Saturday, February 10, 2018

Family Day - Families Coming Together

Anyone who has been a parent knows that sometimes you really need to talk about the challenges we face. Many of us reach out to family and friends when we need support, new parenting strategies, or just to vent our frustrations. However, some of us can’t reach out to family and friends because of distance, or estrangement. Others may not be comfortable sharing our parenting challenges with friends and family.

These are a few of the reasons Parent Support Services Society of BC (PSS) offers free Parenting Support Circles. As one parent said, “It's a loving circle of many interesting parents. Parents there can exchange their ideas and experiences freely."

Bella Cenezero, Director of Circles and Community, says “We believe that every parent is the expert of their own family.” She adds, “Sometimes all a parent, or other caregiver, needs is a chance to share with who have experienced similar frustrations, challenges, and joys.” Cenezero adds, “We have been told that our Circles are a lifeline for many.” Participants learn new strategies for parenting, receive resources and make connections that often break isolation.

In the Lower Mainland, PSS currently offers 19 Circles in various locations. These include support groups for grandparents who are raising and are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren, Circles run in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, Spanish, and Korean.

One parent who was new to Canada said, "This group helps me with my problems. Moreover, I benefit by learning how other parents solved their problems in different situations. New immigrants need assistance in this area."

Circles are currently operating in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, Abbotsford and Langley and run daytime, evening, and weekends depending on location.

Cenezero emphasizes that as well as Parenting Support Circles, PSS offers workshops in the Lower Mainland on a variety of topics on a monthly basis.

Parenting Support Circles offered in in communities across BC include: Indigenous Parent & Kinship Care Circles; groups for parents who are raising children on the autism spectrum; Circles for parents in prison; groups for parents who are raising children who are trans or gender creative; Circles for grandparents and other relatives raising their kin; and groups that operate in various languages. PSS has Circles for people like you!

For more information and to find out about Circles in you area contact: 
Bella Cenezero 604-669-1616 Ext 105

Thursday, February 8, 2018

New Book Preview Wild Ones by Jane Whittingham

"Can you stretch like a cat or hang like a bat? This little one can do those things and so much more as she bounds energetically through her day. Author Jane Whittingham‘s sprightly couplets take her from the park to the pool, to dinner and bed, while Noel Tuazon cleverly illustrates the animal companions of a child’s imagination.

Published in a sturdy format with a padded cover, rounded corners, and extra-heavy paper, this picture book is perfect for sharing with wiggly, little wild ones of your own. And as the last pages are turned, the story’s final, sweet “goodnight” will leave the liveliest listeners ready to snuggle like a bear at bedtime."

Awards and Honours:
2017 OLA Best Bets selection
2017 Toronto Public Library First & Best selection
2017 Jbrary “2017 Favourite Storytime Picture Books” selection
2017 Fab Book Reviews “Best of 2017: Picture Books & More” Honourable Mention
2017 HuffPost “Best Picture Books of 2017: Best Bedtime Book” Honourable Mention
Thanks so much for the support, I really appreciate it!!

Jane Whittingham is a librarian from Burnaby, British Columbia, and earned her Masters of Library and Information Sciences at UBC with an emphasis on children’s librarianship and literature. Much like the adventurous main character in her first picture book, Wild One, Jane loves to explore. And every time she jet-sets across the globe, Jane takes pictures of all the cats who cross her path. Checkout her website at

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Picture Books for Picky Readers

Whether it’s pickles or tomatoes, anything slimy or anything red, many children experience “pickiness”. Pickiness can certainly be very frustrating for parents and caregivers, and can result in some complicated meal planning (especially when a child’s food preferences sometimes seem to change at the drop of a hat), but pickiness is actually very common in young children, as evidenced by the number of picture books on the subject! These six picture books feature some very picky eaters, and while they might not convince your little one to finally give lima beans a try, they’ll hopefully at least bring a smile to your face!

Too Pickly! by Jean Reidy
It’s lunchtime, but this picky eater finds a reason to pass on just about everything in this short, fun, colourful picture book that more than a few readers will be able to relate with.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
Charlie’s little sister Lola has a list of foods she will never not ever eat, but Charlie has a few tricks up his sleeve to turn this picky eater into an adventurous nosher!

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban 
Frances only wants to eat one thing – bread and jam. Bread and jam for breakfast, bread and jam for lunch, bread and jam for dinner. Eventually, though, Frances comes to realize that too much of a good thing might just be a bad thing after all!

Night of the Veggie Monster by Geroge McClements 
A young veggie hater engages in an epic battle of “war and peas” against everything green in this silly story filled with striking mixed-media illustrations.

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman 
What’s a mother to do when all of her children are the pickiest of picky eaters?! This lighthearted romp features a clever mother who figures out just how to keep all of her silly eaters happy.

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Every child knows the familiar refrain “You can’t have dessert until you’ve eaten your dinner.” But what about when you’re a pea? Little Pea has to eat ALL his candy before he can have a few special bites of vegetables. Amusing and filled with bright and fun illustrations, this entire series is a winner.

Jane Whittingham is a librarian, author and book blogger. You can find her online at Her debut picture book, Wild One, was published by Pajama Press in 2017.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Paws 4 Stories: NVDPL to Host St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog Reading Program

North Vancouver District Public Library is thrilled to announce a new program aimed at encouraging children to further develop their literacy skills by reading aloud…to a dog! On Wednesday evenings from January 17—March 14, local children have the opportunity to come to read to Starr, the friendly Great Dane, at Lynn Valley Library at the Paws 4 Stories program.

Paws 4 Stories is a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Community Service program that is designed to assist in helping to improve reading skills of children. Reading to a certified therapy dog has been shown to be motivating and calming to readers, and can potentially help children change their approach to reading. It can be particularly beneficial for children who may be hesitant or anxious about reading.

The program is recommended for children ages 6 -12. Children can sign up for up to three twenty minute sessions while the program is running, but space is limited and registration is required. Those interested in participating can call 604-984-0286, ext. 8141 or visit the Lynn Valley Children’s Desk to register.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cirque Du Soleil proudly presents KURIOS, Cabinet of Curiosities

KURIOS is one of the must-see things, this holiday season! Cabinet of Curiosities is a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. 
The name of the show refers to the humble and strange characters that inhabit the Seeker's Cabinet of Curiosities.

This was my first time attending Cirque Du Soleil, and I am so glad I got the chance to attend a show. As my guest and I arrived we could see the famous big blue and yellow tent welcoming us. As we walk towards the entrance, the smell of warm popcorn filled the air. Once past the front gates and in the tent, there were plenty of things to do and see for all ages - props, displays. There were backdrops for those selfie lover’s and people who love to take pictures. Yes, I’m guilty! Many pictures appeared on my instrgram feed that night. 

If comfront food is on your list the concession stands offered popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels, and candies, even alcoholic bevies were being served for the adults. The souvenir stands were everywhere throughout the venue. We bought goggles for both of my sons, that made them look like little aliens.

When we got to our seats and I was quite impressed with how close everything was to the stage. I was in awe of the stage design, which was a futuristic, Victorian, steampunk vibe setbut as soon as the lights dimmed I was instantly mesmerized. The performances were really jaw dropping, literally my mouth was open throughout the entire show with ooh, aah, lots of WOW and plenty of oh my gosh!

I was so happy it was KURIOS that I went to because the show had the old circus style with a modern-day twist. There was tightrope walkers, swinging, the Siamese twin, and jugglers. The acrobat’s performances were breathtaking. The costumes were fabulously created, unique and fun. 

There were so many things I loved, but my top three favourite scenes are Contortion, the performer's movements and flexibility were phenomenal. I couldn’t believe that people can actually do things like that. Not only were their performance wonderful, but their costumes were extremely colourful and so real-like. Second, was Aerial Bicycle, the way she rode her bike and did her acrobatic tricks in midair was the first part of my jaw-dropping experience. She made it seem so effortless and had this gracefulness to her that totally amazed me. Last but not least Aerial Straps. Watching two men swinging across the tent and over each other using only two strips of fabric is extraordinary. There were so many times I was scared for them but their performace blew me away - especially when they wrapped themselves up in the fabric and fell from the top of the tent all the way down to just before the stage. Some of my other favourite moments were the Upside-Down World, Russian Cradle Duo and Rola Bola.

I forsure would recommend KURIOS to my friends and family. We'll definitely include it on our holiday wish list! It is a night of fun entertainment for the whole family!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Circle Craft Christmas Market

45th Annual Circle Craft Christmas Market
Over 300 artisans from coast to coast, November 8-12, 2017

Circle Craft Christmas Market is a special time of year for Vancouverites and visitors to the city. Since 1973, Circle Craft has presented its annual winter market where the best of BC and Canadian craft is exhibited and sold – by the artisans themselves.

In 2017, over 300 artisans (more than 50 new to the Market) will take part: clothing designers, potters, wood and metal workers, glass blowers, jewellers, toy makers, candle and soap makers, and more!

Circle Craft is a BC-run artist cooperative dedicated to providing opportunities for craftspeople to connect with the community. Members of Circle Craft exhibit at the Market; they also play host to makers of fine crafts from across Canada.

2017 exhibitors include long-time favourites Wee Woollies (children’s clothing), Cathi Jefferson (clay), Sophia Clay Art, Annie 50 (clothing), Chloë Angus Design (clothing), Les Guédines en Folie (toys), Anêmone (fashion accessories), The Fishery, and Salt Spring Island Cheese; new exhibitors include Boreal Folk Apothecary, Jumping Creek Pottery, VOILÀ Designs (clothing), Misheo (fashion accessories), Little Rock Jewellery Studio, Vintage Map Co. (pillow cases), Lennard Taylor Design Studio (clothing), Yifat Jovani (clothing), Lisa Fletcher Jewellery, Zoe Bemused Jewelry, East Van Jam, Engin&Dennis Design Studio (glass), and Illo Leather. 

The 2017 Market will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, 1055 Canada Place, November 8-12, 2017.

Date: November 11-16, 2014 | Vancouver Convention Centre West
Hours: Wednesday through Friday: 10 am – 9 pm; Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
10 am – 9 pm; Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

$15 adults; $12 seniors and students; $11 each for groups of 10 or more
2-for-1 after 5:00 pm; Children under 12 are free
Save $2 on all admission prices when you buy tickets online at

Win two complimentary tickets to Circle Craft Christmas Market. Enter at Contest closest Monday, November 6th, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

Quick and Easy Halloween Treats for School

It’s the time of year where Halloween parties, whether it be at school or with friends, are happening everywhere. You want to sign up to bring a treat, and you want to impress, but where does one find the time or the resources to come up with something creative? This year, don’t resort to bringing the borning and effortless bag of smarties – instead, try one of these super easy and impressive goodies that are sure to be a hit with everyone!

Frankenstein Pudding 
• What you’ll need:
• Clear 2oz shot cups
• Instant Pistachio or Vanilla pudding mix
• Oreo cookie crumbs
• A sharpie
This one is cute, yummy and super easy to do. All you need to do is make some instant jello pistachio pudding (if you have nut allergies, you can sub vanilla pudding with green food coloring), pour it into the clear shot cup, top with oreo crumbs, and draw a scary Frankenstein face – viola! You’ve got lil

Photo courtesy of A Turtle’s Life for Me

Rice Krispie Treat Monsters
Who doesn’t love Rice Krispy squares?? In this simple Halloween treat, you just need to make a batch of rice krispie treats (the recipe is usually on the back of the cereal box, so I won’t bore you with the details here); then you need to hit up Micheal’s or your local cake decorating supply store (I use Scoop and Save in Langley) for some candy eyeballs, sprinkles and some colored melting chocolate. Another alternative is to buy white chocolate from walmart and use food coloring, but Micheal’s has the pre-colored melting discs that are super easy to use.

You simply make the rice krispie squares, dip them in chocolate and sprinkles, and stick the eyes on – and there you have a plate full of cute, delicious Rice Krispie treat monsters! Tip: melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave, starting in 30 second intervals – it melts very quickly and tends to burn if left in there for too long.

Photo courtesy of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Fruit Cup Jack o Lanterns
This one is probably the cutest and one of the easier snacks to make. All you need is to purchase some pre-packaged peach or orange segment fruit cups and draw a cute little jack-o-lantern face on it! You can draw it on the top of the lid or on the side of the cup, depending on what you prefer. Bonus points for providing a healthy alternative here!

Photo courtesy of Mama Bee's Freebies

Witch Finger Cookies
My mom and I used to make these cookies when I was a kid, and she still makes them to this very day for my little ones. They’re so cute, fun and spooky – a perfect addition to your Halloween party this year. My girls love to hold them and pretend that they have long creepy witch fingers!

All you’ll need:
• A basic sugar cookie recipe
• Whole Almonds
• Pre-made (or homemade ifyou’re ambitious) red icing

Once you’ve made your sugar cookie dough, roll the pieces out into 3 inch long finger shapes. Take a fork and press into two spots – I like to do it half way up the finger, and right below the fingernail. This will make it look extra creepy and extra wrinkly! Another tip is to make the finger look arthritic by making the knuckle areas wider than the shaft of the finger! At our house we like to dye the dough green so it looks extra witchy!

Photo courtesy from Simply So Good

Boo Cheese String
Finally…this last party snack is for that mom that forgot that she signed up to bring something for party day at school or daycare…and she’s rushing and can only stop at the grocery store quickly on the way to drop off…and doesn’t want to show up with crappy storebought cupcakes because we all know our kids are going to get enough junk food at Halloween…(I’m not speaking from experience here, I swear)…
The solution you have been waiting for is right here, ladies and gentlemen! Mozzarella cheese strings and a sharpie! VIOLA! You have cheese ghosts!

Happy Halloween!