Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Travel Without Kids!!!! Exploring Portland, Oregon

Travel without kids. Travel on my own. Professional learning trip.   Girls only trip. These are all the things I experienced for the first time in my life.  This past weekend is the first time in over 12 years that I traveled all by myself, without the kids or the husband.  It was so exciting! I  traveled with four other ladies to Portland, Oregon.  We went to see the Opal School and to attend their Reading the World Conference.  One of the ladies, Kelly, and I’ve known each other for years.  Kelly is a SPSD colleague that I look up to and hold up with high regard.  The other ladies, also early childhood educators, I had just met a few times but was excited to get to know them on a professional and personal level.  We all got along super well and I truly feel I’ve developed some new friendships.



Here are some of my favorites from the weekend! 


Opal School/Children’s Museum

I am not going to spend a lot of time giving you the details of the conference but I will say that it was truly inspiring for me.  We spent time learning from their educators and exploring their classrooms.  They truly embody and practice the idea of “children as competent learners” in everything that they do.  I have a lot to share with my teachers at SPSD and am looking forward to pursuing some of these ideas as I mentor teachers and also when I return to the classroom in a year and a half.  If you go to Portland with children, the museum is a MUST see, and I think the zoo would be a place to visit as well.



Forest Park

This was the highlight for me.  I went into the forest to a few times on my own to run during lunch while at the conference.  It is breath taking.  To be so close to the city and yet so far into the forest, surrounded by  trees that reach high above, touching their branches up to the skyline.  You know there are roads nearby but get lost in the beauty of the natural world and wonder.  THIS IS A MUST!!!  Kelly and I spent 2. 5 hours hiking the forest and taking various trails that led us to explore the ‘winter garden’, ‘rose garden’ and Washington Park.



Oregon Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial in Washington park was haunting.  Kelly and I were happily taking in the beauty of the day when we suddenly and unexpectedly  came upon it the memorial.  Our mood immediately changed as we took in all the artifacts that were scattered around.  A beautiful bench sprinkled with rose petals caught our eye first and then the baby that was clearly laid to rest there as a symbol of all the young lives lost.  We paused and  noticed that the pathway leading up to the large stone memorial was scattered with discarded  items to represent all that was lost and taken from the Jewish people.  An opened suitcase.  A teddy bear.  A violin, that once produced a beautiful melody now laid broken like the people who once owned it.  A young child’s boot.  The large head stone was filled with words t of the horrors that once were.  It was a time of quietness, respect, of grief, and  of reflection.  We allowed  ourselves to feel and be swept by the horrors of the past.  As we continued our hike, we found ourselves taking time to walk in silent reflection and gratitude. 



Powell’s Book Store

I love books so this was a must see.  Powell’s book store is stocked with books and takes up one whole city block.  Being teachers, we mostly spent time browsing in the kids section for new picture books to inspire little minds.


Tom McCall Waterfront Park & Saturday Market

Kelly and I ran a 5km loop on the first day down by the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.  It was a perfect way to stretch our legs after hours on the plane and to see the cities bridges. The path was filled with runners, bikers and walkers which was lovely to see.  On Saturday morning we all headed down towards the Tom McCall Waterfront Park for their Saturday Market.   We weaved in and out of people and  vendors filled with crafts, jewelry, art, food, nick knacks and so on.  Many of us walked away purchasing the softest sweatshirt and shirts of Portland form a local vendor.  I got my girls and I matching ones J


Accommodations, Food and Wine


We stayed in a beautiful Mark Spencer Hotel in downtown, which is also the last independent hotel in the downtown area.  The rooms were modern, with a stunning bathroom, modern kitchenette and beds that you could spend hours laying in, which we opted out of 😊.  They also had a great light breakfast every morning, and a wine and cheese happy hour that we took advantage off before venturing into the city streets. 

For all the foodies out there, the city will not disappoint!

My favorites were:



Imperial Restaurant: Food was unique and a classy evening out.


Petunia’s Pies & Pastries:  The cakes were to die for and the coffee was excellent and GLUTEN-FREE!!! 


Teardrop Lounge:  Fun little lounge with a variety of drinks to choose from.  An excellent place to stop after a nice dinner and before heading back to the hotel.


Voodoo Doughnuts:  I am not a doughnut person but these were AMAZING and a fun experience.  I got a fritter, drizzled with chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Can you say sugar overload?!?  I ate almost ate the whole thing.

I feel rejuvenated both professionally and personally.  I was struggling with the winter blues that seemed to be hanging on and getting away like this for five days was an incredible gift.  Getting off the airplane and seeing my little families smiling faces was the icing on the cake. 


I know that traveling big cities, exploring new territory, is something I want to continue doing.  Though I love all inclusive beach vacations, I feel ready to do some new types of travel here and there, when we can afford it. 


Tell me your favorite travel destinations with and without kids. 

Friday, 6 April 2018

5x5 Challenge: Creating and Recreating With Your Clothes

A few weeks ago I decided to join Ruth from My Little Nest on her 5x5 challenge.  Basically you pick out 5 staple pieces from your closet and you use them to recreate 5 days worth of outfits.  You can add flare to the outfits by using accessories, shoes, bags, and jackets (at least I did).  A couple of things I loved about this challenge were:


a) creating multiple outfits out of so few pieces was so much fun and it really makes you think about which pieces are versatile in your closet.


b) I absolutely loved not having a closet full of choices.  I like choice but often become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices and have a difficult time making a choice.  SIDENOTE: I was recently listening to a podcast and the speaker was talking about how we actually increase anxiety in our children, and frustration for ourselves when we give children an infinite amount of choices.  They weren't saying don't give them a choice but narrow it to 2 or 3 options rather then a store full.  I find it difficult to make a choice and not second guess myself when I have a closet full of options.  With only 5 base pieces to work with I was able to quickly choose my outfits for each day and get going without fuss. 


I choose  business casual pieces because I needed them to work for the office environment, though most people did a casual selection of pieces.  I went with a floral dress, basic black pants, a fuzzy white sweater, chambray and floral top.  My black pants can take me a long way, as it's totally acceptable to wear basic black bottoms over and over again.  A good fitted pair of black pants are a MUST for anyone who works outside of the home.  Let's take a look at my creations. 


Day #1 Dress & Sweater

I made it more into a skirt and sweater on this first day.  I've done this trick before with this dress and a different sweater here





Day #2 Chambray, Black Pants, Blazer & Some Pearls

My chambray top is soft and somewhat casual looking for my office space.  I spruced it up by throwing on a navy blazer and you can never go wrong with adding pearls to the mix.  My sweet co-worker loved it so much she recreated it! 



Day #3 Dress & Denim Jacket

For a brief moment it felt like spring and so I thought I could do bare legs and flats!!!!  It was super brief as we got more snow shortly after :( and now everything is melting, brown and disgusting.  Sigh.  But for this one day it was glorious and my hopes were high that spring was here. 



Day #4 Cold-Shoulder Floral & Black Pants

This top makes a statement all on its on.  I always feel polished and springy in it!  It's definitely in  heavy rotation the last few weeks as I am trying to incorporate more 'spring' feel clothes into my wardrobe but am finding resistance from the weather in Saskatchewan.





Day #5 Fuzzy Sweater on Repeat

Added a touch of color to this B & W ensemble with burgundy heels.  My trick for wearing cute shoes in winter is, I wear my boots/rubber boots/sneakers to work and then put on my cute shoes once I actually get there.  :)




That's a wrap.  Loved this challenge and can see myself participating in it again or even just randomly choosing a week to do 5 X 5 by  myself. 


What 5 pieces would you choose?




Sunday, 1 April 2018

Continental Drift & Link-Up


Welcome to our Continental Drift linkup! The reason we are  dabbling at a link up was that we wanted to connect and learn from bloggers from all across the world about their passions and lifestyle.  We will host the  Continental Drift link-up the first of every month. 


The concept for myself and my fellow hosts (Mutton StyleSydney Shop Girl ) is that we, the hosts, will write a post about our life on our continent/Country/state over the past month (hence the name) and our favorite thing from the month. You are invited to link-up on any family friendly topic that you like,  be it DIY, cooking, sewing, crafts, lifestyle, de-cluttering, traveling, moving homes, fashion, style, beauty, make up, etc. Your hosts to this linkup come from UK, Canada and Australia.  Enjoy getting to know each other!


Life here in Saskatchewan, Canada is enjoyable and comforting for the most part.  It’s true that winter runs its course for way too long, approximately 6 months of the year from mid-October to mid-April, leavening all the other seasons to equally share the remaining 6 months.  The winters can be classified as cold and bitter cold, as the wind sweeps across the prairies and chills us to the bone.  Yes, it sounds gloomy and depressing, and honestly every March I struggle to keep my positivity at the forefront, but the saving grace is that we also have a great deal of sunshine.  Even in the coldest moments, if I can feel the sun on my face it brightens my mood. 

So what do we do all winter you ask?  Hibernate?  Stay in doors?  Crawl under blankets and sleep the days away?  NOPE.  Life must go on, much like the show.  We are fortunate to have the ability to buy relatively good winter apparel for ourselves and the girls so we get outdoors and enjoy winter activities as much as we can when the weather is decent. 

We ski/snowboard.

We skate. 

We cross-country ski.

We go for walks.

We go sledding.

We play in the snow. 

We enjoy the indoor pools on the weekends.

We play board games. 

We bake.  We cook.  We craft. 

Sometimes we take a hot holiday to get away from the cold for a little while (not this year though )

We try to the make the most of the winter we have. And then when summer comes, we enjoy the heat, the long hours of daylight and the sun that shines brightly most of the time. 




My favorite memory from March is that my 8-year-old Anya wrapped up her figure skating lessons for another year.  She passed badge 5 in Advance Can Skate and was so confident to step out on the ice with her peers for their little number to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.  She was all poses and smiles for the camera the morning of her dress rehearsal.  This kid is just full of charisma, attitude and spunk.  We are proud of the progress she made this year in her skating and hope that she continues to enjoy it next year. 

Now please follow each of your hosts Bojana of Bodaciousblog, Sydney Shop Girl and Mutton Style  on at least one platform (Instagram, Twitter or blog) and comment on their blogs.  It would be great if you could read and comment on the blog above yours in the link up.  You might make a new friend. Please also do add a link back to our blogs on your posts to help the linkup grow.  Thanks for stopping by, we look forward to learning more about everyone!


An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Mommy Diaries: Life of a Single Mom

I am writing this post the night before it’s due because it wouldn’t be a true reflection of my life had I completed it any sooner. I am single mother to a ferocious brilliant firecracker of a six year old who challenges me with more than I ever realized I had the capacity to handle.



I write this as he sits beside me, refusing to go to bed.  I write this at the end of an exhausting day where he stayed home with me while I worked because it was his first day on the new kind of medication he is taking.  

I write this because he has unleashed a level of attitude I have not been prepared for. And I write this, because as parents we are in this together.


My name is Jodi and I am a mother, a baker, a chef, a yogi, a teacher, and a working professional.  Sometimes, rarely, I am the person I was before I had a child.   I am trying to define what “I”  looks like now with so much of myself dedicated to so many different  roles to act out. 




I am blessed to work from home and make my own hours working for a non profit organization providing homestay opportunities for international students studying in Saskatoon. I also teach yoga, it’s my passion, my fitness and quite frankly my mental health medicine.





I have a penchant for cakes and bake to my heart’s content in my tiny kitchen, making pretty things that taste divine. Sometimes this is my side hustle for a little extra money.


I also love to cook and before I had my son I was obsessed with reading about Le Cordon Bleu in France, but not obsessed enough to incur more student loans after having just paid them off from university. Now I cook to create warmth and social connections around our dinner table, often inviting friends to stay and join us for a meal.




My sweet boy was diagnosed with ADHD, it’s been a long road with beautiful supportive friends holding me up, opinionated educators judging me loudly for not doing enough, and health care providers commending me for all that I have done. This world of parenting has taught me to use my voice, and it took a long time to use it loudly, to advocate for my child, to love him through tears (both his and my own), and to embrace new paths where I was nervous to take them.


We have started a new school, we are becoming a part of a new community and we have been welcomed and supported in our new adventure.




Sometimes I get grouchy, I cry, I complain and feel as though I can’t possibly take another day. Sometimes I float, I get my hair done, I have coffee with a friend, I go to a sweaty yoga class, I drink a glass of red wine, and I watch This Is Us so I can cry just a little bit more. My life is messy, it’s beautiful, it’s blessed.  My life is with a sweet six year old boy who is always in my arms when I need a hug and a kiss. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Little on the Flirty Side & Thursday Moda Link-Up




My usual Fashion Friday post is coming live to you one day early this week as I co-host with the wonderful Ada over from Elegance & Mommyhood.   This is the second time Ada has invited me to co-host her Thursday link-up party with her in the past year and has showed me a tremendous amount of support since I've started my blog.  Ada, mom to the sweetest 5-year old girl named Vivian, who also makes a lot of appearances on the blog. This blog showcases Ada’s personal style as a mom, a woman on the go and as a career woman. She often shows Mommy+Mini Outfits of her and her daughter. It is also a blog about real life updates, current events and her poetry. Ada has been running her successful Thursday Moda linkup every Thursday for two years straight. She can be found on InstagramBloglovin and Pinterest. She thanks you for joining her linkup, today, and welcomes you back!



One of the color combination that really caught my eye this year while perusing Pinterest was moss green, light blue and mauve.  I had the idea to put the moss green with my chambray top for a cute transition into spring look.  Unfortunately the day I was going to take pictures also happened to be the day right after we had a massive dump of snow :)  To see this look with little booties and a more  appropriate office version, click HERE. 


For a fun little twist, I decided to tie a front knot in my chambray shirt.  Generally, I am on the shy side when it comes to showing my mid-riff but I think it's pretty cute and still age appropriate.  The knot dresses the classic pleated skirt down a bit and makes it just a tad flirty.  This outfit makes me feel young and carefree, which is not my regular state of mind these days.  Heehee.


I am very much looking forward to swapping my winter closet out and bringing in my spring wardrobe, which I started doing this past weekend.  I am ready to say hello to color, bight florals, open toed shoes, flats, and light layers. 

Shop This Post:

Pleated Moss Skirt (Simons; similar)

Chambray Shirt (AE; similar)

Crossbody Purse