Latest Posts

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Adrian on CBC TV, a Podcast and YouTube

Apologies for the extended absence. It was a busy summer, as parents the world over understand. We managed to do some car-free camping on Saltspring Island and the kids attended three different summer camps concurrently, walking and aqua-busing their own…

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Open House: A Video Tour of the Condo

Just last week the Georgia Straight – the main weekly arts and culture paper here in Vancouver – did a video interview with me as part of their “Open House” series. Open House is a new feature aimed at looking inside…

The youngest, finding some quiet space on my settee to check out a book during the day.

Compact Living Breeds Empathy in Kids

Today I was sitting at my dining room table working from home as I often do. The house was quiet except for some light music, the sun streamed in along with muted city sounds below and I was thoroughly engrossed in…

The offending wall - way too blank, it needed to be fixed pronto!

I Filled an Empty Space By Making My Own Art

This is the second article in my Life Redesign 2016 series. Last time I wrote about how the kids are learning to cook family dinners (we’ve got another lesson starting in 40 minutes, as I write this). In upcoming articles, I’ll detail more tweaks…

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In Support of Purpose-Built Rental Housing for Families

At last night’s Vancouver City Council meeting, I spoke in favour of a development that would add 110 secured rental housing units at 18th and Commercial (a primarily detached house neighbourhood in Vancouver, outside of the city core). 37% of the…

How My Kids Learned To Cook Dinner

The demise of a long term relationship is always a great time to take stock of how you’re embracing life. Even notwithstanding that, I was long overdue for a hard look at how I was living versus how I wanted to…

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How Friction Saved Me 14 Hours A Week

I’m an incredibly lazy person. Only if something is right in front of me will I do it. But if it takes even slightly more effort, I probably won’t. In my day job, we use terms like “user friction” or…

The lower bunk on the girls' bed converts to a table and bench combo during the day.

10 Purchases to Make Condo Kid Life Easy

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a bit of a minimalist. It’s this sense of minimalism that might make you think I’ve been robbed if you come over and check out my place. But despite my minimalism, I…

The kids in front of the Modo minivan we book every couple weeks or so. Just $8 an hour!

Don’t Pay for 95%

Your car sits idle over 95% of the time. Your guest bedroom is occupied one week out of every 52. Your kids use the yard less than 40 minutes a week. Yet we consumers love to envision the maximum usage for…

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Opportunity Cost: Suburbia’s Expensive Secret

I just got back from doing another interview on the high price of Vancouver living. Everyone’s fixated on the ever-escalating sticker price of Vancouver real estate. From high real estate costs ($2.5M for the average West Side home) to the…

Folding chairs store away in the closet when the bed is out.

Square-Foot Hours: Designing 24-Hour Spaces

Michael Mortensen, a Vancouver-based urban planner and developer, wrote an excellent blog post last week entitled “Making Apartments Work Harder: the Third-Bedroom Challenge.” He gives us a great look at how good design can uncover a third bedroom in most two-bedroom condos, simply…

A boy and his hound: Oliver with Friday, the Basset, the dog we found from Part Time Pooch.

Part 3: Using Tech to Save Money on Pets

No Pets? No Problem This is the third in a series on saving money by turning technology to your advantage. In Part 1, I talked about getting the cable companies’ hands out of your pockets. In Part 2, that old…

This is a 2015 Kia minivan, part of the Modo carshare. It costs just $8/hour to rent!

Part 2: Using Tech to Save Money on Cars

Say Goodbye to the Money Toilet This is the second in a three-part series on how to use technology to your (financial) advantage. Even if you’re not a programmer, or your six-year-old knows more about your computer than you do…

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Part 1: Using Tech to Save Money on TV

Say goodbye to traditional TV Canada is one of the most expensive countries in the world in terms of technology. The prices we pay for cell phone and data plans, for example, fall just short of highway robbery. And if…

The kids proudly display their Compass cards (transit passes) on our first official day of car-free living.

Car-Free and Carefree in Vancity

I’ve got five kids, and in today’s one-kid society this means I get a lot of unsolicited advice that starts with “You’ve got five kids! You can’t possibly do [fill in the blank].” This is especially true when it comes…