Friday, May 27, 2011

The Great Debate

Yesterday was it. The last day. A day to myself that won't be seen again in approximately 20 weeks. As of today, I'm officially a full time working mom again.

I get two days of a week to spend with my babies. I miss 5 bedtimes and 3 whole days. My schedule does allow me to spend more awake time with my babies than a 9-5er would, but I miss dinner, bedtime and bathtime. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, I'll only see my husband on the two nights I have off and Sunday mornings

You see, I manage a seasonal restaurant. I'm there, a lot! It's my "other" family. And I do LOVE my job. I love seeing people I know come into the restaurant. I love when people enjoy their dinner and their experience. It makes me proud, of my staff, of where we live, of the hard work the owners have put into their business. It's a requirement of mine to be believe in the business I work for.

I can't really complain. I do get six months off a year. But that time goes by so fast and then it's summer. And now there are two babies. There's a possibility I miss the first time Little Lady crawls or pulls herself up or even says her first baby word.  

Then I think of all the parents who have to be away from their babies for different reason, the military moms who don't get to see their babies for months, sometimes years. Moms who travel for work or who have to share custody of their babies. It makes me realize that as much as I might miss on those few months of hard work, it is still the right choice for our family right now. It allows me more opportunity with my babies while they are little than anything else. (aside from having a more than a few weeks of vacation time another job might offer).

I get to be a stay at home mom AND a working mom. Neither is easy. But if I could choose, I would stay home, just for now, until preschool.  So I guess I've got the next best thing. Thanks for helping me put it in perspective.

Would you be a stay at home mom if you could? If you do stay at home, what do you miss about working, if anything?

~ Cerina

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shaklee Giveaway

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've last posted! I was doing so well! My creative blog juices just haven't been flowing so well...with finishing up the semester of school(2-B+...thankyouverymuch) and getting the restaurant ready to open (which it did on Mothers Day weekend) my mind has been preoccupied I suppose.

But here I am and although I don't have anything super fantastical to post about, I've decided to do a giveaway! You see, I'm a pusher. I've been trying to convince some friends and family to switch their cleaning products to Shaklee.

Why? I totally LOVE the products myself...for a number of reasons. They WORK, they have pretty little containers (yes, that is a real reason for me) and most of all, THEY ARE SAFE for your FAMILY and the PLANET!

First off, I want to address a few reasons why you might not choose to order Shaklee.
{1} They seem pricey - This is valid point, especially in today's economy. However, because Shaklee's products are so concentrated you use oodles less and therefore they last oodles longer! Click Here to see a Cost Comparison to other popular cleaning products. 

{2} You have to order online...i.e you can't just swing by the store and pick more up on your way home from work. - Again, I totally get this, being Miss Instant Gratification myself.... But you can set yourself up on AutoShip! You can have them shipped once a month, every other month, whenever you need them. Yes, there is a cost to shipping, $7.95 to be exact. But with the price of gas at $4 a'd spend that running to the store. Also, who doesn't love to receive packages via UPS! I get my son's favorite snacks on auto delivery from Amazon because it saves me money (and coincidentally, I never run out). I've decided that I love that method and now this is no longer an issue for me.

{3} And here's a big one....Shaklee is a distributor based company. (I'm a distributor) You're worried that someone is going to bug you about signing up to sell it yourself and you're just not interested in that crap. Well, I'm not interested in hard selling my friends. I just want to share something I love with you that also happens to be good for you and the environment (which does instill a bit of passion about it for me...which is why I'm a "pusher") The only selling I might do is recommend you sign up as a Member if you decide you like the products because after the $19.95 member fee, you get 15% off all the products forever, no matter how little or infrequent you buy and you can set up your autoships yourself instead of having to go through a distributor.

{if you have any other reasons for not giving Shaklee a try, please let me know...I'm actually quite new to this Distributor thing...though I've been using the products for over 2 years}

So the point of this post is to GIVE AWAY something! I only ask 2 things, well 3 things really, of you to qualify for the give away, but first....

Let's get to the part of WHAT it is I'm GIVING AWAY!

~ One 32 oz Bottle of Fresh Laundry Concentrate (HE Compatible) (Fresh Scent or Fragance Free)

AND your CHOICE of


So here's what you need to do for your chance to win!

1. ***EDITED*** I'm no longer asking that you sign up for my Shaklee Email list. I can understand if people feel uncomfortable with fact...I would probably not do it myself  if someone else was asking for it. So sign up if you want ( - Contact Me button) but you don't have to do it to be eligible to win this giveaway! ***

2. Follow my blog if you aren't already.

3. Leave a comment on this post about your favorite green product or method! Bloggers love comments!

I'll announce a winner next Wednesday! Honestly, my only goal of this is to introduce you to the products and hopefully the person who wins, will love them as much as I do! Oh, yeah, I think I'll do this once a month! Next month I'll be giving away the Dish Wash Concentrate and the Germ Off Wipes.

Thanks for taking the time to read and participate! Hopefully I'll have some juicier posts in the near future!

~ Cerina

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nighttime Routines

I've been tired....really tired lately. I couldn't really quite figure out why. I guess really there could be a number of reasons...less exercise....not eating as well...just busy during the day...was it because I was nursing...

Of course I knew it had a little to do with a lack of sleep at night, but this is my second child. I'm not new to nighttime wakings of babies and am usually pretty well adjusted.

Well last night it finally dawned on my why I'm so tired and ready for bed at 8pm (sometimes 7:30). 

I'm losing a key 2-3 hours per night of sleep!

My kids (Little Lady especially) go to bed very well, LL will be asleep no later than 7:30 (hence that bedtime for me) and Little Man, though we've had a harder time making his bedtime regular since the big boy bed came into the picture, my husband handles bedtime and its still pretty easy.

It's what happens after we're all in bed that is the culprit.

10:00 - Husband comes to bed, watches some TV and falls asleep

11:00-11:30 - I fall back asleep after husband had come in and watching some Chelsea Lately

11:30-1:00 - Little Man comes running down the hall, clearly scared of the dark and climbs into bed with us. This usually corresponds with happening right after I nurse LL and she's fallen back a sleep and I've put her back in her crib and am just falling back asleep myself OR it takes place before LL wakes and it takes anywhere between 5-60 mins for Paul to fall back asleep once he's climbed in bed with us...and once he finally has, LL wakes to nurse. Regardless, I'm usually at least half awake for a good hour or two here.

2:00-4:00 - Usually LL has a second waking and nurse between these hours or LM starts talking in his sleep. In the case of last night and the fact that my kiddos both seem to be battling some bug, he woke up having to use the potty (so proud of him) and then I found he was burning up so I gave him some ibuprofen to hopefully make him more comfortable. It was probably another 30 mins at least before he fell back asleep. If I recall, this was all around 3:00 am.

4:30 - LL wakes to nurse. 

4:30-6:30 - Snoozing in bed with both or both of them are wide awake by this time (and of course I haven't really slept at all because I didn't put Lola back in her bed, which I try to do because otherwise, I can't really sleep, but was too tired...doesn't make sense does it). Or if I did put her back in bed...something else will happen the prevents me from fully falling back asleep.

So by the basis of last nights schedule...I barely got more that 2 hours of sleep at one interval, and I didn't even fall asleep until after 10.

"Watson, I think you've got it!"

Now what!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Interview Tips!

One of the many things I do  (I left it off of my blog header) is manage a seasonal restaurant. We open in barely two weeks so we've been busy interviewing and hiring staff for the season...which is the ammunition for this post!

I've applied for plenty of jobs...okay not that many, but thats only because I've been hired for pretty much any job I've applied for. I'm a people person, what can I say (plus I have experience putting the following tips to work!)

Anyways, after no less than 20 interviews a season....I've seen a lot of different interviewee types. As it's a restaurant, you can just imagine the range in personalities we see. So here, for all that may be in this terrible market looking for a job, are my own tips for being a "Must Hire" at your interview!

1. Do some research! ~ It blows me away that people would apply for a job without finding out everything about the company they are applying to work at! It is as easy taking 10 minutes to check out their website. In our case, peruse the menus and wine list. Read the newsletter. Check out the events page. You may find out that the company isn't someplace you are interested in working. If it'll impress your interviewers by your found knowledge! In all our interviews, we only had ONE person who said they checked out our website. Yup, we hired them on the spot. Even if it just for schmoozing purposes, it shows that you took the extra step to learn more! One last point to this rant - if you ever sit down for an interview and have to ask what the company will NOT get the job. This I promise you.

2. Dress & Look professional! ~ What I mean by this, in relation to interviewing for a position in a restaurant, is to dress respectfully. Put some effort into it. Wear your "nice" clothes and for goodness sake, spend some time on your hair and keep your makeup tasteful. It's time to leave your personal taste at the door and be more "vanilla" if you will. When you are applying for a "professional" position. Wear a suit. Even if the position is the Secretary, dress for the job you aspire to (which is of course, President of the Company...right?...It should be!)

3. Eye contact, Eye contact, eye contact! ~ pretty self-explanatory. If you're scared of your interviewer (or nervous), whatever it is.....don't you think we'll think you're scared of everybody! We are in the business of serving the public. It's rather imperative that you're able to talk to strangers. I shouldn't have to throw this in, but I will...SMILE!

and last but not least....

4. Ask questions! ~ Okay this one won't make or break your chances at getting the job...with us anyways. But you should prepare yourself with questions for any interview. Whether its as simple as what our expectations are of full time or part time staff. Or for other employers....if you've done the research (see #1), you should have come up with some questions easily. It all comes down to showing that you want to learn about the company and their expectations, challenges or goals!

It's a tough market out there...or so I hear.  The only way to stand out among the masses of people looking for jobs, especially with the varying levels of experience, is to WOW them with your personality. You won't be the right fit for every position you apply for, but if you've done your research, you might know that already!

Best of luck to all of you currently on the job hunt! I hope my interview tips have helped...a little!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fit Finances?

Not quite yet...but we are working on it! I've been working hard on getting everything organized in our financial house! (I love to organize..the key is using the tools I create right?) Here's what I've come up with....a Budget Binder...

It was just a simple 1 inch 3-ring binder that I added some pretty scrapbook paper and dividers to.  In it I keep our Budget Worksheet, Other worksheets, Bills to pay, Paid Bills, our cash envelopes, checkbook, stamps, calculator and of course, a pen. We are doing a Ramsey-ish plan. Budgeting every penny every week or month, with any excess going towards our debt reduction plan.

It's not going to be easy, but I'm pretty sure I'll get a high off paying off credit cards and watching our savings account grow. Perhaps that high will outweigh the one I usually get from buying pretty new things for me, the kids or our house!

Ahh, the precious envelope system. This is the first month I'm trying to grocery shop with cash. The hardest part is knowing how much your tally is before you get up to the register so you don't go over (1 of 2 things might happen if you do go over....1. You have to use your debit card and move some of your budget around or 2. Send things embarassing for me, I will always choose option #1 and adjust later) You'll see there are only 4...Groceries, Household, Fuel and Entertainment. All the rest of my bills are paid with a check or mostly Online Bill Pay. These are my most common expenses I pull out the Debit Card for. Now Debit Card usage is for emergencies only! I'm actually considering opening another Checking or Savings account to attach the Debit Card to, so it's not coming out of the Household Bill Account. 

On Monday I attended a Consumer Protection Conference in Augusta. One of the segments was on budgeting. The presenter recommends you have at least 2 Checking Accounts and 2 Savings Accounts. The Checking Accounts are for Fixed Expenses (i.e Set payments) and Variable Expenses (Groceries, Auto Fuel...etc) and the Savings Accounts are for Emergency Savings and Accrual Expenses like Property Taxes, Heating Oil, Christmas, etc. And the most important thing I took from it is to do your Monthly Budget based on 4 weeks every month. Ignore the 5th week that happens twice a year. 

Here is our Debt Snowball worksheet. This is all Dave Ramsey. Basically, list your debts SMALLEST to LARGEST Balances (NOT interest rates). Pay the minimum payment on all but the top one. After you have put $1000 in Savings, start applying all extra cash to the top debt. Once that debt is paid off, take the full amount you were paying to that and apply it ALL to the next debt ON TOP of the minimum monthly payment! This is how the crazy "I paid of $20,000 in 12 Months!" stories happen! By the time you get to last debt, even though it's the largest, the payment is substantial! Hopefully this time next year, I have one of those stories to share with you!

Our Savings Worksheet. It's just a snapshot to see how we're doing on savings without getting a monthly statement. Really, I just like to write things down.

I also use software on my computer. Because I have a Mac, financial software that I like, took a bit of research to find. I was using Microsoft Money on my PC and I liked that fairly well. I'm very familiar with using Quickbooks and like how that works too, but read tons of bad reviews on how Quickbooks works with a Mac. I found MoneyWell. It was okay, but not super user friendly. It was free....that was a good thing but I eventually stopped using it because I just couldn't figure it out. Now, though, I've found one I really like and had great reviews. IBank. It did cost about $60 but it's a one time charge and I really, really like it! So is that redundant? Yes, a little bit. But writing things down is a very powerful tool in helping to keep you accountable. It works for dieting and it works for finances!

And here is what I've been working on: Monthly Budget Worksheet. I've made it available as a PDF if anyone would like to use it! It doesn't look too fancy there, it's what the Excel version that I've been formulating does that's magic! If you would like the Excel version, please comment or email me with the email to send it to, and I'd be happy to do it! You can also download my Debt Snowball form.

I hope our effort to clean up our finances inspired you! The hardest part will be saying No. No to dinner out, no to going out for drinks or to the movies or anything else that isn't in the budget. Of course we aren't quitting cold turkey, we've built in a little money monthly for that stuff....but trust me, it won't get very far and once it's gone, it's gone! Thats the key and the hardest part!

Good luck! (To all of us!)

~ Cerina

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

About a Boy!

I've posted a lot in recent days about my little I want to dedicate a post to my little boy! He just turned 3! I just want to reminisce with some pictures from his adorable first year of life.... 

We make the cutest babies don't we. He was the sweetest baby boy and is still pretty sweet, though I have to confess that this age certainly has it's challenges. He is very emotional (I think he gets that from Daddy...he would have to agree). His mood changes on the drop of a dime...literally, if he drops a dime, he can have a total breakdown. We saw it this morning. Potty training is definitely on his schedule, not ours, and its clearly he isn't ready, especially when given a choice, he prefers diapers. His eating habits (or lack there of) make me nervous. He is chatty and I love hearing him have his own conversations and am always impressed with some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth. I love it when he uses "Actually" and always in the right context!

He is ALL boy! He loves four wheelers, fire trucks, school buses and.....


His big birthday present! And it makes him so happy and is so worth every penny. But I work hard to keep him well rounded. My husband thinks I'm pushing music and art on him. Um, no, just because I insist on buying him at least one new musical instrument and some new art supplies for Christmas, doesn't mean I'm pushing it on him! He really enjoys music AND art...see...

Such concentration!

Most days are good days, his tantrums and grumpiness are usually short lived....and when he is grumpy, he definitely doesn't like his picture being taken. And I love taking it it!

He is a wonderful big brother and loving little boy, I'm sure these mood swings, tantrum and fits are sure to subside soon right? Is it really the Terrible Threes instead of the Terrible Two's? Because honestly, the two's weren't so bad.

I love my handsome little man!
~ Cerina

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Confessionals

I'm not really a church person. Although baptized as a Catholic....I consider myself more spiritual than religious. Regardless of seeking forgiveness or not...I thought some confessions would be a fun Sunday blogging topic! Mostly humorous with a few shameless snuck in!

1.  I freaking LOVE the Kardashians! I mean, they are one crazy family and I seriously love Kourtney! She is my favorite. She can be so dry and non-emotional that its funny! And poor Bruce. I mean that guy has to put up with soo much CRAP! He seriously has the patience/tolerance of a saint sometimes most of the time! And their new show, Khloe and Lamar...airs TONIGHT (speaking of Sundays)

2. I HATE putting Laundry away. I really don't mind washing and folding it, but I hate putting it away. And you know the funniest thing is that it is always way less work than I think it's going to be.  Usually there is at least one full basket of (once folded) laundry in my bedroom that drives me nuts! And "putting away clothes" is on no less that 2 To Do lists a week! Which leads to my next confession...

3. I'm obsessed with calendars and to do lists! Well, really anything where I can write important stuff down and think I'm organized! I have 3 calendars going right now (not including the one on my computer, which I sometimes put stuff in). I is my Annual Calendar, of which I write all important stuff like doctors appointments, addresses, class schedules and make up other stuff like, plans for next week etc. I have one for work (which I only use April through October). I keep track of events, employees requests for days off and the such. And then my new, cool weekly planner from Lobotome. I fill it out on Sundays for the week and keep it on my counter and fill things in as they come up. I also keep To Do lists on it. I kind of love it...a LOT! I bought the MomME pack and got a meal planner, honey do, shopping list (which I used to its full potential the other day and LOVED) and a babysitting pad! (Here's the ironic end to my obsession, rarely do I actually complete the stuff on my TO DO list on the day I write them down...I just transfer them from day to day, I should work on that, right?)

4.  I like the think I do everything I can to be good to our environment. I used recycled or partially recycled products as much as possible. I used green cleaning products (am even a distributor for Shaklee). I own a bazillion reusable shopping bags and recycle cans, bottles, cardboard and paper. I even used cloth diapers (use them still with Lola) Here's the confession part... I never remember my reusable bags to go to the grocery store with; When the bottle trash is full, sometimes I just throw the bottle away (most of the time they live on my counter until my husband cleans it out and puts it in his hiding place...he keeps all the money he makes off my wine bottles....) Sometimes, without realizing it, I let the water run when I brush my teeth. And lastly (hiding face), even though I take the time to sort things I can donate to Goodwill...I never, never actually remember to put them in my car and drop them off so sometimes..ashamingly, I just throw them away! GAH!

I think I've cleansed my soul enough today.....please, share with me your confessions so we can all be sinners together!!

~ Cerina