Mayonnaise baked biscuits sound weird, I know, but trust me on this one – they’re delicious!

When it comes to making dinner, this lazy chef needs simple recipes that are fast and easy to throw together. (And preferably something I can complete with a little one hanging off my hip.) So when I find something that is both delicious and difficult for me to ruin, I tend to reuse the recipe a lot. Needless to say, this is one of those recipes.

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We joined the circus for a night.

Spandex clad legs wrapped tightly around a bar, I soared twenty feet above the ground. For a few adrenaline charged seconds, I flew through the air without metal wings or spinning propellers. Upside down, with the wind whipping through my hair and sunlight streaming through the trees, I understood how people could get addicted to this feeling. I didn’t need my pilots license for this kind of flying.

I was on a trapeze.

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Cozied up under a pile of blankets, munching on salted popcorn, and swatting away mosquitoes, this is one of my favourite places to be on a summer evening: Theatre Under the Stars.

In its 69th season, TUTS (Theatre Under the Stars) offers annual musical performances at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, Vancouver. Every summer, the outdoor stage echoes with songs from shows like “Legally Blond,” “Titanic,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and “Grease.”

With beautiful sets, live orchestras, belting performances, and even the occasional park raccoon to wander its way across the stage, stories come to life under a sparkling, starry sky.

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Twelve months ago, the baby in the incubator looked more like a broken bird than a plump polar bear. During those early days, we were so focused on making it through the next hour that we couldn’t even dream of the next week, let alone an entire year.

But before I knew it, I was mailing out birthday invitations and dreaming of coconut covered cupcakes and polar bear guestbooks. A month of naptimes were spent making bunting, pompoms, and paper snowflakes. Our Costco membership card was broken in, presents wrapped, fondant rolled, and an overflowing igloo cake was stuffed in the oven, cried over, and very nearly stomped on. (Never again!)

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From trendy neighbourhood cafes to moss covered hiking trails, we’re on a quest to get off the couch and discover all that Vancouver has to offer to this mostly home-satisfied family of three. (And yes, we’ve broken the cardinal rule for every true Vancouverite and lumped the surrounding cities into our definition of “Vancouver.”) And so, launching this exploration mission on Canada Day, we figured that there was no better place to start than at the very peak of the city: Grouse Mountain.

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To my dearest, sweetest, little man, Happy 1st Birthday!

Exactly one year ago, you and your brother surprised us with your unexpectedly early entrance. While I was busy envisioning September birthday parties amidst crunchy, fall leaves, God had an entirely different birth date in store.

And His plan was perfect!

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I am not an athletic person. And while I like to think that somewhere deep within my bones is a hidden vein of natural athletic talent, the fact that I’ve spent the majority of my time in organized sports as a “benchwarmer” states otherwise.

So when some friends invited us to join them in a Color Run™, I was initially hesitant about paying money to have my slow-moving body trampled by a mass of super-fit, sprinting, racers. To my delight, I discovered that this race was focused on fun, rather than competition. Boasting in the fact that you can “run, walk, crawl, or cartwheel” yourself across the finish line, I hoped this event would be an easy introduction to 5k runs. And of course, outweighing the dread of having to do actual exercise was the prospect of being doused in a kaleidoscope of colored dust.

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If there’s one thing I’m not – it’s outdoorsy. But Alaska, with it’s unparalleled beauty and raw, untouched landscapes is almost enough to make me change my mind. I was so enamored with it’s powerful mountain peaks, breathtaking glacial waters, and piercingly fresh, salty air that I wanted to strap on my hiking boots (which I don’t own) and ford some gold speckled streams. While this was technically my fourth trip to the land of the midnight sun, it was the first time I had tossed my preconceived ideas about northern living and actually soaked up a tiny bit of its allure. Of course, a quick trip in the dead of January would probably dispel most of these romanticized feelings towards the “last frontier.” But from the comfort of my cruise ship stateroom, this city gal can still appreciate the stunning, natural elegance of an unbridled land.

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When it comes to marriage, I’m in my infancy. Just barely out of the honeymoon stage and with only two years under my belt, I still find myself toddling around on occasionally wobbly feet. Like childhood, these early years offer exponential growth and steep learning curves. While this journey in togetherness has been teaching me oh-so-many things, I have yet to gather a collection of profound wisdom or great advice. But I do have are twenty-four months of stunningly beautiful memories and laughter, struggles, excitement and day to day life.

And so, entering into our third year as husband and wife, here is a quick glimpse (just barely scratching the surface here) into what this wonderful adventure has been teaching me:

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In the Smith household, Saturday mornings were always synonymous with waffles. Tickled awake by the smell of freshly baked waffles, we’d make our way downstairs to find Dad busy creating a mountain of breakfast. Dousing the waffles in butter and maple syrup, we perfected the art of stuffing ourselves to near overflowing, while somehow managing to still find room for “just one more…”

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For a while now, I’ve been hearing about the “FlyOver Canada” ride at Canada Place (Vancouver, BC). They’ve run ads on the radio and plastered flyers around town but until recently, I’ve never actually considered checking it out. I’ll be the first to admit that I avoided this attraction for the sole reason that I’m a bit of a flight snob.

Four years ago, with the bare minimum of 200 flight hours to my name, I earned my commercial pilots license. I saw the Rockies up close and personal as I tipped my wings past dazzling lakes and snow capped mountains. Flying from Regina to Three Hills with my night rating, I watched the sun set in flaming beauty and saw the glow of summer forest fires shimmering against the distant night sky. I’ve flown around the Lower Mainland, with mountains on one side, ocean on the other and the city below. I’ve caught a glimpse of the Northern lights from inside my little cockpit and touched down as far north as Yellowknife.

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Usually, I consider myself a pretty good skater. I grew up on the ice and spent a fair number of Saturday’s wheeling around the neighbourhood on a pair of inline rollerblades. So, finding myself wobbling around the rink, clutching at the sideboards, was a new experience for me.

A couple weeks ago, Andreas and I persuaded the grandparents to babysit our wee one (doesn’t take much to persuade them) and headed out on a date. We try to make date night a monthly occurrence and are always looking for fun, new ideas. That’s why I was so excited when we were given a Groupon for Christmas: two passes for an evening of rollerskating at Central City Arena in Surrey.

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