- Daily Ritual Women’s Sandwashed Modal Blend Jogger Pant
- IRON °FLASK Classic Tumbler – 32 Oz, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel, Hot Cold, Modern Double Walled, Simple Thermo Travel Mug, Hydro Water Metal Canteen (Bubble Gum)
- Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal (90 Days)
- Eco Lips Mongo Kiss Organic Lip Balm 4 Pack
- Glass Planter Bulb Vase
- Purism Style Plant Mister- Pink Color Glass Bottle & Matte Gold Sprayer
- Caramella Bubble Open Toe Fluffy Slides for Women
- Beetles Gel Nail Polish Set Spring
- Juvale Miniature Fairy Garden Kit, Garden Decorations (7 Pieces)
It was almost a year ago when I participated in Vlog Every Day in August (VEDA) on my YouTube channel. It was my second vlogging challenge I had participated in and sometimes I would follow the topics that the community was posting about. One of the topics was to share a goal. Well, in sharing my goal, I shared a big secret. I had only told a few people about it before and I can’t believe that on that day, I broadcasted to the world (or the several regular YouTube viewers that I had) that I want to leave my career to become a work-at-home mom. It was terribly bold and silly of me to put something like that out on the Internet but I think it illustrated how serious I was about achieving my goals. While I spent the last school year fretting over who may have seen my video and whether or not I would be fired, I also worked hard to make sure that I could follow through.
After scrutinizing our budget, wrapping up tasks at work, and collecting as much information as possible on flexible telecommute jobs that I could perform from a home office, I did actually bite the bullet and resign. Almost a month later, I am still feeling a little bit conflicted about what I am going to do next, but sure of my decision. As I expressed in my video (watch below), I have to do something to bring in some money if we want to keep living the life we have created for ourselves. The question is still shall I be my own boss, where the income is unknown and could fluctuate drastically or do I work for a paycheck and submit my schedule to the will of someone else? Not that it has to be solely one or the other. But these are questions I am still asking myself.
It’s so weird. In case you didn’t already know, I have been teaching for fourteen years. That’s fourteen summers that have been all mine. Today is the second day of this summer break- but also the second day of me not having a job to return to at the end of the season. I’m elated and terrified at the same time.
My plan is to take the month of June to recover from the shock and rejuvenate. We have two amazing family vacations on the books this month so I plan to enjoy them both without a worry. I’ll continue working on my store and try freelance work (tech, graphics, websites) a bit before I start sending out applications. I know I will get out of it what I put in, so I’m prepared to do what I need to make this work. It’s going to be a journey, here’s to new beginnings!
So I built myself a store and filled it with products that I love. I put my own designs on t-shirts, tote bags, and mugs. I decided to make it a store for moms because there is nothing I love being more in this world than being a mom. I love my store.
Sometimes I feel like I’m all over the place, throwing everything I can at a wall to see what sticks. I am hardly ever the one to stick to anything, especially new years resolutions. And now I’m starting to get desperate. And when I get desperate, I get serious. There are a lot of emotional head games at play here and I should probably go talk to a professional about that, but I also think it goes hand-in-hand with what I’m about to do.
Let me start at the beginning. Last August I participated in (and completed!) my second round of a Vlog Every Day challenge. In one of the videos, I outlined my goals for 2018. Basically, I want to be able to spend more time with my family and be more involved in their lives while my kids are still little. In order to do this, I need to figure out some ways to supplement our income. I’m willing to do whatever as long as I am still available for my family first.
One thing I know how to do is build websites. And at the time I had a client and I was pretty happy with the process of building their site. But I can’t imagine having to gain enough clients in order to support our family throughout the year. Not to mention, I don’t feel comfortable charging people extreme amounts of money for something that takes me a minimal amount of time just because they don’t have the time or the knowledge, etc. And I can’t make it worth it for myself if I’m not charging a going rate. OK blah blah blah, so back to the story.
At this point, I was totally confident in my ability to build a self-hosted blog or a website but I had still not faced the challenge of an e-commerce site. I knew I had the skills and the materials but I had never taken the time to learn. So I went through the process and built myself an online store. I was really proud of it and a little bit surprised by what I was capable of. I realized at that point that maybe my answer was not to build websites for other people but to build websites for myself. I could stock the website with my own designs and items and actually sell them. Is that crazy? I started researching e-commerce and learning as much as I could about what people sell online and where they get the goods to sell.
So I built myself a store and filled it with products that I love. I put my own designs on t-shirts, tote bags, and mugs. I decided to make it a store for moms because there is nothing I love being more in this world than being a mom. I love my store. I’ve been steadily adding designs to it and I’m proud of them. But it’s been sitting there online since around Thanksgiving, fully functional, just waiting for customers. Because I’ve been scared to tell anyone more than just close friends and family. I don’t know what’s got me so afraid. I spent hours and hours building the site, creating the designs and getting them to a printer. Well, for one thing as much as I think I am, I am not a marketer. I know how to create social media accounts, how to blog, how to post ads, create Facebook pages and the rest. I can talk about your thing all day. I can share your stuff and your success and promote you but I have had this mental block about sharing my stuff. I’ve kept away from posting on this blog. Kept away from posting on Facebook and Instagram. I even shied away from YouTube for a while. But all this shyness is not going to get me to my goal. And I’m terrified of not getting to my goal, so right now, terror trumps apprehension.
That’s why I’m here to Celebrate 2018. This year I will celebrate what I have built and accomplished. I will sing it from mountaintops. Or on YouTube, we’ll see. SO for the month of JANUARY… you can get 20% off in my store, Mommin’ It (https://momminitshop.com), with the coupon code CELEBRATE2018. I just added all my Valentine’s Day designs so be sure to check those out. And add your email to my newsletter list so you don’t miss any future sales or discounts!
In other 2018 news, I’ve started working on my Happy Planner Memory Keeping. I plan to add to it every day, and I can’t wait to share that with you too. XOXO
The Rockstar is a Manly Man in a non-Gaston sort of way. He loves his family, loves his life surrounded by pink-loving girls, and let’s not get started on his passion for musicals. Yet when it comes to clothes, he is very, very manly. Tshirts must be black. Jeans must be blue. Boots must be motorcycle inspired.
So with a trip to Walt Disney World impending, and my ever-loving desire to dress everyone matchy-matchy, what can I do? We’ll be going during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party so this should be easier than usual.
He has agreed to wear the infamous Mouse so that one is easy. Almost too easy.
His first suggestion was actually Marvel or Star Wars shirts, and while I agree those are technically Disney, that’s almost letting him off the hook. Plus, I enjoy the challenge. Below are some manly-man Disney Tees that your low-risk “fashionisto” might consider.
I do totally realize that I’ve been mentioning how much I’ve been planning and how much I love being a planner and planny plann plan plan…. lately but it’s like totally true and on top of that I had to come up with something “fun” about myself for this month’s SSSVEDA challenge that I participate in over on my YouTube channel.
I think it is so difficult to decide what is “fun” about me. That can mean so many things! What do other people think is fun about me? I have no idea! What do I think is fun? I guess I never really thought about it. So I chose something that I have fun doing. And right now that is planning. Planning is a way for me to know what I need to get done so that I have time to do spontaneous things to fill in the blanks!
I love hearing how others plan or why they don’t plan or how they need to, etc. So leave me a comment about your planning status either on this blog or over on my SSSVEDA Day 1 video, Something Fun.
INSTAGRAM * http://instagram.com/atomiclola
FACEBOOK * http://facebook.com/atomiclola
This summer, our big project for the dreamhouse is to add a patio. We’ve been back and forth on what to do in the backyard. We’ve already added a fence, a playset and two vegetable gardens but
we still need something right off the back of the house for grilling and relaxing. Almost our whole first summer in the dreamhouse, the backyard was still rocks and dirt and I was suffering from sandworm anxiety. That’s the fear that if you try to go out of the house for any reason, the sandworm from Beetlejuice will show up and chase you back inside. But seriously, it was dusty and dirty from all the construction going on in the neighborhood. I had a newborn baby. So I pretty much holed up inside for the whole summer. Anyway, I took that emotional turmoil and started making plans for the house. I dreamt about paint and wallpaper that I’ve still not thrown up on the walls. However, my most prized accomplishment of that summer was when I drew up a dream patio plan. It was complete with landscaping ideas. The plan for the patio had two levels. The upper level, just off the house, had room for the grill and a bistro set. A step down led to two circular areas on either side. One for a firepit and one for traditional outdoor dining.
I don’t know what ever happened to that original drawing, but I’ve been able to recreate it somewhat to scale on a copy of our plat of survey.
At the time, I couldn’t imagine that we would be able to afford anything so elaborate. At least not in one shot. It is our dream patio. The patio that does it all.
We had no idea what it would cost or what material we wanted it built from. My first instinct was pavers. But they’re sooo expensive and my patio plans seemed massive. We started thinking that maybe the upper level could be a deck. So last Spring, we had someone come in to talk to us about building one. He talked me out of a couple of the features I had in mind, which felt a little like defeat. But don’t worry, he swapped them out for upgrades that would cost me even more. Uh… that, along with the size he wanted to build, left me with a pricetag that was a little overwhelming. A DIY deck was not on the table. We would only be able to work on it on the weekends and it was just way too big of a task for us with the two small kids around. Building a deck would only be one phase of my plan and it wasn’t our first choice, so I went back to the drawing board.
I knew pavers would be way too expensive so that pretty much left concrete. I didn’t even know if we could do what I wanted with concrete but it wouldn’t hurt to ask. We decided last summer to just save up as much money as we could and start calling around the following Spring. At one point, I was talking with a landscaper who gave me a price for pavers and it wasn’t awful. He estimated it would be about $20 per square foot. It was doable, but then talking with people who had gotten pavers, I always got the same story. They’re a lot to maintain. They shift and weeds can still grow up between them. But they look so beautiful, I know. Yet I love the look of stamped concrete too. Turns out our next-door neighbor ended up getting a beautiful stamped concrete patio. I worked up the nerve to ask her what she paid for it. She was happy to share her story and pass on the name of the contractor. I was surprised and relieved to hear her final price. Well, why not give him a call? I had one guy coming the next day to quote me on that original dream plan, so why not see if this guy could come out too. I even called up a third contractor just to compare.
I know that prices are different all over the place and I don’t really feel comfortable divulging all of the dirty details, but let me lay this down for you in a way I think will convey our confusion and frustration.
Guy #1 – Construction Company: I got their info from a mailer. They’re a local company offering patios, driveways, etc. He can do the concrete but not the concrete blocks for the seat walls and firepit. He’s quoting me $22 per square foot for the stamped concrete alone. He knows a guy who can do the
concrete blocks and he’s estimating about $2000 for that. I was floored. I never imagined that stamped concrete would cost more than pavers and all the price estimators online priced stamped concrete way lower. It felt like highway robbery. And sexism. I was borderline offended but so glad I had two more guys coming to quote me on my dream patio.
Guy #2 – Foundation & Excavation Company: I got their number from Home
Advisor. This guy was super professional. He sent me a real nice invoice. Hequoted me for the whole job so it’s harder to estimate what he’s charging for the concrete but if I take off $2000 for concrete blocks from his quoted price, he’d be charging me $14.50 per square foot. That’s way lower than Guy #1 and a lot closer to what I was thinking. I’m feeling a little better about thewhole thing at this point, but I still want to wait and see what my neighbor’s guy is going to come in at.
Guy #3 (A.K.A. My Neighbor’s Guy) – Concrete Company: This guy does concrete. Patios, overlays, repair, basement and garage floor epoxy, you name it. He’s local and he’s experienced, but just starting out on his own. He owns all his supplies to keep his prices low. He’s also super nice and respectful. He understands exactly what I want and even offered additional suggestions. His quote of $11.16 per square foot came in at close to half of Guy #1. And all I have to do to know his work is quality is walk next door and admire my neighbor’s beautiful patio. He has a friend who will come in to talk to us about the seat wall and firepit so we’ll get an estimate from him at that point, but we are sold.
We are so close to our dream patio, I do not know if I will believe it when it’s here.
When I last wrote about our road to the Dreamhouse, I left off at a sad spot. We had just accepted a terrible offer that my gut told me was all wrong. We moved out of my in-laws’ house and back into our townhouse where I had always felt secluded and alone. I was miserable living there and double miserable moving back. I did everything I could to stay happy for my baby’s sake. Olivia would be two at the end of the summer so I tried to focus on throwing a party and finding us a new home. There were other things to keep me busy, like the ridiculous buyers and their insane inspection notes… think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.
Time to start house hunting! We put together a great list of houses to look at with our agent. I really wanted to move back to the town where I grew up, but there wasn’t much in the neighborhoods we wanted. We would have had to settle in one way or another and it wouldn’t have been the Dreamhouse.
Then one day it happened. We found a house online and we kept going back to look at the pictures. It was mostly what we wanted with some bonus aspects that we didn’t even know we wanted. We took a ride over with our realtor. On the way, she explained that it was for sale by owner and that someone was going to be there while we looked at the house. When we pulled up, there was a woman sitting on the front porch with her teenage daughter and a big sweet dog. My memory is a little fuzzy on the details but I remember the woman and her daughter were blonde and the dog was a lab. I think. I’m pretty sure her name was Roxy.
Inside, there were beautiful wood floors with intricate detail in the entryway. The kitchen was slightly dated but I wanted to update a kitchen to my liking, anyway. Patio doors led to a big, fenced-in backyard and a deck. There was a mudroom off the kitchen (love it!) with a full sized freezer that comes with the house, and a two car garage with a workbench. Family room, dining room, living room and den. This house just kept going. Upstairs there were four bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Everything was in amazing condition. So we made an offer. Then it got crazy. We spent more than a week negotiating with a divorcing couple! This I do not recommend. Ever. She wants to sell the house at any cost. He doesn’t want to let it go so easy and is dragging it out for his own reasons. What can I say? Longest week of my life!
I had to be sympathetic to their situation, but still! It was pretty bad. Finally, we settled on something but we really didn’t get them to come down much. I was feeling like we had lost in both the negotiations. Not only were we giving away our home but we couldn’t get the sellers of this house to give us a little, either. Enter depression sub-level 2.
I was determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other, though. I did what I needed to do to get their lawyer the earnest money and schedule the home inspection. I packed up our house a little bit every day. Olivia and I were trucking along. We made it work.
Finally, it was the day of the home inspection on the house we planned to buy. Oh, I forgot to mention that the home was being sold as-is. That means that no matter what we found in the inspection, they were not going to fix it. Another thing you should know before I go into the details of the inspection is that the homeowners had canceled the date on us twice already because they were fighting or something, and on this day we said inspection or deal is off. They said we could do the inspection but their daughter would be home by herself this time. The inspector met us there and was quick to point out all of the rotting wood on the outside of the house. The windows frames were rotten. The trim was rotten. I was shocked if we passed any wood outside the house and he didn’t say it was rotten!
By the time we were ready to move to the inside of the house, a woman started popping her head in the windows. It was the weirdest thing. She showed up out of nowhere and was sticking her head in the window and saying hello to us. She got on her phone and started pacing around the front walk. Then she walked in the front door and called upstairs to the daughter. We were in the kitchen with the inspector and she came in to start talking to us. She introduced herself as the neighbor and started asking us questions. I was so weirded out and my realtor kept repeating, “This is not normal.” After it was all over, I quite easily located the nosy neighbor’s info online (yeah, I looked her us!) and she’s just the type of loudmouth busybody you don’t want living near you. Shocker.
Next thing you know, the man of the house shows up. He marched right into the kitchen and shook hands with all of us. He introduced himself, told us where he works and asked us if we had any questions about the house. The inspector was shaking his head. Almost as if he knew what was to come.
We had worked our way through the kitchen and mudroom to the garage. The inspector noted a large section of fencing leaning against one of the walls and a car parked in front of it. I don’t know how he knew, other than experience, but there was something fishy going on behind that piece of fence. He asked the homeowner about it and got a shrug for an answer. So he and the Rockstar lifted the section of fence out of the way and the whole garage wall was bowed inwards. He said he could not imagine what would have caused that kind of damage to the wall except for some extreme water or temperature situation. The wall was literally warped.
The rest of the inspection went fine. The basement was super clean and all the appliances were immaculate. Other than the homeowner, his daughter, their dog and his nosy neighbor hanging around us the whole time, there was nothing out of the ordinary. The inspector couldn’t tell us whether or not to buy the house, but he was able to strongly suggest that we ask the homeowner to open up that wall to find out what was causing it to bulge out like that. I don’t even think we let it get to that point. I figured that since they knew about it, were selling the house as-is, and were trying to pull a fast one on us, not to mention the weird neighbor and having had such a hard time dealing with this guy already, I could not move forward with buying that house. So we walked.
Until next time…
I love having things delivered to my home.
I have no idea how moms did it before Amazon Prime was around. Are you telling me they took their kids shopping with them every time they had to go to the store? What about Christmas? What about birthdays? How is it even possible? We have tried Peapod a few times. It’s cool but it made us feel super lazy.
Then there is food delivery. We never had pizza delivered when we were growing up. If we ordered it, my dad went and got it. But we rarely ordered it when I was little. Not that I remember, anyway. The Rockstar and I have pizza delivered all the time now. In our last home, we were near a pizza place that also delivered pasta and sandwiches. We were set. But where we live now, there isn’t even any good pizza around that delivers.
Anyway, over the weekend we were working on some things around the house and had not made plans for dinner before we all of a sudden realized it was almost dinnertime. We still had to grocery shop so there was practically no food in the house. The trifecta:
- Out of time
- Nothing to eat
- Busy bees
It was the perfect opportunity to try the very new and exciting Uber Eats! I have never even used regular Uber before. But I love having things delivered to my home! I love saving that time and doing other things with it. So we did it!
With Uber Eats, you can get just about anything delivered. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, fast food or fancy. It’s all game.
So here is how it went:
I downloaded the app I had heard so much about. When I opened the app I had to create an account and make sure to tell the app exactly where I live. The GPS wanted to put me down the block but I was not going to have my dinner delivered to my neighbor’s house. I added my payment information and started browsing the restaurants available. I know that McDonald’s has been advertising that they are participants but all the McDonald’s near us were “closed.” There were a couple restaurants available that we had not heard of, but then we saw a pub nearby that I probably would not have considered going to for dinner, but the food on the Uber Eats menu looked super decent. We ordered a steak sandwich for the Rockstar. I got a buffalo chicken wrap. I ordered the girls a grilled cheese sandwich to split.
Once I placed my order and paid the $4.99 booking fee, which I can only assume is the Uber fee, I was able to track my order the whole time. The app told me that the pub had received my order and then for a while the app told me that my food was being prepared. As it got closer to the estimated delivery time, I found out who the driver is who was picking up and delivering my food to me. The app told me I don’t tip him, either. Then I watched his little car drive closer to my house on the map and once he arrived, he handed us our food and was on his way. The food was hot and fresh. We didn’t have to go anywhere. I was able to keep working around the house while I checked the app occasionally. Win-Win-Win!
Later, I had the opportunity to rate each item in our order as well as our driver. Cool beans!
The only thing that could have made the experience better is if I had gotten a promotional deal off my first order or something. As it turns out, it’s too late for me, but you can enjoy $15 off your first order if you use my code. In return, I get $5 off my next order. Just use this link to sign up: http://ubr.to/EatsGiveGet and enter my code: eats-lauras34461ui
Have you tried Uber Eats before? Let me know in the comments. How was it? Where do you order food from?
When I was a kid on vacation with my parents, our trips were action packed. New adventures at every turn! When I became a teen, this became a problem. I just wanted to lay out by the pool. That continued until a couple of years ago when we went on our first family vacation with our own kids. There were no plans other than drive to the vacation location, swim in the hotel pool, and drive home. We spent hours sitting around watching the kids beat each other up and saying to each other, “We should go do something.” But we had no idea what to do! The others on our trip suggested activities like wine tours and cheese tastings. Ummm. Do you want to bring my 2-year-old and infant?
So last year I came up with a jam-packed itinerary. Better to over plan the vacation than sitting around with nothing to do, I thought. I felt kind of silly sharing it out with everyone but I was very clear. This is what I have planned for our family. You are welcome to join us but we understand that these activities are not for everyone. Let us know if you’re interested in any of this so that we can be sure to make proper accommodations. And it turned out great! There was only one thing we decided not to do because we were so dang worn out from all the other stuff. We had decided to stay back and swim instead. Still fun!
I’m planning to jam pack the itinerary once more for this year’s trip, but factor in a packed lunch each day for the kids. Last year we tried to lunch them at cafes and restaurants but they hardly ever ate what we ordered them. It’s like throwing money down the drain. Why go through that headache again? Remind me to put lunch sacks on the packing list!
Anyway, I’m sure there are millions of ways to do this, but here’s how I make plans.
Step 1: Pick a Place. This is easy because it’s not just a family vacation that I’m planning today. It’s a FAMILY VACATION. Kind of like a family reunion on my husband’s side and this will be our third annual trip. So I know we are going to Door County. Done. Check.
Step 2: Follow the town on all social media. This is an ad I saved from the city guide I picked up on our trip last year.
I suggest following the town way before planning your trip. As you hear about activities you are interested in, follow those too so you can get as much info as possible. You can even let them know when you will be in town and ask if they have any specials going on. Get communicating with these places on social media. They love that stuff. You can find all kinds of things on social media. Reviews from previous guests, hidden gems, news updates, road closures, etc. Personally, I opened up my twitter a few weeks ago and not only followed Door County, I followed each town, a couple of news outlets, the resort we stay at, and a number of restaurants, fun parks and activity centers that I know we are interested in checking out this year. Then I watched for updates about things going on this summer and other key information that I will use when planning our itinerary.
Step 3: List out all the things you want to do on post-its. I like to move them around in my planner later so I use these tiny tab post-its. I put each activity on one post it and line them up in no particular order.
Step 4: Sort activities by day. I start grouping activities by day based on their location and amount of time they take. Then I spread the activities out through the day. If I have any big holes in the plan, I look up additional activities, but usually, I have extra activities. I keep those to the side in case plans change. It could be rain, it could be a closure, you never know. It’s always best to have some alternate activities in your back pocket. I try to work in a lunch spot every day but I’m not going to sweat it if I have days that have holes in the planning. There are plenty of other things to do in Door County to fill up the days. I schedule our days like this so that everyone knows ahead of time what we are planning. That way we don’t sit around and stare at each other until we come up with something to do.
Step 5: Keep it real. Be realistic about how much you can actually do on your trip. You might have to save some things for the next time you go. If it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip, try to do as much as you can but remember that sometimes, you just want to lay out by the pool. And that is what vacation is all about. Doing what you want to do.
What kind of vacation do you like to take? Where have you gone with your family and how do you plan for trips? I’d love to hear your stories!