Friday, March 24, 2017

Going To Brag A Moment - Why I Love My Job

One of the reasons, besides the obvious BLENDING of families, that I decided to change the name of my blog is because...
I was not paid to feature this post!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about my current employment with Chilis!

Aside from juggling the schedule of four kids of my own, and helping to juggle two "bonus" kids schedules (this involves 5 different schools and extra curricular activities for several), keeping up the house, laundry & other motherly duties and blogging...

I also work outside the house...as much as I can...at Chili's!  
Which means that I am definitely ONE NOT SO BORED MOMMY!
It all started like this:

About 3 1/2 years ago, I ventured out into the work force.  I was busy handing out my resume (with literally no outside work experience on it, with the exception of being a stay at home mommy) to any job opening I could find in my town.  I was pretty desperate to find something!  My application was sent out everywhere and I was hearing nothing back from any of the jobs I'd applied for.  I had applied at Chilis for their "DISHWASHER" position and went by one day to follow up, in hopes of shaking hands with someone who would remember my face/name and possibly give me the chance to get my foot in the door.  Lucky for me, the General Manager of the Chili's I went in was at the hostess stand and proceeded to hear my plea for employment.  I explained that I had applied for the dishwasher position and really knew I could do a great job at it.  He shook his head "NO" at me and I proceeded to explain, "But I'm a mom of four and I've literally been washing dishes since I was two!  I can do this job!"  He continued to shake his head NO at me.  At this point, I was feeling pretty defeated...especially when he asked, "Have you washed dishes in a restaurant before?"  I had a feeling that this opportunity had literally washed itself down the drain...but lucky for me, he instead said, "I have a need for a hostess and I think you'd make a much better hostess than a dishwasher!"  

After going back in for a job interview and some training...I became the "HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS" at that Chili's.  I wore a red bow on my headband and greeted every single person that walked in the door with a smile on my face and delight in my heart.  I was so excited to be working again...and to have the chance to not only make the first impression on everyone who entered our restaurant, but to set the tone for their entire experience.  To me, being the hostess was a fun job.  Almost like therapy for me, having the chance to chat with other adults and even gain some friendships with fellow co-workers.  

P.S.  I have the UTMOST respect for anyone who is a DISHWASHER in a restaurant too.  It's one of the hardest, dirtiest jobs in the restaurant.  I give total props to anyone who can do that job!

A year into my job, I was delighted to have the opportunity to train up to become a Server.  They sent me on the fast track to serving and I've been doing that ever since.  It's different than hosting...because instead of greeting and then leaving people, I get to deveop a relationship with them (momentarily of course), while they enjoy their meal with us.  I get to make sure they are completely satsified, filled to the brim, and excited to come back to eat with us again...everytime I walk up to a table to start their drinks and take their order.  

I know for some people, serving in a restaurant seems miniscule.  Maybe it is!  But to me, it's more than that!  It's a way for me to cheer up that person having a bad day, to maybe offer some parenting advice to that mom that looks like she's topped off at the moment, or even to know that I may be the reason they want to come back and eat with us again.  And come on, you have to admit that you love it when you dine out and your server does an excellent job taking care of you and your family, right?  

We just had an "ALL TEAM" meeting last week and I was surprised (really surprised) to receive an ATL (Above The Line Recognition) for my service.  Really, it's just a pat on the back & public recognition for a job well done.  I didn't receive money or gifts with it.  I was floored, because, apparently...not only do I love my job, but people I am serving seem to enjoy the service I do give when I'm working.   So much so, that they want and intend to come back and eat with us again, because I served them well.   I was honored to be recognized and this just motivates me even more to keep up my efforts in serving people well...

Anyway, I am not sure I have ever shared about my OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE job with you guys before, how I started working for Chili's or how I feel about it when I get to work...so there you go!  We have a great team, at the restaurant that I am at now, and managers that appreciate a job well done...which is encouraging!  They are understanding with my "not so bored" schedule and it's been a delight to work for Chili's these past few years...and hopefully many more to come!

I was not paid to feature this post!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about how I got my employment, nor about the award I received. 

SPRING BREAK - Day 5 - Nature, A Fabulous Friend and FUN!

It's FRIDAY!  
We've survived SPRING BREAK so far!
It seems weird, because I've honestly lost track of the days this week because we've been so busy, keeping busy!  
This has honestly been an amazingly FUN and BUSY week!

I was not paid to post this feature!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about our nature walk at the Santa Rosa Plateau today.
This morning, we woke up, had breakfast and packed up a backpack full of snacks to head out on a Nature Hike with our sweet friend Patricia (who you'll be seeing on Broadway one day...mark my words)!
She was just in the Broadway Performance of Hairspray & is now starring in the Thoroughly Modern Millie Musical that starts next weekend!  
She has an amazing voice and zest for life...and we just LOVE HER!
We loaded up and drove to the Santa Rosa Plateau, which is actually only a few miles away from our house...and we spent some time in nature!  




 


It was the perfect day temperature wise and we walked probably 7 miles today today total.    
We walked and walked and walked some more!



We met a few little critters along the way, including a couple puddles full (FULL) of tadpoles.  CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW!  We all thought this was pretty cool!  Thankfully, we didn't run into any mountain lions or rattlesnakes (though we were warned that they were out, so to be aware)!
Despite a little bit of whines towards the end of the walk, we didn't have any injuries, only got a little muddy and laughed & talked the whole time.  SO FUN!!




If you're ever in the area and want to spend some time in nature, fill your lungs with some fresh air and detach your kids from their electronics/video games for awhile, then venture out to the Santa Rosa Plateau.

The best part of the day?  ALL OF IT!
Our youngest thought we literally walked 100 miles by the end!  
He was so happy to see the parking lot and our van.  
The picture above (see above) was our "WE SURVIVED OUR SANTA ROSA PLATEAU EXCURSION" today!

No products were sent for this feature!  I was not compensated in any way by posting our experience at the Santa Rosa Plateau.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

SPRING BREAK - Day 4 - $20 Mall Challenge With The Kids

I surprised the kids this morning with a bit of a challenge for Spring Break Day 4!
They had just gotten up and I had already laid out 4 $20 bills on the counter...which they were all curious about, as soon as they saw them.
The kids are going to explain to you what the challenge is:
So I was totally HANDS OFF this morning!  
That meant that they had to get completely "MALL READY" on their own.  
I didn't help the girls with their hair.  
I didn't help the boys with their outfits.  
They had to make sure to have some way of keeping their money on them (without me carrying it in my purse or wallet), etc.
We headed to the mall and when we got there, they decided they wanted to scout out their "food options" first.  So we browsed the "FOOD COURT" at the mall and they figured out, in their minds, what they were willing to spend on their lunches.  Then we did a lap around the mall to see what sales, deals and specials were going on.

They were hungry around 11:15, so we found the perfect place to eat and I watched all four of them go up, on their own, and order & pay for their food.  SO FUN!  They did great, they budgeted wisely and they all enjoyed the lunches they bought by themselves.  BEST LUNCH EVER!

Then we shopped!  
We walked and shopped and walked and shopped!  
I was SHOCKED!  They were not sure how to spend the rest of their money.
Of course, the youngest was the FIRST to spend all of his money.  
After his lunch (he had a slice of pizza & drink), he bought a ring/necklace from Hot Topic on clearance (that's my bargain shopping boy), some candy from the vending machine, a container of cotton candy from the Candy Store and a Star Wars figure from the Disney Store.  I'd say, all in all, he did a good job SPENDING his $20.  
He did have to borrow $.05 from his big sister in the end, for his last purchase, but he did great!
Next up, our youngest daughter spent her money.  
She bought a chicken sandwich/french fries, and then she bought a cherry lemonade from Hot Dog On A Stick, she paid $2 to spend time in a Hurricane Simulator machine, she bought some candy out of the vending machine, she bought a Carmel Double Chocolate Apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and finally spent her last dollar on a machine that pretty much jacked her dollar (didn't work right).
Our oldest daughter, was tight with her money!
She wanted something to show for it.  She bought her lunch (a chicken sandwich), she proceeded to not spend another cent until our "third" trip into Forever 21.  
She bought a pair of Aviator sunglasses and a pair of summer shorts.  
She was pretty proud of her purchases.
Lastly, our oldest son enjoyed his mall trip and time with NO Video Game/ PHONE in his face!
He bought a Subway Sandwich for lunch with a drink, he bought himself a gumball from the vending machine, he played a couple $1.00 games (didn't win anything), and finally, he purchased a COKE on the way out of the mall.  
He left the mall with $10.00 left in his wallet from our day trip and a smile on his face.
OUR DAY was SO FUN!  
The kids really enjoyed having the freedom and the responsibility of making sure they ate well and they budgeted & spent their money the way they wanted to.  They actually got along fairly well, considering we probably made about 8 full laps around the mall and we were there for over 3 hours, and there's four of them.  
I'm PROUD of them and glad we got to spend Spring Break Day 4 like this!  

I was not paid to feature this post!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about my idea to get the kids out of the house today, nor any of the stores or items we bought.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SPRING BREAK - Day 3 - Sleep In's, Pancakes, and A BASEBALL GAME

Today is day three of our kid's SPRING BREAK!  
We've been practically on the go since SPRING BREAK started...so today, we took it NICE AND EASY!!

There were no products sent for this review/feature!  I was not offered any monetary compensation by posting about our third day of spring break!

I think the last child emerged from her room at 11:00 am.  
YES...you read that right!  
We have several bonefide TEENAGERS in the house, and they LIKE TO SLEEP IN!
I made pancakes this morning!  
It's funny, because there was a time, several years ago, when I HATED making pancakes.  I totally sucked at it!  Now, it's something that we do a few times a week.  And they are "healthy" pancakes to boot!  Yes, they have chocolate chips in them, but the batter is high in protein and so delicious too!  It's nice to have the extra time (since the kids aren't in school), to not have to rush and I can take my time making their breakfast.
I made sure to wear my www.lovewater.org t-shirt...to show my support of World Water Day!
I did some laundry too...because, well, we always have laundry to do around here, and it hasn't been getting done with all of our running around!
We ran a few errands...to Target (we have a SUPER TARGET that we grocery shop at), to Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Joann's Fabric.  We bought a few things for the wedding and then we literally HUNG OUT for the rest of the afternoon.  
The girls watched YouTube videos and the boys played on the Nintendo Switch.  
It has been a very CHILL afternoon!
I got this shirt on Zulily.com and I love it!

Finally, we ended the evening with a Baseball Game at the local park.  
We went to watch and cheer on our little BASEBALLER!  
They WON their game!

Considering it's been non-stop, it was nice to have a day, in the middle of a busy SPRING BREAK week, to just enjoy each other's company, our home and not be constantly on the go!  

I was not paid to feature this post!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about our third day of SPRING BREAK!! 

WORLD WATER DAY - With @LoveWaterOrg

I can't imagine living in a world where I had to offer my kids water that was contaminated with GOD knows what.

Where I had to give them baths, clean their bedding and cook their food in water that is DISEASE RIDDEN & down right nasty!

CAN YOU IMAGINE?

I was not offered any monetary compensation by posting my honest opinion about this non-profit.  We have supported this cause personally and hope to continue helping spread the word about the good they are doing all over the world.
 For years now, our family has supported LoveWater.Org with donations, my kids had "SANTA" bring filters to villages instead of bringing them Christmas presents one year, and even in sharing with others about their cause...to help SPREAD THE WORD!
Today is World Water Day!  
So we celebrate with LoveWater.Org for all the good they have done already and the amazing changes they have helped so many families make already...and SO MANY MORE TO COME!

Here's a couple YouTube videos we have made over the past several years and it shows how we've explained to them how lucky they are to have clean water available to them ALL THE TIME:

If you're feeling generous and would like to help make a difference today for someone who doesn't have a choice in offering CLEAN WATER to their family's...
CLICK HERE to make a donation!

Big or small, all donations matter!

I was not paid to feature this post!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about this cause!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SPRING BREAK - Day 2 - Ice Cream, Bowling & Dinner At Chilis

Today was DAY TWO of our kids "EPIC" Spring break adventures!  
Okay, maybe they aren't EPIC, but I am doing the best I can to keep us busy, out of the house (as much as possible) and at the same time...be mindful of $$.  

No products were sent for this review/feature!  I was not offered any monetary compensation by posting my honest opinion about these products or places we went to for Day 2 of Spring Break.
After lunch today, we ventured to Lake Elsinore Outlets to browse some shops, enjoyed some fresh air and they each had a delicious ice cream cone from Dairy Queen (we had some gift card money left over from Christmas).  They were thrilled that they had chocolate soft serve ice cream available for their snacking pleasure and I was thrilled that it cost nothing to get them this SPRING BREAK snack, thanks to a leftover Christmas present from their "soon to be" Grandma & Grandpa!
Thanks guys!
Who doesn't love a sweet, ice cold treat?
Our youngest daughter found this shirt, at The Children's Place outlet store, that she just HAD TO HAVE...and we found a couple t-shirts for my bonus son (baseball player) too.  
The t-shirts were only $5 a piece.  SCORE!
Then, we headed to the Bowling Alley.  We scored a GROUPON for 2 hours of bowling for six people...for $45.  That was a great deal, considering it's really the ONLY WAY we, as a family of eight, can afford to take all of us bowling.
This was a great way to get all six of the kids together to play, compete and enjoy time together as a family!  
Finally, we ended our evening at the restauarant I work at.  Not only is the food delicious, but the discount I receive as an employee, makes it an affordable place for us to take the whole family to.  Our party of eight looks like QUITE a party...when in actuality, it's just our family, out for dinner.  Thank goodness my co-workers are understandable, and our kids are pros at ordering just what they like on the menu.
Plus, it's always fun to get personalized service while we are there!

Today was a terrific (if you ask our youngest daughter) second day of SPRING BREAK!  I think I'd definitely have to agree with her.

What's your favorite thing to get at Diary Queen?  A Dilly Bar?  A blizzard?
When was the last time you went bowling?
Leave a comment below!

I was not paid to feature this post!  I was not compensated in any way by posting about the activities that we, out of our own pockets, paid for, to entertain our kids for their second day of Spring Break 2017.