Back to School Essentials & Contest

August 19th, 2010 @ 5:18pm (PT) by Jennifer Miles

The following was contributed by Jennifer Miles who will be seeing four children off to school this fall.

It’s mid-August and the last thing on most kids’ minds is that oft dreaded 6 letter word —school. While most kids aren’t keen to leave the carefree days of playgrounds, water parks and beaches behind them, there is always a certain excitement when it comes to getting ready to go ”back”. In our household the kids are always excited to catch up with friends they may not have seen in 2 months, meet their new teachers and of course to go shopping for new gear.

While the flyers may have started piling up in July, most of us will likely only be thinking about supplies in the week or two leading up to Labour day. Seeing as we are a family of 7 we tend to stick to a pretty tight budget and like to teach our kids that not everything need be brand new each year. A lesson my Dad tried so hard to teach us when he insisted that last year’s protractor would work just as good the following year and that the unused paint set need not be replaced.

That being said I’ve enlisted the help of our four elementary school aged children to compile a list of some must-have items for kids this year.

1. A sturdy backpack

Kids are lugging around more and more gear these days and all too often their backs are overloaded and way too heavy for their small frames. The British Columbia Chiropractic Association offers tips for parents and kids to “Pack it light. Wear it right.” to avoid possible health risks.

Look for a pack made of light weight material with straps at least 2 inches thick and a waist strap. Keep in mind that living in BC, your kids are likely to get wet on their way to and from school quiet often so water resistance is also important. Of course style is always a factor and with everything from Dora the Explorer to Roots to Burton available, no matter the age, your kids will find something that suits their own taste.

2. Stainless Steal Water Bottle

As our Dentist likes to remind me each time we see him, kids should really not be loading up on sugary fruit juices throughout the day. At our kids’ school teachers encourage kids to bring re-usable water bottles that they allow them to keep on their desks throughout the day.

3. Good Quality Shoes

When it comes to kids shoes the old adage ”buy cheap, buy twice” is all too true. We learned our lesson quickly when we were having to replace inexpensive shoes nearly every month. With 3 active boys tearing up the playground every lunch hour and recess, we have found that the best value is to purchase a better quality shoe at a higher price as they easily last 6 times longer. Make sure shoes offer good arch support, they have non-marking soles for gym floors and they are properly fitted.

4. Supplies

At the end of each year schools in our area send home a list of required supplies for the following year. Duo-tangs, packs of paper, pens, paint sets and more. The lists can be daunting for parents who can’t afford the basics so the Salvation Army is looking to help out over 2,000 kids in need this school year.

There are 2 ways you can help:

  1. Drop off new school supplies and backpacks at Starbucks locations in Vancouver proper, and at Fitness Town locations throughout the lower mainland.
  1. Make a financial donation at participating Staples locations in Greater Vancouver.

5. Clothing

Even though local shops have been loading their racks with long sleeved shirts and corduroy pants for the past month, summer is long from over. September is typically warm and dry in Metro Vancouver so don’t stress about spending a ton of money on ”fall fashions” before school starts. The kids are normally still wearing shorts and Ts for the first few weeks of school so your budget can take a break before shopping for warmer clothing. When buying clothing for school here a few tips: Think age-appropriate (your 6 year old doesn’t need to look like Miley), think comfort (sitting on the floor at music class or playing dodge ball in the gym), think weather (fall in Metro Vancouver means lite-weight, water proof jackets, hoodies, jeans and of course rubber boots).

To give parents a boost for back to school Miss604.com has a prize pack to give away courtesy of London Drugs.

Back to School Prize Pack

This includes a $100 gift card, a Roots backpack, Roots thermal cloth lunch bag, thermos, pencil crayons, lined paper, folder, pencil case, pens, and a laptop case. The winner can keep the prize, spilt it up, or even give it to a friend or family in need.

Here are a few ways to enter to win this prize pack:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment on this post to confirm you’ve shared on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • RT to enter to win a back to school prize pack from @LondonDrugs & @Miss604 http://ow.ly/2saKm

    One will will be drawn from all entries August 26th at 9:00am.

    Update The prize pack winner is Bonnie Y. — congratulations!

    A Miss604.com guest post by Jennifer Miles

    Jennifer Miles

    Guest contributor Jennifer Miles is a mother who loves being active with her family of seven. From camping, baseball, swimming, and day trips, she's a power-mom with a passion for BC living.

    Raise Your Hand for the Record

    August 19th, 2010 @ 1:20pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    One of the most memorable moments during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics was walking down a pedestrian-only Robson or Granville at any hour and being able to high-five almost everyone you passed. Now, Paralympic silver medallist Josh Dueck is leading the Raise Your Hand for the Record campaign with WorkSafeBC to see if he can set the world record for most high-fives in a 24-hour period.

    Day 17 of Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games: Street and Bridge Party After Team Canada Wins Hockey Gold
    Photo credit: Susan Gittins on Flickr

    The goal is to increase young workers’ awareness and understanding of their safety rights and how to stay safe at work. Dueck said in the Raise Your Hand press release that, “It’s about making workplaces safer for everyone, but especially young workers. Life is full of choices. So, raise your hand and know your rights.” Young workers experience the greatest number of time-loss claims due to being struck by objects, overexertion, and falls.

    The high-five marathon will begin August 27th at Empire Field during the BC Lions game, then it will move on to the Kaboom Plaza, then the PNE grounds. The event will wrap-up August 28th at the PNE’s Celebration Plaza.

    Should the marathon be a success, hopefully more will be aware of WorkSafeBC’s campaign and Dueck (along with thousands of high-fiving Vancouverites) will earn a spot in the Guinness World Record book.

    How you can help:

  • Come down to Empire Field August 27th and August 28th to show your support and get your hand slapped for the record
  • Spread the message and follow @ryhmovement on Twitter or share on Facebook
  • Raise Your Hand will have a presence throughout the PNE as well as an info station at the Live at Squamish music festival.

    Update Josh did it! 9,307 high-fives. He is now a world record-holder thanks to everyone that participated.

    Dine Around Richmond: Food Street

    August 19th, 2010 @ 12:22pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Last night I was hosted by Tourism Richmond for a walking and tasting tour along with over a dozen food and travel writers.

    Richmond Foodie Tour

    The theme of the evening was Demystifying “Food Street” which is a nickname given to Alexandra Road, home to over 200 restaurants within 3 city blocks. We were split into two groups and I followed Michelle Ng, who runs the Vancouver Foodie Tour. She was brought in by Tourism Richmond as a host and independent connoisseur of all things dining in Richmond. Having lived in the city for 25 years Michelle recently got out of her gig in the technology industry and followed her heart – to hosting delicious (and affordable) food tours.

    Michelle Ng, Richmond Foodie Tour

    Our first stop was Well Tea Taiwanese Restaurant where they had bubble tea and slushes waiting for the entire group. I admit, I’ve never had bubble tea before and it was a delightfully refreshing way to start the tour (although it was rather filling and this was just the first stop). Well Tea is very spacious inside and they serve up over 40 varieties of tea as well as casual Taiwanese snacks.

    Well Tea, Richmond Foodie Tour

    We had four official stops on the 4 hour tour but as we walked and Michelle talked, the group learned about everything from ‘how to know if a dumpling is properly cooked’ to the difference between Hong Kong style Western Cafes and Izakayas. Michelle not only spoke as though she was educated about Asian food, but as someone who was passionate about her community, often tossing in personal tidbits of information (ie. where to get the best foot massage and who to ask for).

    Richmond Foodie Tour

    Our unofficial second stop was at Kam Do Bakery which is the place to go for Loh Po Beng (winter melon pastry). You can read a bit more about Loh Po Beng here. On to our “official” second stop at Cattle Cafe.

    Cattle Cafe, Richmond Foodie Tour

    Here we enjoyed Malay Laksa Soup, Baked Pork Chop with Tomatoe Sauce on Rice, Baked Seafood with Creams Sauce on Rice, Unagi (BBQ eel) Sandwich with Cucumber (and white bread with the crusts cut off), and Bubble Waffle. Favourite at this stop: The soup (though very spicy) and sandwich.

    Cattle Cafe, Richmond Foodie Tour Cattle Cafe, Richmond Foodie Tour

    Cattle Cafe, Richmond Foodie Tour Cattle Cafe, Richmond Foodie Tour

    The next stop was Nan Chuu Japanese Izakaya, part of the Gyoza King family. With its extensive beverage list and vast tapas menu I think it’s here that I started getting really full (even with another stop left on the tour). What we found helpful was that they listed their Top 5 menu items from the past week on their menu so if you walked in and didn’t know what to order, that would be a great place to start.

    Nan Chuu Izakaya, Richmond Foodie Tour

    Vegetarians beware our samplings at Nan Chuu were Ebi Mayo, Udon with Mushroom and Bacon, Deep Fried Chicken Skins (two ways), Chicken Hearts (two ways), Chicken Gizzard (two ways), Salmon Wraps, and Thinly-sliced Beef Tongue Stew. Favourite at this stop: The salmon and the beef stew.

    Nan Chuu Izakaya, Richmond Foodie Tour Nan Chuu Izakaya, Richmond Foodie Tour

    We polished off the evening was Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant. It looks like a schnitzel house on the outside which stands to reason as the building used to be home to pub. The owners renovated and created a top-notch Korean dining experience which is rather evident when you arrive and see an endorsement from James Barber on the front door.

    Jang Mo Jib, Richmond Foodie Tour

    The dining room is huge, with high ceilings and the Food Network playing from flat screen TV’s. I think we had the most food here which included: Soon Dae Jub See (blood sausage), Jok Bahl (BBQ pork feet), Jab Che (sweet potato noodle), Hae Mool Pah Jun (seafood pancake), Tohng Gahl Bee (beef short ribs), and pork ribs. Favourite at this stop: Jab Che, Tohng Gahl Bee, and Hae Mool Pah Jun.

    Jang Mo Jib, Richmond Foodie Tour Jang Mo Jib, Richmond Foodie Tour

    Jang Mo Jib, Richmond Foodie Tour Jang Mo Jib, Richmond Foodie Tour

    Jang Mo Jib, Richmond Foodie Tour

    In order to avoid wasting the food samples, Tourism Richmond provided everyone with a take-away food container so that we could savour the leftovers later on or bring home some of our favourite dishes for our loved ones.

    It’s amazing to think that we explored so many Asian culinary styles and dishes within about a 2-block radius. We had great guides that definitely opened my eyes to some of the dining possibilities within Richmond. “Food Street” is a short walk from Lansdowne Canada Line Station and everyone recommended that you either make dinner reservations or arrive before 6:00pm before the entire block fills up with dinner guests for the evening. Check out a recommended food tour itinerary on the Tourism Richmond website.

    Disclosure cmp.ly/2 our meals were compliments of Tourism Richmond.

    Backyard Photowalk

    August 18th, 2010 @ 3:07pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    When I was young I remember waking up summer mornings, sun blazing through my East-facing window and warming the foot of my bed. My cat would hop across my sheet-covered legs to sprawl then bask in the rays. She would lay there until either her movements or the heat forced me to get up and toss on my freshly cut shorts, recycled from last school year’s jeans. Morning birds would sing, the garbage truck would roar, and my cereal would snap, crackle and pop.

    Backyard Flower

    The day’s activities were unknown but there were a few staple selections from which to choose. Badminton (if the net was still up), Frisbee (if it wasn’t on the roof), kiddie pool (if no beetles had found their way in), or one of the many yard games my siblings and I had invented (or adapted from summer camp play). All involved many hours in the backyard or on the front lawn; grass between the toes, honeysuckle patches, and avoiding any “gifts” the neighbour’s dog may have left us.

    Free Subway Breakfast, Customer Appreciation

    August 18th, 2010 @ 1:41pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Subway is offering up a free breakfast combo as a part of a customer appreciation campaign tomorrow, August 19th.

    Free Subway Breakfast

    The offer is valid 7:00am until 10:00am for a ham & cheese egg muffin melt and a coffee.

    This is available only at participating restaurants in BC so you may want to call ahead to your local Subway today to confirm before you line up in the morning. No other purchases are necessary in order to get in on this offer.

    Update 2011 Participating Subways in Canada are offering a FREE Breakfast Day on May 31, 2011 between 7:00am–10:00am. Receive a free ham & cheese egg muffin melt and a coffee (size not specified).

    Grease in Vancouver: Pre-Sale Code

    August 18th, 2010 @ 10:11am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Grease is coming to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, hot on the heals of Disney’s The Lion King (that broke box-office records for Vancouver and Canada during its run). Grease was Time Magazine’s 2007 pick for “#1 musical of the year” and will be rockin’ its way across the country in this new production, direct from Broadway.

    Grease! Coming to VancouverTake a trip to a simpler time of poodle skirts, drive-ins, and T-birds. “Bad boy” Danny and “the girl next door” Sandy fall in love all over again to the tune of your favorite songs: “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’” and “We Go Together” as well as additional songs from the hit movie: “Grease,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “You’re the One That I Want.”

    Grease will run October 26th until the 31st, and I’m sure will inspire many Halloween costumes (and sing-alongs). This production will be appropriate for all ages and families.

    Tickets go on sale Monday August 23rd at 10:00am however I have a special pre-sale code for Miss604.com readers. If you would like to skip the line and scoop up your tickets today, follow this link to Ticketmaster and enter the pre-sale code: THUNDER when you are selecting your tickets. This code will only be valid until Sunday August 22nd at 10:00pm, the day before the general sale.