Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fix 'er up!

I decided this week that I am never going to love this shabby 900 square foot house if I don't put any of my heart in it to love! My idea is to fall in love with my home, project-by-project, and my first project was transforming these stained, mismatched pillows into whimsical, fun ones that my family loves!

Today, I am headed to the store and my mission is to buy sanding supplies and paint for my mismatched (but very functional) kitchen chairs. I'm inspired by Monica's kitchen chairs on "Friends".
I think the kids and I can do all
four chairs today and I'll buy a table cloth for the poor table. Pictures surely will follow our hard work!

And after this project is completed, I have so many more ideas to pursue! Starting with making "curtains" for our lower cabinets (which are
slowly falling apart before our eyes) and my inspiration is birthed from photos like these...

I also want to paint the kids' rooms (something I've wanted to do since we moved here 3 years ago!), repaint the kitchen (to match my "new" table, chairs, and cupboards) and somehow decorate my mudroom/laundry room/catch-all area. There has to be a inexpensive way to make the area as pretty as it is functional.

Ideas? Thoughts? Am I on the right track?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of School

Back to school, back to school!

I'm pretty stoked about this year! I have a good feeling that the kids are going to have a fun and very productive 1st and 3rd grade.

I look at this picture and I'm in awe. Do you see what I see? Do you see that over 4' tall young man standing there with his sling-backpack and Avatar teeshirt? What about that little darling with the long, golden hair and the prettiest little smile you ever did see? You see that too? Oh man, am I ever going to have trouble with these two in a few years...
Speaking of that, this young
man is officially over 1/2 way through elementary school! In under 3 years, he will be a 6th grader/middle-schooler/pre-teen and all that those terms entail.
Don't I get a say in this?!

And what about this angel? She is no longer a frightened Kindergardener crying for Mommy on her first day of school. Today she lept from the vehicle and skipped her way down the sidewalk, shouting to all her friends (a.k.a. every child within a 2 block radius). She is vibrant and lovely and working on becoming the best 1st grader Boyd Elementary has ever had!

These two kids came home this afternoon with stories about friends with names like Imogen and De'Shawn and shared horror stories about homework assignments awaiting them in their backpacks. They giggled over jokes told by their new teachers and debated over who had recess first. Josh and I were held as a captive audience while these precious children grew up right before our eyes. How can it be that these children who can read and write, who have so many friends and are able to spend a whole day on their own facing spelling tests and gym class are the same children we held in our arms moments ago?

Time has taught me something valuable...don't take it for granted.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Internet Job Hunting For Dummies

I'm not going to pretend that I'm a job-hunting guru, but I have been a bit obsessed with finding the right job lately. Now that it appears I have the job(s) that I need/want, I would hate to think that my new-found internet-job-searching-agility would just go to waste! So here are some of my hints, tips and tricks for job hunting in the new millenium.

#1 Pump it up! (oh yes, you read that 80's reference alright) You think it's just a piece of paper, but it's really a florescent-lit marquee that displays, "Jane Doe, the next best thing for your company!" or screams, "delete this email and call that girl that emailed the pumped-up resume!"

#2 Surf the web. Don't stress about finding the perfect job right away, just take some time to familiarize yourself with the way that employers search for employees. Look up examples of good resumes, cover letters, and emails. Use this time to get a good handle on the job-hunting situation where you live and in your career field.

#3 Pick your top 3 websites. Or top 4. Just have a few that you are a comfortable using. Figure out how to make the best of all the tools the site(s) provide (including posting your resume, filling out education/skills forms, and setting up your email for job alerts). You will learn how to search using many different criteria (or maybe none at all) which can help you find that perfect job that you never knew you always wanted. Once familiarized with these top sites, you will be more confident and relaxed while job hunting. It will become a part of your daily life that you might even miss once you find your dream job...or not.

#4 Don't apply for everything. I know all the books and articles tell you to apply for it all because it takes 1,329,839 applications to get an interview...blah, blah, blah. Although I agree that it takes hundreds of applications to get a few interviews, I advocate NOT applying for everything. Even jobs that have the right pay and job description might be a no-no until you research them further. This is the world wide web, and with that comes an all-access pass to your personal information. When you are on a job-finder site, click on "All Jobs" or "All Postings" and scan through the listings. Do you see XYZ Company listed 456 times in a row for different jobs, everything from ChildCare to CEO? That's a scam, or at the very least, a bad idea. Make sure the company you are applying for is legit.

That being said, many legit companies don't post information for the same reason we don't want to send it my next piece of advice is the most important of all...

#5 Trust your instinct. You're not a dummy (I know, because you are reading my blog), so use those God-given nudges for good.

So those are my top five pieces of advice for job searching 2010. If you have some tid-bits of wisdom, please share it so we can all benefit! I will post my favorite job hunting sites below in case you are interested.

Job finding sites:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My little cheerleader

Allana is well aware that how we humans live our lives directly affects our physical body. She watches a trim, healthy, young women jogging on TV and immediately calls out, "Mom, when can we go jawggin'?" To which I usually reply, "Soon, honey. But not now."
This scene repeated itself, almost verbatim, for weeks before I decided to begin my exercise routine about 3 weeks ago. Sometimes Allana goes around the block with me so she can "jawg" too...but most of the time it's just me and my headphones. I return to the house, hot and sweaty, and Allana always asks, "How was your run, Mommy? Do you feel good?" To which, I happily reply, "yes!"
Monday, I prepared to run and Allana begged to go with me. I told her, instead of running, she could be my little helper and hold my water bottle on the porch...and when I run by, she could hand it to me. I also added an "out" for her...if I took too long, she could just leave the bottle by the road and I would find it there.
As I ran, I took the longer route around the neighborhood so I could push myself a little further. I approached the house and immediately saw that Allana was no longer waiting on the porch. I'm not proud of this, but I thought, "crap. She went inside and now I'm going to have to stop my workout and find my water bottle..."
One picture stopped me in my new Nike's tracks. My water bottle was waiting for me, sweating beads of perspiration in the hot, humid July air. It was right where I usually keep it, safely placed at the edge of our driveway. In the blue screw-top lid, I found 2 purple wildflowers weaved into the latch.
My little cheerleader believes in me...and I love her for not only helping her mommy get off the couch and into her skinny jeans but doing it with all that's within her. She is encouraging beyond her 6 years and I'm amazed by her devotion and love of all beautiful things.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

'atta girl

I ran today. I've been sticking to my exercise goal very tightly for 3 weeks now and it's paying off. My clothes fit better and multiple friends have complimented my physical appearance.
But, when I run/walk/do a workout video, I feel miserable the whole time I'm doing it. I don't stop because I know that it will pay off and after I'm finished working out (4-5 times a week), I am drained. I mean, crawl-on-my-knees-collapsing-on-the-floor-DRAINED. I was not blessed with the "runner's high" I hear some people experience after pushing themselves to the limit...and for that, I'm a bit bitter. Wouldn't it be grand to work up a sweat and feel GREAT for doing it? Instead, I drag myself to the shower and pep-talk myself into blow-drying my hair (hey, styling hair is WORK, people!). I usually end up taking a 5-hr-energy (AKA Optimism in a bottle) and try to make it through my normal day.
In addition to this exhausting process, I am dealing with some serious health issues. If you don't know already, I'll tell ya...
I had gallbladder surgery about 3 months ago. It was for the best as I had over 30 stones in that inflamed organ. BUT since then, I have had digestive issues that were expected to subside as time went by...and they didn't. They have become so overwhelming and I'm at my whit's end. I can't sleep, eat normally, work well, concentrate, or worst of all, be happy. I have a 24/7/365 stomach bug with all the symptoms that may imply.
So, after trying many treatments and other life-changes (including my exercise routine), I have to have a procedure that I like to refer to "It Who Must Not Be Named" (hint: it rhymes w/ swollenoscopy) and I'm terrified. Not of the procedure (I know it's very safe and relatively pain-free) but of this road I seem to be barreling down.
Do you ever feel like, despite your efforts to live a life you imagine is right and normal, life shoves you down another path full of events that cause you to stop in horror? I look at this life I am living and I think, "This HAS to be an out-of-body thing" b/c I would never, ever let myself be on 8 prescribed medications and having preventative health issues that most 78-yr-old women can identify with but most 29 (almost 20-10) year-olds have no clue about. I truly feel like if I were in better shape, eating healthier, and working a less-stressful job, I would not be dealing with these health issues.
Now the issue is, "How do I make a U-turn?" I'm pretty sure I've passed the point of not going to the Dr. b/c my health requires that I continue going to the Dr. and taking the medications prescribed...but a life-change will require MANY changes in habits, life-styles, and expectations on my part. I'm just not sure how to go about that other than slowly (as I am doing now). I'm making small goals in ALL areas of my life that I've been meeting and doing very well in. But I feel the pressure for more drastic measures.
Is this pressure good? Or am I setting myself up for failure by expecting too much change all at once?
I really do want to hear your thoughts. If you would like more information on my situation, just message me and I would love to talk.
I am not too proud to admit that I need encouragement too. If you think I AM on the right track w/ my life goals, please feel free to send me an "'atta girl" cuz I could use it!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In the year of our Lord, 2015

I know what you are about to say...
You are going to say, "give it time" or "take a deep breath, it will be ok eventually" but I honestly don't want to hear that.

I KNOW that in 20, 10, maybe even 5 years, my life will be going significantly better then it is right now. I will probably have a stable, decent paying job using the skills and knowledge I have acquired over the years. My house will not be falling down around me, nor will it be located in an area where neighbors doing drugs out number those with legitimate jobs. I imagine, I will be driving a vehicle w/o the "check engine" light on and one that doesn't cost more monthly as my house payment/rent. I'm not positive, but I hope that during that time in my life, I will be able to look back and remember this time of life and think, "I'm glad I held on. I'm glad I finished my degree and let God take me through those trials. I see why what happened, happened." I really hope that's what happens, because that hope is what I have left.

I was thinking tonight about my schooling. I had so much encouragement from family, friends, classmates, and professors. Those words of encouragement were what kept me going when many times I just wanted to "forget" to enroll for the next semester and let myself have a "break" from all that work. Those encouraging words led me to believe that w/ an education, with a degree, I would be better off. My family would be better off. My life would be different. Isn't that what we are ALL taught? Well that encouragement and hope has evaporated as quickly as graduation day came to a close. I feel like my bachelor's degree is my cab fare and last night's date said, "Thanks for the promissory notes, we had a great time but we don't really do the lingering overnight thing...wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. Maybe we will see ya around again sometime? At the next Alumni Banquet? Don't forget your donation!"
The ONLY job offer I have received, I took. I work at a job that I like, with people I love and I make $8.50/hr. Every day that I work, I lose at least $5. I am paying somebody $5 to work. I'm not joking.

Each day is getting more difficult and I find myself questioning my sanity. Why in the world did I drag my babies to that library and force them to be silent until it closed at midnight so I could go to group meetings while Josh worked nights in order to pay the bills? Why did I enroll and begin classes again just weeks after losing my son? Why did I schedule an emergency surgery for a later date in order to miss only one day of class? So I could pay $5/day and have someone else take care of my children?

Today, May 29th, 2010, I don't care one bit that my life will be better on May 29th, 2015. I do care that on this night, I can't sleep (for the second night in a row) because I am stuck in this house that is quite literally falling in around me, only to escape on the weekdays via my van w/ it's screaming engine light to a job where I smile and pretend that I'm so happy and thankful for each and every one of those 8.5 dollars/hour.
Is this what I worked for? In short, the answer is, "no"... but that fixes absolutely nothing right now.

I am not a woe-is-me kinda least I don't like to think I am. So I will sign off of this note, head to my and and apply for some more jobs. After all, 2015 will come soon...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

finishing what I began

Since I got distracted with life, I never finished my water bottle blog! I shall fix that now!
I tried 2 Starbuck drink containers and I love them both. The first is an insulated travel coffee mug that I use for water only. The other is made specifically for water. I like them both and I'll list their pros and cons below. :-)

Heart Mug Pros:
Fits in cupholders

Heart Mug Cons:
NOT dishwasher safe
NOT microwave safe
keeps the taste/smell of the drink used last
mild "plastic" taste

Water Bottle Pros:
Super cute!
little to no "plastic" taste
fits cupholders
easy to carry

Water Bottle Cons:
NOT spillproof (drips from lid when tipped over)
Tall and top-heavy
NOT dishwasher or microwave safe

I've come to the conclusion that there are NO perfect re-usable water containers. I still want a glass one with a cute protective cover, but I'm not willing to pay a ton for one that I can't see and feel before I buy I'm still waiting to find one in a store so I can do just that.

PLEASE let me know if you see/find a glass container in a store! I really really really want one! :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Choose & Cruise Sweepstakes

Choose & Cruise Sweepstakes: "UR chance 2 Choose & Win a Disney Cruise vacation for 4 at - NO PURCHASE/PAYMENT NEEDED. Register today!"

Monday, February 15, 2010


Had I but known...
My newest obsession...being
green. But not going all crazy-like by hugging trees and splashing red paint on fur coats...well not yet, at least. I just want to make those "little" changes that the greenies tell us to do. Those small alterations to our daily life that can make a great impact to our earth. I figure, God tells me to be a good steward of what He has given me, right?

So I started recycling again (green idea #1). It's not so easy for me to do. I know all of
you are gasping in horror at the fact that I'm so behind the times...well SHUT IT! I hardly have time to brush my teeth in the morning and now I'm expected to rinse, de-label and sort my trash into bags that I have to tie up, drag to the van, and transport to a recycling center?!? (PS I still don't know where to take them, and my van's back seat is quickly filling up!)

Green idea #2: shop thrifty. I have been going to all the thrift/antique/consignment stores FIRST when I need "
new" items for my family and home. Once again, time is my enemy. It takes so much patience to sort through shelves of dusty knicknacks in order to find that serving dish. It's so tiring to slide hundreds of moth-eaten sweaters on a rack just to find that one perfect cardigan with only a single missing button. But I'm doing it. So YAY for me.

Green idea #3: EDUCATE myself. I'm so stinkin' clueless about the ins and outs of living green. There are so many easy things I can do but they aren't on a list. I need a list, a how-to, a "become a tree-hugger-wannabe for dummies". So I started today by obsessing over cool green websites and I'm stuck on one about having healthier kids by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in your own home! Who knew? Jamie has asthma and I thought I was doing all I could to help him and here I'm missing out on some seemingly obvious and simple things to do jus
t b/c I was uninformed. So I clicked on every link on in hopes of changing that...which leads me to my brilliant green idea #3:
Blog about it. This is my journey. And as any good journey, there will be ups and why not chronicle it? I'm a skeptic. I don't believe I can be green and keep true to my budget, family living style, and personal expectations.
Along the way, I'll ask for your help and tips. I expect you'll laugh at me along the way too...just make sure you share you joy at my expense. I asked for it! :0)

Question #1 for YOU: What's your position on bottled water? I can't STAND the taste of water from reusable plastic or aluminum what's an avid water-drinker supposed to do? Here's a link for an article that talks about the dangers of bottled water. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The land of Funtiques

It was a horrible and gloomy Tuesday in the land of My Life. Princess Kristina had woke up sleepier then when she laid her head down last night. Her professors had no pity on her.
To make matters worse, her prince was in a land far, far away name T-Mobilot slaying the dragon called Customeragon who always seemed angry about terrible things the he did to himself. Customeragon liked to blame all his misfortune on the good people of T-Mobilot and Prince Charming was busy defending his kingdom.
Princess Kristina had received news of a new land called Funtiques in the kingdom of Springfield. This new land promised hope of fun fabrics and vintage pieces that would surely put a smile back on the Princesses' sad face. So she traveled to the land of Funtiques and spent many minutes traveling up and down it's alleys. She found various things that made her smile and decided to make a deal with the Queen of Funtiques in order to bring some treasures back to her homeland. She wasn't sure if her Prince Charming would care a lick about her treasures, but nonetheless she decided to share her fortune with the good people of the Internet.

Enjoy this picture of her treasures, oh people of the Internet. "Oooh" and "Aaah" as much as you please...and if you don't get your fill, head on over to Funtiques Market on Commecial near National ave. in Springfield to find your own adventure and bring home many treasures to share with your own kingdom.
OH, and remember that we all live happily ever after.
The End.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Holy crazy 6-year-olds Batman!!

Is it just me, or do children morph into evil creatures when they are cramped in a room with 100 more of their kind?
Last night was Allana's Kindergarten music program in the tiny gym at Boyd Elementary School. Holy crazy 6-yr-olds Batman! Josh, the kids, and I stood flushed to the back brick wall praying for survival as children blurred by screaming, crying, laughing, screaming, singing, fighting, screaming and screaming!!
Are you an elementary school teacher? GOD BLESS YOU! I'm still recovering from 1hr of that mess. Thank you Jesus for your guidance! I was an education major at one Lord knew I only had enough patience to endure that scene when my children needed me to. Whew!
Anyway, it was cute 10-minute production and I'll include the vids on here. Feel free to watch them and remember to THANK the teachers in your world! They are a God-send!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My life in Song Titles

I just had this idea when traveling home from Michigan...there are so many songs that we relate to. As human beings, we trek the trials and triumphs of life together and we encounter moments when we "get" each other. These songs represent some of my "ah-hah" moments when I felt as though the writer/composer/performer made this song just for me.

This may be one of those Blogs that I add to in the future...but here is what I have so far.

High School:
I'm just a girl -No Doubt
Wannabe -SpiceGirls
Strawberry Wine -Deana Carter
JockJams -ESPN
End of the Road -Boyz II Men

You Oughta Know -Alanis Morissette
Believe -Cher
Jesus Take the Wheel -Carrie Underwood
Runaway Train -Soul Asylum
All I Wanna Do -Sheryl Crow
If You Could See What I See -Geoff Moore and the Distance
Losing My Religion -R.E.M.

Holes in the Floor of Heaven -Steve Wariner
Arms Wide Open -Creed
Feed Jake -Pirates of the Mississippi

Isn't She Lovely -Stevie Wonder
Someone Else's Star -Bryan White
Angel -Sarah Mclachlan
What Might Have Been -Little Texas
Still The One -Faith Hill