3.30.2015

Women In Business: Codi-Lynn

Today we are featuring another amazing Woman In Business. This time it is a personal friend of mine. Codi-Lynn is the little sister to one my best, and definitely one of my longest, friends. Codi-Lynn and I have known each other for about 15 years. It has been so amazing to watch her grow (along with me, she is only two years younger than I am) into a Godly woman, wife and mother. 

This girl absolutely amazes me! She is quite honestly one of my inspirations to transform this blog into a lifestyle  blog. Codi-Lynn should actually wear a super hero cape because I don't know how she does it all. She is a wife to a sweet, genuine and all around pretty awesome guy and mother to two adorable kids.You will read her story below, but I have to add for myself that Codi-Lynn went off her mat leave back to work AND back to school for graphic design. Not only is she managing those two roles, plus being a wife and mommy, but she also has her own blog and is now an intern for Boombaloo magazine! Ah-maz-ing.



I will let Codi-lynn tell you her story:

Hi! I am Codi Lynn, a wife and mother of twothough there is much more to me than that. Growing up I never really knew what I wanted to "be" and where I wanted to "go" with life. My constant has always been my faith in God and knowing that he has the pen that writes the story to my life. Don't get me wrong, there have been times in my past where my faith has been stronger and more vibrant than other times, but I could always be peaceful with the knowledge that He has a plan for me, even if I don't have a plan for myself. 

Becoming a wife and a mother to my son Ezra, aged three at the time, changed me for the better in more ways than one. I adore my family and every bit of joy that they bring to my life. My husband and I met at a birthday party of some mutual friends, and though we never actually had a conversation that night the sparks were flying. We connected shortly after this outing and our love from each other continues to grow. After six months of marriage we became pregnant with our daughter Sophie, my time on maternity leave with Ezra and Sophie made me grow in my independence and strive for a career path to explore my creative side. I had decided that I wanted to go back to school and pursue graphic design.

While away on a family vacation that summer I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to start a blog. My blog would be a way to get connected with like-minded individuals, and learn from other hard working small businesses owners all at the same time–Creative Wife + Joyful Worker was made. Though these were some of my original thoughts and reasons for starting my blog, it has ended up turning into something much bigger—much more valuable. I have built relationships with mothers that I otherwise would not have been able to, this community means so much to me now and has been a continuous blessings and outlet of resources to get reassurance and helpful tips while parenting.

Graphic Design school started just after my maternity leave ended, my son started kindergarten, my husband switched jobs, and I started work again part-time. It was a world-wind. My husband and faith have been my rocks through all these changes and a lot of the time I get asked how I do it, that is how in a nut shell. The support from family, friends, community and fellow students has been incredible, I know that I can not do everything on my own and I  continually learning to not carry every task on my own but to seek help from those who love me.

While in school I wanted to learn and grow my design skills even more by working for a small business. I wasn't sure where to start but had heard some friends mention different internship programs. One afternoon I was browsing Spruce Collective and picked up a Boombaloo Magazine, it was then that I knew I wanted to intern for a magazine, and not any magazine, this magazine. I was immediately drawn to the Boombaloo brand and how they presented themselves.

It took a bit of guts and an email to the founder Natalie and I landed a spot as her intern graphic designer. I have worked on a couple jobs for Natalie so far and loving the experience and kindness she has shown me. 
I have plans in the nearish future to open up a small shop of my own as well, though the planning and process of opening a shop has proven to be a longer process than expected. I believe though, that when it is meant to happen it will. For now I am enjoying my courses and seeing where I can go and what I can learn from the ladies at Boombaloo. 

Most nights are spent on schoolwork. It is very consuming and takes up a large portion of my time. At work I spend my hour lunch break at Starbucks mostly working on homework or a blogpost. I like to switch it up to create diversity and I find that the option of both create venues that I love keeps each day an exciting project. I absolutely love my schoolwork and my blog so the work does not seem like work. I get excited for my lunch hour to start or finish up a project or current post, loving what you do is at the utmost importance. This is also something that I hadn't realized so much until I actually started working on things that I love.

I am daily inspired by my friends and family. I have a love for photography and seeing the beauty in all things. I follow a number of bloggers, small business owners, photographers and stylists on Instagram and find it to be my favourite avenue for inspiration and well as communicating with these like-minded creative individuals. I find my head over flowing with ideas while in class working on projects and I am in the works of starting a company of my own. I am so excited for this new venture. If you are interested in learning more about me, following my story, and connecting with me through a social network... come say hi and don't be shy.

Facebook

Instagram 

Pinterest

Codi-Lynn won High Street's Ugly Sweater Contest this past Christmas! Aren't they too cute? 
Check out the rest of the photos on her post here.

Thank you so much for sharing about your experience in your many roles!
We pray that you are blessed with lots of energy, good nights sleep,
grades that reflect your hard work and talent and lots of hugs and kisses from your family!
Keep up the hard work!
We can't wait to see what else God has in store for you!


3.27.2015

A New Beginning

If you have been a reader of our blog
since the beginning,
you may be wondering what all the change around here is about.
Just An Ordinary Family is a new adventure I have embarked on.
I am so excited to tell you about it!

When I first began blogging back in 2008
the purpose was to share our photos and stories
from our vacation to Europe that we had just returned from.
Over time the blog became a platform
for both updates on what we had been up to
as well as my own random musings about different things.

A selfie before 'selfies' were an actual thing. 
Enjoying tea and beer at a pub in Oxford, England.

Man oh man! Have our families ever changed!
This is the Smid side 5 years ago almost exactly.
Each of the boys have added a girl to their lives, for Spencer two little girls.
On my side of the family Matt was engaged and about to marry Lauren.
They now have a son who will be one next month!
Growth is so good. I can't wait to take family photos in another 7 years.

Naturally, once we had kids 
the focus become more about our family 
and motherhood.
It also largely was about our time living in Portland
and Spencer' schooling.

This was right after leaving the USA customs building 
and had been issued our Visas.
and living in Portland for the next three years.

Before we moved to Portland
I had dreams of turning our blog into a lifestyle blog.
A Cup of Jo and Unruly Things are two of my favourites.
I made a pathetic attempt or two,
nothing ever serious. 
I was scared to spread my wings because
I desperately didn't want to fail.
My fear was that people would say.
"Whatever happened to that blog you were writing?" 

My blog has always been a little piece of cyber space
for shamelessly bragging about my beautiful family.
I got to share as many photos as I wanted 
and tell as many adorable stories as I wanted
without clogging up anyone's Facebook news feed.

After having Jane I struggled quite a bit
with post-postpartum anxiety.
It got quite serious and I have taken steps to get better.
One of the things that the counselor I see
encouraged me to do was to close my eyes and vision what I want.
What I saw was our family on our bed laughing and giggling.
It is one of my favourite things.
My bed is one of my favourite places to be
(besides the fact that I love sleeping!).
It has held some of the most treasured times for me.
When it was just Claire and I we would cuddle under the warm covers and watch movies.
Now, in the morning, Claire will climb up into our bed 
where the three of us are
and we cuddle.
I started scooping both girls into my arms and breathing them in
saying, "Mmm, my girls." Now Claire does it too. 
At lunch time we often all pile onto our bed and cuddle wrestle.
(A new concept to Spencer who grew up with only boys and only knew about regular wrestling!)
I love it, so naturally that was my vision.

Then the counselor had me think about what steps I needed to get there.
I have a mental list,
and one of them was to carve out time for the things I love to do.
Bubble baths, going for walks, doing my devotions, taking pictures and writing.
I love to write. 
That was it, I decided to finally just jump in with both feet and transform
our blog into what I wanted it to be.
Although visually I feel like it has a long way to go,
I have loved meeting people and writing reviews and pieces about 
some awesome companies and products. 
It has been so great to hear and see the response I have had so far.

Some of the goals I have are to continue learning about my camera
and getting better at taking photos.
Continue sharing pictures of my family and the things we get to do.
Spotlight some Women In Business,
women who have branched out and have become entrepreneurs.
Review and write pieces on products I love from kids clothes, toys, tea, apps 
and whatever else is thrown at me. 
I also love to cook and create.
Rarely I follow a recipe exactly 
or write down something I have made up,
so another area I would love to grow is recipes.

I sincerely hope you are enjoying the transformation.
It excites me to see where this will take me,
but for now I am having so much fun growing along with this.
There are some pretty exciting things in the works,
including another giveaway for an awesome prize
from Batch Food.

Thanks for sticking with me through all our crazy adventures!
If you're knew to the blog,
I hope you come back regularly!

xo
Michelle

3.25.2015

Wheat Canada: GIVEAWAY


Last year my dear friend introduced me 
to one of her favourite clothing brands, Wheat Canada.
After browsing their website I fell in love.

Their simple yet whimsical style is exactly what I love.
Their colours are soft and have a feminine touch.
The boys clothes are simple yet boyish in a very sweet way.
Their design is impeccable.

But would they hold up to being worn for play?
Sure they look cute, but will my preschooler who insists on wearing dress up clothes,
actually choose to wear these clothes too? 
Could we actually agree on the same clothes suitable to be in public?
It seemed too good to be true.

Jane wearing the Dots sun hat in mint.


After placing my first order I
waited patiently for my package to arrive.
I was so excited to pour over its contents.
I had chosen matching Powder Tulle skirts for the girls,
matching Aretha dresses,
some basic long sleeve tees for Claire,
among other things for both the girls.
The colours were beautiful.
Now for the test of my preschooler.

After 3 months I am so pleased 
that she wears her Wheat clothes all the time!
The skirts are always the first things she pulls out of her drawer
paired with one of the basic tees.
She is a girly girl that loves to play rough
and the clothes meet both of her needs.
She can be rough and tumble in a skirt or a dress
and we haven't needed to make any repairs.

Claire wearing basic long sleeve tee and trousers. 

Some of my personal favourites are the basic tees 
and cardigans for everyday wear. 
The skirts and dresses are sweet as well.
Their sun hats give good coverage and look absolutely darling.

They also do surprise bundles! 
That was a super fun shop.
All I did was send them my girls' sizes and their gender
and whether I wanted the $50 bundle or the $100 bundle
and they put together items for us out of their Spring/Summer collection.
Make sure you follow them on Facebook and Instagram for their next bundle.



At the beginning of March we had amazing weather.
It was around 13-17 degrees and we were outside constantly. 
One Saturday after Spencer was done work
we packed a picnic and went to explore a new adventure park near us.
Claire had chosen to wear her Wheat Clothing, so I put on Jane's Wheat Sun Hat and t shirt
and brought my camera along for some fun photos.


They turned out so great.
Claire played so hard and although she got dirty,
the clothes weren't damaged at all.
If you are a mom,
you know that this means business.
Cute, affordable and can handle the wear of a child!




Wheat Canada has so kindly offered 
one of our lucky readers a $30 gift card to put towards 
their clothing and accessories.
Claire wearing the Ice Lolly t-shirt and Tulle Skirt in neon yellow.

To enter to win
 leave a comment on the blog with your email address 
and tell us your favourite item on Wheat Canada! 

For extra entries like Just An Ordinary Family on Facebook
and follow @just.an.ordinary.family on Instagram,
leave a comment tagging friends on the post photo on our Instagram account. 

Good luck!


To follow Wheat Canada




Pinterest

{all photos belong to me and cannot be used without my permission}


3.23.2015

Women In Business: Eran Jayne Photography


 {photos courtesy of Eran Jayne Photography. Do not use without permission.}

Today we are featuring another amazing Woman In Business. At Just An Ordinary Family we love to support women who follow their dreams and become their own boss. Although I have never met Eran personally I feel like we connected over email and even found a mutual friend. 

Eran is a wife and mommy from South Delta just like I am. I love supporting other mommies! Eran is a local photographer with an eye for beauty in everything and a way of catching detail on camera. She works in everything from boudoir to weddings to babies. She has skill to photograph you no matter what stage of life you are in. Make sure you check out her galleries on her website {link below} to see some of her amazing work. Read on below to see how she made the leap to being her own boss and what inspires her work.

Just An Ordinary Family: When did you begin your photography business? 

Eran Jayne Photography: It was the fall of 2011.  I had just returned from a life-changing solo trip to Bordeaux, France, where I had sequestered myself, determined to decide "what I wanted to do when I grew up". While there, I fell in love with photography again, and when I came home, I decided that I would just make the leap, and become a photographer.

JAOF: What, or who, inspired you to start your own business?

EJP: While in Bordeaux, I read a lot of self-help books about finding my purpose, and discovering my dream career etc. But there is one book that I read there, that I've continued to read at least once a year, and have come to regard as my own personal bible, and that is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love".  Her writing inspired me, and continues to inspire me to listen to my heart, connect with my soul, and take chances on myself and my own happiness.

JAOF: What career did you have before? What experience did you have in owning your own business before?

EJP: Before becoming a photographer, I was an event coordinator for a non-profit organization. I had absolutely ZERO experience owning my own business!

JAOF: What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to make the leap from employer to starting their own company and being their own boss?

EJP: It's not easy, and you will work harder for yourself than you ever did for someone else - but it is 100% worth it.  You need to stay focused, keep making new plans, be flexible to adjusting your plans, keep up-to-date on everything new in your field, and be prepared to wear MANY hats.  My business card may say "photographer", but on any given day, I'm also a photo editor, a graphic designer, a writer, an artistic director, a social media guru, a marketing expert, a networker, a negotiator, a bookkeeper - the list goes on and on!

JAOF:: Being a mom, wife and entrepreneur is hard work! How do you manage your time?

EJP: Lists, calendars, scheduling!  I've had to become really good at compartmentalizing each aspect of my day.  It doesn't work for me to "multi-task" - I need to either be in 100% "mom mode" or 100% "work mode".  So, when my son is at daycare, I use those hours to work. My husband and I schedule regular date nights, and I also schedule regular solo time, at least once a week, so I can practice self-care with things like bubble baths, celebrity gossip, pedicures, or hunkering down with a good book!

JAOF: What 3 pieces of encouragement or tips would you give to someone who is starting out as their own boss?

  EJP: 1: Persistence - if you really believe in what you are doing, keep at it. Keep your eye on the prize, always putting one foot in front of the other, and check in on your goals and plans regularly.
  2: Schedule down time for yourself. It is SO easy to dedicate ALL of your extra time to your business, but you will quickly run yourself ragged.  Make sure you take care of yourself.
  3: Don't let what others are doing influence what you are doing too much. There will always be competitors - but that's a good thing! Focus on your strengths and what you are good at, put 100% love and commitment into your work, and the clients will follow.

JAOF: How does your work connect you to the community? What kinds of ways do you involve yourself in community activities?

EJP: What I love about photography is that it is such a social business, when I'm actually out at a shoot! I get to connect with families and people in my community, by taking their photos, making them laugh, and making them feel beautiful. It's AWESOME.

I also try to get out into the community and volunteer my time with photography as well. Last fall, I took photos at the Westham Island Herb Farm pumpkin patch, and collected donations for the Delta Hospital Foundation.  In a few weeks, I'm volunteering my time at the Rotary's Easter Pancake Breakfast, taking photos of kids with the Easter Bunny. I LOVE doing events like this and connecting with the community.

JAOF: Tell me about marketing. Do you market yourself? In what ways? What are your favourite tools to use?

EJP: Oh yes! I spend a TON of time marketing myself (more time doing this than actually photographing!!).  I blog regularly on my website, and I promote my posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.  I use Facebook ads. I have a mailing list. I am constantly posting images of my work on social media. I also attend networking events, for moms and women in business. It's fun, but very time-consuming!

JAOF:  What do you want Eran Jayne Photography to be known for? What 'brand' do you want to have for yourself and your company?

EJP: I want to provide quality, memorable work for people. I want to make people laugh, and I want people to feel GOOD after they've had a session with me. I want my images to mean something to my clients, and I want them to feel like they made the right choice when choosing a photographer, and that they wouldn't hesitate in recommending me to a friend. 

JAOF: Who inspires you in your work?

EJP: To be honest, I'm inspired but lots of little every day things.  That mischievous look on my son's face. The way the evening light hits grassy fields. A gorgeous image on Pinterest. A beautifully tired mom at the grocery store. A striking paragraph in the latest novel I'm reading. A new song on the radio. Lots of little every day things.

Photos of Eran and her family on her son's second birthday.
 {photos courtesy of Eran Jayne Photography. Do not use without permission.}

Thank you Eran for opening up on our blog and sharing your passion with us. We wish you the very best in your endeavours!

You can connect with Eran Jayne Photography on her website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

3.19.2015

In Review: She Reads Truth App


My friend sent me a text message a couple of weeks ago telling me about this great app she had discovered called She Reads Truth. It is an app that has the Bible (in various translations), devotionals and other tools such as a place to keep notes and bookmarks.

Immediately I went to download it and I chose my first reading plan. 

 I chose This Is the Bible and I am on day 9, the last day. I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt like it was a great place to begin. Already I am looking forward to choosing my next plan. 

What I love is that it is on my phone, which is (almost) always near me if not on me. The Word of God quite literally at my finger tips. How blessed am I?! You can set up an alert that reminds you to read. This feature I particularly love because with my mind constantly in several places at once and my attention often split it is hard for me to remember that I need to sit down and focus for 20 minutes. This gives me the reminder and most of the days I am able to sit down within a few minutes and read.  If not, it is a reminder to do it soon. I am not one of those wonderful morning people who can wake up before the rest of the family to do devotions. I need (and love) my sleep!

The other thing I love is the search bar at he top. This allows you to type in any word and topic and it searches the Bible for you! 


Most of the devotionals cover Old Testament and New, they are well written by a woman for women and they are the perfect length. Since downloading this I have noticed myself using the Bible as a tool throughout the day and spending more time reading and referencing.

This app is free and available through the App Store. I am sure it is also available through Google Play as well. 


She Reads Truth is on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Happy reading!

3.17.2015

Photo Stream


Having a phone with a great camera is 
such a great tool. It's also kind of a curse.
It is always in my back pocket but I have to make sure 
I am intentional about taking out my nice camera too! 

Here are some photos of some Smid adventures from the past couple of months. 

One of my favourite things of all time is watching these two play together. 


Ssssh, don't wake the baby. She loves to cuddle, so do I! This is our favourite way to do that and still play with big sis and get stuff done. 

Claire at AWANA 

I can't tell you how many times 'Buddy' has absolutely scared the pants off me!

We love our time with Isla Isabelle Cutie Patootie 

Charlotte Diamond concert with her bestie for M's birthday 

Love our morning cuddles so much. 

Headed to Moms and Babes sing-a-long. 
Don't worry, Buddy is in her backpack. 



Uncle Ty gets to read the girls their bedtime stories.

Our girls only 'Super Bowl Party' (no TV on)

Ice skating and lunch with grandma, great grandparents, auntie and cousin. 

Jane behind the wheel

Swim lessons! Little Salamander. 

Valentine's Day date to see Ben Howard

Friends learning a servants heart. Helping clean up after a church shower. 

Claire's favourite past time, eating at a restaurant. At Sophie's Cosmic Cafe on West 4th in Vancouver.


The start of our Portland vacation! 


New discoveries. The Vancouver Aquarium






Picnic at Prospect Point, Stanley Park

Sitting up all on her own!

Fun with sidewalk chalk! Love the imagination at this age! 








Finally printed off some family photos for my frames.

Jameson isn't exactly sure what Jane is for, but he likes her crinkly toys!

There you have it! A condensed version of the 1100+ photos on my phone! 

We spend great time with friends and one cute kids! We microwave coffee too many times, we cuddle, read and play. We had some amazing weather, a couple of vacations and even three dates since the new year.

This is going to sound silly, but often I am asked what the three of us girls get up to and I honestly can't think of how to answer that. Do I state the mundane things that take up the majority of my time like practicing counting and letter sounds? Practicing patience while letting my three year old spread her own peanut butter on toast? Changing dirty diaper, sometimes taking no shower and other says taking more than one bath? Swim lessons, Cubbies and play dates? 

Or do I speak of this highlight reel. That is so fun, holds great memories but is not a fair representation of our day to day life? Being home with these girls means so much to me. I love the mundane just as much, if not more, than the times we get to go to the aquarium. But yet when I say it, I feel self-conscious. Like somehow being their care taker, teacher, helper and play mate isn't quite enough. 

Can anyone else relate?