Suzi Beech and Family

This blog is about my family and my trials and tribulations as a work-from-home mom of twins.

Back to school…finally! September 14, 2009

back-to-school

I have to say that, although I love my children dearly, I could not wait for school to start again!  We had a wonderful summer full of parties, swimming, camps and vacations.  While all that togetherness was great, it was a LOT of togetherness!

I am lucky that I own my own business and can set my own schedule.  At the beginning of summer I tried to schedule work in the early mornings, late nights and when the kids weren’t home.  Just a few days into it and I was tired and crabby and realizing that they sure were home an awful lot!  After stressing myself out about what I wasn’t getting done, I rethought things.  I realized that this could be one of the last years they consider me cool enough to be seen with and fun to hang out with.  I decided, for better or worse,  to take most of the summer off and spend it with them while they’d still have me.  It went well, for the most part.  We had our battles of wills and our sibling clashes, but I don’t regret a minute of it!

Now that they’re back in school (big-time 3rd graders this year), I can get back into the swing of working again.  It’s really quiet a relief!  My mom used to tell me that going to work was easy, it was staying home that was hard.  I finally understand what she was talking about!

In the back-to-school spirit, I have also taken some classes on time management and productivity.   My first order of business is to set-up a daily schedule and block my time in 60 minute increments.  From there, I’m going to build it out into a weekly schedule.  I like order and predictability.  That’s just how I am.  I know there are people who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, but not me.  So, I’m off to begin building my schedule for the hours between 8 and 2:30, Monday through Friday.  I’ll be sure to set aside blocks of time to keep my blog up to date, as well.  I know I have a lot of summer pictures and videos that you’re just dying to see, so I’ll get them all posted very soon!

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Fishing Trip with the Cub Scouts June 12, 2009

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

I tagged along on my son’s Cub Scout troop’s fishing trip yesterday.  We went to a beautiful place in North Plains (Oregon, where I live) called Horning’s Hideout.  There were the two troop leaders, myself and 11 Cub Scouts.

Horning’s Hideout is a beautiful place about 25 minutes or so from Portland.  They specialize is outdoor weddings and have a couple of ponds for fishing, camping areas, paddle boats, Frisbee golf…all kinds of fun outdoor things to keep folks busy.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any decent pictures of the many pretty peacocks on the grounds.  Every time one of them would get close enough for a decent shot, my dog would try to get at them, so I had my hands full!  I did get a pretty picture of this butterfly, though.

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Two of the boys (brothers) had brought their own fishing poles and tackle boxes.  One of them wanted to use his stuff, the other chose to use the gear provided by Horning’s.  All the boys who used the rods and bait provided caught fish within minutes of tossing in their line.  Seriously, half the boys had already caught their quota (one whole trout!…each!…woohoo!) before the other half even got bait on their hooks.  The boys who wanted to use the fake, neon green “worms” out of the personal tackle box had absolutely no luck.  We waited and recasted and recasted…no bites at all.  Finally, even though they didn’t want to hurt the wiggly little wormies, we convinced them to use the live bait.  Minutes later, their fish had been caught, too.  It was a wild 30 minutes of lines flying, hooks being baited, fish flopping on the dock and much, much, squealing, yelling and shouting.  There were only a few hook mishaps and tangled lines – not bad considering the pace the fish were flying out of the water!  Those red hook-puller things did a great job of getting those hooks out of the fish.  I don’t remember

Nico tied up on the dock

Nico tied up on the dock

having those when I was a kid.  Very handy!

I had to tie Nico up on the dock so I could help the boys.  She didn’t like that very much and cried until some of the boys went over and played with her.  She’s such a baby!

Before we knew it, it was time to head back up the hill and clean our fish.  The boys were pretty much horrified, as was the one leader who had never been fishing before.  I like fishing and gutting the fish doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s not my favorite thing to do, especially with the number of fish that needed cleaning.  Luckily, our hostess at Horning’s came to help!  She was terrific and tried to get the boys interested in the fish insides.  She pointed out their “parts” like liver, gullet, lungs…I think our

How to Clean a Fish

How to Clean a Fish

inexperienced leader almost threw-up at that point!  They did have this helpful sign with instructions posted near the cleaning stations.  I thought they were pretty funny.  I was

Gus holding his big catch

Gus holding his big catch

surprised the Scouts were so standoffish when it came to holding onto their fish.  They all thought they were too slimy.  One boy told me he wouldn’t eat “that kind of fish.”  He only ate the kind from the grocery store.  It’s odd how out of touch they are with where their food comes from!  I hope the rest of the families enjoyed eating their son’s catches as much as we did (well, when I say “we” I mean Philip and I…Gus had a couple of bites Ruby might’ve tasted it, but that was it!).

It was a pretty exhausting couple of hours. Those boys are full of energy, let me tell you!  I was really glad I got to join them on the trip.  I spend so much time with the Girl Scouts, I was afraid my son was going to think I didn’t want to hang out with the Boy Scouts.  I am so lucky to be my own boss and have the flexibility to be able to take time to do these things!

 

The final week of school…my kids are almost done with 2nd grade! June 9, 2009

My monkeys at Field Day

My monkeys at Field Day

My twins are in their final week of 2nd grade. I know it’s true but I’m having a hard time believing it. I told Ruby at least three times yesterday, “Today is your last Monday of second grade, ever!” She was totally unimpressed and reminded me I’d already told her that. Well, forgive me for being a sentimental Mommy. Each year seems to be going by faster than the last!

I spent this morning at their school as a volunteer for “Field Day.” Field Day is where their whole school (Kindergarten through 2nd grades in the morning and 3rd through 5th grades in the afternoon) spend time outside, playing games and running around. It’s school-wide controlled chaos.

I was stationed at the obstacle course. I had two 5th-grade girls running the show, I was only there in a supervisory role. It was pretty incredible to witness the differences in all the grades. The little kindergarten students tripped over the hurdles, knocked down the cones, fell through the hula-hoops and laughed and laughed. They were all about having fun and didn’t take the whole thing very seriously.

I could tell the 1st graders were beginning to become a little self-conscious, but they were still willing to cheer-on their teammates in loud voices. When one of them would knock over a hurdle, they’d try to stop and “fix” it or right a fallen cone. They were more about doing things “right” than quickly.

Ruby & Miss Chamberlain

Ruby & Miss Chamberlain

The 2nd graders were having fun, but were definitely more self-conscious and a lot more competitive. The boys were all about making the best time, even if it meant they skipped obstacles or plowed right through them and they’d call for their time before they reached the finish line. The girls were very careful to clear each hurdle, zig and zag properly through each cone and cross the finish line, whether they were going fast or not. They were all about completing each task “properly.”

The 5th grade girls were excellent coaches and I really got to hang back and drink my coffee (lovingly supplied by the PTO…thank you!!) and cheer for all my little friends.

There was 45 minutes between completing all the Field Day activities and going back outside for a school-wide picnic lunch. I rushed home, packed myself a lunch (the two cereal bars and sleeve of Ritz I’d thrown in my backpack before leaving the house at 7:45 didn’t seem very appealing, after all!) and drove back to school in time to set-up our picnic blanket before the kids swarmed out.

Gus at Field Day 09

Gus at Field Day 09

It was a glorious, June afternoon by Oregon standards. Warm, but not hot, breezy not windy, with the temperature in the low to mid-70s. I got both my kids and a bunch of their friends to sit on my blanket with me to eat our lunches. I don’t know how many more years they’ll want to sit with “Mom” but I sure am glad they do now! After lunch and a few pictures, they were ushered back into class and I returned home…back to work.

I am sad my babies are growing up so fast. Three more days of 2nd grade, they’ll turn 8 next month, then a couple of months until the start of 3rd grade! Where has the time gone?

I am so very happy that I’ve changed my life so that I can earn a living while working from home around my kids’ schedules. I missed so many of their events and activities when I was working as a restaurant manager. If only I’d known then what I know now about network marketing, I would’ve saved myself a lot of stress and heartache. In either case, I am grateful for what I have now and am happy to lead the life I do!

 

How to Find a Legitimate Online Business May 19, 2009

Award of Excellence Working from home is more popular than ever. The advent of the internet and modern computer technology has made working from home easier and more economical than in any other time. If you are considering becoming a work-from-home employee or starting your own business from home, there are a few steps you need to take to get started.

Search online. Start with a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Type in the kind of work you’d be interested in or are qualified for, such as sales, data entry, or marketing, to name just a few possibilities. Make sure to include “work from home” or “home-based business” in your search. Try to make your search as specific as possible using keywords that pertain to your experience or education such as “work-from-home administrative assistant” or “work-from-home tax advisor.”

Ask around. Your friends might have some good leads or words of caution for you. Someone you know might have just started an online business they’re really excited about or they may caution you against one you’re already considering. Remember to take everything they say with a grain of salt. You’re looking for the right business for you, which doesn’t always mean it would be the right business for them. Subscribe to online forums centered on the kind of work you would be doing. You can gain valuable insight into companies by listening to what those involved in them are saying.

Check with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure you are diligent in researching any companies you’re considering getting involved with. The BBB is a great place to start. You can type in the company name and see how many or if any complaints have been filed against them. In addition, you can see if the complaint was resolved or if there are many outstanding complaints.

Use your best judgement when moving forward. Search for a variety of companies and jobs. Talk with others involved or previously involved in areas you’re considering. Ask questions online or, if provided, call the company directly. Use the internet to your advantage and explore many potential companies and jobs before making a decision.

 

How to Find the Right Business Opportunity for You May 18, 2009

A bit of information for you!

A bit of information for you!

Times are tough for many right now.  You may have been laid off or fired from your current job.  Your company may have closed or cut your hours.  Your friends and relatives might be out of work or struggling.  You may be trying to save for retirement or college for your kids.  There are as many reasons for wanting to work for yourself and be your own boss as there are opportunities out there.  I’m going to outline a few steps for you to help you get started in finding a business opportunity that will suit you best.

Start with your interests.  Make a list of businesses you think you would like to own.  Face it, if it’s not a business you could see yourself enjoying, then you probably won’t stick with it once your initial enthusiasm wears off.  Do you like to work on your own or with people?  Do you want to work online from home or do you want to go to an office or other location?  Would you like to learn something new or utilize a skill-set you already posses?

Define your goals.  Do you want to work part-time or do you plan on dedicating yourself to your new business full-time.  Do you intend to earn a six-figure income or are you interested in making a little extra cash.  Do you have money to invest or will you be working on a shoestring budget?  Will you have large chunks of time you can dedicate to your new business or do you plan on working in small snippets of time, when you can?

Research, research, research.  Look for potential opportunities and ideas by utilizing search engines such as Google and Yahoo.  Talk to friends and neighbors, relatives and coworkers.  Network!  Make sure everyone within earshot of you knows you are open to listening to opportunities and are actively looking for a new venture to involve yourself in.  You never know who might have the inside scoop on something or have an idea that you haven’t thought of.  Talk to other business owners, especially those in fields you are considering.  Make sure to ask them about any hidden pitfalls, expenses or obstacles they’d with they’d known about when they were making their ownership decisions.

Be savvy.  Working for yourself is still working.  Owning a business is very fulfilling, but also a lot of pressure.  As someone once told me, “If you treat your business like a hobby, you will pay for it like a hobby.  If you treat it like a business, it will pay you like a business owner.”