Sunday, October 13, 2013


About 2 weeks after leaving my successful engineering career with NASA, I was already looking for something to fill the void.  The void that I never thought I would have.  The void that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have.  But it’s the same void that millions on stay-at-home-moms find in themselves.  The who-am-I-and-how-do-I-prove-that-I-am-still-a-woman-with-something-to-contribute void.  I thought I wanted a career, I thought I wanted to be a full-time mom.  But in reality, I want both…without going crazy.  Impossible, you say?
Then I stumbled upon Lifebushido.  They provide virtual assistant services, like hundreds of other firms hiring stay-at-home moms.  But something was different.  Something felt different.  It may have been the stellar reviews I was seeing from current and former contractors.  Or maybe it was the crazy name.  I don’t know, but I knew I wanted to find out more.  So I applied.
I received a series of emails that were mostly loaded questions for me that made me say “Hmmm.”  Definitely not your standard interview process, but I went with it.  Then it was suggested that I join a Lifesbushido Triangle.  Yes, a Triangle.  It’s essentially a team of other potential new recruits that work together through the hiring process, doing short tasks in an attempt to showcase abilities.  If hired, you are then paid for those completed tasks.  Sounds ok, but do I really want to dive in head first?  Do I want to put effort into a “maybe”?  “Maybe” I’ll get hired, and “maybe” I’ll enjoy the work, and “maybe” it’s what I’ve been looking for?  Being a girl that’s never shied away from a challenge, I decided to go for it full-steam ahead.  After-all, I had nothing to lose as the majority of other stay-at-home opportunities were not going to cut it.
So here I am, half-way through the Lifebushido Triangle process, and I’ve fallen for it.  It IS different.  And I like it.  I can only hope that I get hired.  I’ve even created a perception meme, which everyone knows is a sign of deep commitment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Subway Art DIY (My First Attempt at Laser Printer/Mod Podge/Canvas Image Transfer - kinda fail)

This was my first attempt at transferring a laser-printed image onto a canvas.  I had an oops moment, so this is kind of a fail post, but I figured out what I did wrong, so my next attempt should be cleaner.

Here's the supplies I used:

Mod Podge
Acrylic Paint
Water (in a spray bottle)
My Laser-Printed Image (mirrored-see below)
Paint brush
Foam Brush
Rolling Pin

First, I created my image.  My canvas was a little smaller than two sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 (standard) printer paper, horizontally.  So I created my image using word in the "landscape" orientation.  I used a new text box for each separate word (that's the easiest way to mirror them and place them exactly where you want them in Microsoft Word).  After you've created your text box and typed in your word in the font and size you want, just right click on the edge of the text box and go to Format Shape.  There you can remove the border line by going to Line Color and selecting No Line.  Then go down to 3-D Rotation and type 180 into the "X" box. 

After your image is just the way you want it, print and double triple check your spelling.  Then have your 4 year old paint your canvas!

After the paint is completely dry, slap on a generous but even layer of Mod Podge to your canvas.  I also brush a layer onto my image.  The I carefully placed the image face down on the canvas and rolled out any bubbles.

This is where I'm supposed to tell you to wait until your image dries overnight!  I was lil' miss impatient (as usual), and I started rubbing off my paper after only about 3 hours (but it felt dry!)

So after an OVERNIGHT drying, use your spray bottle to mist over the paper.  Then gently (very gently) rub the paper with a sponge or a soft towel.  It (the paper, not the image!) will start to peel off at you rub.  If it starts to feel dry, add a little more mist.  The first time I tried this (after my 3 hour dry-time), the image started to come off with the paper.  So I got frustrated and left it overnight.  The next morning, I could still see a thin layer of the white paper, so I misted again and rubbed.  This time it worked much better and my image stuck.  Yay! 

I'll probably try a do-over on this one...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Transformation Tuesday - Anthropologie Inspired Flower Vase

Hi all!   For this installment of Transformation Tuesday I'd like to present my cute little flower vase!

I was on a treasure hunt a few weeks back, and I came across this little diamond in the rough:

When I saw her, I thought, "That's kinda cute.  Reminds me of..."

I'm sure many of you recognize these darlings from anthroplogie.  They range from $18-$28.  Not bad.  But I picked up my vase for $2!  Add about $0.78 of spray paint and you get a super cute pop of color accent piece!  Yay!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Bucket List #1 - Take to kids to the Atlantic Ocean

I finally got around to taking the kids to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time (check that one of my summer bucket list)!  They've been to the gulf plenty of times, but since we moved to central Florida, we hadn't made it over to the coast.  So we went to Cocoa Beach yesterday!

The sand was the hot, the water was perfect, and we even got some tropical storm-force wind-driven rain at the end of the day!

The guys (big guys, not my little guy) were in the water riding waves (yes, they still do that at 35), and us girls were on the shore when the inclement weather decided to pop-in.  It had been getting a little cloudy for a few minutes, but then the sprinklers started.

"No big deal", I thought.  Besides, we were in our bathing suits.  So we start to pack up the stuff.

Then the wind came.  Like 50 mph tropical storm winds. Growing up in Florida, I'm used to strong afternoon storms.  But this was seriously hurricane wind.  I look out into the water.  The guys don't even blink.  Was it the beer?  Or maybe the wave riding was that. much. fun.

So I try to wave them in.  They see me right?  Surely they see me.  Ok, they saw me.  Back to packing.

The guys mosey on over (it was a mosey.)  By this time, it's raining, hard.  The kind of rain that hurts.  I hear Josh say, "We're in trouble" as they realize that we're struggling to get our valuables ($800 camera... check, iphone...check, Josh's prize sunglasses...whatever, I'll throw them in the back I guess.) out of the rain.

Then Josh does the unthinkable.  He grabs the sand-covered towel in the midst of the hurricane-force winds in the direction of little monkey's face!  And my eyes.  Sand in your eyes is only funny when you're laughing so hard because you feel like your 10 years old and on the the log plume ride at Disney World.

Thank goodness Omari had the sense to grab the baby and head for the car.  I don't think it ever occurred to Josh and I as I was trying to drag the cooler through the sand all my my lil self.

From now on, we're doing beach Sundays at the Cole house!  So fun!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Preschool Invention - Barrette Book

My daughter's preschool at Kennedy Space Center had science week a while back, and one of the assignments (yes, she's 4 and has homework!) was to create an invention.  It was hard to not totally go overboard and build a satellite or something, since the majority of the parents at this daycare are NASA scientists and engineers, but I recycled an idea that my mom did with me in kindergarten.  We invented (more like created) a barrette book.

It was so easy for her to do, and cost very little, most of which I already have on hand.  I bought the notebook with colored note cards at Walmart (I think it was $3.99).  A rainbow one would have been better than neon, but that's all they had and we made it work by gluing construction paper cut to size of the missing colors.  This brought in a little problem solving, as most prototypes aren't perfect the first time around.

We used a hole puncher to to create holes, one or more depending on how many matching barrettes we had.  Now her barrette's are organized and easy to find!

Linking up here:

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Perfect {simple} Day

The Florida sun is shining, and I'm awakened by the sweet sound of my children playing in the other room.  I guess it's about 8am, but I can't be sure without sitting up to see the clock across the room.  I roll over and see *him*.  Tall, handsome *him*.  Sleeping next to Josh doesn't annoy me, he doesn't get in my way, or wake me up.  I close my eyes again.

Getting out of bed slowly is good for the soul, and I can feel every ounce of me coming to life as I carefully ease off the mattress.  Josh is still sleeping.  After a quick wash of my face and teeth, I make my way into Christian's room.  Makenna has crawled into the crib with him and she is gently bouncing on her knees holding his hands.  He looks at her like a she's an angel, and I know she truly is.  Her sweetness and nurturing instincts are one of her many gifts, and I am often in awe that God has chosen me to be her mother.  It intimidates me.

Noticing I'm in the doorway, they jump up, eager for hugs and kisses.  I help Makenna over the rail, put Christian on my hip, and head downstairs.  I decide to make waffles with fruit and whip cream for breakfast.  I carefully make a crown of strawberries and blueberries on Makenna's waffle, and a smiley-face on Christians.  She giggles, and he quickly smashes his mound of whip cream with his hands.  Makenna giggles more.  Josh stumbles down the stairs and we have a slow, easy breakfast together.

After breakfast, we get dressed and head into the backyard, not even bothering to do the dishes.  They can wait until nap time.  The kids run through the porch and out into the green grass.  The smell of early summer hits me, and I take a moment to appreciate the mild weather before the heat of July arrives.  The gentle breezes will soon be replaced with stifling stillness.  Rocky follows the kids out, doing the boxer run only the way he can.  He doesn't act like a dog that has weeks to live, and I forget that he will soon be gone.  For now, I just enjoy his loving nature and the way he carefully licks Christian's face.

I sit on the patio with my sweet tea, curling my legs up on the couch.  Josh turns on some music, and starts filling up the baby pool with the hose.  I have a hard time not smiling as I watch him father our babies.  I lost my father at a young age, and I'm often amazed by his gentleness with them.  I make my way over, put my feet in the pool, and pretend to be surprised when I get splashed.  Christian's diaper is full of water, and but he doesn't seem to notice as he waddles around.

The afternoon naps give me a minute to get the house in order, dishes done, and outdoor toys put up.  I also get a few minutes on the computer working on my blog, and touching on any projects I have in the works.  The focus I feel during my projects helps me to gain a moment for me in my day of caring for my family.

It's straight to the bath to wash dinner off of Christian, and Makenna follows me up the stairs, always just behind my ankles.  Bath time is fun at their age, and I know soon enough Makenna will decide that she no longer wants to bathe with little brother, so I try to enjoy these simple minutes we have together in the evening.  After Christian is clean and dry, we sit and play with the toys that have made there way out of the tub.  Makenna continues to play as I finish up washing her.
Josh comes up the stairs just in time to brush Makenna's hair (which I think he secretly loves to do!), and I know he's been downstairs cleaning up dinner.  I appreciate it way more than he knows.

After a thousand kisses, I put Christian in his crib.  He's tired from the day out in the sun, and quickly surrenders to sleep as I rub his back, his little legs tucked under his belly and his cute little butt in the air.  I read a book with Makenna, tuck her in, and kiss her goodnight.

My perfect day ends with a long, warm bubble bath and snuggling on the couch with Josh.  We talk about the day, about the kids, about how wonderfully simple life can be, and we're off to bed.  I pray, give thanks to God for all I have, and hope to have another perfect {simple} day tomorrow!

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wreath Wednesday (err...Tuesday) - God Bless America Denim Wreath

God Bless America!  With the 4th of July right around the corner, I just had to make a patriotic wreath.  I got my inspiration for this wreath from Made in a Day.

I love my country, and working on an air force base, and now at the space center, I have grown to appreciate all the accomplishments and sacrifices that have been made in the last 236 years.

The beauty, majesty, and liberty of America should be celebrated with respect and honor!  Have a happy and safe 4th of July to all my American readers!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monogram Monday - Wood & Burlap Frame Monogram

After making a button monogram for my son's room, I had to make a monogram for my little girls room!

I made this one using a clearance frame from Homegoods (yeah, that says $3.50!), some burlap (of course), spray paint (what else?), and a letter W (they were out of M's).

First, I removed the glass and backing from the frame and spray painted it, along with the letter M (or W).  Light pink, 4-5 light coats.

Then I cut two layers of burlap 1/2" larger than the frame backing, and just put it back together.  I didn't glue it because I have craft commitment issues, but I'm working on it.  I did glue the M (or W!) on and took some sandpaper to it.

Super easy, the hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry!

Linking up at:

Yay! My very first guest post (DIY by Design)!!!

I'm so excited to be doing my very first ever guest post at DIY by Design! I love Judy's blog, and when she asked for guest post submissions for her site while she is on her Disney vacation/cruise (lucky!), I jumped at the chance! Head on over to DIY by Design and check it out!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Must Read Post - How To "Do It All"

five days five ways | because every day is different 

Abbie over a Five Days 5 Ways just posted a fabulous piece on women feeling they have to "do it all", and it spoke to me.  Go on over and check it out, her writing is *truth*-ful, honest, and hilarious!  Love her!