5 Day Trips You Can Take From Vancouver

Map flat lay- day trips to take from Vancouver, BC

Disclosure: This shop was compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CanadianTire #QuakerState #CollectiveBias

It’s that time of year when we all get back into our Fall routines, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to squeeze in some fun family time around school and activities. Road trips and travelling are a popular activity for families any time of year, but if you’re looking for some shorter trip ideas, I’m sharing a few day trips you can take leaving from Vancouver. Whether you live in the city or one of the surrounding cities, you’ll be able to reach any of these places without spending the whole day on the road/ travelling.

The best part about these day trips is they don’t require as much planning/ packing, making them easy to organize and prepare for. Some simple prep before you go is all you need: pack up a cooler, get the kids outfits and bags ready the night before, make sure your car is gassed up and good to go (have you checked the fluids/ given it an oil change recently?), and maybe pack some driving snacks for everyone to keep them happy. And even though Summer is winding down, these day trips from Vancouver are fun year- round.

DIY oil change with Quaker State available at Canadian Tire

1. Whistler

This place doesn’t need much of an intro. With it’s year- round activities, there’s always plenty to do. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, skiing/ snowboarding, or want to relax and enjoy good food, it’s all here (for good eats check out El Furniture Warehouse where all meals are $4.95). The drive along the Sea to Sky Highway is beautiful with plenty of places to stop along the way (Shannon Falls is my favourite pit stop), but there’s also the mining museum, Hells Gate, and plenty of other scenic stops/ attractions along the way.

Approx. 1.5- 2 hours drive from Vancouver.

2. Cultus Lake/ Chilliwack

Growing up I loved visiting Cultus Lake or the water slides across from the lake in the Summer. Rent a boat and go wakeboarding or slow things down and go fishing- the lake is a popular Summer spot, but beautiful all year (it doesn’t have to be hot and sunny to enjoy a picnic lakeside!). Chilliwack is a favourite day trip spot for families living in Vancouver and surrounding areas who want to get away and enjoy the country without having to go too far from home, and it’s gaining more and more attention for it’s growing local scene. Family- friendly events are held throughout the year, including markets, BBQs, craft beer festivals, and a corn maze (just to name a few) so even if it isn’t the middle of Summer there’s still plenty to enjoy.

Approx. 1 hour 15 min drive from Vancouver

3. Fort Langley

If you don’t want to go as far east as Chilliwack, Fort Langley is another scenic locale, within an hour’s drive of the City. Visit the Fort and soak up some local history, enjoy a variety of shopping and eating options (Trading Post Brewing’s Eatery and Ritual Ice Cream are two of my favourites, also check out Little White House, a converted heritage house featuring a boutique and cafe); or go for a walk in/ around this scenic town. The Fort- to- Fort Trail is a great option if you enjoy biking/ hiking, and you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes if you want to spend some time on the water. This historic town is full of character and has plenty to offer visitors who want to get away from the city within a short drive.

Approx. 45 min drive from Vancouver

4. Bowen Island

Being a city on the coast, Vancouver isn’t far from countless islands accessible by ferry and Bowen Island is just a quick 20 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. This is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy ‘island time’. When you’re here it’s easy to forget how close to Vancouver you are. When you arrive off the ferry any number of choices await in Snug Cove, including restaurants and shops; you can also rent paddleboards and kayaks right by the marina/ ferry dock. If you enjoy handcrafted, artisanal work, Artisan Square is home to shops and galleries featuring locals artists/ artisans and just a quick drive up the hill from Snug Cove. Drive further into the island for scenic hikes and other activities (if you’re a yoga lover, Nectar Yoga B&B is worth a visit, even if you’re only there for the day).

Approx. travel time: 20 min ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver

5. Vancouver Island

Hop on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay or Tsawassen and head to the Island for a day. Visit the province’s capital and hit up a museum or go shopping in downtown Victoria or check out any number of other cities/ attractions on the Island. Tofino is worth the extra drive once you get off the ferry, or stop in Ucluelet for a closer option; both offer up beautiful beaches and during storm season the waves are an attraction in themselves. Cathedral Grove on the way is a natural wonder that you’ll want to stop at (perfect for a picnic lunch and stretching your legs, and be prepared to take lots of nature photos among these old- growth trees) and Coombs is a quirky little town that’s fun to visit. For a ferry ride and drive, you’ve got plenty to choose from, you just have to decide how to spend your time.

Getting Ready

Prepping a day or two in advance can save time and make getting on the road go much smoother morning- of, especially if you’ve got kids along for the ride. Stock up on food and drinks (fill a few extra water bottles for good measure) and any clothing/ gear you’ll need for your activities of choice. It’s easy to forget, but making sure your vehicle is ready to hit the road- whether for a long or short drive- is important. Since your vehicle is going to get you to and from your destination it’s a good idea to make sure it’s in good working order and this is a good time to check the oil and do a DIY oil change if needed. You can get everything you need at your local Canadian Tire (they’re made for life in Canada after all 😉 ), including oil change supplies plus other essentials for road trips (coolers, camping chairs, etc).

DIY oil change with Quaker State available at Canadian Tire

Tips for Performing an Oil Change

  • check your car’s owner’s manual before you start to ensure you pick up the right oil for your car
  • make sure you have all the supplies you need including funnel, drip tray, wrench, jack and jack stands or ramps, latex gloves, oil, oil filter, and any other items specific to your vehicle (like a drain plug washer)
  • take the safety precautions necessary to perform a DIY oil change safely, such as using blocks behind the wheels of the vehicle so it doesn’t roll if on a ramp

DIY oil change with Quaker State available at Canadian Tire

What Oil + Where to Buy

If you’re looking for a quality oil, Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a great choice and you can stock up for a great price at Canadian Tire. Their oils have been tested in severe driving conditions to ensure they help your car perform to the standard your family needs and protects your engine through it’s use- and then some. It’s not the first few kilometers after an oil change that you’ll appreciate the difference, it’s the thousands you drive after- think stop- and- go traffic, idling, and extreme temperature changes (hello Canadian weather!), that test the quality of the oil you use.

Quaker State puts quality first and tests their products (they tested their oils in taxi fleets throughout North America, with the results proving their oils provide twice the protection of the industry standard throughout its life) to ensure they provide the performance and durability you need:

  • Durability- oil remains fresh thanks to the fuel- saving additive
  • Engine life- heat- activated viscosity improvers and anti- wear additives kick in as the engine temperature increases to maintain oil thickness/ help extend your engine life
  • Performance- superior lubrication flow and pumpability in below- freezing temperatures

If you have never done a DIY oil change before, ask a staff member at Canadian Tire to help you find everything you need, including the right oil for your car. Quaker State is a great option, and whether you plan a long or a short road trip it will help your car get your family everywhere you need to go. I hope this post has given you some ideas for places around Vancouver to visit (and a friendly reminder to keep your vehicle maintenance up to date)!

DIY oil change with Quaker State available at Canadian Tire

Now I want to know: What are some of your favourite day trips to take with your family?

5 Day Trips to Take from Vancouver

Family Life: Staying Organized with Picniic

Picniic App Review 1

Hands up who needs all the help they can get staying organized/ remembering all the things? Most days there’s a to- do list a mile long that’s never ending and usually something gets forgotten. Sound familiar? My survival skill is to make lists. And sometimes lists of lists. Usually that way I can at least keep track of everything even if it doesn’t all get done (and let’s face it, it pretty much never does 😉 ). 

There’s always lots to remember and keep track of and with school around the corner there’s about to be more to remember. With Ari starting preschool in the Fall I’ll take all the help I can get when it comes to getting more organized and keep track of the to- dos. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying out Picniic, a family organizer app that helps you keep track of things like activities, meal planning/ groceries, and items on your to- do list, with notifications popping up on your phone as things come up. All members of the family can download the app and link to the same account so everyone can stay updated and see the same info, add to the calendar and grocery list, and keep track of upcoming special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries. 

Picniic App Review 2

  Picniic App Review 3

Picniic App Review 4

Picniic App Review 5

August is a busy month- it feels busier than usual this year- and staying organized/ keeping track of what’s coming up helps me keep calm when I look at what needs to get done each day. Especially on days that feel overwhelmingly busy, reminding myself to prioritize, focus on one thing at a time, and check things off as I go makes the day go smoother. Even if I don’t get through everything on the list by the end of the day, knowing I worked my way through and checked off the most important things first means that I stress less about what didn’t get done.

With kids it can be tough to get through everything that needs to get done in a day- and even to remember everything you’re trying to get done- and Picniic helps not only you, but everyone in the family stay organized. There have been days where I make a mental note of something and remember later that I needed to remember something, but can’t remember what it is that I needed to remember! With Picniic I can quickly make a note in my phone so I can come back to it later and remind myself; I can then make a note in the app’s calendar or create a new list/ add an item to an existing one to help me keep track. 

Picniic App To- Do Screenshot Picniic App To- Do Screenshot 2 Picniic App Calendar Screenshot

Hands down my favourite/ most- used features of the app are the lists and calendar, but I’m looking forward to using the meal planning tool more as well. Picniic is quick to set up/ simple to use,  and everything is in one place and easily accessible which I appreciate.

For families with young kids it’s a great tool to help us parents stay on the same page (even if your hubby doesn’t add to it, he can see what’s coming up on the calendar, etc) and with older kids I can see how this app would be a useful tool for everyone in the family: older kids can enter their own info/ see what’s on the family calendar, as well as add notes for upcoming activities, events, and due dates for school work. Picniic can be used on a phone, tablet, and computer, making it an accessible organization tool wherever you and members of the family are.

Here’s how the app appears on a phone & computer:

Picniic App Screenshot

Picniic App We Screenshot

The app is also launching a new feature, Pia, today to help personalize the app for your family and make recommendations based on usage so families can get the most out of the app and it’s features (learn more about Pia below). If you’re trying to find simple ways to stay organized, definitely check out Picniic to help keep your family on top of everything. 

Picniic Features

  • Calendar- day/ week/ month options to keep track of upcoming events and important dates
  • To- Do & Lists- create to- do lists and lists by title/ category to stay organized
  • Shopping List- add recipe ingredients and items as you’re running low
  • Info Locker- include info for key contacts like doctors, medical info such as insurance provider, and household info like wifi network and password
  • Special Events- store important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries
  • Meal Planner- organize meals for the week ahead, including ingredients and recipes
  • Recipes- search online or add your own custom recipes
  • Family Locator- see where members of the family are near or far

About

Picniic is an app designed to help families be more organized. It acts as a personal assistant for use by the entire family on mobile, web, and tablet. Picniic has features including family member location tracking, assigned to- dos and chores, meal planners, information lockers for all your important records, and more. It’s easy for families to not be on the same page with information spread through multiple family members and locations, and slipping through the cracks. Picniic family assistant bridges this gap, and helps everyone stay connected. 

Launching on August 8th, Picniic is introducing it’s latest feature, PIA, an intelligent persona similar to Siri. PIA will help families connect with Picniic further and making recommendations based on how they use the app. PIA will help families be proactive by reaching out with suggestions to keep them organized and prepared.

Learn more about Picniic and download it here. Find the app on Instagram: @picniic

In this post:

Photo credit: Will Petrunia

Dress: Tobi

Disclosure: I was provided compensation for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

 

 

Day Out with Thomas, The Friendship Tour {Giveaway}

Who has a Thomas fan at home? My two- especially Ari- love the blue engine and his friends and it’s always one of the top TV requests in our home. I remember watching Thomas as a kid and I love that he’s still around and as popular as ever. Our house has become littered with wooden train sets and countless trains, and Ari has even requested a Thomas themed birthday party this year. She doesn’t know it yet, but we’re taking her to meet Thomas later this month in Squamish and I’ve got the chance for your family to win a 4- pack of tickets so your little Thomas fan can too!

Thomas makes annual appearances at West Coast Railway Heritage Park every year and he’ll be back again from May 20- 22. Not only do you get to meet the blue engine himself, your family can also enjoy a variety of activities.

Activities include

  • 20 minute train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Photos with Thomas at the station
  • Meet Sir Topham Hatt
  • Bouncy castle
  • Magician and musician performances
  • Play on Thomas train tables
  • Thomas theme mini-golf
  • Sand Castle Building
  • Thomas craft tables
  • Model Railway Display
  • Tattoo station

Scroll to the end of the post for more info, to purchase tickets, and to enter to win a family 4 pack of tickets!

  

Learn more on the WCRHP website and follow on Facebook & Twitter

Need directions? Click here.

Buy tickets here.

Contest Details

Prize: Family 4- pack of tickets to Day Out with Thomas, The Friendship Tour 2017 (more than $165 value!)

Winner will select a date from May 20- 22 and ride time- choose: 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm or 4 pm.

Enter below for your chance to win a family pack of tickets! 

(4 tickets) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo & image credit: West Coast Railway Heritage Park

 

Backyard Gardening: 5 Books for the Green Thumb Family

 We’re heading into gardening season on the West Coast and I’m already looking forward to the warm months to come spent outside digging in the dirt. For the past few years we’ve planted edible gardens and last year was the first full season of us planting our two raised box gardens full; everything from kale to peas. Will and I both enjoy gardening and the output from all our hard work, and we’ve enjoyed teaching Ari about gardening and plants the past two Summers. Gardening is definitely a labour of love, but you can enjoy it on as big or as small of a scale as you like. I joke that our back yard is my favourite room of the house in Spring and Summer and soaking up the Vitamin D in our backyard is one of my favourite ways to unwind. We have big plans this year which I can’t wait to share with you, the biggest task we have to getting the Tree Company Smyrna, GA to take out one of the big, old trees to the back of our garden.

With Ari turning four this year, we’re looking forward to her helping even more in the garden, even if it’s only simple tasks, it’s something she loves and a great opportunity to teach her about growing food and nature. Our goal is to grow organic food and make the most of homegrown eats through the Spring and Summer, while also teaching our kids a love and appreciation for the outdoors and letting them be a part of the process. You don’t need a lot of space to enjoy gardening- pots, containers, and vertical gardens are all great small- space options- and there are methods to make the most of even small garden plots. Even if gardening isn’t a passion- maybe it’s something you just want to dapple in- or want to teach your kids about how plants grow, I thought I’d round- up some reading material to kickstart gardening season. 

I’m sharing 5 books below to help build your gardening library, including a few titles for kids, so everyone in the family can enjoy their time digging in the dirt. All titles available from Raincoast Books.

What Will Grow?

This book for kids teaches about a variety of different seeds and what they grow into- everything from peas and tomatoes to oak trees and sunflowers.  It’s perfect to teach kids about how plants grow from seeds and that they can transform into many things: flowers, trees, fruits, or vegetables. A great intro to gardening for young readers that includes info about seed growth and simple tips to start your own garden, plus four pull- out pages that kids will love. The pages are full of bright illustrations with planting tips for all of the seeds featured at the back of the book, along with the stages of growth from seed to full- grown plant. 

By Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

What happens in the dirt that we don’t see? Lots of things! This kids’ book shows the hidden world of nature below the garden surface plus all the activity that happens above ground through the four seasons. Everything from worms and other bugs, to the animals and creatures that call the garden home. This a great book to teach kids about all of the critters that are a part of the garden world throughout the year and shows how it changes through the seasons- from prepping the garden for planting, to the final harvest of the year. At the end of the book is a list of suggested further reading for little gardeners along with an ‘about the animals’ section to teach kids about the creatures featured throughout the book.

By Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

The Little Veggie Patch Co. DIY Garden Projects

This book is loaded with ideas for garden projects, ranging from simple ideas for kids to all- out garden DIYs. Whether you’re looking for garden space ideas- want to build your own vertical garden, repurpose items to help plants grow, or want to attract garden- friendly bugs to your yard?- or get your kids involved, this book has over 250 pages loaded with ideas, all accompanied by easy to follow step- by- step instructions and photos to help you complete your project. I’ve already got a few bookmarked to try with the kids and I’ve seen a few DIYs I’d like to try making for our box gardens as well. I like that this book can help you from start to finish of setting up and growing a garden, plus has simple ideas to get the kids involved. 

By Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik- Reardon 

Tiny Garden, Huge Harvest

Don’t have a lot of room but still want to grow some yummy things with your green thumb? This book provides tips for small plot and container gardening with step- by- step instructions for designing, planting, and harvesting. It shows that you don’t need a lot of space, you just need to make the most of it. It includes tips for different garden options- vertical, tiered, pot/ container gardening, as well as what kind of garden you’re thinking of: do you want to be able to harvest and eat what you grow, or simply enjoy the act of gardening? It also has information about gardening techniques and what to do with the food you grow, including garden planning, four- season gardening, succession planting, and how to preserve harvested edibles. At the back of the book is a handy index with information on a variety of edible varieties including some popular herbs. Added bonus: this is a little book loaded with info- it’s about the size of a postcard, making it perfect to tuck into your bag when you head to store to buy gardening supplies and want a quick reference guide.

By Caleb Warnock

Herbs + Flowers

Maybe something on a simpler scale is what you’re looking for? This little book is a great guide for growing more than 32 kinds of herbs and edible flowers (have you seen how pretty a salad looks garnished with fresh flowers?) and has beautiful illustrations of all the plants featured. Each variety is outlined with key information including how it tastes, when to plant and pick, and serving suggestions (ie fresh dill is nice eaten raw or cooked and pairs well with cucumber, lime, lemon, and red peppers, among other tasty combinations). It also includes substitution suggestions, so you can try out different options if a certain plant doesn’t grow well for you (I’ve tried growing basil from a seed unsuccessfully, so have opted to buy a small plant in the past, but other ideas according to the book include mint, lemon balm, and oregano). Another great reference book to tuck into your bag to take to the store when you stock up, and a simple/ enjoyable read no matter what your skill/ expertise level.

By Pip McCormac, illustrated by Louise O’Reilly 

 

All of the books listed above are available through Raincoast Books.

Find them online on Amazon.ca and Indigo.

Website: raincoast.com | Instagram: @raincoastbooks | Facebook: Raincoast Books | Twitter: @raincoastbooks

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

 

Easter Eggs 3 Ways

 chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

By now I think it’s well known I love a good DIY, and Easter is no different. I wanted to try doing naturally dyed eggs at home, plus a few other simple ideas for decorating eggs: chalk paint and glitter- covered eggs. I thought a variety would be fun plus Ari loved the chance to help decorate them. The chalk paint and glitter eggs are quick and simple to make, but I’ve provided info on how we did the natural dye eggs since there was a little more involved with them. 

I’ve been eyeing up the naturally dyed Easter eggs that I’ve seen others share about and finally thought I’d try making them this year with Ari at home. I’ll admit that it takes a little while to make the natural dyes and you’ll want to put down some paper to avoid spills/ stains, but it’s fun to try and Ari had a blast. For some other fun Easter ideas scroll to the end of this post to see the Easter party I teamed up on with Creative Wife & Joyful Worker (where you’ll find her DIY for making those gold foil eggs) and Discovering Parenthood.

NATURAL DYE EGGS

natural homemade Easter egg dye

Making the dye for all 4 colours of eggs starts with the same mixture of ingredients + whatever additive is needed to create the colour. 

For the dye base:

4 cups water

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

For pink eggs- 4 cups roughly chopped beets

For yellow eggs- 4 tbsp ground tumeric

For green eggs-  6 cups spinach, chopped + 1 tbsp ground tumeric 

For blue eggs-  4 cups red cabbage, chopped

natural homemade Easter egg dye

natural homemade Easter egg dye

Directions:

  1. Combine water, vinegar, and salt in a large pot, followed by the dye ingredient for the colour you want to make. 
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for half an hour uncovered. 
  3. Strain the dye liquid from the solid ingredient (for the tumeric used for the yellow and green dye you can use cheesecloth to help strain). Transfer to a large canning jar or other container to cool. Repeat until you have all of the dyes for the colours you want to make (I added some of the tumeric dye for yellow eggs to the green dye mixture because I didn’t think the green dye from the spinach would turn out. I’m glad I added it because the eggs turned out really green). 
  4. Once the liquid has cooled, submerge your eggs and leave over night in the fridge.

Tip: I’d suggest using hard boiled eggs, since they sink and will absorb the dye equally over the whole shell surface. We tried using artificial white eggs plus hard boiled brown and white eggs to see how they would turn out. The artificial eggs didn’t absorb the dye as well and came out more pastel (which is still pretty, just might not be the result you want), plus I found it was easy to wipe the dye off of them after we took them out of the jars, so the coverage wasn’t as nice/ even. I like the artificial eggs more for the other two styles of eggs I made- chalk paint and glitter- covered. 

 

natural homemade Easter egg dye

CHALK PAINT EGGS

chalk paint Easter eggs

Materials:

Eggs (we used the artificial eggs left over from the natural dye batch and I liked how they worked for this)

Chalk paint in various colours

Sponge brush

Directions:

chalk paint Easter eggs

  1. Using a sponge brush, paint one half of each egg (either top or bottom) and allow to dry in an egg carton. Flip and repeat.
  2. Apply a second coat if needed (I found the second coat gave nice coverage)

chalk paint Easter eggs

GLITTER EGGS

chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

Materials:

Eggs (we added glitter to some of the chalk paint eggs, but I love the idea of doing this with plain white eggs as well)

Liquid glue or mod podge

Glitter

Sponge brush

Directions:

chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

  1. Using a sponge brush, coat one half of the egg in glue and sprinkle glitter over top and allow to dry in an egg carton. Flip and repeat.
  2. Tap loose glitter to remove. If you want to avoid glitter getting everywhere, add a second coat of glue or mod podge over top to seal the glitter.

chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

 Like I said, I love the chance to make a mess and get a little crafty. I guess it’s about that time to start adding some Spring and Easter decor around the house and these eggs are perfect for that (but I’d maybe just stick with the artificial eggs if they’re going to be used for more than a day or two 😉 ). They’re pretty displayed in glass jars and vases or scattered on your table for Easter dinner. See the photos below for some ideas of how to style an Easter table/ party and the links to the other Easter projects included in the Easter collab with Creative Wife and Joyful Worker and Discovering Parenthood

  chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs 

chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

chalk paint and glitter Easter eggs

Easter party

Easter party

Easter party 

Easter party

For other fun Easter ideas see these posts from our Easter collab:

Geo Floral Easter Party Decor– Creative Wife and Joyful Worker 

A Little Floral Easter Party– Discovering Parenthood

DIY Kid’s Carrot Love Ducks Snack– Discovering Parenthood

DIY Gold Foil Easter Eggs– Creative Wife and Joyful Worker 

DIY Floral Kid’s Bunny Ears– Discovering Parenthood (blog post link coming soon).

DIY Watercolour Easter Egg Banner- Creative Wife and Joyful Worker (blog post link coming soon)

Photos:

DIY photos: OHP

Styled party photos- Creative Wife and Joyful Worker and Discovering Parenthood

Location- Ritual Icecream in Fort Langley

Raspberry Cheesecake Icecream + dishes- Ritual Icecream

Kid’s Clothes- Watermelon Tree Kids in Fort Langley

Outfit Styling- Creative Wife and Joyful Worker

Floral Table Runner- Sequel Events

Bunny Rabbit Floral Cake- The Cake Mama

Geometric and Floral Name Cookies: The Cake Mama

Geometric Party Plates, Blush Tablecloth, Wooden Forks: Joonie and Joe

Easter Egg Macarons: Sugar Patisserie

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