppies. This created a further connection between them. At some point, my friend’s daughter began to suspect that her mother’s relationship with her “friend” was more than that and asked her mother if he was her “boyfriend.”This led to a discussion about the difference between a “friend” and a “boyfriend” and ultimately led to my friend revealing that, according to her daughter’s definition of a boyfriend (“someone that you kiss and cuddle”) that he was indeed her boyfriend. Depending again on your child and the situation, the introduction to a new partner can be more gradual and informal.  >>> July/August 2011


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6. Should he or she be included in family gatherings? Again, this is a good question to be discussed with your children. I think it is good to find balance. If your children spend time with their other parent, use this as an opportunity to spend more intense periods of time with your new partner. When your children are with you, make sure not to include your new partner all the time—especially at first. As your relationship evolves, allow his or her involvement to gradually increase. Keep watching to evaluate your children’s response to his or her being there. Of course, you are entitled to adult companionship and your children should not commandeer whether he or she is there at all, but they should be entitled to have their say about age 1 how his or her presence is making them feel. If you feel that their concerns are legitimate, then you may want to adjust the arrangements. 7. How will your children likely react or feel about your new partner? There is no one right answer to this question. My experience has been that children react with a host of different emotions. Everything from jealousy and anger to pity for their other parent to happiness or relief about your new love interest. The most important point to remember is to be open to everything that they are feeling and reassure them that what they are feeling is normal and understandable and that you are available to talk at any time.

Just as dealing with the separation and divorce required a period of adjustment for both you and the children, so will learning to accept a new person in your life. Keep in mind that your child is not likely (especially if he or she is a little older) to want your new partner to act like a third parent. He or she doesn’t have to bend over backwards to be a friend either. In fact, some older children have shared how much they dislike feeling as if their parent’s new “friend” is trying too hard to win him or her over. As tricky as it is to define him or herself in your children’s lives, allow this to be a gradual process during which everyone gets to know one another, so that this transition is as easy as possible on everyone.

Sara Dimerman is registered with a College of Psychologists and provides counselling to individuals, couples and families. She is the author of two parenting books, Am I A Normal Parent? and Character Is the Key and is one of North America’s leading parenting experts. Listen to advice from Sara and her colleagues by searching “helpmesara” on iTunes. Find out more at


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Adult Events for the Hip Mom Around Town! Free Community Acupuncture for New Patients Fir Street Community Acupuncture Every 2nd & last Wednesday from 2-7pm until end of August. Free acupuncture offered for new patients. Donations are welcomed with 75% going towards the Vancouver Friends for Life Society. Check online for dates.

604.218.7470 Vancouver East Beansprouts Britannia Public Library Dandelion Kids It’s All Fun & Games Killarney Community Centre Renfrew Public Library Sunrise Family Drop in Vancouver – West Belly & Beyond Granville Island Kids Market Marpole Community Centre Kerrisdale Public Library Sylvan Learning Centre Vancouver – Downtown London Drugs Royal Centre Medical Sinclair Centre Strathcona Public Library Tourism Vancouver Vancouver Art Gallery North Shore Collingwood School Delbrook Recreation Centre Gleneagles Community Centre Kiddie Kobbler Shoes West Vancouver Community Centre Richmond Arts Connection Baby on Board Gateway Theatre Richmond Family Place South Arm Community Centre Burnaby/New Westminster Burnaby Lake Sports Complex Hanna Court Children’s Centre Just Kid’n Children’s Wear KinderMusik New Westminster Kids Corner New Westminster Public Library Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam/Port Moody Baby’s World Big Foot 8 Kids Dandelion Kids Evergreen Cultural Centre Koko’s Activity Centre Precious Minds Preschool Tri-City Family Place Surrey/Delta/White Rock Cloverdale Library Cotton Crayon Excellent Ice New Children’s Fashions Sun God Arena Peace Arch Visitors Info Centre Whitby’s Book and Coffee Shop Langley/Abbotsford/Aldergrove Brookswood Library Greater Vancouver Zoo Langley Community Music School Little Brown Music Studio South Poplar Elementary Timms Community Centre Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge Fitness Unlimited Pitt Meadows Twin Rinks Mothers of Preschoolers Maple Ridge Family Place Shoppers Drug Mart Trendy Tots

BC Cancer Foundation’s The Underwear Affair July 9, 3:30pm The hottest 10 km run/ 5 km walk hits Vancouver. Hundreds of devoted men and women dressed in anything from underwear, flamboyant costumes to regular exercise gear will raise critical funds and awareness for cancers below the waist. The fun continues even after you cross the finish line with the EXPOsed After Party! Grab a well deserved drink and dance the night away with your fellow participants! Summer Salsa Cruise Series Aboard the MV Britannia (501 Denman Street) July 9 & 23; August 13 & 27, 8:30pm12:30am Help celebrate another anticipated Salsa Cruise Series aboard the MV Britannia, Vancouver’s largest cruising vessel. Three levels, three DJs, complimentary salsa lesson and dance show. Take part in the excitement or sit back and watch the view, either way this will be a night to remember. Tickets $25 in advance. Theatre Under the Stars Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park July 8-August 20, alternating nights, 8pm Theatre Under the Stars entertains families through popular musical theatre shows and provides a vibrant outlet and training ground for developing theatre artists. Check online for info and tickets. Camp Moomba Yogathon and Blissfest MacInnes Field, UBC July 11, 9:30am-2pm Join many others for 108 minutes of yoga to raise awareness and funds for children impacted by HIV/AIDS. Funds raised will help send a child to camp. Enjoy the marketplace for sustainable consumer products, clothing, services and delicacies, the live music and the kid’s camp corner. Kids ages 12 and under are free. Please register online.

Tour de White Rock White Rock July 15-17 From world class cycling races to the everpopular block party and children’s bike parade, families of all ages are sure to enjoy the fun and excitement. Check website for details. Running Room 20 Minute Challenge Any Running Room Location July 20 Encouraging everybody to get active by running or walking for 20 minutes this summer! Bring your friends, family or just yourself and have fun while being active and get a free hat! Register online for free. Bountiful Boulevards Lynn Valley Public Library, North Vancouver July 21, 7pm-8:30 pm Gardening on boulevards is a great way to promote local food security, community, biodiversity, education and fun. Learn how to create a bountiful harvest of locally grown food and flowers at this free event. Registration required.

604.984.0286 x.8144 Moms The Word: Remix The Revue Stage July 23, 8pm They’re back! The shockingly funny Moms reunite to bring highlights from the smash hits Mom’s the Word and Mom’s the Word 2: Unhinged to Granville Island. In this production, they’ll share their true, intimate tales of the heartache and joy of parenthood, from bun in the oven to the terrible twos to the terrifying teens. Check website for show times and ticket information.

MusicFest Vancouver Multiple locations August 5-14 The popular annual summer festival returns with forty exciting live music performances and a lineup that includes some of Canada and the world’s best classical, world music and jazz performers. Eight city venues will be filled with glorious music over the multigenre festival’s 10-day run. Sports Equipment Swap Meet Minoru Arenas, Richmond August 6, 10am-2pm Find great deals on all types of sports equipment for all ages. This is a great opportunity to sell unwanted sports equipment in good condition. To book a table ($15) to sell items please call.

604.448.5366 Bare Buns Run Wreck Beach August 14, noon Take part in this 5 km or 1 km run. Run starts at noon, followed by awards ceremony at 3 pm. $25/adult. Registration required online or on event day from 9am-11:45am.

604.876.3909 | Kids Swap Meet Cloverdale Fairgrounds August 20, 9am-1pm Early bird admission $5 until 10am ($3 after). New and gently used kids items for sale. Clean out your children’s closets and make yourself a profit. One of the most established kids swap meets in the Lower Mainland. Tables go quickly so book early. Business tables $30; personal $25.


604.687.1644 | The Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival Upper Village, Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler July 23,noon-4pm Cheese rolling is a downhill race where contestants run after a giant 11-pound wheel of BC Natural Pastures cracked pepper Verdelait. The first one to chase the cheese wheel down the hill and cross the finish line gets to take home the giant, coveted wheel of delicious Canadian cheese and a Whistler season ski pass for two! Everyone is invited to join in the fun, participate in the races, or take in other fun activities including uphill cheese races, activities for children, cheese seminars, and a Cheese Market full of delicious Canadian cheese to sample and buy. Registration is on site. First race begins at 1pm. Free. Rain or shine.


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Urban Adventures, Great Day Trips, Healthy Living and More! It’s a Jungle Out There! 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani Just because you live in the city, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature. This compact guide offers 52 nature-focused explorations, adventures and games ranging from creating a container garden or winterscapes to pigeon-watching and shadow studies. Activities are grouped according to season, and are ideal for kids ages four to eight. $16.

52 Best Day Trips From Vancouver by Jack Christie Use this updated guide to the region’s best parks, lakes, beaches and trails to take your family on a staycation they’ll never forget. Most trips are within an hour’s drive of Vancouver, and include details on dogfriendly parks and off-leash areas, as well as the new Sea to Sky Trail, info on wheelchairaccessible destinations and fully updated maps and directions. $19.95.

Sounds of the Ferry by Sara Leach, illustrated by Steven Corvelo This latest offering from Whistler-based author Leach celebrates the scenic west coast and its marine wildlife through the eyes of young ferry travellers. A rhyming picture book that takes children on a sea journey full of visual details and reveals the world of ferries with humming engines, screeching seagulls and churning wake. $9.95.

Clean Start by Terry Walters From the author of the revolutionary Clean Food comes a new book with 100 recipes designed to help us eat the foods we need more of—fresh, local and minimally-process. Each recipe is quick, easy to prepare, and the ones we’ve tried so far have been delicious (and the toddler agreed!). $30.


What’s Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Based on cutting-edge science and filled with case studies that read like medical mysteries, this book reveals the hidden connections between nutrition and chronic childhood ailments. Why cure your child with drugs when you can cure your child with food? Dorfman’s book answers this questions with simple, straightforward solutions that give parents the tools to help their kids back to a natural state of well-being. $16.95.

Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and Survivor Kid teaches young adventurers the survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation in the wild. Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, it’s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding injuries in the wilderness. $13.95.

Elizabeth I, The People’s Queen by Kerrie Logan Hollihan A fabulous intro to Elizabethan England for middle-school kids, this book will teach children about the music, theatre, literature and society of the period. Also includes 21 activities that offer hands-on experiences like singing a madrigal, growing a knot garden and creating period costumes. $18.95.

Your Green Family Blueprint by Tracy Lydiatt With five easy steps that are made to fit your family, Lydiatt offers an easy way of greening your home and your family, without blowing the household budget or taking a lot of time. In fact, Lydiatt claims to help you save money in your green journey, all while creating a better future for your kids. $21.99 or buy as ebook at www.

For a limited time only. At participating McDonald’s® restaurants in Canada. ©2011 McDonald’s. T.M. OWNER/PROP DES MARQUES: SOCIÉTÉ DES PRODUITS NESTLÉ S.A., VEVEY, SWITZERLAND/SUISSE. July/August 2011


the smart choice in education enriched curriculum individualized reading, writing, math, science, computers, music, arts, French, sports, drama, yoga, dance specialized programs traditional 3 year cefa™ Junior Kindergarten program for 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5 year olds; cefa baby™ for 1-2 year olds excellent faculty cefa™ certified teachers also licensed in ece and trained in montessori and reggio. Loving and nurturing teachers inspire children to learn using exclusive cefa™ educational methods and games full day or part-time school on-site chef, classrooms of 12-16 children, cinema, circus, art room and art gallery West Vancouver 2008 Park Royal South 604.913.7713 Canada Way 4970 Canada Way 604.299.2373 Langley 100-19950 88th Avenue East 604.881.2332 North Vancouver 402-935 Marine Drive 604.929.2332 New Westminster 725 Carnarvon Street 604.777.0053 White Rock 15300 Croydon Drive 778.294.2646 Richmond 10811 No. 4 Road 604.275.2332 Vancouver 2946 Commercial Drive 604.879.2332 Kingsway 4021 Kingsway 604.568.8808

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WestCoast Families jul-Aug 2011  

WestCoast Families jul-Aug 2011

WestCoast Families jul-Aug 2011  

WestCoast Families jul-Aug 2011