28 June 2008

Vancouver's Aquarium

ONE OF SPUD'S FAVOURITE MUSEUMS | VANCOUVER


SO MANY EXHIBITS, SO LITTLE TIME
This last trip to the Aquarium we barely even found the time to see the otters, the dolphin show, or the baby beluga! There's so much to take in.




The interactive kids area is great fun.


Here Dr. Spud is carefully examining a harbour seal [stuffed of course].


OTHER STUFF TO CHECK OUT
Within a 10 minute walk you'll also find a water park [in the warm months], a Children's Farm (604 257 8530) and the Miniature Railway (604 257 8531) on which you can ride through the woods [all year round].

LUNCH / DINNER
The obvious choice is to hit one of the many concession stands in the park itself. This can be expensive and of terribly average quality, however. For a proper sit down meal, the Banana Leaf on Denman Street serves delicious Malaysian food. But there's no end of good food on Denman. There's a unique, fantastic sweet and savoury fillo pastry bar, Greek, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Japanese cuisine, 2 very good hamburger joints, gelato and cupcakes. And a cafĂ© every 10–15 feet.

Wow, check out that line up. It's best to show up before noon.

27 June 2008

Wee Caccoon

Today a very special person to Spud, read him a story about a caterpillar and then gave him [us!] a caccoon. No pressure to make this thing blossom or anything. Ack! Any tips?



It's the brown oval nestled in the leaf.


And it comes with a bonus snail.

24 June 2008

New Bento Boxes

Hubs surprised me with these tonight. And they come all tricked out. I call this one the 'executive' with its conservative blue striping.



This is my first bento box with a moveable separater. That's going to come in handy.



They are stackable but in a different configuration they nest, for easy storage.





It also comes with its own carrier bag.



And this one is cheerfully spring-like. I love the colour. And it's handy with its 3 removeable containers.





Can't wait to fill them with cute, nutritious goodness for little guy. And to use some of my wee bento accompaniments with them.

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21 June 2008

Jungle Party Planning Links

PARTY FOOD, DECORATIONS, AND GOOD TIMES
My little guy's third birthday party was jungle-themed and I recently stumbled across all the research I did for his little shindig. It was fun to revisit it all. Here's my roundup.

INVITES, TABLE SETTINGS AND DECORATIONS
Cookie has a great little idea for elephant invites made with scrap embellishments and brads.



Dansukker has really cute ideas for decorating balloons. They also show how to make some cute elephant invites.



At Family Fun, oversized leaf postcard as invites and paper bag vines for decorations.

At Martha, check out monkey-themed invites and funny monkey cups.

Plum Party sells butterfly invites and glitter spiders among other animal related things.

Parents shows how to make a peeling banana invite.

PARTY MENU
The monkey menu at Buzzville includes Banana Black Bean Empanadas and simply adorable monkey cupcakes.

At Dansukker, find Monkey cake, fruit salad, and mango juice.



Martha has a great monkey cake too.

Charming 3-tiered elephant cake at Cookie and jungle cake at Family Fun.

Family Fun has a snake cake. Parents has a great snake cake recipe too.



At Meals for Mums: veggie plates with carrot/cucumber palm tree. Also check out your local kid-oriented caterer to see if they have any theme ideas they can help you with.

PARTY ACTIVITIES
Go to Family Fun for activity ideas like having a jungle parade or a Great Peanut Hunt and here for more ideas like "Crocodile Alley Obstacle Course".

Cookie suggests the wee ones make merriment by making music.

Or how about making their own binoculars from empty t-paper tubes over at
Parents.

Martha's site has an activity using elephant feet made from large cans. Also check out her ridiculously darling pipe cleaner animals here.



JUNGLE DRESS UP
Beautiful giraffe and elephant masks at Kangarooboo.



TOYS
Beautifully handmade wooden Safari animals here.



FAVOURS
Check out Family Fun for their expedition supply pinata idea. Although I love the pinata idea, our little guy was too young so we did a scaled down version here.

PARTY CHECKLIST
Celebrate Express helps you keep track of your planning schedule.

19 June 2008

Cooking For Kids Videos

DECORATIVE CUTTING: Cutting carrots into flower shapes for your bento lunches.




BANANA PANCAKES: This one rocks. Really cute kids. Scenes of Hawaii. Stay to the end for a more grown up pancake topping.




GOMAE: I don't think this will make my kid eat spinach, but I want to try this recipe!




DUTCH BABIES: Love the time lapse of the the "Puff Daddy" rising in the oven. And a recipe I want to try.

15 June 2008

Deck Day

Hubs pressure-washed the deck last week and that inspired us to get a move on in the gardening department. Made some headway today.


Our strawberries-to-be.





Tomatoes-in-waiting.





Some apple-wannabes.





Some general prettiness.





A bit of a shade garden outside Spud's window.




Oh, and the crazy pineapple pool of course.

11 June 2008

Homemade Play Stove

CRAFTING OUT OF SCRAPS



My kid has a load of cute plastic food that he loves to play with. He also has an adorable Curious George tea set. When I'm in the toy store I have to resist buying a cute little range and pot set to add to his little kitchen scenario. We just don't need more STUFF. And besides, isn't he going to grow out of it in a year or something? So, instead, I decided to challenge myself to make a stove from scraps found around the house. Five minutes of searching and this is what I found:

· Shoebox
· Coroplast, scrap
· Paper, for wrapping shoebox
· Electrician's Tape, white
· Marker, metallic silver
· Cutter and metal ruler for coroplast

And then 10 minutes to throw it together. This is what it turned out like.





It's not gorgeous but it's an old lesson learned, it's all in the imagination. He loves it and I found it an interesting exercise. How different would it be if I'd found different materials? Perhaps I could have made a 'stainless' stove with tin foil ...

The other thing that I found interesting is that the imaginary play went from "playing kitchen" to "playing restaurant" very quickly. He seated us. He took our orders. He told us the specials. He showed us where the loos were. Do you think we eat out too much?



And after all that, I still want to buy a mini pot and pan set. I can't help it. We'll see.

10 June 2008

It's Time for Blackout Blinds

BED IN SUMMER, ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON



In Winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

09 June 2008

Roof Top Tent

DRAWING A LOT OF ATTENTION IN THE CAMPGROUND
This is us waiting in the ferry line up last July long weekend. It folds down to a nice neat package on top. I love.



This is Hubs surfing the tent. It brings out the silliness in all of us.



And little bub can't wait until bedtime. Okay, that never happens but he loves it nonetheless.



We tried the front configuration on our last trip.



Here is the side configuration.



And the side configuration with our 'foyer' attached. My fave so far.



I may not actually be the camping type. I'm still testing it out. But I have to say I love our tent. It's nice being up high away from the damp, chilly ground. I love the foamie inside. And I love how dark and dry it is inside. Other makers of these types of tents are here and here.

08 June 2008

I Escape

On this very drizzly, lazy Sunday morning my little guy is watching some Disney channel. I thought a little armchair travel was in order for myself. One of my favourite places to go is i-escape.




Their search engine brought up over 200 gorgeous, young-kid-friendly accommodations ... from around the world.

And then I honed in on Morocco...
Kasbah Ellouze: "A stylishly converted kasbah in the Atlas foothills an area of biblically beautiful scenery."



Riad Ariha: "Beautifully restored budget riad, a wonderful blend of ancient craftsmanship and modern Zen-chic, right in the medina."



Dar Roumana: "A prime position, friendly young owners, rooftop dinners and elegantly ornate rooms in Fes’ vast medina"



What I love about i-escape: They clearly have a lot of talented cool hunters in their camp. And I fully appreciate their balanced reviews; giving a realistic picture of what the place is like. I also like to read each entry's "kid policy" which speaks volumes on how kid-friendly the place is.

We probably won't be going any farther than Disneyland this year, if that. So, I'm just dreaming.

05 June 2008

Bentos Tiffin-style

I've been looking for some different containers for my kid's bento lunches. I've been especially interested in finding some non-plastic ideas. A buddy [hi x-man!] told me about a little Indian take out place [at Granville Island for you Vancouverites] that sells your lunch in a tiffin for a few extra bucks [$5 or $6].



Talk about cultural fusion ... bento-like lunches in a traditional Indian tiffin. Let the fun begin!



·Banana-strawberry skewers
·Peanut butter sandwhich
·Animal crackers
·Apple slices
·Raisins
·Red pepper, cherry tomatoes and cuke slices
·I ended up putting toys in the lower level because otherwise it would be too much food

Then we went to the Punjabi Market to see if they had any other tiffins ... maybe smaller? Maybe cheaper? We only found the exact same type and they actually cost $12-$13 each in the two stores we tried.



We did find these single metal tins that are nice.




·Strawberry yogurt
·Strawberry and kiwi
·Wholewheat crackers
·Cheese stars
·Carrots
·Cherry tomato
·Sausage patty [leftovers]

The one pretty big drawback to this container is that the lid is very snug and therefore difficult to get off. I have troubles. Spud would never be able to do it on his own. Well, not never ... you know what I mean.

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