WCF November|December Issue

Page 1


The Local Guide for Active Urban Families

fun winter

mom westcoast

november/december 2013

holiday gift guide | family photography

Christine Cogger

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November/December 2013


families westcoast


• winter fun • family photography • holiday gift guide

16 winter fun top story

on our cover...

Some of the WCF kids (River, Emma, Clementine, Jesse, Willow, Camryn & Olivia) gear up for some winter fun at Bopomo Pictures. Photographed by Bopomo Pictures | www.bopomo.ca

Holiday Gift Guide Cool Finds Unique Gift Ideas for the Whole Family

Family Photography Say Cheese! Fun Holiday Family Photo Ideas

Family Photography Local Listings

Family Photography Tips & Tricks for Getting the Perfect Shot





Winter Fun Fun Events for the Whole Family

Winter Fun Ski for Free! Hit the Slopes with Less Cost

Holiday Gift Guide Where to Shop The Best in Local Gift Retailers

Holiday Gift Guide Giftless Giving More Love, Less Waste





32mom westcoast

32 WCM Profile Christine Cogger 34 WCM Feature The Waiting Child 35 WCM Events

from the editor 6 7 13 26 28 36 30

Publisher’s Note Contests Geekology WCF News Hot Spots Community Calendar Last Look

next issue jan/feb

• education 4


www.twitter.com/wcfmag www.facebook.com/westcoastfamilies www.pinterest.com/wcfmag

November/December 2013


publisher’s note


s Bing says, It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And it sure is for the team here at WestCoast Families. We had a lot of fun putting this holiday issue together, especially finding lots of cool gift ideas. Take a look at this year’s Holiday Gift Guide for everyone in the family! If you’re looking for something original, we’ve pulled together a list of holiday shops that are sure to keep your retail therapy going. And for those who just don’t want more “stuff”, check out the giftless giving piece for great ideas. This is the west coast and that means a little turn in the weather won’t keep us down. It’s a great time for family outings – inside and out. And we have the Winter Fun guide full of great ideas to keep you busy. There are also a number of great family events and shows coming in November that WestCoast Families is proud to be a part of. Check out the highlights in our community calendar for all the details. This time of year often means the dreaded family photo! To take the fear out of this event, we’ve turned to some of our favourite local family photographers to offer our readers advice on taking your own photos or how to plan for a professional photo shoot to get great results. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type excited about the upcoming ski season, or a bookworm who is looking forward to snuggling by the fire, this issue has something for everyone... and be sure to look throughout this issue for advertisers displaying the 2013 Readers Choice award icon! From our families to yours, we wish you all the best of the holiday season… happiness and joy to all!

Andrea Vance


You told us about some amazing local charities and organizations that would benefit from the 2014 WCF Charity Ad Marketing contest. Now you get to VOTE for your favourite! The winning charity organization will receive • complimentary 1/6 page full colour ad in three issues of WestCoast Families in 2014 • an email BLAST to 3000 readers • an article in the magazine to tell our readers more about them and what they do.

Voting is open until December 15 and the winner will be announced in the January/February issue of WestCoast Families.

Go to www.westcoastfamilies.com/contest to see the nominations and VOTE today!



families westcoast


Managing Editor Andrea Vance editor@westcoastfamilies.com Editor Stephanie MacDonald stephanie@westcoastfamilies.com Contributing Editor Jodi Iverson jodi@westcoastfamilies.com Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso studio@westcoastfamilies.com Administration Jennifer Bruyns admin@westcoastfamilies.com Accounts Receivable & Payable Jennifer Brule finance@westcoastfamilies.com Advertising sales@westcoastfamilies.com 604.249.2866 Published by National Families Network Publisher: Andrea Vance publisher@westcoastfamilies.com For distribution inquiries, please email publisher@westcoastfamilies.com For submissions to our community calendars, please email admin@westcoastfamilies.com To share your feedback, please email editor@westcoastfamilies.com Contributors Mark Luba, Kelly Thompson, Stephanie Maingot, Laura Grady, Nicola Enwright-Morin, Krysta Furioso, Stephanie MacDonald, Andrea Vance, Jennifer Bruyns. All contents copyrighted ©. Written permission from the publisher is required to reproduce, quote, reprint or copy any material from WestCoast Families Mailing address: 1215-C56 St. Box 18057 Delta, BC V4L 2M4 T 604 249 2866 | F 604 676 2802


Visit us online for new contests every issue!


Win four tickets to The Backyardigans “Sea Deep in Adventure”! Who explores a coral reef, plays in an octopus’s garden, and joins the jellyfish ballet... all before snack time? The Backyardigans! Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha, Uniqua and Austin are back on stage, singing, dancing, as they plunge sea deep in adventure. Dive into the action as the five friends explore clues, discover underwater magic, and match wits with an all-too-tidy octopus and a pair of playful (but messy!) dolphins. With non-stop excitement and surprise, this watery tale will mesmerise, entertain and delight audiences of all ages! Value: $120

All Aboard! Enter to win dinner at the White Spot and four seats on the Polar Express Train Ride! Read along with the story as the train makes its magical roundtrip journey to the North Pole. Meet Santa and enjoy caroling, hot cocoa, a treat, and a special gift for each child at the West Coast Heritage Park in Squamish. Prize includes a $50 gift certificate to The White Spot in Squamish. The Polar Express departs November 30th and December 1st, 7th and 8th at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm. Value $158 www.wcra.org

Deadline to enter: November 26, 2013. Enter at www.westcoastfamilies.com

www.koba-entertainment.com/the-backyardigans-bio.php Deadline to enter: December 31, 2013. Enter at www.westcoastfamilies.com

WIN! A Full Day VIP Pass to mSummit Presented by Reinventing M. Includes a catered keynote lunch session with Arlene Dickinson, plus private book signing and meet & greet. You will also enjoy three mSession workshops, intensive coaching sessions,, mentorship roundtable and Keynote breakfast featuring Sandy Gerber, Christine McLeod and Jill Earthy plus special guest Tamara Taggart. Plus, makeover with hair and makeup, and headshot photo shoot with Jen Disprito, wrap party, swag bag, and even more! Value $349. Buy tickets at www.msummit.eventbrite.ca. www.reinventingm.com/msummit

Deadline to enter: November 15, 2013. Enter at www.westcoastfamilies.com

November/December 2013


holiday gift guide Generally speaking, it’s pretty easy to discover what your kids want for Christmas or Hanukkah, because, well, they’ve been telling you, and everyone else, one hundred times a day since September. The old lady down the street and the janitor at school probably know what your children want for Christmas. Other types of friends and family are likely to be a bit more coy, so we’ve put together a list of gifts that will be perfect for everyone from your mother to your best friend to your teenage nieces and nephews, so that everyone will be as happy as your kid (and maybe a bit more surprised) when the wrapping comes off.

Vintage Marquee Lights Give your home instant ambiance with Vintage Marquee Lights! Charming, unique, and full of soul, each light breathes personality into your space. These bright and funky letters, numbers and symbols can be used alone or in conjunction with each other and are designed to light up your world, electrify your space, and tell a story at every turn.

$160 for a 12-inch, $230 for a 24-inch light at www.vintagemarqueelights.com

Volkswagen Van Play Tent Break out the Grateful Dead bootlegs, and get your kids funkin’ anf groovin’ in these iconic play tents. Perfect indoors and outdoors, these new mini-me versions of the iconic 1965 Split Screen VW Camper Van are too cool for school. Available in red, light blue and baby pink, they are packaged in a stylish and easy to store VW Wheel bag. Each tent accommodates up to three children comfortably.

$60 for at Hip Baby stores or online at www.hipbaby.com



John Fluevog for Make-AWish No, tapping your heels together in these beautiful shoes will not result in an immediate bodily transfer onto a yacht in the Caribbean. However, a purchase of these classic John Fluevog Miracles Medugorje pumps will go to towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation that helps kids with life-threatening illnesses realize a dream, (and you still get the cutest kicks around).

$239 at Fleuvog retail stores and on www.fluevog.com

Brobo Cuddly Nightlights Brobo is the original loveable huggable night-light toy. Designed to help with sleeping in the dark, this original 13-inch cuddly red robot is the perfect bedtime friend. Swipe his right hand over his chest to activate his Shine Force light! There’s a bright mode for adventures, a dim mode for sleepy-time, and auto-off after 5 minutes, when you fall asleep.

$35 at www.brobo.com

Sip’n Feeding System Sip’n is the latest trend in baby and toddler feeding. No more worries about the contents of the pouch landing on the floor or all over your toddler. Sip’n prevents spills and controls the flow of food from pouch to toddler’s mouth. The comfortable silicone top for food pouches is designed to prevent injury to your child if they chew and bite on the hard plastic pouch spout. Perfect for road or air travel, you no longer have to worry about ruining your car upholstery, or pouches exploding in the airplane from cabin pressure. Sip’n fits all food pouches.

$7 on www.choomee.com

The Hope Knot The Hope-Knot is an icon designed by the Women’s Brain Health Initiative to create awareness and escalate concern over the unchecked growth of dementia and other aging brain diseases in women. A symbol of the importance of memory and a loose visual likeness of the brain, the HopeKnot reminds us of how connected every aspect of our lives is to our ability for cognitive thought. A beautiful and meaningful gift with a purpose!

Nicole Bridger Clothing For you, or the women in your life who want to look effortlessly chic while maintaining a commitment to the earth and its people. A Vancouver designer, Nicole’s collection is composed of stand-out pieces which reflect one’s individuality and femininity.

$10 for the Hope Knot pin, and $125 for the Sterling Silver pin or pendant at www.hopeknot.org

From $64 at Nicole Bridger retail stores and on www. nicolebridger.com

Y-Volution YFliker and YScooter

Blurb Custom Books

Y-Volution’s revolutionary family of Gliders, Scooters, and Flikers can move your kids from the toddler stage all the way up to teenagers. From the four-wheeled YPewi that can act as a walker or a rider, through to the extreme Fliker Carver which mimics the movements of skiing, these self-propelled machines are fun, safe, and get your kids outside and active.

Whether you want to share your love for photography, for cooking, your family’s history, or your own memoirs, the time-tested vehicle, of course, is the book. Blurb is a new kind of self-publisher, one who helps you every step of the way, even into retail marketing if that’s what you want to do. But think of the joy this Christmas when people unwrap your special talent, story or interest, in a bookstore-quality form that will endure for generations.

$55-$170 at www.toysrus.ca

Starting at $30 per hardcover book w/discounts for volume at www.blurb.ca

Silkberry Baby Dyson Heater Fan Is it a piece of art? Is it from the future? When you give the Dyson Hot + Cool fan to a lucky someone, be prepared for some questions. This amazing unit is a bladeless fan with a heater, and it uses Dyson’s powerful air multiplication technology heat up or cool any large room in seconds, quietly and economically. Perfect for a cabin or a workshop!

You can give nothing better to a new mom and dad than a cute, natural fibre outfit that launches their already adorable offspring into the stratosphere of sweetness. Also they can change their baby out of that thing they are wearing that has spit up all over it. Silkberry is a Vancouver company that uses mulberry silk floss and bamboo to create soft, safe and stylish gear for little ones up to the age of four.

Dress shown here $33 at www.silkberrybaby.com

$450 at Sears, The Bay and other large retailers

Dylan Kendall Footed Bowls Chase the blues away with this playful set of bowls and mugs by Dylan Kendall. They make the perfect hostess gift when filled with treats as well.

Medium size bowl $34 available locally, online, and in store at www.inglenuk.com

November/December 2013


holiday gift guide Fancy Holiday Dresses from Just Imagine Your kids will look and feel like real princes and princesses in Just Imagine’s holiday fashion collection. Perfect for special occasions and family photos, these outfits will create memories for years to come and these classic and well-made styles can be passed down to younger ones down the line.

$95 at the Just Imagine Dance store in The Kids’ Market on Granville Island

Snowtime Anytime Vancouver has many good qualities, but snowy winters aren’t among them. Most people think that is just as well – except kids! Now you can have the ultimate snow day experience without the slippery, slushy nuisance that is snow. Snowtime Anytime snowballs feel like real snowballs and can be used all year round in the playroom, or even the boardroom.

$20 USD for 20 on www.snowtimeanytime.com

OhKuol Jewelry Designed by a pair of Vancouver sisters, Vi and Priscilla Phan, these gorgeous gemstone pieces are the perfect gift for anyone who loves sparkly elegance. The pieces are also affordable, and imbued with the healing properties that natural jewels and crystals possess as well.

Prices starting at $40. Moss Green Gem and Leaf Necklace, as shown $69 at www.ohkuol.com

Global Mothers Jewelry Global Mothers is a wonder ful organization that seeks to connect mothers in North America with mothers in the global south who produce beautiful products specially designed for mothers and their young children. Also, their products are really gorgeous, from baby toys to jewelry. They make the perfect present for any mom or kid in your life, and help support families in developing countries at the same time.

Zig Zag bracelet as shown $17-$22 at www.global-mothers.com

Little Moojoes Ponchos Keep your kids warm and dry in the November rain with these ponchos, from Moojoes in North Vancouver (where they know a thing or two about rain). Encourage your kids to be active outdoors whatever the weather, and they’ll be happy to venture out in these ponchos, specifically designed to go over a backpack too!

$80 on www.moojoes.com

10 WestCoastFamilies.com

family photography

Say Cheese! Putting Fun Back into Family Holiday Photos by Mark Laba


very year as the holiday season approaches, my wife begins plotting our next family photo. It’s something I look forward to with all the anticipation of going to the dentist, but I also know that if I don’t follow her lead it could be grounds for divorce (or at the very least the end of Sunday night football where I lie on the couch cuddling a bag of Doritos). Part of my fear and trepidation stems from the fact that the only thing worse than braving the Christmas hordes is corralling our kids to stand in front of a camera. I’m Jewish, she’s not, though I’ve learned through the years that some seasonal rituals cannot be tampered with. So I put on my best face but I can’t say my kids are able to do the same. The expressions on their little mugs when posing for a studio-style family photo makes me think they’re facing the strictest teacher in school. So, with the usual grins turning to grimaces my wife and I knew we had to try something different. The last thing we wanted to send out to friends and relatives was an image of us standing like cardboard cut outs and smiling like we all just had Botox treatments. This is when my wife had a brainstorm and the next thing I knew we were scouting out photo locations. “Location, location, location” say those buying real estate, but the same battle-cry is equally true for taking photos with your kids. What we discovered is that, come holiday time, hotels do it up big when it comes to decorations. And by taking the kids out of a staid and rigid setting, a sense of adventure ensued as we explored various places, finding the perfect backdrop for our covert photo operation. At the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on West Georgia we discovered a menagerie of Christmas paraphernalia. A huge archway leading into the lobby lounge was constructed entirely of candy-canes, gumdrops and other colourful sweets. The kids were mesmerized and the friend we brought along to snap the photo (we bribed her with a post-photo shoot cocktail), clicked off a series of wonderful shots using a foolproof digital camera. Another time, while prowling a second-level convention room hallway, we came upon some staff dismantling a Christmas party display. Still standing was a huge Santa chair and some Costco-sized nutcracker soldiers. With our kids watching expectantly, maybe they thought they couldn’t say no.

12 WestCoastFamilies.com

Presto, another fun holiday photo with the kids in a playful mood. Throw in the promise of high tea at one of the hotels or hot chocolate and treats somewhere else and the fun is just beginning. Last year we decided to go for a sleek, modern setting, and so picked the lobby of the Opus Hotel that has a very contemporary interior. I like to think of it as futuristic, with its artful chain mesh curtains and round tables illuminated from within so that they glow like some kind of alien energy pods. It fulfilled some of my Star Trek fantasies and the results were inspiring. The gist of this story is simply that my wife and I found a way to turn a once stressful situation into an adventurous and cost-effective photo op outing for our family. We’ve since photographed on ice rinks and while tobogganing, and this year I’m thinking of schlepping the family out to the historic (and free) Burnaby Village for a Charles Dickens scenic setting. Suffice to say, it’s the sense of adventure leading up to things that makes the photo such a success and turns kids from grumpy little elves into happy participants. And interestingly, some of our best photos are the ones of the kids playing prior to the actual final shot. So let your imagination take you to evocative and right under-your-nose locations, because when you capture a child’s joy and curiosity that’s a picture worth a thousand words.

geekology Check out these great online sources for exciting photography tips and tricks to get you off and clicking! Digital Photography Review www.dpreview.com Comprehensive reviews on just about every new piece of digital photography equipment released over the last few years. The first stop for anyone interested in purchasing new gear or understanding more about the features of what they already own.

SmugMug www.smugmug.com An online home for your photos – for amateurs and professionals. Allows you to customize your photo website with unlimited photo uploads and video too. Your page can be secure with password protection and complete privacy, or you can make your galleries public to share with the world.

Photoshop Daily www.photoshopdaily.co.uk Great Tips & Tutorials page for Photoshop users to take your work to the next level.

photography resources Pixlr www.pixlr.com Online photo editor where you can edit your own photos, import photos from the web, or create a new graphic from a blank canvas.

I Heart Faces www.iheartfaces.com Started by two moms who met through blogging, this website is focused on sharing beautiful and unique photos of children and families, and teaching and inspiring women to be creative. Sign-up for their regular email updates.

iPhone Photography School www.iphonephotographyschool.com The best photos are often spontaneous, so this website is great for those who rely on their iPhone to capture all those special moments with kids. Learn how to take amazing photos with your iPhone and apps that can help you edit and share.

Digital Photography School www.digital-photography-school A website with simple tips to help digital camera owners get the most out of their cameras. A learning environment aimed at the new to semi-experienced digital camera owner. Weekly emails, photo contests, tips, and much more.

November/December 2013 13

family photography

Tips & Tricks Getting the Best Shot


rom red demon eyes, to creepy face shadows, to attempting to have everyone ready at the same moment and also in the frame – taking family photos during the holidays can be scary! Fortunately, we have some advice from the experts that will have you snapping away like a pro. YOU’VE GOT TO MOVE LIKE JAGGER. Don’t just stand there… move! Drop to your knee…roll on your back… teeter on a ledge. Experiment with a variety of angles to find the most interesting ways to frame your subject. Angles give your images a feeling of movement. Your subject may even get into the groove and move with you. Exercise your creativity (as well as a few core muscles in the process). You will produce truly unique images that rock! Renata Sinclair Photography | www.renatasinclair.com LET KIDS BE KIDS. Are you tempted to tell your kids to be on their best behaviour and “smile” before the big family photo session? Try a different tactic: “We’re doing to the park to take some photos. It will be a lot of fun!” That’s it. No other expectations. Bring favourite props like toys, books, stuffies, and sports gear. Bubbles are also a favourite. Let them run around and be kids for a while, play peek-a-boo, and have some fun. Then be ready to capture the laughter and that special moment of discovery and pure fun.

KEEP THE CHANGE. Don’t plan to change your children’s clothes too many times during a session. It is more important to concentrate on the children’s expressions, then their many adorable outfits. However still bring one or two extra outfits with you and the photographer will incorporate as many outfits into the session, as the child’s patience will allow. Kimberley Mara, Eclipse Photography | www.eclipsephotography.ca

Elayne Wandler, Bopomo Pictures | www.bopomo.ca SIZE DOES MATTER. I am someone who thinks bigger is better when it comes to displaying portraits. It’s always disappointing when a photograph is too small and is underwhelming when displayed. A general rule is that you want an art piece to take up two-thirds to three-quarters of the space it’s in. Darcie Brown, Revival Arts | www.rastudio.ca

HOLD THE CHEESE. In what rulebook does it state that smiling is a must? I’ll take a non-smile over a forced smile any day. In fact, smiles cause eyes to narrow somewhat. A non-smiling subject’s wide-eyed innocence, often mixed with a surprising look of depth and wisdom, is truly fascinating. Perhaps you’ll capture an intriguing Mona Lisa-esque portrait. You might even feel you’ve caught a glimpse into your subject’s soul. This is an especially good time to be really close. If you can also manage to catch the light in their eyes, you will have a masterpiece!

FIND THE LIGHT. Position yourself with a window directly behind you. Crouch so you don’t block the light. With your subject(s) looking toward you (and the window) their eyes will catch the light and look spectacular. If they are little ones who won’t sit still, have them run toward you and snap away for some genuine joy shots. Outside, on a sunny day, find the shade. Have your subjects stand just on the shady side of where the light meets the shade. You stand on the sunny side. Your subjects won’t squint and their eyes will pop beautifully!

Renata Sinclair Photography | www.renatasinclair.com

Renata Sinclair Photography | www.renatasinclair.com

Elayne Wandler, Bopomo Pictures | www.bopomo.ca

14 WestCoastFamilies.com

CELEBRATE. Is there a milestone or special occasion? A birthday or graduation for example. If so, feel free to bring those special items pertaining to the event such as a graduation robe, balloons, and even a cake to smash. What about celebrating their birthday with a photo shoot for the whole party group?

family photography Check out these local photographers, favourites of Revival Arts portraits to tell a family’s story, capturing WestCoast Families: Using unique moments and creating art for their client’s Bopomo

homes. www.revivalartsstudio.com

Fun, friendly and worry-free, Bopomo Pictures captures your life’s moments in picture-perfect, timeless style. www.bopomo.ca

Magna Vita Photography Photography from a photojournalistic approach, specializing in weddings, families, and commercial. www.blog.magnavitaphotography.ca

Renata Sinclair Portraiture Modern and creative photography for kids, families, and babies. www.renatasinclair.com

Eclipse Photography Unique B&W and colour photography for families, newborns, and maternity. www.eclipsephotography.ca

November/December 2013 15

fun winter

For those on the lower mainland, the winter season often brings rain but it also brings snow, holidays and endless opportunities for fun that involve every member of the family. Whether you’re into art, culture, shopping or sports, there’s something on this list for everyone. So pour the hot chocolate, don those mittens and explore! By Kelly Thompson

Explore Grouse Mountain Check out all that Grouse Mountain has to offer, especially during the Peak of Christmas festival where you can visit Santa’s workshop, hop on a sleigh ride or take part in the regular Grouse winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Finish off with a trip on the aerial tramway.


Ice Skating at Robson Square

The Christmas Market Right until Christmas Eve, those in need of Christmas cheer can gobble goodies and shop ‘till they drop at the Vancouver Christmas Market. The German-themed gifts and food offer something for everyone and every stomach. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for youths (kids under 6 are free). But check out the event during weekdays to save half off admission.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, Vancouver www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com

Lights at Capilano Bridge

There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as an outdoor skating rink and Vancouver offers one of the biggest and coolest. It also comes at a great price—Free! If you need to rent skates, all you need are $4, a pair of mittens and preferably, some hot chocolate.

Starting 30 November until 4 December, sparkling lights decorate the bridge, canyon and walkways and are nothing short of stunning. Explore lights, live music and cookie decorating to get in the festive spirit. If you needed more prompting, all proceeds are donated to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

800 Robson Street, Vancouver www.robsonsquare.com

3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver www.capbridge.com

Capilano Salmon Hatchery The Nutcracker

16 WestCoastFamilies.com

The 14-16th of December marks the return of the BC Ballet’s Nutcracker. And if you miss the BC Ballet, the Ballet of Alberta will be touring through from 2831 December with their own impressive version of this traditional Christmas play.

It may not sound like the makings of a rousing afternoon, but there’s a reason the Capilano Salmon Hatchery appears on many Vancouver’s To-Do lists. The hatchery offers interactive exhibits and an education on how these amazing fish traverse our local waterways. Best of all, it’s free! Bring the whole family to learn about the spawning habits and lives of these interesting fish.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver www.balletbc.com/nutcracker

Capilano River Regional Park, North Vancouver www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sep-pmvs/projects-projets/capilano/ capilano-eng.html

Indoor Climbing The lower mainland has a variety of rocky landscapes with endless climbing opportunities. But once the snow begins to fall, it’s time to head indoors to a local climbing gym. Here, you can take a class, sign up for a course or just bring the family for an afternoon of muscle building.

www.cliffhangerclimbing.com | www.hiveclimbing.com www.edgeclimbing.com | www.coastalclimbing.ca

Winter Wonderland Sleepover at the Vancouver Aquarium On Saturday, December 28, be one of the lucky few to sleep in the underwater viewing gallery along with the resident Beluga whales, and learn about these amazing animals. The price is steep but worth it for the experience; $100 per person or $60 for Vancouver Aquarium members. Children must be at least six years old.

Stanley Park, Vancouver | www.vanaqua.org

Whistler Film Festival Need your flick fix? Head to the Whistler Film Festival. From 4-8 December, check out an impressive list of films, watch a movie under the stars outdoors and engage in some family programming to keep your children involved.


Make Some Chocolates Need a night out, just you and your partner? Take a chocolate making class at Cocoa Nymph where you’ll learn about the history and process of chocolate and leave with a box of truffles that you’ll make yourself.

3739 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver www.cocoanymph.com

Take in a Show We live in an area with endless opportunities to explore different aspects of culture and art and the rainy winter weather often drives us indoors. Check out the Vancouver Symphony, the Cultch, the Arts Club’s three stages, the Vancouver Opera and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for tons of options to keep every member of the family entertained.

www.thecultch.com | www.vancouversymphony.ca | www.artsclub.com www.vancouveropera.ca | www.balletbc.com/nutcracker

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Gardens You’ve never seen Christmas lights until you’ve seen those that grace the VanDusen gardens. From 11 December to 4 January, make sure you visit this spectacular attraction of 1.4 million lights strung through equally impressive plants, flowers and bushes. You can even make a night of it by visiting Truffles café or the Shaughnessy restaurant first. Tickets are $14.25 for adults but there are lower prices for students, seniors and family discount rates.

5251 Oak Street, Vancouver | www. vandusengarden.org

Steveston Winter Farmers and Artisans Market From 20 October to 15 December, head to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site between 10 am and 3 pm to take in the taste, smells and crafts of the historic Steveston area. There’s something to love (and eat!) for everyone in the family.

12138 Fourth Ave, Richmond | www.sfam.ca

Do Some Ceramics Kids love the chance to make something of their very own. So why not have a day of crafts with your kids at a ceramic or pottery studio? You’ll leave with something you made yourself and your kids will enjoy playing with paints and clay.

www.upaintifire.ca www.createitemporium.com www.clayzoneceramics.blogspot.ca

Explore History There are great museum and attractions that are perfect to keep adults and kids entertained and interested on cold, rainy west coast days.

www.britanniaminemuseum.ca www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca

MORE CONTENT ONLINE! For more great Winter Fun events, go to www.westcoastfamilies.com

November/December 2013 17

Fun, frost

family! & Explore your own backyard this winter with fun family activities all around the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Region! Written by Crystal Solberg Head out of the city this holiday season and up to the Britannia Mine Museum for some family time. Kids will love riding an underground mine train through an authentic mining tunnel and learning how to pan for gold at this National Historic Site. Stop by the Company Store find some unique


Insight Photography Mountain, photo courtesy of

holiday gifts like beautiful gemstone jewelry for grandma.


Grouse Moun

tain, photo co

urtesy of Kevin


Another great option for a city escape is to visit Harrison Hot Springs. Take an eagle viewing tour and catch a glimpse of thousands of wintering bald eagles, drawn to the area by the spawning salmon which they love to eat. Have a friendly competition and see who can count the most eagles! Be sure to check out some of the holiday events going on in the community as well, such as the official lighting of the plaza Christmas tree on December 7 and the Festival of Trees display at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. If you’re looking to really get into the holiday spirit, visit the Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain. An easy jaunt from Downtown Vancouver, here you can meet one of Santa’s reindeer at the wildlife refuge and breathe in some fresh mountain air as you glide along the 8,000 square foot outdoor skating rink. The ice skating pond is just steps away from the Peak Chalet, where you can warm up with a hot chocolate and some lunch afterwards. Be sure to visit the Theatre in the Sky at Grouse Mountain to enjoy some classic Christmas movies, then stroll through the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village and vote for your favourite creation. Kids can also make their own snowman craft and head out on a mountaintop sleigh ride! Snuggle up to your loved ones as you journey through a winter wonderland of snow-covered forests. Experience some fantastic family activities in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Region this winter! Visit 604Pulse.com for travel ideas, event information and our favourite things to see and do in the region.


set of skis, and a free child’s pass to Mount Seymour with the purchase of a pair of Head skis, www.northshoreskiandboard.com. Fall is a common time for sales, when stores make room for newer models. Take advantage of Blackcomb’s legendary annual Turkey Sale, where merchandise is sold at up to 70% off every Thanksgiving long weekend, www.whistlerblackcomb.com Sign up at “I Love Sample Sales Vancouver” and keep an eye out for sales related to snow sports, www.ilovesamplesales.com

Lift Tickets and Lessons

ski for free hit the slopes without hurting your wallet By Stephanie Maingot


When it rains, it snows. It’s why I don’t bemoan the bone-chilling winter rains when they hit Vancouver. Instead, I look up at the freshly covered peaks overlooking my city and know that at higher altitudes, winter wonderlands await. But admittedly, skiing isn’t exactly “cheap”, even for the average family. Still, I wondered if it was possible to do on a budget and made it my mission to find out. Accessibility alone makes for another strong incentive in Vancouver: the city has not one, not two, but three ski hills — Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour — all within a 30-minute drive from downtown. With world-class facilities at our doorstep, it seems a shame for any Vancouverite to miss out on experiencing downhill sports. This year will be our fifth fabulous season hitting the slopes as a family. To say that we’ve skied for virtually free is of course an exaggeration, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that there are ways to cut costs at every step: all the way from equipping your family, to learning, to buying lift tickets. So onward and downward!

Equipment Equipment costs should be factored out over the number of years the equipment will be used, as well as the intended frequency of use. All local mountains offer daily rentals, but if you plan on skiing regularly, the cost and hassle add up quickly. One of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of equipping growing kids is using a buy-back program. Program details vary from store to store but all operate on the same principle of guaranteeing a trade-in value on junior equipment purchased at the store, in addition to providing access to an inventory of excellent quality used equipment. If initial cash outlay is an issue, long-term rentals are a viable option. This scenario applies nicely to families who need to outfit several children. Sports Junkies runs a popular junior leasing program where new or used packages can be rented for an entire season. The biggest advantage is that equipment can be exchanged anytime during the season if your child outgrows it. Skis can also be traded in up to two times for snowboarding equipment, www.vancouverskirental.com. It’s worth noting that Cypress, Seymour, and Grouse all have reasonably-priced long-term rental packages, but only for season’s pass holders. While quantities last, Northshore Ski & Board is currently offering a free season’s pass to Grouse Mountain with the purchase of an Elan child’s snowboard or

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You can ski completely free depending on the time and effort at your disposal. For example, I organize a ski camp every year for my son’s school (for the last 3 years at Cypress Mountain), and in return, have received either a free lead chaperone lift ticket, or a school V.I.P. pass which entitled myself and a guest of my choice to ski for free every day of the season. Grouse Mountain offers organizers transferable season’s passes. Besides the promotion of school spirit, children learn at ridiculously affordable school group rates. Each mountain has its own school group coordinator and corresponding incentive programs. It pays off to dig around and compare according to your needs If you have time to volunteer you can trade your volunteer hours for perks up to and including a season’s pass for Cypress Mountain. At Mount Seymour, you can earn passes for yourself and family members by volunteering in the Bear Cubs Program or as a Mountain Host www.mountseymour.com/employmentopportunities. Contact respective Human Resources departments directly for details on how to qualify and how to apply. When it comes to saving money on your ski season, lift tickets and learning often go hand-in-hand. This year, Mount Seymour is offering a free season’s pass to Grade 5 and 6 students when schools book a multi-day lesson program. Parents can ski for a mere $25 when their children are enrolled in a lesson. For a nominal cost of $29.95, Ski Canada offers a Grade 4 & 5 SNOWPASS™, which entitled holders to ski or ride three times at each participating ski area. Passes are valid for two years. Mount Seymour and Grouse are both on the list of BC participants. See website for details and online application www.skicanada.org/grade-4-5-snowpass/. As for season’s passes, the earlier you buy, the less you pay. Cypress, Seymour, and Grouse all have ‘early-bird’ specials that give deep discounts on passes purchased near the end of the current season, or sometime before the next season launches. In terms of affordability, Grouse Mountain is most well known for its Y2Play passes, which are limited in numbers and sell out quickly, www. grousemountain.com/y2play/buy-now. Mount Seymour has long identified as a ‘family mountain’ and offers a comparable early-bird family rate of $799, only it’s available for purchase for several months until September. Cypress is the most expensive facility, but has three graduated savings deadlines (April 15th, Sept 15th and Nov 1st). It also offers customized family savings, www. cypressmountain.com/family-passes, and a payment plan on certain types of regularly priced G8 passes (all day, all night, all season) www.cypressmountain. com/payment-plan. Get on the e-mail lists of all three resorts or follow them on twitter so you don’t miss early-bird deadlines. The key is to decide early-on, then take advantage of special pricing.

Resources • Northshore Ski & Board, Junior Trade-in Program www.northshoreskiandboard.com/winter/junior-trade-in-program • Skiis and Bikes, Kids Half Back www.skiisandbiikes.com/products/kids-half-back • Comor Sports www.comorsports.com • Mount Seymour www.mountseymour.com/schools • Grouse Mountain www.grousemountain.com • Cypress Mountain www.cypressmountain.com

November/December 2013 21

If you’re looking for unique gifts for this holiday, skip the mall and head over to Main St. or to Gastown, where independent and eclectic stores abound for every taste and budget. Here are a few of our favourites!

Still Life For Him & For Her A beautifully-designed Main Street store featuring quality modern retail brands from smaller, international fashion labels, Still Life is the newest incarnation of the Victoria fashion staple, carrying a large selection of on trend and classic men’s and women’s shoes, denim, outerwear, and clothing to beguile any Vancouver fashionista.

2315 Main Street, Vancouver, www.stilllifeboutique.com

Old Faithful Shop Nestled in the historic Gastown district of Vancouver is Old Faithful Shop: a modern day version of a general store that would have existed on these cobblestone streets over 100 years ago. On these shelves you’ll find good quality goods for simple, everyday living. This store features products that are well-made, classic in design, and when possible handcrafted by a human being. The best products are the ones that age well and stand the test of time - items that will exist long after we do not.

320 Cordova Street, Vancouver, www.oldfaithfulshop.com

Örling and Wu In the heart of historical Gastown, Örling & Wu provides some of the highest quality crafted wallpaper, decorative fabrics, tableware and home accessories from all corners of the world. Örling & Wu’s products are a fresh mix of modern, vintage and classic European styles, and are arranged so that you can easily mix these design aspects into your home.

28 Water Street, Vancouver www.orlingandwu.com

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Nineteen Ten This beautifully curated shop offers a selection of home decor items that range from small gifts to mid-sized furniture pieces and lighting. These pieces represent an eclectic collection of modern, vintage, upcycled and handmade items by local and international designers. They want to share their passion for beautifully made, functional and entirely special items that are used and enjoyed for everyday living.

4366 Main Street, Vancouver, www.nineteenten.ca

Much and Little This charming Mt. Pleasant shop is a repository of household goods and ever yday objects that embody simplicity, beauty, quality and function. They offer a changing selection of humble yet hearty housewares, women’s apparel, and handcrafted accessories. Sourced from all over, (independent designers, local gems, heritage brands, and fair trade artisans), all items share the ideals of thoughtful craftsmanship and timeless appeal.

2541 Main Street, Vancouver, www.muchandlittle.com

November/December 2013 23

gifts that keep on giving



here is absolutely nothing wrong with unwrapping a gift this holiday season, but here are so many ways to show your love and affection that don’t involve huge shopping sprees, and that may involve sharing experiences, enjoying company, and trading in one big present for little presents that come in throughout the year. Through Oxfam Canada you can buy an impoverished family a goat, chicken, or plant a garden; through Free the Children’s Holiday Wishing Well for the World you can provide a well for a community; you can adopt a snowy owl through the World Wildlife Fund; help rehabilitate a child soldier or buy blankets for babies through Unicef, or you can sponsor a child through World Vision Canada, SOS Children’s Villages. This type of giving lasts all year for the recipients and implants a sense of global citizenship in young ones. Giving experiences, such as theatre, dance, or concert tickets, seasons passes to places like Science World and The Aquarium, and ski passes are another way to give without adding to the buildup of things in your home, and give your family and friends something to look forward to during the year ahead. But if you want a gift that truly keeps on giving and will bring smiles throughout the year, we’ve rounded up some other great ideas for you to consider.

Owl and ChickaDEE magazine subscriptions Founded as science and nature magazines for children, Owl and ChickaDEE have expanded in scope to include relevant information on the topics and issues that concern preteens and tweens while remaining true to the mission of educating and entertaining. Unusual for the intended age groups, these magazines are loved by both girls and boys, relaying information with a signature honesty, intelligence, and humour.

Snackbox was created to help simplify the task of discovering your new favourite snack. Every month, their holistic nutritionist and her team of experts carefully choose and curate the best snacks. They read and analyze all the labels, and most importantly, taste test the snacks! Members get 10 - 12 items in their Snackbox once a month. There will be a combination of sweet and savoury snacks to satisfy any craving! $24/mo 6-month subscription, $33 one month | www.getsnackbox.com

Tom Lee Music School of Rock Are you the parent or relative of an aspiring rock star? This program for kids between the ages of 10 and 19 uses a performance-based approach to music lessons. If they play guitar, electric guitar, drums, or sing, they won’t want to miss this amazing chance to put all their hard work and practicing into action! From instrument sectionals, to band coaching, a big pizza party and a live rock concert at the end of the week, this is a life changing weekend where they’ll not only fall more in love with music and their instrument, but they will get to feel like a rock star on the Tom Lee Music Hall stage! $325 for one week class | www.tomleemusic.ca

Foodie Pages Tree Trimming Party Box

$35 for a one-year subscription | www.owlkids.com

The Missing Ingredient The Missing Ingredient is a monthly box of inspiration delivered to your doorstep. Described best as a culinary adventure in a box, each monthly Missing Ingredient subscription provides hard-to-find ingredients paired with feature recipes, and practical tips from culinary professionals for subscribers to break out of their culinary rut. Gifts may be given in one, three, six, or 12-month increments, and include the cost of shipping anywhere in Canada.

When your giftee decorates the tree this year, you can help make it a celebration event for family and friends with all of the fixings for a casual and fun dinner in this Tree Trimming Party Box. The Tree Trimming Party Box showcases the best small batch food, handcrafted by Canada’s best artisan food makers. It has something for everyone: a hearty, easy to make chili with multigrain scones; hot drinks for everyone to sip on; something sweet to finish; and popcorn for munching and for stringing! $70 for the Tree trimming Party Box, $300 for a 6-month subscription of gourmet boxes | www.foodiepages.ca

$57 for one month, $282 for 6 months | www.themissingingredient.ca

Other Resources Sunday Morning Ice Cream This ingenious company handcrafts ice creams that they want you to fall in love with, and then delivers them to your loved one’s door every Sunday morning! These delicious treats are created using artisanal recipes, and are produced in small batches using ingredients both seasonal and local, as well as exquisite and exotic. On the first Sunday of the month, Sunday Morning Ice Cream brings two pints of ice cream to homes in curated packs, along with accoutrements like ginger caramel sauce and double chocolate cookies that change monthly. $40 for one delivery a month on www.sundaymorningicecream.com

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Ronald McDonald House www.rmhbc.ca Oxfam Canada www.oxfam.ca Free the Children www.freethechildren.com Me to We www.weday.com World Wildlife Fund Canada www.wwf.ca Unicef www.unicef.ca World Vision Canada www.worldvision.ca SOS Children’s Villages www.soschildrensvillages.ca Global Mothers www.global-mothers.com

November/December 2013 25

wcf news >> Grade 4 & 5 Snowpass is back for its 17th Year! SnowPass is a coupon card offering 4th and 5th graders three complimentary lift tickets at each of the participating ski areas, all across Canada. With over 150 ski areas on this year’s SnowPass card, that amounts to over 450 days of skiing and snowboarding for a very low price of $29.95. The Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass program is a ski and snowboard industry initiative that encourages kids to get outside and be active during the winter. Grades 4 and 5 were selected for the program because nine and ten years old are ideal ages to learn how to ski or snowboard. Now in its seventeenth year, the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass Program has already generated over a million resort visits by nearly 500,000 grade four and five children from across Canada. Anyone who is currently in grade 4 or grade 5 (or born in 2003 or 2004) is eligible for a SnowPass. The mail-in application forms are being distributed to schools across the country in early November. Applications are also available at the SnowPass web site www.snowpass.ca where you can apply for the SnowPass online by uploading a photo, proof of age or grade and making the payment of $29.95 including taxes. The Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass can be used all across Canada and is valid beginning December 1st until the end of the ski season. For children who apply in grade 4, the SnowPass can be used in two seasons; while they are in grade 4, with the remaining available lift passes while they are in grade 5.


>> Private School Expo Comes to Vancouver Coming to Vancouver on November 17 at the Westin Bayshore, Our Kids Media is continuing its annual tour of Private School Expos across Canada in the fall of 2013, bringing together curious families with school representatives for a oneon-one exchange of information. Many families travel from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to research their private school options and take advantage of popular information seminars at each Expo, covering topics such as financing tuition, how to choose a school, and an inside look at boarding schools. Issues such as class sizes, educational standards, public school closures, and bullying have reignited the public vs. private debate over the past year. In the meantime, private schools are increasing their student populations across all income levels through financial aid and scholarships programs, dispelling the myth of the “private school elite”. As economic times continue to improve, Our Kids Media is confident that the benefits of a private school education, such as small class sizes, enriched academics, and close parent-teacher partnerships, will make the upcoming 2013 Expos in Montreal, Calgary, Halton-Peel, Toronto, and Vancouver an even greater success. www.ourkids.net/expo/vancouver-expo.php

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>> mSummit welcomes Arlene Dickinson to Vancouver The kids may have gone back to school, but the return to education needn’t stop with them. mSummit, an event connecting moms with learning opportunities, is happening this November 16th at the luxurious Westin Bayshore in Coal Harbour. Featuring keynote speakers such as Arlene Dickinson from Dragons’ Den and local television personality Tamara Taggart, the conference-style event aims to unite working moms with education, solutions and community when taking on the challenges of driving their inspirational careers, while raising their families. The single day event features a Full Day Pass packed with catered breakfast and lunch keynote sessions, 24 workshops focused in areas of entrepreneurship, and a Beringer Classic wine sponsored wrap event to connect after an inspiring day. mSummit topics include career advancement for working moms, and work/ life balance and entrepreneurial sessions to kick start any small to mid-sized business. With exclusive VIP treatments including a book signing with Arlene Dickinson, exclusive gifts, coaching sessions, headshots and spa treatments to pamper yourself. Hosted by local entrepreneur and mom, Meghan Simington. Tickets are on sale, including full day passes. Lunch with Arlene and two workshops package is just $129. Use promo code “Andrea” to receive 15% off your tickets.


>> Get Your Glow On for Make-A-Wish! It’s Glowvember, and beginning November 1st, you can help grant wishes to kids with life-threatening conditions with these glow star necklaces. Pure magic, these beautiful glow stars can be made available to your workplace, group, team, organization, or clients, for a suggested minimum donation of $5. Contact the BC chapter of Make-A-Wish and let them know how many glow stars you wish to order, and Make-A-Wish will provide you with stars, posters, a social media promotional piece, a decal for your window, and an email blast to promote your participation in this program that will help make the dreams of some very sick kids come true. Call 604-688-7944 or email bcchapter@makeawish. ca to order your stars today.

November/December 2013 27


Hollyburn Lodge on Cypress Nestled in the heart of the Cypress Mountain cross country ski area, The Hollyburn Lodge, built in 1926, is a popular destination for all ages. Containing a fully licensed cafe, with daily home cooked creations ranging from hearty soups to vegetarian or meat lasagnas, there are many tasty options for a cold day on the hill. Offered as part of a snowshoe package, the three-course fondue dinners are a huge hit.


This is a micro-roastery café, where they produce small batches of beans ready for grinding. The coffees are amazing – our favourites are the traditional cappucino and chai latte – arguably the best around. Even more, they offer a healthy unique food menu with items like Moroccan Flan and Artisan Meats plates. They’re licensed and open for dinner in the evenings from Thurs-Sun with live music on Saturdays and wine tastings on Fridays. Perfect for date night!

On a for mer ly uninteresting block of Kingsway, sits The Black Lodge, an unobtrusive little hideout with a Twin Peaks-inspired décor. Vegetarian pub food and creative cocktails are the order of the day here, but kids are welcome, and will love the camping-food theme, especially the s’mores. The whole family will enjoy observing hipsters in their natural habitat!

5694 12th Avenue, Tsawwassen | www.woodnfrogcoffee.ca

630 Kingsway

Wood N Frog

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The Black Lodge

November/December 2013 29

families readers westcoast

is excited for the return of the 5th annual


Infant/Toddler/Child Music Program Music With Marnie Music Together Tie: Music for Young Children / Mother Goose

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Children’s Dance Program Arts Umbrella Circus West Shift

Vacation Destination Within BC Whistler Harrison Hot Springs Victoria

Children’s Visual Art Program 4 Cats Arts Studio Arts Umbrella Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

Women’s Beauty/Health Spa Spa Utopia Skoah Le Pitit Spa Fitness Program/Gym Club 16 Steve Nash - Fitness World Fit 4 Two

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Children’s Performing Arts Program Music with Marnie Arts Umbrella Stagecoach

Pediatric Dentist/Dental Clinic Child’s Play Pediatric Dental Group (PDG) Monarch Dentistry

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Local Daytrip Whistler Bowen Island Tie: Stanley Park | Buntzen Lake

Vacation Destination Outside BC Disneyland Hawaii California Family Ski Area/Mountain/Resort Whistler/Blackcomb Cypress Mountain Grouse Mountain

Kids Day Camp Cirkids (Circus West) Pedal Heads SFU Camps

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Travel Agency/Resource Expedia Travel Best Bets Tie: Flight Centre | Marlin Travel

Learning/Tutoring Centre Kumon Sylvan Learning Oxford Learning

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Local Family Attraction Vancouver Aquarium Science World Tie: Burnaby Village Museum | Granville Island

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Best Annual Baby/Family Show/Event PNE Baby & Family Fair n/a

Family Photographer Bopomo Lisa Marie Photography n/a

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you spoke...

we listened!

Of course, We know our readers are the smartest people out there. So it’s time again to harvest this wealth of knowledge and experience in our Annual Reader’s Choice Awards! Read on to discover what you have chosen as the best of the best in and around town.



Consignment or Vintage Store Value Village Front & Co Talize

Kids Shoe Store Panda Payless Gap

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Nanny Agency Nannies on Call Lullaby League n/a

Grocery Delivery Service SPUD Thrifty’s Best Pizza Panago Fresh Slice Me N Eds

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Children’s Furniture Store Ikea Westcoast Kids TJ’s The Kiddies Store

Family Bike Shop Cap’s Sports Junkies MEC

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Grocery Store Real Canadian Superstore Safeway Donald’s Market

Children’s Bookstore Kidsbooks Chapters/Indigo Blackbond Books

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Kids Sports Equipment Sport Chek MEC Tie: Sport Mart | Sports Junkies

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Online Parenting/Family Resource WestCoast Families Kids Vancouver Yoyomama.ca

•• • Children’s Hair Salon Great Clips The Hair Loft n/a

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Activity Play Centre Go Bananas Mount Pleasant Family Centre n/a

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Natural/Organic Foods Store Whole Foods Choices Market Nature’s Fare Market | Organic Grocer

Shopping Mall Metrotown Coquitlam Centre Guildford

Baby Equipment Store TJ’s The Kiddies Store Babies R Us | Westcoast Kids Baby’s World

Midwife or Doula Services Mother Me Main Street Midwifery South Community Birthing Centre


Family Restaurant White Spot Rocky Mountain Flatbread Red Robin

Maternity Store Thyme Maternity Room for Two Hazel & Jools

Consignment Store – children’s Wee Ones Reruns Boomers & Echoes Value Village



Children’s Clothing Store Gap Children’s Place Gymboree

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Best Location to Pick up WestCoast Families Magazine Online Public Library Safeway

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Best Swimming Program Vancouver Parks & Rec Hillcrest Aquaventures

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Best Children’s Gymnastics Program Circus West Phoenix Gymnastics Jump Gymnastics | UBC Gymnastics

Kid’s Party Venue Circus West 4Cats Art Studio 6 Pack Beach Party | Great Escape

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Best Party Supply Store Party Bazaar Turkey’s Party City Best Children’s Entertainer/Performer Music with Marnie Bobs & Lolo Will Stroet

November/December 2013 2012 31 November/December 31

mom westcoast

Christine Cogger Whistler/Blackcomb By Nic Enright-Morin


hristine Cogger is one busy lady. As well as being the proud Mom of three small kids (aged 7, 5 and 3) she works at Whistler Blackcomb for marketing and event planning. She is also a skier, tri athlete, runner and volunteer with the local iron man event. When she is not busy with all of that, she makes the time to update her blog www.christinecogger.com, where she writes about her sporting achievements and her family’s unique adventures. Originally from Quebec, Christine moved to Whistler “just for a bit,” but found it hard to leave. Both she and her husband fell in love with the location, the mountains and the outdoorsy lifestyle. Now they call Pemberton, a small town just outside of Whistler, home, which is positively booming with young families. West Coast Families spoke with Christine to find out what it’s like to live in a place that most people go to for a vacation. What’s it like living in such a small community? For kids and families this is such an awesome community. For our family it has been fantastic. The benefits of our small community are that it’s really safe and it is really active. Our kids are outside all of the time. The fact that we get to do everything outdoors and together is really what’s keeping us here. Our kids are learning to be really independent and to appreciate what they have because of where they live. As well as the skiing in winter, we live in a place, where literally, five minutes out of our door there are some of the best mountain bike trails in B.C. and we can bike them or hike them with the kids. What’s one of the best things about Pemberton? The freedom my family has. Because it is such a small town I can let my two older kids go outside and play on their own, at the BMX track, and because in a small town everyone knows each other and looks out for each other, I know that if something were to go wrong and I wasn’t there, I know there would be another parent around who would recognize my kids and call. What’s it like for your kids living so close to Whistler? Our kids have been able to go to ski school since they were three years old, which I think is a pretty unique situation. They go twice a week. They learn to ski from a super young age and it is a full day program and it is amazing. In the summer it is the same thing for mountain biking, they can go from five years of age to mountain bike camp. Because skiing and biking are such a big part of the culture up here, they really learn a good base, so they’re learning correctly from the very beginning.

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Photo by Paul Morrison | www.paulmorrisonphotography.ca

People from Vancouver go to Whistler with their families to ski. What things do the locals know that tourists don’t? Mostly people need to know that there is so much more to do than just skiing and snowboarding. There are lots of indoor activities for kids to do. There’s the indoor rock climbing, the swimming pool, the lost lake trails where you can go snow shoeing, there’s cross country skiing for kids, we always seem to find something new to do. Skiing in Whistler can be pretty pricey for a lot of families. As a local, do you have any tips to keep costs down? I would scour the local ads for swaps meets that have cheap deals on ski gear and equipment for your family. We also tend to share a lot of equipment with friends who have children, because kids grow so fast, as soon as you buy a pair of skis, they can outgrow them. For example, we’ve had three kids use the same pair of skis and now those skis have moved on to another family. We also keep an eye on when there is early bird pricing for passes.

The benefits of our small community are that it’s really safe and it is really active. Our kids are outside all of the time. As a mom of such an active family, what advice would you give to people looking for a little more adventure for their own family? I would say don’t underestimate your kids abilities. You can get them to try things that you might think are hard, when in reality, they can probably just power through them. If my two year old can go on a ten kilometre hike, then any two year old can! November/December 2013 33

wcm feature

The Waiting Child Adopting an Older Child

schools, support groups, counseling and behavioural specialists. Know what your community has to offer so you are prepared.

By Laura Grady

Think of a child you know and love. What would happen if that child were pulled into a new environment? How would that change impact the child? These older children may have attached themselves to a foster family, have friends at school and relationships with grandparents. When adopting an older child you need to know what connections are important to your child. When taking a child into your home, you are taking them away from what is familiar to them.


hen thinking about adoption, most families envision a baby. But beyond the popularity of the coos and cuddles of newborns up for adoption, there is a much longer list of older children waiting for a family to call their own.

Is an older child the right fit for your family? When it comes to adopting an older child you need to be prepared for a bumpy road full of obstacles and pit stops. It is a journey full of ups and downs, but opening your life to an adopted older child can be a fulfilling and joy-filled experience. When adopting a baby, a family is beginning a life together. The baby has no history, no past relationships and no learned behaviours. Older child adoption brings a whole set of challenges that rarely arise in infant adoption. Kids who are no longer babies come with histories, fully-formed personalities and habits as well as potentially a multitude of emotional, physical and mental issues. “There can be a lot of unknowns when adopting an older child,” says Cathy Loptson, program manager at Family Services of Greater Vancouver. “As adoptive parents, you are given some information on a child’s social and medical history, but there may be gaps, especially when it comes to the child’s past experiences. This is particularly true for international adoptions.” The majority of children who are waiting to be adopted in British Columbia through the Ministry of Child and Family Development are between the ages of four and ten years old and some as old as 18. There are over 1,400 children in foster care in BC who are waiting for a permanent family. These are the province’s Waiting Children. “Many of these children have already lived in multiple homes, they have been shuffled back and forth between their original families and foster parents. Many have been abused or neglected,” informs Anne Melcombe, Social Worker/Adoption Recruiter, Adoptive Families Association of BC. “Some are affected by fetal alcohol syndrome. Some suffer mental illnesses brought on by abuse. These children will need time—sometimes a lot of time—to truly embrace their new families.” Preparation is key. Know what kinds of resources and services are available to help both you and the adopted child. Take the time to research local

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“For a child, adoption should be about adding to their family, not losing them,” says Melcombe. “Adoptive parents of older children are going to have to accept some openness. You should talk about birth parents, connect with foster parents and maintain contact with the people who know the child–those who know the child’s past and may have pictures of the child.” Adopting an older child is not for wimps. So, you might ask why would anyone adopt them? “These kids have a lot of joy to give,” says Loptson. “It is not always easy, but perseverance and commitment can hold a family together. Success can blossom with a strong foundation. A sense of humour is key when becoming adoptive parents of an older child. You are going to be faced with a lot of battles, and you need to decide which ones are worth the fight.” Children can show great resilience in the face of loss and tragedy. Given the opportunity to play, love, and be themselves within a family that accepts them, adopted children have what they need to thrive.

Resources The Ministry of Child and Family Development www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption/index.htm British Columbia’s Waiting Children www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption/adopt_waiting.htm?WT. svl=LeftNav | 1-877-236-7807 Family Services of Greater Vancouver www.fsgv.ca/index.html | 604 736-7613 The Adoptive Families Association of BC www.bcadoption.com | 604-320-7330

momevents westcoast

Adult Events for the Hip Mom Around Town! Blank-Fest YVR Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir Club, Vancouver Nov 10 Bring a blanket to help the homeless and listen to a big line-up of local live music. Admission is a blanket, clothing, or cash donation at the door. Benefitting Covenant House Vancouver. www.sin-agency.com/blank-fest/1st-annual-blank-festvancouver-2012/ 23rd Annual Vancouver Health Show Vancouver Convention Centre November 9 & 10 Explore the aisles enjoying tasty food, and learn about cutting-edge health products, services and fitness techniques, relax with a bodywork treatment, and shop with special event pricing and discover the latest trends in the health industry. www.thehealthshows.com Hopscotch Festival Various locations November 11-17 Vancouver’s premium whiskey, beer and spirits festival. Tickets available online. www.hopscotchfestival.com Fumbling Towards Ecstasy Queen Elizabeth Theatre November 14-16, 8pm Enjoy this BC Ballet presentation, featuring the music of Canadian icon Sarah McLachlan. www.balletbc.com Crash Gateway Theatre, Richmond November 14-23 After the loss of a loved one, a woman must face the shattering memories of post trauma. www.gatewaytheatre.com

mSummit by ReinventingM Westin Bayshore, Vancouver Nov 16 #mSummit is a ONE DAY conference to reinvent today’s savvy working Mom. Connect with Vancouver’s top women leaders and enjoy a lunch, Q&A, and book signing with Arlene Dickinson. Attend any of 18 workshops with life coaches, inspirational speakers, business experts, and more. Free admission to the mSummit Tradeshow. This is one day you don’t want to miss! Use promo code “Andrea” to buy tickets online, and receive 15% off tickets. www.reinventingm.com/msummit M.B. Sanford Craft & Vendor Fair M.B. Sanford Elementary School, Surrey November 16, 10am-5pm Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy this craft fair and all the festivities! The cost: is by donation suggested $2 www.mbsanfordcraftfair.webs.com Learning Disabilities Association, Fraser South - Fall Gala Dhaliwal Banquet Hall Surrey November 22, 6:30pm Please join us for a fundraising evening dedicated to providing information, programs, support and resources. Evening features include world culture buffet, multicultural entertainers, silent auction & fundraising fun, live DJ and dancing. 778.889.6336 | www.ldafs.org Great Canadian Craft Fair: Christmas Edition! Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Grounds Nov 29, 3-8pm, Nov 30 & Dec 1, 11am-5pm From handcrafted jewelry to delectable chocolate and everything in-between! Come help support local makers and artisans. www.greatcanadiancraft.com

Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair Dunbar Centre, Vancouver November 30 With over 140 local vendors, the juried craft fair is one of the best in the city, featuring handmade crafts ranging from jewelry to woodwork. Admission is $3 604.222.6060 | www.dunbarcentre.org Silver Ball: A Holiday Soiree Science World December 5, 7pm–12am For small and medium-sized organizations. For one flat fee per person, you receive a memorable evening of dinner and dancing—hassle free! They take care of the catering, music and décor so you can enjoy holiday time. $80/person. www.scienceworld.ca Toque 303 East 8th Avenue @ Scotia Street, Vancouver December 6 & 7 TOQUE offers a unique selection of vendors with goods ranging from publications, textiles and ceramics to jewellery and tasty treats. Admission is by donation with proceeds directly supporting Western Front’s year-round programming in Exhibitions, New Music and Media Arts. 604.876.9343 Got Craft? Holiday Edition Maritime Labour Centre, Vancouver December 14 & 15 A modern twist on the conventional craft fair featuring 75+ designers, craft workshops, treats, music, and free swag bags. www.gotcraft.com Last Chance Christmas Craft Fair Croatian Cultural Centre December 22, 11am - 5pm This is a one-day extravaganza right before Christmas! It’s also the best time to ring in on the best vendor discounts! 604.879.0154 | www.croatiancentre.com

Eastside Cultural Crawl Area bounded by Main Street and Victoria north of First Avenue, Vancouver November 15-17 Visual Arts, Design And Crafts Festival including wood, fire, glass, metal, paint and canvas, collide on the Eastside as artists celebrate the 17th year of the city’s favourite arts festival. www.eastsideculturalcrawl.com


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community Third Annual Milner Village Winter Market 2013 Milner Gardens, Langley Ongoing until December 14,10am-3pm Fresh produce, local honey, seasonal baking, preserves & local cheese, flowers, wreaths, seasonal greenery& home décor. Find something for the whole family: balloon animals, artists’ handiwork, music, jewellery, body care, wreath workshops, poinsettia nursery tours, and a free raffle every week! www.milnervillagemarket.com Science World, Vancouver Nov 2,3,16,23,24 and Dec 28,29, 11am and 1 pm Chersea is a local musician who won the Canadian Boss Looping championship last year. She’s a multiinstrumentalist who uses keyboard, guitar, bass, trumpet, and a variety of percussion instruments in her musical creations. Find out how she uses a looper to create harmony and build funky, manylayered compositions. www.cherseamusic.com | www.scienceworld.ca Light Festival Bear Creek Park Garden, Surrey November 7, 5:30-8:30pm Grab a free hot specialty drink and hit the garden trails, alive with lights, music, lanterns and glowing stilt walkers! Make a lantern or bring your own (battery operated candles only), enjoy a snack and check out all the new light installations. 604.501.5050 | www.surrey.ca Mary Poppins! The Musical in Vancouver Stanley Alliance Industrial Stage November 7-January 5, 2014 Watch Mary Poppins fly over the rooftops of London, and feel like a kid again! This family musical features songs from the popular Disney film “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, plus some new ones. Practically perfect in every way, the tale of everyone’s favourite magical nanny will sweep you off your feet. www.ticketstonight.ca Remembrance Day Parade begins at the Langley Legion November 11, 10:25am The City of Langley and the Langley Legion Branch 21 invite you join the annual Remembrance Day Parade and Ceremony. Parade begins at the Legion and travels to Douglas Park where the ceremony will be held. www.city.langley.bc.ca

It’s my Family! Tradex, Abbotsford Nov 16, 10am-6pm & Nov 17, 10am-5pm It’s My Family is the Valley’s largest and most interactive family show. With performances by Bobs & Lolo, Cinderella, Science World, The World Roundup Freestyle Skate Boarding Team, Norden The Magician, and Neale Bacon and His Crazy Critters. Fun Zone by Par – T – Perfect and hamster balls and laser tag by Games2U. Tickets online or at the door. Adults $10, children (2 to 12) $5, Seniors $8. www.itsmyfamily.ca

Private School Expo Westin Bayshore, Vancouver Nov 17, 12-4pm Find the best school for your kids and teens . Meet leading private and independent schools and their students, learn how to find the right private school for your child, and find out the admissions process and how to apply. Register in advance online to receive 50% off admission. $10/family. www.ourkids.net/expo/vancouver-expo.php Fred Penner Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam November 17, 2pm & 7pm A gentle giant with kind eyes and an undeniable ability to make you feel good about yourself, this musical master is more popular than ever. 604.927.6555 | www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca Thriving Children – Start by Nurturing the Heart Insights from the Dalai Lama Center for Peace & Education Surrey Arts Centre Nov 20, 5:30 – 7:30pm (doors open at 5pm) As part of the Cities Fit for Children’s conference this November, and in recognition of November 20th as the United Nations Universal Children’s Day, the City of Surrey is hosting a special evening for those who care for children – parents, caregivers, and grandparents. The mission of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education is to educate the hearts of children by informing, inspiring and engaging the connection between a child’s heart and mind, creating a foundation for success. Come hear from renowned experts about the 5 positive human qualities we can teach our children. $10 registration fee Register online Registration Code: 4351352 www.surrey.ca/citiesfitforchildren

Visit www.westcoastfamilies.com/events_calendar for more family friendly events in November & December! To have your event included in the WestCoast Families community calendar, please email your details to admin@westcoastfamilies.com. Go to www.westcoastfamilies.com to see more local and community family events in your area.

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Christmas at Hycroft Hycroft, Vancouver November 21-24, daily 11am-9pm & Sunday 11am-6pm So much more than a craft fair, Christmas at Hycroft is a fantastic and festive celebration of local artisans, and global charities. 604.731.4661 | www.uwcvancouver.ca 4th Annual Vancouver Christmas Market Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, Downtown Vancouver November 22–December 24, 11am-9pm Now with two extra days, the Vancouver Christmas Market offers all the old-world tradition, cultural festivities and general “Gemütlichkeit” of a traditional German Christmas market, right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. There is also a Christmas carousel for the kids! 604.561.7597 www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com Heritage Christmas Burnaby Village Museum November 23-December 13 Enjoy the traditional sights, sounds and tastes of Christmases of the past throughout the entire village - as you stroll through the Village look for scenes from storybooks, take part in a scavenger hunt, and enjoy the seasonal entertainment including the carousel. Admission is free but carousel ride is $2.30 604.297.4565 | www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca The JCC Jewish Book Festival Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver November 23-28 See innovative literary events including unique meet-the-author opportunities, literary readings and panel discussions, a foodie event, the annual bookclub event, writing and self-publishing workshops, children’s authors, film-screenings, and onsite bookstores – new and used. There is something for every age group and every literary taste. www.jewishbookfestival.ca Family Day at PdA! Lantern Making & All Things Small Place des Arts, Coquitlam November 24, 1:30–3:30pm Tour the Positively Petite miniature exhibition, still life in Vancouver. Then participate in all-ages, drop-in style workshops that celebrate all things small and create your very own lantern for the free multicultural celebration of light: A Lantern Affair on December 7. Admission is by donation. 604.664.1636 | placedesarts.ca

calendar Lower Mainland Annual Toy and Product Fair Coast Hotel and Convention Centre, Langley November 27, 1:00-7:00 pm This event provides parents the opportunity to purchase quality toys, products and services for children of all abilities for the benefit of the Langley Child Development Centre. There is no admission for the public to attend, but donations will be gratefully accepted! www.langleycdc.com

Disney on Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After Pacific Coliseum November 27-29 Mickey and Minnie have searched the globe for the hippest and hottest acts to perform in the most sensational talent showcase to rock the ice at Rogers Centre. In a new twist on fairytale fun, favourite Disney characters compete to be the next superstar in comical segments leading up to the tales of show-stopping princesses - Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle and Merida from Disney Pixar’s BRAVE in her ice debut. www.disneyonice.ca Project Soul Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver November 28, 12noon Vancouver’s leading street dance crew Project Soul brings the energy and dynamism of street dance to the stage. Tickets start at $10 604.606.6400 | www.thedancecentre.ca | www. ticketstonight.ca Bird Walk VanDusen Garden November 30, 10am Join Jeremy Gordon for a guided birding exploration in the Garden. Rain or shine. Free for members or with garden admission. www.vandusengarden.org Christmas Faculty Concert: Green Grows the Holly Concert Place des Arts, Coquitlam November 30, 7:30PM Harpist Rebecca Blair and musical friends will help get you into the holiday spirit with a feast of seasonal songs and carols from many lands. Let their enchanted music and stories, both old and new, warm your heart with the spirit of Christmas. Tickets start at $13. 604.664.1636 | placedesarts.ca

10th Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade Downtown Vancouver December 1, 1pm The parade will start at West Georgia Street and Broughton, travel east along West Georgia, turn south on Howe and finish at Howe and Davie. This year’s parade will feature marching bands, dance troupes, festive floats and community groups, which entertain over 300,000 spectators. www.rogerssantaclausparade.com An East Van Panto, Jack and the Beanstalk! The York Theatre, Vancouver December 4-29 This upside down version of the classic holiday pantomime, complete with bad guys, good guys, hissing and cheering — will be a sweet and whacked-out treat for the whole family. Tickets available online. www.thecultch.com

Karaoke Christmas Lights Trolley Canada Place, Vancouver December 11-30, 6:30pm Enjoy festively-decorated Trolleys equipped with karaoke machines. Upon pickup, guests will sing their way past the city lights of downtown before arriving at Bright Nights at Stanley Park, then through local light displays on the way to Van Dusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights. A donation to the Burn Fund is included in each ticket. Reservations required. 604-801-5515 | www.vancouvertrolley.com Sesame Street Live “Elmo Makes Music” Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre December 14 & 15 When the new music teacher’s instruments go missing, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, and more come to the rescue and discover instruments they never knew existed. Tickets start at $22. 866.977.2372

Holiday Festival on Ice Langley Events Centre December 6, 7pm Holiday Festival On Ice featuring Holly Cole will be fun for the whole family. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster starting at $55. www.ticketmaster.ca

Pancake breakfast with Santa Krause Berry Farm December 15, 10am-1pm Free pancake breakfast by donation to Breast Cancer Research in memory of Liz Krause. www.krauseberryfarms.com

Christmas in the Park and Santa Claus Parade Memorial Peace Park, Maple Ridge December 7, 4-8pm (parade at 6pm) Come and take part in the fun activities for children, then watch the parade while lights and floats dazzle, and enjoy music and community carolers, and of course Santa will be there! Bring a lawn chair, warm clothes and a mug for free hot chocolate. www.mapleridge.ca

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Tiny Tots: Holiday Hooray! Playhouse Theatre, Vancouver, December 20, 10 and 11:30am Terry Fox Theatre, Port Coquitlam, December 21, 10 and 11:30am Celebrate the holiday season with sing-along snow songs and move-along miniatures from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker! Featuring a brass trio. 604.876.3434

Christmas in Harrison Mills Kilby Historic Site, Harrison Mills December 7 & 8 Celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way, with crafts, carolers and Father Christmas. 604.796.9576 | www.kilby.ca Pioneer Christmas Langley Centennial Museum December 7, 10am-12noon or 2-4pm Enjoy traditional crafts and activities like stringing popcorn and decorating gingerbread cookies. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas will be on hand for pictures, to read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas, and to give a special present to each child. Please pre-register. Family of 4/$5. 604.532.3536

Heritage Holiday at the Fort December 21-January 5 Get away from the holiday bustle and make memories with your family and friends at the fort! Enjoy a traditional holiday atmosphere, crafts, and children’s activities. (Closed Dec 25, 26, Jan 1st). Regular admission fees apply; free for annual pass holders. www.pc.gc.ca Carol Ships Celebration Panorama Park, North Vancouver December 21, 8pm Sing and dance to entertainment by The Bobcats! Enjoy warm refreshments, roving performers, free holiday craft workshops, face painting, and a blazing bonfire. Santa himself may even stop by! The carol ships with their holiday themed decorations and festive lights will sail past as well! 604.987.7529

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last look Winter Snowflakes The holiday season is upon us and on cold winter nights, there is no better time to spend doing arts and crafts with the kids. This project is super simple for all ages to participate, and you can use items you usually have around the house. Great for the ski cabin or tree trimming parties too!

materials • Toilet paper or paper towel rolls • Scissors • Glue or glue gun (we found the glue gun much easier, but it requires adult supervision) • Paints and brushes • Glitter, beads, pompoms, ribbons or any other decorations • String or fishing line

make it! Step 1: Fold the roll flat Step 2: Cut the flattened rolls into 7 strips in similar widths – minimum ½”. Step 3: Put the pieces together at each point, forming a snowflake shape. Step 4: Use the glue gun to attach the pieces to each other at the points. If you are using regular glue, it’s easiest to put together 3 pieces and 4 pieces and use a clothespin or paper clip to hold together until dried. Then glue the two sides together to form a snowflake. Step 5: Paint and decorate! Step 6: Lace the fishing line or string through one of the snowflakes and tie in a loop.

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For a limited time only. At participating McDonald’s® restaurants in Canada. ©2013 McDonald’s. Printed in Canada.

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