Sunday, May 1, 2016

Celebrating You with Mother’s Day High Tea

I can’t think of a more divine and elegant memory than of the time that my mother and I enjoyed high tea together in Salisbury, England. It was right before we visited the historic site of Stonehenge, and it was summer time, so the air was sweet with honeysuckle and freshly mowed lawns, and the Devonshire cream and jam on the freshly baked scones were a delightful addition to the authentic English Tea.


What a lovely idea to gather up your mother/grandmother/children and recreate the elegance and enjoyment of an English High Tea this mother’s day? Here is a list of some of the wonderful options that High Tea has to offer in the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island. Remember to make reservations early, as these fabulous events tend to book up early!

Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Head up to the 15th floor of the iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and enjoy classic English-inspired tea service as you overlook the stunning skyline of Downtown Vancouver. Called Tea at the Top, you will have your choice of a fine assortment of teas, panna cotta with fresh berries, finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats from the in-house Pastry Shop. If you have little ones, check out the Children's Bubblegum Tea where your little prince or princess will get to have their tea and treats in a real castle!

Finally, get ready to channel your inner Titanic-themed garb (think Rose dressed to the nines for dinner) and visit the famous Fairmont Sunday Best!  Every Sunday, Tea at the Top encourages you to come dressed to impress in your best fascinator or bowtie, and the table selected as ‘best tea attire’ during the 12:30pm & 3:30pm seatings will get a complimentary glass of champagne. Don’t forget to tag @fairmontvan #teaatthetop to share your best outfit.

900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Contact: 604-684-3131


Victorian Tea and the Fairmont Empress 
The pastry chef at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria crafts treats like no other, and the beloved ritual of afternoon tea in the lobby will leave you feeling like the Queen herself! Set against the beautiful scenery of Victoria’s inner harbor, the lobby of the Empress brings to into a scene reminiscent of an old English castle – the décor is lush with rich chintz fabrics, antiqued tapestries and rugs, elegant wing back chairs, vintage furnishings and hand-carved tables. Indulge in an assortment of delightful, high quality teas, coffees and goodies, all served on beautiful William Edwards china. The experience will leave you feeling like royalty for sure!

721 Government St, Victoria 
250-384-8111


The Little White House 
La vie est belle at the Little White House café in historic Fort Langley. Modelled after a Parisian Salon Café which mixed café au lait with delectable pastries, The Little White House is a heritage building that offers delicious brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. You will be served a beverage of your choice and can order off the menu (be sure to try their savory crepes) or enjoy a three-tiered platter of in-house made “sweet petits” - macrons, scones, petit sandwiches, tarts and more. Be sure to save some time to browse the local and artisan crafts in the Salon Shoppe after your tea, and don’t forget to wander through historic Fort Langley after, in search of an antique treasure or just to window shop!

9090 Glover Rd. Fort Langley
604-888-8386


Truffles High Tea at Van Dusen Gardens 
May is a beautiful month for gardens – fragrant flowers, beautiful bushes and blooming trees adorn all of Vancouver’s streets and boroughs. What better way than to enjoy mother’s day than to do high tea in one of the city’s most beautiful gardens? Visit Truffles on mother’s day for a lovely afternoon tea which includes: French macarons, coconut macaroons, shortbread, petit fours, chocolate truffles, scones, croissants, a daily sandwich, raspberry jam, honey and clotted cream. Take a stroll through Van Dusen’s gorgeous botanical gardens afterwards and enjoy the scenery.

5151 Oak Street Vancouver
604-505-4961

Secret Garden Tea Company 
The Secret Garden Tea Company is one of Kerrisdale’s local favorites. All the goodies are fresh, seasonal and made in-house, and served on gleaming china and linen napkins, and the specially blended Secret Garden Tea makes the High Tea experience a lovely time. Seatings are at 12noon, 2:15 and 4:30pm daily.

5559 West Boulevard, Vancouver
604-261-3070



Neverland Tea Salon 
This Peter Pan-themed tea salon goes beyond the traditional High Tea menu – in fact, get ready to try the most delicious tea-infused cocktails, such as Peter’s Broken Promise and Tinkerbell’s Lost Kiss (available at the Lost Boys Bar inside the salon)! Their high tea provides the highest quality ingredients, full of creativity and culinary adventure. They also offer gluten and dairy free options for those with allergies. This year, they are offering a special mother’s day menu that offers a champagne high tea option as well as the usual high tea. They go beyond the usual pastries and offer crab cakes and an asparagus and prosciutto croissant that I’ve heard is a delight! Book now to avoid disappointment.

3066 W Broadway, Vancouver
604-428-3066


Tracycakes High Tea
Tracycakes is a favorite stop for Fraser Valley dwellers who love homemade sweets and treats, and their high tea is no different – not to mention a great deal at only $18.50 per person. Even better, if you want to enjoy all those petit treats, finger sandwiches, goodies and teas in the comfort of your own home, Tracycakes does High Tea to go! Check out their website for more information.
Prices and events are subject to availability and change. Please contact the location of your choice to make reservations.

Abbotsford Cafe
101 2636 Montrose Ave, Abbotsford
604-852-1904

Murrayville Cafe
5 Corners
21594 48th Ave, Langley

Prices and events are subject to availability and change. Please contact the location of your choice to make reservations.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

BC Transplant: A Second Chance at Life

Each year, BC Transplant dedicates the month of April to sharing stories and raising awareness about the benefits of organ donation and the life-saving effects of transplantation.  Elaine Young shares her story with her daughter Addison.

My very first Mother’s Day was just days away and I wasn’t even sure I’d have any reason to celebrate. My newborn daughter Addison was in the ICU at BC Children’s Hospital struggling for every beat of her tiny heart. We had already been told the grim news – her only chance for survival was a heart transplant. Try digesting that shocking conversation, especially as first-time parents already reeling from our baby’s sudden heart failure and ensuing diagnosis of a rare congenital heart defect.

Just three weeks prior, we had been sent home from the hospital with a perfectly healthy child after a perfectly normal pregnancy. Now we had a baby who was being kept alive by a heart-lung machine and waging a full-out war against time. It was terrifying and surreal. I knew the odds were not in our favour. At that time, the wait list for organs in BC was especially dismal and Addison’s condition was so precarious it was an hour-by-hour situation.

On Monday morning, we were walking around the shopping mall. Eight hours later, we were at the ER at BC Children’s Hospital. By midnight, Addison’s heart was in failure. On Wednesday the doctors told us her only hope was a new heart. She got listed for transplant on Thursday. Our medical team started making plans to get Addison stable enough for surgery to implant a Berlin Heart – a mechanical heart pump that would hopefully keep her alive long enough for the wait. They told us to prepare for up to a year, or even longer.

Then on Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day and five days after our arrival in the ER, our surgeon called us in the ICU. He wanted to speak to me so my husband Aaron handed the phone over. “I have a Mother’s Day present for you,” said Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi. I kind of scoffed thinking to myself,
“What? Did our surgeon buy me chocolates or flowers???”


“I have a new heart for you.” Those magic words that changed everything. I couldn’t even process it and I just started shaking and repeating, “Are you sure? Is this a joke?”
Late that evening, we kissed our baby girl good-bye as she was wheeled into the operating room. We were so scared yet so hopeful. This was her chance. She had already showed us she was a fighter and she wasn’t ready to give up.

On Mother’s Day, Addison got her new heart.

Of course the story doesn’t end there with a “happily ever after”. Transplant is not a cure. It’s simply exchanging one deadly condition with another chronic condition that is more easily managed. The current survival rate at 10 years post transplant is still only around 50-60%. Addison has had her fair share of ups and downs on this transplant roller coaster ride. Before she even left the OR, her new heart stopped working, also known as primary graft failure. Many patients don’t survive this devastating setback. She had to go back on ECMO in the hopes her new heart just needed a rest. Amazingly that’s just what happened and we were able to take her home from the hospital three weeks later.

Addison has also dealt with a couple of nasty infections that sent us back to hospital, plus the usual crazy schedule of blood work, appointments, ECHOs, ECGs, scans and tests means we have spent far too many hours at our ‘second home’.

But there is so much we have learned along this journey. Not only have we grown stronger together, we have such deep appreciation for the time we do have with Addison. She has taught us to revel in the moment. We have also found a new passion, dedicating our spare time to raising awareness about organ donation through BC Transplant and fundraising for transplant research through the Transplant Research Foundation of BC. Along the way, we have met so many wonderful recipients, donors, doctors, nurses and researchers. And we have made deep and meaningful friendships, which ease the burden of this “new normal”.

Addison is now five years old and about to start kindergarten this September. She truly embraces life and loves to take on new challenges.  Her current obsessions include skiing, skating, gymnastics, colouring and constructing things with Lego and blocks.  She also became a big sister a few weeks ago, a role she has taken on with great enthusiasm (at least most of the time).
We live by the philosophy another 25+ year heart transplant recipient wisely shared with us – go and live the life you were supposed to live. For my husband and I, we live to travel and now we’ve introduced Addison to our world. So far, her passport stamps include Italy, France, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and Hong Kong. Last summer, she added Argentina to her list too when we traveled to the World Transplant Games. Out of 800 athletes from around the world, all of them transplant recipients, Addison was the youngest competitor there. She proudly came home with two gold medals.

Every day we think of Audrey, the beautiful little girl who has made all of this possible. She was only six days old when her mom Felicia had to come to terms with the worst news a parent can ever face. Yet Felicia didn’t hesitate. She immediately said yes to organ donation, believing that saving lives was the reason Audrey had been born. We are so incredibly grateful, and this Mother’s Day we will celebrate a major milestone – five years of “bonus time” with our miracle girl.

To follow Addison’s story: Addisonmcarthur.wordpress.com
Support the Addison Fund for transplant research: www.trfbc.org/addison

More information
To register your decision or for more information on organ donation, visit BC Transplant’s website. You can also support the cause by downloading their #MakeIt1Million campaign toolkit and share this positive message on social media.


Monday, April 25, 2016

This Mother's Day forgo the Stuff!

As Mother’s Day approaches, Canadians are scouring the mall for unwanted and likely anticipated gifts; handheld vacuums, scented candles, flowers and kitchen supplies.

This Mother’s Day, War Child Canada is encouraging Canadians to forgo the typical closet bound junk and instead donate to others in need on behalf of their mother.

As part of the Mother’s Day Sacrifice campaign, mothers can visit WarChild.ca/Mothers-Day-Sacrifice/ and pledge to sacrifice their gift and instead, ask their families to make a donation to War Child on their behalf.

To help drive home the point that no gift is the best gift, funny and light gift cards are available to send to families to encourage them to donate.

About War Child Canada
War Child works with war-affected communities to help children reclaim their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice. The organization is operational in Afghanistan, Jordan, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and The Democratic Republic of Congo. War Child also takes an active role in raising public awareness around the impact of war on communities and the shared responsibility to act.





Saturday, April 23, 2016

Product Review: Playtex® Diaper Genie® Elite with Carbon Filter

To be honest, I’d heart about Diaper Genie’s for quite some time leading up to my pregnancy but questioned whether or not it truly was a necessity. Fast-forward to when it came time to organizing my baby shower registry prior to welcoming my little boy last summer – and I neglected to add a Diaper Genie to my list.

Since then though there have admittedly been plenty of times where in I’ve cursed the fact that I chose to forego this neat little contraption as I’ve made trip after trip down to the garbage room in our building (oftentimes at rather inconvenient hours to boot!).

So, you can imagine how absolutely thrilled I was when asked to put  the new Playtex® Diaper Genie® Elite with Carbon Filter to the test a few weeks ago.

The trial couldn’t have come at a better time with my now 9 month-old having transitioned to eating semi-solid foods…and with that transition comes a whole new level of diaper stink.

First off, the Diaper Genie comes with easy-to-follow assembly instructions and very few parts to worry about (not to mention a nice box that is guaranteed to keep your little one happily amused for at least 30 minutes).

Once assembled and neatly tucked away next to the change table the slim silhouette of the Diaper Genie all but disappeared in my condo-sized bedroom – as did the scent of smelly diapers thanks to an added odor neutralizing charcoal filter.

The Elite is slightly taller than other Diaper Genie models (great given I am tall), and it features a convenient foot-pedal that activates the lid, allowing you to quickly get rid of soiled diapers in a snap.

We managed to fit close to a weeks worth of diapers in our Elite Diaper Genie before I had to empty it, and even that was a cinch.  A push button pops open the plastic cover allowing for easy access to the bag with minimal exposure to odor. A quick snip, knot and repositioning has the Elite Diaper Genie back in business in minutes!

We’ve yet to cycle through the package of Diaper Genie Disposable System Refills that was included with the product itself, so I can’t truly attest to how having to replace them on the regular will become a factor in my level of adoration for this handy system (and how long we continue to use the Diaper Genie as a result).

I did reach out to a few other Mom’s using the Diaper Genie system to hear what their thoughts were on the maintenance matter and it was pretty clear that the only main complaint was the costliness of the refills. Apparently you can keep an eye out for the odd sale and there several tips listed out there offering up no name brand tricks to help you avoid the costly refills.

Given that the Elite system also calls for the periodic replacement of its carbon filter (that helps to contain smells), I would also factor that into matters if contemplating a purchase – but even then, a quick look online reveals that they are available at a reasonable price.

These two minor points aside I would still give this product a green light and simply wish I’d had one sooner.

For more information about Playtex® Diaper Genie® Elite with Carbon Filter or other Diaper Genie® products and accessories visit: www.playtexbaby.ca. Enter to win your very own Diaper Genie at www.urbanbaby.ca in the contest section. Good Luck!

Danica keeps herself busy as a solo-mom to a busy baby boy while running her own business and living coastal life to the fullest! She enjoys an active lifestyle (when not busy working on exciting projects or taking her tiny tot out on adventures).  See what she's up to at: www.dvinewrites.com

Flying with Baby and a Stroller

When you're traveling with a baby or young child, bringing a stroller can seem like a great idea. It can help out a lot: your child doesn't have to walk, which means you can get from gate A to gate B faster, and they might even fall asleep in the stroller, giving you a bit of a break and them some rest.

However, bringing a stroller on the plane does have some drawbacks. If you have to check your stroller with the luggage, it might get damaged (this is actually quite likely to happen), and you will have to wait for it to come out of the plane at your destination. Sometimes the airline will allow you to check a stroller at the gate, and will also bring it out for you at the gate when you arrive. Even with that help, it still means you have to wait around before heading off to your next flight or the luggage carousel.

When my kids were younger, my husband and I usually brought either a baby-carrier like the Snugli or Baby Bjorn when they were infants, or a back carrier when they were slightly bigger. These were allowed inside the cabin and when we needed to check the back carrier, it was a lot sturdier and less likely to be damaged than a large stroller.

We did bring a stroller along on one of our long-haul flights. It was a collapsible umbrella stroller, and on some airlines we were allowed to bring it in the cabin and stow it in the overhead bin. On another airline, we had to check it at the gate. We decided it was not worth the trouble after that trip. Too much work and not enough use out of it.

Ultimately of course, deciding whether to bring a stroller or not comes down to both what your needs are and what you preference is:

Tips for Traveling with a Stroller:

  • If you need the stroller to transport your infant or child quickly and comfortably at the airport, do consider the baby carrier option: it leaves your hands free and is a lot easier to handle on board and at the airport.
  • If you're bringing the stroller mainly to use at your destination, then consider other options such as renting a stroller when you arrive, or borrowing a stroller from friends and family. It saves you the hassle of dealing with a stroller before and after the flight and at the airport, and you won't risk the stroller getting damaged after it's checked in.
  • If you want to bring a stroller, bring the smallest kind of stroller you can get away with. Dealing with a collapsible umbrella stroller is definitely easier than a larger kind of stroller.

The policies and regulations for bringing a stroller on board vary from airline to airline.

Maria Haskins, is a freelance writer and translator, as well as a mother of two. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but moved to Canada in 1991. Currently, she lives outside Vancouver on the Pacific coast, and right now her home includes two kids, one husband, and one big dog. Check out her blog at www.traveling-kids.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day Tips from EarthBites: Growing Spring Greens in Your Garden

In celebration of Earth Day, Vancouver’s EarthBites school gardening and nutrition program has some great tips for families who want to grow spring greens in their garden.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread will also be handing out herb and wildflower seeds to help you get started on growing your own greens and will donate 10% of sales to EarthBites on Earth Day (April 22) at all their restaurants.




It's easy to get started on growing your greens:

Tip #1: Prepare your containers or beds with nutrients for healthy growth.  When growing in containers – ensure you use ¾ potting soil and ¼ sea soil (organic fertilizer which can be bought at any home hardware store and add a good few inches of organic fertilizer to your beds. Like us, plants need essential minerals and nutrients to grow. Spring greens in particular need lots of nitrogen to grow.

Tip #2:  For instant gratification, pick up a few starter veggies (lettuce, kale, arugula). Spring herb starter plants are great too (parsley, cilantro, mint).  Easy spring seeds include radishes, snap peas & spinach – just follow the simple instructions on the back of the pack. Ensure you do not plant the seeds too far down. Beet and radish spouts are super fun too – just scatter and lightly cover with soil. Sprouts will be ready for harvesting in two to three weeks!

Tip #3: Keep soil evenly moist. If it has not been raining, water your containers or beds two to three times a week.

EarthBites goes into Vancouver schools to teach thousands of kids how to grow and cook their own healthy meals. The children are instructed by a dedicated team of urban growers, nutritionists and entrepreneurs who are passionate about engaging children with the food they eat. For more information check out www.earthbites.ca/school-programs

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In the City: Stroller-friendly Walks in and around Vancouver

Walking is a fantastic activity for you and your children. It's free; you can be spontaneous, and it's a great way to spend quality time together.

Everyone knows how to walk, and as soon as your child has mastered the art, it’s one of the easiest ways in the world to be physically active. You can do it virtually anywhere without special or expensive gear - just a comfortable pair of shoes.

For younger kids, long walks or hikes can be a challenge, or if you have baby in tow you most likely will bring your stroller with you. Worse part of any family outing is arriving at your destination, and you can't use the stroller due to hills, uneven trails or worse no clear path to follow that's stroller-friendly.

Here are 14 places in and around Vancouver (and Victoria) that are stroller-friendly and provide a great outing as a family or with your group of mommy friends.

Rocky Point Park - Port Moody 
Situated along Burrard Inlet in Port Moody, next to the Port Moody Station Museum. It is 3.8 hectares in size, and is the most well-known park in Port Moody. Rocky Point has a variety of amenities, including a new playground, outdoor swimming pool, water park, skateboard park, boat launch, hiking and cycling trails, and wildlife viewing. A paved trail takes you from the boat launch and pier all the way to downtown port moody with many sights to see along the way.


Westminster Pier Park - New Westminster 
Located along the Fraser River, the waterfront boardwalk is the perfect setting for a casual stroll and gives you the chance to enjoy multiple public art features like Community on the River. Easy to get to and stroller-friendly, this paved and boarded, boardwalk stretches along the north arm of the Fraser River. Along the way, you'll find playgrounds, a beach, a few viewpoints and public art displays.

Deer Lake Park - Burnaby
Located in Burnaby just east of Vancouver, Deer Lake Park offers a nice, flat, and easy walk that circles the lake and passes by a beach area, a viewing tower, and pier, all offering great scenery. The trails' stroller-friendly and are accessible all year -  popular with residents walking dogs or just out for an afternoon stroll through the park with the kids.

Crescent Beach - South Surrey/White Rock 
This wonderful stretch of beach is located in White Rock, south of Vancouver. There's a gravel trail along the beach that is perfect for strollers and for small children. The beach is great for beach-combing, digging in the sand, throwing rocks or just sitting down and having a snack. The gravel path travels from the main street along the water with lots to see.


Little River Loop - Langley 
The Little River Loop Trail walk starts and ends at the 16th Avenue parking lot and while visitors are free to walk either the easterly or westerly side of the loop first, the walk starts along the westerly side, going in a southern direction. The walk guides visitors through the vine maples that arch across the trail that then opens into the meadow habitat. It continues south a short distance through a forest of tall trees then curves east through the wetland then north for the return through forested and riparian areas to the trail end. It is path is flat and stroller-friendly and just over 2 km - a great work out that easy for kids and pets.

Garry Point Park - Richmond 
Located close to historic Steveston Village. The park provides spectacular views of the South Arm of the Fraser River and the Gulf Islands. Gravel-trail that loops around Garry Point Park, or you can walk through the village and keep going to the historic part of Steveston.

Lynn Headwaters Park - North Vancouver 
Located in North Vancouver, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park offers a smooth, level gravel-trail along the river. Just follow the lower part of the Lynn Loop trail, and you'll enjoy some nice river and forest views, without having to go into the rough with the stroller. The upper part of Lynn Loop involves stairs, rougher terrain and steeper inclines and is not suitable for strollers.

Ambleside Park - West Vancouver 
From this park in West Vancouver, you get some great views of Lion's Gate Bridge, and of Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver across the water. The beach is really nice here, and the walkway along the water is paved all the way.



Granville Island - Vancouver 
The public market on this island in the middle of downtown Vancouver, and all the other little shops and eateries here are very popular with locals and tourists. It's a great place to go shopping, or eating, or walking. There's a walkway that goes around Granville Island, mostly following the water. Part of it is the boardwalk, and part of it is paved. Easy walking, and it goes right past the playground and water-park.

Spanish Banks - Vancouver 
Spanish Banks is one of the best beaches in Vancouver, and it also has a nice, level walking trail running along it. With a view of the water, the ships, the north shore mountains, and downtown Vancouver. For a longer stroll, you can keep walking past Jericho Beach at one end of Spanish Banks, and continue along the water all the way to Kitsilano Beach.

False Creek North - Vancouver 
This area of downtown Vancouver, along the inlet known as False Creek, makes for a great urban walk. The trails are all paved, and there are little parks and playgrounds along the way for you and your kids to enjoy. It's easy to get to if you're a tourist staying in downtown Vancouver, and it will give you a different perspective of the city than when you're just driving through.

Stanley Park Seawall - Vancouver 
In downtown Vancouver, there is really no better walk than Stanley Park's Seawall. The scenery of the city, mountains, and ocean, is unbeatable. The route is paved all around the park (the trails through the woods are not however), and there are lots of nice stops along the way: Vancouver Aquarium, Third Beach, Prospect Point, various playgrounds, and more.




Lochside Trail - Victoria
A 27-kilometre route connecting Sidney to Victoria. The trail which is stroller-friendly is flat, hard gravel that travels along coastal roadways, between farms, under canopies of trees and through ocean-view communities. Great for cycling, walkers, joggers  - even horseback riders. The trail is wide enough that for side-by-side walking all the way to  Blenkinsop Lake.

The Gorge Waterway Park- Saanich
It runs the length of the Gorge, an inlet connected to Victoria Harbour, from Tillicum Road to Admirals Road. Start your walk at the Tillicum end, site of the Victoria Canoeing and Kayaking Club, or at Admirals Road. Stroller-friendly with playgounds along the way and lots of gorgeous scenery.

Monday, April 18, 2016

What’s in the Backpack: Allpakt Review

When I saw this product, I knew I would love it before had even received it! It was created by
co-workers and friends, Helen Lee, who met a couple, John & Cindy Mahoney, the three of them conceived the idea on a vacation, While sharing a drink, they talked about the joys of traveling with little ones and the backpacks full of things that they would pack to make airplane travel just a little more enjoyable for everyone! And out of that conversation, the AllPakt was born!

So what exactly is the AllPakt? Well, quite simply it is a backpack full of toys and activities for preschool aged children to keep them busy!

The cute blue backpack (it also comes in 5 other colors) came full of age appropriate activities,
toys and crayons including a magnetic play board and magnets, modeling clay, a hand puppet, a
CubeBot (more about this below), reusable activity cards and a dry erase pen , a doodle pad, a
tray for your lap (or tray table) a book, Wikki Stix (one of my favorite items to travel with), and
travel wipes!

So what did they grab first? Mattias, my 4 year old, went straight for the Cubebot, a robot made of wood and elastic. A superhero addict, Mattias was happy to pose and then fly his robot around his seat and crash land it back on the tray table!

Markus, my two year old, went right for the dinosaur magnetic board and was happy to stick and unstick the dinosaurs and eggs all over the prehistoric play scene.

What was my favorite?  Once we went through and checked out everything, the Usborne activity cards were a hit for all of us. Large, high quality cards, which you could write on with a dry erase marker, kept the boys happy for over an hour! They were full of mazes, coloring activities and basic letter games that were perfect for preschool ages children. Markus was even able to a lot of the activities such as “draw wheels on the car” or “finish the picture of the butterfly!”

There was also lots of room for me to pack some snacks for the kids My staples are things like fishy crackers, granola bars, apples (for domestic flights only), or fruit snacks. I was even able to fit their “lovies” in the bag. For Markus it is a small blankey and for Mattias it is a bunny and a small blankey! I clipped a empty reusable water bottle for filling once past security, on to the handle of the backpack and we were set for our flight! I probably could have fit a spare change of clothes (always a good idea when flying with kids) if I had not put both kids snacks and lovies in the same backpack!

When traveling with a preschooler or toddler, it is important to keep in mind the “weight” of the
backpack. The idea is for them to carry it themselves, so if it is too heavy, you will be the one with it on your back! The AllPakt is 1.5 kg when packed (3 lb. 5 oz.) with the included contents.

But if you do end up having to carry it yourself, do yourself a favor and attach a carabineer clip to one of the straps and you can easily hook it to your bag or case in seconds!

Now that we are home, this adorable backpack will live in our car for road trips and we can refill it with snacks and new treasures on our next vacation!