Summer is always a hectic time for our family because we have back-to-back birthday parties for Molly and Zoe.
Coming up with an affordable and unique venue can be a big challenge, but not if you do a little digging…you never know, you might strike gold.
For Zoe’s 5th birthday in June, we wanted to do something a little different this year that wouldn’t require any entertaining on our part.
After doing some research online for birthday party options here in the Fraser Valley, we decided to book the Gold Fever Party at Fort Langley’s National Historic Site.
Our little red head and 10 of her closest friends were given the ultimate gold prospector experience within the palisade walls of the Fort.
The party started at 10:30 a.m. on a beautiful Sunday morning – our group had the entire site to ourselves that first hour.
After being led to our private party room, which we were given free range to decorate, our own personal historic interpreter arrived to greet the group of wee gold prospectors.
We put up lots of gold balloons, yellow streamers and cupcakes with gold coins and sprinkles to go with the theme. It was definitely a refreshing change from our typical princess parties of the past.
The first stop on the tour was the ‘Big House’ to sign a gold license using ink and a calligraphy pen.
Fortunately, there was also the option to use crayon to sign the document.
En route to the gold panning station, Zoe and her guests had the opportunity to visit and feed the animals, including goats, rabbits and chickens.
After washing their hands, the girls passed through the garden and were given permission to pick fresh berries straight from the vine.
There were plenty of giggles at the gold panning station, and plenty of “gold” nuggets to boot!
“Mommy, I’m rich!” screamed Zoe, showing us her bounty.
No trip to the fort, even a birthday party, would be complete without a visit to the blacksmith workshop.
The birthday girl was given her own piece of metal to take home after the demonstration.
After all that panning and exploring, our group was famished. We headed back to the party room for lunch, cake and presents. Speaking of lunch, party hosts are given free range to use the gas BBQ on site.
Did you know that if there isn’t a fire ban, they’ll let you have a camp fire? Good thing the group left room for roasted marshmellows.
We couldn’t be happier with Zoe’s Gold Fever birthday party at the Fort Langley National Historic Site. Both the kiddies and parents had a real blast to the past. If you’re planning a party for your son or daughter, I highly recommend booking a party at the fort. In addition to the Gold Fever party, there is also both a High Tea and a Royal Engineers theme to choose from.
What: Gold Fever Party at the Fort Langley National Historic Site
- Includes all-day site admission.
- One-hour party includes the following guided activities with Parks Canada interpreter:
- Try on old-fashioned dress up clothes.
- Watch a blacksmithing demonstration.
- Sign a gold license and pan for gold.
- Optional bonfire (roasting sticks provided; bring your own food)
- Download invitations (PDF, 575 KB)
- Weekends: 10:30 am or 1:30 pm
- $14.70 (including GST) per child, for a maximum of 15 children. Adult chaperones complimentary.
For more information, visit www.pc.gc.ca
When it comes to my summer beauty routine, I like to keep it as simple as possible – especially with my girls now being out of school.
Usually, just a few swipes of mascara, blush and concealer will suffice. Hair gets piled into that messy mom top-knot and into a simple sundress or yoga pants I go.
I’m always looking for beauty shortcuts, which is why I’m a huge fan of eyelash extensions.
The professional certified lash extension stylist is a former dental assistant who takes great pride in creating beautiful lashes for her clients. I’m not gonna lie, I felt smokin’ hot as I left her studio – a one-time beauty experiment has me hooked on having pretty peepers.
In addition to having eyelash extensions for my trip to Mexico last winter, I’ve been wearing them since the end of June, which has included a camping trip, visit to the waterslides, and just lounging around my house in my yoga pants with the kiddies.
If you’re considering having them done, but need a little convincing, here are 5 reasons why eyelash extensions will change your summer.
1- Shave Hours off Your Beauty Routine
The best part of waking up (aside from hot coffee in your cup) is not having to put on a lick of makeup. The extensions shaved a good 10-15 minutes off my morning routine, and on date night, Jason couldn’t believe how fast I was ready to go. I usually fuss with those false lash strips, but they’ve been in temporary retirement this summer.
The only strange part is having to blow-dry my lashes with a hair dryer after showering. You’re given a cute little eyelash brush to pack in your purse to make sure they’re always perfect too. Trust me, it doesn’t take long until it feels totally normal to brush and dry them.
VM tip: If you want your new lashes to last as long as possible, brush them several times a day. My last set lasted 3 whole weeks (even when spending a week camping and swimming), which was amazing.
2- No More Melting
With eyelash extensions, there’s no reason to sweat the sweltering heat. I went to an outdoor wedding on a hot day and didn’t have to worry about my mascara melting off my orbs or the corner of my strip lashes lifting.
3. Embrace Your Inner Mermaid
Don’t fear getting your face wet this summer – I promise you aren’t going to end up looking like a raccoon when you resurface from the water at the pool or lake this summer. And who cares if the kiddies splash you in the face, you’re still gonna look fab thanks to your new eyelash extensions.
4. Let Her Cry – If the Tears Fall Down Like Rain
It’s been over three weeks since I had my last appointment, and I’m still getting tons of compliments on my lashes. So far, they’ve survived a stormy camping trip; swimming in the lake, visit to the waterslides, mommy meltdown and both a tearful funeral and wedding.
5. Because You Deserve It!
Aside from colouring my hair, I’m not one to splurge on beauty products or treatments. This summer, I’ve challenged myself to a sober summer – rather than spend $30 a week on wine, that goes into my summer lash fund. I have always been envious of women with long lashes, but the ones I’ve been born with are pretty plain Jane. Some gals splurge on nails, I’d rather pain my own toes and go for pretty peepers.
Whether you’re going away on holidays, getting married or just want to rock some pretty peepers at the playground, lash extensions are definitely the way to go. Just make sure to do your research and go with a certified stylist who is well versed in proper sterilization procedures.
If you’re looking for someone locally, I definitely recommend Jenn Cools over at Live Love Lash. Her home studio is located just off 70th Ave and 200 St in Langley. To schedule an appointment, contact Cools at 778-808-1106. For more information, visit the Live Love Lash fan page on Facebook.
Enter to win a FREE FULL SET of Eyelash Extensions at Live Love Lash, valued at $110. You must be 18+ to enter. Contest closes at midnight Aug. 10/16. Good luck.
Disclaimer: While I received a complimentary set of lash extensions, all opinions are my own.
Have you had a chance to explore the Kids Gallery at the Surrey Museum yet?
Molly and I decided to swing by this summer to discover firsthand what this local Fraser Valley gem is all about.
Located in the heart of downtown Cloverdale, in a separate wing at the Surrey Museum, there is plenty to do, see and learn for toddlers and children of all ages.
Inside this community hub that opened last October, awaits a variety of colourful interactive exhibits – all kid-focused on sustainability with rotating themes.
During our visit, the focus was all about Surrey’s water supply.
Molly enjoyed exploring Surrey’s rivers, finding out where our water comes from and learning how it arrives at homes every day with the help of illustrated characters Alisha, Blaze and Stella the Jay.
Fun fact: Did you know Surrey uses almost 200 million litres of drinking water each day? That’s a lot of water!
“This is so much fun,” she yelled from the top of the tree fort, while I chatted below with Surrey Museum Curator Greg Yellenik.
Yellenik, also the mastermind behind the impressive Body Works exhibits at Science World in Vancouver, explained that the majority of materials used at the Surrey Kids Gallery are recycled and sourced locally.
While the overall theme of sustainability may seem heavy for most youngsters to grasp, the gallery’s seamless blend of fun and education gets the message across to all ages, he says.
“Most of us have heard about sustainability, but it’s one of those words that can be tough to explain. I like the idea that people come here and learn more about it – even if it’s just in the back of their minds so that it affects their decisions in the future like holding onto that chocolate bar wrapper and placing it in their pocket, rather than tossing it in the trash so that it can be recycled later on.”
Currently, the popular tree fort (Molly’s favourite), farmhouse and many interactives are all enhanced by cool water themed activities, such as:
~ A feature wall covered in clear piping where kids can launch silk scarves through the maze of pipes.
~ A fun wheel to find out how much water is used for each of the many activities in our daily lives.
~ A fully interactive three-dimensional cartoon map showing where water comes from, how we treat it, what we do with it and where it goes.
~ A pinball game depicting the water cycle.
If you’re looking for something to do during summer vacation that’s indoors and won’t break the bank, I highly recommend heading to Cloverdale to explore the Kids Gallery at the Surrey Museum.
VM Tip: Make sure to set aside some time to explore all the great thrift shops and eclectic stores that are in close proximity – you could easily spend the whole afternoon in downtown Cloverdale.
What: Kids Gallery at the Surrey Museum
Where: 17710-56A Avenue, Surrey
Cost: FREE – Admission sponsored by Friends of Surrey Museum. Donations gladly accepted.
Hours of Operation:
Tue- Friday—9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sat- 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Sun – 12-5 p.m.
Let’s face it, there are only so many rain-free days for us Valleyites in the calendar year – I want to make the most of every beautiful day, even if it means just relaxing with a good book under a shady tree.
If I don’t plan some great local adventures now, I’m bound to fall in the rut of doing the same ol’ thing. Enter the summer bucket list.
Want to make one of your own, but need some ideas to get started? Don’t fret, I have your back.
Here are 35 things to put on your 2016 Fraser Valley Summer Bucket List.
1 – Alfresco Painting Party – Host a painting party in your backyard with Zealous Art & Painting PARties, complete with close friends, white twinkling patio lights, soft music and of course, lots of nibblies.
2 – Arts Alive – Expose my girls to some amazing local artistic talent by attending the 23rd Annual Arts Alive Festival in Downtown Langley on August 20th. Note: There will be a children’s fun area.
3 – Brunch in the Country – Go for a romantic brunch to Domain De Chaberton’s Bacchus Bistro. The award winning French bistro uses fresh local ingredients and overlooks the 50-acre vineyard. Afterwards, sample the award-winning wine inside the tasting room that is also onsite.
4 – Go Fish! – Visit the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery Centre in Abbotsford for a self-guided tour of their live fish aquaria, as well as a guided program. Don’t forget to sign up for their Learn to Fish program and experience the joys of freshwater fishing at the on-site ponds!
5 – Opening Soon – If you’re feeling rather parched from the summer heat, the Fraser Valley Cider Company (opening in Langley this summer) will have a large variety of delicious ciders for you to tickle your taste buds. Note: This is the regions very first craft cider producer, which makes this spot an excellent new summer bucket list addition.
6 -Valley Sweet Spot – Go for a scenic country drive and visit Campbell’s Gold in Abbotsford. In addition to finding lots of ooey-gooey golden honey, this Valley gem is the only place around that produces the ancient elixir – mead. Tasting room is open Tues to Sunday.
8 – Picnic in the Park. Grab your loved ones and a picnic basket filled with local goodies and roll out a blanket under a shady tree at Campbell Valley Park. Don’t forget to pack some birdseed to feed those little dickey birds on the trial. They will literally fly onto the palm of your hand.
9 – Shop til you Drop. Browse through the eclectic array of little shops in Fort Langley and stop for Lunch at Beatnik’s Bistro — they’ve got an amazing patio that fills up quick!
10 – Make a splash. Pack the sunscreen and head on over to the Cultus Lake Water Park for lots of slippery fun in the sun. Worried your wee-ones are too little? There’s a fantastic pirate-themed splash park for the kiddies to cool off in.
11 – Cool your Jets. Beat the heat at your local spray park. Make sure to pack an umbrella or shade tent to steer clear of heat stroke.
12 – See the Stars. Put your jam jams on and enjoy family movie night under the stars at the Twilight Drive-in Theatre in Aldergrove.
13 – Blast to the past. Go back in time (about 100 years) with a trip to the Historic Stewart Farm. Learn how our ancestors once lived and try some made-from scratch butter on site.
14 – Take a Little Dip. It’s about that time of year when all the outdoor swimming pools open for the season. Our personal favourite is the Port Kell’s pool because of the location and the cost- it’s free!
15 – Sleep in the Fort. Connect to your cultural heritage and experience life inside the fort as only the Hudson’s Bay Company employees could by spending a night or two in an oTENTik tent. This is glamping at it’s finest!
16 – Farm-Fresh Fun – Take a self-guided tour with the Circle Farm Tour here in the Fraser Valley. Circle Farm Tour is basically a road map that directs you to a variety of specialty farm-gate vendors; open-air markets, charming eateries, heritage sites, fairs, and other special events. There’s a brochure and map for each participating community.
17 – Walk on the Wild Side – Check out the lions, tigers and bears, oh my, at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
18 – Family Face Off – Challenge your clan to a game of outdoor miniature golf at Castle Fun Park.Afterwards, don’t forget to ride the go-carts!
19 – Fun at the Fair – Cultus Lake Adventure Park is BC’s newest and most incredible Theme Park. Visitors to the park are immersed in a world of vibrant colors and interesting characters with state-of-the-art rides and attractions.
20 – Camp Sunnyside – It’s an annual family tradition, and it’s one I’m quite looking forward to this summer. We always book a few sites at Camp Sunnyside, which is a step above ‘real camping’ and a step below ‘glamping.’ There are heated washrooms on site (with hot showers), a little convenience store, playground and you’re close to the water.
21 – Hop to It – I have yet to check out the Dead Frog Brewery in Aldergrove… better hop to it. This award winning Canadian Craft Brewery has a tasting room so you can sample before you shop the summer season’s brews!
22 – Get Your Fresh Lemonade – Some of the moms in our townhome complex have been discussing the idea of helping our little ones set up a lemonade stand and donate the funds to a local charity here in ‘the Valley.’ My girls would love this!
23 – Blanket, Book & a Cuddle – As you can see by all our listlicles and bucket lists, we’re a pretty busy family. It gets tiring do a lot, all the time, so a day of doing nothing but sprawling out on a big blanket, under a shady tree with a book sounds Heavenly. A great spot to do this is Derby Reach.
24 – This is Bear Country! – Offering both guided tours and ATV rentals, Bear Country Tours is an ATV tour company based in ‘the Valley.’ All half-day and longer tours include a deluxe BBQ lunch prepared at a select location on the tour.
25 – Romantic Weekend – Last August, Jason and I stayed for two glorious days at Rowena’s Inn on the River, located just outside of Harrison Hot Springs. This grand English-style manor makes you feel like you’re in a fairy tale, complete with majestic views of the water, lush gardens and gorgeous accommodations. Hopefully we return for our anniversary in August.. hint, hint Jason 😉
26 – On a Bicycle Built for 2 (or more) – One of the most fun ways to experience Harrison Hot Springs on land is by renting a quadricycle. Jason and I rented one last summer and were in hysterics the entire time we pedaled around town. I think we should return this year and bring our girls – they’ll love it!
27 – Bargain Hunting – Check out the classifieds or Craigslist to see where the best garage sales are happening in your hood. Weekends in the summer are garage sale prime time. Just head there early to get the best deals. Remember to bring cash and comfortable shoes.
28 – I’m on a Boat – Pack your flippy-floppies and head for open water at Harrison Lake in a canoe or hyak. We’ve rented a hyak from Killer’s Kove Boat rentals in the past and give it to paddles up.
29 – Adrenaline-Pumping Fun – Make a splash this summer with a river rafting adventure. Hyak River Rafting in Chilliwack takes you paddling at the fast-paced Chilliwack River May through July.
30 – All Aboard! – Take the kiddies for a miniature train ride at Bear Creek Park. Afterwards, try your hand at a round of mini golf. Molly and Zoe love to ride their scooters through the beautiful trails.
31 – Secret Island – Pack our bikes and head to beautiful Barnston Island. This rare gem, located in the Fraser River between Surrey and Pitt Meadows, is small enough to ride your bike around. Note: The island has no direct road access – a shorty 5-minute ferry route from Surrey on 104 Avenue across Parson’s Channel is free.
32 – Yee-Ha! – Check out the Abbotsford Agrifair, which comes to town July 29-31.
33 – Back to the Beach – It goes without saying that one’s summer isn’t complete without several trips to the beach. We’re so lucky to live pretty close to both White Rock and Crescent Beach – both of which have their own unique charm. This year I’m going to ditch the diet and say YES to the fish & chips.
34– Choo Choo! – It wasn’t until very recently that I realized there is a heritage train in Cloverdale. This summer, I want to take the girls on a journey back in time in Cloverdale. We’ll ride the rails and experience those times that helped shape our region into what it is today. Train runs Sat & Sundays only. Read more HERE.
35 – Where Art Thou Merlot? – This past Easter while visiting Township 7 Winery in South Langley, we decided that we are going to attend Bard in the Valley for a summer date night. This year, they’re performing a humourous play about married life, the Taming of the Shrew. Pack a picnic, come a bit early and enjoy Township 7 wines with your alfresco production.
And there you have it, 35 fun-tastick things add to your summer bucket list for 2016. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @TheValleyMom so you can stay in the loop of all bucket list goals we attempt to accomplish. We’d love to see what you’re up to as well, so make sure to use the hashtag #VMSummerBucketlist.
To help raise awareness about animal conservation initiatives, the Greater Vancouver Zoo is asking kids, kids at heart or anyone who loves building to create a LEGO sculptureon the theme of animal conservation.. The sculptures will be on display for everyone to enjoy and will be judged by a panel for exciting prizes!
“This event will help by providing more awareness for the programs we are involved with, but ultimately we hope to encourage appreciation of the environment and motivate our guests to get more involved with any form of conservation efforts,” says Marketing and Communication Manager, Jody Henderson.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo is involved in local conservation initiatives along with field conservation work.
“Locally we are involved with three native endangered species breeding programs (Oregon Spotted Frog, Western Painted Turtles and Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterflies) where we release the captive breed species back into protected wild locations,” says Henderson.
As for the field work, the Zoo is involved with the Iranian Cheetah Project, Guatemalan YellowNaped Amazon Parrot and Indian Hornbill Nest Adoption Program. This is all supported by generous contributions from the public.
Creating for Conservation will take place on Saturday July 30th from 8:30am 7pm at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Proceeds from the event will go to conservation efforts supported by the Zoo. Submit your LEGO animal conservation sculpture to win some great prizes and take in the sights and sounds of the zoo. To register, please click here.
For more information about the Zoo, visit www.gvzoo.com
What: Creating for Conservation
When: Saturday July 30th from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Greater Vancouver Zoo, Aldergrove
Join astronomers with telescopes as they search the night sky for the Perseids meteor shower. Enjoy lantern-lit trails, blacklight skits, games, crafts, storytelling and other entertainment. Camp overnight to extend your star gazing experience.
Aldergrove Elks Lodge #66 concession available for hot drinks, food and Sunday morning breakfast, CASH ONLY. Meet at Aldergrove Bowl entrance at 501 Lefeuvre Rd, Abbotsford.
Event runs RAIN or SHINE.
Event Presented with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Event Camping Guidelines
Camping set up is 5 to 8pm
No vehicles permitted in tenting area – RVs in designated area only.
Staff or security will be on duty all night.
Gate will be closed after 11 pm. Security will only open the gate for emergency or special circumstances.
NO smoking, campfires, gas camp stoves, briquettes or generators due to high fire danger.
The Elk Association will sell food and beverages Saturday evening and breakfast on Sunday morning as part of their charity fundraiser.
Washrooms and drinking water will remain overnight at the event site for campers.
Do not leave barking dogs unattended at camp.
After midnight, please be quiet in camping area. To minimize noise for campers after midnight – only star gazing is permitted at the astronomy field south of the parking lot.
Alcohol and drugs are prohibited
Camps must be packed up by 11 am, Sunday, August 9th
What: Meteor Shower Watch
Where: ALDERGROVE REGIONAL PARK Abbotsford/Township of Langley Bowl Area: 501 Lefeuvre Road, Abbotsford
When: Saturday, August 13, 2016 8 – 11 pm
Cost: All ages. Drop-in, $2 per person
Info: Call 604-432-6359 or email email@example.com
Psst… Don’t forget to snap some photos for the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Photo Contest. For details on how to enter some fabulous prizes, check out our post HERE.
We’re so excited you decided to pop by and learn all about us.
This is a ‘blogazine’ (half online magazine/ half blog) that highlights all the best things, places and people that the Fraser Valley has to offer. From amazing boutiques, picturesque parks and charming cafes to award-winning restaurants and mom n’ pop diners, our Valley family is here to be your official tour guide.