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Jen Robbins

A few things to do this weekend…

By | Community, Jen Robbins

In case you missed out on the Royal Canadian Family Circus, the show will be at Tsawwassen Mills this weekend!  Be sure to check it out, it’s fun for all ages!

The Surrey International Children’s Festival at Bear Creek Park is a huge celebration for families!  Lots of shows, activities and entertainment.

Looking for a frugal way to see a family movie?  Cineplex offers Family Favourites at the Strawberry Hill Surrey and Langley Colossus locations!  See Peter Rabbit on the big screen this Saturday for just $2.99.  Movies change weekly.

Kids in R-Rated Movies

By | Community, Jen Robbins

“There are too many kids in here!” my friend texted from the movie theatre.  The movie?  Deadpool 2.

When Deadpool first came out I went to see it opening weekend and felt hella guilty.  After all, my then-8 year old was possibly the most superhero-obsessed child ever.  And my guy shares Deadpool’s sharp wit (well, as much as a 10-year-old can).   He was pretty sad.

As anyone who’s seen it knows, this isn’t just your average crash-boom-bash movie.  The “R” rating is earned for more than just a random swear word… it’s a truly gory raunchfest.  I suspect most of the jokes would sail RIGHT OVER kids’ heads and even the most aggressive kid might flinch at the amount of arm-ripping that takes place.

However, I’m sure anyone who works in a movie theatre will tell you that people are taking kids of all ages, even as young as 4 or 5.  There’s been a bit of discussion on social media and many people feel that it’s no worse than a video game and that their kids know that they aren’t supposed to use the cuss words.

I honestly don’t judge anyone for their parenting choices in cases like these.  Honestly, I’d love to share the out-there humour of Deadpool with my witty 10-year-old.  But, even though I think he knows not to use that language… it’s pretty funny when Deadpool uses some extremely creative name-calling. It’s hard for me as a “grown-up” (term used loosely) not to walk out of the theatre wanting to use the same hilarious names… I’m pretty sure these would be some fresh phrases that would get a lot of good laughs at the playground.

The nice thing about my kids getting older is that they know that they won’t be allowed to see it.  They don’t even ask!  So I’m not put in the position where I have to say “no” – and to be totally honest, the number one reason I would say “no” is because we are new to our school and I don’t want to be known as “the mom who let her  kids watch Deadpool”!

Saving vs. splurging on your day out!

By | Community, Jen Robbins

When you have small kids, it seems like you’re constantly looking for ways to save money.  For some things though, saving a few dollars can just add unnecessary stress.  Sometimes we need to actually spend a few bucks to make these experiences worth while, because as an experience parent I’ve learned that you’ll pay one way or another!

I was reminded of this as we decided to venture out to the country fair this weekend.  In the past at fairs and events, we would drive around looking for the cheapest parking spot – and end up walking so far with kids both there and back that we’d have to make promises and bribes just to keep the little ones going.

This year, I felt like a real adult.  Sure you could save $5 by parking another 10 minute walk away.  But we spent $10 on parking at a local church (as part of a fundraiser – it’s for the kids) and walking there and back was nice and easy.

Since some events don’t let you bring any food in, I usually feed the kids before we go.  Of course, the sights and smells of the amazing food there will instantly make you hungry.  This year I swung through the drive through and got them each a $1.50 cheeseburger.  So, it still felt like they got a treat and we didn’t have to buy them each a $7 hot dog.

Tickets to ride can also be painfully pricey.  We decided to splurge on 40 tickets for $45 and those lasted 2.5 rides for three kids… and it was time consuming to walk around and watch each ride to decide if that would be “the one”.  Next year, I think I’ll convince them to put aside some birthday money and buy them each a $40 all day pass.

I also highly recommend the promise of ice cream… anywhere outside the gates of any event.   You can buy three ice cream cones at McDonald’s for under $5 – a cheap price to pay to buy your way out when it’s time to go!

Bringing MY circus to the circus

By | Community, Jen Robbins

Last week my family and I were lucky enough to visit the Royal Canadian Family Circus.  

As anyone with kids knows, taking them to an event can be a swing and a miss.  I also dared to schedule the evening on a soccer night so Surrey Soccer Dad was slightly reluctant.  (Especially once I told him that there were likely no elephants or lions involved.)

The show was amazing!  It was fast-moving and engaging enough that no one got the “I’m-hungry’s” or had to visit the washroom incessantly.  (Of course, if you legitimately do get hungry you can certainly choose from traditional circus fare such as mini-donuts, corn dogs, and popcorn!)

There was enough action in the first half that we were surprised there was more after the intermission!  It does make for a bit of a long event, but there’s honestly enough action and things going on to keep everyone’s attention.  We were sitting with another family that had small children that were transfixed by the lights, acrobatics and music.

If you’ve been on the fence about attending – this family highly recommends it and can’t wait for next year! (Yes, even our Surrey Soccer Dad and too-cool-for-school tween were raving!)

Click here for more information and to buy tickets!

What to do this weekend!

By | Community, Jen Robbins

This weekend in Surrey is really all about the Rodeo!  The Rodeo Fair is awesome.  As new parents, we were always way too terrified of losing our kids at the PNE so the Cloverdale Rodeo is a nice, close-to-home option.   Especially for the 6 and under set who generally won’t last a full day at a big fair! The weather is supposed to be perfect so get out and check out the fair.

There are also lots of events centred around the Rodeo like the Chili Cook off on Friday and the Parade on Saturday.

On the educational front, there is an infant CPR course in Clayton and a Baby Signing Workshop in Surrey, both taking place on Saturday.  But be sure to get outside no matter what you do, and don’t forget to slap some sunscreen on you and your littles!

Mommy’s Little Helper…

By | Community, Jen Robbins

“You’re going to get arthritis in your thumbs,” Ian Power tells me just about every week when he sees me typing fast and furious in my spare moments before we go on-air.

Maybe, but this mom needs to get stuff done and it’s me and my trusted little assistant I carry everywhere I go!  I manage just about every aspect of life through a digital app.  Shopping lists, schedules, weather, library books, school events, photos and more.

It came to me JUST HOW MUCH I use my phone as it had to go in for a warranty service and I had to send it to the phone doctor for a refresh. My go-to phone is a Google Pixel.  Anytime I have upgraded, I just log in and it’s like my trusted buddy is back.  Ok, Google!

However, my loaner phone is an iPhone with just [shudder] 16GB of storage, so I have to pick and choose carefully which apps really make my world go around.  In the past week, I realized just how much I rely on my little helper.

Address of the game: TeamSnap.  Coffee along the way: Starbucks App (gots to get my points, obviously).  Training schedule for my run: Runkeeper.  Working out at the gym: Google Music or Stitcher for podcasts.   Not to mention having none of my Bluetooth devices attached.  Can you hear the tiny violin?

Trying to see how long it would take me to get home, I asked, “Hey Siri, how long will it take me to get home from here?” and she rightfully answered, “I don’t know your home address. In fact, I don’t know anything about you.” Sad emoji face.  No, no you don’t.

End of the Year Rewards

By | Community, Jen Robbins

It’s the time of year when we start thinking about gifts for the teachers and coaches in our life as the grades and the seasons wrap up again.

In my informal poll, teachers just say no to mugs and trinkets.  These days, it’s much easier and efficient to appoint someone in charge of the gifts and throw $5’s and $10’s at them and have them get one big gift card!

Teachers always love something sentimental, as long as it’s small (think handmade card) and they can tuck it away to revisit at their leisure, and not have to hang it over the fireplace at home.

When my kids were in younger grades, I had made a book for teachers by collecting a photo and handmade drawing from each child detailing their favourite thing about the teacher and compiled them into a photobook that serves as sort of a yearbook that she can look back on (I always get a copy for myself as well).  This is fun and cheap but can be a lot of work too.

There are two trains of thought on the gift card: Some teachers say they prefer a Wal-Mart or Michael’s card so that they can use it to stock up their classroom; and some would prefer to have something just for themselves!

Either way, teachers absolutely appreciate the sentiment behind any gift they receive, so don’t overthink it (but think about it now so that you’re not worrying about it on June 25!)

This weekend’s events

By | Community, Jen Robbins

I actually plan to take my kids on a little hike this weekend and I hope their Mother’s Day gift to me is no whining!

Lots of fun stuff to do this weekend though!  Super excited about the Clayton Community Market!  This market is 90% Make it, Bake it, or Grow it.  It’s always fun to see all the local goods and we are excited about this in the community!  If you want to see more events like this, be sure to come on out and make it a success!

There is an open house at the RCMP detachment on Saturday.  This is a great way to build community and great relationships as well as get the inside scoop on all the cool police stuff!

The Salmon send-off is always a cool and fun event with lots of learning opportunities and conversation starters!  I always learn something new.  This event is at Tynehead Park in Surrey on Saturday.


Spending money “sucks”

By | Community, Jen Robbins

Well, we finally put our vacuum to rest this week.

We have 3 kids and a lab who sheds an excessive amount of magical yellow fibres,. As a soccer family, we constantly have the little turf pebbles all over the house. We’re also lucky enough to have a whole number of trees in our yard but they tend to creep into the home.

I finally bought a big ticket vacuum a few years ago and we certainly put it to work. These guys come with great warranties and I had to send that bad boy in for service 3 times before the warranty ran out. But as it got jammed with pine needles and dog hair, it weakened… and while it still functions if you hold down one button and push it around at a certain angle, the time is up.

Appliances big and small are such a big part of ensuring our lives are convenient, but oh, how painful it is to drop big money on them. And the amount of research is painful. Having millions of opinions at hand is so overwhelming!

You can spend as little as $60 or up to thousands on an item like a vacuum. I took to the power of social media, got some recommendations and then hit to read the reviews. In the end I just had to pick one and pull the trigger. (PS, my Surrey Soccer Dad did not care to share the research detail, although many other dudes did chime in!)

I envy people who can make decisions without having to examine every detail of every option, because in the end, it’s a vacuum. However, I can’t be the only one who thinks this much about vacuums because it was probably one of the popular posts on my social media!  Even though I’m happy, so far, with what we ended up with – spending money on things like vacuums sucks.

Here’s your official Mother’s Day reminder!

By | Community, Jen Robbins

Mother’s Day is coming up!  Shout out to teachers for putting together amazing memorable crafts that our littles bring home.  Dads… it’s time to get it together so that you aren’t scrambling and heading to Shoppers or the gas station to battle out for the last stray card on the stand!

Here are some real life tales of some disappointing gifts received by local moms…

“Nothing.”  Come on, dads…

“A diet chocolate bar because I was on a diet.” Okay, dad gets some points for at least remembering and respecting mom’s current struggle, but if you’re going this route, do something non-food related or maybe a fruit bouquet or some trashy magazines that mom can enjoy guilt-free.

Why not give mom some time to herself.  Give her the day off – but don’t let her come home to more work.  Keep the house tidy or get one of those house projects done! Send her off with a gift certificate to a yoga class or a float, or send her shopping with a gift certificate to her favourite shop whether it’s Lululemon or Sephora – somewhere we can’t spend the money on someone else or, god forbid, something useful.

Your special day is coming up next and chances are, she’s already got something picked out for you.  So make a little effort and take a moment to show her you appreciate her and the things she does for your family.

You could also win a fun prize for her with PulseFM’s Mother’s Day contest!