Thursday, August 15, 2013

Keys to a Successful Transition (Guest Post from Ms. Emma!)

Like Dinosaurs? You can buy the original Suchomimus print here, which is super great the way it is, or you can add a hat and sequins! (Like I did, he's a little less intimidating that way.)
           I would say, the number one concern for many transitioning families, and definitely for ours, is what exactly we'd  like to do now that active duty service is over. I have already had to, regrettably, informed my Husband, that racing in the Monaco Grand Prix is not his best career move. Luckily for us, just as Hubby and I are busy taking our first baby steps in the transition to civilian life, Emma, from Smile As It Happens, has offered to share a few tips on the subject. Hurray for Guest Posts! Please make sure you check out Emma's blog, and Facebook page too.  <3 - Kendra
Keys to a Successful Transition: Debunking the Myths about Post-Military Employment

Are you facing a transition from the military back into civilian life? It doesn’t matter whether you are finishing a minimum commitment or retiring from service after a long military career. Either way, this transition presents challenges, and most military personnel facing this transition experience some anxiety. As you begin looking for non-military jobs, you will most likely encounter some myths about the job search that you now face. Let’s take a look at four of these myths and the truth behind them.

Myth #1: It will be too difficult to find a non-military job after a long time in the military.

Truth: Throughout your military career, you have learned valuable skills that will be useful to employers in the private sector. In fact, there are many employers that prefer to hire military veterans. Recruit Military is one of several recruiting firms that specializes in connecting military veterans and their spouses with such companies as well as with colleges and other institutions where you can further your education.

Myth #2: Asking for a referral inconveniences and annoys colleagues and superiors.

Truth: Most people who appreciate you and your work will be happy to provide a reference for you. Today’s employers understand the value of people’s time, and many have streamlined the process to make it easier for you and your references. In fact, several top companies now use mobile recruiting platforms, like JIBE, that allow applicants to request referrals directly from social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Myth #3: Having learned to take orders, military veterans would be best off working for someone else.

Truth: If you want to start a business of your own, go for it. Taking orders is just one of the many skills you learned during your military career, and you have a lot of other valuable skills as well. If you need guidance, you can find it through a program recently launched by the U.S. Small Business Administration. This program helps veterans reinvent themselves as entrepreneurs through classes and mentorship.

Myth #4: Today’s economy leaves no room for salary negotiation.

Truth: In today’s competitive job market, the demand for skilled professionals in a number of fields still outpaces supply. As long as you research average salaries for your area and go into negotiations with accurate knowledge and information, there isn’t any reason to settle for a lower-than-average salary.

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sometimes a little stormy weather can shake things up for the better. (And sometimes it's raining velociraptors, depends how you look at things.)

This year…. Oh, my…. Gosh… this year has been crazy.
I’m sure it happens to you too; you look back and say to yourself, “Whew. That was crazy!”, only to look forward, and realize, it was all just the calm before the storm.  AHHHHH!

Long story short, Hubby has hit HYT (High Year Tenor) with the USAF, and after 20 amazing years we are saying goodbye to military life. I, who have lived my entire life as an active duty dependent, am particularly freaked out. But don’t worry, I’ve finally pulled myself out of a shivering fetal position and am now looking at our families coming transition as an adventure.  The big, fat, scary as all get out, Law Family adventure.

Part of this separation process means we must sell our home of 5 years… a little sooner than expected, and for a lot less than expected. Which means we are facing a short sale.  Oh, sorry, I mean a “Short Sale Adventure. “ 
I’ll have a lot to talk about in the coming weeks and months, there are so many changes and challenges coming our way, I’m looking forward to conquering them. Crushing them! Stampeding through them!  Step one…. Sell the house. We were lucky enough to get an offer this week, and are officially under contract RIGHT now! (YES!) Of course, I’m told a short sale can take up to 6 months (bites nails) and our buyers can walk away at any point (cold sweat) and …(plugs ears). You know, I’m gona just look at this as a win for right now, thank you very much. WIN!  (Fingers crossed.)

Whelp, that's the quick of it. Three Cheers for Adventures! (Right?) <3 Kendra

Thursday, August 1, 2013

H&M Online Shop Now Open!

           I'm pretty, flipping, excited about today's grand opening of H&M's online retail store! H&M is one of my very favorite shops, especially for children's clothes. Their wears are unique, long lasting, fit great and most importantly... SUPER AFFORDABLE! (My boy's H&M duds always attract loads of compliments.)
           I tried to be strong today, just popping online to window shop... but of course my cart quickly filled up. (Be strong... remove.... STRONGER... remove, remove, remove... sniffle.) I'm already regretting not ordering that creepy/cute kitty face cushion cover. (Did I mention the online store has home wears!?) I did order a new tunic top for myself (You can never have too many black tunic tops!) and two sweatshirts for my boys.
           If it's your first time ordering from H&M you should know their children's apparel often fits long, and lean (but super comfy and stretchy) so if you have a husky child, order up a size.  

            We are planning a December Disney vacation, soooo.... I needed these sweatshirts right? And I neeeeeeded that tunic too, because a little birdie told me I am getting these SWEET leggings as an upcoming anniversary gift from the hubby. (11 years! Sigh. <3 )
   Maleficent is my favorite, if she is yours too, you can snag a pair from Hot Topic.  
So, to wrap it up, H&M online.... exciting. Future Disney vacation... also mega exciting! And an online coupon code for 25% off your most expensive item from H&M (0241)... pretty super exciting!
Happy shopping! -Kendra 

Monday, February 11, 2013

R2D2 Jello Madness! Stained Glass Jello Mold.

          My baby has just had his 5th birthday party, during which he requested an R2D2 cake, and rainbow jello. I thought convincing him to have chocolate cupcakes and an R2D2 jello mold would be totally awesome, and make life easier for me...
...but of course it's never quite the way is it? The day before B's big party (WAY big... 15 hyper children crammed into my house during a snow day, it was epic hyperness!) was spent cleaning (pointless really) baking cupcakes (why did I not save that for last!) and packing goody bags (CANDY!!!). I had been planning out jiggly jello R2D2 in my mind for ages and felt prepared. I pictured the cake pan, and layering the colors in the same way I would do for my rainbow jello molds, first the white, which would flow into the cake pan impressions just where it is supposed to. Perhaps I would have to scrape out some stray jelly as it firmed up, and then I would layer in the blue while I have a cuppa tea and watch some TV. I figured it was an easy project I could save for the very end of the night. The crushing realization that cake pans are NOT like jello molds didn't hit me until 10pm, when I had finally pulled my vintage Star Wars pan out of the closet and saw that the design actually is impressed from the outside of the pan to the interior. This makes it easier to frost a finished cake I am sure... but not for pouring in jello.
          Alright then.... it's late... but there is no need to panic. I remembered a "broken glass" technique I had seen on The Food Librarian and figured I could translate that into "stained glass" to color in the R2 design. (I will admit, that I did just try to make one big blobby white driod and call it a night... it was creepy, ghostly and sad. I had dive all in!) Here's how I did it... and you can too!
           *Mix and set up in your fridge the colors you will need for your design. (You're going to need to leave one package unmixed... the finial back round color if you will, to "glue" it all together.)
            *To make white jello, you'll just need a pack of plain gelatin, which you will mix as instructed on the packaging and add to a small amount of a "cream". Some people use sour cream, yogurt, cool whip or coconut milk. I used condensed milk which I flavoured with vanilla. (Not a hit with every child I am afraid... I might try cool whip next time.) To get darker shades of the same color you can add food or frosting coloring.
           *Once your jello is firm (or, if you're up at midnight still trying to figure this whole process out... firm ENOUGH.) flip it onto a cutting board and carve out your pattern shapes and position them in your mold.
           * After you're happy with your design mix your last packages of jello according to the instructions and carefully pour it over your pieced creation. You may have a few lighter pieces float about on you. If you cannot push them down with a utensil don't worry, after you pop it into the fridge you can come back in 5-8.5 minutes and as the jello has slightly firmed up you'll be able to put those in their place. Let your whole creation set up overnight.
            *Getting my jelly droid out of his mold was a little stressful. You're going to want yours to be around room temperature, otherwise it is going to be stuck tight! Make sure you pull it out of the fridge with plenty of time before serving, if you're impatient and have to run the pan under hot water you're just going to melt it a bit.
            After staying up all night I had not thought to make a nice platter for my poor droid, and he ended up flipped onto a cookie sheet... squished into the corner. Once he was on there, there was NO shifting the 5 pound jello behemoth he had become. Looking back, he's really pretty excellent for a pre-party late night first time rush job, but I am pretty sure this "stained glass" jello technique is something I could master after another try or two. I do have a Rainbow Brite cake pan that just may need to be dusted off and put to the test.
            Is this craziness something you might try? (The things we do for our kids right?) What's the most insane thing you've found yourself doing the night before a party? I'd say carving jello defiantly takes the cake for me! <3 -Kendra

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Paper Jump, a New Year's Tradition.

    The growth and evolution of a family tradition is an amazing thing isn't it? Our family has a special little tradition, born Romyn's first Christmas, which has blossomed into a full blown New Year's Day event which we call... PAPER JUMP!
    Now, due to my extremely unorganized digital photo collection (Hrm, maybe I should resolve to sort that out this year.) I cannot share with you our first paper photo session, when on Christmas Day I shoved a screaming six month old Romyn into a pile of wrapping paper, hoping for an adorable keepsake photo. I vaguely remember him eating some paper.... maybe? And I can't tell you that we've taken pictures every year, because the Christmas my husband was deployed, and when I was 9 months pregnant with B, and sick with the flu, I'm pretty sure I didn't. But I can tell you, that somehow, over the years, just wanting to get a cute photo of my boys with all their Christmas wrapping paper, has turned into our favorite family tradition....  and last year it even earned itself a name.
    So, here's how it goes, on Christmas day, the boys like to crumple up all their gift wrap, and toss it into a bin for points, which I then push out of the way for a few days. (My husband and I used to do this before we had kids when I would save wrapping to pack up all our holiday decor. Seeing it again next Christmas always made me happy.) Since our boys are so busy playing with new toys, it's alright to leave this very tempting box of paper forgotten for a bit, while I pack away all our festive chachkies and clean house for the new year. Our boys are too little to stay up on New Year's Eve, so they look forward to celebrating  by "playing in the paper" first thing on New Year's Day.
      This year, New Year's Day was gloomy, and my boys were not feeling it. (Little did I know, we were fixing to ring in 2013 with a bit of a stomach bug.) So Paper Jump 2013 was not the spectacular event I expected it to be, but the boys had a good time anyway. After a short "swim" through the paper, Baelin decided he'd rather lie down, and Romyn tried to make the most of it, collecting his favorite papers and trims, and gluing himself together a creation. Romyn suggested next year we keep all the packaging and plastic bits from toys  so he can make something a little more substantial. Well, I guess we might have something new to look forward to during Paper Jump 2014.
 Happy New Year from My Family to Yours! <3 -Kendra


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Homemade ornaments, and other Holiday craftiness and happenings...

           Every year since I can remember my parents presented my brother and I with a new ornament when we put up our Christmas tree. It's something I have continued with my boys since their first Christmas, carefully selecting ornaments that celebrate their past year. For 2012 we decided to commemorate the boy's introductions to either Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Star Trek, (Yes, my future daughter in laws are going to loooooove me, I know.) and usually Hallmark has exactly what I want... but this time... they let me down. Actually, after talking to my boys, I discovered Hallmark had made exactly what they wanted, a few seasons ago...  and I started stalking Golden Snitch and Star Trek Tribble ornaments on Ebay. I wasted a lot of time being out bid before I spotted this Golden Snitch Ornament on Pinterest. (Smacks head, of course I'll just make my own.)
             My version uses air dry clay, wire wings wrapped in mod-podged vellum, and gold leaf. I still need to go over it with a gold pen, as my son is a stickler for details and would like it to be perfect. I'll do that later though... after more cookies.
              My youngest changed his mind about the tribble, deciding he'd rather have an Angry Bird ornament instead. He convinced me he has had such a magical time playing Angry Birds, he certainly deserved an ornament celebrating his Piggy-smashing achievements. This is how his turned out.
                   And here is a little more of what I've been up to this month so far...
       We adopted a kitten! B and I often visit the cats at PetSmart and last week this little guy was there.... the spitting image of B's lovey, "Big Grey Cat". He even had the same green collar, it was was meant to be! (I'm still telling myself this after cleaning the litter box for a week, and finding my curtains and couch ripped.) Really Comet is great with the boys, and an adorable, snugly, naughty cat. His most favorite activities are to rip down my holiday garland, race our little dog, and sleep on my back.         
             We also made some Christmas gifts, sugar cookies for our neighbors and teachers,wreaths for the Aunties, and my boys made a ton of clay figurines.... which I accidentally, and promptly smashed. I felt awful, but R and B took it fairly well. A clay time do over is on the agenda for this week.
          My oldest has really been in the spirit this holiday season. He made "Holiday Thankful" cards for everyone who waited on us at dinner the other night, donated from his piggy banks to every salvation army bin we've passed, and collected lots of goods for his school's giving tree. I'm pretty proud of his generosity.
          And of course  our shelf elf, Fred Carrot Treeskirt, has been busy spying on our boys in creatively exhausting ways.
           There is still lots of fun to be had this month, gingerbread houses, hot coco and holiday movies, sleeping in, I can't wait for winter break to start!
           I hope you've got lots of fun to look forward to as well! -Kendra