Thursday 25 February 2021

February Break 2021: Exploring & Supporting Local

Another February break has come and gone, and although it had it's ups and downs, we ended it on a high.  With restrictions still fully in place, vaccinations not being administered to the public (anytime soon), and COVID numbers still high in our part of the world, we decided to stay close by and  focused on exploring our own city and spending money locally.  

The first part of the break was NASTY cold which kept us indoors with short bouts of outdoor fun.  We escaped the city to the lake and although it wasn't what we had hoped for in terms of being able to socialize and play outdoors, we tried to make the best of the situation by playing family games, watching movies, reading and walking the pups.  Let's look at some of the local places that we think spending your time and money is worthwhile.

1.  Logan and I checked out the Candle Lake Golf Resort for a special Valentines Day supper and it was delicious!!!!   Since they've changed ownership in late fall, we had been hearing great reviews and we were pleasantly surprised and impressed by their four course menu, and even more importantly the taste and presentation of everything.   We enjoyed the following:

  •  Tossed greens with candied pecans, apples, smoked bacon, goat cheese in vinaigrette
  • Creamy spinach & Artichoke soup
  • Beef Tenderloin
  • White Chocolate Brownie and Red Velvet Cheesecake
  • Flight of Wine:  Three choices

We also enjoyed skiing and sledding on their lake front skating rink.  It's the perfect way to spend the afternoon as a family, enjoying winter activities.  They also have cross-country trails groomed right on the golf course, and what better way to warm up then by the complementary fire pits with friends, and a cup of hot chocolate.  

I do know they offer a few different winter getaway and experience packages also, but we found some of them to be pretty pricey. 

2.  Candle Lake Cross Country Trails.  There are four groomed trails that we have explored at Candle Lake this winter.  

  • Bay Lake Trail (2 loops available for skiing; 4km and maybe 8 km; flat).  This trail starts at the tennis courts and goes into the bush.  
  • Old Baldy Trail (4.5 km; more up and down).  This trail is in the MInowukaw provincial park area and it's absolutely stunning to ski through, plus going downhill is LOTS of Fun!
  • West End Ski Trail is almost an 8km loop through the beautiful forest.  The trail has many turn around points along the way, making it possible for any level and ability to enjoy.  We've done this trail a few times this winter and it's quickly become a favorite because of the distance and scenery.  (we enter the trail in the  Telwin subdivision)
  • Golf Course.  This was my least favorite because it's in the open space so if there is wind, you aren't really protected.  But it's great for beginners.

3.  Stoked Center (Wilson's in Saskatoon)
The obstacle course and zipline are soooooo much fun.  We met up with my BFF and her daughter as part of her birthday gift since we couldn't celebrate together.  While the kids burned off energy and had a blast, the two of us grabbed a coffee and took time to reconnect.  Mama's their coffee shop is worth a visit!!!!  We've tried a number of different activities here including their race tracks and when the kids were younger the bouncy castles.  It's a bit pricey for the whole family, but it's also great, great fun!


4.  Prairie Star Stables (Grandora, Saskatchewan)
This is Halie's new riding stable, just outside of the city.  Kat, her trainer and proud owner, moved out here just before Christmas.  Although we enjoyed where she rode before, we decided to follow Kat and Halie is now also leasing once a week!  We ventured out to the stables after not being able to ride most of February due to the frigid cold temperatures.  Although it was still very cold, we did have a great time petting the horses, meeting Copper my new favorite cat, and marveling at the beauty of open space.  If you are looking to try some English, or Western, riding lessons, check Prairie Star Stables out.


5.  Dahlia Salon Spa ( Martensville, Saskatchewan)
I saw an offer for a Dermaplaning Facial and decided to treat myself.  I haven't purchased anything in February and decided to spend my $100 on this instead.  It was a TREAT indeed.  You guys, what came off of my face was disgusting.  They let you look at it  after the treatment.  More importantly my face felt so refreshed, clean, and ultra soft.  I would definitely get this treatment done again and in fact I have already decided to get it done in June before school ends.  I will be skipping the "massage" add-on in the treatment, and sticking to just the facial treatment option that they offer.

6.  Optimist Hill  (Saskatoon)
We saved the BEST for last!!!!  It finally thawed and we could spend more than 45 minutes outdoors, so we decided to check out Optimist Hill.  If you have a child who is beginner skier or snowboarder, this is the best place for them to learn.   Anya took the plunge  and we got her a snowboarding lesson. Private lessons are an hour and $40, which was the best investment. Ryan was great with her, got her started and feeling confident. She is now able to go up the hill and make her way down by leafing from side to side, and sometimes is even beginning to turn to one side.  We will be trying to get her another lesson now that she's practiced the skills they worked on.

Halie is a confident snowboarder but she had a blast,  challenging herself by hitting some small jumps and practicing her cutting.  

Both kids had so much fun, that they have already asked if they can go back on Thursday right after school.  YES!  YES they can.

The passes are completely reasonable at $12 for half-day/ youth.  The biggest issue is  their limited  rental supply due to COVID restrictions, so if you need equipment, I would call ahead.

As a family fun we still want to check out their awesome tubing area!  That's on our winter  bucket list for sure!

That's it!  Although I miss traveling, and I certainly miss warmer weather, we do have some great options right here in our city and our province.  Supporting our local economy has definitely been something I've been trying do  more and hope to keep at the forefront of our future planning.  

What have you discovered in your area in the past year?  
What local activities have you discovered or rediscovered this past year?

Saturday 20 February 2021

Outdoor Hot Chocolate Stand: The New Way to Socialize

Hi friends.  We, along with many of you, have experienced some intense weather over the past two weeks.  For us this means anywhere from -35C to -50C on a daily basis for just shy of two weeks.  It was tiring and kind of paralyzing.  The good news, is that it looks like its breaking and we are going into a more seasonably cold/normal time for us.  In Saskatchewan, winter is still far from over so we continue to bundle up and think of creative ways we can socialize outdoors.  To update you on our COVID situation and restrictions.  Our numbers per capita are still very high compared to many places in our country.  Our restrictions allow us to go to the shops, restaurants, etc. with our family.  In our home we can only have our family and up to 10 people outdoors if social distancing is possible.  When the weather is descent we have spent a great deal of time outdoors sledding, cross-country skiing, walking and skating and trying to connect with friends in that way.  We've also had a number of winter birthdays and one way we've decided to see friends and family is by inviting them over for a fire and some hot chocolate.  


A hot chocolate stand is a huge hit and not a huge investment.  People love a sweet, and most importantly HOT,  treat to keep them outdoors for a period of time.  I've been doing a indoor hot chocolate stand for my kids the last few years, usually in February, to entice them to do activities outdoors with a promise of a treat upon return.  What you need is:

  • Several kinds of hot chocolate (regular, Rolo and Coffee Crisp are our favorites)
  • Toppings (mini chocolate-chips, coco, cinnamon, whip cream, candy canes crushed or whole. chocolate shavings)
  • Treats (cookies, donuts, random left over Christmas baking on a fancy tray)
  • Decorations (jars or all sizes, fun tray, Hot Chocolate Bar sign)
  • Fun mugs 
  • Kettle and extension cord if outdoors

I love the little hot chocolate sign I picked up at the local dollar store this year.  You might not be able to find everything at once and that's okay.  I purchased the tray that has mountains and skiers on it last year randomly on a clearance rack, this year I found the perfect little sign to go with it.  I just add things to my display as I see them and knowing that I come back to this each year.  Remember your set-up doesn't need to have everything all at once.  I know we all love a cute IG picture but the main point of this is to keep it simple and really have a way to spend time with family and friends in these really unique times.  

Where are you at with COVID restrictions in your part of the world?  How are you connecting with people?

Thursday 11 February 2021

Smash & Tess Romper Obsession: How I Learned to Love It

Love is in the air especially for this Smash & Tess romper.  Here is a funny story about this.  I saw it at a local boutique but they only had a few and not in my size.  I was obsessed with getting it in time for the holidays and so I ordered it.  It was a total splurge and I desperately wanted to love it.  It came on Dec. 22nd and I put it on and get this HATED IT!  It was a fit and style I had never tried and as I looked at myself in the mirror, my hopes and desires squashed, I felt 100% deflated with disappointment.  It was a $$ purchase so I decided after the holidays I would ship it back.  BUT.....I tried it on a couple of more times and it was undeniably comfortable and unique to my closet.  Then I paired it up with some heels to give me height.  Oh, I like that.  Than I tried it with some belts and found a skinny black one that I liked.  Insert some bling from Hillberg & Berk, long necklace, sparkle ball earrings and bracelet in rose gold, which  complements the burgundy velvet of the romper so well.  Throw on a stark white blazer and BAM I felt like a million bucks.  

LESSON here is that we are often hesitant to try new styles and gravitate to always playing it safe.  I am 100% that ladies.  But sometimes its worth venturing out of your normal and trying something new.  You may not like it the first time but give it a few days.  Try it on and wear it around to see if it  grows on you.  Style it and try it with things in your closet.  The beauty of shopping online is that now we can take things home and try them on for fit, comfort and style before making a decision.  I think of it like a new haircut or color.  When you try something new it often feels and looks foreign on you the first few days.  But then it grows on you and you absolutely love it.  The thing is that we are our own worst critiques and when I wore this romper out I had SOOOOOOO many comp0lements and people asking me where I got it, even though it was their first time seeing me in it.  Obviously they didn't see me the same way I saw myself.  

I have  wore this romper several times both dressed up and super casual.  I am absolutely in love with it and actually would like to add another one from Smash and Tess for the summer months.  Come spring  I still plan on wearing this rich velvet one  either dressed  down  with some white sneakers or dressed up with my nude corc print sling back shoes.

Anyway, Valentines day is around the corner and although Mr. and I usually  do not celebrate we decided  to support local and go for a nice meal at the golf course at our lake.  I'll be wearing this exact outfit!  I also love to decorate and update my seasonal tray in the living room and I love how simple but pretty the Valentines Day tray came together. 

What are you doing, if anything, for Valentines Day?

Shop This Post:
Smash  & Tess Velvet Romper (sold out); Posh Mark Canada 
Jewelry:   Hillberg and Berk
Photos by A & H Snapshots (Saskatoon)

Monday 1 February 2021

January Sentence a Day Edition

1st - Welcome 2021!!!!!  A beautiful morning calls for a cross country skiing with my love. 
2nd-  So far winter has been a gift to us.  Morning ☕, 5 km walk and visit with a dear friend.  Then an afternoon skate with my family on our local pond.  It was full of people, COVID safe, but so beautiful to see.


3rd - Sunday means holidays are almost over.  It was sadly time to take down or tree and Christmas decorations.  Everyone was feeling a little mellow.


4th - Back at works with my munchkins!  I had so much fun!

5th -  My daughter had her first riding lesson at her new stables.  It's a beautiful in place and she was thrilled to be back on her horse.
6th -- Thankful Thursday.  Today my gratitude was pretty easy to come to.  Sometimes I really have to dig deep but today it was hard to choose just three.  

#1 I was happy to be Canadian.  
#2 Thankful for the glorious winter weather we've been experiencing.  
#3 My cleaner makes work/life balance attainable.  
#4 Best day off work!  Sledding, creative play and a great staff meeting! 

#5 Oh and a kick ass workout after work.


8th- It's Friday and we make it through the first week of routine. 

9th- Someone got her belly button pierced!  No, not me!  LMAO.  My almost 14 year old.  


10th- A first for us.  Snowshoeing with the family.


11th- Just another manic Monday 😉
12th - Sledding with my students all afternoon brought me so much joy.
13th - A storm was brewing all day.  The winds overnight were just over 100km and did some damage but by the morning we were off to work.
14th -  A long day means a bath and some wine.

15th - Family movie night.  When I saw the scene below set in the future, who would have guessed this would be our world 3 years after its release. 

16th - Celebrating Halie birthday with a couple of friends at laser tag!

17th -  Just call me "dance" mom.  Today was filled with hair, makeup and dance costumes.  The girls had a COVID friendly videotaping of the dance routines they've been working on.  The studio will edit and compile the footage for a zoom family show and some of the proceeds will be donated to our Ronald McDonald House here in Saskatoon!

18th- Oh so tired.
19th- So much fun today with my students using large and small tree sticks to make representations of tree and then they were encouraged to record their learning by drawing and telling me a story about it. 

20th- Date night with my bestie.  So good to chat, laugh and be without someone who knows you inside and out. 
21st- Coming home to a clean house has been the greatest gift ice ever given myself to. Do you have a house cleaner?
22nd - What a day.  My class is going into isolation so I'll be teaching online for the next two weeks. 
23rd - Good news.  I don't have to isolate, as I wasn't deemed a close contact.  I am so happy to still get to be with my family.
24th - Baby it's cold outside.  Whit mascara trend.

25th My baby girl turned 14!!!  We did celebrate by going out as a family to a restaurant of her choice. 

26th - 4 miles in 39 minutes for the win today!  Felt so good to get back to it after a few days off from running. 
27th - Zoom book club was a blast.  We laughed.  We tackled tough topics.  And we had wine.  

28th Packing up for a family weekend at the lake.  Looking forward to lazy mornings, reading, puppy cuddles, walks in the woods and hopefully a cross country ski. 
29th Finally a break from -40 C and back to just a cold winter.  This meant going for an early morning run with my friend Amber. 

30th & 31st Both mornings at the lake brought ski adventures.  I was able to connect with my husband and a friend from grad school while enjoying the beautiful winter wonderland of Candle Lake.  Pretty sweet way to end the first month of the year.

Overall a pretty good month when I look back on it.  Honestly, I was feeling a little down on January until I compiled all the wonderful things we did in January and now I see that it wasn't so bad at all.  Long.  Yes.  But good.  Since this post is going up instead of my usual Friday fashion post, here is a few favorite outfits from this past month. 

What are you taking away from January 2021?

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