Friday, August 18, 2017

It's the Coming: Fun at the PNE

The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) kicks off August 19th, 2017. The Fair is a fun way to spend your fleeting summer days. This event has always been a family must for as long as I can remember, and I am so excited to once again be able to share it with my ever-growing kiddo!

Dates & Times
The PNE runs from Saturday, August 19th through to Monday, September 4th, 2017
Open daily from 11:00 a.m. -11:00 p.m. Click here for the daily schedule and times

Lots of Ways to SaveThe price of enjoyment can quickly rise. Between, gate entrance, ride passes, and the ever delicious carnival food that, let’s be honest, is the real reason why we attend, it’s inevitable that you will leave with a lighter wallet. Click here for PNE promotions

Here are some ways to save at this year’s fair:

  • August 19th-20th:Show up between 11:00 – 1:00 showing some Canada 150 pride and enter the park for just $1.50! Proudly wear red, or a maple leaf to take advantage of this discounted admission. (Must be visible). The PNE is thanking our RCMP, Police Officers, Paramedics, Firefighters, and Military Personnel by offering free admission to them and a guest. Must present a valid First Responders service card at the gates.
  • August 22nd-29th: Gain free admission to the fair between 11:00 - 1:00. Please be advised, guests are allowed a hand stamp for later day re-entry after 1:00.
  • August 23rd: Receive $5 off admission with a valid BC library card
  • August 23rd & 30th: Love rides? Take advantage of Wild Ride Wednesdays with a ride pass BOGO. Promotion is only available on site on the applicable day.  

Planning on going after work? Get in for just $5 every night after 9:00. After 5:00, save on ride passes Tuesday-Thursday. As always, save on admission and ride passes by purchasing online or in select stores.

In addition to existing rides like the Coaster, Atmosphere, and the Musical Express, Playland has added three new rides: Flutterbye, Dizzy Drop, and Bug Whirled.

There are very few rides your child can go on if they are below 36 inches. To each their own to decide whether a ride pass or tickets will be worth it, I was recently at Playland with my 2 year old (37 inches) and although we were limited to the same ten or so rides, she absolutely LOVED it! She rode the Cool Cruzer at least 10 times, and loved the Honeybee Express as well as the new Flutterbye ride.

To simplify your experience, first head over to Guest Services to have your child measured. They will receive a colored wristband to know which rides they are able to go on, and will save time having to get measured at each one. Click here for listing of rides

What is the PNE without obnoxiously amazing carnival food! This year looks like the vendors have stepped up their game to bring some truly delicious looking creations. Of course there will be classics from Mini Donuts to Hunky Bill’s Pirogues to Poutine galore. As always there will be deep-fried everything, but the biggest trend difference from last year is the addition of BUGS! Why not tickle your taste buds with a Roasted BBQ Cricket Burger, or a Cricket Fries? Click here for listing of food vendors

One thing I am looking forward to tasting is a Prague Cone! It’s a delicious pastry that is served on the streets of Prague with some yummy looking ice cream. A rule when we go is that no one is allowed to order the same thing as someone else. That way we get to try a little bit of everything!

For the Kids 
In addition to the rides, the PNE offers fun activities and entertainment to enjoy with your family. Over in Rollerland, experience Toytopia! This interactive exhibit is home to some of the world’s favorite toys and arcade games. In addition to multiple play zones, you’ll get to see the world’s largest Etch A Sketch; however, if that’s not enough to grab your attention, I have one word for you: LEGO. Yup, Toytopia in addition to multiple play zones there will be displays, trains, and a LEGO building wall.

The 4H club will once again be hosting events inside the barn, as well as the always enjoyable farm life and animal interactions. In addition, kids will get to experience farm life at the Kids Discovery Farm exhibit.

Keeping in time with the bug theme is the Xtreme Bugs exhibit. Similar to last year’s Dinosaurs Alive, this interactive and educational experience will entice you with 19 animatronic models and 110 static bugs!

A Show for Everyone

Pacific Coliseum

My favorite Fair tradition is watching the President’s Choice Super Dogs. This year they are hosting Canada’s birthday celebration with Canadogs performing Canamazing tricks to some iCanic music! Daily show times at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 5:00 p.m.

Be sure to also step into a world of magic and illusions at the UNBELIEVABLE Marquee Show. Admission is free, but if you want a seat closer to the magic, you are welcome to purchase a premium seat online or in person through the Pacific Coliseum box office. Nightly shows at 7:30 p.m. Click here for listing of live shows

Festival Park
In celebration of Canada 150 there will be a daily Kaleidoscope Parade beginning at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. & 6 p.m. Nightly at 10:15 p.m., watch as the skies above the Park are illuminated in a Northern Lights display. This one is especially intriguing, as the sky will be lit using innovative drone technology.

Witness a royal Coronation first hand at this fun, musical family show. Come one, come all to the Princess Jubilation with shows beginning daily at 12:00 p.m.m, 3:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

For the little adventurer, be sure to join Safari Adventure with Action Austin as he searches the safari to find the missing pink star diamond. This musical show begins at 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. daily.

Summer Night Concerts
While I’ll admit I am more into the Super Dogs, there are some pretty great acts scheduled this year.
Acts begin at 8:30 every night and there is a $20 option to purchase tickets. Click here for concert info.

August 19th – Mother Mother
August 20th – Billy Currington
August 22nd – The Pointer Sisters
August 23rd – High Valley
August 24th – ZZ Top
August 25th - Chicago
August 26th – Colin James
August 27th – Huey Lewis and the News
August 29th – Tom Cochrane with Red Rider
August 30th – The B-52s
August 31st – The Doobie Brothers
September 1st – Rick Springfield

September 2nd The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo. iHeartRadio Beach Ball begins at 2:00 p.m. on September 3rd and 4th. Check online for ticket prices and to order.

Celebrate the end of summer with the Fair at the PNE. Win a house or a car, indulge in some amazing food, experience the thrill of the rides, dance under the stars, and have some good ole family fun!

Andrea, is teacher turned stay-at-home mom to a sassy, tiny tyrant. She resides in Port Moody and shares on her blog her passion for motherhood, marriage, food, health, kids and her home through humor, love and empowerment.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Bounce Safety: Trampoline and Bounce Castle Tips

Use of trampolines and bouncy castles (inflatable play structures) are becoming increasingly popular at people's homes. While children enjoy playing on these products, using them incorrectly can cause injuries.

Health Risks
Injuries from trampolines and bouncy castles range from bruises, sprains, and broken bones, to more serious injuries such as skull fractures. Most of the injuries result from improper or unsupervised use.

Injuries Can Occur When:

  • Colliding with another person
  • Bouncing or doing stunts
  • Falling or jumping off
  • Falling onto the trampoline's springs or frame

Tips for Safer Play

  • Always supervise children when they are using a trampoline or bouncy castle
  • Discourage children from performing somersaults and other stunts
  • Install trampolines or bouncy castles on level ground, away from structures, trees, and dangerous areas
  • Read and follow all manufacturer safety warnings

Bouncy Castles

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the number of children allowed at one time
  • Install and anchor the castle according to the manufacturer's instructions so it doesn't move or turn over during play
  • These structures should not be used in high winds


  • Do not allow children under 6 years old on trampolines
  • Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time
  • Install a safety net or enclosure around the trampoline
Information provided by: Government of Canada

Monday, August 7, 2017

UBT Book Review: I'm dreaming of...written by Musqueam Coast Salish

For this week’s children’s book review, I chose a goodnight story perfect for our youngest readers. This title has a special place in my own heart as it reminds me of the days when I carried my daughter through the house saying goodnight to everything that was important to her, do you do that with your children?

We walked around noticing the treasures of our home, big and small, from the trees in our backyard, to Max, the goldfish, photos of grandparents hanging on the wall, the stars, even spiders showing up in our 100 year old house by the woods…As a family, we savoured this ritual of deep appreciation and connection for the things our family needed and the things that needed us.

I'm dreaming of...written by Musqueam, Coast Salish author and artist Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, is a celebration of connection and an ode to the world we live in. The language in the story is rich and poetic, the illustrations by various First Nation and Native artists are calming and beautiful.

This is a bedtime story but it is much more than that. It is an expression of gratitude towards all living things, a story to re-connect you and your loved ones after a busy day.

It is at this time of the day when our thoughts slow down and we can experience surroundings and feelings more deeply. The time when the flowers seem to impress with their most intense smells, the time when we listen to the wind dancing in the leaves, the time when we are grateful for another day on earth and for everything we are sharing it with.

On the cover a bear is resting in a tree, a feather is silently falling, the moon and the stars are brightening up the dark sky signaling the beginning of quiet time. In the distance we see houses where we live.

The book is dense and rich with the beauty and power of nature. In it your child will meet jumping salmon enjoying the rushing waters as their playground, soaring eagles, running deer in lush forests, robins singing a lullaby, rivers glowing like stars, ravens chatting about their day, whales swimming in the oceans with city lights in the distance, floating otters, moose walking through water in a fall like scene.

This is how we live.
This is our place.
A symbiosis of humans and nature as it is perceived by a child.

The final picture appears like fireworks celebrating the joy of life brought to the reader by a special messenger - the hummingbird alongside a big, calm moon announcing the end of the day.

Time to turn off the last light in town.

Often I hear from people that the art of storytelling seems to disappear in the hustle and bustle of life. First Nation storytellers like Melaney are keeping this tradition alive and it is a gift I truly appreciate it for myself and my children.

I remember the day I met Melaney Gleeson-Lyall at a First Nations conference. I actually didn’t meet her at first, I heard her singing the most beautiful song in a language I didn’t understand.

But I felt it.
I closed my eyes for a moment in this busy conference environment and suddenly I heard eagle sounds so real, I imagined a soaring eagle above us. What I learned from this experience was to just stop and listen sometimes.

As a teacher of Early Childhood Education I highly value that the publisher of this book, Native Northwest, supports Aboriginal Early Childhood Development programs with partial proceeds of this book.

I'm dreaming Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, Native Northwest Vancouver, 2017. Retail Price $10.00, board book, recommended for ages 0-4

Get your copy at:
Anne Uebbing is an Early Childhood Educator and a Kids’ Yoga Teacher living in Port Moody with her husband, two kids ages 9 and 11, a big black dog and one green eyed cat named Marvolo.
In 2011, Anne founded Kinder Books, a traveling children’s book store specializing in stories that reflect people's lives, fostering connection and empowerment. Anne supports authors and artists who create beautiful, challenging and encouraging messages with their work. Aside from her online store, you can find her at various community events where she likes to share her passion for unique children’s books with everyone.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Potty Training On-the-Go Tips

A family vacation can be a cause for concern for potty training parents – but it doesn’t have to be!
I’m currently in the midst of potty training, and as a travel and lifestyle blogger, my family spends its fair share of time on the road. Luckily, through some trial and error, and with help from the Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership, (#pottypartnership) I’ve learned some simple tips and tricks to better manage potty training on-the-go.

Stay consistent
The biggest mistake you can make is postponing or “taking a break” from potty training during travel.
It makes it much more difficult to reinforce commitment and consistency by switching back into
diapers out of convenience. So, no matter how far you’re traveling, keep at it.

Know and share your potty plan
Before you head out on the road, explain to all adults in the vehicle or on the trip what the plan will be
if you hear your child say “I have to go!” If you try to figure it out in the moment, you waste valuable
seconds/minutes which increases potential for an accident.

Consider extra protection
No matter how you’re traveling – plane, train or car – it’s so hard to plan for unexpected situations
like traffic, construction, turbulence or your child falling asleep. Using Pull-Ups® training pants during
travel will help keep your child comfortable and protected. They’re also ideal for on-the-go accidents
because they are the only training pant with easy open sides help reduce the mess (and you don’t need
to find somewhere to lie the child down to change him/her).

”Travel size” your potty
There are a lot of different travel potty options – you can even find seats that fold-up to fit into a
carry-on bag. No matter where you take washroom breaks with your child, you’ll want to have
something on hand that they can use comfortably.

Pack a potty-on-the-go package with your child
Get your child involved in this packing process. Pack the potty training essentials, including Pull-Ups®
Training Pants, toilet paper, wipes, bum spray (or a small water spray bottle) and a portable potty or
potty seat. When your child sees all of this coming together before the trip, it will remind them that
you’re all still committed to the process.

Communicate with your child
Before you leave, make sure you explain to your child that you’re still ready to support them in any way
if they need to use the potty. Show him/her your road trip supplies and continue to remind him/her to
speak up if they feel the urge.

Plan for extra stops and delays
When travelling by car, you’ll likely make quite a few more stops so your child can potty – sometimes
they’ll go and other times it might be a false alarm. Same goes for long travel days spent in airports. Be
sure to add on extra time to your travel day so there’s no pressure or rush.

Pack extra clothes and plastic bags
When travelling, opportunities for potty time might be out of your control, so accidents are more
likely to occur. I’ve run out of clothes before on flights when my child had an accident and it’s not fun.
Extra clothes (and plastic bags to store wet clothes) will ensure the travel experience is comfortable
for everyone.

Continue to celebrate each potty achievement with your child
If potty training stops being exciting for your child during travel, there’s potential for them to regress.
Pack stickers, snacks and other favorite rewards that are set aside specifically for potty training. Check
out for a wealth of incentive and rewards ideas along with on-the-go resources.

Angie Campanelli of Family Travel Guide, has partnered with Pull-ups to share her personal potty training on-the-go tips and advice, as well as some helpful resources available online. Checkout her blog at

Happy Summer Potty Training! Win a Pull-Ups® prize package value at $150.00. Enter to win at Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Honda Celebration of Lights with the Kids

The time has come for one of Vancouver’s true signs of summer: Honda’s Celebration of Lights. Yup, it’s already that time of year when our sky is illuminated by a stunning display of fireworks timed perfectly with music. This past Saturday, Japan created a beautiful display, but don’t worry, there is more brilliance to come with the United Kingdom (Wednesday, August 2nd), and Canada celebrating 150 years on (Saturday, August 5th). Check out the Festival Guide for more info.

Some Things to Know

This 27th annual crowd-pleasing 25 minute event starts at 10:00 pm each night. Watch as fireworks explode off the barges in English Bay to make the skies come alive. You will want to keep tuned in to the accompanying music on LG 104.3 FM as this year holds a special musical treat for the ears.

In honor of Canada’s 150th birthday, each team’s display will incorporate an iconic Canadian song. Vancouverites were able to vote on the song options, which included classics from Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, and the Tragically Hip as well as current chart toppers from Michael Buble, The Weeknd, and Justin Beiber to decide which hits would be featured.

After watching, don’t forget to vote for your favourite through the Honda Celebration of Light mobile app!

Where to Watch
English Bay Beach offers the best and most unobstructed view of the fireworks. Easily the busiest location to watch from, there are patios and ticketed areas available for reservations.

Despite the partially obstructed view, Second Beach offers a little more in the way of pre-event entertainment. The Park Stage will feature a line up of BC talent throughout the day. RE/MAX is offering a Family Zone open from 2:00pm-9:00pm. A great place to spend the day with family and friends before heading to the beach for the night lights.

My favorite place to enjoy the fireworks has always been Kitsilano Beach. It is a great way to spend the day as a family. You might enjoy swimming in the always fun Kits pool, or dipping your toes in the sea before sitting down to an unobstructed view of the night art.

Other places to watch the event include: Stanley Park Seawall (Facing English Bay of course), Burrard Bridge, Third Beach, Cypress Mountain, and Sunset Beach.

How to Get There

1. Public Transit: One of the preferred modes of transportation, event nights are scheduled to have more frequent Skytrain, Canada Line and bus services.

2. Biking: Many of the viewing spots can be easily accessed via bike lanes.

3. Driving: Though more convenient in theory, driving is the least recommended mode of transportation to these events. If you do plan on driving, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to find parking as lots can fill up quickly. Also when leaving, remember to keep that blood pressure down. Remember to relax, be calm, be courteous, and most importantly be safe!

What to Bring

You don’t need anything but your eyes to enjoy this event; however, as the fireworks are timed to music, it is recommended to bring some type of device to tune in on.

A blanket to claim your spot, water to hydrate and sunscreen are great things to consider. Many of the locations will find a food truck or two, so bring money if you are likely to be tempted by whatever delicious creation is being delivered on four wheels!

When I go I like to pack a picnic, build some sand castles, laugh as someone gets buried to their shoulders. Bring a card game (my current favorite is Monopoly Deal), fly a kite, have a water relay. Blow up a beach ball and invite other families to join you in a game of volleyball. Also, it can get chilly by the water so you may want to consider wearing layers or a jacket depending on the forecast.

Remember, the Honda Celebration of Lights is just that—a celebration! Make it a day filled with memories, laughter and family fun in the sun! For information click here 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Musical Nooners at CBC Vancouver

The Fifth week of the free summer concert series, Musical Nooners at CBC Vancouver, features Kids’ Day on August 2 with CBC Kids performer Will Stroet. This free concert series runs every weekday from noon – 1pm on the CBC plaza at 700 Hamilton St.

Monday, July 31: The Ruffled Feathers
This band brings their "chamber-pop" style to our nooners stage. With the sounds of ukuleles, guitar, piano, violin, trumpet and horn, a full orchestra and vocal harmonies is sure to get you moving.  Genres: Chamber, Pop

Tuesday, August 1: Steph Cameron
With a newly released second album, the Saskatoon singer-songwriter brings her unique folk vocals to Vancouver. With one guitar and one voice, enjoy the storytelling of Cameron's lyrics.
Genres: Singer-songwriter

KIDS DAY Wednesday, August 2: Will Stroet from CBC Kids
Bring your kids for this special activity-filled day - from noon to 2pm!
Concert: 12pm - 1pm
Activities: 12pm - 2pm

Children's performer Will Stroet of Will's Jams from CBC Kids will be on stage to delight young fans and their parents alike. Guests can mingle with mascots Scout from CBC Kids' and Parka from Parks Canada, make creations at the craft centre and participate in an adventurous scavenger hunt.
Genre: Children's Music

Thursday, August 3: Miss Quincy

With power-house vocals Miss Quincy and her quartet bring a twangy vibe that will have you stompin' to their soulful country rock beat. Genres: Country, Blues, Rock

Friday, August 4: Warren Dean Flandez
Juno nominated Warren Dean Flandez  brings his wide vocal range and gospel soul sound to our
Genres: R&B, soul, Christian, gospel

About CBC Musical Nooners: 
Now in its 8th year, the Musical Nooners free concert series runs Monday - Friday, from noon to 1pm, at the CBC Broadcast Centre at 700 Hamilton Street (between Robson and Georgia) from July 7 – August 25. For more information on the Musical Nooners series and CBC in British Columbia, go to or follow us on Twitter @CBCVancouver or #musicalnooners. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Even Though I Don't Do it All, I'm Still Enough

Having a child and being someone’s mother is truly an amazing thing. Through the highs and lows, I can honestly say that I am living my best life, and motherhood has made me become the best version of myself.

That being said, living my best self did not happen over night. It actually took a lot of work, a lot of self-reflection, and a lot of acceptance.

As a new mom, it’s very easy to get lost in the noise. In the darkness of sleep deprivation, hormonal imbalances, body issues, and a slew of other delightful effects that might occur post partum, focusing on external pressures and perceived weakness can sometimes overpower appreciating and truly valuing your new-found strength.

Motherhood is confusing, and wading through the flood of emotions can be a challenge. To top it off, there is an enormous pressure to be the “I don’t know how she does it” girl. I remember busting my butt to have that perfectly tidy house for when people came over to visit. I made brownies, and kept my fridge full of goodies. I tried to do my make up, and even my hair; everything I did was faking it in the hopes of tricking people into believing I wasn’t drowning on land.

Then one day, my daughter smiled at me. A real smile, not one of those gassy ones, and I finally stopped and asked myself what the hell I was doing. I realized what an amazing gift I was squandering. In focusing on what I thought were inadequacies, I was wasting what I had; so, I decided in that moment to unapologetically embrace my new life as a mom. I stopped caring about what other people thought of me. I stopped putting pressure on myself to be that picture of perfection moms are made to feel like they need to be.

I threw my hair in a messy bun, and I stopped caring if I wore the same outfit three or even five days in a row because I finally realized that motherhood, especially new momma-hood is all about survival.
Furthermore, I actually started seeing and appreciating the hardships, as well as accepting the simplicities in my day. While there is an enormous pressure to feel like you have to do it all, the reality is you don’t. As a mom, you’re doing enough. Even if all you did today was feed your child, and watch daytime television while they napped away in your arms, you did enough.

There will always be vultures ready to pick you apart which is why it’s so important to find that inner confidence and trust in your abilities. So what if your hair is greasy, your house is a mess, and you just fell face first into the pile of laundry you are too exhausted to fold; at the end of the day, if you could see yourself through the eyes of your child you would know how truly amazing you are.

Your best IS enough, so stop doubting that you are one hell of a strong mother.

Andrea ArEsse resides in Port Moody with her husband and daughter. She is an avid DIYer and fills her days with arts and crafts, themed photo shoots, travel, and exploration. Women empowerment has become a big part of her life since having a daughter, and she has spent the last year writing a survival guide for new mothers that she is hoping to have published in the coming months. Head over to the blog to check out her sassier side of motherhood.