laid off and learning to love it… my journey from corporate sprinter to life marathoner

sahm: summer bucket trip to youngs dairy 06/06/2012

Filed under: Activities — ccatet @ 8:20 am

last week, we made the one hour trek on 70W to young’s dairy near yellow springs.

we all loved it, and here’s why:

farm animals, check.

sinks to wash hands after petting farm animals, check.

large tractors to climb on, check.

burlap bag slide where my kids could catch some air, check.

an enclosed play area with plenty of shade where the kids could play, run, get really dirty and worn out, check.

homemade ice cream, check.

happy kids and mama, check.

read my guest post at cbusmom.com for more information and some tips if you decide to make the trip! Fun times!


sahm: summer bucket of fun 2012

Filed under: Activities,Parenting — ccatet @ 6:46 am

it’s summertime, and i have a plan.

although i can’t believe it, this is my FOURTH year and my fourth summer home with the kids. i have learned much about myself – and them – in these years. during the summer, one of the things i have learned is that i need a loose framework through which to manage the long days, especially for the times when no formal activities are scheduled.

i can’t help it, i like a plan. you can go ahead and call it a schedule.

and yes, there is a summer daily checklist. it’s a sickness, i tell you.

the checklist essentially is the framework for our daily life during the summer. i won’t bore you with the other four things on our summer daily checklist, but i will tell you about the most exciting part of the checklist for the kids: the summer fun activity.

our full list of summer fun activities shall from this point forward be known as our summer bucket of fun.

thanks to pinterest, i took the bucket idea from here and browsed this list of 100 things to do with your kids this summer. i then asked the kids what they wanted to do this summer. i looked at our calendar with their camps and classes and decided to pare the list down to approximately 40 activities so we would essentially have something fun (and new) to do every weekday this summer – mostly for the days when there was not another activity formally scheduled.

don’t freak out. some of these activities are as simple as doing hopscotch in the driveway – and as big as going to kings island.

here is a picture of our bucket. 

and here are the 40+ items on those clips you see.

  1. tie dye t-shirts
  2. draw self portraits
  3. make oobleck (slime)
  4. have a lemonade stand – donate half money to food pantry
  5. have hopscotch fun
  6. do some sand play at a beach (alum creek, huntington, etc)
  7. go bowling
  8. make puppets
  9. camp out with tent in backyard
  10. make beaded necklaces
  11. donate time / volunteer
  12. make bird feeders
  13. go to a parade
  14. visit cosi – farm days
  15. visit cosi – big machines days
  16. visit youngs dairy
  17. pick strawberries
  18. pick peaches – utica
  19. visit ice cream factory – ye olde mill in utica
  20. pottery painting – clay cafe visit
  21. build boats from juice containers and find a place to test their floatability
  22. swim at friends’ outdoor pool
  23. visit jungle jacks
  24. visit anthony thomas for a factory tour
  25. bike ride to DQ
  26. go to a baseball game at huntington park
  27. go to movie at dollar theatre
  28. make chalk paint and paint up driveway
  29. collect crayon bits around house and melt into large crayons
  30. build an obstacle course
  31. go to kings island
  32. draw a play city on butcher paper, tape to floor – add directionals, cars, etc
  33. go to a fair – ross county, ohio state, etc
  34. visit inside trampoline place
  35. visit santa maria downtown pirate ship
  36. work on an art project with lids
  37. show a movie in the backyard projected onto house – invite friends to bring canned food for donation
  38. make homemade ice cream
  39. go to pb&j jazz
  40. visit olentangy caverns
  41. go to a columbus commons friday funday
  42. have a mini-olympics session

for the summer, in an attempt to fire up my writing again, i will share some of the things we get into. also, i will share what we choose to bag and why, mainly so you can get entertainment from my failures and hopefully avoid my mistakes. we also may add some new ideas in as we stumble on them… i am crazy like that.

in all honesty, i think my kids would read books and play legos every day this summer and not be bored for a minute. and for those days when they ask for this “schedule” and nothing else, i am happy to skip the bucket and let them run the show. but for those days when they are looking for adventure, i am glad i won’t have to think too hard to keep them engaged. the work around this bucket is done so i just can pull ideas whenever i need them.

i have to say, it’s good to be spontaneous – and i do it much better when i know about it ahead of time.


sahm: dinosaur bones in cleveland 01/31/2011

Filed under: Activities,General — ccatet @ 3:14 pm

several times during my childhood, my mom took my brother and i to the cleveland museum of natural history. one of my favorite parts was climbing the huge stegosaurus out front! i was excited when i learned that this museum was also FREE with a COSI membership – and yes, the stegosaurus is still there!

considering my 4Y son is enamored with dinosaur bones, i thought it would be fun to check it out with him. click here to read part 2 of my museum day guest post on the cbusmom blog!

it was a fun but long day. thankfully, the most expensive thing about the day was taking the kids to red robin for dinner… but the unlimited french fries always have a way of perking me up! YUMMMMMM!


sahm: going new places, doing new things 01/25/2011

Filed under: Activities — ccatet @ 8:43 am

a few weeks ago, i made a new friend at the rec center. this should come as a surprise as i tend to be somewhat anti-social with new people. remember, i don’t like people? however, she was funny, friendly, and normal. plus, we’re both aspiring to run more. and so, a new friendship began.

a few days later, i learned that she writes a major columbus blog for parents! yay, new ideas AND a new friend! amazingly, she asked me to write a guest post for her – my first! i am thankful to her for reminding me that i have a blog. i had almost forgotten.

if you haven’t already checked her out, Cbus Mom is a great local site offering first-hand information on where to go and what to do with kids in columbus, ohio. today her guest post is part 1 of our recent trip to visit two museums in cleveland. Click here to read it!


sahm: sing it, mama 08/24/2009

Filed under: Activities,Laid Off,Parenting,SAHM Choice — ccatet @ 10:07 am

i have always liked to sing. i usually sing in the car and around the house, especially when music is on. now that i am home full time, my kids now hear me sing – a lot. at first, my son was NOT a fan. he would often tell me to stop singing. as you can imagine, this did not go over well.

he used to really hate it when groups of people sang songs, especially “happy birthday.” at his 2nd birthday party last november, he actually cried when everyone started to sing to him! my husband and i talked about it and we knew there was something wrong but we didn’t know how (nor did we really have time) to try to figure it out with both of us working full time.

when i was first home with them, i started putting music on a lot: in the car, in the house, and for no reason other than for background sound. i sang along and was often told to stop. but i kept going. i found some tunes for him – silly kids songs that were still tolerable for adults (ex. laurie berkner, justin roberts). i referred to this music as HIS music. i think it worked.

amazingly enough, in the past 6 months, i have been so fortunate to witness my son overcome his social dislike of singing. and to top it off, he sings himself! his mind is like a steel trap so if i stop singing mid-song, he can finish almost every verse. his vocabulary has expanded one hundred times over, just from lyrics.

we now sing constantly. he asks for his music and wants it turned up louder. he yells, “sing it, mama!” if it’s a favorite song of his. we sing together. it’s awesome.

the best part is that for my birthday 3 weeks ago he actually sang to me, by himself, at the breakfast table that morning. i cried. one of my best mommy moments ever.

sometimes you don’t know how to *fix* or work through an issue or phase with your kids… you just live your life and hope it works itself out. i don’t think this one would have worked itself out this quickly or with as much enjoyment (for both of us) had i still been working.

so for this alone, i want to say thank you to my former employer for laying me off. totally worth it.


sahm: garden therapy, part 3 – pesto love 08/09/2009

Filed under: Activities,Garden,Saving Money — ccatet @ 1:47 pm

a few weeks ago, i cut my first crop of basil… keep in mind that i would have probably reaped 2 or more crops by now if not for the homemade insecticide fiasco, but let’s not relive that nightmare!

DSC_0122trimming the basil took no time at all, but i lingered over the task as the smell is truly heavenly. the kids only sleep for around 2 hours so i couldn’t hang out too long! once inside, i rinsed the basil and threw it into the food processor along with a few other ingredients and whipped up some pesto. we had no immediate plans for the pesto, so i froze everything. i had a full ice cube tray of pesto… yet i secretly wondered if we’d ever eat it?

low and behold, the time came upon us. last night, i decided to make pasta, salad and french bread with baked pesto & parmesan on top.

DSC_0124not to be outdone, my brother delivered homemade tomato sauce – 14 cups – just before i started cooking! i am grateful for the sauce as it will last us until winter, but seriously, what does he feed his garden???

i added a cube of pesto and ground turkey to the simmering sauce, baked the bread, then cut the bread up to broil the pesto and parmesan on top.

i have to say that the pesto bread plus the homemade sauce (with added pesto) were      FA-BU-LOUS.

so far this gardening thing is not so bad, now i am just waiting on our zucchini. it’s been almost 3 months since i planted that monstrosity and only have one small zucchini to show for it. the full plant is seriously taking over the dirt pit! everyone keeps saying it looks good and healthy and they will come – i guess i just have to wait and see…


sahm: garden therapy, part 2 07/09/2009

Filed under: Activities,Garden — ccatet @ 7:24 am

the garden is doing better than originally expected! however, the current theme song is probably something along the lines of Against All Odds (Phil Collins)… so no celebrating yet. the basil is coming in nicely and i am planning to try my hand at pesto next week. also, there is hope for the zucchini plant but no actual fruit as of press time. i suppose we can just mooch off of my brother if we want more zucchini… his garden is ridiculous.

here are some photos i took yesterday… first, the basil:



second, the zucchini plant with the basil:

basil, zucchini & pinwheels

basil, zucchini & pinwheels

third, a picture of the amount of space we have to expand the garden next year… hmmmm. not sure i am that ambitious (nor do i think my son will willingly give up his dirt pit real estate)!

full garden

full garden

i can’t help but think about my numbers for this venture. for myself and the other analysts out there, i am batting .500 right now. i started with 8 basil plants and 2 zucchini plants, however only 4 basil and one zucchini plant remains. i still haven’t thrown any fertilizer or additional dollars at the garden. i am really not sure i like it that much to invest in it – yet.

i am remaining open-minded though. the garden is nice to look at and it’s peaceful to take a few minutes every morning or evening to water the plants (as long as my son is not around because when he is, i end up soaked!)

honestly, i want to pick the basil and see what happens next. i am hoping we’ll all have the experience of picking our own fruit from the garden and eating it.

talk to me next week when we try to make homemade pesto. perhaps when we can actually eat and taste something we grew, i will sing a happy tune… a little I Can See Clearly Now (Jimmy Cliff) would be really nice.