Wednesday, October 12, 2011

School Mom, Harder than it looks!

I have been so overwhelmed with all of the things that come along with school aged kids.  It seemed easy on paper.  Drop your kid off at school and pick them up.  I'll have 2 in school and I'll only have 2 at home.  It will be like it was when I had the 2 little ones at home when I only had 2 kids.  We'll go shopping, go to the park, go out for coffee with my mom.  I organized and organized and organized again.  Everything was in place; schedules, menu plans, organizations we'd be part of and not be part of.

It wasn't enough.

Nobody explains to you how exhausted you'll be.  When you have little sleep and an additional workload to conquer every day you're lucky not to fall asleep during the day when you should be watching the toddler and infant.  I'm not a big coffee drinker and never have been.  I guess you could say I'm a "social coffee drinker", because I must admit when I go with my friends to Starbucks I will get a Carmel Frappucino occasionally.  Let me tell you though, I understand my mother on a whole new level now.  

I have become addicted to coffee out of necessity.
I strongly believe coffee should be something moms can use as a tax write off at the end of the year.  It is a work expense!  I go through 4-6 cups of coffee on a normal day just to keep up with the driving, the cooking, the cleaning, the refereeing, the homework and after school snacks, the bedtime routines...not to mention the mental exhaustion with dealing with the school system, the teachers, the other moms and just the plain politics of it all.  I'm a night owl, but by 6pm I want to curl up in a little ball and drift off into dreamland...of course my night doesn't end at bedtime and I am always up late anyways.  It is inevitable.  By the time I can get to sleep I'm so stressed out that I can't shut my head off and I guess I'm admitting a guilty pleasure here but to de-stress I do something horrible.  I watch awful reality tv and eat and eat and eat.  Now usually it's just whatever was for dinner that I never got to eat because someone spilt their milk and someone else wanted seconds and someone had a temper tantrum because they didn't want to eat and someone else needed more to drink and by the end of it bath time has arrived.  >_<

I am not complaining.  I love that my kids are gaining their independence and are so proud of themselves.  They have friends and self-confidence and are very artistic, creative, and intelligent and are able to let those qualities shine through more then being at home with 3 siblings.  I guess what I have come to realize is that my life is transitioning into a new phase.  I'm sad to turn the page, but I am excited about the next chapter.  My babies are growing up, but they are more amazing every day.  As far as my new work load...I'm trying to learn to love my new life, establish a new routine that works us, become more family oriented around our home, and survive it all.  I have cut down on the organizations we are part of and the extracurricular activities.  I have come to realize that you can't do it all and shouldn't do it all.  Our family is number one and that needs to be the priority, not helping out whoever asks the most or seems the most desperate. 

Priorities have shifted.  I no longer look for mom friends to join me on my journey.  We are all so different and I just embrace that we come in and out of each others lives and if that person can inspire you, even for just a few months, they were important and will always be important.  We shape each other.  We encourage each other.  We support each other.  My top priority is not finding a mom in a mom's group to ease me through my loneliness and cheerlead me in the right direction.  I don't feel lonely anymore.  I feel empowered.  The other moms have lifted me off the ground.  They have given me wings to fly.  I'm flying solo in motherhood and I don't mind.  My journey is different and we should never compare, but I do know I will see my friends from time to time on this journey that we all take.

The hardest thing about my new chapter of motherhood, SCHOOL MOM, is that I'm starting over.  I have to learn new rules and figure out who I am and what I hope to accomplish.  I need to shift into a new mode.  What an important role I have taken on in my next chapter.  I hope I can do it to the best of my ability.  I hope I can get better at it.  I am so lucky to have been given this opportunity in my life, but I feel like I'm a first time mom.  How different my life has become...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Supplementing The Hubs Income

Everyone could use some extra money, especially Stay At Home Moms! 

Living on one income in a two income society is difficult.  Yes we can save money with coupons and being thrifty, cutting utility costs and reducing your bills, and living on a cash budget, but that only gets you so far.  I am starting to think that with 4 kids and all the extracurricular needs/wants that go with each one or just the fact that this family would like a little money for an entertainment budget, we may need to start supplementing my husband's income.  I must be crazy to think this with how busy my days are and how exhausted I am at the end of the day, but crazy never stopped me.  :P 

The question is: What can I do from home to make a little extra cash every month, without disrupting my family's lives.  Bonus points for incorporating my kids in this as to teach them real life money making skills and the value of money.

I know there are all kinds of businesses out there geared towards Stay At Home Moms where you sell a company's merchandise, which is regularly overpriced and you have to sell to your friends and try to get your friends to start up their own "business" to form some type of pyramid scheme.  I know all too well.  I've been approached about these by friends and strangers.  I've watched my friends get sucked into these, spending more on the "parties" then the profits from the party.  The time and effort seems unjustified.  Plus do I really want to open my home up to strangers and have them around my children?

Another common job that is suggested to me on a regular basis is a home daycare.  I know I could do this and do well with this (look at my experience! haha), but is this really what is best for my children?  We already have 4 small children, so I could really only take in one child because if there was an emergency or I needed drive somewhere that is all the car seats my minivan will carry.  My children would have to divide the attention I have for them with another person.  The parents and I may not view parenting the same or they may send their child over while sick and if someone in our house gets sick it turns into a 3 week cycle until everyone has been sick and I have to sanitize the house like crazy after every bout, which I'm sure many of you can sympathize with.  How good of a caregiver would I be to all these children if I'm sick and I have 5 (or more) little ones to care for?  Plus, I'm certain my marriage would suffer as a result to my exhaustion.  No thanks.  I think I have enough little monkeys on my plate for now.  ;)

I can't do telemarketing or any phone related job, because...well let's face it, little kids in a completely tiled home makes for a very distracting background.  I'd be continually putting someone on hold and this also takes away from my children's wants/needs, so that's out.

Mystery shopping...can you imagine shopping at a store with all these kids and trying to complete an actual task, besides keeping the kids all in one spot without breaking something while dealing with the inevitable temper tantrum over a toy, boredom, or the sibling who won't stop touching them...NO THANKS!  This is why grocery shopping either takes two people or requires my husband or I to make a run out by ourselves.

Baking.  My mom's main side job as a single mom was gourmet baker.  She made desserts for restaurants and made good money, but the thought of it is very daunting.  The marketing for it and the licensing now required for it would probably not happen.  Needless to say, I have a hard enough time making 3 full meals and 2 snacks daily for my family.  I feel accomplished if I can fit in a brownie or muffin mix occasionally.  I don't think I'm cut out for it like my mom was.

The one thing I seem to be somehow talented at, to the point that I have family members and friends seeking out my "expertise" on regular basis, is reselling old things.  Somehow I seem to have an eye for picking up things at garage sales or family's homes for cheap or free and selling them to make a much larger profit.  After moving into our new home I took one week selling unwanted/unneeded items we had in storage and made $1100, which went to buying a minivan 2 weeks before my fourth child made his appearance into the world (Thank God!).  When in a bind I can usually come up with a couple hundred dollars in a couple of days.  I've never really looked into bettering myself on this and I use Craigslist exclusively to make this money, but now I'm curious.  Can I make more by buying things from garage sales and selling them on Ebay?  I've read some people buy off Craigslist, things like collectibles, and resell on Ebay as well.  Maybe I should start thinking about Estate Sales or Storage Units and making profits on them, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing these things without really researching what to do and look for.  I'll have to find my niche.

It's hard not to think this may be my solution.  It doesn't affect the kids negatively, although space would be a concern.  The pros seem to greatly outweigh that though.  The children would learn real life skills with the ability to make their own money and also they could learn the value of money in a more hands on way.  Just think, we are making a transition in this society from an Industrialized Economy to an Information Based Economy.  Maybe it is time I hop on the bandwagon and introduce these skills to my children while they're still young, so that it is second nature to them.  Added bonus: this is probably the greenest career I could take part in, so my children can learn simple ways to protect the environment and do it without giving it much thought when they're older because they've always been around it.  I think this is something I could actually enjoy, once I learn more about the ins and outs of Ebay, auctions, and storage unit sales.

What supplemental income tactics have worked for you best?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet Me Monday

Meet Me Monday

Every Monday I'll answer 5 questions about me, so that you all can get to know me better.  

These questions are courtesy of:
and the idea is thanks to my friend at Northern Skies!

1.  What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?
Baked that boring?  
I love love love baked potatoes.

2.  What was the last package that was delivered to your house?
 The Hubs bought a part for the van...had to fix my window that wasn't going up and down like it should.  Boring, huh?

3.  What is your favorite scent that you love to smell?
 Chocolate chip cookies in the oven.  Mmm!

4.  Do you smoke?

5.  Are your parents married or divorced?
 Divorced since I was 5.  My mom remarried 6 years ago though.

Join in the fun by heading over to Meet Me Mondays and linking up!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Launch Pad!

My Launch Pad

I'm taking part in:
  I'm coming in a bit late, so this week I'm going back to week 2 and taking part in the launch pad since that is what I desperately need to organize.
What's a launch pad?
Well, it's the term used to describe the place in your home where you have everything all in one spot to help launch you on your day. It can also be a landing strip as it's usually by the door that's used the most and stuff gets piled on it. The idea is to keep it organized and make sense so family members don't have to hunt for anything or think about where something is.

I had this table behind the couch (picture is after moving it to the other wall).  The baskets were full of diapers/wipes, baby blankets/bibs, and baby clothes.  I had a newborn, so it made sense to keep those things close instead of running room to room every 5 minutes, but now I don't need them as readily available with him almost 3 months old.  Time to change things around!

 Before the shoes were thrown about in a vinyl bin which collected lots of dirt.
Shoes and Out the Door Items!
The shoe rack, which I LOVE, is from Costco!  The top holds my diaper bag (black backpack) so I can fill it as I need and have it ready, and the bin holds everything that is on the way out (my daughter's backpack for school, clothes to replenish the bins of extras in the van, items to return or bring to friends/family, ect.)
The Launch Station  
The white basket is extra baby supplies.
The blue bins contain potato heads and puzzles (easy access to pull it out when things are getting crazy!).
 The Mail Sorter

My categories are:
  • Incoming Mail
  • Outgoing Mail
  • Coupons
  • Bills
  • File
  • Notebooks (I'm going to keep my finance/to do notebooks here)
The STUFF Basket
I love this basket!  Great find at a garage sale one street away from me!  
This basket is for keys, wallets, phones, ect.
 Lastly is the Library Bin.  
We go to storytime at the library once a week and the kids know this is where all library things go before bed every night.  I keep the cloth bag in there with the receipt that has the book and movie names, so I can easily grab everything, double check that we have everything, and throw it in as we're running out the door.  This really cuts down on wasted time during the week finding books and gives the kids a place to keep these special items.  They learn to respect the books more and distinguish between their books and the library's books.  Plus it saves us money, which I always love, since we aren't late anymore...or worse...loosing items. 
So there you have it.  Our new Launch Pad.
It honestly does "Help us launch out the door".
We may need some prettier baskets, but at least it is functional.
The only thing left is finding something on the huge open wall to decorate.

I love our new launch pad!

Now it's your turn!
Head over to A Bowl Full of Lemons and sign up for the 21 week challenge!

Monday, February 28, 2011

My New Inspiration

My New Inspiration is...

As the mother of 4 children under the age of 5, organizing, cooking, cleaning, teaching, and developing a functional household is a never ending task.  I'm constantly trying to make big decisions and little ones and my mind is always working on the next idea that will bring function and happiness to this family of 6. 
I just joined the blogging world and I must admit I admire so many of the mommy bloggers I'm meeting.  You are all my inspiration.  
We just moved into our new home in November, a house!  An actual house with a yard and a porch and a garage and the whole shebang!  Now you may all think I'm joining in the home ownership deal a little late with 4 kids, but I am utterly excited that it happened before our first started kindergarten.  I'm very proud of us.  
With this new proud feeling I'm feeling I just want to keep an 
organized, clean, happy, and family friendly home..

I know it will happen.  I have 4 sweet lovies to motivate me.  
Everything I do is for them after all!  

I thank all of you for your brilliant ideas, creativity, heart, and mostly for inspiring me to be the best "me" I can be.  

It's official.  I'm a:

I plan on having weekly projects in our new home on my path to an organized home and blogging about it, so stay tuned!

Meet Me Monday

Meet Me Monday

Every Monday I'll answer 5 questions about me, so that you all can get to know me better.  

These questions are courtesy of:
and the idea is thanks to my friend at Northern Skies!

1.  What are you wearing right now?
Jeans and a tank top

2.  Do you have any freckles?
Some freckles

3.  What is your favorite Lifesaver flavor?
Pina Colada

4.  What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
Toy Story's difficult to find time and a babysitter to go to the movie theater so we normally watch movies at home.

5.  Would you rather live without tv or without music?
I'd rather live without TV...but that would be difficult! 

Join in the fun by heading over to Meet Me Mondays and linking up!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Screecher

The Screecher

     Yup.  I was blessed with one of those screecher children.  You know the kind.  He screeches when he's happy.  He screeches when he's tired.  He screeches just to hear his voice.  Having a house with tile throughout just amplifies the screeches.  Sometimes I just want to screech back.  If you can't beat him, join him.  Right?  
     Now besides the occasional headache and the looks from random people in public I didn't find this to be a big deal until the other night when I was getting ready for bed.  I kept asking the hubs, "Did you hear that?"  "Okay.  What about that?".  I swear I heard the screecher.  Apparently I'm loosing it.   My body is surrounded by quiet for a few moments in time and it instantly starts fabricating screeching noises.  Someone please save my sanity!

                               The Mom with the Screecher

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meet Me Monday

Since I'm new here I thought I would start off with Meet Me Mondays.  

Every Monday I'll answer 5 questions about me, so that you all can get to know me better.  

These questions are courtesy of:
and the idea is thanks to my friend at Northern Skies!

1.  Did you get any Valentine's Gifts?
Outback Steakhouse
We weren't able to find a babysitter, so we order curb side carryout and had a nice dinner just the 2 of us when they were all in bed.  We both enjoyed a night off of cooking and the yummy food.

2.  What is your favorite topping on something toasted?

Apple Butter- Yummo! 

3.  Do you pick out your outfit the night before?

I used to and would like to, but right now I have so little clothing that fit (transition from just having a baby 2 months ago) that I usually am washing my clothes the night before.  Need to get this under control!

4.  What food item do you absolutely despise?

Pork Chops
Really I just despise anything from a pig...besides crispy bacon and pulled pork.

5.  Righty or lefty?

Join in the fun by heading over to Meet Me Mondays and linking up!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mommyland, Return to High School

Mommyland, Return to High School
Is it just me or do all moms feel like the art of making mom friends is just too much work?  
When I'm around other moms I always watch what I say, making sure I put the best "me" out there and making sure I don't step on any toes or hurt anyone's feelings.  Most likely this is a result of years of mommy friendship drama. I've lost many friends over things I didn't even know I'm doing or things that weren't my fault and now I'm overly cautious.  
There was the one time I apparently "stole my best friend's thunder" because I showed my ultrasound pictures before hers at a playdate when I didn't even know she was pregnant.  That grudge lasted 8 months and now if we talk it is more of a casual in passing thing.  
There was another best friend who de-friended me when she found out my husband had done something stupid.  I didn't even do anything to her.  Wow. 
Plus I've had many mom friends who fed into the drama, made everything about them, and compared everything from kids to how clean our houses were to medical issues to personal parenting decisions.  
I almost always walk away wondering if I said everything right.  Did I talk too much?  Did I not talk enough?  Did I say anything that would upset her?  It's more work to find mom friends than anything I've ever imagined.  Seriously!  It's a full time job.  Every time I get a friend who I think is a best friend something happens.
Is it just me or are most moms just high school catty girls with low self esteem putting on a front of how they are better then the rest of us?  
It is a "high school  world" out in Mommyland!  

Finding that best mommy friend is more difficult then finding a husband!  
You start to wonder, "Do I really need friends?"

I'm about to give up on the whole thing.

I may just become a hermit with my kids.  ;)

Chocolate Seeker

Chocolate Seeker
      My oldest son just started potty training and our most helpful incentive has been Hershey kisses.  We started off with one every time he went potty to get the ball rolling and we are now down to one a day if we have no accidents.  Anyways, I keep Hershey kisses in stock.  Well my daughter (who is 4 1/2 and potty trained) wanted to get in on the deal too, so we are giving her one at the end of the day if she goes in the potty throughout the day (I'm hoping this will help her "holding it all day at school" issue).  Well since I have been regularly finding Hershey wrappers and chocolate mouths around the house, I decided it was time to hide them in a drawer with boring things, like phone books.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?

      This morning after peeing in the potty my sweet daughter came up to me and proclaimed that she peed in the potty and is getting a Hershey kiss.  Like any smart mom I said, "What Hershey kiss?"  To which she replied (while laughing at me), "The ones in the drawer silly!"  First I hid those while she was at school, so how did she know?!  She's turning in to quite the snooper.  Now my mom always told me about when I was a little girl.  Apparently the thing everyone remembers is that I would find the Hershey kisses no matter where they were hidden...behind things in the back of the fridge, up in a cabinet tucked away.  Now I have a very perceptive little girl, but is this chocolate seeker thing genetics?  Hmm... Like mother, like daughter?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why a Minivan Mom?

"Why a Minivan Mom?" may ask.  Well let me first start off by saying I have fought this long and hard.  I loved my Toyota Camry.  I loved having a car that was all mine, but as most things go...I sacrificed fun for functional.  That's how it works when you're a mom.  I know old me is rolling her eyes and muttering "how could you?!" under her breathe, but she just doesn't understand the life of a stay at home mom with 4 kids under age 5.  It is a necessity and (I can't believe I'm saying this) I actually LOVE my new (okay its 9 years old) minivan!  That's right folks.  It may be white and it may have bench seats, but OMG how did I live without it?  Well I guess it's official.  I've joined...the dark side.  Yes.  I am a minivan mom.