Sunday, September 18, 2016

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW: With Jordyn Rollins Coffin - A traveling, baking, crafting, mother of 6 AND she’s homeschooling all of them.

Featured today in The Dizzy Traveler’s “Spotlight Interview” is a dear friend of mine, who also happens to be a super hero from Georgia! Her name is Jordyn Rollins Coffin and she’s a traveling, baking, crafting, mother of 6 AND she’s homeschooling all of them. She refers to herself as Almost Supermom.

Beautiful Jordyn
Jordyn, you and I met on an infamous press trip to Florida about a year ago, and we instantly hit it off. Put up in a beautiful house in Orlando for part of our trip, you and I had bedrooms that shared a Jack and Jill bathroom. So naturally, I nicked us, Jack and Jill. And the rest is history.

Jordyn, when I first met you, I heard you rattle off the list of things you share with your readers on your blog and social media. The one thing that made my jaw drop was that on top of everything you do, you found time to birth 6 children and you home-school all of them. Why did you make that decision . . . the homeschooling part?

Homeschooling happened out of necessity at first. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was just 2 years old. Unfortunately, our elementary school was unable and unwilling to hire a school nurse (budget cuts) that could help her with her shots and monitoring her blood sugar, so we made the decision to home-school her until she was able to take care of all that on her own.

Turns out homeschooling suited us pretty well and we continued it with the other kids as well. We always leave it up to them what they want to do each year (whether or not they want to go to traditional school) and they always opt to stay home. It’s hard to beat sleeping in and a 4 hour school day!

I recall you mentioning once that you make a conscious effort to join up with other homeschooling parents, to bring your kids together and socialize . . . parties and dances. Are there many homeschoolers in your area?

Our county has the highest number of homeschoolers in the state! I don’t know the exact numbers, but I know they are growing every year. Homeschooling is become a more mainstream option and parents are enjoying the educational freedom and the ability to provide an out of the box learning environment for their kids that homeschooling allows.

You not only do everything I mentioned at the top but you’re also an accomplished photographer. Seriously, there are not enough hours in the day. How do you find the time to do everything? Do you prioritize or say I’m doing a craft project from such and such a time while the kids are studying? How does it work?

In a perfect world, I try to squeeze in something related to the blog or photography each day at a certain time. The reality is I fit things in wherever I can. I work on social media while waiting at my daughter’s piano lesson or write an article or 2 while the kids are working on schoolwork.

I’m incredibly lucky to have a great support system within my family! My kids pick up my slack with chores and meals (my 12 year is pretty much the next Martha Stewart) when I get overwhelmed and behind and if things are really crazy and deadlines are looming, my amazing husband will book a local hotel room for me so I can get caught up in peace.

Arthur: .
Other talents you share with your readers are sewing projects and recipes. Do you get up at 5 a.m. to fit it all in a day? People may be wondering now if you’re a “Type A” personality but you’re certainly not. You’re a cool, calm, and groovy person. Ah, maybe that’s the trick?

Ha! 5 a.m.?? Now that’s funny. You know how much Jill loves her sleep! Honestly, I thrive on chaos. I can’t stand being bored and I can’t stand when everything is exactly the same as the day before.  Being able to change directions at the drop of a hat is essential for getting everything done J

I’m not sure if you like it but you’ve become my “go to” computer solving geek. Whether it’s making a code work in a file or finding out how many people are not visiting my website, you know the answer to everything. Did you take classes to learn all of this? I search for answers on the Internet constantly to no avail, yet you seem to know it all AND find the time to get back to me.

Everything I know, I was self- taught. My husband is a techy guy, so that helps, but mostly I just read everything I can and then play around with it until it works. I have crashed and burned many times to get to this point of “knowing it all” lol! You should have seen me 4 years ago, I was a hot technical mess that couldn’t even upload a picture!

Travel is a big part of you and your family’s life. It must be challenging to do it with 8 of you.

Jordyn and the family on the road!
It’s not as challenging as you would think. My kids are born travelers and love to be on the road. The key is flexibility and spontaneity. I go into every trip knowing that nothing will go as planned and just rolling with the craziness. We have had some pretty incredible adventures just because something didn’t go as planned on a trip.

And now you are also on the lecturing circuit sharing your expertise. Where can readers catch you next?

I don’t have any speaking engagements booked at the moment, I’m using the rest of the year to learn some new blogging/writing/photography tricks. I’ll be learning at SitSumATL in October and Type A East at Disney World in October as well!
And I know you love everything Disney? Did that passion ignite when you were a child or did that evolve when you started having children of your own?

I went to Disneyland a couple times as a kid, but the Disney love I have developed after seeing it through my kids’ eyes. Disney vacations are still our favorite in fact, we are surprising the kids with one for Christmas (shhhhhh…..don’t tell!)

And last but certainly not least, how does your husband fit into the equation?

My poor husband. That man is a saint lol! He has put up with my crazy for the last 18 years and there is no end in sight lol!

He is always there behind the scenes to make sure everything that needs to be in order is in order. He is the yin to my yang, the moon to my sun, the calm to my crazy and I don’t think I could do any of this without him.

Jordyn, anything you’d like to add to this Spotlight Interview?

I think I’ll just leave my favorite quote:

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

Jill, you are not the “Almost Supermom” you ARE the “Supermom” and I’m in awe of you. You inspire and amaze me constantly and I’m sure your thousands of readers feel the same.

Much love - Jack

A fave pic of ours when we met on a press trip through Florida!
ps...You can visit Jordyn at her Almost Super Mom site... 
or at her photography site

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Appetizer Crawl Continues In Woodbury, MN

9100 Hudson Road
Woodbury, MN


Hotel Note: For anyone visiting the Woodbury area here's a link to the Hampton Inn and many other options if you need accommodations.

A warm summer weeknight and I ended up at Crave Restaurant with my brother and sister for what was supposed to be a quick bite but we ended up ordering a lot of food.

I was forewarned by my brother who lives in Woodbury that Crave was a chain of establishments and being such, it would be satisfying but maybe nothing to write home about. (Translation: blog about.) But au contraire older and sometimes wiser brother! From the outside it did look a bit warehouse-y, but I'm sure that on a cooler day the outdoor seating would have been full of happy eaters, offering a warmer, more hospitable curb appeal.

But who knew all these people were in here?

The place was bubbling with energy. A hostess walked us by a very impressive glass enclosed wine cellar . . .

Hey, I thought this was a quick sit-down at a fast food joint? Nope. With quite an extensive wine list I quickly ordered a Torrontes Colomé, Argentina - fresh, crisp, fruity but dry and with an after note of peach, my sister had the Oysterbay New Zealand chardonnay - hints of apple and full-bodied, it was a great pairing with the food she was about to order. And brother who was driving had an Arnie Palmer (all puns intended.)

With a diverse menu offering classic American and Japanese fare - first up we ordered . . .

. . . the crab artichoke dip served with crunchy herby toasted pita triangles and crispy cornmeal fried calamari with their jalapeno aioli sauce. Both really great. I was very pleasantly surprised. Next up (I warned you, this was no quick bite.) Jambalaya - shrimp, andouille sausage and langostinos (Yes, in Minneapolis!) with a spicy pepper tomato sauce. Really yumpcious! . . .

. . . and a very contrasting order of Hungarian goulash! Braised short ribs with a mushroom cream sauce and a horseradish chive sour cream served over fettuccine and sprinkled with micro greens. Comfort food to the nth degree.

So much for fast food chain establishments. I had never heard of Crave before and then looked up their locations and realized there were none in the New York or North East areas. They should change that . . . come on over!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Salt Cellar - The Appetizer Crawl Continues with Smart Cocktails in Saint Paul, MN

The Salt Cellar

173 Western Ave.
St. Paul, MN
(651) 219-4013

My beautiful niece, Leigh-Anne, and I decided to drop in at the Salt Cellar, and check out their much celebrated happy hour.  The Salt Cellar is diagonally across the street from the A W Frost & Company!

If you're in need of accommodations while in Saint Paul, there's always the terrific Saint Paul Hotel - and many others to choose from.

How's this for Happy Hours hours?? Two sets a night, Tuesday through Saturday!

Happy Hours
Tue - Thu 3pm - 6pm & 9pm - Close
Fri - Sat 3pm - 6pm & 10pm - Close

This very casual but classy bar/restaurant, has an amazing cocktail list with the likes of....Old Blue Eyes, The Longest Winter and a Ritz Old Fashioned. But they also have daily drink specials, which I settled for. 

In the foreground is a Sanrita! A combo of Italian red wine, tequila and a splash of Cointreau, orange liquor. I considered it a risky mash up of alcohol but it sure went down easy, "Tastes just like candy!" (hiccup). And the background drink is a classic sidecar...bourbon, Cointreau and lemon juice with a sugared rim. Another hit at the table.

Wanting another smart cocktail, but not on an empty stomach, we decided upon their prime rib sandwich - shaved prime rib with horseradish Havarti and mushroom conserve with addictive fries. A super sophisticated French dip sandwich that literally melts in your mouth. Add the earthy undertones of the mushrooms with the pungent horseradish Havarti cheese = heaven!

We also had an order of the wild shrimp cakes with lovage (think pungent plant) tartar sauce.

We'll be back for sure, maybe for a proper sit down dinner. Their menu looks amazing. In the meantime, tell Sean, the bartender, that The Dizzy Traveler sent you.