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The Local Guide for Active Urban Families


fun in the snow or sun! november/december 2017

family health | holiday gift guide

all is merry and


including the smiles! Schedule Your Child’s Appointment Today!

Vancouver Pediatrics: 604.263.2422 Orthodontics: 604.263.2727

Delta Pediatrics: 604.599.9038 Orthodontics: 604.599.9036

Richmond Pediatrics: 604.271.4211 Orthodontics: 604.271.4211

Coquitlam Pediatrics: 604.945.8978 Orthodontics: 604.945.9978

Over 40 Years of Quality Service



families westcoast

november/december 2017

• family health • holiday gift guide • party guide • winter fun

on our cover... This girl is READY for winter! Check out our fun ideas to keep your family busy even in the snow and rain.

Family Health HPV and Vaccinations

Family Health Kids & Braces

Family Health Nighttime Wetting

Party Guide Fun Ideas for Kids’ Parties





Winter Fun Fun Things to Do This Holiday Season

Family Travel The Holidays Away From Home

WCF Feature Word Vancouver Flash Fiction Contest Winners

WCF Feature Living & Thriving With Mental Illness





from the editor 6 7 8 22 28 30

From Our Family to Yours Contests Holiday Gift Guide WCF News Community Calendar Last Look Raising Healthy Kids Instagram: @westcoastfamilies

next issue jan/feb

• Education • Field Trips • Fundraising 4

Nov/Dec 2017


from our family to yours

families westcoast

The nights are long and daylight is precious. The temperatures are dropping and the skies are getting a little more grey. But we are West Coasters, and that doesn’t stop us at all! We’re built for the outdoors, and are always finding cool ways to play in the fresh air. Whether your family skis, snowboards, or plays hockey or soccer, we’re proud to be a part of this active urban lifestyle. This issue we’ve pulled together some valuable information, with the help of our great team and amazing partners. Amy from the Minerva Foundation gives us a peek into the world of a woman who is living with clinical depression, and how she has found success, and Claire Newell from Travel Best Bets gives us insight into how to enjoy the holidays when you’re away on vacation. This is our annual Family Health issue, so we’ve tapped into expertise from Alyssa Schottland-Bauman from, who challenges us to question “normal” when it comes to kids’ food and nutrition. Michele Kambolis of Chi Kids helps us to understand bedwetting and how we can support our kids through this trying time, and we also delve into some family health matters like orthodontics and the HPV vaccine.

Managing Editor Andrea Vance Assistant Editor Bianca Bujan Contributing Editor Jodi Iverson

Just because it’s cold and wet outside doesn’t mean we can’t have some serious fun planning a party for the kids. Whether it’s for a birthday, the office, a sports group, or the holidays, we’ve got some great ideas for you to explore.

Art Director & Layout Krysta Furioso

And yes, it’s the holidays! So we’ve gathered some fun and unique ideas for gifts, no matter what it is you’re celebrating.

Administration Jennifer Bruyns

For so many families, this time of year is for celebrations and traditions… Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Remembrance Day, or New Year’s Eve. We love where we live, and celebrate the diversity that makes our part of the world so special. No matter what you are celebrating this season, we wish you all joy and happiness, from our family to yours.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Accounts Receivable & Payable Jennifer Brule Advertising 604.249.2866 Published by National Families Network Publisher: Andrea Vance



In the next issue of WestCoast Families: Education! Including features on Fundraising and Field Trips.

Call or email today to book your ad spot!

For distribution inquiries, please email For submissions to our community calendars, please email To share your feedback, please email Contributors Claire Newell, Amy Robichaud, Bianca Bujan, Elliot Hickling, Siena Owens, Jennifer Bruyns, Michele Kambolis, Alyssa Schottland-Bauman 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 4 Tickets To See The Nutcracker Ballet! Featuring dazzling costumes and daring duels between mice and soldiers, The Nutcracker ballet is a must-see holiday production that will entertain the whole family. For many, The Nutcracker is an annual Christmas tradition, and now you can add it to your holiday plans too! Ballet BC presents the return of Alberta Ballet in an exquisite production of the classic tale. Coming to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver from December 28 - 30, this remarkable performance promises to intrigue, with unforgettable adventures that will bring joy and excitement to the stage this festive season. Enter for a chance to win 4 tickets (Family Pack) to see the matinee performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on December 29th at 2pm. For more information on the performances or to book tickets, please visit Deadline to enter: December 8, 2017 Enter at

Win A First-Class Family Four Pack To Ride The Polar Express! The 1Ÿ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. Enter for a chance to win 4 tickets (Family Pack) to ride on your choice of departure (November 25th or 26th; or December 2nd or 3rd). For more information, please visit Deadline to enter: November 21, 2017 Enter at

Nov/Dec 2017


holiday gift guide for mom & dad Joco Cups For most people, coffee has become a mandatory part of the daily grind, but imagine how much waste would be created if everyone had their cuppa joe in a disposable paper cup? Ditch the paper and go for glass with Joco Cups. Not only are they cute and stylish, but glass lasts longer, doesn’t affect the taste of your drink, and, let’s face it, they look pretty sharp too! | 12oz Cup $27

Infocus Canada Scarf There’s nothing more “West Coast” than this beautiful “Almighty Assiniboine” scarf, featuring a magnificent mountain scene in Assiniboine Provincial Park, BC. Snapped by Vancouver-based, award-winning panoramic landscape photographer Chris Collacott, this scarf is unique (only 100 pieces were produced), was manufactured ethically, and 10% of the proceeds are donated to the Take A Hike Youth At Risk Foundation. | $66

Yonanas I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream - made entirely of fruit? You read that right! With Yonanas, you can make a healthy, soft-serve ice cream treat in minutes, using only your favourite frozen fruits. The Yonanas Dessert Maker comes with a recipe book featuring 36 delicious, healthy dessert treats that your kids will love (and you will too). | Classic Model $50

Gastown Foodie Book Whether you’re an aspiring top chef, or a fervent foodie, the latest edition of the Foodie Book series is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Featuring Gastown - the neighbourhood where Vancouver first set its roots, this book shares the tales and top secret recipes of Gastown’s most celebrated chefs and restaurants. This book will make the perfect gift for your favourite foodie friends, but you’ll want to get one for yourself too. | $45

SoYoung Andi 3-in-1 Stroller Organizer Forget the frumpy diaper bags! This stylish 3-in-1 works as a stroller organizer, handbag, and travel tote, and features dedicated spaces for everything you need on the go. It also has retractable handles, and a tear-away pouch to tuck away everyday essentials. Not only is this bag totally functional, but it’s fashionable too, so no one can tell that you’re carrying diapers and wipes in your posh-looking purse. | $75


Growing Strong Girls: Practical Tools to Cultivate Connection in the Preteen Years As girls approach the teen years, it becomes more important than ever to connect with them and teach them how to develop into strong, confident, and kind individuals. Written by passionate girladvocate, Lindsay Sealey, who has worked in counseling, curriculum development, and special education for over 15 years, Growing Strong Girls: Practical Tools to Cultivate Connection in the Preteen Years is the ideal handguide for parents looking to create a positive future for their teen girls. | $23

Dazzling Dezignz Modern Vintage Spoons Th e s e a re n’t yo u r grandma’s stored-away silverware spoons that only come out on special occasions. Dazzling Dezignz has taken the vintage trend of collectible spoons, and added a unique, modern twist, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art by engraving memorable quotes onto treasures of the past - perfect for gift-giving. | $14

for the kids Ollie The Owl Oyaca BLOOM Tank Set by Girl Gotch Undies may not top holiday wish lists, but these super cozy tanks, boxers and briefs will have your kid begging for more of these adorable kids essentials. Made from the softest organic cotton, and designed with comfort and function in mind (goodbye wedgies!), these BLOOM sets are not only good for your children, but they’re good for the earth too. And don’t let the name fool you, these BLOOM sets come in a variety of gender-neutral designs. | $35

Who knew that putting your kids to bed could be such a hoot? Ollie The Owl is designed to make the bedtime blahs that much better, with soothing sounds and sensor technology that will shush your sweet ones to sleep - stress free. Ollie plays four soothing sounds including heartbeat, rainfall, white noise, and Brahms lullaby, and instantly activates when your child stirs, so mom and dad can catch some zzz’s too. | $60

Silly Street Game This fun, family-focused boardgame will help your kids to build important character skills like confidence, creativity, empathy, adaptability and grit, while engaging in an active and totally silly game that the whole family will enjoy! An award-winning, must-have game to add to family games night. | $25

Nov/Dec 2017



HPV & Vaccine 5 Myth-Busting Facts You Need To Know by Bianca Bujan


hile most parents have heard about HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and the associated vaccines that have been made available in recent years, very few actually understand what it is and why the vaccines have been recommended

The vaccine protects against the two types of HPV that cause about 90 percent of these warts.

For the first time this year, Grade 6 boys in B.C. are being offered a vaccine in school to protect them from HPV. Girls in B.C. on the other hand, have been given the publicly-funded vaccine option since 2008.

The HPV vaccination is about prevention. It cannot treat or “cure” an existing infection. Therefore, the HPV vaccination is most effective before the individual becomes sexually active. That, along with the fact that children have a better immune response to the vaccine than adults, makes Grade 6 the perfect time to have your child vaccinated.

for children.

Why the recent change? HPV vaccination rates in B.C. have stagnated with less than 70 percent receiving the recommended vaccination (this needs to be more than 70 percent for herd immunization); HPV doesn’t gender discriminate - it’s linked to six types of cancer, not just cervical cancer. There are many myths surrounding HPV that could be hindering parents from consenting to the vaccine. Here are just 5 of the myth-busting facts about HPV that parents should know before making their final decision to vaccinate (or not to vaccinate).

Myth #3 - My child isn’t having sex so she/he is too young for the vaccine.

Myth #4 - The HPV vaccine isn’t safe. The vaccine has been approved for use in more than 100 countries, and more than 175 million doses have been distributed worldwide. Serious side effects are extremely rare. Common side effects include swelling, redness and soreness at the injection site. Less common are fever,headaches and fainting. These reactions are similar to other vaccines.

Myth #1 - HPV is only a girl’s issue. HPV doesn’t gender-discriminate. Both males and females can contract the virus. It’s so common in fact, that approximately 75 percent of Canadians will have the virus at least once during their lifetime. Most infections clear on their own, but some do not, putting both males and females at risk for HPV-related cancers. Myth #2 - HPV is harmless. HPV infections cause at least six types of cancer, including virtually all cervical cancers and approximately 50 percent of penile cancers, 25-35 percent of oropharyngeal cancers, 80-90 percent of anal cancers, and 40 percent of all vaginal and vulvar cancers. HPV also causes anogenital warts.


Myth #5 - The HPV vaccine doesn’t work. HPV vaccines are highly effective in preventing the most common types of HPV that cause cancer, especially when given to someone who has never been infected with these HPV types. Research in Canada and other countries around the world has already shown drops in cervical precancers and genital warts because of HPV vaccine programs. Currently, the rate of vaccination among young girls in B.C. is lower than 70 percent, leaving more than 30 per cent unprotected. For more information on HPV, please visit the Canadian Cancer Society website.

The HPV9 vaccine is provided free to girls and boys in grade 6. As of September 2017, the vaccine is now being offered to boys in grade 6 for the first time.

The HPV9 vaccine is also provided free to: • Females born in 1994 or later who were not immunized in the school-based program, or did not complete their vaccine series these individuals are eligible up to 26 years of age • HIV positive individuals 9-26 years of age • Transgender individuals 9-26 years of age • Males 9 to 26 years of age who are: - Men who have sex with men including those not yet sexually active and/or are questioning their sexual orientation - Street involved • Males 9 to 18 years of age in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) • Males in youth custody services centres The HPV9 vaccine is recommended, but not provided free (unless mentioned above), for the following people: • Adult women up to 45 years of age • Boys and men 9-26 years of age • Men 27 years of age and older who have sex with men

Nov/Dec 2017



Kids & Braces Foods Children Will Enjoy While Adjusting To Braces by PDG Dental


he first week or two of braces can be difficult for even the most easygoing child or teen. A child who is just getting used to their braces may not even want to bite into a banana for a while and, for parents trying to put together healthy and tasty meals, this can translate into a huge challenge. Smoothies, of course, are an obvious answer, but after a few days this gets a little old, and while still finding chewing a challenge, your child will crave more robust meals. Here are some tips and recipes to help you maneuver through this initial period more smoothly: 1) Fill the fridge. The day before the bonding appointment, fill your fridge with lots of fruits, vegetables, and yogurt that can be used in smoothies. Stock up on eggs for scrambling and fun nutritional beverages. 2) Top up the freezer. Top up the freezer with frozen fruit (for smoothies), frozen yogurts, and pre-made healthy soups, so you have some healthy and easy-to-eat ingredients all ready to go. 3) Pre-plan lunches. School snacks and lunches can be tricky - especially for kids with braces, but having some pre-packaged applesauce, fruit purees, rice, and regular puddings on-hand will brighten up any lunch. A small thermos of their favourite canned soup or homemade chilli can also be a welcomed addition to a school lunch. Here are 3 soft and healthy recipes to help satisfy your child’s eager appetite while they are adjusting to braces:

Super Power Morning Smoothie Ingredients • • • • • •

½ cup full fat yogurt 1 banana ¾ cup frozen berries or mango chunks 1 egg 1 scoop protein powder ¼ cup juice or milk (Or a non-dairy alternative like soy milk, coconut milk, or nut milk) • 1 tablespoon flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp hearts, wheat germ (or a combination of them to equal 1 tablespoon) Directions Blend until smooth and serve.

Shepherd’s Pie This Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty, delicious, and nutrient-packed recipe that will keep for 5 days in the fridge. Ingredients • • • • • • •

1 pound ground beef 1 onion, diced 2 cups mixed frozen vegetables 1 package Knorr Swiss Hunter Sauce Mix Fresh or dry herbs to taste 1 small to medium turnip (rutabaga), mashed 3 -4 large Idaho potatoes, mashed

Directions 1. Sautée ground beef in frying pan and break it up as it’s cooking 2. Add the diced onion and cook for a few more minutes 3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, empty the Knorr Swiss package, add only half of the water on the package instructions, and stir well. Add it to the meat and onion mix and stir well until it thickens. 4. Add all other vegetables and herbs and stir until mixed through and becomes nice and thick. 5. Place mixture in a deep pie dish or casserole dish of any shape. 6. For the mashed turnip and potatoes, cube, boil, and mash each separately with a little butter, salt, and pepper. 7. Top with a layer of mashed turnip. 8. Top with a thicker layer of mashed potatoes and make a pretty swirl design. 9. Sprinkle paprika, pepper and parsley on the top and bake in 350ºF oven for 35 minutes or until it’s bubbly, and serve.

Delicious Frozen Tofu Dessert Ingredients • • • •

2 packages soft tofu 2 cups frozen fruit grated ginger to taste (or 1 tsp powdered) ½ cup honey



For smoothie recipes, you can add nut butters, avocados, kale, spinach, vegetables and soft tofu to pack in a higher nutrient value. You may not feel comfortable adding a raw egg, but you can add a cooked egg to a smoothie (with a good machine, they will never know it is in there) or an egg that has been immersed in 60º C water (140ºF) for 4 minutes. It’s a great recipe option for a quick breakfast-on-the-go!

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or VitaMix-style blender, and puree until smooth and comes together like soft ice cream.


2. Serve immediately.

For more tips on how to help your child adjust to new braces, visit the Pediatric Dental Group online.

a confident

SMILE is the best gift

Schedule Your Child’s Appointment Today! Vancouver Pediatrics: 604.263.2422 Orthodontics: 604.263.2727

Delta Pediatrics: 604.599.9038 Orthodontics: 604.599.9036

Richmond Pediatrics: 604.271.4211 Orthodontics: 604.271.4211

Coquitlam Pediatrics: 604.945.8978 Orthodontics: 604.945.9978

Over 40 Years of Quality Service Nov/Dec 2017 13


Nighttime Wetting How to Support Your Child by Michele Kambolis


e parents talk about everything from sibling rivalry to temper tantrums, but we still keep the topic of nighttime wetting under the covers. Worse yet, it can leave kids feeling embarrassed, robbing them of important childhood experiences, like sleepovers and summer camp. By supporting yourself with the facts and a few simple tips, you can minimize the stress of nighttime wetting for both you, and, more importantly, for your child. First, keep in mind that nighttime wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) is more common than you’d think. Up to 15 per cent of five-year-olds experience nighttime wetting, and it’s more common in boys. While most children achieve nighttime dryness by age four or so, accidents can occur well into puberty. There’s also a strong genetic link, so if both parents wet the bed, there’s a 77 per cent chance your child will too. Many studies can predict when your child will become dry at night by looking at when their parents were; children are likely to become dry within the same age year as their parents. Keep in mind, for kids with a genetic predisposition to nighttime wetting, added pressures (like moving family homes or welcoming a new baby) could trigger nighttime wetting in kids who previously had dry nights.

dry and resting well, until their body develops those critical neurological connections and the sufficient bladder capacity required to make it through the night.

The best thing you can do for your child is to create a plan for success. Empower your child with the tools they need to cope. Be supportive, allow them to lean into you emotionally, and reassure your child that nighttime wetting is not their fault. Eventually, your child’s bladder will mature enough to hold urine overnight, or their brain and bladder will begin to send the signals needed to wake up to go pee.  

Keep in mind, the new science of sleep tells us that it’s a non-negotiable part of our health. Nigttime wetting can greatly disrupt this critical gateway to a child’s well-being. Instead of waking your child for nighttime bathroom breaks, set the stage for a peaceful rest by using the right tools, such as absorbent Goodnites Bedtime Pants or disposable bed mats. For many kids, practical solutions like these make family holiday overnights and sleepovers possible again.

In the meantime, include your child in the conversation as you develop some strategies for coping. Encourage routine bathroom visits to minimize holding urine - a habit linked to nighttime wetting. Also, help your child focus on hydrating in the day and quenching thirst at night instead of refusing fluids before bed. At the same time, reassure yourself that nighttime wetting is not a parenting issue. Daytime and nighttime dryness are two separate processes: while you can equip your child with the skills needed to become dry in the day, your child has no control over what happens while they are asleep. Instead, make sure your child feels secure and relaxed with products that will keep them

Finally, if you suspect there could be a larger issue, don’t hesitate to keep talking with your pediatrician. Sometimes it takes a few conversations to ensure all medical factors have been ruled out. Michele Kambolis is a 20-year veteran child and family therapist, acclaimed author, and parenting expert. A MA/PhD (Cand.) in mind-body medicine, Michele combines her knowledge and passion for integrative healing to support parents and children through their challenges.


nocturnal enuresis

refers to the unintentional passage of urine during sleep.


chance a child will be a bed-wetter If both parents wet the bed as kids



children in the US wet their beds every night.

bedwetting boys outnumber girls


of parents of enuretics say their child is an unusually deep sleeper

Wetting the bed before the age of 6 or 7 is considered a natural part of development


of five-year-olds are wet at night.


of kids still wet the bed by age 12 (mostly boys).



of children eventually outgrow bedwetting without treatment


of children continue to wet their bed In the teenage years

Party Guide Looking for some creative ways to celebrate your child’s special day? We’ve got so many amazing options right in our own neighbourhoods. Check out these party places! Imagine Children’s Museum, Everett, Washington Unlimited day of playtime in the Museum for party guests, plus t-shirt and birthday button for honoree.

Circus West Juggling, acrobatics, unicycles, and more, with coaching and supervision.


Gulf of Georgia Cannery Play games, make crafts, and explore the Cannery on a private tour for your child’s special day.

Jump Gymnastics Fun and active 45 minutes of gymnastics instruction and games, and a party room too.

Richmond Aquatics Swimming, games, pizza and a party leader.

Party Arts Mobile service that provides crafts, face painting and more.

Castle Fun Park Go carts, mini golf, arcade, sports simulators, kiddie courtyard, and more.

Studio 202 Yoga, crafts, and cake too.

Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics Gym time for games and instruction on the equipment, party room for celebrations, and a birthday t-shirt too.

Tumbletown Instructed play on our specially designed gym equipment, as well as activities and games and use of a party room too.

Living Magic Entertainment Full fantasy face painting, fun interactive magic shows and wonderful balloon animals.

Nov/Dec 2017 17

winter Play for a Day Imagine Children’s Museum When you head south across the border, a stop at the Imagine Children’s Museum is a must for kids of all ages. Select Saturdays in November and December include special programs for young aspiring engineers and artists. There is SO much to do there, and you can bring your own lunch and snacks for break time.

Bright Nights in Stanley Park Ride the train at Stanley Park - celebrating 20 years of Bright Nights, and support the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund too! Over three million lights make this special event sparkle and shine, with breathtaking displays, and live performers. You can skip the train, and visit the fun Train Plaza for a beautiful night out with the family.

Tumbletown Movement Education Centre Families that play together stay together, and Tumbletown’s family drop-ins are a perfect way to escape the wet, cold weather. Kids and parents can play, jump, and explore with the support of Tumbletown instructors. $15/child.

Learn a New Language Learn French Or Spanish At Europa Language School Take courses in Spanish or French for adults and youth at Europa Language School in Coquitlam, where instructors come from different language and cultural backgrounds but share the same passion for teaching.


Don’t let the rain and cold get you down! There’s lot of fun to be had during the winter months on the west coast. Check out these great ideas to keep your family busy...

Shop & Play Gulf of Georgia Cannery Head to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery on Sundays between 10am and 3pm for the Cannery Market, where visitors can browse the wares of local vendors and artisans from throughout the Lower Mainland. Enjoy musical entertainment, and connect with community groups, all located inside the historic Cannery in Steveston, Richmond. Admission to the market is free. Guided heritage tours of the Cannery will be offered by donation.

Kid Approved Hot Spots If you’re spending your days around the Surrey, Delta, or White Rock areas this winter, the options are endless. Kid Approved has put together all of the best places to shop and play, and you can find their ideas all on one website. They’ll help you find exactly what you need. Eat, play, shop, and learn. Just click and plan!

Expand Your Culture Burnaby Neighbourhood House Sharing Cultures Night Share your culture and explore others at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House Sharing Cultures Nights. Each month, these events are organized at various locations, featuring a different cultural theme. It’s a great place to relax and meet your neighbours. $5 for adults and $3 for children (children3 and under are free). Reservations are required. Call 604-431-0400.

Brush Up On Your English At Wesbrook Village Head to Free English Corner at Wesbrook Village, designed to help guests practice conversational English. This get together happens every Friday at the Wesbrook Welcome Centre.

18 18

See The Nutcracker Ballet Take the family to a classic Nutcracker ballet, performed by the Royal City Youth Ballet, where they bridge the gap between dance schools and professional companies. This annual RCYB show is performed at various locations, including Surrey, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Burnaby and Abbotsford, making it accessible for many families.

Try a McCafé® Festive Specialty Coffee Nov 28–Dec 26

For a limited time only. See in restaurant for details. At participating McDonald’s® restaurants in Canada. ©2017 McDonald’s.

November/December 2017 19


Family Travel

Celebrating the Holidays Away From Home By Claire Newell of Travel Best Bets


he holidays are a perfect time to take a break from your daily routine, get some vitamin D, and expose the family to new and diverse cultures.

Whether you’re relaxing at an all-inclusive, or exploring an unknown city, you’re going to want to make your accommodations feel as festive as possible. Although waking up on Christmas morning isn’t quite the same in a hotel room as it is in your childhood home, spending time with family is what matters most, and there are many easy and inexpensive ways to make your destination feel like home! Here are 8 ways you can make your holiday destination feel like home over the holidays: 1) Tell Santa. For young kids, being away for the holidays can cause a lot of stress over how Santa will be able to find them! Write a letter with your children, letting Santa know where they will be. You can mail your letter directly to: Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada H0H H0H, and he will write back! Alternatively, have your child make and hang a sign on the hotel door or in the inside window with their name on it. Santa will see the sign and will know where to deliver the gifts! 2) Ship gifts to your hotel. Most hotels will accept your packages up to 2 weeks before your arrival, so call and find out what your hotel’s policy is. This is especially useful for us Canadians travelling to the United States for the holidays as shipping from an American retailer will be significantly cheaper than shipping here. In other countries, I recommend researching unique local producers and ordering a few memorable gifts related to the trip. Make sure you have some extra wrapping paper with you too!

mornings and ending your nights with a familiar drink will make you feel more comfortable. Don’t rely on the complimentary tea and coffees to spark the same joy that your ones at home do.

3) Unpack and settle in. This may sound pointless at first, but many travellers don’t actually fully unpack in a hotel room, and instead live out of a messy suitcase. When you’re trying to feel at home, this is the first step. Hang up your clothes, organize the bathroom shelves, and display decorations right away to settle in and make your space feel like home.

7) Decorate your space. Bring a few decorations, and if possible, put up a little Christmas tree! Pack a miniature artificial tree, ask your concierge where you can purchase a small plant nearby, or make a cutout out of cardboard. Whichever strategy you choose, a small decorated plant will make all the difference in creating the holiday atmosphere.

4) Create a soothing atmosphere with familiar scents. Our sense of smell is one of the strongest memory triggers, so making your hotel room smell like home is one of the best things you can do. If there’s a certain candle or essential oil that you have around the house a lot, bring it along! Even if you just spray a familiar perfume or bake a traditional dessert (if you have a kitchenette), every little thing will help create a soothing aroma.

8) Keep cozy and cuddle up! Be sure to pack your coziest pajamas and take advantage of the hotel’s slippers and blankets. Even if your destination is hot, creating the cozy atmosphere will make Christmas morning feel more like home. Nothing feels more like home than lounging around with family in your favourite PJs.

5) Set the tone with your family’s favourite holiday music. Just like smell, sounds can evoke emotion and memories as well. If you normally play music at home, or just Christmas music during the holidays, bring along a portable speaker to continue the tradition. Nothing reminds us of the holiday season more than some festive songs!

Whatever your holiday tradition may be, there’s always a way to bring - or recreate those sentiments while you’re away on vacation. If you’re unsure about something, call the hotel and ask! They may offer holiday activities or complimentary decorations. Travelling over the holidays is a great way to create amazing new traditions and memories, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your tried-and-true holiday traditions at home.

6) Bring your favourite beverages. Do you have a favourite coffee blend? Favourite wine? How about a favourite tea? Bring it all! Beginning your

Claire Newell is a travel expert, author, travel consultant on Global BC and president of Travel Best Bets by Jubilee Tours and Travel.



Nov/Dec 2017 21

wcf news >> Minerva’s Learning to Lead Program Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders The Miner va Foundation For BC Women has been devoted to creating diversity and inclusion in the workplace, changing the face of leadership in BC since 1999. Through the delivery of unique programs designed to develop women’s leadership capabilities; providing education awards to women facing barriers; and providing culturally-relevant programs for Indigenous women across BC, the Minerva Foundation is working towards creating a more gender-equal workforce. To support the leaders of tomorrow, the Minerva Foundation runs an annual Learning To Lead Program, a weekend program that provides Grade 11 girls to develop self confidence, explore their leadership potential, and join a support network of likeminded girls who strive to change the face of tomorrow’s leaders. This enhanced youth leadership program is hosted in UBC, and is a great way to prepare ambitious and optimistic girls who want to change the world, with the tools they need to do so successfully. If you’re interested in learning more about this and other leadership programs for women, please visit their site.


>> The Diabetes Resource Network Set To Launch Online On World Diabetes Day Created by two moms on a mission, the Diabetes Resource Network (or D Network) was developed to create a community of support, and provide the resources needed to unite diabetics of all ages across the world. The program offers resources such as Match + Meet, a program dedicated to connecting likeminded children and adults with diabetes; the Ambassador PIF (Pay It Forward) initiative, which is designed to inspire others and help normalize lives; the First Responders Program, geared towards providing support for newly-diagnosed patients; and D Doc, an online forum offering insights from a medical team of Board Certified Endocrinologists. The D Network is free, and visitors can instantly become a part of the diabetes community. The official website launch will be happening on November 14, 2017 (World Diabetes Day). Please help spread the word about this important charitable organization by sharing the link with anyone in your network who may be interested.

>> Central City Launches A New Beehive Project Central City has become a top destination in Surrey - a place where you can shop, work, and learn, all under one roof. But what many don’t know, is that Central City has recently announced a new eco-friendly initiative!  The centre, in conjunction with the Surrey Beekeepers Association, installed a beehive on Central City’s roof in April! The beehive has thrived since installation and developed into a strong colony, with over 40,000 individual bees at the peak.  The bees travel anywhere from 1km to 8km from the hive to Holland Park, Bear Creek Park, and the gardens in the neighborhood of Central City, pollinating the flowers and plants (like blueberries, blackberries, apples, and sunflowers) in these areas so that they can flourish as well as grow food. Central City’s beehive project has had the added benefit of generating unpasteurized, unfiltered, liquid gold honey for consumption.     The beehive project was spearheaded by the Surrey Beekeepers Association’s President, Thomas Schmitz, in partnership with Central City’s Marketing & Community Relations Manager, who wanted to help the environment as well as educate the public about bees.

>> The Cause We Care Foundation’s Christmas Care Package Drive Needs Your Help The Cause We Care Foundation works to provide supplies and resources for women and kids who are in desperate situations in and around Vancouver. For the past 10 years, the Foundation has worked with sponsors and donors to create Christmas care packages for single mother families, and now’s the time to offer your help. For every $75 raised, a hamper filled with food and supplies is donated to a family in need. This year, the foundation hopes to stuff and share 825 care packages and distribute them to single mothers, making a significant impact on their lives and creating a more enjoyable holiday season for their families during their time of need. Through partnering with 27 front-line organizations such as various locations of the YWCA, local high schools, transition houses, and neighbourhood houses, the Cause We Care Foundation is able to deliver these Christmas care packages across the Lower Mainland, and with your donations, they can help even more families in need. If you’re interested in getting involved, please email them at info@, or visit the link below.

Nov/Dec 2017 23

wcf feature

Winning Writers Flash Fictions Contest Winners Revealed Hosted by the Vancouver Book and Magazine Fair Society, Word Vancouver has become Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading, promoting books and authors through an annual event featuring free exhibits, performances, and hands-on activities for literary enthusiasts of all ages. This year’s Word Vancouver Festival took place from September 20 - 24, 2017 in various venues throughout Vancouver, and featured a roster of Canadian literary talents and celebrated the world of writing and reading with the city’s literary community.

To kick off the festival, writers of all ages were invited to submit works of fiction (350 words or less) to the Word Vancouver Flash Fiction Contest. There were three categories: Adult (19+), Youth (12-18), and Kids (11 & under). All finalists were invited to read their pieces at the Word Vancouver Festival, and the two winners of the Youth and Kids categories had the opportunity to have their pieces published in WestCoast Families Magazine! Here are the winning pieces, written by Elliot Hickling (11 years old), and Siena Owens (8 years old). Congratulations to the winners, and enjoy their stories! For more information on Word Vancouver, visit

The Lookout

ars old) t Winner (11 ye es nt Co r ve ou ling, Word Vanc by Elliot Hick ronghold n of the Naku st io ct se n er st ilight on the ea shino was It was nearly tw d Gamoonhi Hama ol rea -y ix -s pan, and twenty invading, in Northern Ja fear of allies nt ta ns co e th s out. There wa to warn them on evening look rs on lookout ie ld so st be r needed thei so the Japanese too late. before it was on si va in an of

arlet sunset. e enchanting sc th to in st po s y up from hi se flag proudl Gamoonhi looked sh the Japane pu ze ee br le t the gent damp air agains He could see , and feel the rt fo e th of t it , e fron t at any moment displayed in th could break ou r wa gh ou th as they c. Even ed to whisper his rough tuni em se es sh bu e . and quiet. Th ashed near them was so peaceful as the waves cr le tt ra d an t, were blown abou

ve peace?” when you can ha r wa ve ha hy his eyes. “W Gamoonhi closed tly. he asked, quie


King and Queen

by Siena Owens, Word Vancouver Contest Runner Up (8 years ol d) One ordinary da y there was a ki ng and queen. their names we They had two ki re Mady and Sc ds and ott. One day wh weren’t lookin en their mom an g they decided d dad to make a cand a secret plan al y machine and they had l laid out. So what they did wa dad’s tool box s they grabbed and started bu their il di ng . Ex ce pt they needed help from thei r friends. a little Mady decided to invite her frie nd Amy, and Sc his friend Mark ott decided to . Then they go bring t to work. Amy front of the bo pu t a co mp ut er on the x they built an d this is wher you wanted. Th e yo u ty pe wh ey also put al at candy l of the things cotton candy in th at yo u us e to make side, along wi th all sorts of when they finis other things. hed they tested Then it out so Mady And the machin typed, “Bubble e made a noise gu m.” like this: Chur errrr....and th ....cccc...mmm en some more bu ee..... bble gum packet s came out! They all cheere d and then Scot t said, “Let me got in a big fig try.” But then ht and their pa they rents could he so they went do ar th em fr om upstairs wnstairs to se e what was goin g on. When their pare nts got downst airs they saw they got really the candy mach ine and mad so they se nt th eir friends ho their children me an d th to their rooms. ey sent Then the parent machine into a s turned the ca vegetable mach ndy ine and they le it back. And t their childr from then on, en have Mady and Scott candy machines didn’t make an . y more

Nov/Dec 2017 25

wcf feature

Navigating the Tide Living & Thriving with Mental Illness by Amy Robichaud, Minerva Foundation


Each Story is Different: Speaking Up & Listening Matters

icture yourself walking into the ocean at low tide.

At first, the water is gently lapping at your instep and washing up to your ankles. By the time the water reaches your shins, you can feel it affecting your movement, but it doesn’t take too much extra effort to move. It isn’t until the water is at knee level and rising that your body begins to noticeably react.

My experience with mental illness is unique, even from those who share my diagnosis. So many times the single biggest ‘help’ that my friends and family can offer is to listen. To let me share my story and to affirm that they love me and that they believe that my suffering has been and is real. Listening to and believing in sufferers is critical to helping us all overcome the stigmas that are associated with mental illness. According to a recent survey, 46% of Canadians thought people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour, and 27% said they would be fearful of being around someone who suffers from serious mental illness. The only way to mitigate assumptions about mental illness is for those of us who can, to share our stories and for all of us to listen when someone does.

The temperature difference shocks your system and the sudden cold causes your breathing to shift; you really need to lean into your movement to keep going. You move much slower now that the water reaches your waist, stalling your progress, maybe even pushing you backwards. You don’t fall though, instead you bring your arms into your movement and propel yourself clumsily forward. At this point, the water has reached your shoulders so you lower your hands under the surface to help you balance. It is decidedly difficult to keep going and it starts to get scary. You cough the ocean out of your lungs and try to stand your ground. You lose your footing, head going under water and bobbing back up. If you could just stand still the water would just be to your neck and you could breath, but the current is too strong and it is all you can do to stay afloat.

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Regardless, my feet have been wet for decades and I’ve learned a few things about navigating mental illness as a woman who is determined to rise - even while I heal.

Mental illness costs the Canadian economy billions of dollars every year, just over $51 billion to be precise. This is realized in lost productivity, health care costs, and reductions in economic participation due to illness. I know that I can fall victim to thinking that it is selfish to do what I need to do to stay healthy and that as women, and daughters, and mothers, we are often more likely to do something for our families and communities than for ourselves. It’s important to know that seeking help if and when you are ill, and doing things that keep you well mentally is important not just for your well-being, but also contributes to the collective health and wellness of your community.

You Are Not Alone

Back to the Water

By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness. When you aren’t well, it is so easy to feel isolated from people who are healthy; to convince yourself that everyone around you is well and that you are the weak one for falling ill. In fact, women who suffer these feelings are often compounded by the prevalence of the imposter syndrome.  As hard as it is, know that community and empathy are there and sharing how you are doing is the first step to getting healthy.

Even in remission, I have days where the water is just too high, but I know that sharing how I am doing, asking for help, being honest and generous with my story and the stories of other, and by creating space for self-care not only means that I will I be okay, but that I’ll learn to swim.

For me, this is what living with clinical depression feels like. When I’m in remission (as I am now) the tide is lapping at my ankles and I’m in control, when I’ve been my most ill, it is like I’m standing neck deep in the ocean willing my head to stay above water long enough to breath.

The Help Helps Despite the widespread prevalence of mental illness, it is estimated that fewer than one-third of people affected by it will seek treatment. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to “power through” and self-treat, and it is true that access to health care needs to be better and that not all professional treatments are always effective. Yet, psychiatric services provided in hospital are covered by our provincial health care and outreach programs provide access to therapy, medication and community. It is always easier to tackle a problem with a full support team. Talk to your doctor; your partner; or your trusted friend, and ask for help.


Need to check in on your mental health? You can visit

The Minerva Foundation is changing the face of leadership with a movement of values-based leadership, and they are starting with women. Minerva is a registered, non-profit charitable organization that supports women and girls throughout the province to gain the confidence and skills they need to reach their leadership potential. From leadership programs to education awards, and culturallyrelevant programming developed in partnership with Indigenous women, Minerva elevates the visibility, influence and contribution of women to change the face of leadership in BC. For more information, go to


resource guide WestCoast Families is proud to present the FIRST annual Family Resource Guide! Coming January, 2018! The first annual Family Resource Guide, published by WestCoast Families. This valuable guide will be filled with important resources, great family events, local business profiles, and the winners of our Best in the West WCF Readers Choice contest. Look for the guide at your favourite pickup location starting in January, and online too.

To book your ad spot, call or email today! 604.249.2866

Nov/Dec 2017 27

community The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at Carousel Theatre Carousel Theatre, November 25 - December 31 C.S Lewis’ first installment of the epic Chronicles of Narnia series bounds onto the stage this holiday season. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy discover an old wardrobe that leads to an enchanted land, Narnia, full of mythical creatures, talking animals, quests and secrets. In one of the greatest battles between Good and Evil in children’s literature, the fate of the four children unfolds in a grand, otherworldly adventure. Math Moves Science World at Telus World of Science, Vancouver September 23 - January 1 Cost included in admission Math Moves provides over 20 unique interactives to stimulate mathematical imagination and build math muscles in students of all ages, encouraging them to use their bodies and gestures in a collaborative approach to problem solving. Music with Marnie Band and Characters in Concert Mount Pleasant Community Centre, Vancouver November 4, 10:30am The Music with Marnie Band performs funky and educational tunes that get kids and parents across the nation moving and grooving! Marnie’s concerts and classes are perfect for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, early elementary students, and adults too! Jump on into Marnie’s world and join her musical moshpit! Jingle Baby & Kids Market Albion Fairgrounds, Maple Ridge November 4, 10am-4pm At the Jingle Baby & Kids Market, you can find everything unique for babies and kids, such as furniture, trinkets, décor, clothing and artwork! Creative Café Minnekhada Lodge, Coquitlam November 5, 1pm-4pm Join the Minnekhada Park Association for creative activities, and discover the park’s natural and cultural history. Learn about the historic and natural wonders of the park with fun, creative activities for kids of all ages.


Raffi’s 40th Anniversary Concert Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver November 5, 1pm Raffi, a singer, songwriter, producer, author, lecturer, and tireless advocate for children is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first and still best-selling album, Singable Songs for the Very Young. Garden Light Festival Bear Creek Park, Surrey November 8 & 9, 5-8pm The trails and trees will be illuminated for two nights this year thanks to the Garden Light Festival, so make a lantern and prepare to be wowed as you wander through an ever-changing display of colours at this free event! Fan Expo Vancouver Convention Centre November 10-12 Get an autograph and a photo with your favourite costumed characters, or get the latest scoop on your favourite movies and TV shows at the expo’s celebrity panel event! Buy a unique gift for a friend, or treat yourself, with over 100,000 square feet of shopping madness to enjoy. Jersey Boys Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver November 14-19 Tickets are on sale now for the award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Warning: contains authentic, “profane Jersey language” and is only recommended for ages 12+. Sink or Swim Gateway Theatre, Richmond November 16-25 Sink or Swim is an evening of songs and stories from singular talent, Beverly Elliot from ABC Television’s hit series Once Upon a Time. In the performance, Beverly vividly reveals all the fears and foibles of five-year-old ‘Smelly Elliott’. Cloverdale Kids Swap Meet Cloverdale Fairgrounds November 18, 9am-12:30pm Sell your gently used or new kids items at the Cloverdale Kids Swap Meet, or just pop in and shop. From pregnancy to the teen years, you’re sure to find something you need for your kids, including clothing, books, toys, equipment and more!

21st Edition of the Eastside Culture Crawl Vancouver Eastside (various locations) November 16–17, 5pm-10pm & November 1819, 1am-6pm Enjoy Vancouver’s four-day celebration of visual arts, design, and crafts, including pottery, live chainsaw carving, natural textile dying, and glassblowing all taking place throughout 500+ artists’ studios, homes, and garages. Fort Langley Christmas Market Fort Langley Community Hall November 19, 11am-5pm This event features over 30 vendors - a great way to get some of your Christmas shopping done while helping those less fortunate! Admission is by cash donation, and proceeds go directly to family sponsorships this Christmas. Vancouver Christmas Market Jack Poole Plaza, Vancouver November 22 - December 24 Combining colourful décor, gifts, food, drinks, and family entertainment, this yuletide celebration creates the perfect atmosphere to mingle with friends and family. Disney on Ice Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver November 22-26 Follow your heart straight to adventure at Disney On Ice! Just keep swimming with Dory and new pal Hank from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as they set out to find her parents and discover the devotion of family. Cheer with Joy, Sadness, and the rest of the Emotions from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out, and more! 3rd Annual Women against Multiple Sclerosis (WAMS) Fairmont Hotel Vancouver November 23, 11:30am-2:30pm Tickets now on sale for this inspirational luncheon bringing influential women together to end MS featuring honoree Dr. Dessa Sadovnic. Tickets start at $125. Canyon Lights Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver November 23-January 28, 11am–9pm daily Prepare to be dazzled by thousands of magical lights twinkling across the Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, and throughout the rest of the park during Canyon Lights, and can’t-miss light spectacular!

calendar Heritage Christmas Burnaby Village Museum November 25-January 5 Festive lighting and decorations greet you at the entrance of the village to give you a small glimpse of the spectacular display of history and lights awaiting inside. The 35th Annual Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair Dunbar Community Centre, Vancouver November 25, 10am-5pm You’ll find everything you need at this Craft Fair featuring over 140 hand-selected vendors, entertainment, food and door prizes! Admission: $4 in advance or online, and $5 at the door (12 and under are free). Maan Farms Christmas Market Maan Farms, Abbotsford November 25-26 Enjoy yummy homemade fudge, hot apple cider, and free wine tastings at the Maan Farms Christmas Market. Visit 40+ local gift vendors and artisans, and enjoy kitchen and in-store specials, entertainment and Christmas hay-wagon rides. Surrey Tree Lighting Festival Surrey City Hall Plaza November 25, 12noon-7pm This is a free event for the whole family to enjoy, featuring live entertainment, exciting games, amusement rides and the lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree. The Polar Express Train West Coast Railway Heritage Park, Squamish November 25, 26 & December 2,3,9,10,16 & 17 (Departure times vary) Passengers will be treated to an hour-length train ride, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas carols and stories. Then, take a trip to the North Pole Workshop and Gingerbread Village for a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus in person! Bright Nights Christmas Train Stanley Park, Vancouver November 28-January 1 During the holiday season, take in the sparkle with three million twinkling lights. Buy tickets to ride the Bright Nights Train, and experience the lights, breathtaking displays, and live performers along the train route. Matinee and night rides are available.

Private School Expo Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre November 29- 12noon-4pm Speak with education and admissions experts, and meet the administrators of leading private and independent schools. Learn how to find the right private school for your child, and find out about admission processes - when to apply, and what each school is looking for in their applicants. East Van Panto: Snow White & The Seven Dwarves York Theatre, Vancouver November 29– January 6 The Panto is back with an outrageous take on Snow White. In this East Van retelling, our hero flees the Queen of North Vancouver across the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and straight into the madness of the PNE, where she dances with Superdogs, takes a ride on the Coaster, and befriends washed up 80s rock stars “The Seven Dwarves.” 2017 Vancouver Christmas tree Lighting! Robson Square, Vancouver December 1, 5:30-7:30pm Watch four magnificent holiday trees come alive with hope and light at this free family-friendly event featuring live entertainment and music, a visit from Santa, cookies, hot chocolate, local food trucks and fun activities for kids! Winter Family Ball Fairmont Hotel Vancouver December 3, 4:30-10pm This evening includes a champagne reception, silent auction, family photos, a festive meal, entertainment for both parents and children, and a DJ to dance the night away. Heritage Holiday at the Fort The Fort, Fort Langley December 22-23, 27-30 Escape the holiday bustle and make memories with your family and friends at the Fort! Enjoy a traditional holiday atmosphere, crafts, and children’s activities. Regular admission fees apply (free for annual pass holders).

The SHIFT Handmade Holiday Remix Craft Market West Langley Hall December 2, 10am-5pm With high-quality artisans, dancing, great food and a great atmosphere, the SHIFT Holiday Remix 2.0 is not your gramma’s craft fair! Free parking, plenty of room for strollers, and funky holiday tunes makes this an event for the whole family! Admission is $3 for adults, and children 12 and under are free with accompanying adult. Christmas at Hycroft University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft November 16-19, 11am-9pm & Sunday 11am6pm Inside you’ll find three floors decked out in seasonal splendour, a variety of unique boutiques, and crafters, and over 25 local artisans. Outside, you can enjoy entertainment, vendors and delicious food. Timberline Country Christmas Timberline Ranch, Maple Ridge December 2-20 Be enchanted by glorious lights, interactive scenes, music, and activities including cookie decorating, crafts, a wagon ride, a petting zoo, a snowballthemed ball pit, and much more! Cost: $8-$12 for general public. Christmas Carol Sing-along Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam December 3, 1-4pm This free, all ages festive event includes group singalongs in front of a yule log and a visit from Santa, all in the beautiful setting of Minnekhada Regional Park. Christmas Open House Burnaby Lake Nature House December 3, 11am-2pm Visitors of all ages are invited to drop in and visit the Nature House and enjoy crafts and complimentary refreshments, or to join a guided nature walk. Free admission.   Gateway Theatre Presents: A Christmas Carol Gateway Theatre, Richmond December 7- 24 Watch Charles Dickens’ timeless classic unfold on stage, and watch as miser Ebenezer Scrooge learns the true meaning of the holidays. A Christmas Carol will be a fun-filled spectacle for the whole family to enjoy together, featuring live music and energetic performances.

Nov/Dec 2017 29

last look Raising Healthy Kids What is Normal?

by Alyssa Schottland-Bauman of The holiday season is approaching, which means there will be loads of treats, extra parties, and more times for kids to bring in food to share with their classmates. It was recently my turn to bring snacks to an after-school program, so my 7-year-old daughter and I discussed what we should contribute to the holiday party. We went back and forth until finally she sighed in great disappointment. “I just want to bring in something normal,” she said - and I have to say, I was a bit shocked! My usual go-to snacks of Nourished-Up hemp seed powder cookies, homemade granola bites, cut veggies, or a bag of mini oranges had never been problematic before. What she really meant was for us to contribute what everyone else did - mini glazed donuts, orange-and-green iced cookies, red and green cupcakes, some kind of powdery sweet treats, electric orange cheesy chips, prepackaged gooey granola bars, etc. But the thing is, these are not ‘normal’ foods. Over dinner conversation last week, we flushed out our ideas yet again. This is an ongoing conversation in our house because the foods that surround our kids everyday and pretty much at every meal, bring up questions surrounding our decisions that involve food. This allowed us to have an extremely powerful conversation that helped my kids understand why ‘normal’ just isn’t working. ‘Normal’ or ‘the way everyone else eats’ is not healthy. Government food guidelines and health pyramids are not healthy for everyone. What the FDA says is high in protein, fiber, or whole grains is not always fact. Labels on packages advertising 0 trans fats, higher fiber content, and low sugar has sometimes little truth. Yes, food products loaded with processed sugars, sky-rocketing high sodium counts, preservatives, fillers, taste-enhancing chemicals, and colours stock our grocery store aisles, but this does not deem them healthy.

Good-For-You Gooey Chocolate Brownies Gluten-free and without any weird gluten-free, fake healthy fillers thanks to the use of amazing heart-healthy oats. This warm and gooey chocolate brownie is loaded with protein and antioxidants. Ingredients 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) 2 tblsp Raw cacao powder 1/2 cup quick oats 2 leaves kale, washed and dried 1/4 tsp salt 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 2 tblsp Unrefined coconut oil 2 tblsp butter 2 tsp Vanilla 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips, not optional! More chips, for presentation  Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor or strong blender. 2. Blend until smooth. A smooth texture is a must for best taste. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. (I grease with coconut oil). Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. 3. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies. but the more we talk to our kids about listening to who they are and how to understand their bodies’ signs, the more we empower them to make healthier choices. These healthier choices trickle down into absolutely every single aspect of their lives. Mindfulness of the way they eat, awareness of the way they think, judge and yes, behave. The food we eat has the power to nourish every single cell in our brains and in our bodies. So I ask you, is this normal working for you?

The problem is their ingredient lists are becoming the norm. The majority of what our population eats are foods containing these ‘things’ (for lack of a better term). In fact, we are eating food substances in their most abnormal state.

I encourage you to forget the normal. Rethink your usual grocery list. Set your own normal. It is a challenge, I know. But I have seen first-hand the effects of our society’s normal. The more we teach our children to make better food choices on their own, the more healthy food will become a mindset.

Normal should be food that we eat in their whole food state. An apple, not an apple bar; a potato, not a potato chip; oatmeal not a package of sugar mixed with oats.

So lay out your normal snack plate of cucumbers, carrot sticks, and pepper slices with hummus; guacamole and organic corn chips; or organic cheese and salsa, and let them load up! If they don’t eat it, try again. If they are hungry, they will eat. Then perhaps once in awhile, open up a bag of a healthier chips (they do exist) or allow them whatever treat they want (try the one below). Deprivation doesn’t work, but educating our kids to choose fresh over faux will always reign, no matter what. I promise.

Normal is starting to be children who are are so hooked on high-sugar/salty foods and beverages, that they don’t like fresh fruit or vegetables. One client’s son told me he doesn’t like clementines because he preferred a brighter orange. I was floored. A brighter shade of orange? Was this perhaps from too many variations of the ever so bright cheese puff? Our kids prefer the taste of screaming blue energy drinks to the taste of fresh water. Unfortunately, this normal is starting to look like kids with grown-up diseases being treated in grown-up ways. This is not normal. This made a big impact on my girls over dinner. I get that they want to be like everyone else right now. They are impressionable and socially oriented. Since all of their friends are eating packaged snack bars on the playground, pulling out homemade muffins with carrots and chia seeds can be embarrassing,


Certified Holistic nutritionist and health consultant, Alyssa SchottlandBauman, founded Nourished {A Health Consulting Firm} six years ago when she was constantly being asked for healthy living advice. It’s not as difficult as it seems, that’s where Alyssa comes in and guides you through whatever your nutritional needs may be. When she isn’t upgrading food choices, she will be playing in the park with with her most treasured muses—her three daughters.

wcf advertising partners WestCoast Families is proud to bring our readers and amazing local businesses together. We encourage you to visit our advertisers, who enable us to provide valuable information to you each issue! CEFA

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readers choiceawards

It’s the Best in the West! WCF Readers’ Choice Contest, and we want to hear from you. You could WIN!

Grand prize: 4 tickets to Disney on Ice, November 29, 2017 This is your chance to tell us the best places in the Lower Mainland for family fun, cool finds, parties, camps, and much more. When we share, we inform. We’ll be congratulating local businesses with the most nominations in the 2018 Family Resource Guide.

VOTE today at Voting closes Thursday November 23 at 5pm.

WIN! readers

choice 2017

July/August 2012

WestCoast Families Nov|Dec 2017  

The November|December 2017 issue of WestCoast Families magazine, featuring Winter Fun, Party Guide, Holiday Gifts, and Family Health