WIN 4 Tickets to the BC Home + Garden Show

The BC Home + Garden Show is returning to Vancouver this February with a great line-up of seminars, demos and more than 425 exhibitors. While it’s been a few years since we have attended ourselves (think pre-kids), renovations are high priority for us this year. We bought a cottage a few months ago with the knowledge that it would need some renovations this Summer. Though we kind-of know what needs to be done, I am looking for inspiration for the rooms, particularly in terms of decor and storage solutions, and in landscaping as well. On the homefront, we are also considering some small (and maybe large) renovations, so this is a great year for us to revisit the show for some inspiration and contacts. 

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If you too have renovations or design on the mind, this show could be for you! Better yet, I have a set of BC Home & Garden Show tickets to giveaway here on ActiveMama!


A family pack of 4 tickets to the BC Home + Garden Show, held Feb 18-22, 2015 at BC Place Stadium. 

How to Enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Grouse Mountain Adventures

Yesterday, our little family of 4 headed up Grouse Mountain for an adventure at the top of Vancouver. We don’t often have a chance to go up Grouse, even though it’s just minutes away, so we jumped at the chance to head up as a family.

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Aiden and I paid a visit to Grouse Mountain last year when we had family visiting from Argentina, since it’s one of Vancouver’s top tourist destinations, but it’s also great as a local family destination. As a local, we actually have the best rate with the Annual Local’s Pass at only $99 or $199 for the family (2 adults, 2 kids) – a great way to spend a few days a year up the mountain (including the great Christmas festivities they do each year).

We spent about 2.5 hours up the mountain (not bad with a toddler and a newborn!). I had Damien in the sling most of the time, taking Aiden first for lunch (pizza), then over to see the Grizzy bears in the wildlife refuge (we only saw one – first he was sleeping, but later playing in the water) and around to catch some action during the Birds in Motion show. We got to see a baby owl, just 18 weeks old – very cool.

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Aiden enjoyed climbing on all the sculptures and enjoyed his first Beaver Tail as his snack:

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After that, Aiden and I sat down for the Lumberjack show. Though the comedy went over the head of my nearly-3-year-old, there was still a lot to entertain him. He’s talked a lot since about how the lumberjacks fell in the water during one of the ‘competitions’. During the show, the lumberjack carved a little chair (aka the bunny that didn’t work) and it was given to the youngest member of the audience – Damien! As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, it was the perfect fit for him… it’s now proudly sitting in our garden.

During all this time, Ianiv was off for the adventure of a lifetime with the Zipline experience. He took part in the 2-hour, 5-line tour going all over the mountain, including the Peak Chair). Ianiv said the views from the zipline experience were breathtaking and his guides, Lee and Danny, were great fun. As you can see from this photo, Ianiv thoroughly enjoyed himself!

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Once 5pm rolled around, Aiden was getting grumpy and Damien was getting tired, so we had to skip on any further adventures. I was hoping we’d be able to go up to the Eye of the Wind and maybe sit down for a video in the theatre – next time!

All said and done, Aiden’s favourite part of the day was the ride up and down in the skyride – a little scary on the bumps, but he was fascinated by the whole process! He’s been telling everyone all about it today :)

See all our photos from the day here.

Please vote for this post in the Unlimited Blogger Contest from Grouse Mountain and you could win an Annual Membership, a Zipline tour or an Eye of the Wind tour!

Disclosure: Grouse Mountain extended an invitation for us to visit the mountain. The opinions in this article are my own.

Healthy Families BC Invites You to Win a $250 Lululemon Gift Card

Healthy Families BC approached me about helping to raise awareness on how to incorporate healthy eating and fitness into a busy family lifestyle. They offer resources and one-stop wellness information for how to be active, eat well and more. The new community, based on their website, Facebook and Twitter, wants to help you make positive changes in your life.

To help kick-start an improvement to your own lifestyle, they are offering a $250 Gift Card to Lululemon to one ActiveMama reader who shares what it means to be an Active Mama. Read on for more details…

My Fitness Story

For many years, I suffered from chronic pain and my fitness level went way down. I couldn’t walk or lift weight or do much of anything. Once I found a way to fix my physical pain, we decided to start our family. I wasn’t at my best fitness level going into motherhood, and my pregnancy wasn’t pain free either. After I had Aiden, I walked a lot (mostly to get him to sleep!), but after a few months, he refused both stroller and carrier and my fitness level went down.

I’ve learned that not every child is easygoing, that being a parent is tiring, and that sometimes you have to go out of your way to get fitness back into your schedule. Recent car accident aside (it set me back), I’ve done a lot to met my goal of becoming a Fit & Active Mama!

Ideas to be an Active Mama:

  • Go to baby bootcamp classes with your pre-mobile baby (Rec centres offer many options)
  • Take advantage of drop-in childcare at fitness centres so you can work out
  • Go to a gym in the evening or on days when you have pre-arranged childcare
  • Keep trying the stroller! Aiden eventually came to love it as a toddler
  • Do yoga or basic strength training (squats, lunges, etc) while your child plays. It’s pretty non-invasive and still allows you to pay attention to them
  • Set aside some money, if you can, for a personal trainer. They can help you learn how to correctly do many exercises and can put together a home fitness plan that requires little to no equipment
  • Set aside 20 minutes of precious nap time to run through your fitness plan. Then you can relax (because you deserve to relax too!)
  • Exercise as a family – take walks or hikes, or set up your toddler in a bike seat or chariot for bike rides


A $250 gift card to lululemon athletica to help you be fit and feel good about yourself.

How to Enter

Head on over to Facebook to ‘Like’ the Healthy Families BC page, then return here and share your recommendation on how to be a fit & active mama! How do YOU make healthy eating or fitness a priority as a mom?

Limit one comment per person. Contest open to residents of BC only. Contest will close on September 30, 2011 at 2pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random.

Healthy Torta Milanesa: Ultimate Sandwich Contest Recipe

I was recently given the Black & Decker Convection Countertop Oven along with 19 other Canadian bloggers as part of the Black & Decker Ultimate Sandwich contest for Mom Central Canada. We were asked to use this awesome new convection oven to come up with a delicious sandwich recipe. I wanted to try to make my favourite kind of sandwich – a torta!

A typical Mexican torta is served on a crusty roll and is served hot. Some aspects of the sandwich may be deep fried or covered in butter. We try to be health conscious in our family, so I challenged myself to come up with my favourite torta (the Milanesa, a breaded and fried chicken or steak) in a healthy way. The convection oven allowed me to make a breaded cutlet that was crispy – not soggy – and delicious!

Healthy Torta Milanesa
Serves 2

This recipe features warm fresh bread filled with a breaded cutlet, melted cheese, black beans and avocado. The flavours are accentuated by the adobo sauce and a splash of lime juice. Great to adapt to any taste and welcomes additions of shredded lettuce, spicy pickled carrots or tomatillo salsa. Makes a great stand-alone meal or main to go with a black bean soup.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 chicken, veal or steak cutlets
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 avocado sliced thinly (or mashed, if you prefer to spread it)
  • 2 bake @ home buns (substitute crusty french rolls or panini bread if needed)
  • Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced or your favourite smokey hot sauce
  • lime juice, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and bake rolls for 10 minutes, until lightly golden. If you have pre-baked buns, skip this step.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs. In another small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, parsley and a dash of salt & pepper
  3. Line oven tray with tinfoil or parchment paper, for easy clean up. If your cutlets are thick, prepare them by using a meat tenderizer between plastic wrap or lightly score the outside. Dip the cutlets into the egg mixture to coat, then in the bread crumbs. Place breaded cutlets on tray (fits 2 cutlets)
  4. Bake cutlets for 20 minutes, flipping half way through. Use thermometer to verify cooking time, depending on thickness of cutlets.
  5. Meanwhile, slice your buns most of the way through and lay flat. On one side, generously apply black beans.
  6. Place cooked cutlet on opposite side of bun and add cheese. Return to baking tray for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove sandwiches from oven. Add sliced avocado, or spread mashed avocado over the beans. Add adobo sauce and chopped chipotle peppers, to taste. Squeeze on some fresh lime juice.

For additional photos, please visit my Flickr set.

Disclosure: I created this post as part of the Black & Decker Ultimate Sandwich contest as part of a Mom Central Canada program. I received a Convection Countertop Oven Courtesy of Applica Canada Corporation, exclusive licensee of Black & Decker Home. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Theatre Under the Stars Giveaway

Conrad Birdie Wows his Fans in “Bye Bye Birdie” by TUTS

As well as the invitation to the Opening Night of Bye Bye Birdie by Theatre Under the Stars here in Vancouver, I also have a chance to give away a set of 4 tickets for one lucky family to attend either Bye Bye Birdie or Anything Goes during the July 8 – August 20, 2011 production!

If you are looking for a fun way to entertain your kids, to expose them to theatre in an interactive and outdoor setting, or just want a special night out as a family, this is a contest for you!


A set of 4 ticket vouchers to the show of your choice on the night of your choice between July 8 – August 20,2011. The winning family will be able to pick up their tickets at the ticket counter at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park.

How to Enter

Leave a comment on this post, answering one of the following questions:

  • Why do you think your family would enjoy one of the Theatre Under the Stars productions?
  • How are song and dance a part of your lives? (Funny kid stories more than welcome!)
  • How have your kids been influenced by theatre?

Tickets are available to anyone willing to travel to Vancouver for the show. Limit one comment per person per day. Contest will close on July 30, 2011 at 2pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random and emailed to confirm availability.