Ramping back up

It’s been a while! Now with a 6 and a 3 year old, things are still crazy, but I finally have some time to blog again. This summer is the first summer that I’ve had both kids home the entire summer – 10 weeks (but I’m not counting or anything).

I’ve tried to mix up busy activity-filled days with low key at-home days. Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes it’s a hot mess. What I’ve realized is that my kids can really only handle a few activities a day out of the house, and then all hell breaks loose. Maybe some kids can be out all day, but not mine. They are homebodies to some degree. It’s been a lesson we’ve had to learn by trial and error by having some pretty epic meltdowns in public places (that’s always FUN, no?) and I’ve had to learn to be OK with dropping everything and just coming home.

The good news though, is that they are happy pulling out a bunch of toys and playing for hours, or riding bikes outside, and don’t bug me for exciting adventures every 5 minutes. They’re also at an age now where they will (mostly) play well together for a while, and they can play with each other’s toys without fear of anyone choking on anything (hello teeny tiny Legos – yikes!).

We have a few weeks left until the school year starts and scheduled get sort of crazy again, and I get a few days alone to get work and errands done. We’re going to enjoy it whether we’re inside or out!

Post Kiddo Skin

Note: I received a free product from BzzAgent however all opinions are my own.

After two kids, your skin just isn’t the same. Either more oily (acne, WHY??) or more dry, things change when you get older and two kiddos aren’t exactly kind to your skin.

I was excited when BzzAgent sent me the new Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster serum this month. I’ve been using it for about a week. Since I’m running around after kiddos most of the time, I don’t wear a lot of makeup but always like to try products that claim to give you a fresh look (and hey, reducing fine lines is a bonus!) The product comes in a small dropper to dispense. The product says that it will hydrate skin and reduce the look of wrinkles.

One thing I wasn’t crazy about was the dropper. It was really hard to dispense exactly the 2-3 drops recommended, but I guessed the amount. I would have liked a pump or a larger dropper better. I only used it at night so can’t comment on the effectiveness during the day. I found after a week I saw some reduction in fine lines but what I really liked more was that my face didn’t feel as oily the next morning, which is always nice.

I’ll keep using it to see if there’s any increased skin changes, but so far so good!

Bossypants

C has been in daycare since he was 3 months old and in preschool 2 days a week since I stopped working full-time. He’s had other kiddos and teachers around since he was very little so he’s used to a school environment.

In some ways, the preschool years are when the real “parenting” comes in, in terms of discipline, direction and teaching kids how to behave. I guess it’s working, because we got our first note home last week from one of his teachers that C was telling other kids not to do something they shouldn’t be doing. I’m not going to lie, part of me was thinking “well, maybe you should have told them before he did”, but I’m not there, so what do I know.

It never feels good to get a note sent home, but I have to chalk some of it up to “being 4”. We’re very consistent with enforcing good behavior, but on the other hand, some kids just have bossy personalities, and I don’t know if that should be stifled. As an adult in the working environment, he’ll need to obviously act appropriately, but shouldn’t a future boss be a little bossy :)?

Overall, I’m not going to worry about it too much, but it seems like we’ll have our hands full working on the balance between bossy and being an overall well-mannered kiddo.

Sitting on the Side(business) Lines

We’ve been busy this year so far. A super small side business that I started last year with the intention of learning a bit more about opening an online shop and making a little side money has turned into something that’s become a decent source of side income. with room to grow. With two kiddos at home, what I could work on in my spare time (in actuality) was limited. I decided to do two things. 1) Open a shop on Etsy to sell fun vintage items I found or owned 2) Open a shop on eBay to move a little more volume. #1 is more of the vanity business, with volume a little slow but higher return and #2 took a bit of research and learning to get to a place where I think I know what I’m doing.

eBay can be a wonderful way to get items in front of a lot of people. The downside, of course, are the fees, which after Paypal range in the slightly over double-digit range. Of course, I could open my own online shop, but then I would spend a decent chunk of money on driving traffic there (ironically, my pre-SAHM job!), to *maybe* have people buy. so eBay it is (for now).

I also learned a great deal about the underground world of the second market for items. I primarily buy Amazon returns, which come in a variety of conditions, but overall, even at 1/2 of retail, are a bargain for eBay shoppers and make a good profit. There’s also, of course, dealing with the general public and the crazy things people try to do. Fortunately, that only ends up being a small percentage of honest, great buyers I have, but those few can really be a PITA.

I hope to grow the side biz a bit, but it really depends on how much time I have, and of course, where to put the inventory. Right now we have a decent size cabinet in the garage, but to scale, I will grow out of this, fast. We’ll have to see how it goes this year.

Another upside is that now my mail carrier and I are good buddies!

Living Small for Christmas

The holidays for us were very understated this last year, with us opting out of expensive, obligatory gifts that our friends and family would probably return, never use or regift anyway. We decided to focus on kids only, which was a great way to refocus the attention away from a “checklist” of Christmas, and more on seeing the excitement of the holidays through a kiddo’s eyes.

C was super excited about the Christmas tree this year, and picked out a great one (named Stuart, after the Minion, of course). The few toys he received he really wanted and played with all Christmas day and over the holiday break. It was great to not have kids hit the Christmas gift-opening fatigue that happens when you rip through too many gifts and don’t really remember what you got. A of course is too little to know what’s going on, she just wanted to roll under the tree and pull the branches into her mouth.

It was really nice to not be in holiday mall hell, shopping up a storm with 3MM other people, just basically throwing credit cards around to “get it done”.

Now that we’re in the New Year, it’s a great philosophy for upcoming events. C’s birthday was yesterday, and we got him one big toy he really wanted, plus a party this weekend. I don’t know, if I was four, I’d be pretty happy with that!

The Frugaldays

Amazing that we’re rounding the corner on the end of the year. Like every year, the actually holiday season still sneaks up on you, and here we are, about 7 weeks from New Year’s. The holidays stress me out, and people get sort of kooky when the Christmas trees start hitting the stores.

Speaking of which, we had a few errands today at the mall, and as we came upon this monstrosity:

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This wasn’t just a Santa house, this was a Santa house on steroids. Animated windows, and a character-themed “experience”, all with a hefty $50 price tag. WOW. Of course, C was all over this, and he’s never even seen Shrek. Maybe I’m getting to the “when I was a kid” age, but, when I was a kid, it was a sorry-looking Santa on a chair for a quick photo. It wasn’t an experience, but more of a seasonal obligation.

That brings me to the holiday season overall. It’s irritating. I like Thanksgiving and Christmas as much as the next gal, but the amount of sheer “stuff” there is can be sort of unnerving. It’s too much. We’re keeping it very simple this year and focusing on spending our time (and money) on things that are important. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in holiday hoopla, including what and how much to spend, and it becomes a stressful obligation instead of a fun time to spend with friends and family. The Santa House above was a perfect example of how crazy everything has gotten. Does your 3-year-old need a separate “experience” for $50? I’d rather spend that on a rad bike that he can ride around the neighborhood with.

Summer’s End (Theoretically)

You’d think summer would be over when the Halloween decorations hit Target and the kiddie pools are all 75% off. Here summer gets slow going and goes on FOREVER. We had 103 degree weather here the first week of October, which at this point, everyone is over. The only saving grace is that C has been able to go swimming weeks into fall, which I know in other parts of the country just doesn’t happen. It’s been nice, but I’m ready for the crisp mornings and evenings, and being able to actually go to the park after 9am without it hitting 90 degrees.

We took C to Disneyland last month and it was about 95, pretty brutal for an afternoon of walking. He had a blast though, and then we get photos like this which make it all worth it. 14981170639_8ecd4fd6e5_z

Looking forward to fall, whenever it decides to show up!