Category Archives: around Vancouver

Steveston, Pajo’s, & a First

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If there’s one thing we’ve been doing more of this month, it’s definitely eating out.  Normally, we eat out very rarely, but with our days filled with packing, sorting, organizing, and keeping little hands busy so they’re not digging in already packed boxes, we’ve been giving ourselves a break lately and eating some of our meals out.  Not only does mean that I don’t have to cook and that Brad doesn’t have to do dishes, but it also gives us all a much needed break from being indoors.IMG 0467

Tonight, Brad suggested that we head down to Steveston for fish and chips, which I thought was brilliant.  I’ve been meaning to take Miss G down to the oceanfront village forever and just haven’t gotten around to it, and with the weather as beautiful as it was today, it was the perfect place to enjoy some evening sunshine.IMG 0471

We arrived in Steveston, found parking, and headed straight to Pajo’s, which is pretty much an institution when it comes to fish and chips in the Lower Mainland.
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Miss G and I scouted out a table while Brad headed off to order our dinner, and before long, he returned with this…  2 large halibut and chip orders with fresh lemon and tatar sauce.  To say that it was delicious would be an understatement.  It was so good in fact, that I ate more than I should have, even though Grae and I shared and then gave a good portion of our food to Brad to eat.
IMG 0482Now if you know about our food philosophy when it come to feeding Miss G, you know that fried food like this isn’t something that happens usually.  But, with Pajo’s sourcing their ingredients locally {and my moving exhaustion}, we decided to make an exception just for tonight.  In fact, we even let her taste her very first french fry (*gasp!*)

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She of course loved it, so we let her choose two more, and that was it.  (Years ago I heard some crazy stat like ‘60% of North American kids’ first vegetable is french fries’ and whether it’s true or not, I think it may have scarred me for life.)IMG 0493Afterwards, we enjoyed a lovely walk along the boardwalk and checked out many of the fishing boats selling fresh seafood.

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It was the perfect way to end another busy day, and I can already say that I can’t wait to do it again next summer.IMG 0488

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A Local Favourite: Maple Grove Pool

IMG 9694IMG 9685IMG 9690Today we took our little fish to one of our very favourite summer spots in the city… Maple Grove Outdoor Pool.  Gracen seriously loves this place.  The pool’s fairly shallow, so there are lots of areas where she can easily wade around without assistance, there’s a little slide which she zooms down on repeat, and there’s a island in the middle of the deeper end for her to jump off of.  We also love the fact that it’s surrounded by grassy areas and big trees and there’s a playground just outside of the gates.  It’s the perfect spot to escape to when our house is 32 degrees and we need to cool down, asap.  I’m guessing  we’ll be visiting a lot during the month of July.

Maple Grove Pool is open from 10:15 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. daily, with the closing time being an hour earlier after August 21st.  Admission is as follows: munckins 2 and under are free, children 3 to 18 years are $1.50, and adults are $2.50. Concession items are available and the facility operates on a cash only basis.

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Strawberry Fields {A Visit to Krause Berry Farms}

Today we did something I’ve been wanting to do with Miss G for a long while…  We went strawberry picking!  After asking local parents for their favourite strawberry farm recommendations, we decided to head out to Langley to visit Krause Berry Farms.  Promises of giant fields filled with berries, a gorgeous market selling fresh produce and baked goods, playground fun for kiddos, wine tasting for adults, and a farm animal petting area sounded too good to pass up.

IMG 9547IMG 9548IMG 9556We arrived early and the farm was already bustling with visitors.  We got our buckets weighed, put down our loonie deposit for a wagon, and headed out to the furthest corner of the strawberry patch.  

IMG 9561IMG 9559IMG 9565The berries were plentiful and our buckets filled quickly, though strawberry picking isn’t easy work.  It was hot (really hot) out and by the time we were about halfway through our hour and a half long picking session, Grae and I gave up on crouching and full-on sat down in the strawberry field (slightly less glamourous, but oh so much more comfy!)

IMG 9568While my little helper was interested in berry picking and very patient about it all, she didn’t so much want to pick the strawberries herself.  She did pick a few here and there, but sitting beside you while you filled her bucket for her was much more her style.  That and sneaking a semi-clean strawberry into her mouth every once and a while…

IMG 9580IMG 9583With two extra-large sand pails full of ripe strawberries, we decided to have them weighed, pay for them, and check out the rest of the farm.

IMG 9584IMG 9585IMG 9587First stop – the playground.  Grae loved the tractor-shaped play apparatus, and even though it was cooking by this time, it did provide some shady spots to play in.

IMG 9593Next up, we visited the market.  Oh my goodness, this may just be my favourite part of the farm.  Not only can you purchase all kinds of local produce both from the farm and from other local farmers, but the bakery is stocked full of delicious breads, shortcakes, cookies, and cakes too.  Plus there’s a fudgery stocked with over 40 different kinds of fudge and all sorts of canned goods and fun kitchen gadgets too!

IMG 9604After a quick stop to see the animals out back (there weren’t that many and the enclosures didn’t really allow for easy petting, but G enjoyed it anyways), we stopped to take a couple of photos along the raspberry bushes.  By this time, we were all hot, sweaty, and tired, and Gracen was feeling straight up silly.  For one reason or another, she decided that the only way she’d have her photo taken was if her tongue was out, and by that time, I really didn’t blame her. Sometimes joining the crazy is just more fun.  ☺

It was a lovely day and I’m already trying to figure out if we’ll have time to make another trip out when Krause’s u-pick blueberries are ready in mid-July… Though next time we’d do things a little differently as by the time we got home, most of our berries were already pretty mushy.  

Notes to self:  

1) Stacking fresh, ripe strawberries in big, tall buckets leads to severe strawberry smushing – bring big, shallow containers next time instead.  

2)  Locking your berries in a hot vehicle on a 30 degree day doesn’t help the situation – next time, play first, pick last.

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Second Beach Outdoor Pool

IMG 9512Gracen has been very anxiously awaiting this day since we first visited the Second Beach playground back in February.  From the opposite side of the park, she immediately spotted the seal-shaped water slide in the outdoor pool enclosure and has asked when we’d be able to visit ever since.  Sadly, when it opened at the end of May, we had a long bout of rainy, dreary weather, so that prolonged our visit even further…  But when we woke up to a gorgeous, sunny day this morning and asked the little lady what she wanted to do, the first thing out of her mouth was “Go to the pool with the seal slide – WOOHOO!”  Her fist shot into the air in celebration and our adventure for the day was set.

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IMG 9523Surprisingly, the much talked about seal slide was not the hit of the day today…  Instead, she was all about this much larger, much faster turtle slide over in the deeper end of the pool. The truth of the matter is that she loved this slide so much that very little swimming actually took place – it was simply slide after slide after slide for pretty much our entire visit, which was totally fine with me.  Watching the anticipation as she climbed the steps and the absolute joy as she sped down and splashed into the water melted my heart and filled me with pride.  I’m so, so glad our little lady loves water as much as she does.

IMG 9542IMG 9543IMG 9528The only slight downside to our morning was that it was chilly.  Very chilly, in fact.  Despite the fact that the pool is heated and it truly was a beautiful day, the wind off of the ocean sucked away the warmth and made you shiver the moment your shoulders left the water. And while Grae didn’t seem bothered in the least by it, at a certain point we knew it was time to get out, dry off, and warm up.

IMG 9530But that won’t stop us from returning very soon – Miss G’s already asking when that’ll be!

Second Beach {Outdoor} Pool is located on the west side of Stanley Park.  For more information, including schedules and rates, click here.

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UBC Gymnastics Drop-In

IMG 9373IMG 9376IMG 9380IMG 9386IMG 9382The upside to a very rainy June is that we’re crossing things off of our rainy day idea list that I thought we wouldn’t get to do before leaving Vancouver in July.  Today, we headed out to UBC to do something we’ve been meaning to do for a long while – attend a drop-in gymnastics session!  The class was held in Osborne Centre (where there is plenty of metred parking out front) and was a ton of fun.   We walked into a gym filled covered in mats and soft, padded flooring with everything from balance beams to parallel bars, to trampolines, rings, and ropes and Miss G began exploring.  Despite her very cautious nature, Grae had a wonderful time and actually asked if we could ‘flip the car around’ and go back to gymnastics while driving home.  Sadly, today was the last day of the spring session, and starting July 4th when the summer session begins, drop-ins will be on Thursday nights from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. only, which really doesn’t work with young kids.   

Find out more about UBC Gymnastics drop-ins here.

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“Pickle Village”

This morning we woke to a chilly, grey day and decided to get outside and enjoy the change in temperature.  Miss G happily took the opportunity to wear her favourite {giant} purple toque and we headed down to Olympic Village (a.k.a. “Pickle Village”) to explore.  We definitely don’t spend as much time in the village as we should considering how lovely it is.  With interesting art pieces, a boardwalk lining False Creek, a gorgeous view of downtown, and one of the best natural playgrounds I’ve seen, it’s a great reminder of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful city.  Here are a few snapshots of our morning…

IMG 8502“That’s a really, REALLY big birdie, Mama!”

IMG 8504Enjoying a bread treat and the view.

IMG 8515A kid-operated water feature – a playground favourite!

IMG 8520“Mama, I’m following the water!”

IMG 8517Searching for fish.

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Kerrisdale Play Palace is Back!

IMG 9843IMG 9844IMG 9845IMG 9858IMG 9861IMG 9854One of our very favourite rainy day spots, the Kerrisdale Play Palace, recently opened for another spring/summer season.  It seems to be a bit of a hidden gem because although it does get busy, it never seems busy enough for what it is – a very reasonably priced GIANT indoor play space filled with fun inflatables.  Miss G and I went this morning for the first time this season and whoa – did she ever have a blast.  While she absolutely loved it last year, this year was even better.  A little bit braver and a little bit bigger, she is now able to make her way to the top of all of the inflatables and down all of the slides – even the huge ones.  She ran, climbed, and jumped the morning away until her hair was literally wet with sweat and it was time to go home for lunch and a nap.  It was a good morning.

The Kerrisdale Play Palace is located at the corner of 41st Avenue and East Boulevard, in the arena directly behind the McDonald’s. When visiting, keep in mind that both you and your little one(s) will need socks and that weekday admission is divided by age groups.  For the 2013 schedule and admission fees, click here.

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Kid-Friendly Lunch at Corduroy

IMG 9660There’s no doubt that I’m a huge fan of kid-friendly cafés and restaurants.  And though a great kid’s menu is a good start, in my opinion, a kid’s play corner of some sort sets a restaurant apart from the rest when it comes to family-friendliness.   Needless to say, when I heard that Corduroy, a well-known adult-centred lounge in Kits, had opened its doors for lunch and included a kid’s play area in its weekday plans, I was pretty excited.

Gracen and I headed down to check it out with some friends this morning, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed.  Firstly, the location is absolutely perfect.  Just down the street from Kits Beach, a place we frequent often, it makes for a great lunch spot after a morning of sand and sunshine. 

IMG 9642The next thing I noticed was the kid’s menu.  Grae and I normally share a dish when we’re out for a meal (partly because one dish is plenty of food for both of us, and partly because usual kid’s menus are filled with deep-fried junk and processed white carbs), but with a menu that includes meals made with wholewheat, organic, and locally-sourced ingredients, I was more than happy to let Miss G order something of her own.  She picked the margarita pizza on a wholewheat honey rosemary crust, then was off to play.  

IMG 9646The play area, which is right in front of the big open window at the front of the restaurant, was well stocked with a play kitchen and pretend food, a workshop filled with plastic tools, wooden toys and puzzles, board books, mega blocks, and art supplies.  The best part, however, is that it’s fully enclosed.  No escaping kids here.

IMG 9654IMG 9655Gracen’s food arrived in no time at all, and she dove in immediately.  After polishing off her third piece, she paused for a moment and I assumed she’d had her fill. When I went to wipe off her hands and face, she looked at me confused and said, “But Mama, I still have more!”  The girl ate six pieces.  SIX.  

IMG 9656My food was just as good.  I ordered the red wine braised organic chicken panini and it was delish.  And the green salad?  It included dried blueberries, pine nuts, and wild rice.  Yum.

IMG 9650IMG 9661After lunch, the kiddos got back to playing while us mamas finished our meals and got to visit a little bit (not easily done when out to lunch with a bunch of toddlers at a normal restaurant).  

The entire visit was lovely – the atmosphere, the food, the play area, and the company included!  Corduroy is definitely added to our list of go-to kid-friendly restaurants… Now to plan our next visit!

Corduroy is located at 1943 Cornwall Avenue and is open for {kid-friendly} lunch on weekdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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ANOTHER Beach Day

IMG 9470IMG 9461IMG 9451IMG 9475IMG 9463IMG 9501IMG 9493IMG 9491Another day at the beach.  Because it’s too gorgeous to be anywhere else.  

We’re soaking up every bit of this sunshine while we can.

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A Morning at Science World

I can’t even tell you how excited I was to win an annual family pass to Science World from Lisa at The Sprog and VanCity.  Knowing that we only have a few months left here in Vancouver, I am absolutely determined to make the most of the pass. (Rainy day? You know where we’ll be. ☺)   With our package arriving late yesterday afternoon, we headed off this morning for our first visit to Science World in a long time.  G had an absolute blast.

It was also a great spot for me to work on my new personal challenge… using my camera in manual mode only.  With Gracen excited as all get out, the first half of our stops being very dark, and the second half being very well lit,  there were more than enough challenges to try and work around.  Here are a few of my favourite shots…

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