Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gone Fishing!

Hey all! I hope you are all enjoying your Summers! Just wanted to check in and let you know that Karen At Home has "Gone Fishing" and will be taking a Bloggy Break until the end of the Summer. I hope to resume regular blogging at some point in September. I wanted to take this time to enjoy the rest of this beautiful Summer with my family. I look forward to seeing y'all back here in the Fall!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Easy Chicken Salad Sandwiches

A mixture of cool celery, sweet and succulent chicken, and crunchy almonds, nothing tastes more refreshing on a hot Summer day.

It’s been so hot and humid here in Cleveland, I’ve been looking for meals that won't heat up my kitchen, so I decided to make a quick and easy chicken salad sandwich's for lunch.  Delicious chicken salad topped on a fresh and flaky croissant is the perfect Summer lunch time treat for the whole family.

{What you Need}

2 Large Cans of Chicken Breasts**

1 cup of chopped Celery - Most grocery stores sell celery already chopped**

Sweet onions diced 1/2 cup (optional)

Almonds slivered ½ - ¾ cups

Chicken bases 2 tsp.

Hellman's Light Mayonnaise to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

Package of Croissants from your Grocer's Bakery

**Karen At Home Blog...Homemaking Made Simple Shortcut**

{How You Make It}

Combine chicken, Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise, celery, almonds, onions and chicken base in medium bowl. Season with salt and black pepper if desired.  Spoon chicken salad onto croissants.   Enjoy!

I am linking up to the following parties today!

TidyMom - I am Lovin' It

At The Picket Fence - Inspirational Friday

Chick on a Shoestring Decorating - Flaunt It Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday

Serenity Now - Weekend Reading

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All Things Loved in June

I feel like I blinked and June was over with.  What happened?  How did July 4th get here already?  And now July is half over with?  It just can't be!  Before June gets too far away from me, here is what I was loving in June!!

{Favorite Iphone App of the Month - Fisher Price Baby Animals}

The Fisher Price Apps saved me on our trip to Myrtle Beach this year.  Poor, sweet Jillian was not feeling the excitement on our twelve hour drive to Myrtle.  Thank goodness for this amazing app by Fisher Price.  Jillian loved watching the cute animals parade across the screen and even learned that if she touched the screen herself, she could flip to the next animal.  She absolutely loved it and it really seemed to make our drive to Myrtle Beach that much easier. 

{Favorite Blog in June- Decor and the Dog}

I came across this adorable blog when I participated in the A Bowl Full of Lemons Parade of Homes Tour.  If you haven't had a chance to look through all of the homes that participated in the tour, I highly recommend it!

Decor and the Dog is written by an adorable pharmacist named Michelle.  She somehow manages to capture her wire fox terrier in all of her pictures.  This little dog just cracks me up!!

I also love Michelle's DIY Headboard and the beautiful blue paint color she chose for her master bedroom. 


Hootsuite is absolutely amazing, if you love Twitter, I highly suggest using Hootsuite instead. Not to mention the little Owl icon is as cute as can be.  I can post directly to my personal Facebook page, my Karen At Home fan page, and my Twitter account all with one push of the button. You can also track your stats on how many followers click on your links.  You can also manage your list streams. This is especially helpful when you are mostly interested in a certain group of Tweeters at a given time.  It sorts through all of the Twitter clutter for you.   You can imagine my excitement when I found that Hootsuite also makes an iPhone app.  It's all I use now to keep up with my Tweets.  It's an amazing tool, you won't be sorry!

{NARS Lip Gloss}

I typically don't wear lipstick in the Summer months, it just feels too heavy in the heat and humidity.  I recently bought a new tube of NARS lipgloss in Risky Business.  It's the perfect shade of berry pink.  I've used quite a few NARS' glosses and have found them all to be shiny with a nice even finish. From experience, I know that NARS glosses disguise fine lip lines. They don't overpower. I've found that when I use a NARS gloss, my lips stay well hydrated, even when involved in outdoor activities, where otherwise, they might get chapped or dried. My long hair never gets stuck in NARS' glosses, and they're definitely kissable since they're not overly sticky.

{A Big Thank You to My Top Referrals in June}

I have a section to my side bar which features my Top 10 Referrals of the Month. What is a Referral you ask? According to Google Analytics, these are the top sites that have brought me traffic throughout the month by either having my blog listed somewhere in a blog roll on their site, a linky party that I have joined on their site, or if they have featured me in one of their posts. I sincerely appreciate all of the referrals that I get and want to take a moment to thank you!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Welcome Serenity Now Readers!

Welcome Serenity Now Readers!  I hope you will kick back, relax, and make yourself at "Home".  I am so excited that you decided to stop by today.  I can't thank Amanda enough for featuring my blog today.  Serenity Now has always been such an inspiration to me.  I just love Amanda's Crafty Cutter parties and Blogging Tip series.  She is a very talented blogger and I am blessed to be teaming up with her!

I also hope you will be sure to enter the $25 Target Giftcard I am giving away today over at Serenity Now!  It's my little way of thanking your for stopping by!!!

Looking for a fresh salsa recipe for the Summer?  I just love fresh salsa in the Summer with fresh tomatoes from the garden.  Try this amazing recipe that I whipped up. 

Hosting a Kid's Party or Shower and want an easy way to make Tissue Paper Poms?  You will love this easy DIY tutorial

Missed that Spring Cleaning opportunity this year?  Here a few quick tips on how to make your home feeling clean and fresh.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!!! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 4th Weekend

Before Summer completely passes us buy, I wanted to share with you our busy July 4th weekend.  Is anyone else having trouble keeping up with their blogging this Summer?  It's funny because we are so busy and I want to document it all, yet, because we are so busy, I am just not finding the time to Blog about it!  Ahhh!

Anyway, Friday night was relatively low key.  I made chocolate chip cookies and tried to prepare in advance for the busy weekend that lay ahead.  On Saturday, we headed over to my parents house to visit with my brother and my twin nieces who was back in town again from Arkansas.  The Twins are getting so big!!

After having lunch at my parents house, we headed back over to our side of town to attend our friends BBQ.  The BBQ was held on the dock of our friends boat.  We had a blast hanging out on the shores of Lake Erie and Jillian even liked playing in the Lake Erie sand.  We are so lucky to live right along the water, it's really beautiful this time of year!

On Sunday, we had planned a backyard swimming play date with my neighbor, Courtney.  Courtney is a Mom to an adorable little boy named Gavin who is only 3 months younger than Jillian.  I think Jillian has a little crush on him already which is adorable!!  We had a blast although I felt like it was pretty much a comedy of errors the whole time we were there.  We had literally just arrived and we're chatting and catching up in the kitchen when all of a sudden I felt something dripping on my feet.  Jillian had peed straight through her swim diaper!!!  It was awful, aren't these things supposed to be specially made to hold in water?  Ugh!I felt horrible and utterly embarrassed.  Lets hope we are invited back!!! 

Jillian had such a blast playing with all of Gavin's water toys even though she was missing her swim diaper and bathing suit bottoms!!!   After our play date was over with, I ran to Target and cleaned out their Summer section.   We are all stocked up at our house now with pools, water tables, and a blow up water ring.  All ready for fun in the sun!!!  Hopefully we didn't completely scare Courtney and Gavin away with the "swim diaper incident" and they will play at our house next time!

On the Fourth of July, our neighborhood planned a Fourth of July Parade for the kids.  I have honestly say that I am so proud to be a part of such a great neighborhood that plans so many fun things for the kids.  Over 60 kids were in attendance and I think it is obvious that a good time was had by all!  The Parade was led by a Fire truck and ended with an Ambulance.  Needless to say, the kids got a kick out of it.  After the parade, a children's carnival was set up in one of the cul de sacs with games and even a visit from the ice cream truck! Jillian loved playing with the plastic ducks in the duck pond and would have loved to have taken them all home if she could of!

I hope you all had a Happy 4th of July Weekend too!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Blogging over at Stafford Stories

Good morning and happy Monday!!!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  I am so excited to be guest blogging today over at Stafford Stories!  Melissa is hosting a Working Moms Guest Blogging Series which promises to be amazing.  I enjoyed reading all of your Stay At Home Mom posts and can't wait to read about the busy lives of working Moms.  Please head on over to Melissa's Blog to read my post and be sure to head back all week to catch all of the Working Mom posts!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Giving Some Sponsorship Love!

Hi there!!! I wanted to take a moment to give a little love to the sponsors over here at Karen At Home, they have provided some amazing giveaways and discounts over the last several weeks, and I can't show my appreciation enough!!!

{Bibeez Baby}

First, I would like to introduce to you Bibeezbaby, our newest sponsor here at Karen At Home.  Bibeez Baby is custom order, handmade baby gifts, designed and made by a mom to make things a little easier and a little more adorable!  Please check out this amazing Etsy shop, you will be blown away by all of the colorful bibs, diaper clutches, and pacifier pouches. 

{25 Design}

Twenty Five Designs goal is to provide you with funky, fresh and inspired accessories. Torie pride's herself in offering high quality items for you and those you love at a reasonable price. She believes that customer service is so important and would love to have you as a returning customer! Twenty Five's goal is your satisfaction! Custom orders are welcomed too!

Torie, the creator and owner of 25 Design,  was one of the very first blogging friends I made after giving birth to Jillian. We both had infant girls similar in age and we just clicked. I loved reading her blog posts about her daughter Rylie, and was inspired by her personal sense of style in her 'Steppin Out' posts. I was also blown away by her adorable hair accessory shop, Twenty Five Design! What girl doesn't like trendy and beautiful hair accessories? What is most amazing to me is that Torie makes these herself!! Torie started out making baby and toddler hair products as a hobby when she realized that all women want to look and feel pretty no matter what their age. Thus, Twenty Five Design the store was created.

Torie has been kind enough to offer a 15% discount for my readers who use the code KAREN15.

You will get 15% off of your entire order! Head on over now to Twenty Five Design for some Funky, fresh and inspired accessories.

Please check out Torie's adorable shop today and pick out a treat for all of the special women in your life!!

{Sweet Tea Paper}
Sweet Tea Paper is an Etsy Shop that who specializes in full, fabulous, high quality tissue Pom Poms. Sweet Tea's Paper Poms are sure to be the statement piece at your next event. They are the perfect decor for weddings, wedding showers, baby showers, nurseries, and birthday parties!

As a busy, working Mom, I am always looking for ways to save time and money when planning a party or an event. Sweet Tea Paper can help you achieve both!! Sweet Tea Paper is giving away a set of napkin poms to one of my lucky readers. Wouldn't these look adorable at your next party this Summer?

{Sweet Bean Co ~ Simply Sweet Designs}

You'll find a little bit of everything at Sweet Bean, from invitations to full party packages, Shannon does it all! All design products can be easily customized. If you are also interested in having a Bloggy Makeover or just want to purchase a premade design template, Sweet Bean can help you with all of your blog design needs!

Sweet Bean Designs can create cards for any holiday and any occasion. Check out these adorable cards that Shannon made for our Jillian.

{Little Loves' Designs}

Little Loves' Designs is full of super adorable baby accessories that are so on trend right now. Mandy, is the owner and creator behind this fantastic shop. Little Loves Designs' carries the latest styles in baby headbands, teen headbands, adult headbands, flower headbands and hair clips. She uses high quality materials on every design she makes. Each of the flower headbands are handmade when ordered with attention to detail as her number one priority.

Thanks again to all of my lovely sponsors!!  Please show them some love by stopping by their shops!!! 

Interested in becoming a Karen At Home Approved Sponsor? I am now accepting applications! Please contact me at for more details.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What We Have Been Up To

Hello! It's so great to be back blogging again after the Stay At Home Mom Guest Blogging Series. I really hope you all learned something from our amazing guest Bloggers. I was humbled by so many of their touching stories and felt so truly blessed that they would use my Blog as a creative outlet to share it all with you.

I missed you all so much and am excited to get back to regular Blogging!! Summer is in full swing around here and we have been busy busy!!! I thought I would briefly catch you all up on what we have been up to lately via my iPhone pics.

{We Went to Myrtle Beach}

We are very blessed to have family with a Condo in Myrtle Beach and to say that take advantage of this opportunity whenever we get a chance is an understatement. For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile now, you full well know about my obsession with Myrtle Beach. It worked out that we were able to travel there twice this year which was wonderful!! Unfortunately, someone forgot to notify the germs at daycare about our vacation plans and my poor sweet girl came down with Hand Foot Mouth Disease the day before we were supposed to leave!!! We ended up delaying our trip by a few days until Jillian's fever went down, however, the poor thing had to deal with the mouth blisters the whole time we were there. The poor thing couldn't eat for a week, I felt so badly for her and so helpless not being able to help her. If she could of handed me her mouth sores so she could eat a proper meal, I would have taken them in a minute. I honestly can say that Hand Foot Mouth Disease has been my least favorite of the germs Jillian has brought home from daycare thus far. With that said, we didn't take too may pictures of my baby girl this trip, good thing I took a lot when we were visiting in April.

My little bathing beauty trying to put on a happy face even though she wasn't feeling well.

{We are Building a Deck}

The deck construction has begun and I am very excited to show you all the finished product. Here are a few pictures of the before and during process. I will probably write a separate post of the after and our plans to decorate our new outdoor space!

The lines have been drawn.

The posts have been set.

And the flooring has been placed.

I have better Before pictures but I will save them for the big After reveal post.

{The Dining Room is Being Painted}

Well, I guess you can say these three blue swatches are what has been painted so far. I will have to dedicate a separate post and gather every one's opinion because this one has been really killing me. I can't decide on a simple shade of blue gray for our dining room. I have a lot of fun inspirational pictures saved on Pinterest, so if you follow me, you will see where I am going with this.

I hope you all are doing well! That is what has been going on here with us. I am sure your Summer is flying by as fast as mine is!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Life of a SAHM Series {Day 16}: Hines - Sight Blog

Hi there and welcome to Day 16 of the Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Guest Blogging Series!!! If you are just joining our Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Series, welcome! Miss a post? You can find all the entries for our series listed for you here.

I am sad to say that this our last guest blogger in our series.  What an amazing group of Bloggers we had here these past two weeks!  I have learned so much from these amazing Mom's and I am truly humbled that you wanted to share in this experience with me.  I also want to extend a HUGE thank you for writing such honest and heartwarming posts.  As Mom's, we can all agree how precious our blog writing time is and I am honored that you devoted your time towards this series.

I am so excited to introduce Leigh today from Hines-Sight Blog.   Leigh is not just an amazing Blogger, but she is also a dear friend of mine.  It's only been a few months since I came across her blog, however, I feel like we have known each other for years.  Not only is Leigh one of the nicest bloggers I know, but she also loves Myrtle Beach!!!  That is a BFF quality right there!:)  Please join me in giving Leigh a warm welcome!!!!


I’m very honored to be part of Karen At Home’s Stay-At-Home-Mom series. Karen and I discovered each other several months ago when I started blogging.  Even though we’ve never met, I feel as if I’ve known her for a long time. It’s my pleasure to be able to tell you a little more about my experience as a stay-at-home mom.

I’ve been owner of the Hines-Sight Blog for just a few short months, but have been a stay-at-home mom for over five years now. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. It seems like yesterday that I carried a five pound-eleven ounce baby boy home from the hospital. He’s blossomed into a bright, curious, very loud and energetic boy who gets even louder if he feels his baby sister is getting all the attention.

We were blessed to add my daughter to the family 19-months ago. She’s a joy, but I do have to admit that the job of being a stay-at-home mom seems more difficult when you add another one to the mix.

Some days I’m more mentally drained than others, but when it is all said and done, I wouldn’t change a thing. Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done, but it is also one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done.

Let’s backtrack a little! I experienced the joys of motherhood a little later in life. You could translate that into meaning that I had many years with the luxury of having all the time in the world at my fingertips, but since I didn’t have children, I didn’t know I had all the time in the world. There are days where I wish I could get some of that time back.  With all that time on my hands, it still took me awhile to meet Mr. Right. I didn’t marry until I was 33, and my son was born three days after I turned 37.

So, yes, we followed the Hollywood crowd and had babies after 40. Thanks to starlets like Nicole Kidman, Tina Fey, Courteney Cox, and Halle Berry, no one thinks we are the old folks on the block with young kids in tow. Well, maybe they do, but we don’t know it.

I had intentions on returning to work after having my son. I was working in the Communications field. We had our daycare selected, but I just couldn’t sign the paperwork. At the time, I was not in a job that I loved with all my heart, and I would tell my husband every night that I didn’t want to go back to “that” job and put our son in daycare.

He crunched some financial numbers, and decided that my staying home would be the best thing for our family even though we hated to lose my salary. Truthfully, it was not the most cost-efficient thing for our family as is some cases,  because I still would have brought in income after daycare bills were paid. His mom stayed home with him so I think that was in my favor and frankly, we felt it was the best thing for our child. I’m so glad we took a leap of faith. It’s worked out well for us.

There was also a little silver lining in this story, too. My company decided they needed me on contract and allowed me to work about twenty hours a week for several years. That was a great deal! Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, my contract was cut shortly before becoming pregnant with my daughter. I really miss that extra income! We definitely have to budget a lot more now, especially with two children.

I have the saying that everyday is like a Monday when you are a stay-at-home mom. The days, even though you don’t have to get dressed right away or be somewhere at a certain time except when your children are in preschool, can seem sort of the same day-after-day, but not necessarily in a bad way.  There’s never a day off or even a few minutes of alone time unless you lock yourself in a closet. I’m kidding, of course!

My youngest child will easily find me on the computer and pester me until I get off. It’s also hard to do anything productive with young children around. Folding laundry could be compared to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I rarely talk to other moms on the phone and when I do, the conversation is about 30 seconds because one of us will have to stop and say, “Will you please stop it, I’m on the phone!”  The noise continues on both of our ends so we just hang up.

As a parent, I don’t have to tell you that raising children is a hard job. You already know that, and staying home with them has tons of perks, but there are challenges, too. It’s probably the most mentally draining job I’ve ever encountered. I used to think my time in a TV newsroom was the most stressful phase in my life, but covering hurricanes and death penalty cases are nothing compared to the battling the wills of a toddler and preschoolers even if they are cute.

Thanks to e-mail, Facebook, and playgroups, I’ve not missed going into an office to interact with people nor have I missed office politics. However, I’m not going to lie! I have missed having a sitter for two or three hours a couple of times a week when I used to contract work. The sitter gave me a much-needed child free break even though I was working.

I jokingly say it’s great to be a stay-at-home mom because you can go out to lunch, and shop around town without having to get back to the office. Unfortunately, the last time I checked, I was paid $0 dollars a year for my job so I’m not exactly the best customer for those cute, little shops and lunch places. According to MSN Money, my stay-at-home salary would be over six figures if I did receive a paycheck. I like the sound of that!  You can make that check out to Leigh Powell Hines!   Hey, I think that is worth it for living with your boss 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, don’t you? Perhaps then I would have some money for a sitter so I could sneak away and devote more time to the Hines-Sight Blog.

I hope you visit me there, friend me on Facebook, and I thank you for spending some time with me today on Karen-At-Home.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Life of a SAHM Series {Day 15}: Breaking Through

Hi there and welcome to Day 15 of the Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Guest Blogging Series!!! If you are just joining our Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Series, welcome! Miss a post? You can find all the entries for our series listed for you here.

I am so excited to introduce Lyryn today from Breaking Through.   Lyryn and I have been reading each others blogs for some time now, I even think we met before I had Jillian!!  Lyryn has an amazing story to tell about how she started her journey to becoming a Stay At Home Mom.  Please give a warm welcome to Lyryn!!!


My name is Lyryn (pronounced Leer-in) and I blog over at Breaking Through.  I'm a stay at home mom of two wonderful little boys that bring so much joy to my life.  First I wanted to thank Karen for choosing me to be a guest blogger today on her "Life of a Stay at Home Mom" series. I'm excited to be among such a great group of women writing for this series and I hope that you all have gotten a lot out of what she has been doing!  I know I sure have! 

For those who have read my blog you know that I tend to write very little about my kids and my daily life as a SAHM. Surprisingly it's much easier for me to be honest and write about the hardships in my life and in my marriage and what the Lord is teaching me through everything than it is to write about my life as a stay at home mom and my oh-so imperfect "mothering skills".  I guess it's good that God was teaching me things through this whole process because that's what's going to make this easier to write. ;)

I always dreamed of being a SAHM. Being there for all the monumental moments in my kids lives and being an involved parent as much as possible.  I always dreamed of being there when my kids got  home from school so I could have fresh baked cookies ready for them.  Dreamed of being there to help them with homework or whatever else they needed their mommy for.  And I ALWAYS wanted to be that mom that could attend every single one of their sports games and be their biggest cheerleader.  Something I wanted.... but for a long time denied the dream because it just didn't fit into our financial lifestyle.  

After having our first child, I knew that I would be going back to work.  I was blessed to work for an amazing company that chose to work with me and  my desire to be at home as much as possible.  I still worked 5 days a week, but my day would end at 2 leaving the rest of the afternoon being a mommy to my little man.  I believed at that time that working was the best thing for me and my family and that my dreams of being a SAHM could wait.

In the two years before becoming a SAHM however, the Lord would be quite clear on several occasions about how He wanted me to transition into becoming a SAHM and fulfilling the desire of my heart to raise my children.  Several nights I would wrestle with God in my quiet time because I knew He was calling me to stay home, but I just didn't trust it was the right time and would make excuse after excuse.  

There was even an opportunity that made it possible for me to work from home for a friends company!  Man... if that's not God just wrapping it up in a bow for me, I don't know what is?  However, the pay was significantly less so I made that my excuse and chose to stay where I was even though I was becoming more and more unhappy working instead of being home, raising my son.  As I grew more unsatisfied with my day to day work and the fact that I was there instead of at home with my baby, I payed less attention to what I needed to do and did whatever I wanted to do (that would even include blogging).  

Though I officially "resigned," in September of 2009 they unfortunately forced me to make that decision.  I'm not proud of it and I'm embarrassed to even write about it; ashamed really, but it's the truth and I wanted to be completely honest about it.  All the years I did work for them I always gave them 110% of me, so leaving this way was never something I thought would happen, nor was it the way I wanted it.  

However, it was the best thing that could have happened.  The place I worked was the same place that my husband's affair had started, so every day was a reminder of what I had gone through just the year before.  It was time for me to go and though I am not happy with how I left, it would become the best thing for my family and me. 

At first it was it was hard for me to adapt to being home ALL-THE-TIME, though it was something I wanted.  I didn't know what to do with myself and I felt very isolated and alone.  I didn't know many SAHM's at the time and being the introvert that I am it was going to be very hard to find them.  I went through spouts of being depression and CRAVING adult interaction.  Now I realize that this doesn't happen to everyone, but for me it was hard to adjust to this new way of living.  

I was no longer verbally validated by a superior judging my work and telling me when I was doing a good job. I was now validated by the way my child acted and how I responded to him.  Thankfully I also had a loving and supportive husband who came home daily and reminded me that I was a good mom and I was doing a fantastic job.  That helped... in a million ways! 

After 6 months of being pretty miserable (lets not discount that fact that I was also hormonal and six months pregnant), I realized that the only way I was going to be completely satisfied was if I made more of an effort to find other moms like myself to be a support system. Coming to this revelation was SO IMPORTANT!  To me at least.  The only way I was going to get that, was to lay down my insecurities and my pride and just ask someone, "Hey, want to have a play date?"  To my surprise... most of the mommy's were just like me and just never asked because it was all new to them, too.  

Who would have thunk?! 

I slowly started getting the hang of this whole being at home thing and now we wouldn't have it any other way.  I'm living my dream and I'm so thankful to have such a supportive husband who wants this for us too.  Not only have I learned to be a better mom, but I also have learned to trust God that much more.  Not only has God provided for our family, He is providing above and beyond our needs.  He even threw this amazing job into my husband's lap without even really interviewing for it.  AMAZING!  HE always provides!!!! 

It's true what Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Unfortunately, we sometimes don't like to trust that God actually has our back so we continue in the way WE think is best for us and not what Jesus is calling us to do.  I learned this this lesson the hard way.  I'm thankful for His mercy and sticking with me even though I can be so stubborn at times.  I'm living my dream because of Him. 

He is listening.... Are you?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Life of a SAHM Series {Day 14}: A Life in Progress

Hi there and welcome to Day 14 of the Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Guest Blogging Series!!! If you are just joining our Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Series, welcome! Miss a post? You can find all the entries for our series listed for you here.

I am so excited to introduce Gia today from A Life in Progress.   Gia and I are long time friends and actually met on The Nest!  I used to love hanging out on the Decorating and Renovating Board (are you shocked?) where I used to get all sorts of home decorating inspiration.  I also met a lot of inspiring women, several of them who still read my blog.  Gia and I found each other because I discovered that she now lives in the same Cleveland suburb that I grew up in.  That was just the start of what we had in common and we have been friends ever since!!!  Please give a warm welcome to Gia!!!

My name is Gia and I write over at A Life in Progress.  I am so excited to be a part of a guest blogging series about being a stay at home mom, and even though I work full time for 9 months of the year as a high school English teacher, I volunteered so I could talk about my life as a working AND SAHM during the summer months.  My husband and I are lucky to have full custody of both of my stepdaughters, Jamie who is going into the 9th grade and Alexys who is going into 8th.  We also welcomed a baby boy, Logan, into our family in December. 

I think the biggest reward of being home during the summer is that I get to spend extra time with my little man and our girls.  During the school year, we get home and it is often frantically filled with getting ready for the next day, bottles, bath and bedtime, homework help, driving one of the girls somewhere, with cooking dinner somewhere in between.  During the summer months, little man and I get to spend SO MUCH MORE quality time together.  His sisters spend half the summer with their mom, so it is often just the two of us.  Story time at the library?  Yes!  Lunches with friends?  Yes!  Play dates?  Yes!  SO many more opportunities when I am home for the summer.

Since I still receive a paycheck throughout the summer, there is not a financial challenge.  BUT, I will admit, I often feel that ALL I DO is cook/clean/whatnot because I am home, so that is my job.  And it gets annoying to hear "I'm bored" from my teenage stepdaughters.  And sometimes I feel that we run out of things to do (or money to do them) and we are left sitting and staring at one another.  This summer, I have really focused on activities and getting out of the house and not letting J and A sit in front of the computer or TV all day (seriously girls, HOW MUCH TIME can you spend on Facebook?).

Before I was married, I used to work a part-time retail job during the summer, then I was taking graduate classes.  Once I graduated with my Masters, I decided to just enjoy my summers.   I often have to spend time working on lesson plans and preparing for the next school year.  As for crafts, I am using my time to work on Logan's scrapbook to be caught up so I can start getting ready for Jamie's high school scrapbook.  I am not crafty nor clever enough to sell anything on Etsy, lol.

In regards to missing my work, at the end of the summer, I get really, REALLY antsy.  I don't think I could NOT work, at least part-time. I miss adult conversation during the vacation and just getting a time-out.  I love my girls and my little man, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with C at work all the time and when he works late.  I think this is because we are such a team during the school year that I depend on his help in the evenings.

I truly have the best of both worlds as a teacher.  I am able to work and have adult-time and be home in time for the kids to get home from school and to have dinner on the table.  I have weekends, all holidays, vacations and the summer off with my kids.  One of the reasons I love being a teacher is because it allows me these freedoms.  Besides having a love for teaching, this time off is a true benefit.

One of Karen's questions for her Mommy Guest Bloggers is Do you plan on going back to work in the same profession or have different career goals?  I have my masters' degree in school administration and several times, the opportunity has arisen for me to apply for assistant principal positions.  I have decided that at this point in my life, I do not want to move up the ladder, so to speak, because it would eat up SO much of my free time.  I DO want to eventually work part-time, and be home earlier.  It is definitely possible as a teacher, and I would love to be home before the little man gets out of school.

I will wrap this up by saying that being at home during the summer with a little one and two tween girls has really given me perspective on JUST HOW DARN HARD SAHMs work.  My husband was out of town last weekend for 5 days for work and let me tell you...I was exhausted. Thanks for taking the time to read about my life as a (Part-Time) SAHM!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Life of a SAHM Series {Day 13}: Kimberly's Korner

Hi there and welcome to Day 13 of the Life of a Stay At Home Mom Guest Blogging Series!!! If you are just joining our Life of a Stay {At} Home Mom Series, welcome! Miss a post? You can find all the entries for our series listed for you here.

Today we are meeting up with Kim from Kimberly's Korner.  Kim is a SAHM of two beautiful girls, Ashley and Lindsey!!  I am so excited to have Kim with us today to give her perspective on life as a stay at home mom!!


Hi, I am Kim from Kimberly's Korner. I am excited today to participate in Karen's Stay-At-Home Mom series. Thanks for letting me blog a little bit about being a stay at home Mom. I am blessed that I have been able to stay at home with my daughters for the past 21 years! I know that sounds like a long time. I have a daughter who will be a SENIOR in college this year and a younger daughter who will be a JUNIOR in high school. I have been married to Kevin for 23 years.

1. Biggest reward of being a SAHM?
Raising my children and being there for them 100%. I never missed any school activity or sporting event they had. I think it was important when they were little but also they need me now even though they are older. I also have driven my kids to school/made their lunches/picked them up from school and had a snack waiting every day. I am panicking a bit since my youngest will be driving herself to school come this year. That will be an adjustment for me. It is a simple thing taking and picking up from school and its something I will miss. My husband has said "our girls are who they are because of you" - and I take that has a wonderful compliment.

2. Biggest for you or your family having you as a SAHM? I "know" my kids liked me home even though they might not admit it. They liked that when they got home from school I was always there. Dinner is/was always at 5pm. I believe children like "routine".

3. Do you work from home now or have a side business or craft? I worked for about 2 years at a dentist office as an insurance coordinator. I quit when my Mom got cancer and I have never gone back. It didn't really effect my kids cause I worked just 9 - 1, 3 days a week.

4. What do you miss about not working, if at all? sometimes I miss the friendships that are formed at work but I still hear of "cattiness" at the work place and I certainly don't miss that. I sometimes miss getting dressed cause I feel you feel better when you are "dressed" and take some time getting "pretty". Other than that: NOTHING. I am very content being home.

5. Was it a hard decision to leave the working world or was it the obvious choice all along? it was an obvious choice all along. Things were tight at the beginning and my husband worked side jobs which Ashley was little. It was something we never spoken about really when we decided to have kids: "we knew" - I would be home with them.

6. Do you plan on going back to work in the same profession or have different career goals? that's a good question. I am almost an empty nester with Lindsey entering school as a Junior come September. I can't imagine having a boss or having to be at work at a certain time, I am being honest with that. I have been "on my own" for sooooo many years. I am thankful I have a husband who doesn't want me to work and has never asked me to. He is happy with me at home cause that makes me happy. I hope to travel a bit more when I have some more time with him and I am starting to do more things with my girlfriends.

Thank you, Karen - its been fun! If you have time stop by my blog and say "hi"!