Classroom Reveal and Mini Tour | Grade 3 French Immersion

Finally, my classroom is mostly finished! I say mostly because are classrooms really ever complete? We are always adding, fixing, rearranging and making things more effective. I am sure I will be doing some of that in the future, but for now I am more than happy with the way my classroom is looking and running. I thought I would write a post to give a mini tour of the room and describe the main areas I have included.

I will likely do another post in the future with closer photos of some of our systems and organization! Please be aware I teach french immersion, therefore all of the signage and resources are french. The photos included in this post were taken moments before parents walked in for our schools open house night, I promise our classroom is not always this clean! I hope you enjoy and please leave any questions or comments below!

This is the view from my desk:

You will see in the next picture that I have my desk kitty-cornered in the far left corner of my class. I like it here because I have all of the cupboards and storage behind me, out of the reach of students. On the far wall is where we have our word walls (I prefer subject specific word walls as opposed to one all inclusive one) Going from left to right we have our success criteria display, the french word wall, social science word wall/display and then science. Above all of those are our growth mindset posters.

My desk:

I love this part of my classroom, mostly because it is so functional. I can use it as a personal working space when I do not have any students in the room, it is easy for them to approach if I am working there (which is rare), and it houses most of my supplies. However, I keep almost everything I need on a daily basis in the orange rolling caddie to left of my desk. I simply roll it around with my where ever I am instructing. You can find it here at IKEA.

This is the view from the door:

On the far wall I had just… wall. There were no bulletin boards on this wall or anything. All I had to work with was the wall and windows. I still wanted to fill the space, so I used it as a place for (from left to right) their artwork, our Birthday display, maps of the World and Canada, and the French lyrics to Oh Canada. I really like the way everything turned out! I used tape for somethings like artwork however, there were other items I needed to stay up for the whole year. For this I used Scotch Indoor Mounting Tape. Find it here. It sticks like nobodies business, but it does come off clean when the time comes.

Here is the view form my desk, looking farther to the right:

In the far right corner you can see our carpet and community meeting area, Since this is a grade three class (primary division) we still have a carpet. I plan on transitioning away from the carpet as the students move closer to grade four. I have included a storage bench which they use as flexible seating, along with the iconic pencil pillow also from IKEA.

I have a round table to the right, as well as a larger rectangle table. I use the round table to conference with students at this time (I am waiting on a guided reading table) The students use the rectangular table as a standing work station. Some students even choose to read under the table. They are still small enough that they will not hit their heads.

A closer look at my whiteboard:

Here you can see our daily agenda, where I typically have our learning goals or the focus of each class written beside the according subject. We also have our “Jobs” display farther down the whiteboard. How cute are the pineapple lights though! I absolutely love the addition of alternative lighting in the classroom. I have a lot of natural lighting as well, so I try really hard to use the florescent lights as little as possible.

The area next to the door:

This is the most effective and useful area in our classroom. In the cubbies the kids have their indoor/outdoor shoes and some smaller items they use throughout the day. On top of the counter each class (I teach 2 different classes) has 2 crates with a hanging folder assigned to each student. One crate for things that are not finished, and the other for their portfolio. This is where they put the work they are most proud of, and the work they want to showcase during student led interviews etc. (I will do a close up on these soon)

In the white bins they put the work that is completed. It is the hand in bin if you will. We have a special system for this that makes it very easy for me as the teacher to monitor that everyone has turned in their work. Every student is assigned a number (used for many different things) which is written on a clothespin. When they hand in their work (hopefully with their name on it) they attach their clothespin to the page(s). This way I can just look at the bin, and if there are clothespins remaining on the side of bin, those students did not hand in their work, or are absent.


I hope you enjoyed my classroom tour. I plan on doing some close up posts of certain areas and systems in place, so keep an eye out for that!

Until next time,

New York City Travel Guide

Happy Sunday lovelies! As the colder weather approaches, I have been thinking and reflecting on the trip I took to New York City last January. I have to admit, this trip really gave me the travel bug and has encouraged me to pursue our next experience to Nashville! That being said I thought I would share a re-cap of our trip and all of the amazing things we did, along with some other things I wish we would have done differently.

HOW TO GET THERE

No matter how you slice it, NYC is a busy city, so no matter how you choose to get there it will likely be a hectic experience. We decided to fly into JFK Airport from Buffalo Airport. Living in the Greater Toronto Area, you would think that it would be easier to fly from Toronto Pearson International Airport. This was not the case for us. We found a great deal flying with JetBlue Airlines from Buffalo right into JFK, and since we are so close to Buffalo it was not much of an inconvenience. If you live in the GTA or the surrounding area, I strongly recommend checking flights out of Buffalo for any traveling you do. We were very easily able to park our car for the time we were going to be in New York across from the airport. This was really convenient since they had a shuttle that brought you from your car directly to your departing gate.

Once we arrived to JFK, we took a sequence of trains to get from the airport to the Subway where we made it to our hotel. Some people may choose to take a taxi or an Uber from the airport, and I would definitely recommend that depending on the amount of luggage you have. In our case, we each had one normal/full size suitcase and one carry-on. Marc carried a backpack, while I carried a small duffle that easily sat on the handles of my suitcase. Since we were not lugging to many bags, the walk was not to bad. However, the weather was rather cold and snowy, but none of this made the walk to unenjoyable.

** For our experience leaving NYC scroll to the bottom.

WHERE TO STAY

Being our first time in the big apple we wanted to stay in the heart of the action therefore, we stayed as close to Times Square as possible. We found a great deal on Hotels.ca for a three night, three day stay at The Riu Plaza New York Times Square. It was a beautiful room with great service! The only thing we will consider next time when traveling to New York is the noise. If you are a light sleeper I would highly recommend researching the area in which you decide to stay in terms of noise. I understand that New York is a very busy city, but being so close to Times Square made it very difficult for Marc to sleep, even with the windows closed, and we were also on a high floor. Next time, we would like to stay in Lower Manhattan or Soho.

WHAT TO DO

We had a whole list of things that we were just dying to do in NYC, but being there for a short amount of time meant we had to decide what was an absolute priority. Before you make any decisions on the tourist locations you would like to view, be sure to check out the New York City Pass. This allows you to visit many attractions for a discounted price. In the end we decided on these specific attractions to see during our time there. I included prices and details for those of you interested.

We got to New York City on a Thursday.

Times Square – Thursday evening – FREE

When we got to our hotel it was Friday in the early evening. We knew the first thing we wanted to do was to walk to Times Square and take in all of the amazing-ness! This worked out great because our room was so close to the square.

Times Square, NYC

Central Park – Friday morning – FREE

We took the Subway to Central Park which was much easier than I thought it would be. Keep in mind that you should ask the people working what the best option is for you in regards to purchasing Subway tokens/passes. In our case it was a better deal to purchase a weekend pass (3 day pass I believe it was called) since we took the Subway as our main mode of transportation while we were there. The people are very nice and will help you, they are used to tourists! The park was BEAUTIFUL and the area around it is fantastic as well. It is well worth it to take the time and walk around!

Shopping – Friday afternoon

As we were walking and taking in all of the sights we did some shopping as well. Shopping was not our main focus of the trip, so if you are looking for some great places to shop in New York I suggest you research that so you are well aware of where to spend your precious time.

Empire State Building – Friday night – PRICES VARYING PER PERSON. SEE HERE.

After dinner, and after dark we heading to the Empire State Building. We were particularly excited for this attraction because we had seen it in so many movies. We went up to the 86th floor, and the 102nd (which is an extra fee but well worth it) We did not however, buy the fast pass. If you are in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time in the city you may want to look into this, but we only waited in line for about one hour max.

9/11 Memorial Museum – Saturday morning – $24 PER PERSON

Saturday was our last day in the city, as we were flying out Sunday morning at 6am. I was very excited yet slightly hesitant to go to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I had heard such great things about it, but I knew it was also going to be very profound. I strongly suggest that you visit this historic museum on the last day of your trip. I say this because the lasting effect of what is in the exhibits stayed with me for the rest of the day. I was a child when 9/11 occurred and I can vividly remember where I was and what I was doing when it occurred. The demonstrations of extreme loss and history are ones that will stay for me for a long long time.

9/11 Memorial Museum

Brooklyn Bridge – Saturday afternoon

From the museum it was very easy to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. I absolutely loved walking from Manhattan into Brooklyn! It felt like a scene right out of Gossip Girl, and I think it might have been one of my favourite parts of the trip. We continued to walk around Brooklyn where the scenery of Lower Manhattan was absolutely breathtaking. It is true what they say,

The best views of the city are from Brooklyn.

Brooklyn

WHAT I WORE

As mentioned, we went to New York right after New Years in January, so it was cold. It was cold and snowy, and beautiful. We chose the attractions that best suited the time of year we decided to go, and we packed accordingly. Now, I cannot stress enough that layering was key. You can see that in some of the photos I am wearing suede boots with a small heel, and in others I am wearing Hunter Boots with boot socks. I was very happy with my choice in footwear for this trip, I wore my Hunters on the place and packed my other boots.

I brought one blanket scarf that was perfect and highly necessary, and a range of hats. Since we were outside most of the trip I still wanted to look nice and put together, so I used hats as my way of accessorizing. Most of the time, no one saw what I was wearing underneath my jacket so keep this in mind when packing. I did not bring a large jacket, although I would have used it, but I ok with the this grey puffer coat layered with a sweater and long sleeve underneath.

At night, when we went out for dinner and drinks I mostly stuck with denim, my suede boots and a cute but warm sweater! New York is said to be one of the fashion capitals of the world, but when you are going for the same purpose as me, warmth was a priority over being trendy.

HOW WE GOT HOME

You would assume that we would have taken an Uber at 3am to JFK, flown out on our scheduled flight at 6am, landed in Buffalo and picked up our car and drove home to the GTA, as planned in my perfectly calculated travel agenda. Wrong. SO SO WRONG. Everything about my timeline went fine except for the actual flight part. We got to the airport, got through security, got a coffee and something to eat and then sat down at our gate. We were in the boarding area for about fifteen minutes before big, bold letter flashed on the screen. CANCELLED. Unfortunately, there had been a tragic event that occurred at the Fort Lauderdale Airport the day before, and it was causing many flights to be delayed or cancelled.

Like everyone else, we called the airline and/or waited in line to find out they could not get us out of New York until Tuesday at 6am (it was Sunday morning at around 5am at this point) This was not a option for us, because we had to work! Thankfully, we were able to rent a car and get back to Buffalo that night. So, after we got our baggage we got into our rental car and headed home. By the time we got home, it was a twelve hour journey. Keep in mind, it was January, and we still had to return the rental and get our car from Buffalo, and then drive home. JetBlue was very courteous in the face of frustration and refunded our airline tickets. This made up for the cost of the rental car. I would strongly recommend that you have a backup travel plan regardless of where you go!

Thank you for reading about our experience in the Big Apple in the winter, and I hope it has helped anyone who is thinking of visiting NYC.

Until next time,

Book Review – The Thirteen | That Night | Undone

I have been doing A LOT of reading this summer and I thought that today I would round up my favourites!

Ok, let’s be honest I feel like I have done a lot of reading, but in reality I only read a couple of books. (Include all of the teaching resources and curriculum I have read, and that is like reading a whole library am I right?) The good news is, I really enjoyed the novels I read over the last couple of months, and I think other people might enjoy them too! I know I am not the only who stands in the isles of Chapters or Indigo researching every book I pick up to see if it’s worth the $22.50CAD.

Side note: I almost never pay the full price of a book. All of the books I am mentioning in this blog post were found in the “Fiction Under $10” or “3 for $10” section at Indigo. I truly believe you can find some gems in those sections! But don’t get me wrong, if everyone and their mother is raving about a book and it is full price, I MAY cave.. maybe.

The Thirteen by Susie Moloney

I read this book rather quickly, but I found it slightly difficult to get into. I bought it because I have a thing for witches, they intrigue me. I loved the Witches of East End series so I thought this might compare. It features the common mother-daughter relationship coupled with poverty, which was interesting in itself. The plot also includes a circle of woman who’s relationships are so odd and out of this world (literally) that is was a little difficult to follow. If you enjoy stories with mythical characters and an adult twist, you will enjoy this one. Caution: This novel is not appropriate for children. Grab it here.

Undone by Cat Clarke


WOW. This book captivated me from the beginning, all the way to the end. This book goes into the terrible reality of teenagers who live with secrets. Secrets about themselves, secrets about others, secrets that ruin lives. More importantly, the book shows how someones secrets, once revealed and not respected, can turn lives upside down. This was a real eye opener for me as to what happens with teens, and how far they really will go to prove something. Grab it here.

That Night by Chevy Stevens

Guys, this book is a must! I hear this author has another book doing the rounds that I may need to pick up. The story revolves around a couple (Toni and Ryan) who were convicted of murdering Toni’s sister Nicole. The book had an amazing ending that I did not see coming, and that was extremely satisfying! Pick it up you will not regret it! Grab it here.

Until next time,

Change | Why it’s Good for the Soul

– The Pathway to Positivity

Some people crave it, others are afraid of it…

Change. Physical, mental, spiritual. It is all the same. It is taking something that has remained the same for a long, long time, and somehow changing it. Seems simple doesn’t it? Sometimes, this shift is self-inflicted, you yourself has decided that something in your life, within your being needs to change. Other times, there is an outside source that forces a change to happen. We have all been there, and sometimes we are afraid of change. I am here to tell you not to be.

Lose the fear

Fear is doubt, and doubt is what negative energy feeds on. It’s ok to have a moment where you feel vulnerable about something that is happening in your life, whether it was your choice or not. But, try not to give it more than that singular moment. When we lose the fear that is tied to our change, we tell the universe that we expect only good things to come from our new experiences.

Try it next time, embrace the change, lose the fear and expect great things.

Feed your soul

In the 21st century we focus so incredibly hard on feeding our bodies so they grow strong and pure! What about our souls? We can get used to our lives and the experiences we have day to day. Change gives us a healthy shock to the system, and leaves us feeling grateful! Grateful for what we had before the change, and for what is next to come.

I leave you with this simple thought…

Would you be completely happy with your life if someone told you, you would never experience change again?

Until next time,

 

Fall Clothing Haul | Affordable Fashion

Happy almost back to school/pre-fall season everyone!

Back to school time can be stressful and exciting! Back to school supplies, clothes and all the other fun stuff can really add up! For teachers like me, it is important to get great staple pieces that work in and out of school, without breaking the bank. Being a self-proclaimed affordable fashion guru, I hunted for a variety of items perfect for this coming season!

I collaborated with my good friend Stevie on this post. Some of the items featured she purchased, while some are my own. For reference, Stevie wears a small, her shoe size is a 7 (shoes were true to size) and is 5’3. Send her some love.

Outfit details are below the pictures, and everything is linked where possible. Happy fall shopping!

Outfit Details:

This beautiful short sleeved cardigan is from Winners! The thing I love about Winners, is you can find some real gems! However, I have learned that if you wait on something, and then decide you want to buy it a few days later, it likely will not be there anymore. Hence, you snooze you lose. So, head into your local Winners or Marshalls!

These loafers (featured in nude and black) were a steal at Ardene! I am talking BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF. Bonus: On their website, these loafers are now 70% off $19.99!

Outfit Details:

This basic cardi tho! It is the ultimate staple! On sale for $45 right now at Old Navy (Teacher clothing HEAVEN) and it is a total must. Stevie also told me she plans to pick it up in multiple colours she loves it so much!

Outfit Details:

I cannot get over this vest. It is a gorgeous olive green colour, perfect for fall. Stevie bought it, I bought it … even my mom bought it because it was on sale for $11 at again … Ardene! I plan on wearing mine open like Stevie is here, or as a dress with a belt and leggings. Online it’s listed as BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF, but in store it was 70% off, so it may vary from site to store.

Outfit Details:

How cute is this blouse! Perfect for work or school, it is classy and comfortable! I couldn’t find this exact one on the Ardene website, but I linked a similar one here.

Outfit Details:

Similar to the blouse previously mentioned, this one is great for the season we are in right now. Say you want to look professional and put together, but it’s hotter than Jamaica in July? This is the little number for you! Pick it up at Ardene for BUY 1 GET 1 FOR $1. (Yes you read that correctly, no Ardene is not going out of business) 

Outfit Details:

These shoes will be the shoes for my fall teaching wardrobe! Again they are at Ardene for BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF. So, I paid $30 for two pairs! I’m sorry, but I paid more for my dog to get his hair cut last week. YOU CAN NOT BEAT IT!

Please follow this blog for more on affordable fashion, teacher fun and all things lifestyle! Thank you for visiting and come back soon!

With love,

#YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY

Our bodies are amazing. They get us through our everyday lives, and we push them to their limits sometimes. Some of us push our bodies farther than we would care to admit. Depending on the job that we have and the lifestyle we lead, we can put our bodies through a lot. So how do you thank your body? How do you give back to the amazing vessel our souls are given to live this life in.

#yogaeverydamnday

I do yoga. I try my very hardest to practice a little bit of yoga everyday, but let’s be honest sometimes you need to switch it up. I do however try to make sure that I am getting some exercise every single day. Our bodies work hard for us so we need to work hard for it, to ensure it gets everything it needs to be healthy and strong. This includes our minds, something that many of us forget about. (GUILTY) Yoga is not only fantastic for the strength and flexibility of our bodies, but also our mind. Our mental health is becoming more and more important in todays society, therefor it is crucial that we take time out of our day to say thank you to our bodies, and our minds, for getting us through the day.

Tone it Up

Katrina and Karina from Tone it Up not only have some of the best yoga routines but they are quick and highly effective. They help you strengthen and tone every part of your body, while centring your mind. Here is one of my favourite yoga routines from the Tone it Up ladies!

➰ Tone it Up Website

➰ Tone it Up YouTube

A lot of the times, I want a more rigorous workout so I lift weights or I do one of the other Tone it Up workouts. Tip: On the Tone it Up website they have a tab called the Daily Workout. Here, they tell exactly what workout to do giving you pictures or videos! Check it out here. Regardless of the workout, I try to do centre myself at the end, doing a small yoga sequence. I thank my body for all it does, and thank the universe for my many blessings.

Until next time,

Stephanie

 

The Pathway to Positivity | Manifesting Using Vision Boards

Linked at the bottom of this post, you can find other blog posts in The Pathway to Positivity series. 

Manifesting, it is a beautiful thing, if you know how to do it correctly. I talk all about the basics of manifesting in this blog post. There are many different ways you can manifest your dreams and goals, vision boards is just one of them.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collection of pictures that depict the things that you truly desire. The idea is that you gather photos that explicitly show your goals, showcase them in a way that work for you, and ensure that they will be visible to you during your everyday life. We know that we have to envision what we want, so by starring at those things during the day, it only increases our level manifestation. Every time you look at your vision board you automatically begin to see life with those goals. You imagine what it would feel like, and be like. These are exactly the sentiments we need to be feeling and thinking, to get the most out of manifestation.

How to create a vision board?

The images you choose to use for your vision board should be relevant to you. Meaning that, if I want to be successful in my career, I am going to choose a picture that pertains to my job (Business for example) I might include a picture of someone in a board meeting, and I am at the head of the table. This example is specific to my job, and shows the exact goal I want to achieve.

On the other hand, depending on the goal, you shouldn’t be too specific. If you want to go on a glamorous vacation, don’t narrow your horizons to a certain place. I would include a photo of a beautiful beach or resort, making sure that the name of the place etc. is not included. This allows your mind and the universe to bring opportunity to you, in a large scale. If we narrow our expectations down too far (in this case) we are limiting the universe and our minds. It is like asking a friend to go to the store and buy you some ice cream, only you didn’t tell them which kind. Maybe your friend will bring you a few options, because you weren’t specific. See what I am saying?

Putting your vision board together

It sounds silly, but include yourself in the images as best as you can. The point is that you are looking at your future! If you can photoshop your name or yourself into the image DO IT! It will only make things that much more effective. If this is not possible, it’s ok, do what you can. Remember, the goal is to include pictures that make you think of the things you aspire towards.

Below is my vision board. It is a rustic entryway piece I found at HomeSense, and it is my perfect vision board. Don’t forget, you should put it where you will look at it the most. This is where we hang our coats, put on our shoes and leave our keys, so we see it at least twice a day. I also included the reasoning behind every image on my vision board. I hope it helps you think of photos you would like to include and how to depict your goals.

  1. A house – Marc and I are saving for a home. This is just a picture I selected from google of the general type of home we like. I am thinking of adding another picture of a condo, seeing as we are open to either option.
  2. Marc and I together – This picture was taken at my friends wedding last year. We had a lot of fun and we had so much love for each other. These are the feelings I get when I look at that picture, so I continue to envision that love and happiness in our lives.
  3. A vacation – This image is of a tropical vacation, something Marc and I may want to do over the winter season. However, I am currently debating on changing this photo out to include a scene in Nashville. We have recently decided that our families will be going there in around a year. So, if I include Nashville on our vision board I can manifest that vacation rather than a tropical one. Seeing as Nashville is more likely to occur in our situation.
  4. A For Sale Sign – This is where the magic happened. I used the Paint program on my MacBook to add Marc’s name to the for sale sign. Marc is a real estate representative in the GTA and we manifest his success on a daily basis.
  5. A classroom door – Again, I used Paint (simple but oh so useful) to add my name to the classroom door. My goal was to have my own classroom for the coming school year. By adding my name I added myself into the equation, making it easier to envision my future. However, you may notice I did not include a grade on the door. This is because I was not specific in the grade I wanted to teach, and I did not want to limit the scope of possibility. I was open to teach any grade! I just so happened to be fired for a grade 5 classroom position.
  6. and 7. Our grandparents – I included photos of my grandmother and Marc’s grandfather during a time when they were happy and we were all together. When I created the vision board, both were battling a medical illness, so we would envision them happy and healthy like they were in the pictures! I am happy to report they are doing amazing.

I hope this helped you think about your own goals and wishes for yourself and the people you love. Don’t forget that you have the power to take control of your life. You can change the things you are unhappy with, even if it seems impossible.

All you need to do is envision it, work for it, and believe it.

Until next time,

Stephanie


Other blog posts in The Pathway to Positivity Series 

Manifesting 101: The Basics of Manifesting

How to Start Being a More Positive Person

Kobi’s Accident | #DogMom

Warning: Some of the below information could be upsetting. 

We live in an apartment, a basement apartment where our landlords lived above us. The retell of this story is not about them, or even their dog. It is about the events that landed my six pound shorkie in veterinary care on a mild December night, when it could have been avoided. The thing is, dogs are unpredictable no matter how well you think you know them, and as owners and people we need to take precautions to protect them, and ourselves.

I had went out to get groceries and Kobi was at home, while my boyfriend was at work. It was around 9pm when I returned home with arms full of groceries. Making more than one trip is the biggest hassle, so I loaded up my arms and brought all the bags from my car to our apartment door. Mistake #1: I should have dropped all of the bags, opened the door, and picked up my dog right there. Instead, I opened the door, arms still full of groceries, and Kobi went outside. This was fine as our backyard is gated and he cannot get out. Our landlords dog was out as well (Not unusual, and not a problem seeing as they usually got along) My landlords dog was an approximately sixty pound german shepherd husky mix (I am guessing) Let’s call her Buddy for the sake of anonymity. Mistake #2: Never assume the actions of a dog, yours or another. So, I go into my apartment entrance and just as I am about to put my bags down I hear this sound. It was a cry/whimper that I had never heard before. I turned around to see Kobi in the mouth of my landlords dog.

At this point fight or flight kicked in, or was it adrenaline? I don’t really know, but whatever lets mothers lift cars off their children, that was what shot through me in that moment. I literally threw my bags on the floor and ran to them. Buddy had at this point, let go of Kobi by throwing him on the deck.  I picked him up and immediately thought he was gone, but I wasn’t accepting that. I held him, ran to my apartment and started rummaging through my grocery bags to find my iPhone. I had thrown it in there while trying to be Super Woman and carry all the groceries in at once. Mistake #3: I didn’t close my apartment door behind me. As I sit on the floor with Kobi in one arm, and my other desperately hoping to find my phone among all the groceries, Buddy was coming into my apartment, and jumping over me to get to Kobi. I pushed her out and slammed my door.

I found my phone, called the first emergency vet I could and as calmly as possible, explained what had happened. He told me to come in immediately and he would meet me there. I don’t know how, but it just so happened that this vet was located down the street from me. As I am driving my mind was drifting from “Please please hold on.” to “Oh my gosh, I have to call Marc (my boyfriend) at work” If you have been following this blog, you know we recently moved form Northern Ontario to the GTA and didn’t know anyone else, so I was all by myself with an injured dog, panicking.

When I got to the vets office he was already there and brought us right in. HE IS AMAZING! If you live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and are looking for a vet, email me and I will give you his name. Anyways, we got into the examining room and this is where I really lost it. I was no longer alone, and my baby was in the hands of a professional who I hoped could help him. The vet determined that Kobi had severe nerve damage to his spine. Kobi couldn’t do anything. The vet was telling me about what had occurred to Kobi when Buddy clamped down on his upper spine/neck. Nerve damage this, 72 hours that, but all I heard was wheelchair. I remember thinking in my head “No Stephanie, your crazy he did not just say that. Kobi is 5 not 50.” But, he did. He said Kobi would need a wheelchair if he did not regain function to his spinal nerves. I LOST MY PROVERBIAL MARBLES RIGHT ABOUT HERE. At the end of our visit, he told me that we were both in shock, Kobi and I, and to keep him comfortable at home for the night, as he was not in imminent danger in his current condition.

So as you do when you bring your dog to the vet, I paid the bill. It was an emergency and after hours visit so i’ll let you imagine what that costed. I really didn’t care though, who does after an ordeal like that. I was just happy to know my dog was going to live. It would be a long road to recovery but he would be ok. We brought him back in the morning as the vet requested so he could do more evaluations and tests. We were very lucky and blessed to find out that he had no other issues. We just needed to wait and see if he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life, or if he would regain the function of his limbs.

He also informed us that he had to empty Kobi’s bladder for him (TMI sorry) This meant that he was not able to control his bladder, and couldn’t feel when he needed to go, a sign and symptom of paralysis. This was really scary, but he told us that if Kobi could pee on his own in the next 72 hours it was a good sign that he would regain the function he needed to full recover. So we waited, and waited. As you can imagine, trying to encourage a small dog who cannot walk on his own to go for pee on his own, was no easy feat. It was literally a two man job as one person held him up, and the other person tried to see under him… if he was actually doing his business. But then, HE PEED! I had never been so happy to see him pee in my life. It was easily one of the biggest moments of relief in my life.

Nine months later…

Here we are in August, nine(ish) months after the accident and Kobi is great. He has regained about 95% of his limb function and is back to being a happy normal dog. We are so incredibly grateful and blessed. The biggest thing we did to help with his recovery was buy him a little lifejacket. He swims in a river near our house and it has helped to strengthen his right front leg that is still not 100%.

I won’t discuss Buddy or his owners, as they are not relevant. What is important however, is that we need to be aware. We need to know what is going on around us, and not assume that we know how things will play out. I never thought the events of that night would happen, but they did. When it comes to our animals we need to be responsible owners, know our animals inside and out, but also remember that anything can change in an instant.

→Being a Dog Mom

→Follow walkingwithgrace on instagram to see more of Kobi

The Pathway to Positivity | Manifestating 101

Disclaimer: I am not a professional in the field of positive thinking or manifestation. Rather, I practice the method frequently and like to share my input and experiences.

What is manifesting?

Really, what is it? We hear about it, read about it, and sometimes even try it. But, what is it really. Manifesting is believing in your mind that something is truly going to happen. In your mind you ‘manifest’ this desire. Remember that little movie that plays in your head, the one that I talked about in the first post in The Pathway to Positivity? You have total control over what movie play in your mind. Manifesting means that you turn on the movie starring you, and the plot is that you get exactly what you truly want.

How do you manifest?

This isn’t magic, it’s manifesting. You can’t expect to think about your goal and it will just happen. You need to believe it, with every bone in your body. So many people think that manifesting if just the act of obsessively thinking about what you want. This is untrue. The key (so I have found in my experiences) is to envision your goal, or your desire as if it has already happened.

Personal experience:

I had been dreaming of becoming a full-time teacher. At the time I was a part-time teacher, teaching mostly health and music to grade one students. I loved my job, but I knew that I was meant to be a full-time classroom teacher. This desire became my biggest goal in the last year. I would think about it constantly, journal about it and create vision boards (more about this in another post) In doing all of this, I made sure to imagine that my ultimate goal (being hired as a full-time teacher) became my reality.

Now, I wouldn’t sit there and say to myself “I am going to get full-time, I am going to get full-time.” Ok let’s be honest I totally did that, but I also manifested my dream as if it had already come true. I imagined myself getting the phone call from a principal offering me a full-time teaching position, after a successful interview. I would also thank the universe, and truly be grateful for everything I already had in my life. This is a crucial step because without gratitude, we cannot truly appreciate what is given to us in life.

You also cannot have any doubt. I like to think of the universe kind of like any animal that can smell fear. They adjust their reaction towards you based on your perception of them. If you are scared, they can tell. The same goes with the universe, but with doubt. You cannot have any doubt that your desire will not come true (In my opinion and experience) Think about it, when has doubt ever made you feel good or happy? NEVER. Isn’t happiness the goal of all of this anyways? Never forget that happiness is the root of all good.

In short, I did have a successful interview with a principal, and I did get that phone call offering me a full-time position. I truly believe that thinking positively and never having doubt that I would be successful in attaining my dream, is a huge part of why I am in this position today.


Follow via email subscription for more in the series “The Pathway to Positivity”. Future posts will include, how to use vision boards, and journaling to bolster manifestation!

Affordable Fashion: My Favourite Items and Stores

In the wake of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale I have been thinking long and hard about some of my favourite clothing pieces in my closet. I have come to realize that some of my most worn items, or fav new items, are from reasonably affordable stores. Being a teacher, I strive to collect clothing that is fashion forward, trendy but professional and timeless. These are the pieces I am currently loving for summer moving into fall! All outfit details are linked and listed below and prices are in Canadian dollars. For reference, I am 5’3 and usually am an xs – small in tops and dresses and 2 (26) in denim.

OUTFIT DETAILS

This jumpsuit ($24.50) from a store called Ardene is an absolute staple in my closet right now. It is beyond comfortable and can be paired with almost anything! It is a great transition piece from summer to fall, and I cannot wait to wear this to teach come September. I bought this is an x-small and it is on sale right now BUY 1 GET 1 for 1$ (Whaaaatt.)

OUTFIT DETAILS

In this next outfit, I paired that same jumpsuit with a kimono ($18.50) also from Ardene. This kimono is so soft and light, perfect for summer and warm fall days. it is also BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF right now!

OUTFIT DETAILS

THIS CARDIGAN THOUGH ($64.95)! It is the softest, most versatile additional clothing item I have recently collected, and comes in three colours. I purchased it from the GAP during a 40% off sale, and it goes so well with everything. It is the perfect item to add to a camisole, or on top of this off the shoulder floral top (next outfit).

OUTFIT DETAILS

This top ($34.40 BUY 1 GET 1 FOR $1), as mentioned in the above outfit, it so adorable. It is from Ardene (a reoccurring theme in this post) and is a really soft. With long bell sleeves, it is perfect for a cool summer night out, or a warm fall day! It is available online in a beautiful blush and orange colour! I paired it with these jeans from Dynamite, which I got on major sale (I love all of their jeans though)

OUTFIT DETAILS

Lace up sweaters are all the rage right now, and the trend is not going to end anytime soon. They can be pretty expensive at some stores, but I found this one at GAP for 40% off. It is a really nice knit sweater but isn’t at all itchy. It is super flattering and will cover your behind if you want to wear it with leggings!

OUTFIT DETAILS

I paired those flattering jeans from Dynamite with this tie-up bell sleeve sweater from the same store. I got this on sale for $8! You cannot beat that! These two items may not be in stores any longer, but check out the sale rack at Dynamite and you will definitely find some gems! 

OUTFIT DETAILS

I have a different denim jacket that I love. It is a darker wash and slightly more fitted, but I spotted this one at H&M for $29.95 and knew I had to have it. It is the perfect amount of ‘slouchy’ to work with the over-sized trend!

OUTFIT DETAILS

Here is another jumpsuit that is just too perfect! This one has longer pant legs compared to the first outfit in this post, it is from H&M and it has pockets!