Friday, July 30, 2010

My tribute to OTR truck drivers

Though all truck drivers play a big role delivering all our goods and materials to factories, warehouses, and stores I really want to focus on OTR driver. Over the Road drivers are one that drive 48 states and are gone for days or weeks from home. A truck drivers life is so different then a regular job. You sleep in the back of a truck, you eat out of a cooler or at a restaurant all the time, and your away from home for weeks. When you are home you are only home for a short while, maybe only a day or two. You have deadlines to meet, federal regulations to obide, driving hours to calculate, mileage to figure. At time you are super busy getting loads to where they need to go. Other time you may sit at a truck stop for a few days waiting on a load close to the area you in to take.

When I was 5 months pregnant with Gretchen I went on the road with Brian for two weeks. After a day or two you get used to the booping around in the truck. Being on the road made me come to appreciate and understand the life of a trucker. It can be exciting sometime. You get to visit different places and see different things. However at time all you see is interstate. Going through some states is so boring. All you see is fields and barns. Brian liked to start work early. You see a trucker can drive up to 11 hrs a day and ever so many days they have to take a break of like 35 hrs I think. So if we started around 6 am and stopped a few times to break then we could stop around 6 pm. This is the perfect time to find a spot at a truck stop. If you stop much later you might not find an empty spot and then you are parking on the side of the road for the night. But really a truck drivers life is crazy. For one thing if you want to take a shower at a truck stop its going to cost you $10. Brian even had a camping shower in his truck. Some towns out west don't have truck stops so we resorted to a cold shower in the truck. Eating at a truck stop can be expensive and the food isn't that great. The worst part of trucking is that up north most states won't let you idle your truck. This means that you won't have any air in your truck when its 100 degree weather outside. Some truck stops have these things you hook up to your truck called idle air that provides air and heat so you don't have to idle your truck but this is very expensive.

Finding a good trucking job with a good company isn't always easy. Because of cost of insurance most want experience. Some require different things. For example some need you to tarp your truck, maybe unload it, or deal with sales. For Brian the hardest thing was being away home. Now he has a job with Truck Services. He took a position working around 3 to 4 days a week. Yes he has to be gone but he is home on weekends to be with me and the kids and he gets more then 36 hrs off. There are trucking companies that 36 hrs is all you get to be home a week and then you are back on the road.

I love my truck driver. Everyone should appreciate truck drivers more. So next time you so buy a soda think about how a truck driver picked up those empty cans in Wyoming and drove 3 days across county to South Carolina to a soda factory where they put the soda in the cans so that you could have a refreshing drink.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Blog

So what is my blog REALLY about? Partly about my daughter who is just pure awesomeness. I would really like to start adding some "how to" kid crafts and activities. I have a subscription to FamilyFun magazine. My mom got it for me for Christmas cause I kept stealing the magazines at the doctors offices. I couldn't help it, they have tons of really great crafts and activities to do. I now have a notebook full of possible projects. I want to do the projects and give parents a real critique. For example, cost of project, time, and difficulty. I would like to eventually do product promotions and reviews as well as contest. And of course I will add my motherly opinion about different topics. Believe me this blogging thing has been a work in progress. Eventually once I learn the "how to" I will get my site just the way I want it and it will be awesome.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cupcakes are COOL!

Just read, OK skimmed, an article on Yahoo! about how the cupcake "trend" is going away. I didn't know that the cupcake was a "trend." I thought it was a birthday party staple. I can see some of the other things going out of style like Tuna Tartare or Communal Tables but not cupcakes. My mom has a great cupcake book that isn't old at all where you make a cupcake look like different kinds of dogs and food. A cupcake can be artfood. A cupcake is like your classic black dress or your set of pearls. It is never going to go out of style. As long as there are mothers' out there then there will be cupcakes! To the person out there who thinks he/she can say what is cool and trendy let me just say to you, Let them eat CUPCAKES!

Also, July is National Ice Cream Month. I know the month is almost over so enjoy some ice cream before its over. Just the other day Some friends and I had ice cream with pound cake, strawberries, and peaches in it. It was DELICIOUS!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Product Review

This is the Snack Catcher by Munchkin. Its a container to put snacks in such as Cherrios, and it has a lid that is designed so kids can reach their hands in a pull out the snack and not spill the whole container of food. Yes, this product does what it says. However, think about a child. This isn't going to keep your child from throwing the snacks that they pulled out on to the floor. One day Gretchen walked around the living room pulling out snacks and throwing them right on to the floor. I had a trail of Cherrios from the living room to her room and back.Anyone need an experienced Flower Girl? My baby can do the job!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeps on Growing

Its so amazing how fast a baby grows and changes. Its as if they are a different person every few weeks. The same as they were before but more developed, more confident, more modile, more personality. Gretchen isn't a baby baby anymore. She is a toddler. She is fully mobile and jabbers a mile a minute. Most of the time I have no clue what she is saying but she says it like she is carrying on a conversation with you. She knows what a phone is and that you hold it up to your ear. She has a play phone but sometimes she even uses her hairbrush as a phone. So cute.

Brian and I have "Earworms." Earworm are those songs that get stuck in your head. Gretchen likes the Wiggles so most of there songs are now stuck in my head. There is a Wiggles movie called Space Dancing and we go around singing "Whats this button for... Whats this button for..." And they have little aliens that speak English and say "How do you do? We come as friends. You have beautiful eyyyess." I think it is so cute and hilarious that I say it all the time to Brian while I stare into his hazel eyes.

Then there is Songdrops by Bryant Oden ( These are cute little songs like "The Duck song" or "CBA Song." I really think Gretchen gets a kick out of seeing Brian and I sing them. She dances and bobs her head. She is awesome.

So, Birthday planning is underway. Planning to send out invitation Saturday. I finally figured that I can do the photo invitation through Wal-Mart for like 35 cents a piece. I had resorted into Mighty Dollar invitation that I hated cause they looked so cheap but now she can have nice invitation that I can still afford. The only problem in doing this was taking a good picture of Gretchen. Now she will not be still long enough for me to take a picture. My mom would laugh at this cause I was the same way as a baby. If you look at baby pictures of me you will notice my moms hand on my leg holding me down so they could take a picture. She is having pictures made for her birthday curtisy of Brian's mom and sister. I am starting to think that this is going to be a bad idea cause I know she is not going to sit still.

It took months for me to decide where to have her party. We though that having it at Crowe's Park would be a good idea. However we decided to have it at my Mom's. Our house just isn't equiped for a birthday party. At least at my parent's there will be clean bathroom and I won't have to haul a ton of stuff somewhere to unload and reload. Since her birthday is in August in the South where it is hot and humid and 100 degrees we will have kiddie pools and water games and sprinklers to help keep everyone cooled off.

I know this blog isn't nice to look at since it doesn't have many pictures but give me time and I will load tons of them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Anti-SpongeBob Mommy

When it comes to television I'm one of those very picky moms. I do think that some television can be beneficial. However, I'm not going to plop my daughter in front of the tv all day by no means. For about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the after noon I let Gretchen watch tv. The only thing she will watch now is the Wiggles. She will actually sit on the floor and watch for a few minutes and stand up a dance sometimes. The rest of the time she is off somewhere else doing her thing. Which mean is really only watches half the show. Cartoons like Spongebob and Chowder are out of the question at my house. If she is at someone else's house and watches it I'm not going to have a hissy fit or anything though. I don't know what it is about Spongebob that I can't stand. Maybe its the annoying laugh or the fear that my daughter will pick on bad habits from watching him. Luckily my mom doesn't allow Spongebob in her house either. I'm glad because Gretchen will be staying there while I'm in class this fall. I want Gretchen to watch education programs and programs that promote good behavior. Strawberry Shortcake, Dora the Explorer, The Wiggles, TeleTubbies, Little Eisteins,and My Little Ponies are all fine programs . I really wish that some of these programs were like the ones that I grew up with. I like the old Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Ponies, and Carebears better. The animation today is sort of creepy looking.

One thing I am trying to do is collect old movies that I used to watch for Gretchen. I have some of the Carebear Movies and a Strawberry Shortcake. There are two My Little Pony movies that I want. However one is now considered a collectors item and is really expensive. For a 30 minute movie it cost $50-$100. Sorry Baby mommy just doesn't have that type of money to through around.

This week has been crazy running around. I helped out with VBS this week in the crafts and I had a Premier Design Jewelry Party. My cousin became a Premier consultant and I hosted a show for her. It seems that everyone is doing direct sells these days. I am even hosting a Pampered Chef party next week. Hosting a show hopefully will help then make money and promote their little businesses. In return they did a catalog show with Usborne Books. Around here not many people have heard of Usborne Books. Trying to get your name out there with a product is harder then it looks. Everyday I do something with my little business to let people know about it. I honestly believe that my hard work will pay off eventually. Brian doesn't understand that now I have to "network" both online and in the community so people will get to know me and learn about my products. Before I was the type to live in my own little bubble. However, that doesn't really work when you are in business. I need a crash course in advertising and marketing. Oh Lord!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Favorite Baby Product Reward!

Gretchen is now almost a year old. In the past year I have went through a ton of baby products. Of course some products you just can't get around without having like diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, bottle, etc. Most other products really depend on you and your baby's lifestyle and personality. For me big bulky products made me clostrophobic. Of course I have had the big bulky products like a swing and saucer. A saucer is great to entertain and contain your baby so you can get other things done. But these are things that I got rid of as soon as I could cause they just took up sooo much room. There is one product that I absolutely love. It wasn't expensive and has worked wonders in getting Gretchen to go to sleep on her own. So, the winner of MY FAVORITE BABY PRODUCT REWARD is....

Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Take Along Projector Soother

This product can project 2 images. One is simplier and one is more detailed. It plays about 10 minutes of either lullaby music or ocean waves. My biggest thing that sold me on this product was that you didn't put it in the crib. I personally didn't want anything in the crib for her to play with. I keep this on the dresser and play it when I lay her down for naps and bedtime. Gretchen has gotten a little dependent on it but when I think about it its just music. Its not a pacifier that I will have to ween her off of.

Second place will have to go to my Jeep stroller. This thing is very light weight stroller with out being an umbrella stroller. It still has a basket on the bottom and a cup holder. My sister loved it too. She wishes she had had one instead of her huge heavy stroller when her kids were little.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Little Projects

It seems like I have a ton of little projects going on right now. First is my Usborne Books. I started selling these books about 2 months ago. Now it seems like I'm mostly getting the word out about the books. sooner or later business will pick up and people will start buying the books. Everyday i try to accomplish something wtih the company; mail out fliers, email people,make a promotion board for book fairs, stuff like that. Eventually my work will pay off.

Then there is Gretchen's room. I am taking down the SpongeBob border and going to repaint it. This is a process. I absolutely can't stand SpondgeBob, he must come down and be destroyed. You see very time I turn around I have to stop to get Gretchen out of something she isn't supposed to be into or stop completely during her nap time. I have neen working on this now for two weeks. I don't have a time line but i want to have it complete by her birthday or at least by the time I start back to school.

Oh, her birthday! I am also in the middle of planning my little girls first birthday party. Every week I'm buying up decorations and food. I already over analize everything so freaking out about invitations is normal for me. I have been searching for weeks online for dirt cheap invitations and a banner. I wanted everything to match or somewhat match. The cheapest invitations I found that were personalized that I wouldn't have to write in were $1 each plus a cute banner for $16.00. So when you figure out cost and shipping it was still going to be about $40. I'm on an extreme budget. I only work 15 hrs a week so I can't be spending my whole months salary on her birthday. If I could believe me I would. I love my daughter and want to spoil the crap out of her. So, I finally talked myself out of buying the personalized invites and found dirt cheap but cute invitations to write in and got materials to make a banner. So far I have spent less then $40 and have gotten the invitations, decorations,favors, candy, and whatnot. Still need to buy food , balloons, and the activities and games.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Day At the Park

Today Gretchen joined a play group. Through an old friend of mine I found out about this group that gets together at the park and such. So this morning we went to play. There was one other baby there Gretchen's age and some other mommy's to talk to . This was great for me to be able to socialize but also for Gretchen to be a participant in a community. So for almost 2 hrs us mommy's talked about mommy stuff. They even do mommy nights out on occasions.

Now it is time to make some more laundry detergent. About 5 or 6 months ago Brian and I made homemade laundry detergent. It really cheap to make and last a long time. We spent about $10 on the ingredient but can probably make about 3 runs of this stuff. Our first run has lasted almost 6 months so I guess that would be around .50 cents/month. Not bad.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

4 cups Hot Tap Water 1 Fels-Naptha Bar Soap
1 cup Washing Soda 1/2 cup Borax

Grate the bar of soap and add to a sauce pan wtih the 4 cups of water. Stir continually over med heat until soap dissolves and melts.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water. Add the melted soap, washing soda, and borax, Stir well until all the powder is dissolved. Finish filling the bucket with hot water. Stir, cover and let sit over night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Constant Change

Since the last blog Gretchen is finally WALKING! I thought she was never going to take off. I mean, around 9 months she started taking a step or two but that was it. I don't consider a step or two as walking. So for a month in a half it was step step fall. Finally a month in a half later she is actually walking. But now she won't stop walking. The only good thing about her walking is the fact that it wares her out more and takes more naps and sleeps longer in the morning.

Oh, yeah. My almost 11 month old has 10 teeth. This is crazy. She is like a super-teether. Everyone elses kid her age only has like 2 teeth.

Well, my little girl turns ONE in a little over a month now. I can't believe this. I wish she was still that tiny little thing I brought home from the hospital. If I had a ton of money I would probably have more babies just so I can have a little one all the time. I ordered her cake pan for her birthday cake. Its going to be a pink ladybug. I have also, after hours of searching have found invitations that won't break the bank and a bannner that I am going to order. The banner is a splurge but oh well. I really want it for my baby. I can put it up for her to keep forever. Basically everything else for the party besides the food is going to come from the Mighty Dollar (ie. cups, plates, favors..). Now I just need to decide what to serve. For her birthday I am redoing her bedroom and getting rid of the Spongebob border. This is definately a work in progress. I swear I've been taking down wall paper for a week now. My main thing is that Gretchen is always in the way. And when its nap time I can't do anything in there cause it will wake her up. Other than that she probably will only get a few other small presents from us. I know I over analyze everything thing but I don't want to get a bunch of toys that she will outgrow in a few months unless I get it super cheap at a yard sale. Right?