Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

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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Yesterday my two older kids were off at summer day camp so it was just the toddler at home with me. Fortunately for me this third child is feistily independent and can play on her own for a decent amount of time. I usually can set her up with something and she just plays while I do a project at home. Doing any kind of home project while all three kids at at home is nearly impossible and the mess accumulates faster than the tidying gets done.

One of my goals this summer was to go through the kids room and do a big purge. I usually try to do a big sort and purge about three times a year, the summer is one those times. I sort out school papers and art collections that have accumulated, I go through their drawers and closet and generally take out things that don’t need to be there. We donate clothes and books, recycle what we can and toss any garbage or broken items.

Living in an apartment means that I need to be very aware with what we have and keep it organized. Our two big kids share a room but all three kids share that space for their clothes and toys. We have two different dressers in the bedroom and the two girls share the biggest one. The closest is actually used to house most of their toys and we use three TROFAST storage from Ikea with removable bins inside the closet. Special treasures they don’t want to share go in their under bed storage.

There is one big bookcase that doubles as a toy display and book shelf. We have a lot of books! Which is something I love to make space for. Our home library spans from board books to chapter books and I make sure to have a variety of books on display for them. I pull out seasonal or themed books throughout the year and keep the rest in a box in the top of their closet. Sometimes I will go into their bedroom and find one of three kids just sitting on the floor beside the bookcase looking at a book. Which is a personal parenting win!

Just recently I bought my son a zippered bedding, think sleeping bag with an attached fitted sheet, for his top bunkbed. Since we use the room to play in I wanted the beds to look tidy and making the top bunk with regular bedding is like putting pyjamas on a cat. Now that he has this new style of bedding he is charge of zipping it up each morning and it definitely looks tidy and I don’t have random bedsheets draping off the bunk bed.

My kids love sharing a bedroom and it works for our family and our space. I know for sure that if we lived in a big home with different bedrooms that they would still want to sleep in the same space together. They feel comforted with their sibling their and are eagerly waiting for the littlest to be old enough to share a room with them too. We shall see how that unfolds as time goes on!

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the kids room in our apartment. As a family of five, and one silly dog, we live in 1200 square feet with two bedrooms, a den and two bathroom. I think that living space can really be tailored to what works for your family and biggest isn’t always better.

 

 

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The last two years we’ve had a really good thing going in our daily life. I’d drop my oldest boy off at his school, get my middle girl to her preschool, located in a different spot downtown, and then spend a couple of hours with the littlest before we were back at preschool for pick up.

Every afternoon it was just us three girls spending time together. We’d hang out at the park, walk the seawall, head out to lunch at a restaurant or head to the beach. Really, we just had a lot of fun together and often got up to different city adventures. On  days that I wasn’t working, or sleeping post night shift, we had this groove going. Now that the school year is coming to an end I’m starting to feel aware of all the changes coming our way.

I’m one of those people that doesn’t get too excited about change and I hardly ever seek it out on purpose. It takes me weeks to figure out how to move a piece of furniture or hang a photo on the wall because, ultimately, it would mean things will be different. I like routine and I like the same. However, at the same time I’m literally in awe of people who eagerly uproot their lives and move their family across the world or even those people who are constantly moving around furniture at home.

In a few days our school year will be over and we will get to spend a glorious two months together and I could not be more excited. When it comes time for back to school I will have two  kids at the same school for the full day and the silly thing is, I’m already mourning the loss of having my middle girl hanging out with us all afternoon.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for this girl and her upcoming kindergarten milestone and she is so ready to go to school. I cannot wait to see her thrive and become a school kid.  I’m just feeling the change and aware of the shift that is slowly happening. I’m so used to pushing the stroller around the city with my curly haired sidekick hanging on to the side chatting up a storm and telling jokes. It was these moments that have helped to shape my motherhood.

We have two days left of this familiar routine and we are actively cramming in all the girl time we can. All while I’m being totally ridiculous and mourning the loss of the routine we have had together for the last two years. Motherhood can be so humorous sometimes, you can be equally excited for new milestones for your children and at the exact same time be mourning the loss of what you had.

 

 

 

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I asked my first Apartment Baby, Benjamin, to read the new book written by author Jackie Burns.  Jackie is a fellow ‘Mama in the City’ raising her two boys in a condo in Toronto and this book was born out of her experiences raising kids in a condo.

The story of The Condo Kids is about two brothers living the condo life alongside the other condo kids in their building. The brothers really want a pet and plot to sneak home a Barbary sheep named Bob that they met at the zoo. The story follows their adventures of trying to keep this unusual condo pet under wraps. Including funny disguises and outfits worn by Bob to keep him hidden in plain sight and sneaking him into the top bunk during bedtime stories.

“I really liked reading a book about kids who live in a condo just like I do. I thought it was really funny how they tried to keep Bob the Barbary sheep a secret from their mom. There were lots of funny parts of the story.  I think other kids my age would like this book as much as I did.” – Benjamin, age 8

This book is a great read for the 7-10 year old range and you don’t need to be a Condo Kid to enjoy the story. Initially I was attracted to this book as there are not a lot of kid books that are written about kids in condos. However, the funny adventures of The Condo Kids and Bob The Barbary Sheep will win over any school aged reader.

Ten percent of book profits of The Condo Kids goes directly to support Earth Rangers, a kids conservation organization.

 

 

 

 

 

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Way back in 2010 I was a solid year into crafting this blog and I was nominated as one of Vancouver’s Top 30 Mom bloggers. Since then Vancouver Mom has hosted this annual event to celebrate the new crop of mom bloggers and I’ve attended six out of eight of the celebrations. Last night I had the pleasure of going to Hycroft Manor for Vancouver Mom’s Top 30 blogger event, Style.

At the very last minute I decided to wear the exact same dress that I wore for the inaugural event back in 2010. Thank goodness for having a forgiving little black dress in my closet because things with me have changed since 2010! Seven years older, two more babies and I am STILL blogging!

I was really excited to check out Hycroft Manor as I have a secret passion for investigating old houses. When I was given the go ahead to go off and explore I was seriously thrilled. I took my sister along for this event and together we toured the mansion. Peeking into solarium after solarium (seriously, so many solariums!) and checking out the bedrooms and the bathrooms.

Attending last nights event felt like a reunion and also a complete embrace of sisterhood. While blogging in itself has changed so much since I started writing here, it’s so wonderful and refreshing to meet the ‘new to the scene’ sisters who are just starting their journey in the blogosphere. One of my favourite parts of the evening was meeting up with four other ‘originals’ who were part of the 2010 group.

I’ve just recently hit my eight year blogiversary and while I don’t have as much free time these days to capture blog posts, I still love writing and sharing about my life as a Mama in the City. I enjoy getting emails from readers asking questions or sharing with me about how a blog post helped them out. It’s the connections that I make through this outlet that fuel me to keep on writing.

Thank you so much for reading my words and thoughts over these past eight years. Your connection is important to me and I have truly loved sharing my world with you. 

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