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!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

DIY: Painted Trees with a Toddler

Crafting with my kid is one of my favourite things! Not only do I enjoy passing on my love for crafting, but for the changing seasons. We are working on colours, and dexterity right now, and what better way than to paint leaves on an autumn tree.

I am not a fan of busy work. I feel like if you’re going to do an activity, then do an activity. Have a reason, and use the opportunity to really engage your child. This is a great one because it allows you and your little love to appreciate the beauty of fall, get outside, and connect in nature.

-1 canvas
-1 black marker
-4 Qtips
-2 squares of parchment paper (one for under the canvas, and one for the paint)
-paint (red, yellow, orange, purple, green, brown)

To start, my daughter and I went on a nature walk. We took our time to look at all the trees, touch and feel the ones still hanging, and the ones that had fallen to cover the dirt in a layer of colour. We compared the trees that have not transformed to a fiery wilt, and we laughed. It was a great time to connect with her, and to explore the simple beauty outside. We picked a few leaves and brought them back home for the next part of our activity.

When we got home, we matched the colours we found to the paint that we had. My daughter decided to leave the greens out because she really loved the “fire” trees. (She also enjoyed pretending to be Marshall from Paw Patrol and “putting the fire out”!). I had already prepped the canvas by drawing the tree trunk with a marker, so we were ready to go! Using Q-tips, she started dotting leaves into the branches. In getting the materials ready, I decided to give her more orange and yellow versus red and purple because the darker colours have a tendency to overpower the lighter ones, and my kid is quick to cover a painting in the darker.

You’ll notice in our example my daughter’s favourite painting technique, the swirl, but I am happy with how it turned out! The second example was done by a six-year-old who wanted the leaves to fall. It’s a fun activity, and a great piece of art to liven up your fall decor!

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.  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quick and Easy Family Halloween Costumes

They say that the couple that plays together stays together – and I think that the same can be said for families as well! What better way to engage in creative play than to plan, create and implement a family Halloween costume together! No matter what your age, here are some fun and fabulous and EASY ideas that you can create with your little ones for some spooky fun this Halloween.

Pac Man Family
For this fun retro arcade game costume, you and your spouse will just need a black outfit, yellow poster board cut out into the shape of Pac Man, string to hang it over your shoulders, and a blue and orange t-shirt with eyes on it for your little ones. Check out this photo courtesy of Domestic Imperfection

Monster Family
Got some gauze? Check. Some white face paint and fake blood? Check. A witch hat? Check! You can easily adorn your brood with some simple witch attire, a mummy with gauze, some fake blood and a vampire cloak, and even a little werewolf with a plaid shirt, some fuzzy ears and a tail. Use your imagination – there’s Frankenstein, a skeleton, a zombie and more that can be made with some old household clothing and some simple Halloween makeup.

Crayon Family
Can you spot a theme here? I’m a big fan of primary color group costumes. Once again, get a bunch of colored t-shirts and some black duct tape or electrical tape to create the Crayola logo on your shirt. You can also use felt or construction paper for the logo. I also like to buy a basic pointy party hat and cover it with like-colored paper or felt. Easy, right? If you’re feeling creative, make Dad dress up as the box?

The Price is Right Contestant’s Row
Here’s another one that just needs some simple colored t-shirts and a bit of arts and crafts! To make this costume, you just need to go to the dollar store and buy some Bristol board, some colored poster paper (make sure you get yellow) and some string. Check out the instructions here, courtesy of Corasaurus Rex from

Emoji Family
The emoji costume is likely one of the easiest costumes to create, as it only requires a yellow t-shirt, some black and multi colored felt, and a glue gun. Copy those emoji faces below, or create your own! Photo courtesy of

Some “Punny” Options
I love puns so much. They’re clever. They make me giggle. Why not make a punny costume? If you have a baby, why not dress up yourself and your significant other as ice? You’ll be ‘Ice Ice baby”!! Or hang a Life cereal box panel around your neck, sport a party hat and stick a noise blower in your mouth – The Life of the Party! Decorate your kid’s umbrella and raincoat with stuffed cats and dogs – Raining Cats and Dogs! Or even wear a piggy nose and ears, and wrap yourself with a blanket – Pigs in a Blanket! I could go on for hours...but I’m onto my next project – figuring out why the skeleton didn’t have the GUTS to cross the road 

Happy Halloween everyone! Have fun and be safe!

Friday, October 13, 2017

UBT Guide to Pumpkin Patches

Here is a list of some of the greatest pumpkin patches that you and your family can visit in the Lower Mainland. Take advantage of this beautiful BC Fall weather (besides this weekend), throw on some gumboots, and get ready to pick out the best pumpkin in the patch!

Taves Family Farm Apple Barn Pumpkin Patch

At the Applebarn Pumpkin Patch in Abbotsford, you can spend the day with family, ride the Tractor Trail, jump on the Pumpkin Pillow, and even ride a zip line! Don’t forget to pick your pumpkin, pet the animals at the petting zoo, and even check out the bee hive through the bee viewing window. The Applebarn truly has something for everyone!
Address: 333 Gladwin Rd, Abbotsford BC
Hours: 7 days a week 9am – 5pm until October 30th
Phone: 604-853-3108
Special Event: Pumpkin Festival October 14th

Aldor Acres Pumpkin Patch
When you visit this wonderful Langley pumpkin patch, you can take a hayride and check out the farm animals. Be sure to stop by on November 1st where all the leftover and unused pumpkins are given to the cows for the annual pumpkin patch stomp!
Address: 24990 – 84th. Avenue, Langley
Hours: open daily from September 19 – October 31st 9am – 5pm
Phone: 604-888-0788

Petey’s Pumpkin Patch
When you head out to Chilliwack to visit Petey’s Pumpkin Patch, you’ll find over 5000 sq. of indoor activities, including a train and a wagon that operate rain or shine! A new addition this year is the Guerilla Q authentic Southern style BBQ Ribs, brisket, pulled pork and more, so come hungry!  Admission is $8 per person or $25 for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids).
Address: 9423 Gibson Rd, Chilliwack
Hours:  open daily starting October 1st 11am – 4pm(week days); 11am – 5pm (weekends)

Laity Pumpkin Patch
The Laity Pumpkin Patch is a family-run patch for 25 years, and their 18 acres is full of  magical fairies, gnomes and even dinosaurs! You can even visit Frontier Town and try your luck panning for gold. A petting zoo, corn maze and a tractor wagon ride are a few of many attractions at this wonderful pumpkin patch.
Address: North21145 128th Avenue, Maple Ridge
New for 2017! South - 12725 Laity Street, Maple Ridge
Hours: opening October 1st M-F 1:30 – 5pm; weekends & holidays 9:30am – 5pm
Phone: 604-467-4302

Richmond Country Farms
Not only a pumpkin patch, but a working farm that grows and sells a variety of fruits and vegetables. Get ready for some sing-along hayrides, a corn maze and don’t forget to pick out a pumpkin to take home! Parents – there is also a winery on-site if you’re so inclined to try a tasting!
Address: 12900 Steveston Hwy, Richmond BC
Hours: 7 days a week; 9am – 1:30pm (Mon – Fri) & 10am – 4:30pm (Sat & Sun)
Phone: 604-274-0522

More Pumpkin Patches in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland 
Click links to websites for nore information





North Vancouver