Tuesday, August 4, 2015

UBT Top Picks for Kid-Friendly Sunscreen

There always seems to be conflicting articles going around regarding sunscreen. Some people say that sunscreen is a must, and that damaging UV rays will eventually harm your skin and can lead to skin cancer. Other people don’t want the active chemical ingredients that are found in sunscreen to be absorbed into their bodies. And now there are pieces of evidence that the aerosol sunscreens, when inhaled, can aggravate asthma and allergies in children. Let’s not forget the hundreds and hundreds of brands out there, from mineral to chemical blocks, and from big brand names to organic choices.

Where do you even begin to know what to do about protecting your child’s skin this summer?

Well, it seems that organic and natural seems to be the answer. It’s no secret that from food to skincare to everything in-between, organic and natural is not only better for the environment, but also better for your health. We’ll examine three of the top natural/organic sunscreens that are available today, and how they work to protect you and your loved ones from the sun.

The badger lineup of products comes from a family owned and operated business that started with a Bear Paw beeswax balm for cracked and dry fingers. Now, they have upwards of a dozen types of sunscreens that are 100% natural and 95% organic. The active ingredient is mineral zinc oxide, which provides a physical block instead of being absorbed into the skin. Further, the natural plant and essential oils in their sunscreens are great for your skin. They produce their products in a safe, cruelty free environment, meaning recycled, phalate/BPA free plastic for packaging and never testing on animals. Check out their SPF 34 bug repellant sunscreen, which not only protects you from the sun, but from those pesky mosquito bites as well!

Green Beaver
Much like Badger, Green Beaver is a family owned and operated company that started with a husband and wife team. Both worked in the chemical industry - one in pesticide industry and one as a microbiologist. Both felt appalled at the level of chemicals found in toiletry products, especially for children. They felt the need to make a change, and quit their jobs to begin developing healthier alternatives for personal care products. Thus, the Green Beaver brand emerged, including sunscreen. They have an excellent Kid’s Sunscreen spray SPF 27 that is natural, organic, vegan, eco-certified, water-resistant and fragrance free!

Goddess Garden
The husband and wife team, Nova and Paul, who developed this brand, were made aware of the need for natural products when their daughter became allergic to conventional bath and body products. Nova had a background as an herbalist and Paul a nutritional scientist, so they channeled this expertise into developing products into a line that their daughter could use. Goddess Garden offers an awesome continuous spray sunscreen for kids, which is wonderful for those squirmy toddlers that won’t sit still during application! Their sunscreen products contain ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe vera, minerals such as zinc and titanium, and are all non-GMO, vegan, cruelty free and gluten free.

Now that you’re armed with some info about the safer choices for sunscreen, head out to your local London Drugs, Choices Market or other retailer to pick up a bottle today!

"Melissa Collins is a coffee loving, lip gloss collecting, mommy blogging mother of 2 little ladies. When she's not busy cleaning up Cheerios and writing about the honest humor in parenting, she can most likely be found curled up in her hammock with a good book. Check out her adventures at www.mellysmommymanual.com

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Treats to the Rescue! No-Campfire Goodies

It’s no secret that every child in summer looks forward to the timeless and traditional act of roasting marshmallows around a campfire. Let’s not forget about nestling that perfectly golden-brown goodie into a graham cracker sandwich, complete with a hunk of milk chocolate, making a delicious and gooey s’more.

But what happens when it’s a hot summer like this one, and the mere mention of an outdoor fire sends Smokey the Bear barrelling your way, ready to oust you and your ideas of a fire with a watery blast? This summer in British Columbia has seen a province-wide fire ban – which is a good thing for the tinder-dry forests, but very sad for the happy campers (especially the children). Any hopes of poking a stick into some hot coals, igniting a marshmallow into flames, or playfully licking strings of marshmallow goo from your fingers are dashed this year….leaving behind sad kids and shelves of s’more kits, unbought on the store shelves.

Thankfully, the fire ban doesn’t include propane BBQs and fire pits! So don’t fret, moms and dads – here are some ingenious ideas for campout treats that your kids can enjoy, thanks to a propane flame!

Tasty Roasted Banana 
What you’ll need:
- One banana per kid
- Chocolate chips, M&M’s, smarties, or any      other small chocolate candy of your choice
- Mini-marshmallows
- Tinfoil

This is a simple, easy and delicious treat that can be done on the BBQ. You simply slice an opening in the peel of your banana, ensuring you slice the banana lengthwise so it folds open and creates a boat of sorts. Sprinkle the middle with the chocolate bits and marshmallows and wrap that puppy back up in tinfoil, and roast on a medium-heat BBQ for 5 to 7 minutes. The result? Gooey, chocolatey banana goodness. But be careful before giving to the kids, because it gets very hot!

Ice Cream Cone S’more
This one is super easy and just about as good as the s’mores.
What you’ll need:
- Ice cream cones (preferably sugar or waffle cones)
- Chocolate chips, or other chocolate bits such as - M&M’s or smarties
- Mini-marshmallows
- Add other fruit, sprinkles, caramels, or any other treats that you desire

This one is easy and fun to assemble. Get the kids to fill their cones with all the goodies that they can fit, and then wrap the cone fully in tinfoil and roast on the BBQ for 5 to 7 minutes. The result? Viola! A s’more that doubles as an ice cream cone!

Hope these yummy campfire treats help you and your families enjoy those traditional activities this summer, regardless of the fire ban! Stay tuned for one more treat on our blog next weekend!

Melissa Collins is a coffee loving, lip gloss collecting, mommy blogging mother of 2 little ladies. When she's not busy cleaning up Cheerios and writing about the honest humor in parenting, she can most likely be found curled up in her hammock with a good book. Check out her adventures at www.mellysmommymanual.com

Friday, July 10, 2015

Off to the Beach: 13 Items to Pack

One of our absolute favourite things to do is visit the beach! It has become a weekly tradition that we head out to the beach for some sun and fun....and gelato of course. Below I have listed some must have beach bag essentials for a toddler!

A mat to sit on - We recently bought the Monkey Mat. This super lightweight water resistant 5x5 mat with weighted corners makes beaching super easy. The mats come in bright colors so it makes it easy for others to find you if they run off to get snacks or refreshments.

Sunscreen -
this is a crucial necessity, especially for little ones. Be sure to reapply as directed on the bottle (most wear off within a few hours and after being in the water for a length of time).

Sunglasses - I always have two on hand at all times for when we are in direct sunlight.

Sun hat - This is so important as the head is the first thing the sun comes into contact with so protecting it is important.

Band-Aids - You never know when you or your little one may need one so keep a few with you at all times. Let your little ones pick out their own fun ones, we recently picked up some StarWar themed band aids.

Hand wipes - Kid's hands are bound to get dirty while playing out and about, have these packed along for snack time.

Kids after bite - Insect bites are bound to happen during the summer months, make sure to have this packed with you at all times for when it happens.

Swimwear - Whether it's a swim diaper, swim trunk or bathing suit, let your little ones help choose one for themselves to sport at the beach.

Water shoes - We love to run around in the water and sand bare feet but when we get to areas where there are more rocks or broken shells we swap in our water shoes to avoid injuries.

Blanket & towel - First we dry off then we cuddle up in a blanket (on cooler days).

Snacks & refreshments - I pack my son's treats and drinks in brightly colored containers the night before our beach excursion.

Beach toys - I always bring along some beach toys in case my son feels like playing with them, most of the time he's too busy splashing in the water and investigating the seaweed.

A change of clothes - Or two, you can never be too sure with toddlers!

Angel Fisher is a mother to a rambunctious toddler by the name of Valentino, a Canadian & United States scenic photographer and local lifestyle photographer. www.angelfisherphotography.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Game Review: Spot-It Frozen Edition

Today my girls and I were lucky enough to review the game SPOT-IT! – Frozen edition! Since this game is super educational, and it incorporates our love for everything Frozen, we were stoked!

Spot It! is a matching game of sorts. The deck contains 55 cards that feature photos of all things Frozen – Anna, Elsa and the gang, as well as sleds, carrots, snowflakes etc., and also the alphabet. The object is to find two matching symbols on two separate cards. The cards are round, compact, and fit into a cute little tin that is totally perfect for stashing in the diaper bag or backpack.

My eldest daughter loved the competitive nature that the game offers. She eagerly wanted to be the first person to SPOT the one and only matching symbol that each card featured. Let’s not forget my two year old daughter, whose language is really blossoming lately! Although she wasn’t quite ready to match items, she eagerly pointed to letters and symbols that she recognized. This game is excellent for their developing visual perceptions, processing, speech and language skills. This game was a hit!

Melissa Collins is a coffee loving, lipgloss collecting, mommy blogging mother of 2 little ladies. When she's not busy cleaning up Cheerios and writing about the honest humor in parenting, she can most likely be found curled up in her hammock with a good book. Check out her adventures at www.mellysmommymanual.com

Monday, July 6, 2015

Come and Get It! Food Trucks Are Here

Every Sunday from 12 to 5, an army of Food Trucks line Olympic Village in hopes to bring you great food, good music, an amazing atmosphere and introduce you to new companies.
We attended last year and they made a few welcome changes. This year there were beer gardens with craft beer, live music, ping pong,  an extended Kid Zone and so much more.  Also a new addition to the Food Truck Festive was East Side Flea Market, which showcased several local companies.

Unfortunately, they didn't expect all the flying ants, which made it really hard to enjoy the atmosphere, the food and music. Every 3rd or 4th, step we were swatting away these ants and picking them out of our food, out of my clothing and from off of the baby! I'm actually thankful my oldest wasn't with us for this as we would have left a lot sooner than we did! Not that that is their fault but, I'm not sure if there is a certain time of the day when they are my prevalent then others but if you're taking children this might be something to watch for.

The Beer Gardens is an absolute no go with kids, so you won't be able to enjoy a cold one if you have the little ones with you, unless someone's staying out! The Food seems to cater more to an unpicky pallet or older children, though there are options, don't have high expectations of the kids eating something other than the Cotton Candy from Cloud 9 or Johnny Pops, but hey, at least they are a healthier version.

Bruce had a Fish Taco from Tacofino. which was delicious as always, says the fish was a bit too big but better than the opposite. I got the Poutine with a mushroom based gravy, the gravy was a bit too thick for my liking, and I likes me a gravy! There was a bit of miscommunication about the media passes for food, so dishing out a few extra bucks for a poutine that wasn't amazing was a bit disappointing, I made a hasty decision because the ants were getting to be too much!

At the end of day, it's a fun afternoon for mom and pop or the single peoples, but I'm not sure if I'd take the kids next time.  A lot of fun to be had if the ants would settle a bit and with the right group of friends the beer garden, food and beach volleyball promise to be full of laughter and good times.

Janette Shearer is  a Mommy Blogger  for Vancity Mommy D, wife and mother to two little girls 6 year old Ava and 7 month old Zoe. All Photos courtesy of Janette Shearer.   www.vancitymommyd.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Canada Day Celebrations

July 1: Canada Day Celebrations
Canada Place
10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Van stage performance, workshops, circus performers, giant board games, face painting, water park and fireworks.

July 1: Canada Day at Granville Island
Granville Island
9:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Take in some live jazz, watch the parade pass by, or indulge in some delicious food. 

July 1: Canada Day at Sunset
Sunset Community Centre, Vancouver
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Come to Sunset for an afternoon of family fun. There will be a petting zoo, a bouncy castle, face painting, food trucks, live music, and cupcakes for everyone.

July 1: North Shore Canada Day Parade 
10:00 AM
East 13th Street, Lonsdale Avenue and West 17th Street, North Vancouver
There will be bands, community organizations, dancers, members of the RCMP and the Legion, and many others.

July 1: Canada Day Celebrations
Willoughby Community Park, Langley
11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Family activities, rides, main-stage entertainment, a car show, an assortment of ethnic foods, dog show, fireworks, pony rides and much more are all on the menu for this fun-filled and exciting event.

July 1: Surrey Canada Day
Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, Surrey
10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Celebrate Canada Day with multi-platinum award-winning Canadian musician Matthew Good.

July 1: Canada Day Celebrations
Burnaby Village Museum
11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
A 1920 backdrop for multi-cultural family entertainment including a musician, displays, and demonstrations.

July 1: Pitt Meadows Canada Day
Spirit Square, Pitt Meadows
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Get up early, and head over for a pancake breakfast. Join the 8K charity run (or the shorter Kids Run), then continue the festivities at the square.

July 1: Another All Day Canada Day
Queens Park, New Westminster
11:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Come to Queen’s Park for a fun day of celebrations. There will be family entertainment and fun activities for everyone.

July 1: Coquitlam Celebrates Canada Day
Town Centre Park, Coquitlam
11:30 AM – 11:00 PM
A fun-filled day of festival favourites including entertainment, food, cultural village, artisans and a spectacular fireworks display.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

UBT Top 10 Toys for the Summer

At UBT we’ve teamed up with The Granville Island Toy Company and picked our top 10 summer toys. Keep your kids happy, active and engaged all summer long. Happy Summer! 

  1. Mini Ogo Disc ($28.99) – For kids 3 and up the
    Mini Ogo Disc is an intuitive, fun game of “keep up” that uses rubberized pads where players are expected keep a ball in the air.

  2. Jump Rockets ($21.99) – Blast off with the GeoSpace Jump Rocket! Down at Mission Control we prep the Foam Rockets for their Airborne voyage and then JUMP on the launch pad, sending our rockets soaring as high as 300ft in the air!

  3. Waboba Ball  ($9.99) – Are you Beach bound? Well you better pack your Waboba Ball because this hot little number is going to turn heads as it bounces along the waves.

  4. Frog Game ($8.99) – Is capturing Amphibians in a bucket your idea of a great summer? This Italian-made game, reminiscent of Tiddlywinks, is captivating the imagination of kids worldwide.  How far can you flick your frog?

  5. Super Soaker Freeze Fire ($14.99) – Make sure you and your friends chill out this summer with this twist on the classic Super Soaker water pistol. A compartment for ice cubes guarantees this water will be as cool as you look as you blast away the summer heat!
  6. Kikbo ($9.99) – This re-imagining of a hacky sack uses feathers and small weighted plates to achieve better balance and stability than the traditional footbag. Perfect for the park or for prepping your foot/eye co-ordination for soccer season.

  7. Squap ($27.99) – It’s like playing a game of catch, but throwing the ball is as easy as opening your hand. Just place the little orange ball inside the launching mitt and push out with your arm as you open your hand to launch the ball towards your friends. The Squap is easy to use and a great addition to any summertime park going adventure.

  8. Pocket Disc ($15.99) – These fair-trade, hand-knitted Frisbees fly nearly as good as regular Frisbees and boast the added convenience of being comfortably folded into your pocket! Plus, they’re soft enough that they won’t cause any damage -- even to little fingers learning how to play.  It’s great for indoors too on a rainy day.

  9. Turbo Bubble Blower ($9.99) – Automate your bubbles with the Turbo Bubble Blower! This simple hand-held bubble blower makes bubble blowing easier than ever. Dual-wield for double the bubbles and double the fun!

  10. Dino Mundi ($59.99) – Need some respite from the summer heat?  Well welcome to the world of DINO MUNDI.  Set up the track, download the app and watch as Dinosaurs come to life and attempt to destroy you.  Can your battery-powered vehicle outrun these savage Jurassic beasts? 
The Granville Island Toy Company is the best and most loved independent toy store in Vancouver and all of Western Canada! LIKE us to enter fun competitions and prize draws to win AWESOME toys!
Find these and more toys at www.