The Perfect Family Getaway to Penticton BC

Staycation Getaway to Penticton BC

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 trips

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!dirty laundry

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!

Then to round off the day we made stops in at Play Winery, Da Silva Vineyards and Winery and Time & Evolve Cellars before heading back to the hotel and grabbing a bite to eat at the Hooded Merganser.

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.The Peach in Penticton

Homeward Bound

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.

Finally to round off our wine-ventures we stopped into Sumac Ridge Estate WineryBlack Sage VineyardSteller’s Jay, Summerland Estate Winery and Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greata Ranch.

It’s safe to say we had a jam-packed but fun time in Penticton and are looking forward to maybe making this an annual trip!

fitz winery penticton

Small Prints – Big Impressions

Smallprint Vancouver North, which specializes in handcrafted jewellery that captures the fingerprint of a loved one in silver. No moulds are taken; which means the silver keepsake has literally been touched by your loved one. Hand and footprints, drawings, and love notes can also be turned into silver jewellery. All items are handcrafted and hand engraved by Mahnaz (Naz), the owner, in her North Vancouver studio, from start to finish!

Heartfelt Impressions

When Naz reached out to me wanting to create some lifelong keepsake jewelry pieces I was floored. I had seen her work on other people and on social media so I was ecstatic to be working with her to create some unique items that were meaningful to me. The process was very easy. First, Naz sent over an inkless print kit where I was able to run a (wet wipe) a Magic Inkless Print Kit over Ryerson’s hands and feet and then press them onto this ‘special paper’. Then voila! His prints appeared (see image below).

small prints vancouver

Making A Mark

Additionally, I got Ryerson to write down his name and the word ‘MOM’ as this is something I wanted to be imprinted onto a charm for me to be able to wear as he grows. Something so simple yet meaningful, it seemed like the perfect choice to get on a piece of jewelry. I then took a photo of each of the pieces of paper where Ry wrote the names and emailed them to Naz. The rest was left in her magical hands.

The two pieces I had done up were a bracelet with the word ‘MOM’ and on the other side Ry’s handprint. Additionally, a keychain was made with both of Ry’s footprints and his name that he spelt out. On the back of the keychain was the date and his age so we were able to know exactly when the prints were taken.

small prints vancouver

Perfect for Every Day & Special Occasions

Smallprint Vancouver North offers a beautiful collection of handmade sterling silver keepsakes that are perfect at any time of the year.

Consider a unique handcrafted sterling silver jewelry piece or  personalized keepsake for:

  • Mother’s Day & Father’s Day
  • Birthday or a new birth
  • Engagement, Wedding or an Anniversary
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Christmas
  • Graduation
  • or even just because! There are so many reasons why these pieces make a great gift.

Smallprint Vancouver North also offers Memory Treasures for the bereaved. These handcrafted and personalized memorial keepsakes can provide comfort to those with loved ones they are about to lose as well as preserving the memory of those who have already sadly passed.

Who Can Get Their Prints Done?

Anyone really! From children as young as newborns to their grandparents, loved ones of all ages can get their prints taken for your Smallprint keepsake. And did you know that you can also take your furry friends prints? Anything you’d like to get an impression of you can realistically.

small prints vancouver

Experiences that last a lifetime

When you choose a Smallprint Keepsake, you are getting the experience in addition to your personalized accessory. And it really only takes a matter of moments. The creation process happens right in front of your eyes and you’ll have a memory of exactly where you were when your special piece was made. I loved the idea that Ry was a bit older so I was able to get his hand and footprints in addition to some of his writing. I think it’s also adorable that you’re able to get an actual drawing your child has created done up and recreated into an everlasting piece of jewelry.

Which Smallprint Vancouver North pieces would you love to receive? What special memory would you like to carry with you most? Let me know in the comments below.

If you want more information on the Smallprint brand you can either visit the Facebook page or  Instagram.
Smallprint Vancouver North in the media.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Smallprint Vancouver North however, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Long Weekend Staycation | The River Rock Casino Resort + Tourism Richmond

Boardwalk River Rock CasinoOver the Victoria Day Long weekend, my family was fortunate enough to have been invited by Vancouver Mom to the River Rock Casino Resort for a 2-night staycation thanks to Tourism Richmond. This was the perfect little getaway for our family with May being one of the busiest months for us to-date. With plenty of deadlines, birthdays, a trip to Vegas and just life with a toddler it was nice to be able to get away from all the hustle and bustle for those few days!

The River Rock Casino Resort

If you haven’t been to the River Rock before I suggest you make it a must-visit for your next family staycation or overnight outing. Situated right along the Fraser River the views from the boardwalk alone are simply breathtaking! Conveniently located nearly 5 km from Vancouver International Airport, the River Rock which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year offers upscale dining with three on-site restaurants, an indoor pool and hot tub, an award-winning spa, gym and of course a 24-hour casino including live entertainment. Did I mention how close the bus and Skytrain station is too? You will also find FREE parking which when it comes to going anywhere in the Lower Mainland is a big plus.

The highlight from our trip hands down had to be the saltwater pool complete with a whopping 70ft slide and the amazing food. We went to the pool three times on our first night there and we only checked in at 4 pm… so it’s safe to say Ryerson would have swum all night if he had the choice. For us parental units it was all about the food. Anytime we travel or stay overnight I like knowing we have options, but also that those options are actually good quality flavourful dishes. The buffet was West Coast-inspired with options ranging from pasta dishes to the traditional roast carvings and even sushi! Plus they served chicken nuggets and french fries, so that’s a win in my books right there. You’ll also find Curve Lounge where we were fortunate enough to have a family-style brunch the Sunday morning we checked out. If going out isn’t an option with the little ones opt-in for room service where a movie and eating in your pj’s is never a bad thing!

Swimming at River RockOur suite was very spacious for our family of three, with a queen bed and a sofa bed for the little one. The room also came equipt with a Nespresso machine, free WIFI, a 42-inch TV and complimentary bathrobes. We even had the cutest little personalized welcome gift waiting for us upon arrival. It’s truly the little things that make the trip that much more special.

Finally, no stay at River Rock is complete without a visit to Absolute Spa. Services include manicures, pedicures, massages and more. I chose to pamper myself with a pedicure seeing as we were off to Vegas in a few short weeks. I needed my feet feeling fancy and fresh! Taking some ‘me’ time during a staycation is always imperative for me. A quick break from the family makes me a way better mom and significant other! 

Richmond Night Market

Remember how I said everything was in very close proximity to the resort? Well if you’ve ever heard of the Richmond Night Market and were hoping to go – now is the time as they’re literally down the street from one another. The group of us were able to pack up our families and make our way without having to fight for a parking spot. And if you know me you’ll know I have major road rage… so this was super convenient and less anxiety-ridden. Plus it gave me the chance to walk off all the food we consumed.

I had been to the night market years ago when it had a different location, but wow! I can’t even begin to recall all the food that was coming and going but just the experience alone was something to rave about.

Final Thoughts

For those who are looking to take a family staycation for a change of pace The River Rock and Tourism Richmond have you covered! We loved every minute of our time there. It was such a relaxing weekend with just the right amount of busyness added in. We’re already talking about when we’re going back (maybe this time without our kiddo in tow).

A big thank you again to Vancouver Mom, The River Rock Casino and Resort, and last but not least Tourism Richmond for their amazing hospitality and creating some life-long memories for our family! We can’t wait for our next visit!

Family at River Rock Casino

This post was in collaboration with Vancouver Mom, The River Rock Casino and Resort, and Tourism Richmond. All opinions expressed are my own.

Charlie’s Colorforms City on Netflix // Spark Creativity

Charlie’s Colorforms City

As a parent keeping your kiddo entertained on a day-to-day basis is half the battle. I’ll be the first to admit screen-time is prevalent in our household and a lot of the time needed for my mental sanity. No, I don’t just stick Ryerson in-front of the TV but when I need to get work done or have a conference call you best believe he’s going to be on the iPad or watching something on YouTube or Netflix. And guess what… I am not the first parent to do this!

Luckily for us, we were recently introduced to Charlie’s Colorforms City that launched back in March on Netflix. This 13-episode adventure series for preschoolers centers around the character Charlie (voiced by Jacob Soley) and his colorful cast of friends as they create fun stories using different shapes! Take off for adventures in outer space, the Wild West — and from right at home; the adventures are endless!

charlies colorforms city
Image credit: Netflix

About the Show

Once upon a time, there was…Charlie! He is inquisitive, impulsive, emotional, silly, and Charlie loves to create stories. In fact, he created Colorforms City out of his imagination so that he can tell the best stories possible… like a knight trying to save a balloon, or a cowboy/cowgirl duel, or Charlie’s epic quest to eat a pancake.

Kids at home will help propel these stories forward interactively, playing along and helping Charlie creatively solve story problems. Imagine you and your child as main characters in the show, and like any other main character, the story and episode cannot move forward without them. And Charlie’s other friends will help, too… or at least they’ll try. There are the twins—Violet the brave and Red the cautiously curious, Miss Weather the unpredictable, or should we say “fair-weather” friend, and the Silly Faces, who are just that, primarily faces and primarily silly.

Every story is an opportunity for Charlie to create. Charlie’s built Colorforms City on the Signature Black Background with the sticky magic of Colorforms. Charlie can peel, stick, scale and animate his world to move stories forward. From a madcap farce to make enough pancakes to feed all of his friends with a pancake machine, to an epic quest to deliver his forgotten birthday party invitations in a rocket ship-submarine, the stories get better, sillier and more creative with the magic of stick.

This series celebrates the stories kids love to tell and gives them the tools to enrich their stories and make them even better, through kid-friendly storey structure, creative problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and humour.

Charlies Colorforms City

Spark Creativity

We were sent some fun products to play with while watching the show. Of course, when Ryerson received his own Colorforms Book he was ecstatic! He had such a fun time playing and creating pieces that he cooked up in his imaginative mind. If you’re looking for a new interactive show for your preschooler or already have one that is a fan of Charlie and his gang, they’re going to love the Colorform Book. Wanting to get your kids to follow along and enjoy the activities Charlie is doing? Download Charlie’s Activity Book here!

If you weren’t already familiar with the Coloforms brand – Charlie’s Colorforms City is based on the classic toy brand Colorforms, a humour-based creativity brand that offers unique and tactile products and experiences that activate creative thinking, self-expression, and experimenting through story-based play. Founded back in 1951, the brand has stood the test of time, being named one of the Top 100 Toys of all time by TIME Magazine.

Ryerson has loved watching the show and playing along since we were introduced to Charlie’s Colorform City. I’ve noticed such a big improvement with his colours, shapes and numbers and it’s been such fun watching him grow and learn alongside this show. It goes to show you that not all TV shows are harmful and non-educational for kids. This series truly celebrates the stories kids love to tell and gives them the tools to enrich their stories and make them even better, through-kid friendly story structure, creative problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and humour.

Now, who else is ready to have their kids join Charlie in his next adventure?

Charlies Colorforms City

Don’t forget you can find Charlie’s Colorforms City on Netflix right now!

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Charlie’s Colorforms City. As always, opinions are all my own. Products were provided and gifted in exchange for a review.

Social Media To My Social Circle: Bonds That Mean More Then A Like

We live in a society where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and basing our self worth on the amount of likes and followers we have on social media. I’ll admit, I have fallen victim to this exact thing. Watching my number rise and decrease as though it actually has an impact on how I live my life… when in reality it means absolutely nothing.

I’ve been in the media and freelance world for almost a decade and jumping into the “blogger” world was something so foreign and unfamiliar to me. I had always written for pleasure, and kept a handful of journals/diaries. But I had never given it a ton of thought that my writing would be put on the internet for other’s to read. So how, and where did I start?

Networking!

The first thing I did was look on my social media channels and analyzed what I thought was “real” and “honest”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to know who is genuine and authentic – but you’ll be able to catch on real quick. I’ve been ghosted by other bloggers and met some who have been less then who they portray themselves to be. I’m here to tell you they aren’t all like that. Especially the lovely lady you see in these pictures with me.

Heydy Lopez from Raising Jay & Abel was the first person I reached out to when wanting to take the leap into blogging… and guess what?! Over a year and a half later we’ve become extremely close friends. When we first met it was a brief meeting at Subway. I asked her a handful of questions (I took notes… laugh all you want), and we simply kept in touch after that.

Now you may be thinking, well that’s simple. Yes, and no. Fortunately for me, Heydy and I had a lot in common and were able to relate to each other far beyond a surface level friendship. She has always been someone I look up to and someone who genuinely cares about her family, friends, and the community around her; what you see is what you get!

Collaboration Over Competition

Over the past year, it’s definitely taken me some time to realize and know who exactly is in “my tribe”. The blogger world is cut throat and fierce. At the end of the day it’s nice to be able to rely on those with whom you trust and look up too. I have never felt like lesser of a person because my Instagram following is far more minimal then hers. She is the first one to give me advice, critique me, and offer support where I need it.

At the end of the day I am far more grateful for the friendships I have formed through blogging then anything else. Social media has its ups and downs but the connections that can be made are so valuable and some I’d never thought I’d make if I didn’t venture on this journey.

Photography by: Diana of Happy Bees Events & Studios 

{A big thank you to Hunni’s in Langley for providing mine and Heydy’s outfits!}

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. Head to my disclaimer page for more information.

Fresh Prep Review: Making Life Easier for This Single Valley Mom

As a mom, yet alone a single, work-from-home mom; meals can be challenging. Especially when you have an almost two year old who is a super picky eater. With there just being the two of us (me not being a great or big eater myself), meal-time is extremely frustrating and painful! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. But when it’s just for myself and a little one, what’s the point?

Here’s how it works.

Jump on over to Freshprep.ca, create an account and you’re ready to place your order. You will first select whether you’d like the meals to provide two or four servings and how many you’d like for the week (two, three or four different meals). They also ask for your dietary preference: gluten free, vegetarian, etc. At this point you can have them select the meals for you if you don’t want to sort through the options, or you can modify the order to your specific choices.

When it comes time to cook, everything was washed, prepped, cut up and labeled with directions to follow and a promise (with minute by minute instructions) on how to get the meal on the table within 30 minutes. And sure enough it did. I was amazing at how fresh everything still was – considering I waited a few days to make the first meal.

It was simple and hassle free!

One of the things I really like about this service is that you don’t have to be home to receive the order and you get a notification where the driver is. Is it creepy for me to note, you are actually able to track his driving status? Once they arrive you receive another notice that they’ve delivered your food. The food comes in cooler bags with ice packs allowing it to be left at your doorstep. I loved the fact they were able to communicate exactly where they were and when they left. I didn’t have to be concerned that I was going to miss them or my food never showed up.

Convenience at its finest!

I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed receiving these meals and cooking them! I tried out the chickpea curry as well as the cauliflower detox bowl. My vegetarian choice was not planned, and I was so surprised how much I enjoyed them. It was nice making something I wouldn’t normally, and not having to waste money on ingredients I wouldn’t normally buy or have too much leftover. Plus you can somewhat tack credit for “making” your meals, right?

It was so much fun being able to have Ry help me out in the kitchen, watch me cook – and not be stressed about it, and if he didn’t eat a ton of his dinner, I wasn’t overly concerned. He tried it and for that, I will call it a win!

If you’d like to try them out, you can use this special link (click here) to get 3 FREE plates with your first order!

Have you tried Fresh Prep or any other meal delivery services? What did you think?

Thank you Fresh Prep for providing the delicious meals featured in this post! All opinions expressed are my own.