Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm… awesome? Yes, I'm awesome!

I've been thinking about the future in terms of my career recently.  My kids are getting older and soon I will feel comfortable leaving them alone at home for a few hours so I can pursue the full-time career I put on hold when my daughter was born.  I had a career I loved in publishing in my "previous life."  I started off as a project manager then as the years went on, I did design and moved to a different department and started doing some marketing for them.  And before that was another job that I wasn't crazy about, but I felt I did pretty well with what I had.

So anyway, I thought it was time to dust off the resume and start thinking about the upcoming year(s) and what I wanted to do with my life.  After my stay-at-home mom stint, I started working the last three+ years at something I found very fulfilling but not a "career" (as my bank account will tell you).  For two years I worked with ENL students, then last year and now this one with special needs kids.  I wanted to add that to the resume and update all of my other older job stuff on there.  I know the rules of resumes have changed over the years and I didn't want to start off looking for my new career with a horribly outdated resume.  I contacted a young friend who I knew had a knack for jazzing up resumes that actually get you phone calls for interviews.  I was worried that my resume sucked… that there was nothing interesting on it.  That I wouldn't be able to compete with people who didn't take time out of the rat race to be a mom.  I contacted my friend in the hopes that she could doctor it up to make me look good.  (Ask any of my friends- I can be horribly insecure!!!)  So I send my friend my resume and pray that she won't laugh at my old ass and think I'm incredibly lame and react like:  photo yolandagag.gif

Then I get a response from her after she had time to look it over… "Wow, this is really impressive!"  That was so not the response I thought I'd get.  I thought I'd hear "Damn this is going to take me all weekend and then some to spice this up!"  So she did polish it off a bit- took some older job stuff off, changed a bit of the formatting, used a different, clean font but that's about it.  So I started to REALLY look at my resume.  Promotions, corporate awards, an award I was given by co-workers, a deal that I made on my own that had saved my department alone thousands of dollars just on the art budget, and so on and so on.  And then looking at what I've done while working with these students the last few years.  The connections I've made, the kids I've helped.  Plus the volunteer work that I've done locally over the years, community relations, advertising, etc.  And lastly, the small home-based business I created and have done very well with!  It made me realize that I was selling myself short.  After being "MOM" for 11 years, I forgot that I'm my own person too, and damn I'm AWESOME!!!  :o)  I then sent out the resume to a few "professional" friends for any tips and suggestions and got positive feedback as well from people who never knew me in my professional life but were not surprised by what they read.
I sure wish I could always see myself the way that others do.  Not sure why we tend to sell ourselves short.

Now all I have to say about myself is:
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dance Moms TV Party

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One of my daughter's favorite shows is Dance Moms (now you just hush your judgey thoughts. I'm sure your kid watches a shitty show too).  She was really excited for the season premier (seriously… she looked forward to it all summer) and asked if she could have a couple of her "Dance Mom fan" friends over to watch it and sleep over.  I thought it sounded like fun and said ok.  Tallulah was just having 3 friends over but wanted to make some fun homemade invites because I recently got out my old rubber stamps and inks and we have been making some cool cards for the last couple of weeks.  So invites were made and handed out.  I told Tanner to have a friend come over too so he could do some dude stuff and wouldn't have to put up with a room full of crazy Dance girls.  On the day of the season premier, I made some dance-themed cupcakes and we ordered a couple of pizzas for the kids.

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The invites cracked me up.  We had fun looking for funny pictures to use and this is what she came up with.  So we stamped, cut, glued and completed the invites.

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That tv stamp and the crazy spiral/target design were my favorite stamps back in the day when everyone was stamping (mid 90s?).  Anyway, it was fun to get these back out again.  Now Tallulah is really into stamping and making cards too!

The only other thing I did was make the cupcakes.  Tallulah wanted them to be dance-themed.  The closest thing I could find in my baking supplies were these ballerinas.  I liked them but the pink and blue just didn't seem right for a girls Dance Moms tv party.

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Soooo, I got out these Sharpie paint pens.  I bought them awhile ago and never had a chance to use them.  Glad I remembered I had them, otherwise they would have sat in the bottom of the kitchen junk drawer until they were all dried up!  The colors were fun and festive- just what i wanted.  Tallulah and I sat at the kitchen table together and jazzed up the blue and pink ballerinas.

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We slopped a bit on the base of the ballerinas but I didn't care. I knew it would be covered in icing.
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I made some strawberry and blueberry cupcakes to put them on.  I had made these exact cupcakes the other day for a friend and i wanted to make another small batch for Tallulah's tv party because they just came out so darn cute.  This is blueberry season out here and i just got 15 pounds of blueberries so I had plenty to use in the blue cake.  I got a bunch of local Plymouth strawberries back in June and what we didn't eat, I cooked into a strawberry puree/reduction and froze it specifically for my strawberry cakes!
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I loooooove these neon sprinkles!  They're my favorites and looked really fun on these.

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I used the neon sprinkles on half and on the other half and I used this awesome silver and gold star glitter!

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Everyone had a good time!  Last time I peeked upstairs was around 1am and the lights were finally turned off and the girls had gone to sleep.  Tanner had fallen asleep in my bed watching tv with my husband long ago.  I enjoyed the precious silence by staying up and watching an awesome 80's movie then went to bed around 2:30am.  Needless to say I have been tired all day.
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Where to buy:

The silver and gold star glitter, the ballerina toppers and jumbo baking cups:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Cute Mad Scientist Party

For my daughter Tallulah's 9th birthday she wanted a science party.  She is a self-described "nerd" and wanted a birthday party to involve one of her favorite things: science.  So she decided upon a mad scientist birthday party.  She invited her besties to celebrate the day.  It turned out to be a really nice party!

Happy birthday Tallulah!
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Setting up for the party was fun.

The colors were hot pink, blue and... aqua I guess you'd call it?  So everything coordinated with that.

My son Tanner was allowed to invite a friend so he wasn't surrounded by only girls.  He and his friend Miles were getting nosey before the girls arrive.  They were dying to dig into the candy but they were patient and waited.
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We got a bunch of those tissue pom poms to hang from the ceiling.  Oy they take forever to put together!  But they're so cute and fun that it's worth it.  And you can still use them after your event.  After Tallulah's party I hung them up in her bedroom.  They are still there a year later and still look brand new.

I also brought a Halloween prop up from the basement to add to the mad science theme...
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I set up a mad science candy bar for take-home goodies.
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I bought some customized M&Ms for the party.  I used Lula's photo, a mad scientist image I found on the internet and some phrases.  They turned out really neat!  But god they are such an over-priced rip off.  But... they're so darn fuuuuuun!  I have been $tupid enough to buy them for birthday parties going all the way back to her first birthday.
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I purchased some test tubes from a kids science supply website and put the M&Ms in them.
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Also got some Jelly Belly beans in her colors and put them in test tubes.  I used the same clip art from the M&Ms and I printed it out and attached with double sided tape.
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And the gummy brains.  Gummie brains are hard to find in June so I bought them off of a candy wholesaler online.  The petri dishes were purchased from the same website as the test tubes, and the same clip art and double sided tape.
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Other take-home goodies to be used during the party were the nerdy glasses.  Can't be a scientist without just a little bit of nerd.  I got these off of eBay- a big box of 20 of them from a eBay seller in Germany.  Apparantly last year "nerd raves" were all the rage in Germany and vendors sold these in bulk for very cheap.  I got them for less than a dollar each.  There were also glowsticks as take home goodies.  I bought a ton of them the previous year a day or two after Halloween at Walmart where they were marked down to 25¢ each.  I didn't know exactly what I was buying them for at the time, but they sure worked out well for this party!
The invites were designed by a vendor on etsy.  She designed them and emailed me the file and I printed them out on cardstock.
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Some photos of the cupcakes.  Tallulah wanted my homemade cakes (the famous "oreo cake" my friends all know and love) instead of a fancy decorated layer cake from the local wedding cake place.  I had so much fun making these all different!  Plus thank goodness- the cheapest cake from that lady is $70!  But so damn worth it which is why I always went back there.
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What good is a mad science party without some bubbling mysterious liquids inside a bunch of huge glass beakers???  No good I tell you!  So we filled a bunch of them up with colored water and dropped in pellets of dry ice.  It helps to be besties with a retiring science teacher who will loan you however many glass vials, test tubes and beakers you need because otherwise you will spend a fortune on them.
I kept a styrofoam cooler full of the dry ice pellets in the sink and dropped them in as the other ones melted so they bubbled and smoked for the whole party.
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Yay the guests have all arrived!!!  Tallulah is the tall one in the middle.  She is the youngest of all her friends but the tallest!  When you're mom is 5'10" and your dad is 6'5" you are not going to be a shortie!  They girls couldn't wait to get into those nerd glasses.  And I just freaking LOVE how Grace and Sara put them over their regular glasses!!!
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First order of business was lunch.  We had pizza and sodas outside on the deck.  It was such a gorgeous day!
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After lunch we came back inside for the first science experiment.  We put on our rubber lab aprons (kinda look like Dexter aprons...) and made "flubber."  There are a zillion recipes for flubber on the internet and they're all basically the same.
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If you've never made it you are really missing out.  It was COOL!  It turns from a liquid into a goopy slime in seconds.  It was awesome.  The girls faces were priceless.
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Even Mr. Bones put on his apron and glasses.
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Next it was cake time!  Candles were lit, "Happy Birthday" was sung.
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Birthday girl picked hers out first then everyone picked theirs.  Then "let's put icing on our noses" suddenly became the thing to do.
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I never thought Tanner and Miles would be the "normal ones" at any gathering!
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The party is starting to wind down.  We had one last activity for the day- Mentos/diet coke fountains.  So we all headed into the backyard.  And if you've never done Mentos fountains either... you are missing out.  It was really fun.

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It was a really nice day and everyone had so much fun!  I looked on the internet for mad scientist parties and found a ton of great ideas- and came up with quite a few of my own.  I will add links below for anyone who might like to do some of the things that I did for Tallulah's party.

Tissue paper pom poms:
Nerd glasses:
Glow sticks: Walmart

Dry ice: google "dry ice" near where you live.  I live in a small town but there was a dry ice vendor about 30 minutes away.  My science teacher friend told me a trick to keep the pellets frozen overnight.  Bring a styrofoam cooler and a junky old towel with you when you go to pick it up.  Have them fill up the cooler and place the towel directly on top of the ice, then put the lid on *tight*.  The men who worked there warned me that the pellets would be gone by morning but I told them that I had a friend who INSISTED this would keep them intact.  And it did!!!

Flubber recipe: FLUBBER!
Test tubes, petri dishes, Mentos fountain:

Customized M&Ms: Personalized M&Ms  Register on their website.  Every so often they send out coupon codes via email.

Gummie brains: BRAINZZZZZ!

If I left anything out, feel free to ask in the comment section and I'll try to get you info.