I am so excited to announce that I have decided to get my act in gear and start writing again! The Suede Sofa has been my blogging home since Lara and Robynn asked me to join them back in 2009. I have shared so many wonderful experiences with all of you and have loved collaborating with my girls in Kansas! Robynn and Lara have started a new blog, Peace with Food, that I hope you are enjoying. I am launching my new blog today…Robyn’s Roost! As always I plan on writing anything and everything that comes to mind. Stories, inspiration, food, and of course…crafts! Please visit and I hope you will become a fan of my page, Robyn’s Roost!
To Lara and Robynn…this Jersey Girl is soooo thankful to have two amazing friends in Kansas!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
It’s been ages since I posted and this year has been filled with twists, turns and unexpected trials and triumphs. With my son moving up to 1st grade and my daughter going into her last year of nursery school, I found myself at a crossroad with no idea of the next direction I would go. Being a stay at home mom for seven years was a gift that I am lucky to have had. I started my role as “Mommy,” “Mama,” and “MOM” after teaching 1st grade for eight years and loved my new identity. Time has flown by and I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been home almost as long as I was in the classroom and can’t imagine jumping back into a teaching career when I’ve been out of practice for so long. So…where does that leave me? I’m no longer a first grade teacher, an identity I cherished and was proud of, but I’m also not a mommy of babies and toddlers anymore which is what I came to love even more than my previous role. I felt like I was slowly becoming NOBODY.
Bigger kids means bigger financial needs and the strain of a single income was becoming apparent. The obvious solution would be going back to teaching. However, there are no words to describe the anxiety I felt when even thinking about returning to teaching. Being out of the classroom for so long makes it that much harder to imagine going back. If I had taken a maternity leave and gone back right away my kids wouldn’t know any different and neither would I. Problem is I know how much I love bringing them to school and picking them up. I love “Mommy and Abby days” when she doesn’t have school. I couldn’t imagine giving it up.
Conflicted with finding an answer that would be best for our family I had one of those MEANT TO BE experiences that has changed the path from uncertainty to determination. I have always believed that certain people come into our lives for a reason. There is no doubt in my mind that Tracy was one of those people. My husband went to high school with Tracy and we have been facebook friends for a while. She lives in Georgia and was a marine biologist, but is now a division leader with lia sophia. For those of you who are not familiar with lia sophia it is a direct sales company that offers gorgeous jewelry at affordable prices (Think Tupperware party, but with jewelry)! One day Tracy sent me a message asking me if I would be willing to host a facebook virtual jewelry party so she could show her team that it is possible to connect with friends from out of state and build your business through technology. I thought about it and mentioned it to my husband and he said to me, “Maybe you should talk to Tracy about selling lia sophia, she was a marine biologist and is now really successful doing this and is home with her kids.” That was it…I talked to Tracy once and signed up! That was two months ago and boy has my world CHANGED for the BETTER! Through friends and family who volunteered to host parties I have been able to get my business started and already recruited a customer to join my “team”! I am on my way to promoting to Unit Leader and am still in awe that this practically fell into my lap. Tracy has guided me EVERY step of the way and has been my biggest cheerleader. It is AMAZING to work for a company that encourages women to be their own boss, set goals and attain them, and live their dream. My dream has always been to be home with my kids. My fondest memories are of my mom being home with me and my sister. I completely understand that this is not an option for many and that there are many women who even if staying home was an option would choose to continue with their career. The choice we each make does not DEFINE the type of mother you are. It does not make one of us better than the other. It is simply the path that each mother takes on the road to raising their children to be the best they can be!
In the past two months I have gained a new level of confidence and am proud of the work I have done to build my business. Dressing up my “Mommy” clothes with all of my new jewelry has added an element of fun to my days. I LOVE being my own boss, making my own hours, and helping our family out with finances. People do come into our lives for a reason…Tracy came into mine to be the light on this exciting new journey that I am on.
Visit my business Website!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
Filed under Dream Big, Finances, Good Life, Hard Reality, Inspire, Life, Marriage, New Jersey Robyn, Relationships, Self Image, SelfImprovement, You
As I’m sure many of you can relate, shopping with kids in NoT exactly my favorite thing to do. There is always the fighting over who sits where in the cart, then the whining that I’m taking too long, and of course the dreaded tantrum over the desperately needed toy they just HaVe to HaVe! My kids can turn a 5 minute trip to Home Depot for light bulbs into a disaster. They will manage to find something they need…such as the Tinker Bell and Lightning McQueen flashlights that are placed just at their eye level so they can pull the, “Oh wait, we need this!”
Thanks to the ease of online shopping and the availability of coupon codes, (read our post on how to get coupon codes) and free shipping, I try to avoid going out to the stores as much as possible. I was recently introduced to an online shopping opportunity even better than coupon codes! EBATES! Ebates is a company that gives you cash back if you shop through the links listed on their site. They advertise for the stores and you make money back by shopping through their link. It is a WIN WIN for everyone! At first I thought it was too good to be true, but I did my research and have been a member and shopping with them for a month now and earned over $30 back on purchases I would have made whether I ordered them through the Ebates site or not. You can track sales, coupons, and percentages that stores are giving back on their site. The money you earn from shopping is either mailed to you in check form or can be deposited directly into your paypal account. You can still use coupon codes and free shipping codes and get whatever percentage that particular store is offering back on the day you are shopping.
Here’s a link to get you started!
Happy Stress Free Shopping!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
Tis’ the season for trying to capture that PeRfEcT photo for the annual Christmas card! You know the one I’m referring to that gives the illusion that your kids never fight, don’t play in the mud, and wear matching outfits daily. First there is the decision over whether to go to a portrait studio, hire a photographer and do an outdoor family photo shoot, or take the pictures yourself. Once that is decided the planning of the outfits can begin. The ridiculous part about this is that stores start putting out their holiday lines in October so if your kids wear a popular size you better be thinking ahead. Ok, now you know who is taking the picture and what everyone is wearing, but here is the hardest part…getting everyone to cooperate!
I am sure many of you moms are going through this torture over the next few weeks so let me share my Christmas card 2013 attempt with all of you. Before I start getting all sorts of complaints from dads, I chose to write moms because maybe there are one or two dads out there who break the mold and take the kids for the Christmas photos, but in MY experience, there is NO dad who wants to be anywhere near this unprecedented madness EVER!
This year I was going to have a friend who is a professional photographer take photos in our yard. Well that idea went down the toilet when I had to cancel the session because it had rained the night before and the grass was soaking wet. I know my kids would never have cooperated if their feet were soaking wet from the grass and we wouldn’t have gotten the photos that I wanted to get. My second attempt pictured above was yesterday. I thought I could take the bull by the horns and take the photos myself. I’ve done it before so why not? Here’s why not…apparently I bought my son “handsome” clothes instead of “cool” clothes and he refused to put them on. In a desperate attempt to move forward with my plan I decorated a tree with candy canes and figured I would at least get my daughter’s picture done since she was all dressed and loves getting her picture taken. I figured my son would get jealous and cave once he saw her getting all the attention and put the cute plaid shirt and sweater on, but boy was I wrong. What erupted was like a scene out of a Christmas horror show. While my daughter was standing on a chair smiling my son took one of my giant candy cane props and started chopping down the candy canes one by one out of the tree faster than I could grab him. Candy was flying all over the place, my daughter was wobbling in a chair in her Christmas dress, and all I was thinking was, don’t react like Clark Griswold when his lights don’t light up in Christmas Vacation!
Needless to say, we marched back in the house after picking up all of the broken candy canes and I am left with this fantastic picture that I share with all of you. Please keep it in mind when you are stressed to the max this Christmas season. As you receive your mail full of smiling faces each day remember a lot more goes into those cards than you think and don’t be too hard on yourself if your journey to whatever your PeRfEcT card is isn’t so PeRfEcT!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
With my son in Kindergarten, I’ve been planning more projects that incorporate some writing and of course some messy art! With all the academics that need to get covered in the short school day kids don’t often get the chance to get down and dirty with paint anymore. This simple Indian Corn project kept my 4 and 6 year olds busy for about a half hour (just long enough for me to enjoy a cup of coffee!) and the writing piece will remain a special memory of what they were thankful for at this special time in their childhood.
If you are a teacher, this can be done as a whole class activity and it would make a fantastic bulletin board display! Click on this link to print my free THANKFUL FOR tags and get your creative juices flowing!
I cut out a corn shape out of cardstock and fabric and glued them together. You can just use cardstock, but I thought the fabric gave the project a rustic look!
The more fall colors the better!
I used burlap to make the dry corn leaves and attached the printable Thankful For cards!
Happy Painting & Memory Making!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
I couldn’t let a season pass by without sharing my handprint and footprint ideas from this year and years past. As my kids get older I am finding it harder to come up with projects that can fit both their hands and feet on one page so I’ve been letting them each do their own thing. I’ve also been having fun adding their drawings to the handprint art! The possibilities are endless!
HaPpY MeMoRy MaKiNg!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
For 35 years I’ve cried at the end of each and every summer. In my teenage years my parents would drive away from Chadwick Beach, New Jersey as I cried with sand still sticking to my toes. This year, my 36th summer was far from any scene Norman Rockwell would have wanted to capture! My kids seemed to take up sibling arguing as their summer hobby, my parent’s beach house at the Jersey Shore sat completely gutted and unusable thanks to last October’s hurricane, my son broke his arm, and as the lyrics of It’s a Small World say it best, our trip to Disney seemed to bring out “A world of tears” in my daughter! TaNTrUmS, ScReAmInG, and BrEaKdOwNs were everyday occurrences for my kids (and sometimes Mommy). On our Disney vacation, the low-point was my daughter Abby while decked out head to toe in her Belle costume screaming at the top of her 4-year-old lungs, “You’re a mean Mommy!” Why you might ask? All because I wouldn’t let her walk on a ledge that she wanted to use as a balance beam! MeAn MoMmY!!! Where was this kid when her MeAn MoMmY was packing 3 princess dresses complete with tiaras and light up shoes, a Tinker Bell costume with light up wings and shoes that jingle, and countless other Disney “necessities”?!!!
This is just so you can get an image of the Belle ensemble!
Then the high-point. If you’ve ever been to Disney World’s Hollywood Studios you know you can’t top the experience of ridding the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I LOVE roller coasters and this one is simply the best. You ride in the dark and go 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds while Aerosmith’s LoVe In An EleVaToR and WaLK THiS WaY blast in your ears! Since my kids were way too little to go on this ride and we had no one to watch the kids while my husband and I went on the ride. I did the only thing that made sense. I WENT ON THE RIDE ALL BY MYSELF. I walked up the single riders line and was on the ride within 5 minutes. As like each time I’ve gone on the Rock ‘n’ Coaster before, my heart was pounding with anticipation as the limousine coaster pulled back and took off into darkness. Turning upside down and sideways with Aerosmith screaming in my ears was exactly what I needed to recharge and refuel. I walked off that ride like a little kid on Christmas morning. OK, so the ride only lasts 1 minute and 22 seconds, but it was 1 minute and 22 seconds ALL TO MYSELF! There was no fighting over who was going to sit next to Mommy, no crying when “World of tears Abby” was too short to go on the ride when Nicholas made the cut, it was just me and around these parts that is a ReAlLy rare thing! I think there may have been a little skip in my step when I met my husband and kids waiting for me and when the next little crisis broke out…this Mommy was ready to take it on!
I realize that I can’t jump on a roller coaster every time I need to get some perspective, but this entire experience made me realize that it is the smallest and silliest things that can turn your day or summer in my case around. If you feel like you are overwhelmed with something whether it be your kids, family, work, etc. take a break and do something that makes you happy. Get your nails done, go shopping, grab coffee with a girlfriend. It might be just what you need!
*Or you can click on this YouTube video I found that someone made of the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. It pretty much details my entire ride except they had a different music selection…still great though!
Experience the Rock ‘n’ Coaster!
Great to be back!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)