Monday, November 15, 2010

Lets get organized. Section Number 2 Morning Get up and Go

So far we have gotten a basic notebook setup, and you may have added or taken away a few things.
Today Ill be going over a morning routine I do each day to kick start my day.
It may seem like alot each morning and If you want to take it slowly and easier at the start try to do at least 3 things you can build each week. Especially after we are de-cluttered and have a good routine going. Remember that there is no reason to stress about not getting your routine finished one day or missing a few things on your list. I didn't get unorganized or messy house overnight. so I cant expect to get clean and organized in one day. I have determined my de-cluttering and organizing will take a few months.

Anyhow I'm going to tell you my morning routine. You can use this or adjust it to your needs.

Morning Routine
1. Get up and make bed, Unless there is someone else still in there
2. Shower, you can wipe the walls after your done, Or use one of those shower things.
3. Brush Teeth and get yourself ready for the day.
4. Give the toilet a quick swish, and If you can leave this room for the day. For example if you have a master bathroom you can be done in this room for the day, Leaving less to organize and clean later.
5. Get dressed as if you might go out, You don't have to go anywhere but I feel better if I'm not in pajamas all day. Take laundry to washing machine and get it started. * If needed, I usually do laundry twice a week.

B. Kitchen.
The kitchen should be fairly clean from your after dinner routine ( coming later ).
1. Empty Dishwasher.
2. Make coffee, and make Jens lunch, snacks and breakfast. ( more on this later too,)
3 Prepare Ashlynns Breakfast and milk.

C. Organize the day.
1. Check Calender
2. Make list of to do things for the day. Don't overdo it, Start with 3-5 things and add as you get more organized.
3. Thaw items for dinner and make sure you have everything needed.
4. Check emails, Etsy,( for orders ), and other important online things,  Try to refrain from spending alot of time. Its more of a check to see what you you need to do for the day.
5. Check Ashlynns changing station. Refill as needed.

D. Quick personal time.
1. Take vitamins
2. sit down
3. Eat breakfast,
4. Morning brainstorm, meditation 15 minutes or so.
5. Reply to emails, social networks, your business, family etc. 30 Min's
6. Clean up after breakfast now, It is easier to do when fresh and not dried on.


Next time Ill add in my weekly chores. Mon through Fri.

Remember this is your own organization and lifestyle, I'm just trying to help out and showing my ways of doing things. Ive noticed I have much better days with doing things this way, and I can get much more accomplished through out the day, Such as this blog :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lets get organized. Stay at Home Dad's Guide to staying sane.

For the last two weeks I have been writing down and perfecting "my" way to get organized. I wanted to share it with people and perhaps help others get organized too.
I call it the stay at home dad's guide to staying sane.
Being a stay at home dad is quite trying, but I'm learning things along the way. On a side note knitting is hard, More on that later.

For today I want to start with the basic setup to getting organized. I scoured the Internet, book store and libraries and think this method is great way to start a new trend or routine.
Since the average routine/habit takes about 27 days to kick or get started I'm going to take it very slowly.

So to get started we need some supplies. As most of you are crafters and fellow etsians I would say you probably have this around the house already.

Today we will go over the getting started materials and a basic set-up of your "organization station"

Getting Started Materials.
(1) 3- ring binder\
(2) Notebooks
 some paper
dividers
A B C dividers
Jan-Dec dividers,
Calender. ( doesn't need to be in binder, but should be visible for daily use)
small notepad
zipper pouch.

You wont need the ABC dividers or Jan_Dec dividers for a few weeks,
You can start with as little as a nice new notebook, perhaps a 3 subject one.

Next you want to set it up into basic categories. Fit the categories as to how it fits you best.

This is how my basic binder is set-up

Daily Routines and reminders
Basic Weekly Plan of Attack
Base Zones- with detailed cleaning list
Grocery Staples list and weekly menu. (with calories and fiber intake)
Most used and emergency number list. It is probably in your phone but good to have a copy as well
Address Book, Again probably in your computer but I find it great to have nearby when needed
Personal = Bills, car repairs, want list,
Not needed but in my book
Etsy section - for brainstorms, new ideas, seo research etc.
Crafts, In my crafts section is either something I'm trying to learn, right now its knitting, Or something I'm am working on for the house.

In the next few posts I'll share what I do to clean, organize and declutter the house. If anyone wants to try this please feel free.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Man Sewing, Maybe not the best idea :)

So a few weeks ago my wife and I found some foot stools at a couple of garage sales. Both were in pretty bad shape. The fabric on top was anyhow. We got both for under 5.00 and I had some fabric to refinish a bench from a while back. As I was taking the fabric off I noticed alot of sewing work on it. Don't ask me what type. I was initially planning on just covering it with fabric and stapling it on the bottom.

Well a week or so passed and we happened to find a sewing machine for 10.00. I had always considered trying sewing and figured this would be a fun way to try it to see if I could do it or not. Or if I even liked it.

Anyhow one day a week or so ago I decided to give it a try. Let me first say the directions for putting the thread into the machine are very confusing and took me about 2 hours to get the thing to make a line of sewing. (I'm sure there is a proper term for that) So I stripped the fabric off the old bench as best as I could without tearing it. Since this would be my pattern. I even managed to salvage the string that had been sewn into a decorative cord that wraps around the middle. Separating the top and bottom.

Here is what it initially looked like .
So anyhow I cut the pattern out. along with a long 3 inch strip to make the cord wrap. and started sewing. The foot pedal stopped working about half way through so I had to manually set it to slow and try to keep a straight line. Not fun.
So I ended up completing the bench with minimal errors (in my mind ) . There were some flaws though. The cord is had measured and sewn ended up being about an 2 inches short. I think i did it too loosely or something. I hide that in the back. and here is what turned out after my first sewing attempt
As you can see it isn't the straightest or super tight but I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
So anyhow, We were watching a TV program and happened to see an owl pillow on the couch in one of the scenes. I thought to myself I could probably do that so I started thinking about how I would do it.
I found some more fabric. Why I have fabric lying around is still a mystery but I found some old pillow cases that were either single or messed up on one end. I then looked around at some pillows on the Internet and drew up some plans. I figured if I ironed the fabric and cut it in half then I would have an even circle and ears, Well you get the idea. I started that at 8 this morning. I am now blogging about it at 1:15 in the afternoon. Man I didn't think a 10 inch ish pillow would take so long. So anyhow I did it in three pieces. Next time I will try a less ambitious way but why not go hard core of the bat :)
I made the wing section from an old t shirt fabric the body is left over bench material and the head and eyes are from a pillow case and fabric I purchased from the clearance bin. ( for the second bench)

I sewed it inside out, since I figured that's hows its supposed to work. I must say my next pillow will be square, Circles and semi circles are not for beginners. Here is the finished pillow


The pink lion is hiding the fact that he didn't come out completely round. The flat section is where I stuffed it and then attempted to sew by hand. He also looks a little sad. I'm not sure if that because I made him or he is just not that happy.

In closing, This is the second time I have ever sewn anything. For now I think I will just work on fixing buttons on my pants and maybe trying to  learn how to do this with a class or pattern. Oh and with a foot pedal, That machine can really get going sometimes.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

Ps. Everybody deserves to relax a bit, Visit my etsy shop for some relaxation and fun.

Joe

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Etsy Shops that inspire me version 2.0

This morning I was thinking about some artists that inspired me while I was growing up and in some of the things I do today. I admit I don't paint or draw as much as I should. With my little one demanding time this post will probably take more time than it really should. That being said imagine if I started or tried to do a painting or drawing with her around... Anyhow this morning I decided to search a few names on etsy and managed to come up a treasury that included all of my favorite artists.
Each of the artists inspired me to in different ways and Ill try to explain each one.

First Up is M.C Escher. He didn't really inspire me all that much until a friend of mine in high school had gotten an interest in his work. My close friend has dyslexia but studying M.c. Escher seemed to open his world up and everything made more sense. Some of the work my friend did was amazing. I myself like the twisting and abstract part of his work. This is one of my favorite pieces, and the photo underneath is from an etsy shop I found.

Here is a link to his shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/elgarbo
Be sure to check it out as he has some pretty neat items.

According to his description this is taken in the The Queen Victoria Building is a landmark in the heart of Sydney, known for its elegant design and beautiful lighting.


This print is a 4x6
Photographed by Michael Garbutt in 2009.

Next up for artists in admire is Salvador Dali. In my opinion some of his work is quite out there but some are just amazing to me. I did a piece in school once as homage to his work, Which the last time I heard was still in my school library. :) I should check that someday. Anyhow  I like how he took normal things and stretched or melted them into a very different looking item. Perhaps his work taps into a part of my head that is full of ideas but they are just spinning around inside.
SO here is one of my favorite Dali Pieces.

And here is an etsy seller whom I thought captured the artists in their
Work. This etsy seller is http://www.etsy.com/shop/PragmaticEffects
This shop has so many melting clocks, I would spend so much money in this shop
if I had it. I definitely recommend this shop if you want that wow piece in your house.
Here is their description of the piece
This Dali inspired melting wall clock is hand painted purple. It has a black border and numbers along with a daliesque ant detail. The clock face is finished with high gloss epoxy resin for a durable glass like surface. Made from 3/8 inch Baltic birch the clock measures 15 X 7 inches. Quartz clock movement runs on one AA battery (included). Clock is hand signed by the artist (me).



Next is Monet. I wasn't really a fan until I got a little more mature.
For some reason alot of his work draws me in and relaxes me.
This is my favorite piece.

      This piece is from when later in his life. If you ever look at some of his works I noticed that he really seemed to enjoy water and lilies later on. It may be just me, but perhaps he found this to be calming and relaxing as i feel is portrayed in his work 

This painting is currently in Scotland, which is a place I would love to go one day.   

Speaking of great artists, I look around etsy and see so many great artists I find myself in awe to the works people do. I wish I had some of that talent. 

So I found an artists with whom I thought did a great piece. Which is here http://www.etsy.com/shop/thependantemporium . I think the sunflowers and the piece drew me in. I have a fondness for sunflowers currently. I'm not sure why. I think it may be the colors and the feeling of comfort they bring. You should check this shop out for some really neat items. There is a nice collection of October items

Here is the description for this piece
Handcrafted pendant measures 1 inch round (25.4mm) and is created using a deep (3mm) double plated silver bezel. Artwork is covered by a very durable high gloss epoxy resin which both protects and enhances the image.

Pendants are available in either a silver or bronze finish. This listing is for the SILVER pendant as shown above -- please contact me (via "Contact" link on my shop's main page) if you prefer the bronze.

Perhaps My favorite artist/photographer is Ansel Adams. I think some of his work was overloaded to the public a few years back and since his work has been less desirable. I think his works shows calmness and tranquillity with a sense of sadness and loneliness. But I also like how he captured the essence of the US before condos, cell phone towers and such took over our landscapes.
This is my favorite Adams piece

This piece is in my house. Although its only a poster reproduction.

SO I did a search on etsy for Ansel Adams. I was surprised that about on 14 items showed up. They are all great items though but I figured I had to pick one to feature on here.

The artist below left is from  

I think this print closely represents all of the things i discussed above.
and being from Michigan my wife will like it too.
here is the description of this piece
Description


Mountain Lake with Colorado Rockies as Backdrop (5 x 7 Print only)






I was so inspired I created an etsy treasury to include these artists as well as others.

All of these shops deserve some attention and as I know that many items get lost in the sea of etsy items I wanted to show my appreciation to other artists who do great work.


                             

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just added facebook to my blog page.

If anyone would like to like my face book it is now on my my page here.

There will be some specials linked there as well.

My shop is going to be temporarily closed a revamp and rebuild of my shop.

Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Wednesdays :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Candle of the Month Contest.


From today Sept 21 2010, Until 5:00 Pm EST on 15 October I am having a contest.

I will be starting a thread on etsy called Candle of the month contest.

This is the contest.
The winner will be determined by a points system tracked on the Etsy thread which will be linked on this page.

How to get points.

Any purchase from my shop counts as point.
Any multiple purchase gets a bonus point per items over three purchase.
Any blog, facebook post of my shop will earn you one point (max one per day)

Any purchase over 25.00 total will earn an additional 3 points.

For the forum thread, You can post your shop and I will add it to a list of shops.
Like my last contest. anyone making a purchase from shops on the list will recieve 1 point. here is the link

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?page=1&thread_id=6633445


The prize is a candle sent once a month from my shop.
In each box will be extra suprises which will most likely be a new scent or product I am promoting.

The scent of the month of October is Spiced Cranberry and will be sent out as soon as the winner is announced.

This is a 36.00 dollar value prize and if you choose you can have it sent to someone else on a certain month, Just give me a heads up.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inspiration for this necklace


I want to share what I do to make an item for my Etsy shop.
First I try to think of a piece that someone can wear everyday.
I get inspiration from Jen, hence the elephant inspired pieces.
She mentions something that she likes and I attempt to make something she would want.
I tend to put to much on my plate of things to do in one day so when I get time to make a piece I always go from start to finish. This usually happens when Ashlynn decides to take a nap. Which by the way is becoming less of an occurrence. She seems to want to be awake at all times even though I am mostly cleaning up, Mostly after her tornado like effect she has on a room. As she is getting older Im finding less time for myself, which i feel is hurting my online shop but that's another blog.

So I usually start off by making the center piece. In this case its a little silver elephant with a green ball in the center. His trunk and tail surround the ball and is an interesting focal point.
I then decided to do a simple chainmaille link to a piece I purchased from a fellow etsy sneak shop. http://www.etsy.com/shop/UUendysStash
this allowed the focal piece to dangle and so I could make the necklace part separate. Its a metal swirled piece that reminds me of a Victorian awning on a porch.

the necklace then goes up with linked chain until reaching a secondary focal section with a lavender colored bead surrounded by a metal end cap, Keeping with the slight Victorian feel. Then above that is a round metal piece that has a moon and a star on it.Above that is a wagon wheel type pendant with a lavender-greenish center piece.
Moving up the piece it continues with the chain to the last pendant which has a sort of crown mixed with a flower centerpiece in a pewter colored metal. More chain finishes the piece which is small ovals and circles each placed individually.

They match a pair of earrings. Though for some reason I haven't had much luck with earring I like to make them as well.

The piece is 22 inches when attached at the back, but I add an extender to make it a 2 inches longer if wanted.

I priced the piece at 27.00 although in my honest opinion it is worth more. But as their about 3 million pieces of jewelry on the site I try to make my items affordable to those who actually see it.

I think necklaces are a great way to showcase something I like to do. The colors in this one can be worn with any outfit and I think it would pair well with someone who has a fun personality.

It would be a perfect anytime gift for someone, or as just a simple yet fun piece for yourself. To me its a great autumn transition piece since its colors have bright spots but subtle gunmetal look to ease into darker colors.

I am attempting to take my shop in a new direction and am considering dropping jewelry all together. My goal is to make my shop proffesional clean and organized. I have been doing alot of research so hopefully I will get to implementing some of my ideas.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Etsy Shops that inspire me

Its been a while and Ive been planning but not doing much of anything.
Today as a refresher and my small way of showing support to only a few of the shops that inspire me and that I would like to be more like I'm showcasing 4 Etsy shops which whom are great people.

First is http://www.etsy.com/shop/MYSAVIOR Sue is such a kind and caring person. I have one of her prints in my dining room that just makes people smile when they see it. If you look at her shop she has 52 sales but 585 Feedback. She is such a great contributor to etsy and everyone she comes into contact with.

This is my favorite piece.


Next up is a shop like mine but she does very well and works super hard. http://www.etsy.com/shop/LilacAve . Lilac has great photos detailed listings and one of a kind molds. I can almost smell her products from the screen in front of me. She is part of the etsy homefront team which is a great group for military spouses, active,retired and has a great collection of people. Lilac has taken time from her schedule to help me in my shop and this is my favorite piece from her shop.


My third favorite, In no order though since all of these shops are amazing. Is
http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaintedMemoriesByRos . Her artwork is amazing, I wish I had a copy of every one. Painted is also a very caring and giving person. More so than any other person I have ever met. I had a contest were part of the sales generated went to a care package for soldiers deployed, which she won, and she gave her prize plus donated so that I was able to send a very large group of care packages to troops.

My favorite piece is this one.





Last but not least is http://www.etsy.com/shop/UUendyandFriends . Wendy is another very kind and caring person. She takes time out of her schedule to help me with ideas or give me advice about something. She is always a great supporter and never seems to be to far away. Her shop is full of fun items that in my mind carry over unto etsy the type of personality she has in real life.

This is my favorite piece from her.



I hope you enjoy my little treasury of a great collection of shops on etsy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

How did they do it, Moms of the past

Here is my question. How did the moms of the past deal with a 15 month old?

My daughter has so much energy and moves like a deer in the woods. Ashlynn is only 15 months old but if I were to take my eyes away from her for 5 seconds she would manage to get everything out of a cupboard, have strewn every one of her toys from her toy-box to every floor of our home. to include ordering every pay per movie on our television.... She seems to know everything she isn't supposed to do and more, but unfazed she manages to get into it just the same. My question is since I have all the new age tools and technology to cope with her how come its still such a monumental task? And How did stay at home moms of the past manage with-out going insane.

For example our family room and living room are lower than the main floor of house. We have gates that our master escape artist can maneuver over and around better than some soldiers I was in charge of.
So if I have these safety gates in place and still cannot contain my child, How in the world did the people who were lived in the cliff caves of Arizona keep there children from attempting to escape from 40 feet above the ground. Or for that matter how did the women of the plains and wild west era keep their kids from anything in the matter of trouble. The moms of the past had a much more monumental task of cooking, cleaning, etc. Let say that a mom of the past is churning butter, Or going to the barn to kill,pluck,gut and prep a chicken for dinner. Who was watching the kiddo or for that matter where did she find the time. To make everything from scratch, keep the house clean, raise usually more than one child, always help with the farm or whatever. Take a look at little house on the prairie. That lady would make sure her kids got to school, would take the carriage to town, clean up the cabin, make sure her husband had lunch in the field, then managed to make dinner keep track of her kids, usually help someone else out in some way and everyone was in bed by dark.

Or how about having to wash all your clothes by hand, to include diapers. I cant even get a stain out of my shirt. I cant imagine get a stain from a diaper, by hand.


Maybe its the times. We put some much on our plates we get stressed to complete anything. or never get that list of things to do done. Sure people of the past had smaller homes, Less distractions from daily life. IE TV, Internet, a sometimes successful on-line shop :). But they also made home-made pies, bread. had to get horses ready instead of just turning a key to start the car.

For my family, just going to the lake is a task in itself. First make sure we have chairs, cooler items, snacks, lunch, water, gas. Sunscreen, hats, bathing suits. and toys. All of this collected into the car loaded up, drive to the lake (45 Min's) and spend about 2 hours there. It makes me laugh when I think about it taking 2 hours to get ready to spend 2 hours at the lake. Then since it was hot the rest of the day we feel all lazy and tired.

When I make homemade bread, I put all the ingredients into a machine and push a button. But when its done everyone is like, How wonderful. :)

It takes me 3 days of the week M,W,F to keep our house up to my standards. Granted I may be a little clean obsessive, but there are only three of us, and a few cats.

Thinking about all of this make me appreciate the fact that we have in pretty easy in comparison. If we need something it is always just a click away. Or a short trip to the thousands of stores that have what we want but do not always need.

I still would like to know how these women were able to do it back then though.
Maybe it was easy for them, since back then I imagine things moved a little slower and pressures and stressed where not as great. Or maybe its because I'm a new stay at home dad and all the mom out there have the down-low on how things work.

Whatever the reason, I welcome the challenge as I can feel like I accomplish something each day. Even if its picking up after my indoor tornado that is my daughter.

My wife appreciates me, and people seem to be happy with items I get the pleasure to make and sell. My daughter is normal, growing and smart. I guess its not all bad.

I suppose I have done pretty well so far here at 35, Ive traveled the world, Been in combat and made it home safely, Taught and trained soldiers with whom I still am friends with, Have a family, and a nice home.
I also have a wonderful wife who supports me. I am still not a fan of being the one who needs supporting but she enlightened me to all the task I do for the family and we figured it out. If stay at home parents were paid to be stay at home parents we would be upper level big shots with an nice income. But we do what we do, and live how we live.

I'm sure everyone has the own personal goals, Like mine are to be successful in the crafts I produce to help out my family and be a means of support again. But more likely to happen would be to return to school when ashlynn goes to school, even though Ill be 40.

Well, I seem to be getting off my subject so its probably a good time to close.

In the end I have much more respect for parents of the past. We have it easier now than even 25 years ago. Perhaps we overwhelm ourselves with trying to maintain to many tasks at one time. As a whole I think everyone should slow down, relax, take time to smell the flowers at that super-store, Or forgot that super-store look to your own back-yard, or balcony for those flowers. Perhaps be more self sufficient, support others who are in the same boat as you.
Just be happy with you.
Help others when you can, Which in turn lets them help others. Making it a chain reaction of making one person at a time smile.

Ok Im done now. I'm definetly starting to ramble. And since its monday the house isnt going to clean itself

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Memories of the first day on the Job, Basic Training Prelim

I was thinking about when I was 19, and my First day of basic training. Well actually I had already been there for a week since they have a sort of holding area to get you up to speed on the basics for Basic Training :)

So let me back up a bit.

I was working a dead end third shift job, where drug use ran rampart and people would get injured all the time. My girlfriend(future wife) was a senior in high school, I had dropped out. My best friend had a passion to join the armed forces which since he didn't have a car rubbed off on me. He was unable to join due to an issue of attempted suicide. As I took him to meet recruiters one of them got to me and convinced me to join the Field artillery. I figured Why not, I was going nowhere anyhow. SO for the next few months I took the entry test. ASVAB, and did all the initial processing. I also sold my 1967 Chevy Nova for a new 1993 Ford Festiva. 2 of the worst mistakes I have ever made.
Two weeks after new years I went to MEPS. or Military Entrance processing station.
They shuffle you through a handful of doctors, making you turn your head and cough and drop on your knees. Neither felt very good. Next you filled out a laundry list of paperwork, And being 19 I didn't really pay to much attention to that. Then pee in a cup and wait in a room for everyone else to finish and take your oath. BAM Armyfied.

Then everything flew bye. Shuffled to a bus waiting to go the airport. Ticket in hand I flew to St Louis, Then on the smallest plane in the world to fly over the mid-land to FT Sill Oklahoma.
Another Bus, This time the driver was not very friendly. It was either because it was late at night or he was a career corporal, Which isn't a career, it means your not very good at anything military wise. Except for maybe driving a bus of new recruits.
As the town of Lawton passed by I noticed a strange trend as we got closer and closer to post. It started off with houses, and regular stores, But as we get closer to the gate it changed to strip clubs, pawn shops, barber shops, dry cleaners, and more strip clubs. Wohoo me I thought.
We passed the gates, Since it was way before 9/11 there were no guards on checkpoints. Just drive right on.
We arrived at another processing center that was basically 3 rooms. The first room I was liken to prison. Shakedown time
Empty all of your bags. Which I'm not really sure why I brought any since you do not see them for 2 months anyhow.
Smokes gone. That's all I really had. Again not sure why I broke cigarettes to Basic training. Others had knives, weapons, even a pair of brass knuckles. I started to think What the heck did I do.

Let me explain a bit. At 19 I weighed 135 pounds wet, Was not into fighting or conflict. Tall skinny and I guess you could say from a part of the states that kind of likes things slow easy and simple.

OK, So after the shakedown we were led to a long old building. a huge industrial fan was on one end of the corridor, either side were bunks with itchy green wool blankets, super white starched sheets, and a pillow I would consider more of a brick than a pillow.
That night the floor filled with other clueless adolescents, Until the next morning
5:00 am where we were all instructed to fall in? Not one of us had a clue. But luckily the corporal from the bus was there to instruct us. Needless to say it was a cluster. As the moronic corporal attempted to get us to march and in basic movements we slowly we able to navigate to the chow hall. The trip there was comedic, all 400 feet of it.
We were instructed to stand in a single file line, No speaking and eyes front. A group of 50 or so teenagers in civilian clothes with straggly hair and unkempt appearance. Standing eyes front about 25 people from the front I had my first glimpse of a drill Sargent. An intimidating large man with a southern draw marched a platoon of recruits effortlessly in a formation to the front door. I was in awe. They seemed to move as a unit. Unlike our gaggle of misfits. The drill Sargent quickly drew his attention to us. Spewing profanity and screaming like we had just brought his daughter home late form the dance, he proceeded down our ragtag line like a cougar.

Feeling uneasy enough, The chow hall food led to little in the way of comfort. Besides the 2 minutes to eat once you sat down, the food itself had a hard way finding its way down.

The next process was to go to the Mini post exchange with a list of items to purchase. Before that though was getting a paycheck. Strangely enough everything on your list to buy added up to exactly what they gave you.
List completed we dropped or new gear off at our bunks. To be processed.
Being processed was not a fun thing.
First was filling out medical paperwork, then we proceeded in assembly line form through a grouping of shots. A gun shot your arms on both sides as you shuffled from room to room. to finally end in a room where I was instructed to bare a butt check and prepare for a slight pain. That silver bullet shot hurt for 4 days.

Then to the haircut. I somehow thought this would be a non issue but was almost led to tears as the barber applied the clippers to my long blond locks.




ME BEFORE HAIRCUT the one with the glasses.
BTW the picture is from a skit I was doing as a camp counselor



AFTER HAIRCUT, Phew I look young


After this trauma, we were led to yet another building. This filled like a warehouse with everything a soldier needs. Uniforms, Brown tightie Whites, tee shirts, boots, socks, PT uniforms. duffel bags.
Again Assembly line style we moved down the line. collecting the necessary items until reaching a holding area where I was instructed to review the paperwork and sign.
Signing lead to an agreement that I was to use my next 4 paychecks to pay for the items I just received. That being said on payday I was accruing a whopping 40 dollars.

The next morning we were taught how to shine the new boots we had received. This learning experience led my boots to be ruined of all shine capability and numerous hours of fixing. Thank you ineffective corporal.

After the boot shining lesson, It was test time.
You had to complete 10 push-ups 10 sit ups
This is a very monumental task when never doing any sort of activity.

If you were successful, Which I was you were moved to another floor to be transported to the real basic training. If you were no however you were stuck in this time warp until you could complete it.

Given minutes to make a phone call, then shuffled to the chow-hall we were sent to the barracks to learn the basics of floor cleaning and buffing before going to sleep.

The next day was going to prove to be very difficult.

Thanks for reading. I start writing and somehow get caught up. I hope you enjoyed this snippet into myself.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My progression into bieng a Dad


Each day I get to play with my daughter is better than the day before.
She is growing into her own little person each day.
Its quite humorous to see her back-up into a room she isn't supposed to be in.
I think she thinks shes getting away with something by going backwards instead of walking straight in.

As a stay at home dad I feel I have the connection that most moms develop with their children. I seem to understand her little grunts or motions as to what she wants.
For fun try a little people watching the next time you see a smaller child and their parent. Its like watching people talk in a foreign language that only they understand.

AS my title suggest this blog is about being a dad. I wanted to share some more insight to myself and also feel its good to get things out once in a while as well.



So let me begin. As a child I was adopted, My mother had me when she was 19, and my father left her to pursue his own life without us.One a side note I actually met my father when I returned from Iraq, More on that in another blog.
I was adopted by a rough and tumble cowboy type man who was quite older than my mother.
At around the age of 5 He took me without permission to Colorado. I spent about a year moving around alot and such until one day my mother came to get me. I remember it being Easter and directly after searching for my basket my "dad" loaded us into a van just as my mom was pulling up. I can't help to think that if she had been 5 minutes later I would have a much different life.


me







A few years passed and my mom had been dating a guy for a few years when she had my little brother when I was 8. This guy was good to my mom, and we were able to do things I had not been afforded when I was younger. Things like snowboarding, He bought a boat which was great for many summers. Unfortunately he could drink like a fish. As I look back it was a gradual progression in the amount of beers he would consume. Basically by the time he and my mom separated he could drink 18 beers and smoke a pack of Marlboro's from the time he got home at 3;30 to when he passed out at 730-800 pm. I didn't realize how much of an impact seeing this daily would affect me until a few years into my military career.

During high school I was pretty much a trouble making bad kid who didn't care much about anything and got into trouble for many things, Including stealing my parents cars and such. That incident was the only time I fought fist to fist with him. Which resulted in me being sent to live with my adopted dad, in Las Vegas. I often think of it being very strange that I was sent to the guy that kidnapped me but well, that's just how my life went.
I only lasted a few months in Las Vegas until an incident happened where either I was to go to juvenile detention or be sent back to Vermont.
Luckily I was sent back to Vermont. As in my opinion I feel that kids who end up in juvenile detention in large cities like that are destined to a very bad future.

So I kept up with being a punk teenager. I met a girl, or should I say my interest in girls took the majority of my attention and time. I dated a girl from my junior year in high school until I dropped out in my senior year. I had messed up so much I would not have been able to graduate with my friends so I just quit. I worked in factories for a while and 3rd shift jobs, Dating the same girl, the entire time.

I saw a need for a change and really didn't want to be stuck in my home-town for the rest of my life. Funny though now I miss it and like visiting there. So I looked into the military, The First Gulf war was still somewhat fresh and I felt a need of some direction, So I Joined, The Us Army. Ill talk about that later as well.
I also married my long-term High school girlfriend that year. I was 19.
As I am already getting long winded, I was married to her for 11 years, During that time we had 3 children. Two boys and one girl. Since our divorce she has since moved to Vermont and besides paying in support for them I do not get to hear from them see them or have any contact unless she gets a kind feeling. Its not a topic I like to discuss since I have 3 children that are a part of me but at the same time have no connection at all. I'm pretty sure they are not even allowed to receive the gifts I send on holidays.

I met Jen, a year before I was medically discharged from the military. It was like finding the perfect match at first sight. I know alot of people say that but you get this weird feeling when it happens and I often wonder how I have could not have had her in my life. We had met while I was doing a short training exercise in Washington. She actually quit her job and moved to my duty station a few months later. She was a great asset and helpful during my transition from the military to civilian life.
We moved to Florida near her parents and stayed for 5 years.
We decided to have a baby, and after months of trying we became pregnant. In May 2009 Ashlynn was born, She was initially supposed to be a water birth but ended up being a c-section. Since that day I have been with her every day.
AS she is 14 months now I am amazed at all she is capable of. She talks, sorta, Walks and has opinions and quirks all her own. Its also quite nice to get compliments and such on her behavior and demeanor. I fully believe that her presence helped my identify my creative side. Although I'm a guy I am trying to learn how to do her hair, match clothes and shoes. Pretty much all the girly stuff.

ashlynn




Well as I am not much of a writer and have about a thousand other things to do, that and I feel long winded :) I will end this post today.




There is probably quite a bit of open ended areas that people want to know more about. And I will link other blogs to this one in the future.




My intentions where to show what I felt like being a dad but It looks more like a short history of me instead :)









Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Great Breakfast Smoothie.

Yesterday I was tired from a long car ride with a 14 month old, and the long weekend in Louisville for our friends wedding. So I wanted to start my day off with a boost, kick me into gear for all of the things I need to accomplish.
My family loves this Smoothie and its pretty easy to do,
I figured I would post it now since alot of fruits are in season.

So here goes.

Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup of frozen peaches, (we get ours from a farmers market,slice and freeze them
1 cup frozen blackberries, or blueberries, or raspberries :)
4 tbl spoons of dried milk powder
2 tbl spoons of milled flax seed. (optional)
2 cups of milk.
about 5 or six ice cubes.

For a sweeter flavor you can add a 4 oz flavored yogurt such as peach or berry

Simply put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
If it seems to be more of a melting ice cream consistency add a little milk at a time.

Its easy but fun and tasty.
I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Todays Delicious Recipe. Soy-Orange Salmon with vegetables


So this is a recipe we did on Monday night and thought it was so delicious I wanted to share it with you.

It has a great source of vitamins and omega-3 fats as well

Prep time 5 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes

Soy-Orange Salmon and Vegetables.

Ingredients
Grated Peel and juice from 1/2 and orange
1 1/2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of Hoisin sauce (look for it in ethnic foods aisle)
1 teaspoon of ginger grated
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, or canola oil
1 bag 6 0z of baby spinach
5 teaspoons ish of water
2 Salmon Filet's about 4-6 oz and about an inch thick
sugar snap peas ( optional )
1 cup Thinly sliced carrots, or store bought match sticks carrots
2 scallions sliced, green stems only


Prep
Pre-heat oven to 350
In a bowl, combine orange peel, juice,soy sauce and hoisin sauce,ginger and oil. Mix .
Take a piece of aluminum foil and place salmon filet's centered. Drizzle a tablespoon of mixture on top and wrap tightly.
Place wrapped salmon on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily.

Meanwhile preheat a sauce pan with a teaspoon of canola oil.

Add carrot to pan and saute for 3 minutes on medium heat, Add peas and scallions during and toss to combine, The peas should be bright and crisp, at this time add the spinach to the pan with water and toss cooking for about one minute.

Place vegetable mixture on plate, arrange sauteed spinach under salmon next to vege's and drizzle remaining sauce over both.

We also served it with 1/3 cup of brown rice.


Makes 4 servings

Calories 347
Carbs 15g
Fiber 4g
Protein 40g

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Welcome to my Blog.
My plan is to post blogs about my life as a stay at home dad, an Etsy shop owner, A veteran and a guy. Also I wanted a place to share my recipes and some statistics of a new way of eatting to ensure my family is healthy. I hope to be able to let people see a picture of me through words and photos.

Alright lets start with an Introduction to me.

My Name is Joe (Joseph), I was born in Vermont, which is were I grew up. At 19 I joined the US Army and became a Field Artillery crewmember in MLRS (pictured here). I went to basic training in FT Sill Oklahoma and served in 2nd Armored division in FT Hood TX as my first duty station. I then went to South Korea for a year, during my 21st birthday. (more on that later). I then returned to FT Sill for a few years before I was able to go to Baumholder Germany for 3 years in Jan of 2000. Germany was a great place and I loved being able to travel through-out Europe. In Early 2003 my unit was deployed to Kuwait, to be deployed into Iraq to support the combat operations in Operation Enduring Freedom.
I returned from Iraq to return to FT Sill once again in 2004. During the summer of 2004 my unit was deployed to FT Lewis WA, where I trained Officer cadets during their summer training. It is also where I met Jennifer my wonderful other half. I was dishcharged in 2005 and moved to Florida, where Jen's Parents lived. I worked as a Land surveyor for a while, Did some school and eventually we had our Duaghter in May of 2009. 6 months later Jen was offered a position in Huntsville AL, which is where Im writing to you now. We really like this area and the way everything moves and flows here.

In Novemeber of 2009 My Jen and I where trying to figure out what I was going to do while being a Stay at Home dad. Besides all of the cleaning,cooking,child care ect. :)
We also did not like throwing away a ton of baby jars each week.
WE decided on making candles from my daughters used baby food jars. Thus started my Etsy shop. I also learned a few techniques from Jen's mother in making jewelry. I have always enjoyed making things with my hands and since November I have been able to sell of few of my crafts online. My goal is to be able to sell products I make full time eventually.

Jen and I have also taken on a healty food lifestyle, which since I really enjoy making food has became a great passion of mine as well.

This first post is just a general overview of me, and a glimpse in to some things I will blog about in the future. I suppose its a template for me to stay organized as well :)