What is on your Summer bucket list? Do you have favourite traditions or do you want to try something new? Maybe a bit of both? With school winding down in a couple of weeks it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what adventures you want to get up to, and I’ve got something fun in today’s post to help your family kickstart their Summer planning!
Get ready for Summer with this printable!
If you’re trying to think of ideas to have fun this Summer, this bucketlist printable is perfect. I’ve filled in some ideas, plus left room for you to think of your own; there’s also a completely blank page if you want room for extra ideas. Just scroll down to click and print your own!
But that’s not all I’ve got for you in today’s post…
I’m excited to be giving away a prize pack from Cultus Lake Waterpark and Adventure Park! When it comes to favourite Summer traditions, this would definitely be one of mine. As a kid I love going to Cultus Lake Waterpark, there are so many fun slides, plus they’ve added to it over the years, making it bigger and better than when I was a kid. I’m excited to be taking the kids this year for the first time, plus checking out the Adventure Park with them as well. Plus I get to treat another family to some Summer fun as well! One lucky BC family will win a 4-pack of any height tickets to both Cultus Lake Waterpark and Adventure Park (a $250 value!).
Enter to win below!
The main entry is on this Facebook post, so please go there first to enter then come back here for all the bonus entries, good luck everyone!
Click + print below for this Summer Bucketlist Printable!
The warm weather is here and with it all the adventuring! I recently asked on the blog’s Facebook page what everyone’s go-tos are for heading out for the day to the beach, etc in the Summer and I loved all the responses I received. Whether you’re packing up for a day at the beach, the park, or a day trip, it helps to be prepared and have as much ready to go as possible and who better to ask than other parents for ideas? I try to keep things like sunscreen, wipes, and towels at the ready, with grab-and-go snacks and water bottles close at hand to make getting the day started as easy as possible, and these were popular choices in the responses. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s worth it to be organized, and there’s a difference between what really needs to come along vs added bonuses that can come along if there’s room (and if we remember them 😉 ).
See below for ideas to make Summer adventures more fun & organized!
This year, after years of thinking about it, I finally bought a folding wagon to help get everything where we need it to go. Every time I’d see someone with one I’d kick myself for not buying one- especially after many trips to various places carrying everything like a pack mule, arms loaded up with various bags, floaties, snack bags, etc. In the few months we’ve had it, it’s already getting a lot of use and has been well worth the money (I bought mine at Costco, but I’m linking to a similar one in this post). It’s been a lifesaver on more than one occasion, and it’s compact when folded, making it easy for storage and transport. Once you get to your destination just pop it open and load it up! This is definitely something I recommend to make the back and forth from the car a lot easier. Plus if a kid or two gets tired, they can go along for a ride (these also make great portable nap stations!).
Save time: Keep a bag packed with basics like sunscreen and other essentials to grab and go
One thing I’ve learned since becoming a Mom is that being organized and ready ahead of time is a lifesaver. In the Summer I keep a beach bag ready by our front door packed with things like a mini first aid kit (because you know, kids…), sunscreen, towels, hand sanitizer, and wipes. This is usually the bag I also toss my keys, wallet, and phone into once we get where we’re going, but if you prefer to have a separate bag let’s face it, the cute options are endless (I reaaaaally love this cute one on Amazon or something like this one for a washable option). Mom hack: last Summer I picked up a few hooded towels for about $15 each at Winners and my kids love them. They’re great year-round (think swimming lessons) and perfect for when they want to warm up but not get changed out of their swimsuits. This is the one I bought Liam, but there are plenty of cute options on Amazon like this flamingo hooded towel.
A good picnic blanket or oversize beach towel is a staple for so many Summer activities, plus a good beach/ camping chair so you’re not always sitting on the ground. There are so many pretty options like this one that are washable, but for little ones, this is my favourite. We were given one as a baby shower gift and it gets used all Summer long. I love it because it’s wipable (think: spilled drinks, baby spit up, etc) and washable for more messy adventures; we’ve had ours for 5 years and it’s still going strong.
When it comes to heading out for the day who can go anywhere without snacks?
No matter where we’re going I like to pack a cooler bag full of snacks and drinks to keep the kids happy, and let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a cold drink on a hot beach day (I like to use metal water bottles instead of plastic if I can similar to these S’well bottles to keep drinks cold). And we all know coolers help keep other beverages ice cold for the grown-ups too, if you know what I mean. 😉 I’ll try and prep/ organize as much as I can the night before so all I have to do in the morning is add an ice pack and grab things that need to be kept cool out of the fridge, plus maybe fill a few extra water bottles just in case.
For UV and sun protection, an umbrella or pop-up sun canopy are great to create shade, especially if you’ve got little ones with delicate skin. When it comes to sunscreen, I’ve been trying out a variety of natural ones for the past few Summers and have found these work just as well as the regular ones. Some are harder to rub in/ don’t absorb as well, but other than that I don’t find there’s a difference in coverage (if you’re looking online, both Well.ca and Amazon have a great selection).
And speaking of sunscreen, does anyone else like to pack theirs in a bag in case of leaks? I’m trying to step away from my old go-to Ziploc bags for a more eco- friendly option, and there seem to be plenty of options out there. A good waterproof bag is perfect to keep things like keys, sunglasses, and cell phones protected from water and sand, but also great for products like sunscreen when you need something leak- proof.
What do you think of this list? What did I miss? What would you add? Happy Summer adventuring!
For another fun Summer post, check out this roundup of pool floaties here!
Like these ideas? Save them for later!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn a portion from qualifying sales, which help me continue to manage OHP and create more content
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. I think for my next trip, I may look into the idea of Car Hire, as friends of mine have told me how much easier it was for them to hire vehicles than it was to use their own. 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. For a weekend trip, it might be better to use an RV for ultimate freedom. If you are thinking your rv’s battery has seen better days then it may be time for a replacement. You can find batteries for rvs online.
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. However, if you want to bring your own kayaks, then you are open to doing that also – as long as you’ve kayak trailers that’ll help you easily get there. 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.
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).
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
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)!
Now I want to know: What are some of your favourite day trips to take with your family?
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. First things to do is make sure we are stocked up on all the necessary stationery from somewhere like Office Monster. 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. Goodness me there are a lot of to-dos! No wonder people feel so overwhelmed and stressed out at this time of year. 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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
20 minute train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine
Photos with Thomas at the station
Meet Sir Topham Hatt
Magician and musician performances
Play on Thomas train tables
Thomas theme mini-golf
Sand Castle Building
Thomas craft tables
Model Railway Display
Scroll to the end of the post for more info, to purchase tickets, and to enter to win a family 4 pack of tickets!
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