Find us on...

The Vanderveen Team

Contact Us


Login using...

New Search X

Fat off the Land: a Blog About Calgary Real Estate, Parenting, and Food

The Ultimate Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Vanderveen Brown Butter YorkiesI FINALLY did it. I discovered a recipe for yorkies that is better than the package!!! And those darn packages are so expensive! They want $1.99 for what I now know amounts to flour and beef powder, and it only makes 6 tiny yorkies. Not even huge popovers like I accomplished today.

Here it is people, one of my finest discoveries yet:

Vanderveen Brown Butter Yorkies


This is based on 5 eggs which yielded me 12 huge yorkies.

5 Eggs

1 cup Milk

1 cup Flour

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon Liquid Beef Stock Concentrate

Giant hunk of Butter (about 1/6 of a stick)

2 tablespoons Canola Oil


1) Preheat Oven to 415 degrees.

2) So you take the eggs and crack them

1,055 Views, 0 Comments

Warning: The following content may not be suitable for those with queasy stomachs

And then…came the plague. So this is where our trip was thrown a serious curve ball. After Disneyland, Trinity barfed and got sick. Then Grace spewed. The next day Faith blew chunks and I can’t remember too much after that. I can tell you this, every one of us took turns getting sick. The only one who didn’t succumb to illness was Clint.

It was an inexplicable time of survival and coping. We were living in about 170 square feet of space with 8.5 people. There were nights spent driving aimlessly around San Diego looking for a 24 hour laundry.

The Bright Side

Each of the kids got sick with about a 2 day stagger. So in between vomiting we were still able to visit

1,372 Views, 2 Comments

Minnie Mouse at DisneylandAs I mentioned in earlier blogs, we did our entire trip to Southern California in an RV. It was a challenge. There’s no question about it. Let just clarify for a moment that the Vanderveens do not drive a big huge Class A bus. We are in a 28 foot C Class sandwich truck, as I call it. Just kidding, it IS super-cute. We bought an ex rental and then renovated it. You can see pictures of it here. But it was tight quarters, no lie. Even though Clint and I felt the pinch, the kids thought it was an adventure, and that’s all that mattered.

The Motorhome

The motorhome was a key part of my money-saving strategy. This is because it lent itself to being a place to stay for super-cheap (when you have a family our size, hotels usually force you to buy a suite)

971 Views, 0 Comments

 How to list your Calgary home and get top dollar, while juggling a house full of kids.

house selling tips for parentsWe’ve been spending so much time preparing to list our home in Auburn Bay, Calgary, and the time is finally coming to actually put the thing on the market. In this final crunch time, I feel I have some wisdom to share on how to list your home the right way (ie: in the way that will get you the very highest price possible) when you’re dealing with a gaggle of children.

1) Storage Can: We have one on our driveway (I’m so sorry Auburn Glen Circle…it will be gone in two weeks. Promise!) We’ve been filling that sucker up for months - anything non-essential is getting tossed in, which means less clutter to clean and less stuff to dust.

2) Bankers Box of Toys: Give

1,015 Views, 0 Comments

We were so eager to take off that we left the evening before, with plans to stop and park in Lethbridge on the first night. Parking is free at almost all WalMarts and Targets in Canada and the US, so we decided to stop there. The only problem, we hadn’t done our big grocery shop to stock the RV because we always do groceries in the US as they are cheaper. So when morning broke, we were sadly without any food and had to buy McDonalds for the family, which set us back $50.

I also forgot to pack mechanical pencils so that homeschooling could continue, so we had to stop and buy some of those. On the way out of the store, I saw some cool slingshots for the boys that simply could not be left on the shelf - $23.

With the extra time that we bought by

1,011 Views, 2 Comments

Mickey Mouse at DisneylandWell, the Disneyland trip is over and done. I set a goal to take 8.5 people to Southern California, do Disney, Universal, Sea World, and Legoland for $6,500 or less. These are the blogs that will flesh out how the trip went and if I met my budgeting goal.

About the Disney experience, I will say this: it is more than I ever imagined. Everything is so over the top. The parks are so carefully thought-out and geared to be an amazing experience for kids. We were there for 3 days, and we could not get it all in. Not even close. I was so impressed with Disney as a brand; I don’t have enough good things to say about it.

Welcome to our Disney adventure!

The Plan

Here was the nuts and bolts of our trip:

Over the course of two weeks and traveling in

1,078 Views, 0 Comments

Electronic Pasta MakerSo while at Lina’s Italian Market trying to satisfy a random pregnancy craving, I stumbled on the most brilliant looking of all machines: an electronic pasta factory. My eyes nearly popped out of my head, imagining the possibilities of dropping flour, eggs, and EVOO into an agitator and having fresh pasta pop out the other end. Clint and I were just about to reach for it off the shelf when one of the employees came by and snatched it out from under us, telling us we were not allowed to have that LAST machine as she was already planning on buying it since this morning. That was unfortunate. We did find out that Lina had wanted $200 for the machine, which seemed steep, but I was ready to pay it, if the machine truly delivered on what it promised.

So I

1,705 Views, 0 Comments

Don't be an Auburn Bay Hermit

community involvement in Auburn Bay CalgaryBeing involved in your community can mean a variety of things. It can mean anything from your quintessential TV-PTA-Home-Owners-Association-Cheerleader, right down to knowing the names of a few of your neighbours, and anything in between.

The truth is that, as we head more into an isolated community framework, our streets are more vulnerable to crime, and our kids are getting more into video games than bike rides. So this blog is all about how to go from an Auburn Bay hermit, to some level of joiner or starter, wherever your personality leads you.


As outgoing as I am, I still find it easiest to meet people on Facebook before I meet them in person. How nice is it to sit in your yoga pants with greasy hair,

2,542 Views, 1 Comment

Disney keyboardIs it possible for 8.5 people to do Disneyland on $6500 for 2 weeks? I have no idea, but I'm really excited for my kids to experience Disney, as I never had the opportunity. So, over the next while, I'll be sharing my "Disney on the cheap" strategies as I plan our family trip to Anaheim.

OK, so this is super-fun: being the cheap little Dutchies that we are, will be bringing our mountain of children in a RV as we plan to do Disney for 8.5 people on $6500.00 for 2 weeks! That’s right, $6500. And I’m talking everything: food, gas, RV sites, restaurants, and park tickets (Including 3 Days Disney, 2 days Legoland, 1 Day Seaworld [sorry the ticket was free…I know…I’m ashamed of myself] 1 day Universal and maaaaaybe San Diego Zoo (if I can squeeze it in the

1,415 Views, 1 Comment