January 2016 Monthly Progress

I'm gonna see how this works...

Monthly Report for January 2016

Travel Agent Biz
Made 1 sale this month.  Not what I'd like 6 months in but I'm hoping that momentum will start.  Goal for next month is 2 sales.

6 posts on homeschool blog - needed 10.
0 posts on the travel blog.  I needed 10.  Why am I avoiding it?
2 posts on personal blog.  Much improved.  I need to use this to channel some of my thoughts.

Pretty successful this month.  We started the new reading curriculum and little girl really likes it.

We stayed on budget but everything is very tight.  Got our taxes done and electronically filed.  Plans are to pay off debts and that will relieve a LOT of stress.

One of those days

It hasn't been a bad day. I got some stuff done. Kids are fine. No one is crying. But I feel it creeping up on me.

Slowly, like a predator creeping up on prey. Like a slithering creature slipping up behind me, an anaconda about to crush me in it's grip.

I'm not talking about a real creature. It's all in my head. But it's there. The elephant in the room. Oh so many metaphors for depression and anxiety.

 I got sick December 12 with the flu. For 10 days, I had the flu but it wasn't THAT bad. 

Fever, body aches, headache, sneezing, coughing, oh my God the coughing.

On December 22, I felt a lot better. The fever was gone. The coughing was subsiding. I had slight pressure in my sinuses and ears but I figured that would resolve itself in a couple of days. And then it didn't.

On December 23, I was awakened with an earache. A very bad earache in my right ear. After 12 hours, my ear "popped" and then it was completely stuffed up. I went to Urgent Care, got a course of antibiotics to deal with the double ear infection, upper respiratory infection, and a "little" pneumonia. 

Later that night, the left ear started up and did a similar thing, but this time, my ENT thinks that when it "popped" at 3am, that it actually ruptured.

I lost most of my hearing then and Christmas was horrible. I couldn't sleep because the tinnitus in my ears was so bad. I couldn't hear what people said to me so I mostly remained silent. I went to see the new Star Wars movie but didn't enjoy it because I couldn't hear it and didn't know what was going on.
My hearing is getting better. My ENT is pleased that the infection in my right ear is nearly gone and is mostly gone in my left ear. My hearing is still impaired in my left however due to some "debris" on my ear drum as a result of all the yuckiness. 

It should improve and we're watching but still.. just ugh.

Bad things happen when I retreat into my head. I get paranoid. I turn into a hypochondriac too.

Things are getting better with my ear but I'm still in my head.

Money is tight with all the doctor visits and medicines. Then I went for a follow up with my gastro doc and she changed my medicine so there's more expense I wasn't planning for.

There's just a lot of stress right now and I'm wigging out and feeling out of control.

 I know things will get better soon. I just have to hang on.

How I organize a year's worth of homeschool lesson plans

I wanted to show you how we are planning our next homeschool year.

This is my homeschool file cabinet showing you folders labeled 1-180, folders for each of the months (placed roughly where I think they'll hit) and a few resource folders at the back.

We have co-op days, Girl Scout days, and other appointments and interruptions.  This way, even if we have to skip a day, we just grab the next folder which contains all the instructions and worksheets for the day and keep on going.

We can get some school work done on days with interruptions but anything that we can't get to goes into the catch up day folder and I'll see if we really need to do the work. Every TEN school days, I have a catch up day. I schedule art for catch up day too and we'll work on a project from Home Art Studio or something else.

I totally stole part of this idea from the blog Meet Penny.  The catch up day was my own invention.

I had a couple of illnesses this past year that totally wrecked my schedule and I got tired of erasing and rewriting my planner so I decided this year to schedule the physical stuff and use my planner for what we actually accomplished each day.  I keep a separate box for books and I still have to put holds on books at the library.  I also need to gather materials together for art and science (although I'm thinking of bagging some of that stuff up to and putting it in the folders) each week, but I'm not digging through workbooks and printing stuff last minute.

A Whole New World

I jumped before I meant to.

Last time I posted, I was talking about how I was going to finish my training, get my certificate, and then start looking for a host agency.  Well the host agency found me.  Sort of.

Like most people of faith, I pray a lot for direction and/or validation.  One morning, I was praying for validation for my chosen career path and a few minutes later, I got it.  One of the host agencies on my short list of agencies announced that they were looking for a few new agents and that anyone interested should send an email for more information. When I saw it, I felt like I HAD to send an email.  Within 24 hours, I was an independent agent for World of Magic Travel.  Just like that, everything changed directions and instead doing all this some time in the next few weeks, it was here now.

Within a few more days, I was completing my Disney travel agent certification and poof, I'm in business.

You can find my business website here: www.navigatingthemagic.com and my Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/navigatingthemagic

Checking in...

Summer is here and I'm in the middle of a whole lot of stuff.

First, I'm finishing up my travel agent course.  I have three units left before I take my TAP (Travel Agent Proficiency) exam: Cruises and Rails and Cars, Computers and Travel (should be easy), and Computer Reservation Systems.

Second, the kids have ONE day of school left. We're not gonna get it done today because I don't feel well and I had a doc appointment this morning but tomorrow for sure.

Third, the doctor appointment was a follow-up visit.  Back in February, I was having some severe stomach pain.  Turns out the anti-inflammatory meds I take for my neck was irritating my stomach.  The meds, combined with a hiatal hernia, led to some pretty nasty gastritis.  I'm much better, but I'm not well.  I can't eat citrus fruit at all (which are my favorites), salsa is a big no-no, and I have to put a lot of milk in my coffee to offset the acid.

Next, even though I haven't finished my travel agent course, I've already started my business.  I joined World of Magic Travel a few days ago as an independent travel agent and I'm training there for the various vendors and suppliers.

Lastly, we finished up our second year of Girl Scouts last month but there's planning to be done for next year.

Back to School

Every now and again, I’ve gotten the urge to start a business.  I’ve played around it.  I’ve even written about it, but I haven’t done anything about it.  I think that it’s time for that to change.
So a few months ago, I decided to go back to school to learn how to be a travel agent.  Yeah, I didn’t expect that either.
I need to work.  I need to keep busy. I need direction. If I can do all that and have a good time, then I’ll be doing something significant. 
My plan is to finish my class, get a professional certification, and then find a nice host agency.  In travel, your host agency is kind of like how a hairdresser rents a chair. I’ll get to take advantage of their infrastructure, but I’ll be bringing in business.  How?  I don’t have a clue.  I’m still working on that.

Loomed Bracelet

I took a class this past weekend on creating bracelets using a loom.  I am HOOKED!!  These are fun and gorgeous!

I made the first one at my class and then came home and made one for my daughter.

I need to write

Griffin-NuttellaNo really.  I NEED TO WRITE.

I am going along, living life, and thinking, you know, I need to write something.  The more I write the better I feel.  The better I feel, the more I write.  The more I write, the better my writing is.  The better my writing, the better I feel.  Etc, etc, etc…

But then I think, well, I don’t have anything interesting to say.  Or I think of something quick and funny and just tweet it or Facebook it. When the truth is the more I write, the better I feel, the better I write, the better I feel… lather, rinse, repeat.

Since I last wrote, I potty trained my boy (YES REALLY!) and he celebrated his 3rd birthday.  YES, REALLY!

Here he is after enjoying a snack of Nutella and apple slices.  He really likes Nutella.  He’s really growing up… sigh…

The Action Planner – Pages I like

I’m working on a full tour of what I’m trying but wanted to pass along this awesome resource.

Productive Flourishing puts together some amazing FREE resources as well as their Premium Planners!

I am using the weekly planners to decide on my priorities for the week.


The items listed aren’t tasks but projects.  Basically everything with more than 2 or 3 tasks needs to be a project. So “Print Perm Slip” which is Manda-writin’ for “Print Permission Slip” is a whole project that involved multiple steps (Create the slip, print them, sign them, distribute them, etc).

This form also makes you think about how much you can actually get done in a day.  Near the top is a little section labeled “Weekly Project Slots”.  Basically each day gets 5 slots and you mark them off as you create and schedule projects.  When the day is full, you can’t schedule anything else on that day or you’ll get overwhelmed, won't finish, etc.

I’ll be sharing more of what I’m trying.  So be sure to check back!

DISCLOSURE: This post and others on my blog contains affiliate links.  I may receive compensation if you purchase products from these links.  Just so ya know…

Vagina Envy

I have a theory about why the Mommy Wars come up over and over again.
It’s because we compare every other woman to ourselves.
First of all, we don’t generally get openly combative about why men do what they do.  In our minds – whether we admit it or not – men are somehow different or even inferior to us.  They cannot experience what we experience.  They can have no understanding of PMS or child birth or a particularly awful menstrual period.  Now if a man says he understands, that is an open invitation for us to kick him in the balls and express to him again that “NO” he does NOT know.  So men, if you’re reading, don’t express sympathy verbally – just bring chocolate and nobody gets hurt.
No, every woman compares every other woman to herself whether intentional or not.  We all want Kim Kardashian’s ass or Katy Perry’s boobs or Miley Cyrus’ legs.  And we all compare every other woman’s choices critically to our own.  WE would never leave our children with a nanny.  We would never go on government assistance.  We would keep completely tidy homes.  We would… and on and on and on. 
Every woman I know, when you enter their home, the first thing out of their mouth is some excuse as to why their home doesn’t look like something out of Southern Living.  “We’re remodeling.”  “We just got back from vacation and haven’t been able to clean.”  Meanwhile their home is at least reasonably tidy or usually, so clean that you could eat out of the cat bowl.
So when a mom says things like “I stay home with my children and I feel sorry for women who have to work” the working moms jump to defend their decision to work.  The working mom may work outside the home because of financial reasons (health insurance costs, education costs, you don’t know so stop guessing), or because the thought of spending more than a few hours with their kids makes them want to crawl inside a hole (not everyone likes to hang out with their kids all day – get over it).  They may have built a career they love or it may be so hard to keep their accreditation or other professional requirements that leaving the workforce for stay-at-home-motherhood would mean they could NEVER return to the workforce in their capacity.
So Working Mom makes sacrifices too.  She gives up being with her kids.  She gives up the freedom to attend every school function.  She gives up a part of her soul so that she can continue in something that she WANTS or NEEDS to do.
Stay at home mom, I’m not done with you.  I understand.  You've given up a lot too.  You’ve had to cut back on vacations (if you get one at all), there’s no after work cocktail parties, no new outfits just because.  Sometimes, you cut back on entertainment, fancy coffee drinks, and cute shoes.  You give it up but you give up a little of your soul too.  The independent part of yourself that used to be free to do all those things and never mind the cost.  You know, like me, that if you ever go back into the workplace, you’ll have to start over.
If we would stop and look and see that we, as mothers and women, ALL make sacrifices so that we can each live our best life in what ever way that looks like. ALL women are doing the best they can. Yes, some women are going down the wrong path.  Some women are trapped in bad relationships, bad situations, bad places.
If would we stop pointing fingers at each other and just notice that yeah, everyone makes a sacrifice for their children, then I think the Mommy Wars would never be fought again.  If we'll give each other and ourselves a little bit of GRACE, we'll all be able to see through the eyes of love.