Did you know you can now get virtual medical care on your schedule and from any device including your phone, desktop & tablet? Instantly connect with a licensed Canadian doctor! Say hello to your new friend CloudMD.
The other week, Ryerson started to look like he was coming down with something. Just having started Kindergarten I wasn’t that surprised. However, if this was any other time of year for that matter, I wouldn’t have been overly concerned. Kids get germs, runny noses and colds here and there – it’s apart of being a kid after all. But we are living in unprecedented times there is no time to play what-ifs. Especially soon after when Rick and I started to get the same symptoms of Ry; runny nose, sore throat, etc.
I knew I need a second opinion to ensure this was just a cold for Ry and the rest of us and that nothing else serious was going on. In our current conditions, it was appropriate to head to the doctor’s office or clinic. Luckily for us, we were able to try an app called CloudMD all thanks to VancouverMom for introducing us. CloudMD is a free, secure platform that connects patients with physicians for a real-time medical visit via video conferencing for non-emergency health concerns. The app eliminates the need to travel to an appointment and can be accessed using a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer from the comfort of home, plus it’s FREE to use for residents of BC and Ontario. Hello, simplicity!
Aiding in Simplicity
The app is very easy to use: Once you download it, all you have to do is input some basic information about yourself and your medical (care card) number. Then the app will ask you when you want to see a doctor and set an appointment for you.
The service is available beyond regular clinic hours, including evenings and weekends. By using this service, each patient will automatically have an electronic chart created that will allow providers to quickly access and understand the patient’s past and current health status, making everything easier.
The BC CloudMD Virtual Clinic hours are: Monday to Sunday from 8 am – 8 pm (PST)
For us, it was of course on a Saturday that we needed to speak with a doctor and luckily for us, we got an appointment within the hour – on a weekend! Luckily none of us needed a prescription, but for those who do they have the ability to give you one. By having a doctor available on a weekend really reduced the amount of stress and anxiety we had when we’d normally have to wait till Monday to see a doctor or worse case go to the ER which in most cases is not what’s needed. In our case, it was just a matter of it being the common cold and to monitor our symptoms if they progressively got worse.
How can CloudMD help?
CloudMD doctors can complete visits related to the following:
General medical advice
Cold or coughs
Order lab work and review results
and much more
For those out there in similar or the same situations, this app is an amazing resource for all us parents out there, especially now that we are trying hard to avoid going to clinics and hospitals at all costs. CloudMD is for sure a secure platform and is awesome for non-emergency health concerns right at your fingertips.
Haven’t tried the app? Download today using the links below and register for free to see a licensed Canadian doctor from the comfort of your own home! To check them out, go to your app store and find them. You can also check out their Instagram or website as well for additional information.
Disclosure: This post is a paid partnership between CloudMD & Vancouver Mom. All opinions expressed are my own.
Summer just might be the best time of year to take a family vacation or in this case with the worlds currently pandemic happening, “staycation” to Whistler, better known as the ultimate-Canadian ski town. Roughly two hours north of Vancouver this isn’t just a winter lovers’ destination or paradise.
The crowds are much thinner, the weather is gorgeous and the hotel rates are generally a lot lower then they would be throughout the rest of the year. Plus, there is plenty of things to do (minus skiing and all your snow sports, of course) from escape rooms to scavenger hunts in the Village, ziplining, good places to dine, and of course, shopping – the activities are endless.
Before the family and I made the trek to Whistler we had to make a quick stop in Squamish. More so for a pee break for the little one, but I had also heard of this super cute bakery and coffee shop thanks to a few friends called, Sunflower Bakery & Cafe. Thankfully for me, they had just introduced their gluten-free donuts so I was still able to indulge with the rest of the fam.
Four Seasons Whistler
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences is a gorgeous luxury getaway in the heart of Whistler’s Upper Village. When it came to deciding where we wanted to stay I definitely called around for the best rates and what the hotel had currently operating. A big deciding factor for us was the pool and fitness center. Most places including the Four Seasons had restrictions on the pool time and the gym area. However out of all the ones I called the FS had a 3-hour limit which was plenty of time for us. I also loved the fact that between 4-6 pm there is a snowcone stand on-site where the kids (and adults) can grab an icy treat, and a complimentary wine tasting daily from 4-5 pm at Sidecut Lounge. I think that alone sold Rick on wanting to stay here.
Upon arrival, and for the duration of your stay at any point in time that you are on the Four Seasons property – guests must be wearing a mask at all times. Once you’re inside the pool area and your room you are free to take them off.
We were fortunate enough to be upgraded by three-room categories during our stay. The room was generously sized, with a large, five-piece bathroom that had the toilet area separate and tons of closet space. Fortunately for us, we had our own walk-in closet that was honestly the perfect size for all three of us to put our stuff in without cluttering the room. It was extremely sweet of the staff to have arranged the pull-out couch for Ry so it was one less thing for us to have to set up.
Day 1 – Wednesday
The family and I headed out to Whistler from the Fraser Valley mid-day and it took us exactly two hours to get there (with a quick stop in Squamish). We knew Wednesday we wanted it to be about exploring the Village, maybe taking a dip in the pool and then heading out for night-time fun at Vallea Lumina, created by Montreal-based Moment Factory, and brought to life by the Adventure Group. If you’re not familiar with Vallea Lumina, this is a multimedia experience that takes place outdoors in which it invites guests into an enchanting universe, inspired by Whistler’s unparalleled natural beauty and local culture. Make sure to bring comfortable footwear aka runners as some girls I saw were in heals – a big no-no! And lots of layers. As we go into the winter months and since you’re in the mountains it gets quite chilly in the evenings.
The Story Behind Vallea Lumina
Magical nights await visitors to Whistler at Vallea Lumina, a ground-breaking experience that brings Cougar Mountain’s old-growth forest to life. Old stories tell of the wondrous things that happen near Whistler. Between the trees, in the shadow of mountains, legends say there’s a hidden valley where stardust falls from the sky, filling all living things with its pure light. It’s a place that’s filled with unexpected enchantment. There’s a way to get there, but few know how to find it. Those who visit and witness their secrets remember it long after they leave. Join an evening excursion and follow cryptic radio transmissions and the lingering traces of two long-ago hikers to find the scenic trailhead where the real journey begins… This pathway leads toward a place filled with beauty, and proof that the legends of Whistler are true.
Day 2 – Thursday
Our Thursday was a pretty go-go-go day from the get go. Rick and Ry went for a walk in the morning to grab coffees so I could get a few more restful minutes and get ready in peace. Up first for our days adventures was the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola Sightseeing Tour. This world record setting transforms the high alpine experience with new, awe-inspiring vistas as it bridges the gap between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. I’m not a big one for heights so this definitely took me a bit out of my comfort zone. The views were absolutely stunning and we were on the lookout for Black Bears below, but had no such luck.
PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola
After opening on December 12, 2008 the massive gondola revolutionized the way skiers, riders and hikers experienced the mountains. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, as part of the world’s longest continuous lift system, introduces summer guests to unprecedented access to Whistler Blackcomb’s high alpine for sightseeing, hiking and mountain-top dining.The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola travels a span of 4.4 kilometres/2.73 miles giving sightseers and hikers a serene aerial flight showcasing flora and fauna, including black bears in their protected habitats, inhabiting the flanks of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains; the Coast Mountain Range’s many glaciers and peaks; and Whistler Village, surrounded by gem-like lakes.
Next up on the agenda was an escape room – Escape! Whistler. I have been dying to try one of these so when I saw that Whistler offered 4 different versions (one of which they recommended was suitable to do with Ry) we were all for it. I love mystery and solving puzzles so this was a must.
The room that was highly suggested to us, being the easiest of the four and the most child friendly was the pirate ship. The three of us were taken prisoners (we legit were in handcuffs starting out) and had been taken prisoner aboard a ship of ruthless Pirates. We had to escape from the jail, find the clues to ultimately get us to finding the treasure and exiting safely. I am happy to announce our family made it out with 10+ minutes to spare – woo!
We definitely want to come back (maybe just myself and Rick the next time to try out the other three rooms. The Buried Cabin, The Pinball Machine and The Rabbit Hole. These experiences can be played with groups of 2 to 6 people. Your group will be presented with puzzles, riddles, and clues which you must work together to solve within 45 minutes in order to “Escape” from the situation you are in. Be prepared for fun, creative, and interactive obstacles. How far you make it will depend on your group’s ability to solve the challenges laid out for you. If you get stumped along the way, you will have the opportunity to receive 2 clues to help you advance. But don’t waste time…you only have 45 minutes to Escape!
Dinner at 21 Steps Kitchen & Bar
Established in 2004, 21 Steps Kitchen + Bar is a locally owned and operated restaurant located in the heart of Whistler Village. A casual restaurant committed to great modern comfort food and generous portions at modest prices, Whistler locals have voted 21 Steps Kitchen + Bar as one of the best restaurants for appetizers, value, atmosphere and romantic dining experiences.
The family and I were fortunate enough to be hosted by 21 Steps for a delicious meal or should I say multiple meals. Stacey, the manager ensured we had the best service possible and our waitress was honestly so amazing. Known for their small plates Rick and I opted to try their goat cheese balls, bacon-wrapped sirloin, a pesto covered shrimp, mussels and then we also had the chance to try their salmon and a bean dip. Ry also had his very own steak and french fries which was adorable. Although he mainly ate the fries and Rick ate the steak. The food here was really well done and gave off that refined yet cozy comfy classic vibe that I think is always good to have.
Day 3 – Friday
On the last day of our trip, we really wanted it to be relaxed and not rushed. Since we had a busy day on Thursday anything we wanted to do, see or shop we wanted to leave for Friday and then make our way home. Fortunately for us, Tourism Whistler and the Four Seasons graciously arranged for us to have a stunning and delicious Balcony Breakfast. Head over to this post where I talk all about it. Honestly, this had to have been one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. I really like having a nice mix of sweet and savoury items to nibble on and this did just that. From fresh pancakes with warm maple syrup to fresh fruit and the most perfect poached eggs on avocado toast – we definitely had full and happy bellies.
Not long after breakfast did we realized we were about to head home on a Friday of a long weekend – queue the anxiety and anticipation of not hitting a tone of traffic! Shortly after breakfast we packed up our stuff and headed out to avoid any delays.
Our family was super grateful for the opportunity to visit Whistler as our last trip before Ryerson headed off to Kindergarten. It definitely was the icing on the cake and the perfect way to end summer!
Disclosure – All activities and mentioned meals were sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and images taken. Thank you Tourism Whistler for hosting me and the family.
There’s nothing quite like waking up refreshed and relaxed in a super comfy and cozy bed (that isn’t yours)! If you read my other blog post talking about our entire stay you would have noted my quick mention of our delicious Balcony Breakfast our final morning in Whistler before we headed back to the Fraser Valley. Not only did we stay at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler because of the amazing amenities and service, but because their in-room breakfast towers are something else! Have you ever seen something so scrumptious and gorgeous? I almost didn’t want to eat it! Think of it like a high-tea tower but a full-blown breakfast and not just tiny finger sandwiches!
The Four Seasons Whistler offers a few different breakfast tower options. First off, The Power Breakfast is on the healthier side if you’re not looking for anything too heavy and decadent. With a focus on lean meats, fruits, healthy nutritional bars and a spinach and chickpea breakfast burrito as the main. The next choice is The Express Continental Breakfast. The name speaks for itself and this breakfast is perfect for those wanting a quick and easy meal that consists of granola & berry yogurt parfait, pastries and fruit salad. Not to mention, all of the towers come with tea or coffee and a chilled juice of your liking (get the orange juice it’s so good). However, if you’re anything like me I need a good combo and sweet and savoury so The Coast Mountain Breakfast Tower was just the perfect meld of both of my breakfast cravings.
The Coast Mountain Breakfast is Four Season Whistler’s most epic and well-rounded breakfast tower. Our tower as you’ll see from the images included is roasted tomato & asparagus, bacon & sausage, multiple pastries, pancakes dusted with icing sugar (a side of maple syrup), fruit salad and two poached eggs on top of avocado toast.
What I loved about the Breakfast Towers was that everything comes straight to your room (by the lovely staff at the Four Seasons) and puts it together right before your eyes. I love going out for a good breakfast, but sometimes you just want to enjoy your hot cup of coffee still in your robe, admiring a gorgeous view and indulging in all the goodies without leaving the comfort of your room.
If you had to ask my son, Ryerson, his favourite item for breakfast, it would probably be the pancakes and pastries. I kid you not, he took a tiny bite out of each pastry before myself or his dad could even try any (ah kids).
For those looking to enhance their stay by indulging in a breakfast tower – prices range around the start mark of $50 and go up from there depending on the add ons and modifications made. Honestly, it’s totally worth it and a truly one of a kind breakfast-dining experience that you won’t find anywhere else. For the amount of food and the added luxury of being able to enjoy it in the privacy of your room makes the Breakfast Towers in my own opinion an incredible deal, but also a fun and romantic experience (if your kids don’t tag along). The Coast Mountain Breakfast Tower fed both of us adults easily and there was still plenty for our son to eat. We still had a few leftover pastries and some fruit leftover that we saved for the car ride home later that day.
Next time you find yourself at the Four Seasons Whistler, make sure to arrange with the staff this delicious breakfast tower, not only because it is that good but because its a one of a kind experience and treat that you’re not going to get again (unless you come back for another trip).
Disclaimer: Compliments of The Four Seasons Resort Whistler. All opinions and content are original and my own.
Summer is here and we know that finding family-friendly places to visit is a must for family vacations especially right now with everything that is going on with COVID. Penticton, British Columbia is a somewhat undiscovered beauty to many tourists and BC residents. Luckily for us, we took full advantage of this!
Known for sun, sand and delicious wines, Penticton has all the right ingredients for a perfect relaxing getaway for the entire family. Breath easy on the soft sandy beaches or splash around in two of the big lakes, better yet – the adults can test their tastebuds at over 70 different wineries all within a half-hour of each other.
Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre
When it came time to decide where we wanted to go for a quick 2-night getaway this past July, Rick and I both knew we didn’t want to be driving for more than a few hours tops. Immediately we thought of Kelowna but were in need of some lake views and easy beach access. We pondered with the idea of maybe going to Osoyoos but most hotels had already been booked well into September so we decided to look around the area when we stumbled upon Penticton.
The Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre which is right in the heart of the Okanagan Valley seemed like the perfect fit for us. It was smack dab on the lake with views for miles, wineries within 10-minutes and beach access within minutes we knew we wanted to stay here. Plus, they had plenty of availability to choose from.
The one major downside to staying here was the lack of updates in the rooms and furniture. Some of our furniture and decor had stains and small tears and there were nicks and dents in the tables. These rooms could definitely use a bit of TLC. However, with that being said, the location of the room was fantastic as we got to enjoy lake views from every angle and our patio was fabulous.
The weather wasn’t bad – it was a bit cooler the weekend we went so didn’t get as much beach time as we wanted but overall there was no rain so we were happy!
Local Winery Visits
Surprisingly we managed to fit in a total of 12 wineries with a 4.5-year-old over the span of the 2-days. We had only made 2 reservations as many of the wineries in the Okanagan are doing so to limit the number of people who are coming in and out. However, there is still a good handful that does allow walk-ins and frankly, we just got lucky at some places. Below is the list of wineries we hit and a little about each.
Our first stop on the Thursday was to Dirty Laundry in Summerland. Rick really likes their rose and I had heard it was such a cool location – you know with negligee hanging about. Dirty Laundry has such an interesting history (which is not so hush-hush) behind it and I love that the tasting staff share it with such pride and excitement. Not to mention they have one heck of a pizza place right on the property. Pizza and wine, could it get any better?
The next two wineries we then hit before taking it easy and having a pool and lake day were Three Sisters Winery and Township 7 Vineyards. The first of the two, was Three Sisters Winery, which pursues its commitment to the environment by reducing packaging, using lighter weight bottles and ambitious targets for energy saving, waste reduction and sustainability. I wasn’t as big of a fan as a lot of their wines were on the drier side, but Rick really liked one so that came home with us.
Up next, a name that we’re familiar with as we have a Township 7 right here in Langley, BC. This was our last stop on Thursday and it was the perfect one to close the day. We took our tasting flights out to their back picnic area and sat amongst the vines. Ry had a blast running around and exploring while we were able to enjoy and sip our wine (slowly). Again the wines here are much more on the drier side so not something I’d typically go for.
Fridays Winery Ventures
Friday was a pretty successful day we’d say in terms of what we were able to accomplish. The one winery we were dying to try was Painted Rock as they only serve red wines (which are mine and Ricks go-to choice when it comes to wine). The property is absolutely breathtaking and the winery itself is so classy and modern with a sexy sophisticated edge. We happen to have the first tasting of the day at 11:00 am and we were graciously served by John Skinner himself, the owner and mastermind behind Painted Rock. It was so fascinating to hear how he came up with the idea and how he has a passion and love for when and realized “if my friend can do it, I can do it”. Honestly, we could have stayed there all day and are looking forward to going back!
Next up, and likely a close tie to being our favourite was Crescent Hill. Tysha Pope one of the winemakers and owners of the winery was so lovely and made our tasting experience such fun! It’s a small tasting room so we had the whole place to ourselves. I have to commend them on some kick-ass branding. The images and artwork are so different and sassy, they really are eye-catching. We ended up purchasing three bottles from here, two Hissy Fit which is a 2016 Blush and my favourite the 2018 Sparkling Blush – First Crush. If you’re in the Penticton area this is a must stop!
Also, if you’ve ever been to Penticton or are planning on going you have to stop in at The Peach Ice Cream Shop – on the beach (no intention of rhyming there). Serving up some fun and funky ice cream cones along with their crazy shakes, if you’re looking for that perfect Instagram worthy shot and wanting to indulge in something super sweet this is the place to go.
On our way home, we had said we had to stop and get some local produce aka peaches. Did we? No… let’s just say the addition of about 4 more wineries stopped that from happening. I should note, Rick was the one doing the majority of the tastings I was having sips here and there so one of us was able to safely drive!
One winery I’d never heard of was 8th Generation Winery. The name goes without saying that 8 generations later, the story of this winery continues on. We ended up purchasing two bottles of their wine, one being Confidence 2019 (Frizzante) a new release with tasting notes of Wild strawberries, Rainer Cherries. It was quite crisp and tasted of fresh field berries mingle with a hint of pink grapefruit. I’m a sucker for a little bubble so this was a super nice touch. Also to curb my sweet tooth we grabbed a Late Harvest wine that is meant to be like a dessert wine.
My fairy garden is the first of its kind: a toy that’s also a real, live garden! Children love kits that allow them to grow plants at home; it gives them a connection to nature and a sense of satisfaction at having nurtured a living thing. Fortunately enough, Playmonster was kind enough to send us our very own My Fairy Garden Fairy Light Garden!
My Fairy Garden takes it to a new, exciting level by allowing children to interact with it as part of an enchanting playset! Children plant the seeds, and care for their garden, all while setting up and playing with adorable fairies, woodland friends and accessories! I know what you’re thinking – and yes this toy is also okay for boys. My son has always loved to help me garden and watch our plants grow so I knew this would be right up his alley.
Each kit includes everything children need to grow their very own fairy garden, nurture the plants, and play in the fairy world they create!
About My Fairy Garden
Did you know that fairies are everywhere? They are! Fairies love nature, so you’ll usually find them near flowers, trees, and toadstools or among other wild and beautiful plants. If you’re wanting to invite a fairy into your home, creating a magical garden for them is the first step.
This set includes everything you need to make that special garden for the fairy Saffron and her beautiful unicorn. Saffron spends much of her time daydreaming in her garden, petting and chatting with her unicorn, Calista. Saffron especially loves her garden at nighttime when it’s quiet and peaceful. She blows on her magical mushroom home to activate magical lights and music to fully relax.
Once you build Saffron’s garden and start growing your own plants, you can have fun playing in your new fairy world.
Contents of this kit includes: Light house, bridge, waterwheel, watering can, gardening tools, seed packets, seed starter, Saffron the Fairy, Calista the Unicorn and the fairy flying-cord.
Make it your Own
As you’ll see in the photos Ry and I decided to add our own plants after the fairy garden grew. Sadly we went away on holidays and the fairy garden was looking a little sad when we got home so we decided to re-plant and regrow. Don’t ask the plants, I let Ryerson take the lead and he grabbed what spoke to him. It’s so fun watching him create and be so fascinated with the nature that is right in front of him.
For those looking to get this or if you already have it, be sure to really make it your own though when you grow your garden. Add rocks, sticks, twigs, shells, etc. Why not even add some extra flowers or plants as we did?!
I also loved the fact this was a STEM toy. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It’s great for the kids to become educated on how things work in a fun way (also with a dose of magic).
Now, what are you waiting for… go plant some magic and watch it grow!
Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own. The product was gifted in exchange for this blog post.
Nothing sayings being silly quite like putting funny objects on your fingers!
PlayMonster‘s Stacktopus is having players slip on silly sea fingers to become a stacking octopus…a Stacktopus!™ Stacking these cups should be easy, but when you’re wearing octopus arms on your fingers, it becomes silly competitive fun! Race to match your stack of cups to the card shown to win! It’s great fun for kids, but also for families—wearing the silly sea fingers levels the playing field for kids and adults! Best for only 2 to 3 Players.
Silly isn’t just for Kids!
When Ryerson received this game in the mail he was so excited. Talk about killer branding with a giant fun-loving Octopus on the side, what kid wouldn’t want to open the box immediately? Of course, dad had to join in on the fun (plus I don’t let Ry win if I’m playing #badmom hehe).
I will admit I have seen the octopus hands not just used for game-play… Ry likes to pretend to be an octopus and run around the house mostly scaring and annoying the cats, but sometimes he wants to just because. Sometimes the simplest games can keep the kids’ imagination running wild.
Rules of the Game
To play the game, kids draw from the included deck of 24 stack cards to receive their mission. From there, it’s a fast-paced race to see which player can complete the colourful stack on their card first. Kids (or even the adults) place three octo-fingers onto one hand to tackle the task. Nine of the awkward appendages are included, so up to three players can take part in the fun.
Stacktopus is a perfect addition to the game shelf for the entire family to enjoy. It’s a game that can be played quickly, stores easily, and will put smiles on faces all the way around. This game is recommended for 5 years and up but younger kids definitely can still join in. Of course, Ry being younger didn’t always follow the rules but we made the best of it.
Disclosure – This game was gifted and sent to us for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you PlayMonster and ChizComm.