Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It Comes Full Circle

There are things in life that just always seem to come full circle.  Do you remember as a child watching favorite shows like Sesame Street.  Well, here I sit with my son early in the morning and what one thing is he completely absorbed in doing right at this moment?  Watching Elmo on Sesame Street.  There are those things in life that just always will be it seems, and isn't it comforting. 
I watch my son looking on with awe as Elmo talks to Dorothy and asks her questions only she can know the answers to and remember when my daughter did the same ten years ago.  Then I wonder if I had that same expression of sheer awww at the wonder of every puppet.

There is no doubt about it, the repetition of familiarity is so very comforting.  Who doesn't love for their children to be as thrilled about the same things you were thrilled about when you were a child.  There are some things that just are always a steady comfort, like Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse and of course, who could ever forget Big Bird and Clifford and then there is always Curious George.  Some things stay with us always and then our children.  Is this branding?

Branding is an amazing concept bringing riches to many who learn how to use it properly.  When you think of refrigerators what is the first name that comes to mind?  Do you know why?  They call it branding and it can change the way people choose services and goods.  Without branding you are just another fish in the sea.  Can we use branding when it comes to a career in writing books?  I think that John Grisham and R.J. Rowling both would agree that yes, we can.

Learning about branding is just the tip of the iceburg I am finding as I head into the world of professional writer and hopeful author.  Every step we take to make ourselves known in a huge field is one we need to accomplish our end goal.  We sell books based on our writing skills sure, but we sell more books based on the memories of our past writing skills and the popularity of our materials.  Marketing is not to be taken lightly in the world of writing, whether we write fiction or non-fiction, our success in becoming a well known and sought after author is based on our popularity and the popularity of our material.  These two are not necessarily synonmous.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Journey Continues

So here we are well into our fifth month of being at home together and I am still learning how to manage meeting my children's needs during the day while following my own course.  I am having trouble finding the balance between my writing being productive and my home life being productive.  I have moved into a new phase of this successive process though.  I seem to be savoring all of the little moments such as my son dancing and clapping to music that he hears.  Something I am lucky enough to be with him for.  I have been privileged to see him blow kisses for the first time to his sister when she heads to school and watched him make car noises as he moves a toy car on the floor, something I didn't realize he knew how to do.  I had the chance to be completely in amazement when he figured out, AND REMINDED ME, that the dog's collar was supposed to be removed when he was let back in the house.  The most recent moment of great job I was party to was my son participating in giving a "high five" upon completing a task.

These moments are things I would not be privileged enough to experience if it was not for my recent upset in my career. 

That having been said, I am still in great need of figuring out how to balance getting anything in the freelance writing world accomplished worth doing as well as being able to figure out a way to go back to school.  The longer I put off starting classes for nursing, the less likely the change will be. 

So Readers, if any of you have any terrific ideas for organizing my writing so that I am able to do those assignments that pay best while still being able to help my daughter learn to deal with and work with her ADD and my son grow and socialize, please feel free to chime in.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Freelance What?

Alright, so I admit, this unplanned change in direction in my life has been a bit confusing.  I am thirty something and was pretty sure I knew what I would be doing for a living for some time to come.  Then it happened.  I lost my job and suddenly I wanted something else.  Who Knew!?  Well, I suppose if I am honest about it, I knew.

I have decided to take the opportunity put in front of me to take a little change in direction.  The basics are simple, provide for my family.  Seems easy right?  Does this mean I have to do things that don't make me happy to get there?  Yes, paralegal work once made me happy to some degree.  I loved the challenge.  However, I have decided with the paying of bills, the dealing with events beyond our control and the general trying to get through the days with our senses intact, my challenge is keeping my home together.

That having been said, you have all noticed some changes.  I have taken on writing again, something that makes me very happy.  I also love to illustrate so I have put myself out there for that.  While I have faith that all of these things will make me happy and in turn my family, I must be realistic.  I need something that moves me physically and mentally and can supply the income I need for my family.  Nursing seems to be the way to go.  So, while I am writing and illustrating and watching over our children I intend to go back to school, again. 

The point of this rant is to let everyone know how imporant I feel doing what you love is.  Can you make a career change at thirty something??  Why not?  Find what you love and make a plan to make it a part of your life.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Let's discuss LEGOs.  I have come to the conclusion that they are something that should be parent proofed.  While opening a bottle of aspirin could be a danger to a child, trying to maneuver around LEGOs seems to have the same fate for parents. 

Poor unsuspecting parents, thinking all the LEGOs have been tucked into bed for the night, creep around the room that transforms itself by day into a holding space for erratic toys and by night the supposed living room.  Barefoot or sock foot it matters not. 

Around the corner you go and BAMM!!  The pain pierces through the foot up through the ankle and right into the heart.  Where did it come from?  It wasn't there before you are very sure.  Do they hide beneath the furniture waiting for the opportunity to strike!?

A toy that bring so much joy even to the young should come with a case that has lock and key to ensure that it remains safely tucked away from the parents.  There should be a warning label, much like "Do Not Feed After Midnight", but instead saying "Keep Away From Parents" or "Caution:  Will Bite". 

Have you ever noticed how a box of 50 LEGOs can seem like 100 in no time!!  Do they multiply!?  And if they do, why are we always buying MORE of them?!

And then there is the JUMBO LEGO, which incidentally, is intended for YOUNG children and yet can be a massive health hazard for adults.  You would think their size and bright colors would make them obvious as you stroll through the play area unknowingly. 

Makes you wonder how fictional Toy Story really is?!

LEGOs, a danger to parents EVERYWHERE and yet a must have part of childhood.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Conflicting Time Keepers

I have a child with ADD and I must tell you I have never had such battle daily in my life.  It starts in the early morning when I first wake her from sleep.  She is asked to get dressed for the day and given a timeline.  Fifteen minutes later she still sits on the bed looking around not having moved a muscle and when you ask what she has been doing she replies, "I don't know."  This essentially sums up the way the rest of the morning goes task by task until we are both so frustrated our heads are going to pop off.

Mastering a smooth morning is only one of the daily issues we face with this twisted condition.  It can take the most intelligent and creative child in the world and present such road blocks over the basic tasks of the day that it turns the child inside out.  She has two clocks it would seem.  The timekeeper that tells her it is time to move, time to get dressed, time to do her homework, time to move on to the next and there is the other more controlling time keeper that has a different schedule.  The controlling time keepers seems to be working on a different time zone all together.  Maybe it is in Hawaii enjoying the sun.

My child is smart, funny, ridiculously creative, loving and talented.  Unfortunately, she often seems buried beneath a smothering controlling plastic veil allowing me to see her but not quit reach her.  The frustration level can be overwhelming for all of us including my suppressed little dress designer.

Medications, we've tried them.  We are still trying them.  But finding what works and doesn't cause more harm then good seems to be the hurdle there.  One is so effective she hyper focuses and another causes her to cry at the drop of a hat and lose weight at an alarming rate.

So what do we do?  We move forward and try to put systems in place that can help us avoid the mental road blocks that plague her.  We organize and organize again and again until we find the right combination that unlocks the door to "easy" and "effortless" tasks.  How do you handle your ADHD/ADD kids?  Tips?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Life in the Breakdown Lane

As life is screaming along we don't think about slowing down to smell the roses.  Who has time.  We have a job to hold down, family to feed, children to raise and if your lucky a great spouse to share it all with.

Then one day it all stops.  Life breaks down.  You lose a job and economic times take over.  You are consumed with putting food on the table and paying the light bill.  You need to find a way, and quickly, to live life in the breakdown lane.

Here are a few tips for making it through the tough times:

First, and foremost, find the silverlining.  Find tha feeling and positive that will get you through.  For me I am getting to spend time with my children I wouldn't normal get to spend.  I get to see my son's first steps, first words and get the chance to feel more like mommy and less like the lady who picks the kids up from daycare and feeds them only to put them to bed to do it all over again the next day. 

Here are some silver linings you might also have in common:

*  Time with my children
*  Save money on childcare
*  Save money on gas
*  Save money on eating out
*  Home projects

Next, you need to find a source of income.  There are many online websites that have terrific forums for just this purpose.  One of those is  They have excellent ideas on how to bring some much needed bread money into your home.  We will talk about how to come up with some great ideas that fit your life another time.

You need to find a schedule that works.  The notion of being at home with your kids and having everything tip top and perfect and time for everything you need and want to do is only that, a misguided notion.  Now that's not to say it can't be done, only that you need to be realistic about it and prepare a schedule that works for everyone.  The concept of having the freedom to do what you like during the day because you aren't tied down to a 9-5 job is nice, but not real.  I have found out the hard way that without some kind of plan for the day, bed time comes quickly and leaves you with an unaccomplished feeling of failure for not accomplishing 1/3 of what you had in your mind for your day.  Develop a plan.

Keeping your bills within your new means is something that can easily get away from you.  Great, you are saving all this money by not paying for expenses you would be if you were working full time.  And believe me when I say that can be a huge savings.  For me it was upwards of $1200 a month.  That having been said, remembering that there are expenses that you have to be mindful of while you are at home is very important as well.  For example, electricity; when I was out of the house all day I wasn't using electricity to run my computer or to power the furnace every time I would turn on the hot water to wash dishes or the television that is on with YoGabbaGabba to keep my one year old occupied long enough for me to write this blog.  Be mindful of these expenses because they can sneak up on you very easily.

Get out.  Going from life in the fast lane to life in the break down lane can be a lonely place.  Find a way to get out for play groups or walk in the neighborhood or in the park.  Don't keep yourself locked up in the house.  It is physically terrible for you and your children and a complete destroyer of a good mood.

Remember, this is just the next step in your life.  Life is all about change.  Take this time to regroup and make a plan for the future. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The Art of Groceries

We live in a new world. The challenges faced today as parents are so very different than those of generations before us. Keeping your children safe has whole new meaning. We have the responsibility of keeping them safe from disease, drugs, people, themselves and the hardships that come with our economy. Simply providing your family with the basics of a healthy meal, a roof over their heads and clothes on their back is harder now than it has been for generations. These basics have become such a challenge for some parents that it overshadows their desire to prioritize the well being of their children as students and people.

We have a few tips for today’s mothers on how to survive this economy and make the most of your dollar.

Next Generation Coupon Clippers

Remember when your mom used to have the little index card box or cardboard sorter? Do you remember sheet after sheet of newspaper sprawled all over the kitchen table on Sundays, hopefully after the rest of the house got a grip on the sports page and current events?

Not anymore. Gone are the days of tiny left over pieces of clippings all over the place and newsprint smudges adorning the hands and face of mothers everywhere.

There are a multitude of online coupon sites where you can go to select and then print manufacturer’s coupons for your everyday products. These coupons are widely accepted in stores country wide.

Coupons have become so popular again that there are even people who earn money clipping coupons and selling them online. You can find the sale of coupons at most of the online auction sites. Some clippers even have their own websites and have turned the business of clipping and saving an entrepreneurial venture all its own.

Rewarded for Your Time

Another hot way to save a penny here and there is by taking advantage of the multitude of reward systems both online and in stores. Online you can sign up for an infinite number of rewards programs. When you buy a product or conduct a survey you are rewarded with points and once a fair number of points are accumulated the consumer can cash them in for anything from coupons to merchandise and in some cases cash. Similarly, there are chain stores that offer savings cards. The consumer signs up for these cars in the stores and in return you are given “special” discounts on particular items at specific times.

Tried and True

One sure standby for saving money is shopping store flyers. Spending a little time before shopping by sitting down and reviewing the local flyers and utilizing this information to plan out your menu for the entire week can save respectably. Take a few moments to view the flyers and cross reference them with your available coupons. You would be surprised how this little bit of extra time taken can keep some of that hard to come buy cash in your wallet. And whenever possible, purchase the store brand of the products. Label for label the content is typically the same as the name brands and they can be dollars less expensive.

These are just a few ways to save some pennies while in these unstable economic times. Take the time to put these steps into action and combine these with money saving ideas in other parts of your life and you can survive this economic test.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Working from Home with Children

Today is one of those days that I wake up in a panic, with my head spinning in about ninety directions, not sure where to start.  Then it all becomes clear where to start as my son lets me know its time for a diaper change.  Where to go next is easy, time for his breakfast followed by cleanup followed by another diaper followed by a change of clothes.  Finally we get to a point where I need think about getting started on finding proper advertising for my new business ventures.  Oh but wait..stop everything; look he's screaming his head off.  The clock says that is because it's naptime.  So while the entire house is still sleeping, he is ready to go back to bed for his first nap of the day.  So I rock him for a bit and he fights it and about 20 minutes later..we have success.  I lay him down on his nap mat and tiptoe into the kitchen to pour what will be my first HOT cup of coffee of the day.  The other two don't count since they sat for twenty minutes before I got to sip.  As I open my computer and begin to plan out my strategy, the dog barks and growls and barks and won't guess who's up and grumpy not planning to go back to sleep?  And guess where the rest of the house is?  Yes, still asleep.

I take a seat with the fussy little man in my lap and I look around.  Baby crying, laundry in and out of a basket waiting to be folded and put away for the last three days, toys littering what is supposed to be a living room, dishes in the sink, pet fur throughout the house, a kitchen floor that hasn't been swept in what seems to be days and I think, "why is my home not spotless."  I clearly remember doing six loads of laundry just days ago, having done eight loads of dishes, having swept and vacumed every floor in the house, and put away all the toys at least a dozen times.  How could it be that things are in this state again.

I have images in my head of how things are supposed to be.  I am supposed to be spending quality time with my children, helping my daughter with her studying and my son learning to talk.  I am supposed to have the house clean, neat and organized.  I am supposed to have the laundry and dishes done all the time.  My fridge should be cleaned and neat.  I should have my calendars hung, my e-bay products organized, my business materials organized and my advertising up and running on all fronts.  I am supposed to be working on my book, my blog, my websites.  Reality of a work at home mom is much like that of an air traffic controller hoping that I can keep the planes from crashing into eachother or landing in the ocean.  And when the end of the day finally comes and I plan to spend some me time, I am so exhausted all I want to do is sink into my pillow and drift away. 

To every work at home mom I have ever met and those I have not, I commend you all for maintaining your sanity and retaining the love and adoration for your family that you all have.  You are truly an inspiration.