Summer holiday is fast approaching so now is the time to start planning how to fill the eight weeks. Will you take a holiday? Book in some summer camps? In this issue, there are some great suggestions to fill the time at home – with bubbles, getting messy or blogging. Our 2018 Summer Camp guide will help point you in the right direction for available overnight and daycamps.
British Columbia is an amazing place to live and we’re very lucky to be here, but as the Winter month’s drag on, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the rain and escape to the Sun. My family did just that, on a recent trip to Maui.
After a 6-hr direct flight from Bellingham, we arrived in Maui. The flight was tiresome, but not as grueling as others we’ve been on with children. Luckily, at 6 and 3, ours are now old enough to be entertained by screens for endless hours. Upon arriving in Maui, we settled into our Condo – Maui Sunset in Kihei. Kihei was recommended by friends, as it is the sunnier side of the Island. A statement that is definitely true. It also has great beaches and lot’s of grocery stores nearby.
We got some great tips on where to take the kiddies to keep them safe and have the most fun. To keep the car-time to a minimum, we tried to visit places that were nearby. Here are some top spots you must visit.
- Ho’okipa Beach Park – A great spot to see the Turtles. There is a spot on the beach where they are just laying there. You will see Turtles at other beaches too, but this is a guaranteed spot. Don’t be fooled by the first glance. It looks like a beach with just big rocks, but some of those rocks are actually turtles. Bring some cash because there are some vendors selling fresh, local fruit.
- Twin Falls – this was recommended to us, but being from BC we have access to much bigger Falls – like Shannon Falls on the way up to Squamish. If you’re tight on time, I would give this a miss.
- Pukalani – all we saw here was the Superette, a boutique grocer which had some local treats. We tried the laulau – a local delicacy. There are a few other little shops, but not too much to see here.
North West Island
- Baby Beach, Lahaina – This little beach is protected from the waves by a large reef. There are shallow waters and safe, snorkeling opportunities. It could easily be a full day if you pack a lunch. If you have little ones too small for snorkels, pick up peekaboo boards from Snorkel Bob’s or a similar surf shop. Your child can then just look through the glass window as you walk beside them holding the board. We tried this on a bigger beach and found it very challenging as the snorkel locations were much deeper and over a big reef.
South West Island
- Kamaole Beach I, II, III – These beaches are a great spot to hang out. They are quite busy, but there are lots of kids for your littles to play with.
- Kalama Beach Park – has a great playground, although the beaches keep the children entertained.
- Big Beach – literally a big beach, it is very deep so there is a lot of sand. It seemed to attract the late teens, early twenties crowd, but there will still some families. The water is a little rougher than some of the other beaches.
We opted for a bigger boat, the Calypso when Whale Watching. I’m glad we did. There was a moment when a gray whale was right at the bow of the ship and my children were a little scared so they ran back inside. It was also nice that they could just get up and move around. They would not have been happy sitting in a small boat for 2 hours.
On our last night in Maui, we went for the big send-off and went to a Luau at the Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott. The Te Au Moana show was great, staff was friendly and I enjoyed the food. My kids were not keen to eat more than the fruit, unfortunately. Luckily kids 5 and under are free.
We chose to skip the road to Hana because of the drive time and size of our children. They can’t see much from the car and I was concerned they would spend the whole trip sleeping. We also skipped the Haleakala volcano for the same reasons, we didn’t go to Maui to spend our time in the car and the kids were just too small to enjoy it. Now we have a reason to go back in a couple years 🙂
We are excited to be sharing some mompreneurial insight with you from sisters, Victoria and Phillipa, the founders of Pip and Vix Art Kits! My children had the please of trying these art kits out and had an absolute blast. Read the review here.
What was the inspiration for Pip and Vix?
I first thought of the idea for Pip & Vix Art Kits a number of years ago, but at the time was busy raising two young boys and working as an art teacher in a K-12 school. I put the idea aside, telling myself that someday down the road I would give the business a try. It wasn’t until last year that the idea surfaced again after relocating to the Vancouver area for my husband’s work. The move allowed me to open my own art school for children and the time to pursue and develop the idea of creating a series of innovative art kits for kids. Designed to be fun and educational, I wanted each kit to reflect the way I would teach in my own studio. I wanted my philosophy to guide each project with ample room for the child to experiment, explore, improvise and problem solve. My vision for my business was clear – but there was one problem, I needed a partner. I called my sister Victoria in Montreal and asked if she would like to join me on this adventure. After all she’s a mother, loves art, enjoys working with children, we share the same philosophy & approach and……. she just so happens to be a marketing guru! After a full year of meetings, we were ready to launch Pip & Vix Art Kits for Kids with six art kits and more to come each month.
How many children did you have and what were their ages when you started Pip and Vix?
When we first developed the concept of Pip & Vix Art Kits, my 2 grown boys were 20 and 22 years and my sister Victoria had two teenagers; a boy aged 17 and a girl aged 15. Our kids were more independent, so both of us were at the beginning of a new chapter in life where we had a little more freedom with our time.
Since having kids, I’ve always brainstormed ideas to support my professional career, but to ensure it was balanced with home life and being a Mom. So I developed a home-based art school that would enable me to continue with my passion for teaching art and also be there for my family. From this original concept, the idea of making my art lessons available to other Moms & Dads with Pip & Vix subscription-based art kits was born! Our goal was to design kits for ages 3-13+ years that provide comprehensive lesson plans where our top priority is to provide an opportunity for FUN experiences that encourage exploration, discovery, creativity, and problem solving …less time planning and shopping for parents and more art fun with the kids!
Where did the company name come from?
We wanted a name that would represent the natural playfulness and curiosity kids have, so we used our childhood nicknames…Pip short for Philippa and Vix short for Victoria.
What was the biggest challenge you had becoming a mompreneur?
I think for a lot of Moms it would be a similar answer…balancing your role as a successful entrepreneur and being a Mom. Motherhood is the most important career love for both of us and finding that balance between being Mom and running a business has probably been the biggest challenge we face. Moms have a big “mental load” to juggle; between the responsibilities and time it takes to run a profitable enterprise, and truly being there for the kids to provide guidance and support. Multi-tasking and time management are key as the lines between home and work can sometimes get blurred! And of course saving a little bit of time for ourselves to get to the gym, make healthy dinners or go on a date night with the husbands is also a big challenge, but worth the effort!
What advice would you give to other mother’s looking to start their own business?
Choose something that you’re really passionate about and then have the confidence in yourself to do it! Remember that work will always be there, but childhood is so fleeting and will be gone before you know it! Make the time to get to their basketball game, school play or dance recital. Remain firm that when you’re in your office, stick as much as possible to business tasks (especially important to remember if you work from home!), but when you come home leave it all behind and be present with the family. Easier said than done, but if you set out those boundaries in the beginning, it’ll be easier to stick to them.
The other day we had the pleasure of trying out an art kit from Pip & Vix. It was a rainy day and we had OD’ed on screentime so it was time to do another activity. My 3-year-old was very excited when she was pulling out all the amazing pieces that came with the 3-D painting box.
- Foam core shapes pre-cut (various sizes)
- Various pots of paint & brushes
- Sea sponges
- Colour wheel
- Water cups & plastic spoons
- Clipboard paint palettes
- Newsprint & paper towel
- Samples of Frank Stella’s work for inspiration
- Instruction sheets
- Fun educational fact sheets
She got started painting the canvas first and then followed with the foam core shapes. The best part was mixing the paints on the clipboard paint pallet. It was a great way to introduce how combining colours blend to make new colours. Using a variety of brushes and the sponge to apply the paint was also a special treat.
My 6-year-old also gave the art kit a try. He wasn’t as interested in following the instructions or working to recreate a Frank Stella masterpiece, but he enjoyed having access to all the tools to make his own masterpiece. The newly painted frog masterpiece is proudly displayed in his room now.
From a parent’s point of view, it was great to have all the pieces in one place and not need to scramble to find anything. The kits are so well prepared, even down to the kit including some paper towel. There is an abundance of supplies and definitely, enough for future projects and the box is a great keepsake/storage unit.
- Eye contact: Some people with autism struggle with making eye contact. This does not mean the person is not listening or attentive.
- Use your senses: people with autism often communicate in nonverbal ways. Some use pictures, exchange boards, or other ways. So observe and listen.
- Take time: Give the person a moment to process. Keep words simple and concrete.
- When you speak, use a clear, calm voice.
- Use the person’s name when communicating with them.
- Beware of transitions. Flag any changes that are going to happen as people with autism often struggle to move from one activity to another. A two-minute warning might help.
- Be as flexible and patient as possible.
- Sensory issues: autism can make people very sensitive to light, sounds, scents, and textures. Adjust the situation if the person seems overstimulated. Darken a room. Move the person away from the irritant.
- Do not be surprised if the person paces, rocks or flaps. This is not abnormal. No need to discourage the person.
- Do not try to hug or contain the person. Often people with autism do not like to be touched.
If you or someone you know has struggled with autistic children, perhaps you can relate to Shannon Wray’s story. Her family is the subject of the upcoming CBC POV documentary film, Love, Hope & Autism airing on March 18, 2018, and she is at work on a companion book to the film entitled A Different World. Shannon lives in a small mountain village in Southern California with the love of her life and her son, who has autism. Her daughter is graduating from film school this Spring.
Watch Love, Hope & Autism on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 9pm (9:30 NT) on CBC Docs POV.
The school year is in full swing. Kids are busy learning, and we’re busy helping them the best we can. One way to potentially help is by getting a psychological educational assessment, but what is that? Unsure what it is, or if your child needs one, read Demystifying Psychological Educational Assessments to learn more.
Looking for a new school? Refer to our preschool guide and independent school guides to help plan 2018.
Finally, it is time to brace ourselves for the cold weather and upcoming holidays. Peruse our holiday event guide and gift guide to inspire you in December. Or read some suggested Winter Camps and activities to ring in the New Year.
Whether your child is nearing school age or if they are already enrolled, parents cross fingers hoping their child’s educational experience will be a positive one. If you are in the midst of pondering your child’s schooling experience, take time to visit the Private School Expo on November 19th at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. Finding the best school for your child and family is incredibly important; the school your child attends has a profound impact on his or her success.
The Private School Expo brings together education experts and school consultants. Three information packed seminars help you answer the most important questions you have about school options, how to choose the best one and how to ensure you get accepted. Plus, meet with local top-ranked schools and international boarding schools.
Whether you know 100% that private school is right for your family, or if you are merely considering private schooling as one of many options, you don’t want to miss the Private School Expo.
RSVP now to receive a 50% voucher to the Private School Expo, please visit: www.ourkids.net/expo
Date & Time:
When: November 19, 2017
Time: noon – 4pm
Where: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
Address: 1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver
In this issue, we’ve tried to pull together some resources to make your Summer
experiences a little smoother. You’ll find our extensive camp guide, tips on how to
entertain, tips on how to keep your young learners learning, and ways to make a
holiday more achievable on a tight budget.