Sunday, September 11, 2011

This & That

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

  ~Winston Churchill

It's been awhile since I've last posted, life just gets so busy.   I find it hard sometimes to actually concentrate long enough to write words that make any sense.
I used a lot of stuff around our office to decorate cheaply with.

I've been back to work now for over a month, and the first few weeks of a new school year are so busy, I'm completely wiped out when I get home from work.  Getting dinner ready, doing a few chores around the house/yard and preparing for the next day are sometimes the only thing I get done in the evening before it's time for bed.

I now officially have two "Juniors" in the in high school and one in college.  Time just keeps whizzing by and I can't believe I will be the mother of a 20 year-old in just a few days!

This is a cake I made for a good friend of mine for her birthday.  It is dark chocolate cake with straberry cream cheese frosting.  I used her homemade strawberry jam to flavor it.  The flowers are from my garden.
I continue to work on my creative side, in the past week or two, I made my first wedding invitations for a friend's mother, I also made another friend a 2-tiered cake for her daughter's 13th birthday.  One of my best friends is getting married next month and I am helping her with wedding favors and other goodies.  

I am by no  means a professional, but the cake tasted delicious! The bottom is a triple-layer dark chocolate, the top vanilla, all with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
A topper I made for the cake.
On the first day of school, I made some cute goodie bags and other cute printables with a Back-to-School theme design to welcome back the staff at the school I work at.  My boss and I set up a table in the lounge with breakfast goodies and coffee.  I think it helped to start the year off, keeping morale up is always a priority in these difficult economic times when education is constantly hit with budget cuts.

As I've said before, I work with a great staff, and I love making them smile.  I like to consider the work I do for these little events as practice, which help to hone my skills as a crafter, baker, and cook. 

My garden is growing, but showing signs of coming to an end.  This year my tomatoes came in much later than they have in the past, so I didn't have time to experiment much with new recipes before I returned to work.  Last night I did make a delicious batch of tomato soup with homemade croutons.  There is something so satisfying about making meals from scratch and especially using ingredients you have grown in your own garden, without harmful pesticides or chemicals.
Homegrown tomatoes
My first ever success with cantaloupe, it was so yummy!
Over the summer, the girls and I took our annual trip to Lake Tahoe, and this year my sister and nieces joined us.  It was fun to show them around to the beautiful places of Tahoe and get to spend that time with them.

A little 6" cake I made for the girls and I.

The inside came out looking like the colors of ocean water.

Maybe it's the end of summer, and the impending return of my daughter back to college, but I always get a little melancholy at this time of year.  There is always so much to do in preparation for the move back and the days are going fast with the busy-ness of a new school year for my younger daughter and all the activities she has right now.  I have been thinking a lot about what I will do when my youngest heads to college.  There is the financial aspect that brings up my worries for how I will afford to send her to college and also support myself when I will no longer receive the financial help from her father.  Then there is the emotional side, when I will possibly have a true "empty nest".  My girls mean the world to me, but I have always tried to have my own hobbies and friends, so that when it is time for them to spread their wings, I will not fall apart.  The last thing I would ever want is for them to feel guilty or worry about me being alone.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. ~Roald Dahl

I like to think that there will be a new door opening for me when I am alone, more time to explore and develop the passions I have.  As each birthday comes for me now, I do feel a sense of urgency in figuring out "what will I do with my life".  There are dreams and hopes I have that I am starting to worry I am running out of time for.  I find myself looking for inspiration from women who started businesses or became financially successful at a "later age" in life.

I realize I am sharing a lot of really personal feelings now, but my worst fear is that I will spend my whole life dreaming of what I want to do, but never finding the time or resources to actually make it a reality.  I don't want to look back on my life with regret, and feel sadness for all the things that could have been. 

I love my job, but I also know that it is not what I am truly passionate about, and it does not provide me with the full financial support I need to keep my house and live a comfortable life on my own.  I don't need a lot, but I also don't want to spend the rest of my life living paycheck to paycheck as I am now, and always worrying about money.

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. ~Francesca Reigler

In essence, I am trying to figure out how to turn my hobbies and passions into something more, something that I can possibly earn some income from.  I know there are many women out there looking for and doing the same thing, so I am not unique in my aspirations.

I would love hearing from other women who share the same feelings and who are turning their dreams into reality. 

Well, my chores are calling, two days off on the weekend don't leave much time for errands and chores, so it's off to my lawn-mower I go now...

Wishing you happy thoughts,