spring break

Spring Break 2021 has a very different feeling around it. I am trying to make sure that my mindset is a positive one and that I approach it with the best attitude I can. There are certain things we cannot change and this year has been one giant lesson in restrictions.

Spring Break will officially mark 1 year of no out of province travel for our family and although we generally avoid travel during Spring Break I know for lots of families it is a time they do travel. Keeping in mind our current restrictions and assuming you are sticking local and staying safe during this years Spring Break I thought I would share some of my ideas for having fun at home or locally.

Lots of these ideas are things we have actually done last Spring Break or through out this past year. My kids are happiest outside or getting messy so lots of these involve one or both of those things. I know one other element that really impacts our days is the weather, sunshine makes us all happy even if it is cold or windy. However I tried to make a list of things that are varied or able to be adapted regardless of the weather. Check out the list and see if you and your family might enjoy some of these ideas too!

#1

MOVIE NIGHT

We love a good family movie night, but these are fairly typical for a weekend night at our house. Why not take it to the next level by setting up an outdoor movie night (weather depending) or building a fort indoors to watch from and order your snacks from your local cinema to give it that real movie theatre feel!!!

Doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun, we ordered an inexpensive projector last year and have had so much fun using it indoors and outdoors, at home or taking it with us to the cabin. This was just on a white sheet thrown over the trampoline but we have since bought a “screen” to elevate our Movie Nights!
Order your favourite Movie Theatre Snacks through Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes (depending on where you live and where your theatre is located). The kids love popcorn so this was a huge hit at our house. Definitely made our movie night feel special.

#2

Order a DIY Flower Bucket.

I loved this and originally ordered it for myself. To my surprise my kids wanted to join in on the fun and it was a great activity for us to do together. We ordered a DIY Bucket of mixed stems from OLFCo but I am sure if you called your local florist they could put something together for you. The kids and I placed them through out the house and they loved having a bouquet beside their beds. My sister and nieces also did this and they actually had fun making little mason jar bouquets that they dropped off for family and friends. I think it really is a great way to welcome spring, play with scissors, cutting stems, pouring water into vases and even getting to smell the flowers. My kids love all those things and putting it all together was the perfect activity.

Flowers are such a sign of Spring and my kids all love using scissors, trimming stems, “playing” with water and making beautiful flower arrangements. Bonus is you have a bunch of beautiful bouquets to either gift family and friends or spread out around your house.

#3

Gardening.

Gardening was fairly foreign to me last year but with Covid we just kinda took it on as something to do from home. It was so rewarding and quickly became something the whole family enjoyed.

I love how gardening can be whatever you want it to be. Whether that’s grow bags on a sundeck or patio, container gardening, trying to grow your favourite foods and starting a vegetable garden or growing a beautiful flower garden. You can really do anything that makes you happy and the worst that can happen is it doesn’t grow and you try something new.

Last year we built raised garden beds and that was a fun project the kids helped with, they actually painted all the boxes and helped fill with soil, as well as planting and watering. They just love digging and finding worms or adding water to make mud! They also loved harvesting their veggies, pulling out radishes, carrots, peas and tomatoes while we were outside and eating straight from the garden was a very rewarding experience.

We are looking forward to expanding our gardens, trying some new plants and seeing if we can help Nan with her cut flower garden this year. During Spring Break I think we will start some seeds as well as prep our beds and “play” in the garden.

Having fun during Spring Break doesn’t have to be expensive, or even over the top… I think my kids are often just as happy helping us do our errands as tasks as they are doing an extra special activity. So use the break to try and get some of your to do’s done too!
When you get the kids involved in from the beginning they are more invested and willing to help out later with watering and weeding and even trying new veggies if they took part in growing them.

#4

SPA Day

Set up a spa at home and offer each other manis, pedis or facials. My kids have just as much fun setting up the “spa” as they do giving and receiving treatments. Don’t forget to get creative with your set up and include snacks, flavoured water, some warm bags or cucumber slices for the eyes. My kids love going all out, well lets face it so do I! I was even able to find some hand cut outs at the dollar store and my daughter will make nail polish sample cards on them for her “clients”. If nails aren’t the right thing for your kids and your feeling adventurous you could also try your hand at some temporary hair colours. No better time to attempt a temporary colour then while your kids are out of school for a couple weeks! That way in the off chance it isn’t fantastic they really aren’t going anywhere! We were able to get some great products from our local salon, Atomic Hair Studio.

Grace loves to set things up and organize, its a good reminder to enjoy the journey not just a destination. She is all about special details and the preparation. I also try to take any opportunity I can to slow down activities and make them last as long as I can.
Our local salon had fantastic temporary colour products that was safe to use in the kids hair so we played salon and had fun! The kids loved this and the colour washed out fairly quickly which was perfect.

#5

Beach Day

We are huge beach lovers, so whenever we get cabin fever and have spent too much time at the house or whenever we have a super beautiful Spring Day we try to head to the beach. We are fortunate to have lots of local beaches close by and a few favourite spots that are less crowded that we can go to. Some of our most loved beach days include grabbing take out to bring down and enjoy a picnic or packing hot dog and s’more ingredients and roasting around a beach fire! The kids all have kayaks and last year I bought a SUP so if it’s a calm day we will go for a paddle. The kids are also just happy beach combing and building forts with driftwood, it doesn’t take much to be happy at the beach.

Rowen has gotten very strong with his paddling and has had a pretty good fall out in deeper water. It was great to see him recover so easily from falling out. I like knowing he didn’t panic and is okay if he tips.
Grace is pretty good with her kayak but we ended up catching a bit too much wind this day. It was great “practice” and she stayed nice and close to shore which turned out good because she got a little freaked out when the waves started to hit her. I try to watch the weather and pick the ideal times to go out but I also like the kids to have. a little experience with less than ideal or perfect weather
Little Surfer Grom Squad.
Weenie Roast.

#6

Fun with Eggs

If you live in the lower mainland you are in for a treat because there are many amazing local farms that offer all sorts of farm experience type market shopping. One of my kids current favourites is called The Chicks of 96th (check them out on instagram @thechicksof96), not only is this a super clean farm but it is such an experience. You can collect your own eggs, the packaging is beautiful, the pricing is very affordable (IMO too low for all that they offer) and they offer some play items like a big sand box and digger. There are lots of easy to read informative pictures inside the barn and it is all self lead so super easy to safely socially distance yourself if you go during a non-peak time. They are open 7 days a week, 8am to 5pm.

If a visit to the farm and collecting the eggs has your kids interested in chickens then I suggest levelling up the whole farm and chicken experience and look into hatching some chicks at home. We just finished hatching three chicks from eggucation.com and it was a super cool experience for the whole family. Chicks hatch in approx 21 days, but it could be less time depending on when they were produced and on what day they are dropped off to you. They come with instrutions, all the equipment you need and they are super easy to hatch and to care for. You can keep them for a bit after they are hatched or return them as soon as you want.

#7

Park Play

If you were to ask my kids what they want to do the majority of the time they would answer go play at a park. It is probably the most agreed upon activity and definitely something we try to do lots.

PLAY is what Spring Break was made for and I know we have our “usual” spots (including Memorial Park, Centennial Beach and before Covid the park at TFN). However I am a big fan of finding and trying new places. Lucky for us we are homeschoolers and able to venture to a park in the middle of a weekday when it is less busy. We rarely park play on a weekend because we don’t love the crowds. With that in mind you may want to plan non-peak times to visit some of these fun parks!

First, a few of our newest spots we have tried and really liked are Mundy Park (in Coquitlam), Penzer Park (in Langley) and Action BMX Park (in Surrey). These are just recent favourites and new ones we have tried but if you are looking for ideas I would suggest checking out @braveandfreeadventures on instagram. They are always outside exploring metro Vancouver and I have found lots of good spots to try from them.

Mundy Park not only has an amazing playground but lots of trails, dog friendly, frisbee course, outdoor pool and lots of ball field space too! We have only been twice and haven’t explored much beyond the local Starbucks and the playground but this is a fantastic spot.
Penzer Park is so diverse I love it. There are sports courts (BYOB, bring your own balls), huge bike park and then two different playground/ play structure areas. The kids loved all the climbing.
Action BMX Park is really cool. My kids surprised me with their fearlessness and I loved the way the park has a mini bike section behind the huge track.

I think the biggest things to remember is keep positive. When you feel the kids getting tired or you are getting cranky or any shift in energy just try to shake things up. Often for us it means getting outside but it might mean taking a team nap or giving yourself and your kids permission to have a rest day to recharge! If we have learnt anything this past year it is that we can control our own moods, and when we do things to make sure we are relaxed and fed, rested, maybe a bit challenged and just overly happy it can impact others and the feeling will spread. So take time to start Spring Break with the best attitude you can and try to enjoy this time with your kids.

I hope this list sparks some ideas for you and your family! I would love to try some new things with our kids this Spring Break so please share your own adventures and fun and inspire others.

Facing Fears.

When is the last time you did something that scared you?  For me it was today, I went on my first duck hunt. 

I have been wanting to try hunting for maybe the last 5 years.  Last year I took the first steps and I went and got my CORE. It was a check mark off my bucket list.  However, it was kind of like I got certified and stopped there.  It is easy to take a classroom course and pass a written test (sort of) but to actually go out hunting was a lot scarier. I felt overwhelmed by all the information I had just been given and intimidated by all the experienced hunters around me.  The course did inspire me to learn more about conservation, hunter’s ethics and the responsibility we have as hunters to protect the land and animals.  I think it gave me a new opinion of hunters, but it didn’t get me out in the fields or forests hunting. 

Hunting is not new to me.  My family and friends and even my husband all enjoy hunting.  We grew up eating game meat and I love the idea of truly eating local and knowing where your food comes from.


Lately I have been envious of hunters and going out, and figured if I didn’t just jump in, despite being scared and nervous, I would never learn. I am not sure if it is COVID and cabin fever or the appreciation for where we live and the opportunities all around us but whatever it was, I decided to get out and try.  I have been so badly wanting some hands-on experience so I can understand the stuff I learnt and apply it to the real thing.  

I am always telling my kids to try new things, and that it is okay when new things feel scary but they can also be fun and rewarding.  I finally took the leap and went out.  I am grateful for friends who not only encourage me but also teach me.  I have two good friends who hunt and both are always encouraging and reminding me that I can do it.  These girls have inspired me to step outside my comfort zone and enjoy the privilege of hunting.  We can all do hard things, hell we are adapting and living through a pandemic!

I think it is hard for me to do self-care things inside my house or with my family around. I love my kids and husband but trying to work out in a living room while my kids are screaming and running around, or meditating in my bedroom while I see stacks of laundry that need doing can be challenging. Forcing myself outside in rainy weather (perfect for duck hunting) and just escaping for an hour to basically watch the sky is a whole new self-care. I left my phone in the car and left the family at home and just took some time for me. I actually think when you are dressed for the rain it can be nice and feels good to have fresh air. Plus, sunset has always been one of my favourite times and it doesn’t matter sun or rain, clear skies or cloudy cover the sunset is magic.

This year has been challenging on so many levels so it is easy to stray away from adding any more challenge to your life but sometimes it is that discomfort and fear that can bring great inspiration and leave you feeling more alive.  I have really been trying to come up with a bucket list and things that I want to see, do and accomplish however most of these things would include travel or experiences.  Knowing it could be a long time before travel outside of Canada is possible can leave you feeling uninspired.  However, realizing how many opportunities we have that are unique to BC and Canada has had me trying to learn to appreciate them and take advantage.  

I am a lover of heat and summertime so exploring in the summer is easy. We loved having our boat this year and getting to explore the Gulf Islands a bit. It is funny now that I think about our first boating season and the many things we did where I was super nervous and scared. I survived these moments and wouldn’t trade our time on the boat for anything. Scary things don’t have to be bad, when we are willing to face fears we often come out with an incredible experience and new perspective. We also learn the things we are scared of might not be as bad as they seem. So despite fearing the long winter and cold weather I’m going to really try to embrace it this year.

Tomorrow I am going to find a recipe and cook up the duck meat, that I actually butchered myself. I think I impressed and surprised my husband when I started to cut up the duck. I was nervous and unsure if I could do it but it was so much easier than I thought and I think with practice and experience it will start to feel like second nature to me. I also have registered for my PAL at the end of this month and am going to continue working towards becoming a hunter. I am super nervous about this two-day course but know that I need this to be able to own and carry a gun, so I want to continue to challenge myself and know that with that will come rewards. I hope you don’t let fear stop you from trying new things! What things have you always wanted to do but fear is holding you back?

Distance Diaries

Life sure can surprise you when you are least expecting it. This Pandemic has been an eye opener in many areas of our lives, and so I want to share what we have learnt as a family about our lives.

Before I share this I think I need to preface it by saying it is not lost on me how serious this virus is and the long term effects it will have on families, businesses and the world. That being said I have made a more conscious effort to avoid the news as well as following along with the updates too closely for my own mental health and sanity. In reality our family has been so fortunate to not yet have major impacts because of these changes happening in the world. My husband still goes to work, my family is all safe and healthy and we have not had too many additional stresses or worries because of the pandemic. I think one thing I have learnt about myself is I cannot take on too much outside stress. For me to stay happy and healthy I need to focus on gratitude and what is happening within my world. I also have realized no matter who you are or where you are, the pandemic has impacted you, so while I say we have not been majorly impacted of course our lives have changed and with change comes some stress.

The first lesson that happened fairly quickly into all this social distancing was the realization of how well prepared and stocked our house was. Fraser might look at it as proof that I have a shopping problem but I like to think I was just prepared. It really was “fun” to stay home for the first couple weeks. We had “sleepovers”, movie nights, tons of crafts, game nights and lots of creative ways of keeping busy. I immediately realized that previous to pandemic I would often find the things that I didn’t like about our house before realizing how fortunate we were. We have an amazing backyard, lots of outside space, my husband has a big shop for him to tinker in, we have lots of technology available to us and I have a very stocked craft cupboard. A shift in my attitude is that I am now more appreciative of the house we have. I think what I realized is that our home is our safe place, it is not a punishment to stay home but a privilege.

That quickly lead to my second realization, without the stress of social interactions I was experiencing way less anxiety… perhaps this means I am an introvert. I think I discovered that a lot of my anxiety comes from all the social stuff, and that staying home is where I am most comfortable. It doesn’t mean I think it is healthy to stay at home forever, but I think post pandemic I will make more of an effort to spend more time at home and be okay with that. Too often I said yes to too much because I thought it was the right thing for everyone else but now I know that the kids and family are okay if we stay home!

Photo by Shelby Rose Photography #distancediaries

I also discovered that we love to travel. Quickly into our isolation we decided to cancel our Hawaii trip scheduled for April. This was really upsetting for many reasons (including it was our first trip without kids, cancelling it meant it was the first time in 4 years we would not get to Hawaii our happy place and we were missing a friends wedding). Part of me was so grateful that we had made the decision before everything got crazy. I was envisioning being stuck in a different country away from our kids or worse getting sick and racking up a giant medical bill. So, although we are sad about the missing the trip I am grateful we have been able to travel before pandemic and that we will hopefully be able to travel after again. I realize now, 6 weeks into isolating, that I do love my home and staying in. However I also love getting to travel and plan trips with our family. We are still trying to be hopeful we will get to do our annual end of summer camping trip with some friends, Tofino in September and surprise the kids at Christmas with the New Year in Maui… but my gut is saying these are more like dreams! So with this news it has us all a little bummed. The kids have talked a lot about Hawaii and Disneyland (two of their favourite places) and it has got me realizing how fortunate we are to have taken them on so many amazing vacations, near and far. I also realize that these vacations are things they cherish so once it is safe we will continue to prioritize our family vacations. There are times I have felt so guilty for this being something I am sad about when I know there are others that have maybe never been on a family vacation or save many years to be able to do one big vacation. I also find myself thinking how privileged I am to be worried about when my next vacation will be when there are families dealing with way bigger issues like worrying about housing, food, money, childcare or their businesses and jobs. With this in mind I am trying to see this as an opportunity for gratitude. I think I always appreciated our vacations but I defiantly took them for granted, the next time we get to go away I will make sure to appreciate it!

A really cool realization has been the lack of screen time we have seen since isolation has started. I keep hearing and seeing that people are resorting to screens to entertain their kids but we have found kinda the opposite in our house. We are screen people and I am a little embarrassed to say we have an iPad for each child and we are fairly relaxed about “rules”. However since the pandemic and really the start of “back to school at home” we haven’t needed to let the kids use the iPads or screens. We do school in the morning and it is using screens for zoom calls, class meets and to watch videos that correspond with their lessons. After that the day is spent with play. With all the sunshine we have had the kids have been busy outside gardening, playing in the sandbox, jumping on the tramp, getting creative with sidewalk chalk, riding their scooters, water fights and the list goes on. I have learnt that our kids can play independently, are good at pretend play and have lots of toys considering my desire to purge regularly! Overall we have some very happy kids and I am proud of the way they are handling these “new norms”. Even my own screen usage is down. I will comment we have days where we resort to giving screens or turning on the tv but I just feel like we all have days we need to just veg out.

One huge realization I have is the support system and people we have in our life. I had always known we were fortunate to have family close by and that our friends are the best of the best. I had a good feeling about the team we have built to support us with Rowen and of course we have loved the school we chose to send the kids too. Pandemic has pushed every one of these people and supports to new levels, and I can honestly say they have all gone above and beyond. The amount of creative ways these people have adapted and continued to support us and our kids is unbelievable. Our family has continuously surprised us with Birthday parades, Easter goody crafts and activities, worksheets and new desk deliveries, homemade goodies, cards and of course FaceTimes or porch distancing visits. Our teachers and support staff have dropped off indoor shoes, muddy buddies, schoolwork packages and more. They are continuing to teach and support with regular correspondence and tons of communication. They have offered loaning out equipment if we do not have enough or the right stuff and really come up with some creative ways to continue therapy from home. I’m not sure we will ever be able to thank all these people are the way they have impacted the experience our whole family is having through this pandemic. It has meant that in a time that is scary and unsure we have some light and laughter. We have some consistency with our kids and we are all adapting. It has made our jobs as parents easier but it has also shown our kids that these people aren’t leaving us, they are here despite being unable to physically be here.

Photo by Shelby Rose Photography #distancediaries

I think when I really sit down and look at these last 6 weeks and how surreal it has all been I feel nothing but gratitude. As of today we are all still happy and healthy. That is all I could wish for in times like that. I know that our family will look forward to a post pandemic life but it will not be the one we had before. Our life is forever changed and I think that is okay. My sister just taught me about “we people and me people” and I am proud to see the way our friends and family are showing up as “we people”. It has got me thinking about how we teach our kids to help others and what we are doing to help others. I am finding some small and some bigger ways we can help out our community… and it has left me feeling a little bit better in a time when we can so easily be brought down. I think if we can do anything during these strange and sad times it is find ways to spread joy and judge less!