Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's a good thing having a blog isn't like having a pet - or a houseplant. If it were, this thing would be dead from neglect. It's just hard to squeeze in an unbroken thought (or written sentence) around here. As I type this, Michaela is in the tub asking me what I would do in case of a "fire drill" in the house. She wants to know that if she were asleep, in the tub, or playing with her toys if I would get her. And if the fire burned up her toys would she get new ones...

Anyway, here's my attempt at blogging this month week.

Making: One pot meals on Sunday, and enjoying the leftovers again at least once during the work week. I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. If I can make something that makes leftovers so I don't have to cook again another night, that makes me happy. Here's a recipe for Skinny Turkey Taco Soup that Michaela and I really like, and it's super easy. I totally blew it this past Sunday and could not come up with anything that sounded good to me. We ended up going out...

Drinking: When I was doing the Arbonne 28-Day Detox, I fell in love with their pomegranate fizz drink mix. Not only does it taste great, but it has a little green tea extract (or something...) that gives me a boost in the afternoon. Sadly, I am out of that and nothing else I've tried compares. I might have to splurge and buy another box of it. On a side note, I've lost ten pounds since I did the detox. Yea, me! A protein shake in the morning, and a salad with chicken for lunch is my trick.

Reading: Named of the Dragon, by Susanna Kearsley. It's kind of slow, but kind of good. It's sort of a historical mystery. Not like anything else I've read recently. I'm reading it on my newish Kindle. I resisted the whole reader thing for a while, but I have to say that I like it.

Wanting: I've been wanting a new sofa for several years. The one I have is more than ten years old. It's threadbare, stained (potty training...), torn (cat prior to his, um, procedure), and all around awful. I've covered it with one of those Sure Fit slipcovers, but that is not all that great. That kind of slipcover gets messed up the first time you sit down on it. The cat put a hole in that, too. So I broke down and ordered a new sofa the other day from Pottery Barn. They were having a 20% off sale! Then I went back on Tuesday and ordered a new armchair (still 20% off!) They won't be here until sometime in December, so I'll be wanting them for a while longer.

Listening: I try to start my first period class with a happy song every day. It's good for me and good for them. Last year's class liked to dance to the happy song, but this year's class isn't ready to do that. 

Playing: Now that school is back in session, we haven't had too much time for games. However, we did play lots of "No Stress Chess" over the summer. It's a great way to learn how to play chess. I did not know how to play chess before we started playing this. I still don't really know how to play chess, but I do know how the pieces move. Ha!

Wishing: I'm wishing for rain. It's been too long since it's rained. We've had some cloudy skies and light sprinkles the past couple of days, but I haven't seen a real shower.

Using: I got a super cute teacher plan book from May Designs this year. That's not an affiliate link. I just think their planners are pretty. 

Loving: I'm loving the idea of fall. We have had cooler weather than usual for September, but it looks like it will be warming up this coming week. Did I mention that I'd like it to rain? To kick off fall, I picked up some inexpensive decor from Home Goods and Goodwill. I focused on pops of yellow, red, and white - yellow accent pillows for my ugly sofa, artificial apples in a green ceramic basket, and a couple of owls. I love pumpkins, but they can wait until next month.

Watching: I'm not watching anything. The second season of Outlander concluded in July, and I'm not expecting it to return until spring 2017. Maybe I'll break down and watch the debate on Monday night. I'll have to pour myself a generous glass of wine to endure it, though.

What's up with you?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Find & Flip - Summer Edition

I have to be more consistent with these kind of posts. I think the last one I did was during winter. Ebay has become such a big part of my life that I should post about it more often!

Anyway, I learned that most of July and the first part of August are super S L O W for the types of items I sell the most - clothing and shoes. It was depressing! But things have really picked up in the last ten days or so. I am averaging two sales a day, and while that doesn't seem like much, it actually makes for a really nice amount of sales by the end of the month. My average sales price per item is about $35.

Even though sales were down, I used the time to increase the number of listings in my store. I also focused on things I thought would do well in the fall, and things besides clothing and shoes.

Here are some of my best flips this month so far:

I found these NEW at the GW for just $6.99. All of my listings are Buy It Now, but I add Best Offer to my listings so that buyers can negotiate price with me. This buyer did not want to negotiate - she paid full price! If these shoes had been my size, I would have kept them. They are so cute!

This shirt was also new. It even had the original tags attached that said it retailed for $90 originally. I had a couple of lowball offers on it earlier in the summer, but I didn't accept them. It sold for full price the other morning. I had paid just $4.99 for it at GW.

Like I said, because sales were slow, I ventured out of my comfort zone. I found this at GW in great condition (just a couple of tiny chips) for $5.99. It sold overnight for full asking price.

I found this on a shelf in the GW. I didn't know it was Coach until I picked it up and opened it. The Coach emblem was on the inside of the billfold. I paid 99 cents for it. It sold in a couple of weeks for a Best Offer of $35.

All great finds and flips! However, the absolute best find happened last night when Michaela (after a summer of looking!) found an American Girl Doll. She was/is so excited about her find - Molly a retired doll. I will not be flipping Molly and that's okay!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dance, and Other Extracurricular Activities

Our city has an award-winning parks and recreation department. Prior to having children I took an art class (with a teacher who didn't appreciate my lack of artistic ability experience), and a dog-training class. I was in way over my head with that one. I had two, large, kind of dumb/but sweet dogs at that point. They didn't make me look good. I'll just leave it at that.

Anyway, last summer we started to take advantage of the classes offered for the youngsters. Michaela tried art, dance, and ice skating then. She wasn't crazy about the art teacher, but she really enjoyed the dance and ice skating classes. This summer we tried to get into a cooking class, but it booked up fast; and we successfully signed up for a ballet class.

I told Michaela that she could take the same dance class with the same teacher as last year, or we could try a new teacher with a slightly different syllabus. Last year's teacher was very experienced and she had those little ones all ready for a little recital by the last week. But I figured she'd be doing the very same class again this year. Instead we decided on a class that incorporates pretend play and ballet moves. Michaela loves it! Last week the ballet dancers reenacted "Cinderella". So cute! I posted the above photo to Instagram and gave it the hashtag "ballet class" and we actually got a like and a comment from Andreas Kaas who is a soloist with the Royal Danish Ballet!

As fall approaches, I am trying to figure out which extracurricular activities to choose, but I do not want to over-schedule Michaela (or me!). She is already committed to attending the children's program at our church on Wednesday nights. She did this last year and had a great time, and I like the hour or so of free time it gives me.

We are considering another round of ice skating, soccer (with a new friend), or more ballet. So many fun things to do, but so little time. 

How many extracurricular activities does your little one participate in?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Week In Review

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook earlier this week:

Right?! Whether you're working this summer, or not, summer is slipping away. I'll report back to work in three and a half weeks, and school will start for Michaela the week after that. Where does the time go?

I had so many projects I wanted to get done this summer; but at the beginning of the week, I had not done any of them. The weather was really hot when we returned from our vacation, so that was a deterrent. Thankfully, this last week has been much cooler. So Monday morning I took on the task of cleaning out and organizing the laundry room portion of my garage. This is not only where I do the laundry, but it's also where I store my ebay inventory and shipping supplies. Things were all over the place before, but now they are neatly stored. It also revealed to me that I'm approaching the maximum amount of inventory I can house -  between 250 and 300 items.

I did take some photos of my hard work, but I can't seem to locate them just now. You aren't missing out on much. Besides, even in its new, organized state, my laundry room is no beauty. At least it's more functional now.

I also spent lots of time sourcing this week for ebay. I anticipate that sales will be very good in the fall, and I want to have good inventory on hand and listed. June was a great month in sales, but July wasn't. August has started out well enough, but I don't know what to expect at this point. Hopefully people will start their fall wardrobe shopping soon.

On Monday I also started a detox/cleanse program with Arbonne and my friend, Kara. She has done this successfully earlier this year. In fact, she lost twenty pounds at that point. I'm not looking to lose twenty pounds, but I am interested in dropping some weight. The program doesn't allow me to eat sugar, dairy, gluten, corn, caffeine, etc., and I drink a couple of protein shakes each day. There are other supplements in the program. I had a dull caffeine headache the first four days, but I'm over that now. This is a 28-day program, and I'm pretty sure it's something I can stick with for the duration. I don't usually feel hungry, and there are lots of options for clean snacking and cooking.

I had my first day off this summer on Thursday this week. Michaela spent the night with my parents on Wednesday night, and she spent the following day with them. They were going to take her to the county fair, but she chose to stay home and swim instead. She loves the water.

Yesterday, we went to the movies to see "Nine Lives". It reminded me of "Freaky Friday" (the original one!). Overall, it was a cute movie. I will have to say that I did not appreciate some of the language in it. Obviously, it's a movie for children, so why foul language has to be used is beyond me. This is why we go to the movies infrequently! I take Proverbs 4:23 seriously: 

And I've learned that exposure to a lot of pop culture (movies, television, music) is not the best source of healthy examples for Michaela and me. In the end, the main character learned a good lesson about life and the importance of family. So it was funny and it did have a positive message.

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Oops! I did it again...

I let a month go by without blogging at all. Sheesh!

Summer is racing by. The first two weeks after school got out were all about preparing for our trip to Mammoth Lakes. While my parents have vacationed there multiple times, it was my first time to the area. I was really impressed by how beautiful it is there, and how much there is to do.

Off the 395 on our way to Mammoth - the backside of the Sierra Nevada.

My parents LOVE the Sierras!
Lunch in Lone Pine.
My dad rented a pontoon boat on Lake Mary twice and we attempted to catch some trout. I think we do everything right, but we had no luck - this is somewhat of a family tradition. Even so, I really enjoyed our time out on the lake and could have spent more time fishing.

Lake Mary from the shore. We tried fishing from the shore the first day.

Michaela was so excited to use her FROZEN fishing pole that Papa gave her!

One of my students who spends lots of time in Mammoth had recommended several things to do while we were there. On her recommendation, we took the tram up to the top of the mountain and had a really good lunch there. The views were amazing!

Just enough "snow" left for a little fun.

Another of her recommendations was a horseback ride. Unfortunately, Michaela was too young for a group ride - so, we couldn't ride together. However, the stables offered a ride for little ones where the parent leads the horse on a wooded path for about 20 minutes. Michaela's horse, Pablo, was gentle enough but he was also a bit stubborn. I had no luck getting him to walk with me, so I handed the reigns over to my dad who also had limited luck. Thankfully, the cowboy wasn't too far away and he got Pablo going for us. Michaela didn't mind the extra minutes spent in the saddle.

Our condo faced a picturesque meadow, and I enjoyed the view early each morning. Even without Koa waking me, I was still the first one up. In the evenings, my mom and I took our chairs and a glass of wine out on the lawn in front of the condo and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the meadow. One evening we were even treated to a visit from a deer in the meadow.

My view each morning.

Best buddies! Michaela really enjoys palling around with Papa.

It was windy and cool our first day there when we explored the meadow - had to bundle up a bit.

We spent a lot of time in the Sierras camping when I was a kid. One of my favorite day trips was going to the Bodie ghost town back then, and I wanted Michaela to see it. Thankfully, the road is now paved for a much greater distance than it was back in the 1980s! We only had three miles of dirt road to traverse this time. Not surprisingly, nothing had changed in Bodie. Ha!

After a couple of hours in Bodie, we continued north to Bridgeport. We used to camp outside of Bridgeport, but I hadn't seen it in 25 years. Dad loves to get a Jolly Cone in town there, and we had a late lunch there, too. It's a real small town and charming.

Jolly Cone!

We stayed for ten days, but I could have stayed longer. I absolutely love getting away from the hordes of people and traffic here at home, and having the natural beauty outside our door. It's good for the soul.