Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Not The Size That Counts

Not too long ago someone I know wanted to buy my sons each a gift for Christmas. This person asked me if I knew what they would want. This was an easy question. My boys were just telling me about this certain type of Axe body wash/shampoo/deodorant kits that come in various scents. I love those gifts because my kids are getting to the age where they need to use deodorant and any time they request it I happily oblige (no offense to my kids but they are teenage boys who play baseball so that's 'nuff said).

When I came back with the kits from the store, the requestor asked how much I owe. When I said $10 each for a total of $20 I was told that was not enough. I was kinda surprised. "But that's what they really want and it didn't matter how much it cost."

It made me think back to all of these years that I have tried to show my kids that it's not the size of the gift or how much is spent on it but the thought and effort that goes behind the gift. Boy does that sound like my own mother but I can't help it. It's true.

The reflection made me think of my own cherished gifts. I have gotten so many of them over the course of my 44 years of life that most are bound to be forgotten. No offense to anyone who may have gotten me gifts in the past. It's not that I don't appreciate them and it's not that I don't love them but most times unless I write it down, I don't remember the details of those gifts 10, 12, or even 16 years later.

Except there was one gift I remember well. When my first child was born over 16 years ago I am pretty sure I received a lot of gifts, flowers and teddy bears. I am certain of it. I think. I don't know. I don't remember. But I do remember very clearly ONE gift that I got on that day.

After the baby was born, my mother, who was waiting in the lobby, came strolling into the room to see me. She had seen the baby in his bassinette and had the biggest smile I had ever seen on her face. She was truly beaming with pride. She was a brand new grandmother for the very first time.

She was also carrying a balloon. A big mylar Precious Moments "It's A Boy" balloon that cost a couple of dollars. That was all she had. This big balloon and a big smile. She apologized for not having more to give me and I told her that was just fine. And I have never forgotten it. And I don't think I ever will.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where Have You Been?

I have been so busy lately with other projects that I simply have let my blog fall off the radar. With the holidays and my dad's recent passing, life still goes on and on and on. There is so much on my plate with my older ones in high school I am trying to keep up with all that goes on there not just with homework but with their sports as well. They go to a Catholic school so volunteering is essential and involvement is really key to their success. So that's that. Then there is baseball, cross country, and basketball. Practices and games and any other social activities that they need to be driven to. There is also the weekend SAT class for my older one as well as weekend baseball showcase camps.

The little ones are active too. My princess is in soccer but thankfully wrapping that up. She also has her homework and other activities she likes to do. She also has CCD.

The kids are not overbooked but I am. I don't really mind it in fact I think I am quite good at it. It keeps me busy and productive and I don't mind the work. I just feel bad sometimes when my blog activity takes a back seat.

My latest project is starting my princess' own blog. She is a terrific story writer and there is nothing more that I would love than to put her stories up on a blog for others to read. The stories are quite funny and interesting. She tries her heart out to get all of the words spelled correctly. Of course then there are the pictures that she draws to accompany the story. Truly hilarious and I would love to share all of that with my fellow bloggers. Maybe this weekend I will be able to set it up.

I have re-engaged myself in my own Organizing Blog that is really my secret passion. Won't you please visit it here and consider adding me to your blog reader? There will be menus, easy recipes,and all kinds of organizing projects along the way.

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


My princess was at it again. Yesterday I found her in my office at the desk drawing her little heart out. I can't explain this talent she has. Neither myself or my husband can draw. Well he is a little bit better than me and somewhat on the artistic side. But I notice with her she has a passion to draw and create art whether it is painting, sculpting, or making jewelry. I notice she loves to have her hand in something artistic at all times. Here are a two of the creations she came up with yesterday.

Here she is jumping rope while two bunnies watch her. She just learned how to jump rope which has quickly become another of her passions.

In case you didn't get a clear shot of what one of the bunny's faces looks like she drew you an up close picture of it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Perfect Pantry

So excited! My pantry is featured this week here.

Check it out and also check out this blog and my other blog in general. I would love to have you as a reader.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Isn't She Cute?

Yesterday my princess came home from school and in her planner was her homework assignment. I am beginning to really love first grade! And I love that she is taking her work seriously enough to look like this.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whew..where did time go?

All of my followers must be thinking that I fell off the face of the earth. Actually I have been working hard at some various projects that just take up most of my time. One of them is this and the other is this.

For two weeks in July I was also away at jury duty which was a most awesome experience that I promise to blog about one day in the near future.

I've been working on some business stuff while trying to brace myself for the coming school year that is about to start in just 12 hours. The older ones are off to high school and the little ones are in elementary and preschool. Good thing I am organized or I fear I would never make it.

Back to planning dinners a week in advance, preparing and planning for school lunches, and waking up early in the morning to get everyone ready for school and out the door.

I have a new driver in the family so maybe I can get him to drive us to school. And then while he is driving us I might be able to catch a few zzzzzzzzzzzzzz's in the car.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Unless you have been hiding under a rock this past week, you know the tragic news of Michael Jackson. Now admittedly, I did not really follow MJ since "Bad". I just thought he was going off the deep end with the crazy behavior. I liked some of the newer music like "Man In The Mirror", "Feed The World", and "Black or White"...but his behavior and the accusations and the plastic surgery caused me to lose interest.

However this was not how I felt growing up. Now that I am approaching 44 years of age, most of my life had some piece of the Jackson empire in it whether it was the Jackson 5, the Jacksons, or MJ. In the spirit of this week I revisited my albums, youtube and my ipod to enjoy the music that I grew up with and was amazed at how so MANY songs from many different eras brought back a distinctive memory. I don't know of another group or singer that has spanned my life through music as clearly as MJ has.

When I was growing up in elementary school in the early to mid 70s, we all tried to do the robot dance in Dancing Machine. Even though I could not dance like this I knew the words and I sang the songs. Include in there "Ben" and "I Want You Back" (which is one of my top 5 Jackson songs). Then I went to junior high school from 1977- 1980 and we oozed the Jacksons and MJ there too with my personal favorites "Shake Your Body" and "Off The Wall". In high school, obviously it was Thriller. Gosh, they played so many MJ songs at my senior prom. I don't have a favorite but I know the words to each one on this album. In college, it was "Bad" which is one of my all time favorite videos. I loved MTV at that time. It was new and exciting. It was something that I had to distract me from my college homework. MTV was a neat outlet. Back then it was all about the videos that I really liked so much. "We Are The World" was a great video and I still love to re-watch it naming all the stars in the video and drooling over the younger and oh-so-hot Bruce Springsteen.

After I grew up out of college, I appreciated more of the charity type of songs that MJ produced and sang like "Heal The World" and "Man In The Mirror"...such beautiful songs about giving and loving and helping.

In the mid to late 90s and into the 2000's I didn't care for MJ because of the strangeness that followed him. I was disturbed by the molestation allegations and I still don't know how I feel about his involvement (if he did it or didn't do it). He didn't produce much after this and I lost track of him. But now that he has tragically died at a young age, I am really enjoying my ipod and youtube reliving my memories of yesteryear. It was such a great time to grow up.

How do you feel about MJ? Have you been reliving music from the past like I have?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Has It Been A Month Really?

I just noticed that it has been a month since my last blog post...shame on me. I feel like I should join that group "Blogging Without Obligation". I must have lost some followers along the way. :(

But it was not without reason. With my summer vacation (where my laptop conveniently broke and I could not blog from the vacation trail), all of my kid's activities (isn't summer supposed to slow down?), and my business ventures and social networking it's no wonder I have not had any time to blog on here. Oh and did I mention that my home computer crashed too so I have been spending time trying to reinstall every program on there that gave me such great convenience?

So my goal is to blog as soon as possible regarding my summer vacation which took us through our great state of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. It was not just a vacation but a tour of colleges for my older guy who will be going off to college in two years. Every time I say that I shake my head in amazement that it is not far off.

I will also blog my kids activities between the baseball tourneys, the basketball league, dancing recitals, and swimming lessons, it will fill up the holes of my blog.

And when am I not pursuing a new business venture..ummmm..NEVER! It's always something in my mind. But check it out on my two newer blogs...and if you can follow me there or add my blogs to your reader I would be forever grateful.

The Mommy Organizer
Organizing Your Home and Life

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Feed A Cold....With Exercise

Yesterday morning I woke up with the first signs of a cold..sore throat and post nasal drip. I started to become upset because we are going on our one and only summer vacation next week and the last thing I need is to be bogged down with a nasty cold on the trip. I took a few vitamin C which always gives me acid reflux but I take it anyway hoping to fight off the cold. All day long I was feeling the sore throat and it was making me feel tired and lazy. I contemplated calling off my personal training session. I don't have that many left and I don't want to waste one on a day where my performance is not optimal. But something made me keep the session and off I dragged my achy body to the gym.

When I got there I did my usual warm up which is a mile long jog around the upstairs track. It was ok..not my best and not my worst but the throat was bothering me and I was feeling lightheaded and my stomach was acidic from the vitamins and the drip. Disgusting.

When I got back to the exercise floor my trainer, Amy, tells me that today was going to be a unique day. We were going to be doing our entire hour long workout with these ceiling straps that dangle almost to the floor.

There were so many different exercises and they were extremely tough and left me winded and dripping with sweat all hour long. But I made it through somehow without barfing, although a couple of times I swear I almost was going to.

I was beat on the way home. I dragged myself into the house, took a shower, and went to bed. And then the most amazing thing happened this morning. I woke up and my cold and sore throat were completely gone.

Maybe there is something to this exercise thing. It must build up immunities. Maybe I sweated the cold out. I am not sure but there is one thing for sure...I know what I will be doing if I ever feel another cold coming on.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

End of a Great School Year

The school year is coming to a close and it is bittersweet for me. It's been a hectic year logistically because this is the first and only year that all 4 of my kids were in different schools. This made getting them to and from a big huge challenge. In all honesty that was the only draw back.

I enjoyed watching my princess in her first year of school. She really thrived in kindergarten much better than I had ever hoped she would. Her teacher was so wonderful and the year was filled with so many exciting lessons and activities. She started off the year learning how to read words and ended the year reading full books. Not only is she reading but I have noticed that she is actually understanding and comprehending what she is reading. She is able to feel what the author is saying. She is in love with the library and we just went and checked out 15 books this month for her to read.

I am also so pleased with the great progress that my baby boy is making too in his preschool. He is speaking so well now and his thoughts are so cute and keep me smiling. His latest venture has been on the computer. He loves the computer and enjoys playing on some of the reading websites like starfall and funbrain.

The older boys had a great year too. My younger teen ends his middle school years on a happy note. Straight As and a first place math trophy. He is off to a foreign school next year where the only person he will know roaming the halls is his older brother. He is going to miss his friends, I know that. But we are able to give him a really great opportunity at a wonderful private Catholic high school that will hopefully open more doors and teach him on a deeper level than he would have gotten at the high school near our house. I know he is sad but I have faith that he will meet some really great kids there too.

What can I say about my oldest boy except that I am finding bittersweet in all of the days that lie ahead of me. I no longer feel like I have oodles of time left before he is walking out the door to college. It's only two years away and suddenly two years feels like tomorrow. When he was on the JV baseball team I didn't worry because that meant he still had Varsity. But now he is at Varsity and there is nothing after that at high school. He is getting his high school ring in a few months and the milestones keep rushing in. It feels like it is all coming so fast. He is into men's clothing, shoes, and smelling nice. He is not shaving yet thank goodness. Still a baby face to me. I remember when he was a baby. I had all kinds of time with him then.

We are going off on our summer vacation next week and I think that there will only be a few more of them before he is off to college. I hear a lot of parents say our jobs are to give them roots and wings. I like the roots. I don't like the wings.

I promise to embrace the roots as long as I can and give thanks for all of my four wonderful blessings. I love them so very much.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My trusty old friend

I knew something would eventually happen to my computer's hard drive. After all, it is older than my princess by a few months. That would make it 6+ years. The computer has seen me have another child since then. It has seen us buy a new larger flat screen monitor for it. It has seen us evolve with newer programs for preschool children that will only tax it's memory and processor speed. Two older boys would now do their homework on this computer that used to be just mine. It's been through thousands of downloaded photos. It never failed me, ever. Sure it's slowed down over the years and has caused me to reboot many many times but I felt loyal to it. I never looked to replace it. Yes I knew one day it would die. I knew I would have to back up my files. I kept postponing that process hoping that it would come more later than sooner.

But just last week I opened up my own account on igoogle and google docs. I got out of my denial and purchased a few jump drives and emptied all of my photos onto a jump drive, just in case. I started uploading my important files to google docs and also downloaded my outlook calendar to google, just in case. I was going to work on email and contacts this weekend. I was going to do the rest of the files today, just in case. But last night while working on my trusty Dell in the midnight hours while everyone else had gone to sleep, something went terribly wrong. The screen froze. But that had happened before and maybe I had too many windows open. I rebooted and then got the message that this might be the end. It was the blue screen of death. The one where it gives you the message that some important looking and too long sounding file is corrupt. What was I going to do. I had not yet completed my documents backup. I rebooted. It didn't help. I rebooted again. Nothing. The tower started making funny noises. This wasn't good. I knew it. My just in case moment came and I felt panicky. I lost my internet access. I lost my email. All of them. I could not get to my blogs or my reader. Nothing.

I went to my closet where I have carefully stored all of my computers disks and backups. The only thing I knew was to reinstall Windows and pray. I found the disk, put it in, and hope that something can be saved. It rebooted, reinstalled, but everything was lost. My internet access, drivers, files, email, applications, programs, and my bookmarks. I turned it off and went to bed. I couldn't sleep. I felt like I lost a special friend.

When I awoke this morning, it felt like a sad day. No computer. I was going to have to start shopping around for a new one. Initially I thought of just starting from scratch on the trusty old Dell but I have come to the realization that 6 years to a computer is like 90 years to a human. I am going to retire and bury my trusty Dell and replace it with another Dell, a newer and improved model. I am sure I will get to love my new Dell, once I buy it and set it up. But I know that it will never be the same as my old best friend. RIP my old Dell and I hope that the new Dell is as good to me as you were.

Friday, May 22, 2009

So Much Going On

There is just too much going on but for some strange reason my brain likes being on overload. I have always been that way but never could explain it. A lot of times people say to me "Where do you get all of your energy" and I tell them I have no clue. I can no longer blame it on the caffeine from my daily diet cokes (jumping for joy). But the strange thing is that the more sedentary I am, the more tired I am and the less productive I, lazy...and I hate that. I guess I will never fully retire.

I cram a lot of things in my one day. It's like a personal challenge to try to get as much done but a lot of things that I do are just plain fun to playing with my kids, polishing my daughter's nails, cooking my family dinner, making brownies, playing on facebook and catching up with old friends and relatives, sweeping up the mud and dirt that the kids drag in, working out with my husband, organizing, decluttering, cleaning, yada, yada, yada.

I feel compelled to tell how I do all of this every day. Take my 4 kids to 4 different schools and then manage to get myself to work, take on the demands of my job, pick the 4 kids up from the 4 different schools, make dinner, do laundry, get at least 2 of the 4 kids to some sort of sport or extra curricular activity, get baths done, homework done, get the kids to bed, and then get myself to bed. I swear seeing it written down on paper makes my head spin. I forgot to mention that I pay the bills, clean up, prepare for the next day, and countless other things. I have a husband who helps A LOT..thank goodness for that because I know people who don't have that support...but even with his help, I seem to be the one driving the train. I am ok with that because I am a bit of a control freak in that respect. Do you kind of relate to that because I think a lot of us moms do.

I love this life. I wouldn't slow it down at all because it keeps me fit, physically and mentally. One of my goals in life, god willing, is to be active, fit and healthy enough for my future grandchildren. I want to be a hands on mother and hands on grandmother. I can't imagine retiring because even if I retired from my working life, I would still find some other ways to occupy my time like spending time with my kids, babysitting grandkids, traveling with my husband.....

the list goes on and on and on and on and on......

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My New Hobby/Blog

I have a new blog and I am so excited. I have been busy researching content and drawing on personal experiences to fill the blog with all kinds of fun stuff. If you get a chance please visit it and I would love it if you would subscribe to my feed and follow me on this exciting journey. And if you are so inclined, please pass me along to other friends or tweets. I would really appreciate it.

The Mommy Organizer

And if you are ever in need of a blog makeover, this girl is a gem.

Teacher Conference

This morning we went to our end of the year teacher conference with our princess' kindergarten teacher. We have really been very pleased with this particular teacher and the school in general. The school is so well run and organized. Her growth has really exceeded our expectations.

I was particularly happy to learn that the system by which she is evaluated for her reading level is very thorough. I don't know all of the metrics that the teacher is looking at but she did explain it on a high level. At the beginning of kindergarten they are usually reading at an "A" level and by the end of the year the school expects them to be reading at a "C" level. Our teacher's goal is to read at a "D" level. Our princess is reading at an "H" level so I am particularly happy about that. The one thing that the teacher explained to us was that the school has a really great resource center that allows the children to use materials that suit their individual learning levels, not necessarily the level of the other students. So if there are children that fall above or below the average level of the rest of the kids, the teacher can provide materials to each kid at that level. So that made me feel very good.

Her evaluation of her math skills went really well too. She knows how to tell time but now we are going to work on fractions of hours like half hour, 15 minutes past the hour, etc. She understands most denominations of money except for the quarter (but she sure knows how to spend it!). We will work on her money skills too. She also can add and subtract single digit numbers and can count to 100 by 10s and 5s and can count to 20 by 2s. So exciting.

One skill that I have been working on is money. I try to give her every opportunity to understand money because I think it is important to know these skills early on. When she got $5 from the tooth fairy a few weeks ago I took her to the toy store and helped her pick out something that was within her price range. I also let her pay for it at the counter and let her receive the change. We counted the change together. She has a piggy bank and we put our change in the piggy bank. Whenever she gets money she puts some of it in the piggy bank.

It will be bittersweet when we end the school year because I am going to miss her teacher very much. Hopefully we will still stay in touch.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Picnic Fun

Yesterday was such a great day with my two little ones. First stop was at the daycare where they had a special breakfast treat for all of the moms. Donuts and juice. I was so glad to have some time to spend with my little man while we drank juice and ate donuts together.

Afterwards it was off to my princess' school where they had a special Parent Picnic filed with fun and games in the morning and then a picnic lunch. The games gave me great ideas for future parties here at the house with my little ones.

Bouncy Ball Races

Bubble Making Station

Sack Races

Eating our lunch together

Time to go back to class

The whole class together

Time for a goofy picture

Even though I was so hot and sweaty and exhausted from all of the activities I really enjoyed making friends with some of the other moms. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. It was so nice to be in a circle of friends.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lost First Tooth

The other day my princess lost her first tooth. I have to say though that I have been through this with my two older boys so the novelty of this has worn off a bit. Even so, she's my princess and this is yet another reminder that my little girl is growing up.

She looks so different.

She is still my precious princess.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Very Special Princess Birthday

I am not a big believer in going somewhere expensive and overpriced for birthday parties. I have done this in the past like the bowling alley or Chuckie Cheese but it has been rare and everytime I have done it, I remind myself that I can put on just as good of a party at a fraction of the price right at home. This year I did just that for my was a pool party with lots of games and swimming right in our backyard. Even the cupcakes were homemade. A Dad of one of the girls who came told me that he really enjoyed just relaxing in a backyard home party instead of those over-stimulating, headache inducing, game room type of parties. Here are a few photos that commemorate the occasion.

First we had to make the cupcakes....

I made them with a regular chocolate store bought cake mix and lined the cupcake tin with pink liners. I frosted them with a vanilla buttercream frosting that is so easy to make. The recipe is below. After frosting the cupcakes, I sprayed a pink color mist food coloring on the cupcakes to give it a slight tint. I then sprinkled on some ice cream sprinkles to give it a party look. Play around with the food mist colorings and decorations for a fun cupcake.

Buttercream Frosting:

1 lb. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened or Crisco
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk

In large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, vanilla and milk until smooth. If necessary add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency. Mix everything well.

Chocolate buttercream frosting - add 1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa.

After the guests arrived, we jumped into the pool with some pool toys and rafts.

More Swimming

Even the little guys played together

After getting out of the pool, we played a few games such as egg race, sack race, and fill up the jug with water (I was having so much fun with the last one that I didn't get a photo of it). For the egg race, get two hard boiled eggs and two large spoons. Make teams. Each person has to walk around a cone and back balancing an egg on a spoon. If the egg falls off the person has to pick it up and put it back on. The team that finishes first wins. Fill the jug up with water is also fun. You need two empty jugs, two buckets of water, and two scoops. The object of the game is for the first person on each team goes to the bucket of water, scoops up water in their scooper and goes over the jug and drops the water into the jug. They run back and the next person does the same thing. The first team to fill the jug up to the top wins. Because the kids were smaller I used a half-gallon empty jug to fill up and a small paper cup as the scooper. The kids had loads of fun with the games.

More Egg Racing

Sack Race...we recruited the teens to make this game more interesting and believe me, this was the most fun to watch


Happy Birthday 6 year old!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


For as long as I can remember I have been a diet coke addict. It's been so long that I don't remember when it started. My habit usually took me to anywhere from 2-3 cans a day. I tried to stop so many times but it never worked. I even blogged about it.

But 11 days ago on a Saturday morning, in the midst of my big workout regiment, I admitted to my trainer/friend that I felt sluggish because I had not had a diet coke yet. She looked at me curiously and we started talking about it. I admitted that I had a hard time breaking the habit and I felt I needed it to get me going in the morning. Just talking about it made me feel better about wanting to do something about it. She asked me to try hard to stop this time and if I did drink a diet coke I would have to admit it and then she would work me out 200% harder on our next workout. I think that worked because it got me to stop and now I am 11 days clean of diet coke.

Definitely I think about it a lot. I think about how good it would taste right about now. That's when I turn my thoughts to something else and grab my bottled water. People are asking me "are you getting headaches" or "are you going through withdrawal" and the answers are surprisingly NO. Which led me to wonder how much of my "addiction" was physiological or psychological. I think it is the latter.

I don't think I could give any good advice on this subject since it took me so long to cure my own self. But what worked for me was an objective third party to give me a good challenge that I could not pass up. For some reason, this time, it worked.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let Them Misspell

My daughter is in kindergarten and we are so lucky to have a really wonderful teacher. Early on in the year the teacher spoke with us about her plans to teach them how to write sentences and short essays. I was pleased with her aggressive approach. One of her requests to us what that when she writes that we do not spell any words for her. We were supposed to encourage her to write the words how they sound. Spelling them for her does not get her to think about the word and phonics. So we did what sounded reasonable to us.

I deeply feel from that logic that my daughter has really learned so much about phonics and words and has improved in her spelling all on her own. And the essays we get from her are so cute and funny. The words are sometimes really big and to see her give her 100% effort on getting them right really warms my heart...and helps her to learn so much more. So if you want to really help your kids learn words and how to spell them, let them make mistakes on their own.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Menu Monday err..Wednesday

I like the idea of starting a Menu Monday....I had the menu all planned last weekend but failed to put it on my blog so here goes...a little bit late but here nonetheless.

Monday - Leftover Turkey from Easter, Stuffing, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes.

Tuesday - Ribeye Steak, buttered noodles, green beans, brownies

Wednesday - Pizza, mixed green salad

Thursday - Shrimp with orange pasta

Friday - Asian pork in the crockpot

Saturday - hamburgers/hot dogs, slaw salad, brownies

Sunday - Lasagna, garlic toast, mixed green salad

Enjoy your menu this week!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I just loathe generalizations. They really are just a way for someone to lump a person into one group that someone has expectations of to behave a certain way or develop in a certain manner according to the group...or something like that. When people make generalizations they don't take into account certain "other" factors.

I never witnessed these generalizations as much as when I started to have children.

At first it was my decision to go back to work and send my child to daycare. Lots of people asked me how I could do know, send your kid off to a strange place so strangers could raise him. I heard a lot of comments like "why do people have kids if they are going to send them to day care?" and "kids in day care turn out to be much more aggressive than kids not in day care."

Then it was my decision to not breastfeed. It just wasn't in me. Why do I have to explain it? Well really I don't. But people kept asking me "WHY NOT??" as if there was something inherently WRONG with my own personal decision. I read a lot of opinions of how breastfeeding is best. It probably is...FOR SOME PEOPLE...again, generalizations...breastfeeding is not for everyone and why did I need to explain that? People would tell me "but children who breastfeed have a better chance of fighting off childhood illnesses". That may be true. But I have formula fed all 4 of my children and have never had an allergy or an illness of any kind.

And then there was the obvious generalizations when I got divorced. I heard a lot about how my boys would never make it. They had no chance. They would struggle their whole lives. They will have a difficult time in school. They will have a difficult time with relationships. Their grades will fall. They will have behavioral problems. I heard it all. I felt the judgments. All of them.

It's been a difficult road being Catholic and divorced. Not that any other faith doesn't carry the hardships that come with being divorced. But my religion in particular comes with its share of judgments..after all, if you get divorced and remarried you are breaking Canon law. But that's for another post that I plan to write one day.

But with each passing day that my older boys live in the generalizations, they continue to amaze me how they seem to be proving them wrong. My oldest boy was just invited into the National Honor Society. He is making a 4.0 GPA and is going to Catholic high school. My younger son is also making a 4.0 and will go to the same high school next year. I watch as they get selected by their teammates to be captains of their sports teams. I watch them help people out all of the time. I watch them volunteer their time to helping handicap kids play soccer. I watch them help elderly people in the store. Every day I watch this stuff go on with my boys...the ones who were supposed to be aggressive because I sent them to day care, sickly because I didn't breastfeed, not amount to anything because I got divorced.

But their successes are no accident. I make it a point to take them to church every Sunday. In fact I fought my ex in court so I could have every Sunday with my kids. I even pay for that Sunday in child support to my ex just to have every Sunday. People have asked me "why is Sunday so important to you that you would pay your ex to get that day?" My answer is "church." It was supremely important to me to have my kids grounded at church and in school. The rules in my house were always church, school, then sports.

These hard investments into my kid's inner banks have not always come easy. I prayed one day to start seeing the rewards and I am so happy to be seeing those rewards come to be. And it makes me so proud. So very very proud.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happiness Is Tied To.....

I love this story.

It's how I have been feeling lately...happiness with my husband and kids but also happiness with myself. It's such an important message to busy moms (and dads!)....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week At A Glance

I have decided to check in with myself each week to share some random thoughts and some not-so random thoughts..

This week's activities - Well, tonight I am treating my two older boys to a Miami Heat game. It's a long overdue Christmas present that I have been promising them. Tonight they retire Alonzo Mourning's jersey. The rest of the week we have four baseball games, a soccer game, CCD, and I am going to a home party with my SIL where we hopefully get to eat free food (or portions of food). I have two workout sessions planned. My husband is going to do his first triathalon Sunday so we are going to the beach on Saturday so he can test out the ocean water and I can get a glowing tan. On Tuesday night, my husband is attending a college financial workshop at my son's high school.

In school - Princess is learning her single digit subtraction and taking her class photo. The older boys get their report cards and both will have straight A's in the same semester. That has never happened EVER.

Working Out - Back to the grindstone after two days off. Two days is a lifetime when you are training so it's gonna be a tough week this week. I have a Thursday bootcamp and Saturday training session. I will have to do an hour of cardio on Friday to catch up.

At Work - Work is always busy especially in the current environment..tough economy, lots of high electric bills, hot months quickly approaching, and a stimulus bill that will bring weatherization to our state. It will certainly bring a spotlight to us.

Blogging - I am still developing my new blog and will be unveiled as soon as it is complete. I can't wait for this exciting new challenge.

Here is a picture I am sharing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Blog Is Coming

I've got a new blog coming and I am really excited about it. I got the idea a few weeks ago...actually it's a blog I started awhile back but then never kept up. But this time it is going through a major facelift and I retooled and am excited about the prospects. The theme of the blog is organization and I am going to focus it around parenthood and working and having kids and all that good stuff that makes many of us feel disorganized. So many times I get asked how I work and take care of four kids and keep a clean house and keep myself going. I feel flattered that my friends and coworkers ask me and I enjoy giving away my secrets and some of my non-secrets.

I have developed certain patterns and habits over the course of my entire adulthood and some habits go way back to my early childhood (yes I was organizing my room when I was a little girl, go figure!). But they have never been as noticeable to me since when I had my first child over 16 years ago. Back then I was a nervous new mom and I asked my own mom how I would ever do it. Her one reply was "you have to get organized." And my first thought was "oh I can do that" and thus set off my internal philosophy that in order to have order you must set the wheels in motion to get there and create habits to keep you there.

Or course every so often I fall off the wagon and find my house in utter disarray but I can assure you I am not comfortable in that kind of zone. It is not usually long after that I go into purge or organizing mode.

So many tips and tricks have been learned along the way. I have often felt like I could write a book and maybe will do that one day. But a blog is something I can do for now and fulfill the part of me that likes to blog and also fulfills the need within me to share a little bit of myself and my lessons learned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's All So Confusing

I think I really got sucked into this whole world of social networking. At first, a few years ago, I didn't know much about it until the tragedy at Virginia Tech happened and that was when I learned about Facebook. Facebook was the social medium that students used to keep track of who survived the tragedy. So I was curious and signed on. I didn't do anything with my account and never really thought about it until the middle of last year when a relative "friended" me and I signed back in (after trying to remember what my password was) to "friend" him back. I can't remember if it was then that I started toying around more with facebook. I do remember that it was during the presidential campaign because I was interested in the political aspects of being on facebook (groups, friends who had similar political interests, etc.). Facebook has really bloomed since those days and I really enjoy it. I have connected with family members that I have only seen once or twice in my life and now "talk" to them every day on facebook. It's a fascinating medium and one of the only ones I used. Until Twitter.

I started using twitter because everyone was using it and I wanted to figure out what the big deal was with twitter. I signed up for an account and am now up to over 80 followers and I am following over 100 people. Some of them I know. Some are famous people and policial/news organizations. Some are complete strangers. But now I am equally hooked on twitter. It doesn't stop there either. I am hooked on tweetgrid, tweetchat,'s all good and fun. You can even buy a twittershirt.

Then there is linkedin, stumble, and digg. I better quit while I am ahead or I will not have any time left in the day for my "real" work.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Whirlwind Of Activity

These past few weeks have just not calmed down at all which is one of the reasons I have not been on my blog to give any kind of updates. Right now it seems I experiencing my own "perfect storm" of activity that has not let up and doesn't seem to be letting up at all in these next few weeks.

After my first jewelry show (which went really well and beyond my expectations), it feels as though God doesn't think I have enough to do so He upped the ante on me. My high schooler started his baseball season and my middle schooler started his track and baseball seasons. In the meantime my precious princess started soccer and is getting ready for her dance recital. Good thing my tiny man doesn't have a schedule or I would be completely bonkers.

At the same time that I am experiencing all sports coming together at once, my gym decides to run an outstanding special on personal training which is good for me because I need it badly (20 lbs must be lost of my body before beach season) and they are running good ads I am thinking because of the slow economy. So now I injected another committment into my busy schedule.

In the midst of all this, my work life seems to have gone on steroids. It is so crazy busy here at work because of a myriad of reasons too numerous to mention but I can summarize by saying that I drove over 700 miles in these past two days! And it probably won't let up anytime soon.

Did I mention that this past weekend I watched as my #2 child was confirmed. I wished I could have spent more time on the luncheon afterward but instead threw together some lunch items and a chocolate cake. It must have gone well because everyone raved about my chicken salad (which took no time at all and I might post the recipe one of these days). The cake was out of the box and the icing was a chocolate ganache (melted chocolate chips, whipping cream, and butter). Oh, how I long for the days when my sister-in-law and I had sooo much time on our hands that we actually enrolled in a cake decorating class. Of course that was B.C. (before children) and I wouldn't exchange those kids for anything (except maybe a few minutes of extra sleep in the morning). Here is a photo of the proud day. It's my son with my brother who was his sponsor. I love this picture.

And just when I seem to have a spare moment in the schedule something comes in to block the dentist, getting my hair cut, getting my son registered for high school, making cupcakes for the church carnival, sorting out my scrapbook photos, and organizing every room in my house!

I think I know my problem....I told someone once recently that I like being busy. It keeps me on my toes and active. Watch what you wish for....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Craft Show/Flea Market - What a Day

Today was my first EVER craft show and I am so glad I did it because I experienced so many emotions during this day that I don't think it is possible to sum them all up in a nice little package.

I went into this show with the goal of it being a fact finding mission. I had absolutely NO expectations. In fact, if I sold one thing I was going to consider the day successful. Second, I did not know what to expect. Would the visitors like my jewelry? Would they hate it? Would they laugh at it? Would they ignore me? Would they buy it all in the first hour and then I would have nothing left to sell? Would I leave there with my tail between my legs at having been there all day with not one sale? Was it priced too high? Was it priced too low? Was my display good enough? Would I forget something? Would I be able to make change? Would I even have to worry about it if no one came to my table?

All of these questions swam around in my head all week. I had no answers because I had no experience at this. I got to the venue yesterday because they let you set up a day early. I got to my little 8x6 table. It was in a great location but looked so little sitting there all by itself while everyone around it was putting together these massive displays. I started with the material I bought at and white..that covered my little table. I bought some displays at an online wholesale display outlet so I put them out and on top of some boxes that I covered in white tissue paper. I put out my earring displays for all of my earrings. I put out my little card holders for the prices of my jewelry that I bought at Michaels for real cheap. I also put out a really nice fake bouquet of tulips that I bought on clearance at Michaels because it looked pretty and made my table a bit more attractive. Believe me when I say that this was a low budget set up.

This morning I got up real early and made my way to the show with my one basket with all my jewelry and other necessities in it. Other people had shopping carts full of merchandise. All of my jewelry fit into a shoe box. When I got there I put all my jewelry out and proudly displayed it. I wasn't really nervous...remember, I had no expectations. I went in there thinking that if I learn one thing and sell one thing I would have considered it a success.

I met the couple at the table next to me, in front of me, and diagonal to me. They were so helpful and nice and experienced. I think they saw this was my first show. I must have had that rookie look to me. The couple next to me were selling shirts..$5 each..."can you believe it's that low?" was what I heard for the next 8 hours. He was loud and talkative but very cool and funny. I didn't mind at all that he talked a lot because he got a lot of people to his table which was right next to mine so that meant people came by my table too.

The woman diagonal to me was especially sweet. She came to my table a few times and gave me some much needed advice. She said "your jewelry is way too good for this show." I was taken aback at that and asked her what she meant. She said that I should go for shows that are less "flea market" types and go for more crafty, upscale shows like bazaars. She quickly educated me to what people expect at "flea markets" and I really appreciated her advice. I will follow through on that.

About an hour into the show, the crowds started picking up and more and more people were coming through and stopping at my table. I was listening intently to the things people were saying about my jewelry. Was it too expensive? Was it too small? And then I made my first sale. A woman picked up some earrings and really loved them. My first sale and it was two pair of earrings. I was so excited. I already exceeded my expectations by one pair of earrings. I texted my dear husband and while I was texting him more people were stopping by my table. Several minutes later a woman bought three pieces. Oh My. I was really getting excited now and decided that I should start tracking my sales. I was so excited I forgot to write this stuff down. I started actually having fun. This is pretty cool. People are actually paying me for something I made. People were giving me really nice feedback. They LOVED my earrings. They thought some of the bracelets were so cool and neat. The next two hours were pretty hectic as the lunch crowd starting really coming in and it wasn't until about 1 pm that it started to die down. And as the show started winding down and people were packing up I counted up my sales...26 items sold and about $180 made. It was an awesome day and way exceeded my expectations. I was totally exhausted not really from standing on my feet all day mainly from the swing of emotions that I was feeling. And now I get to do it all again tomorrow.

I would be remiss if I didn't summarize what I learned today.

1. Being a vendor is TOTALLY different than being a customer. TOTALLY. When I am a customer at a flea market I feel bad when I walk by booths as if I am totally rejecting the vendor. I don't want to hurt their feelings. But as a vendor I totally didn't feel rejected by people walking by. I just figured that not everyone is there to buy jewelry. They may have something else in mind and that was perfectly fine with me.

2. Know what a flea market is and understand that people are there to buy junk for cheap and to get deals. Understand the customers that will come to your show.

3. Sell items that are related to the product you are selling in addition to the product. For example, one of the biggest hits at my table was my earring stands.

It was the most requested item. In fact I am going to sell them all off tomorrow for a profit. I never guessed that this would be the thing that everyone would be talking about but when I asked people why they liked it so much they told me that cute earring displays are hard to find. Also, I got more requests to buy the fake flowers from Michaels that I bought as a table decoration. I finally sold them to a lady for a few bucks more than I paid for them. Who knew?

4. Offer many price points (which is what I did) but this show just reinforced with me that I need to offer cheaper items as well as the occasional high priced item.

5. Many adult women were buying my earrings which tells me that my earrings are probably too "adult" for little girls. Since I am trying to create a line for little girls/preteens I am not sure what it is saying to have mostly adults fall all over my earrings.

I know there are other lessons learned and I will probably sort it all out in the next few weeks especially as I try to find my next show. But this time I will be searching for the shows in various parenting magazines so I can get optimum coverage with kids.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My First Craft Show

This coming weekend I am going to my first craft show but not as a shopper this time but as a vendor. I have a pretty good start to my sample jewelry line and to be honest I am not sure what will sell so I just made a little of everything and when I see how it sells I will focus on the hits and try not to dwell on the misses. Here is a preview of just some of the stuff I will have on the table.

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