Vancouver: this weekend

Hi everyone – Sorry, it’s been so quiet! But, back to school and routine has been taking all of my energy. Hope it’s going well for everyone.

I have decided to try my best to post every week some fun activities that will be happening in Vancouver during the weekend. To begin this post, I will talk about  one of my favorate events in Vancouver. We went – Southlands Country Fair – for the first time last year and had such a wonderful day. I really recommend.

Southlands Country Fair (Sep 15)

has tons of activities hay ride, petting zoo, poney rides, food venders, games… It’s a great way to enjoy the day and feel like you are in the country.

http://www.southlandsridingclub.com/Country_Fair/countryfair2.htm

Vancouver Fringe Festival (Sep 5-15)

The Vancouver Fringe is a celebration of theatre for everyone featuring more than 600 performances by 89 artists over 11 days from September 5th to 15th, 2013. The Fringe employs an “everyone welcome” selection technique—the Mainstage shows are literally drawn out of a hat, giving all artists a chance to participate. The Vancouver Fringe also features unique site-specific theatre where artists stage their work in the nooks and crannies of Granville Island, as part of the Fringe Onsite Program. A lot happens during the Festival – so let me break it down for you.

http://www.vancouverfringe.com/

Adventure Challenge for Kids – Cultus Lake  (Sep 14)

Adventure Challenge for Kids is the ultimate celebration of outdoor athleticism. A multi-sport event that includes kayaking, cycling and trail running, the Adventure Challenge for Kids will be a fun and exciting test of your endurance and technical skills while you travel along one of two scenic routes.

The Fraser Valley event will be set in Cultus Lake Provincial Park. Participants will kayak the lake and road bike the paved park roads before running amongst old-growth giants on the Seven Sisters Trail.

Go to www.adventurechallenge.ca to register!

Kidstart Community Day

Come for BBQ treats and eats, try out your endurance on the stationary bike racer challenge, get your face painted, pedal power our music maker, learn to breakdance, bring your kids for a Pedalheads treasure hunt or become a kid again with an interactive workshop on juggling, tightwire walking and trampoline tricks from the Vancouver Circus School.

www.kidstart.ca

Grouse Grind Run Challenge (Sep 15)

The Grouse Grind Mountain Run has not changed, but this year it will be part of a bigger celebration – the ClearlyContacts.ca Grind Challenge. Each year the Grouse Grind Challenge draws competitors from across the country, to beat their best times on the gruelling course. This run also welcomes athletic newcomers seeking to conquer the mountain for the first time. At the finish line on race day, the chalet plaza will be buzzing with activity. Spectators and all participants can enjoy a BBQ, beer garden, live music, massage services, yoga and more while the awards are presented.

grousemountain.com

Autumn Shift Festival (Sep 15)

Join us for the 4th Annual Autumn Shift Festival on Main Street – a Mount Pleasant, family friendly event that celebrates sustainability, urban gardening, healthy living and community in Vancouver.

The festival will feature a local farmer’s market and nursery at Main Street and 7th Ave, three stages including the main stage at Main Street and Broadway, free popcorn & cotton candy at Main Street and 8th Ave, a Hot Art Wet City artist area, various vendors and plenty of FREE children’s activities! There will also be a smoking sausage BBQ cook-off at 2 p.m. (a fundraiser for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank) at Main Street and 7th Ave and a BLIM fashion show with Liveable Laneways at 4 p.m.

Richmond Night Market

The market features 250 merchandise booths, 80 food vendors serving mouth-watering food and desserts with a different specially featured and priced vendor each night, diverse family-friendly entertainment and more than a thousand nearby parking stalls. It also features carnival rides and a children’s amusement zone, adding thrills and chills to the nightly experience.

I hope this is enough to keep you entertained for the weekend. Fingers crossed the weather will be as nice as it has been this last couple of days.

Books for me! – a purpose for your kid’s old books

Let’s start the back to school time on a good note. A good friend just told me about this literacy foundation that is worthy of sharing with you. When was the last time that you went through your kid’s library? Fingers crossed was a while ago and this will encourage you to clean it up. Have you heard of ‘Books for me!’? “Books for Me! is a non-profit Society and a registered charity based in Vancouver. For many families, buying children’s books just isn’t possible. Books for Me! provides children from these families an opportunity to build their own libraries for free. Our program comes to life as children choose their own book to take home and keep.”

To find out more about ‘Books for me!’ check out their website http://booksformevancouver.org/.

Have a good 2013-2014 school year everyone!

From farm to table

Hi all! Last Saturday I went for dinner with Laura (Again? I know. Guilty!). This time she chose the place and wanted to take me there. It’s a small restaurant on 4th west – Fables. They use local fresh produce in their delicious dishes. Their slogan is: from farm to table. Laura and I shared two dishes and the dessert.

“P” Gnocchi: Peas, pesto, pea puree, pea shoots, mushrooms

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It had a rich delicious flavour. But, I’m glad I was sharing it with her because I would not have finished as it was a heavy dish.

Steak Frites: Triple cooked potatoes, mushroom, buttered spinach.

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I love steak! This one was tender and juicy. I wish it was a larger serving. the potatoes were made to perfection.

The service was excellent. Our waiter was attentive and very nice. Definitely a 20% tip if not more!

It’s not a place I would go with a large party – it did not seem they could accommodate a large group comfortably. But will definitely go back with just a couple of other friends. If you go check it out, let me know your thoughts.

The routine of multiple kids.

I’m just about to have a panic attack. I am trying to organize my daughters’ schedule for the next term. Yes, I am the kind of mom that takes one term at a time. Since I’m still figuring out what is just enough and simply not over doing it. The choices are just so many. Last year my eldest began school full-time and my youngest started pre-school. During the whole summer prior I believed that I was going to have so much time and it was going to be way more relaxed. One child in school full-time and the other part time. Wow! Was I wrong? Bianca attending school the whole day met that her extra curricular activities and play-dates would be after school – making the day even longer.  The previous year she attended school in the afternoon and in the mornings we were doing all that.  Juliana used to follow Bianca around. But as soon as she began to attend pre-school, she started having her own life: field trips, birthday parties, play-dates, classes, lessons, school performances… I really don’t know how parents do with more than 2 kids. How can you be in 3 or 4 or 5…. places at the same time? I’m still figuring out how to be at 2 places at the same time. Literally, their end of year parties were on the same day at the same time. Don’t get me wrong though, I love being busy with driving them around, getting a big hug at each pick up, watching the performances, going to field trips, helping at the school. Really I love it! But the key for me is to know the right amount of activities for each of them. So, there is no way that they can do everything I would like them to do. Anyhow, if you are a mom of two kids or more and the second one is attending pre-school now and or just getting older. It does get easier in lots of ways, and it does get busier way busier. I wasn’t aware!  If I was more aware I wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed.  I made you aware of it! 🙂 Let’s get to work and plan the term. The new school year does begin in 3 weeks.

Celebration of Light

Hi Vancouver!

Don’t forget that this Saturday starts the Celebration of Light in English Bay. I just love the idea that every year a few countries get together to present their version firework show.

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It starts after sunset, but get there early to watch performances on two stages. For more information check out the website http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/artists/shorefest-2013

Dinner at La Pentola followed by dessert at Glowbal Grill

La Pentola is La Quercia’s (which deserves its own posting) sister restaurant at the Opus Hotel in Yaletown. My friend Laura and I went there last night for a way overdue date. The place was inviting and warm as well as the service. Unfortunately we didn’t know about the ‘famiglia style’ and interestingly were not told about it nor it’s mentioned on the menu (at least I didn’t see it). The idea is that they serve 10 dishes for $55/person and you share them with your party. However, it is mentioned on their website and you are able to request it. How fun is it to get and share several dishes during a great night out? The idea is that whole Italian way of sharing food and really enjoying it and having fun while eating.

Well, Laura and I still had a great meal and time. We begun with the ‘Chef selection bruschetta’ for appetizer. I found it interesting – can’t say I would order it again. But, in retrospective I liked it was sweet – great contrast to the main course as it was salty (I love salty!).

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Laura ordered the ‘Polenta gnocchi, cheese fonduta, mushroom’ dish and on the side she got ‘Zucchini trifolati’. The gnocchi was good, but both of us have had better ones. The zucchini was warm and deliciously salty.

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I ordered the ‘Risotti’ (Potato, pancetta, rosemary). I simply loved it! Delicious! The potato and the pancetta blended so well in the ‘risotti’.

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Overall, I highly recommend this restaurant. The bill for the 2 of us came to almost $60. It’s a high-end restaurant in Yaletown that offers a fun menu for you to enjoy with your loved ones.

The night is young! After dinner we went to get our favourite dessert that is offered at Trattoria and Italian Kitchen – Zeppole di Cioccolato. As they describe in their menu “italian style doughnuts, chocolate ganache crème anglaise”. Seriously, I love it! Because both of these places are part of the Glowbal group and they offered it, we mistakenly assumed that Glowbal Grill would also have it. But they did have ‘beignet’ as part of their ‘dessert platter’. We asked them if they could make us the only ‘beignet’. They kindly did it! Isn’t it great when restaurants adapt to the customers wishes?

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It was not the same as the one offered at the other restaurants as it didn’t have the chocolate ganache inside of the donut. Even though it was good, I am now craving for the Zeppole di Cioccolato which I really recommend.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat in Vancouver undoubtedly consider La Pentola. I can’t wait to go back with Shun. It’s great place for a date night. And as I said before to go with friends and family. The Glowbal Group restaurants are a safe bet  and well known in the city. I think my favourite is Coast for the ambience and Italian Kitchen for the food. I haven’t been to Black and Blue yet (probably going this week – a new post). And to be honest don’t love Trattoria or Glowbal Grill, but also don’t hate them. (It might be content for a another post).

Ok! That’s enough for now. Hope you had a great weekend!

Vancouver agenda: this weekend

Last weekend I received lots of texts and emails saying what a great idea it was to post about the Point Grey Fiesta. I decided to make this a more frequent thing, this way I can make your and my life easier and more fun. You still don’t know what you are doing this weekend? Haven’t made your mind yet? Looking for something different and the whole family can enjoy? Vancouver is offering lots of fun things. Take a look!

  • Farmers Markets

It’s the season for Farmers Market lovers to be super happy. There is one in each corner of the city – Kerrisdale, Kitsilano, Main Street Station, Granville Island, Trout Lake, East Vancouver, West End, UBC… Ok! I think I covered most of the city. Burnaby, North Shore, Richmond… obviously all have their markets too. Most of these farmers markets run from now to October.

  • Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2013

Who doesn’t like Jazz? The festival began last weekend on the 21st and goes on until Monday, July 1st taking place in 35 venues around Metro Vancouver. It offers free and paid shows. Check out this video http://youtu.be/SWhIQhi1XKw – it will make you want to go – and the website www.coastaljazz.ca for more info.

  • Vancouver International Busker Festival

Watching street performances is a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s an event that takes place over 3 days from June 29-July 1 on Granville Street between Smithe and Pender. It’s totally free, but tipping the performers is a nice gesture. The performances are presented by the world’s finest street entertainers (comedians, daredevils, acrobats and musicians). For more information go to http://www.vancouverbuskerfest.com .

  • Food Cart Festival Vancouver 2013

Do you love Food Cart? So don’t miss out this event that takes place every Sunday from June 23-September 22. The annual gathering of over 20 of Vancouver’s top Food Carts is complemented by community markets, live music and DJs, craft food vendors, kids activities, and lots more. Oh and it’s 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $2. Children 13 and under get in free.

  • Steveston Salmon Festival

Steveston Salmon Festival is another event to fit in your weekend schedule – it is a long weekend after all. They are celebrating Canada day with lots of kids activities, performances and food. It starts bright and early at 6:30am with Pancake Breakfast and the festival goes on until Sunset.

  • Canada Day at Granville Island

Granville Island was definitely not going to miss out on the festivities. Their celebration includes a Parade, a Truly Canadian Pancake Breakfast, an official Canada Day Ceremony, live jazz, performers, and a South Asian cultural fair.

  • Canada Day – Canada Place and Burrard Inlet.

It’s a day to celebrate with a festival, parade and fireworks. It mainly takes place at the Burrard inlet. The complete guide ( http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/06/canada-day-at-canada-place-2013/
) will make you and your family want to attend it. I think we will be there.

I must say that I have not attended any of these events previously, but I do plan to go. So I can share with you if it’s worth it or not for next year. Now, the forecast is for beautiful weather. Fingers crossed it’s right! I don’t remember the last time we had a warm July 1st. Do you?