Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

Just a short drive out of downtown, over the bridge and you’re at Wesbrook Village. This village is a hidden gem with a great assortment of parks and a variety of shops for the whole family. Whenever we visit Wesbrook Village it almost feels like we’ve traveled further away from home than we actually did. The village ambience gives you that feeling like you have escaped the city and are exploring somewhere far away.

When planning fun family outings one constant that I always look for is walkability. What that means for us is once we arrive we can go grab a coffee, walk to a playground, check out a local event and finish at the splash pad. All without ever having to get back in the car to drive to another location or catch a bus.

Wesbrook Village has the walkability that we look for and the village is easy to navigate, plus parking throughout the village is free. Coming from downtown, free parking is huge for us! The village boasts so many great parks and water features that your kids will be excited to go and explore outside.

If you decide to come and check out Wesbrook village you’ll want to stop at a few of our favourite shops. Doughgirls Comfort Kitchen & Bake Shop is a must to stop at while you are exploring the village. Their sandwiches are so fresh and delicious you will be sad when you get to the last crumb, plus you just might want to take one of their fresh cookies home when you’re done exploring.  For a slow paced beer or dinner out, you’ll want to check out Biercraft. This is a favourite spot of my husband’s as he loves the selection of Belgian beers and the tasty eats.

Over the past year we’ve celebrated at a few different events at Wesbrook Village and every time we’ve left with happy kids. The last time we decided to go to Wesbrook Village we started at one of the water features at Nobel park and ended with a visit to the splash pad by the new community centre. As someone who is not local to this area, the community vibe here is so welcoming and inviting.

This Saturday September 9th Wesbrook Village is hosting a family friendly festival from 11 AM-4 PM and you are invited! You can expect an assortment of activities, a free BBQ and Will Stroet of Vancouver’s Will’s Jams will be taking the stage to entertain all the little movers and the shakers! Our family loves Will and his music will definitely make your kids get up and start dancing.

Put this fun family event on your calendar and you can expect lots of outdoor fun for your whole family. Bonus, while you are out and about enjoying all of the activities snap some photos and get friendly on social media. Add the tag @WesbrookVillage for a chance to WIN a $100 Wesbrook Village Shopping Spree!

Find more information about this free family event over on Discover Wesbrook and follow along on their Facebook page .

 

 

This post is sponsored by Wesbrook Village but all opinions are my own.

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We had just come back from a nice long weekend away with my whole family. I’m talking grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. We had time at the beach, pool time, adventures around town and we just enjoyed being away together for a long weekend.

The purpose of our trip was to celebrate my parents 45th wedding anniversary and it took months to arrange for all of us to be together in one spot together.  A little family holiday time at the beach seemed like the best gift to give and on our last night together we had a special dinner at a restaurant to celebrate our parents.

If you followed me on social media while we were away you would have seen smiley photos of us playing at the beach, sipping wine, and making lots of memories. What you did not see was the exchange of germs that is inevitable when you get a bunch of little kids together. Parents, am I right about this?

I think the biggest offending age group for sharing gross germs is the 1-4 year old age group. This is the age where everything goes into their mouths and there’s a total disregard for things like washing your hands and not licking the countertop at a shop.

We had heard the news that a tummy bug had hit one of the cousins and so they were quarantined and we continued on with the weekend of fun. After all, this kind of trip was a lot of work to plan and who knows when it will happen again.

Here is a classic scenario of why the 1-4 year old age group cannot be trusted:

Cousin #1 has been sick but is now feeling better and on the mend. Cousin #1 is playing with our iPad while the adults try to enjoy the celebratory anniversary dinner out. All of a sudden cousin #1 vomits all over the iPad causing cousin #2 (my kid of course!) to become freaked out and enraged that there is now vomit on the beloved iPad. Without hesitation she grabs that vomit covered iPad and yells in utter distress, ‘MY IPAD!!!’ all while getting her hands lathered up in cousin #1’s vomit.

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Fast forward to our arrival home. It was a long and sweaty trip back home which included a three hour wait for a ferry on a very hot afternoon but everyone appeared to be healthy. Hooray! By the time we got home we were so done with the day and it was a cereal for dinner and into bed kind of night. That is when the rumbling started happening and before we realized what was happening we were met face on with the cherished family memories of the traveling tummy bug.

Current vibes include two out of three kids have had the traveling tummy bug and we are now doing the waiting game to see if kid #3 gets it. I’m crossing my fingers that me and my hubby will be saved. When dealing with barf and kids it feels like you’ve already been sick, no need for personal experiences at this point.

There you have the tale of the traveling tummy bug and why you can’t trust kids to not share germs.

 

 

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Recently someone commented to me, ‘Andrea, I love reading your blog and it look like you guys are always having such a great time BUT…aren’t you just sharing the good stuff? Are you really that happy?’.

The honest answer is, yes and no people! It turns out that I actually love having fun with my kids and we do have a lot of happiness in our daily lives. I’m actually that person who feels total sadness thinking our two months of summer vacation is coming to an end.  I’ve truly loved every field trip we’ve gone on this summer and I’m actually dismayed that I don’t have more time with my three kids to get to even more fun outings with the three of them.

I’m also human and I have three kids who wake up and are ridiculously hungry the second their feet hit the ground. There are your usual sibling fights and lots of, ‘who didn’t flush the toilet?!’. I get asked about Minecraft a bazillion times each day, from two different kids. I often don’t have enough time to wash my hair regularly and I’m notorious for wearing the same outfit multiple days in a row.

Sometimes I can’t wait for my three kids to go to sleep because I just want to be silent for a few hours. However, no matter what kind of daily irritations occur I still choose happiness. If you read this blog, follow me on Instagram or the Mama in the City Facebook page, I can assure you that what you see is what you get.

Here is how, as a mum of three, I make sure happiness soaks into our lives every day.

  • I schedule breaks into each month that are just about me and not just me as a ‘mum’ doing stuff for my kids. I book a babysitter and go get a pedicure/a massage/run errands for myself. This is not selfish and this is a big part of my overall happiness. These small outings give me something to look forward to and allow me to appreciate the time spent with my kids more.
  • We get out of the house (and by house I mean condo!). I find sibling fights, my own irritation level and everyones overall mood is totally effected by staying at home. It is so much easier to load up the stroller and get outside than it is to stay home and constantly be putting out fires. Even a short outing can instantly change all of our moods.
  • When it’s all feeling too much for me and I can feel my breath stuck in my chest and my shoulders are tensed up by my ears, I make frozen pizza for dinner. Funny enough, my kids love when this happens! While I’m busy trying to decompress from whatever it is, they are cheering about getting to have a frozen pizza for dinner. It’s a win win. Sometimes it is okay to just exist and get by.
  • My vice is good coffee and I’ve found that tiny rewards can truly make my day. Three kids is a lot of work and sometimes that short adult interaction at the coffee shop is what fuels my happiness. Holding that iced Americano or that warm (three shot!) latte in my hand as we trek to the park is what gets me through the day.

I am fully embracing this season in my life, the happy parts and the chaotic mind numbing parts. One day I hope to be that old wrinkly granny reminiscing about the glorious summer days I spent with my three little kids.

 

 

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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking down the Vancouver seawall to English Bay, you’ve probably seen the large Inukshuk monument near the waters edge. This structure definitely has some history and is a landmark in the city of Vancouver.

Constructed of grey granite by Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet, this monument was commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories for its Pavilion at EXPO 86 and later given to the City of Vancouver.  In 1987, the Inukshuk was moved to this site and sponsored as a gift to the City by Coast Hotels through the Vancouver Legacies Program – Read the Plaque 

Photo by Kevin Eng

My oldest has done different field trips to study this specific Inukshuk, including walking from school to sketch it and learn the history. Whenever we walk, bike or drive by this large stone structure we can’t help but check out this special landmark on the beach.

Today we did a big beach walk from our condo and passed this site like we always do. However, today was different as we stopped and climbed down a small rocky path, along with a bunch of other children, and took a look at all of the small Inukshuk made by different people that have stopped at the beach. One boy told us he stops by every other day to make a new one, sometimes his old ones are still there and other times they are gone.

An Inukshuk is a man made figure constructed out of piled stones or boulders. Each figure is used to communicate with other people throughout the Arctic and is large enough to be seen from afar. Inukshuks are used to signal where food might be or as navigational aids. They are basically communication centres used by people back in the day. Of course, nowadays these little figures on the beach are merely decoration, but I love the history behind it.

Have you ever visited the Inukshuk in English Bay or made your own tiny version?

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I’ve always felt that summertime in Vancouver is the real reason we put up with so many rainy months. It is absolutely gorgeous here from around the middle of June till sometime in September and there are so many things to do outside. With the compliment of great weather and fun activities there’s always something to see and somewhere to go.

When I received the email detailing a medieval feast at our favourite restaurant I knew we had to do. Chambar is our all time favourite restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we’ve been regulars for the last decade. It’s one of those places where you can never get a bad meal and the flavours are always out of this world. Last Friday evening we checked out their celebration of National Belgian Day and we were promised a midsummer medieval feast and an evening of true civilized debauchery.

When we arrived the place was hopping with people attending the dinner. Once seated we noticed the purposeful lack of actual cutlery and napkins on the family style tables. However, one large bib and a wet wipe were at my seat and ready to be used.  The menu boasted a celebration of eight birds served family style and plenty of Belgian beer to choose from.

Most people seemed to be there with groups of friends, which would make family style eating a lot easier than just a couple as one platter was served for about six people. It was a little awkward sharing a plate of food with complete strangers, especially when it came time to eat salad with your hands, but alas we did survive and ended up enjoying ourselves. I did quietly ask the server, if in fact I was suppose to just dig into the salad with my fingers and she did assure me that was part of the medieval feel of the dinner and so I truly just embraced it!

We ate from 7:30 PM till just before 11 PM and the two of us were so full that I don’t think we ate anything until 2 PM the next day. The last savoury course was actually too much and neither of us did more than pick at it. Eating small plates over a long period of time really fills you up and we left feeling like we definitely feasted.

The final bird of the night was this dessert swan that was filled with delicious cream. Despite being ridiculously full we both enjoyed the Swans of Nico Lake! We ended up walking home through the city in attempts to digest this feast a little bit more before calling it a night. This was such a fun way to spend a summer date night on a Friday in Vancouver!

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I’m going to be totally real here, I do not love cooking at all and find making dinner to be a total chore. This totally opposite from my husband who is an amazing at home chef who can take random pantry ingredients and toss them  together to make some creation. His passion for cooking is what caught my eye from the very beginning.

One of my favourite things to put together is a dinner salad, probably because it is hard to go wrong and I love a big salad. Our very favourite dinner salad is made with fresh wild salmon served over greens. I can actually put this together and it tastes just as amazing as when my husband makes it. Huge win for me!

We’ve been making this salad for the last few years and we are currently  taking advantage of the summer salmon season. I love fresh wild salmon and so when I see it at the market I always know that this salad will be on our menu.

The prep for this salad can be done ahead of dinnertime and chilling the salmon cakes before grilling helps them to hold their shape. This salad is so flavourful and filling with a definite tartness from the tartar sauce and that bit of crispiness from the cakes, together it makes it the perfect combo.

You can most definitely use your favourite store bought tartar sauce but if you want go for full flavour try this recipe and you will not be disappointed. If I was cooking this dish I’d probably ask my hubby to make the tartar sauce. Homemade condiments are a bit fiddly for me but it’s totally his kind of thing. The other side is that you won’t find a better tartar sauce than one you can make yourself.

Now this is dinner. Seriously my favourite summer salad and that’s why I’m sharing it with you. After we made this we ate it on the patio together once the kids went to bed. It was a little at home date night with full flavour. I could eat these salmon cakes every day.

 

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