Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's Funny How...

Last month, I was stressed out and feeling trapped at work. I had nothing going on outside of work, except my kid's activities. It's Funny How gradually that happens, one day you realize you're doing everything for everyone and nothing for yourself.

I knew I needed to make a move, make a change, get something going to change my circumstances. I decided to finish my degree. Then I decided to get my knit shop running for the holidays. Then I found the writing contest. Today, I got back on the treadmill, my first heavy sweat in months.

It feels so good! It's Funny How a simple decision can start such an amazing chain reaction. I feel like I'm finding my new self. I am becoming Full-Time Job Me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 5 - Other Projects

Going back to school isn't my only project right now. I'm a master multitasker and always have many ideas in the works.

I'm writing a short story to enter into a contest. I don't know what my chances are of winning, but it's definitely motivating me to write regularly again. I keep asking myself, "what does 1500 words look like?" No idea until I actually do it. I'm using a draft I wrote in creative writing class eons ago in college. I'm hopeful. That's always a good thing!

I'm also getting ready to launch a massive Seahawks knitting project. I believe a knit shop will do very well if it focuses on one high-quality, unique item. My idea is bling and Seahawks. More to come.

I mailed the FAFSA yesterday. I'm waiting for that to finish processing before I move forward and call the school. This helps me work on patience and peace in this season of wait. I know class sessions start every 8 weeks so when it's my time, I'll know.

One final project I'm working I is getting up earlier. My goal is 5am with writing or workout time before leaving for work. I'm at 5:30am right now, 15 minutes earlier than last month. I love having time to shower and get ready in the morning without feeling rushed. By the end of the year, I hope this will be my new routine.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 4 - Just Thinking

In the midst of preparing my kids to go back to school, my own plans have to take a backseat sometimes. Yesterday was spent shopping for clothes and shoes and backpacks for them. We were actively shopping for about 5 hours. I was exhausted!

Next week begins the school year and I think they're ready.

My school starts new sessions every 8 weeks. I'm not in a rush. I need to move purposefully, not quickly. Tomorrow I will mail the FAFSA from work. I didn't make it to the post office today. I'm okay with that.

In addition to my school plans, I have other ideas in the works. I'm entering a writing contest. I'm going to reopen my Etsy shop. I am putting my focus on getting back home and being well paid.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Day 3 Decision Day

I decided on a Communications major.

I'm excited!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day 2 - 30 Days to Make a Change

Confession: While I did sign and prepare the FAFSA for mailing, it is still in my purse waiting to be mailed. So half a check for Day 1.

Day 2

I am leaning toward obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Communications. I believe this is a great entry for teaching, writing, even moving up in the healthcare industry. Today I researched job opportunities for this type of major. I think this may be the way to go.

The school I am seriously considering is CSU-global, completely online programs. There is a Communications degree available. Pretty sure this is what I should do. Pretty sure. This degree covers training, writing, leadership, a lot of areas that overlap my interests.

It's hard not to be nervous! I don't want to commit to a program and then find out it is useless. Is any degree useful? Could I make a huge mistake?

Friday, August 21, 2015

30 Days to Make a Change

I'm at a crossroads.

I am starting to be very unhappy at work. I love my job, interacting with patients and light administrative work, but new pressures are coming and new help is not coming. So here I am on the edge of burn out with no real relief anywhere. Do I stay or do I go now?

I can't quit. The pay and benefits are an amazing combination. But, I don't want to spend the rest of my working life in this same position. I still have time to go back to school and earn the rest of my degree. My dilemma is what to focus on, my current industry or something else?

What would I love to do? I love being home and available to my family, writing, teaching, going to the bathroom when I want. Ideally, my job would be more on schedule with my kids school schedule. Teaching? I would love to work at home. Medical billing? Should I write?

When I worked at home, we were so financially poor. Now, we are comfortable, not well off, but good enough. I don't want to lose that money. I need a guaranteed income.

So, what do I return to school to achieve?

30 days to make a decision. Today I will sign and mail the FAFSA form to complete my financial aid packet. Tomorrow I will do something else. My goal is to have a decision made by the end of 30 days.

Monday, May 25, 2015

One Goal

Can a woman be successful at home at work? A resounding no is my reply. At least I'm not. It's one or the other, never both. I'm still trying to find my flow.

This week I have one goal: make dinner every night, or at least prep it so someone else, probably my daughter, can finish it. That's it. If I can do this one thing all week, I'll be satisfied.

I have other goals, more personal ones like shave my legs, do a facial, go run, all things that are important only to me. God forbid I turn into a backwoods hillbilly! It's not easy to keep the focus on myself, though. If I'm home, I want to focus on my family. It's hard. I feel like I'm shrinking. My needs are a distant third or fourth.

It can't stay this way.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Year, New Goals


When we moved to a new state last year, I knew big changes were ahead. New climate (leaving SoCal for the Pacific NW), leaving homeschooling and entering the public school system (shudder), shutting the door on my SAHM career and heading into the workforce of the world (goodbye pajamas, hello pantyhose and heels). Big changes for us all.

We've been following a three-step plan:
1. Move to new state (check)
2. Get good jobs (after 3 months, check, thank God!)
3. Establish our family in our own home (...almost there)



My sister's family blessed us with an open door and free rent in their home. With them. We live with (on top of) a whole other family, bringing the people-in-house total to 11, almost all the time. Cooking dinner is a giant chore. Keeping groceries in the house period is a giant chore! The time to move out is upon us. The kids want their space and so do we. The search for a home to rent has begun.

What are your goals and ambitions for 2015?


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-changes

This week marks the beginning of so many changes for our family.

I start training for my new medical receptionist job.
The kids start school for the first time ever.
We become a two-income family with both parents full time and kids in school.

I know this is normal life for most people in this country, but for us it's completely different from our homeschooling lifestyle. I'm excited and nervous. I know school will be a good experience for my kids. I'm happy to finally snag this job I've been chasing since June. I'm feeling like this is the beginning of the tide turning in our favor. For good.

I'm hopeful. That says a lot.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

DIY Percy Jackson Birthday Party

My daughter turned 11 yesterday. I love this girl so much. She is a bookworm, artist, athlete, and budding writer. She is currently immersed in the second Percy Jackson series. I can usually find her curled up with the laptop on her bed writing PJO fan fiction. (How does she know about fan fiction?!) An obsession has taken hold. Naturally, the theme for her birthday party was...Percy Jackson!

It is not easy to find party items for Percy Jackson. There is a party pack of ideas and printables on the Percy Jackson website. I didn't use much of this. My daughter was the only one who really knew the stories well so I just used it for ideas without using the games themselves. I searched for Percy Jackson themed plates and tableware, but no luck. I was on my own.

Thankfully, PJ is well-known for his favorite color: blue. No problem! I purchased blue table covers, plates, and napkins from Dollar Tree and Target. I cut blue flowers and put them in a blue vase next to the blue cupcakes. Perfect!


I searched for other PJ themed parties and found this blog and this blog. Tons of great inspiration! We wanted to have shield painting and a quest so these blogs got us off to a great start. I wrote scrolls of clues for each task, mostly my original rhymes or based on the other blog's ideas. At the completion of each task, the Questers received Ambrosia, in the form of a Pixie Stick, to give them energy for the next.

My daughter made up demi-god characters for everyone. We put all the names and descriptions into a bag, which we called the Oracle, and everyone got a new name for the party. It was fun and she loved seeing everyone's reactions to her characters.

We kicked off the party activities with shield painting. I purchased the cake rounds as another mom suggested. My DH attached tight elastic straps through each one for ease of carrying throughout the quest. The kids loved it! The painted symbols related to their characters. They carried these with them throughout the Quest. We also made swords out of foam core by cutting out the shape and then covering the blade with foil and the handle with brown floral tape. All the supplies were purchased at Dollar Tree keeping it very cheap.

Cake rounds purchased from the craft store and spray painted black or bronze.

The elastic straps were great for the kids to carry the shields for the whole party.

Foam core swords covered with foil and floral tape 

While the shields dried, we played a TP toga game. I didn't want a heavy competitive feel to the party so we used the Oracle to determine the teams. I was very pleased. There was no arguing or debating about who was whose team. Perfect!


The winning TP toga design!

Our main party activity was a Quest. We set up 5 different games. At the end of each game, I handed a scroll to the birthday girl to read aloud. The scrolls contained clues about where to find the next task and what it might be. Each Quester had to complete every task before everyone moved on. This worked out great since we had 7 kids of ranging ages 8-14. I loved seeing them cheer each other on and stay focused on what was happening instead of wandering off once they finished the task.


Birthday Girl reading the scroll leading to the next task

The first task was to find Zeus' lost lightning bolts. DH and the Birthday Girl made posterboard lightning bolts and covered them with foil. I hid them around the yard before the party. The kids really liked this game. Although, one lightning bolt was so well hidden no one found it until hours later. Ha ha! I called time after 10 minutes and we moved on.

The pile of found lightning bolts. Each one was about 3 feet long.
The next scroll led them to play ball with Cerebrus. This was a game made by DH. He used foam core board and a picture printed from online. Then he cut holes over the dogs' mouths and glued cups behind them. The kids took turns tossing one whiffle ball at a time into the dogs' mouths. They had to get all three balls into the cups before they got the next scroll. It was harder than it looked! I was happy that the younger party-goers were the champs at this game.


Play ball with Cerebrus! 

The next scroll took them to the basement doorway. I hung a blue table cover over the doorway and set up a black bucket with some giant plastic coins. This represented the River Styx and to enter the Underworld, aka the basement, each Quester had to flip two coins into the bucket. The coins were huge and floated more then they flew so it took some skill to get them into the bucket from across the room. Once everyone accomplished this task, they entered the Underworld.

In the basement, we turned out the lights and turned on thunderstorm naturescapes. The floor was covered with balloons. Inside seven of the balloons were plastic snakes. Each Quester had to pop balloons any way they wanted until they found a snake inside. This game was incredibly loud! And a lot of fun. The Quester's got to keep their snakes, too.

The snakes were part of the next clue, which of course, led to Medusa. We again used foam core and attached a hideous picture of her found online. I poked sparkly green pipe cleaners through the board as an added touch. We purchased a plastic archery set from Dollar Tree and each Quester had to hit Medusa in the face with an arrow. Not as easy as it seemed! There is certain timing to releasing the arrow just right and each Quester struggled at first. We gave six arrows per turn and by the last arrow almost everyone hit the target.

Medusa!

The final scroll led the Quester's to search for Athena's weapon, a white owl, hidden in the yard, containing their prize, a plastic gold medal. Once this was found, I presented the medals to each Quester, proclaiming them all Olympian heroes. Then Birthday Girl presented them with a carved bead on a leather cord, representing their achievement from Camp Half-Blood. They loved it!

We ended the party with cupcakes and presents. Birthday Girl received PJ themed gifts in the form of the new book in the series and a necklace of all the book covers in the first series. She was so excited.

This party was a great success!