Sunday, August 09, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

What About Your Business? What is 'The Plan'?

A question that I'm getting a lot about this whole new adventure of living on the boat is "But what about your business?" and "What's *The Plan*"?

Back in February, we leased a space and started working towards opening up our own business.  Patrick would be working on fixing up used cars and reselling them for a profit.  I would be building a creative-artist's environment in the front.  It was a very... well, let's just say the plan was more to offer a place where the artistic and creative types could come and create/teach/facilitate and we'd share in the income from those events.  That's a very short version of the plan for Always TalentHouse.

We've already made a lot of memories here.  Photo shoots, art exhibit, dance classes, kids day camps, meetings, auditions, acting workshops... I LOVE this place!!!

I hate to think of letting this glorious, amazing space sit empty.  I am incredibly frustrated that my husband put so much time and effort into making this the kind of space that we wanted to be in if we're not even going to be here to use it. I hate the thought of giving up on my business idea after putting soooo much time and money (and anxiety!!!) over the last 6 months into it.

BUT (you know I'll always have a big butt ... hardy har har) I wouldn't want to put a year or more into building a business and then have to leave it even MORE.  And yeah, if there was a way back machine that would take me back 6 months, I'd have decided against trying to open a business right now anyway.  It is what it is.  I can only make a decision from where I'm at right now.

I don't know if it will be making enough money to sustain itself by the time we leave, so I can just hire a manager to take over while we travel for a bit.  I don't know if it will still just be limping along at the same money-draining pace it is at right now.  I don't know what decision we'll have to make here in the next few months as we prepare to take off on this new adventure.

And we really don't have a concrete plan to close the business at this point.  We don't really have a concrete plan about anything long term at all.  The "Plan" is essentially to go spend a few weeks on a boat to see if we like it.  The kids and I have been on a boat only once or twice.  And that was a small speed boat and a short trip.  We may hate it, we may love it.

The point at which we've spent 3-4 weeks on a boat... THAT is when we will make longer term plans.

If we hate it, then Patrick will finish updating and fixing up the boat and we'll sell it at a profit (one reason we looked for a really good deal on a fixer upper boat in the first place), or we'll like it well enough to spend our winters on the water OR we'll love it and decide to stay on it for as long as we want to.

I imagine that it will be very similar to living on the bus.  Other than the financial stresses and lack of contact (this was pre-everyone has a cell phone-and service everywhere and definitely pre-internet access on the road!) we were dealing with, living on the bus was AMAZING.  Until it wasn't.  There was a time after 2 1/2-3 years when suddenly we were 'done'.  I think the boat experience will probably be pretty much the same.

At this point, the kids are all old enough or almost old enough that they'll be able to make that decision whenever they're ready.  That's a big part of the reason we want to go NOW.  Because our three youngest kids are very interested in trying it out, too, and they're in the prime time of life to give it a try.  They don't have jobs or apartments that they can't leave (unlike our oldest son).  They don't have families yet (like our oldest daughter) that would make it hard for them to leave.  This is a fantastic time for them to take a break from the "norm" and have one more adventure with us as a family before they decide what they want to to with their 'adulthood'.  One of them might get tired of it or hate it and decide to come back to Oklahoma.  One of them might fall in love with Australia and want to live there... the thing is, I don't KNOW what is going to happen.  I don't know what is going to happen if we were to stay here.

Our lives are always surprising us, and that is perfectly fine with me.  I like surprises, as long as I don't know they're coming ;)

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Vintage-Bohemian Style Bathroom

I started out wanting a Bohemian theme bathroom with a purple like this:

Alas, I couldn't find any color even remotely close... so I went with this (from one of those $1.99 bottles of acrylic at WalMart leftover from one of the kids projects):

When we moved in, the walls had about 6 layers of hideous wallpaper on them.  The original layer had been glued straight to the drywall, so taking it off quickly became a huge nightmare.  Nine months later, I finally got sick of looking at the yucky walls, so I decided to make a messy texture with some of the plaster stuff that my husband had used to fix the kitchen walls (again with the wallpaper glued to drywall).

After the walls were purple, I was REALLY unhappy with the wooden cabinet.  I printed off some free printables online and decoupaged until it was covered.

I powdered some of my soft pastels and mixed that with modge podge to add a touch of color to a few of the pieces:

Of course I had to cover the light switch and fan switch as well :)

I still need to figure out what I'm doing with the rest of the wood trim in the room, make some paintings to hang on the wall and frame some other things, but its looking MUCH MUCH better!

My hubby found this clock for me at a garage sale and it fits perfectly!

Shel Silverstein Inspired Kitchen Mural

I added some painted frames to pull the other colors over and Viola!  Done!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

House Updates! Where The Wild Things Are, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Dr. Who Murals!

For my colorful happy house!

Our front room is evolving a little 
(and see the peek of our Happy Good Morning bird?  That was a random painting moment on my part.  He makes us all smile:)

The gray lockers beside the "desk" are waiting for pretty, colorful paints... but I have to get the supplies for the sandblaster first.

Then, just as you come around the corner:

Then, as the kids leave their rooms, this is their first view:
(Yeah, we have some Dr. Who fans and Harold & the Purple Crayon fans here:)
 To the right is the hallway...
From that end of the house (my painting stuff is still on the floor, oops!)

Then this is the view from the front room.  The entryway isn't done, yet, but its in progress!

Trust me, I know this is WAYYYY too much color/activity for most people, but vibrant colors and the happy 'reading to my kids' memories are very very soothing to me.  I love it and it makes me happy every time I walk through the house now!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Fall Inspired Simple Kitchen Mural

We had this wall that was just... there.  We want to eventually build a shallow counter top and cabinets there for all of our counter top appliances that we use/want to use often (blenders, crock pot, juicer, mixer, pop corn popper) because it gets tedious always having to lug them in from the garage/pantry.

Anyway, I got inspired the other day and decided that for the time being, I'd paint a tree on the wall... I used the same pink and orange from the other walls in the kitchen:

I wish I could get a good photo, but I guess I'll have to do a video walk through at some point.  I love that in parts of the kitchen, you can see the teal of the living room ceiling, the green of the front room, and the pink and orange of the kitchen all at the same time!

Inspired by the trees in our back yard changing suddenly... I LOVE this weather!  Getting ready for company tonight, we're going to sit on the deck and eat chili... then build a fire in our temporary fire pit and have S'Mores!

What is your favorite fall activity?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Epic Online Charter School Review... a Peek Inside our Homeschool Day

We've homeschooled the kids almost exclusively since they've been born, really.  Learning doesn't start at some specific age as far as I can tell.  Out of my five kids, not one of them seems to learn the same things at the same rate.  They're so incredibly different, I'll admit its been a challenge to be their teacher.
Back to School!  Wonderful weather, so we can do work on the deck!
Sprite, the oldest, graduated a couple of years ago, having homeschooled the whole way through.

Kainan, my one child who thrives on schedules and structure (both of which are my biggest weaknesses), decided that he wanted to try public school last fall.  He's thriving in the public school system and loves it.
Kainan (middle) and his friends hanging out after school as usual.
Jaedin, Paris and Abyni are all still at home.  This year, however, we're using a virtual online charter school.  We tried to sign up for one last year and had so much trouble trying to even register that I finally gave up.  This year my friend Momma Jorje highly recommended Epic Charter School.  I decided to give it a try...

And so far, I love it.  I love the local teacher that is assigned to the girls and Jaedin's teacher is awesome as well.  

The way it works is that you sign up and get a learning fund once your transfer is approved.  The learning fund allows you to then buy curriculum for your child.  There are several curriculum options to choose from.  The girls (5th & 9th grades) chose "Compass" and Jaedin (a Senior at 16) chose "Advanced Academics".  Then you're assigned a local teacher who can meet with you and your student to do things like benchmark testing, reviewing assignments in person (like physical artwork type assignments or experiments, etc).  They're "on call" and our teachers have been AMAZING with responding to questions from the kids.  I really appreciate these teacher's patience especially as we work through the kinks of learning this new process!

I love the fact that I don't have to do lesson planning.  I don't have to do the grading, and we still have all of the benefits of homeschooling.  Jaedin, a super self motivated student, can work at his high speed rates and power through a year's worth of school in one semester.  The girls can work at their own pace, as long as they keep up... and even though we got a late start, they're catching up quickly.

The learning fund even allows for the rental of one of their laptops, which is a godsend for us!  The laptops are far more powerful than any of our home computers, so Paris can even use her for her elective... video editing & filming (Yep, they can even use a hobby that they want to learn more about as an elective in high school!)

**I will add that the curriculum that the girls chose (Compass) has been FULL of glitches, especially for Paris.  There are tons of things that aren't working, causing severe stalls in learning and a small pet peeve of mine, spelling errors in the English lessons.  I definitely will try Epic again, because their support has been awesome, but I will not choose Compass as a curriculum again.

Benefits of homeschooling?  Its different for everyone.  For us...

  • Getting to run in the yard with the dogs for P.E.
  • More family time
I love how well my kids get along and how close they are!
  • (My personal favorite) More time spent learning what they love to learn (Paris' special effects makeup, video filming & editing; Sewing & fashion design, yep!  Jaedin's guitar and piano lessons?  His Airsoft gun repair and business?  Yep!
  • One of Paris' most awesome SFX makeup styles yet!
  • Being able to work around our own schedules.  We are decidedly not morning people, but we can start school at 10:00 and still we're usually done by 3:00 every day, which is right around the time Kainan gets home from the Senior High!  Perfect timing!
  • Being able to work around different learning styles.
  • Not having to worry about unwanted daily influences that we don't want our kids exposed to on a constant basis.  Plus, as a benefit to others, my crazy kids aren't out there regularly influencing other people's children either... unless they're watching them on youtube.  Then, no guarantees.
She was able to learn and film several fun and interesting Halloween looks for her elective.
She uses Windows Movie Maker for editing video this year.  Next Semester, we may use the learning fund to invest in some photoshop software so that she can do more.
Taking Diva for a run = P.E.
Teaching Diva to fetch = Recess
Teaching Diva to fetch = FAIL.  Diva just looks at Abyni like she's nuts.  "Why do you keep showing me this toy and then throwing it away?  DO you think its coming back?"
Running with Paris and Diva because girls tire out faster than dogs.
And Diva can still be close by.  Thank goodness!

Jaedin, who is set to graduate early this year has taught himself guitar, Airsoft gun repair and is now working on voice and piano!

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Day in the Life Picture Post: Fall, Campfire Dinner and Family Time

This weekend, while the kids worked on yard work and helping Patrick get wood hauled in, I worked on artwork for Bean's Monkey Business on our deck.  I feel VERY spoiled with such a gorgeous view and PERFECT weather!  (Notice that small pile of wood from early in the day? You can see how much it grew at the end of this post!)

Patrick found these landscaping lights marked down from $13.99 to $1.00!  We got a bunch and now have fancy solar powered lights for around the deck and walk ways.  This will definitely help make our family & friends get togethers a little safer!

We borrowed a chain saw so that Patrick and the boys could chop wood from the creek.  We plan to use our fireplace this winter, as well as enjoying nights around the fire pit with friends as often as we can!

The Beginnings...

Patrick took a break from yard work to help Abyni make arrows for the Bow that they made earlier this fall:

 It works!  We just need to add arrows so that they'll fly farther (and straighter!)

Jaedin stayed busy burning leaves between chopping and carrying wood.  The wood pile is growing!

Look at all of that wood!  DANG!

Diva, waiting and hoping for some treats from Paris' dinner.  Hey, she's not at the table, right?  Technically no dogs at the table rules don't apply!

The kids chillaxin' by the fire after a hard day of work!
The view from the back side of our yard... ahhhhhhhhh!

I LOVE Fall!