To celebrate Thanksgiving and the beautiful fall weather here in Vancouver, we took Astrid to Southlands Heritage Farm to visit the pumpkin patch. Southlands is a bizarre neighbourhood in the south-west corner of Vancouver, with mansions on giant acreages, horses, and active farms.
Astrid wasn’t a fan of the horses. In fact she was terrified of them, which is odd because she’s usually fearless. But we had fun in the pumpkin patch, playing in the straw pile, and watching the goats.
We rode the Skytrain most of the way there (to Langara-49th) and biked back along the Arbutus Greenway. It was our first chance to bike most of the Arbutus corridor. What a great route. Nice gentle grade and busy with cyclists, walkers, strollers, runners, and people of all ages.
Astrid fell asleep in the chariot and slept for most of the way home, which included a pit stop at the Kitsilano Farmers Market.
Emily showing off the 15 km we biked today. The Arbutus Greenway is too new to be on this bike map.
We ended the day walking around the Olympic Village and enjoying a beautiful sunset over False Creek.
We celebrated Astrid’s first birthday with a joint Canada 150 / Astrid 1 picnic in Hinge Park. Surrounded by friends and family, Astrid enjoyed eating her strawberry coconut cream cake.
Merry Christmas to everyone, from our family to yours. We’re looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas morning with our darling daughter, eating latkes, and opening a few presents. No big showing from Santa here.
Our family stopped giving presents a few years ago, and I’m grateful for that. Only the kids get something small. The adults in my mother’s extended family do a homemade gift exchange – this year the theme was painting or drawing. Emily and I painted ornaments, and liked them so much we made a few extra for our own tree.
We had our Vancouver family over for a Ukrainian Christmas Eve feast – complete with kutya, borscht, perogies, vegan sour cream, cabbage rolls, beans, mushroom gravy, creamed kale, bread, pickles, and a fruitcake for dessert. Almost all of the food was home-made and vegan (except the perogies which we bought at the farmer’s market and the kutya which has honey), and it all tasted delicious. Ariella even braided a fabulous challah that was glazed with maple syrup and coconut oil. Astrid got to try her first spoonful of borscht and eat some of the sweet potato perogy filling, and I think she liked it.
It wasn’t a purely traditional Ukrainian meal, more of a fusion of cultures to match our family. We started eating at 3:30 instead of waiting for the first star, so the little ones could get to bed. And we lit a menorah to celebrate the start of Hanukkah.
It’s Astrid’s first Christmas and we’re spending it in Vancouver this year, so we thought it would be appropriate to get a tree. However, 1) our building doesn’t allow real Christmas trees; and 2) we really don’t have space to set up a full-sized artificial Christmas tree (or store it the rest of the year). So, we needed to get creative.
In 2013, we used a small potted spruce as our Christmas tree. Sadly he died last winter.
This year, after searching for creative Christmas tree ideas, we decided to make a wall-mounted Christmas tree from garland (inspired by this blog post).
- 9 feet of NOMA Aspen C9 LED Garland (with lights)
- Two 3M Clear Medium Command Hooks
- A bunch of zip ties and wire
Step 1: Arrange the garland on the ground and bend it into a tree shape
Step 2: Hold it up to the wall to make sure the spacing and size looks good
Step 3: Back on the floor, zip tie the elbows together so it holds its shape. The bottom piece was too far away for us to use a zip tie so we used wire.
Step 4: Fluff out the garland branches to fill any gaps.
Step 5: Attach a hook to the wall where you want the loop at the top of the garland to go. The garland we used was pretty heavy so we placed a second hook about a third of the way up from the bottom.
Step 6: Decorate and enjoy!
The final result:
A few pictures from our Easter weekend in Kamloops with my sister’s family.
We had fun making Ukrainian Easter Eggs (pysanky).
And of course there was a hunt for eggs filled with chocolates, candies, and cryptogram clues.
My nephew was the big winner.
Christmas this year was all about spending time with family.
My parents new off-the-grid home is still under construction, but there was room to sleep all 11 of us.
We had fun exploring all the nooks and crannies while playing sardines.
We hung out in our pajama onesies.
We played pond hockey.
We made perogies (and then ate them).
We got to meet our nephew Jacob for the first time. He’s a real cutie.
We went for wintry walks with the dog.
We lit bonfires …
and set off fireworks.
More photos on Flickr.