Being Big Bird

in , , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do you remember watching Sesame Street as a kid? How about with your kiddies? Yes and Yes x 2 for me. One of my favorite characters is Big Bird.  For my first born, it was Elmo all the way; she only gave a brief nod to the sage wisdom that is Big Bird, but for my youngest; Big Bird was THE One!

 Maybe it's because he's Yellow and that is her favorite color, or maybe it's because my youngest appreciated that Big Bird wasn’t a know it all and was often asking questions because, "Asking questions is a good way of finding things out!"

Kids are really good about this, at least mine are. They ask me and my hubby questions all the time! So you Moms out there with 3 and 4 year olds thinking there might be an end to the non-stop Q & A, I say maybe not and that is a good thing! Feed their brains with your knowledge and truth first before the world tries to take over.
 So, why am I talking Big Bird this morning? Because I wanted to share an amazing tool with you, one that we all possess but may be underutilizing: the Art Of The Question and the often forgotten art of waiting for an answer.   Ask, listen. Repeat.  Small Talk.
 I have been offered 2 jobs in the last month and I am not even looking for work outside the home! I attribute these offers to my openness and my:  ask, listen, repeat way of interacting with others.
The first offer happened just as I entered the office at my daughter's school, signed the parent visitor log and was greeting the office staff.  I've been chatting with most of these ladies for the better part of 4 years, so when the main secretary asked me how I was, I replied  " great"   and then I stopped what I was doing, looked her in the eye and asked her how she was AND I waited for a response. I was open and in the moment, not three minutes down the hall in my mind and that's when she asked, Linda, would you want to substitute for us this morning?
 Just like that. A job I'd never even thought about doing was presented to me. I was so caught off guard that I told her I'd have to think about it. All the office staff chimed in assuring me they would help, they would make sure I had a trained aid in the class, etc.  I was honored and frightened and happy by turns. I left the office to go to my daughters classroom, telling these nice ladies I would think about it and let them know ASAP.
I told my oldest daughter about it and she said " Go For It", as did her teacher, who said I would be so good as a substitute because I have such positive energy. That had me smiling!
 I happened to run into my youngest daughter on the way back to the office and she was so excited about her Mommy being a sub that I was seriously considering it!
But I had questions, several questions in fact, just like Big Bird.  As soon as I walked back into the office, the secretary asked, Linda can you do it?   All eyes were on me as I asked my most important questions: What about a background check? Don't I need to be cleared by central office before I can sub?
Aha! They hadn't thought of that! They looked at one another and the secretary said " we thought you had already done all that and were cleared to sub, You'd be perfect for it".  Well, what do you know? They think I'd be perfect sub material, cool.
 I left the school with central office contact information, but more importantly I left with a new sense of self because these nice ladies had revealed a facet I didn't know was there. Not only did they think I was qualified to be a substitute teacher, they thought I'd be a good one!

My second job offer came Saturday at Sam's Club.  Did you know the sample ladies and gents don't actually work for Sam's Club but are sub-contractors? I know this because I ask questions and chat with these nice people who give me free food.  Well, I was standing there chatting with the lady who had just given me a sample of an herbal drink ( think super sweet green tea) when I noticed her name tag looked different from the other sample ladies that day, so I asked her what company she was with.
 I was just making small talk as I waited for my hubby to come back around the aisle. The next thing I know I'm being offered a job! Just like that. I asked a question, looked this lady in the eye showing a genuine interest in her and voila!,  I was being told all about the position, the pay, the flexible hours etc. Well, who knew?  I can be a sample lady and make more money than the Sam's Club hourly employees do.  I thanked this nice lady, assuring her I would think it over but I wasn't really looking for a job.  But hey, this WAHM is thinking it sure is nice to know I am employable should my needs change!
  Interesting. Big Bird is right! Asking questions is a good way of finding things out! It may also land you a job, so if you are looking for work outside the home, get out there and start chatting and asking questions. You never know who may be hiring. Don’t discount yourself or overlook a potential position just because you hadn’t thought of it.  You never know until you ask, listen, repeat.  Good luck!

Monday and My Plan

in , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Monday, March 21, 2011
It's going to be another busy, fun week here at my house.

Spring break continues for the girls and I, but hubby has to work so I'm on the look out for fun, cheap (or free) things to do.

My oldest daughter also turns twelve this week,  so we have lots going on to celebrate.
 She wants to make her own birthday cake from scratch because she's turned into a label reader herself and wants to be able to pronounce what's in her cake. Ah, sweet Mama payoff. See, they do listen! Okay sometimes.

Speaking of healthy eating, did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? There’s no better time than now for you and your family to commit to more wholesome snacking options. My Blog Spark has asked me to help spread the word about Yoplait's healthy snack options, and in return, I get a chance to win a Yoplait prize pack. Yay!  

 My whole family will Love it if I do win because we run through Yoplait's Fiber One Key Lime Pie pretty quickly!  Moms: here's a snack tip, put your yogurts in the freezer for a couple of hours for a yummy frozen treat!

 To give Yoplait a hand in expanding its community on Facebook, and to keep up with all the exciting news and offers we have in store for fans, be sure to use this link to “Like” Yoplait on Facebook today.

*  Grab a free cup while supplies last during the Million Cup Giveaway on Yoplait on Facebook! *  You can print coupons from their Facebook fan page as well, which I will gladly use because I'm going to take part in Yoplait Light’s Two Week Tune Up Plan!
 Here's what Yoplait says:
Start spring off right with Yoplait Light’s Two Week Tune Up Plan – Replace breakfast and lunch with a cup of your favorite flavor of Yoplait Light, a whole grain and a piece of fruit and you could lose 5 pounds in two weeks. Go to for full diet details.
Please join me in Yoplait's effort to help us all eat better in March and in the future by clicking here and liking Yoplait on Facebook today.  Thank you!
Happy Friday!

 I wanted to end the week by sharing this wonderful article on the misconceptions of multitasking. I know I have been guilty of trying to squeeze just one more thing in that power hour.
Except for the talking on the phone while emailing thing, I try my very best to avoid that one like the plague! On the very rare occasions when I must, I feel bad if I'm not talking to the very person I'm emailing because I know they can hear me typing! I feel it's rude not to give my phone conversation 100% of my attention.
Please visit Wendy and read:
5 Productivity Misconceptions of Multitasking

then come back and let me know your thoughts. Do you find it rude when you are on the phone and you can hear the other person typing? Think friend to friend here, not business calls.

Monday and My Plan

in , , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Monday, March 14, 2011
This week is a continuation of projects I started last week.

 March 8th was International Women's Day.  I recognized the day by visiting sites, learning more and sharing a link here, but did you know that the 8th was also National Home Office Organization Day?  I didn't think so.

 I didn't know about this day either until a story popped up on Google!  In the spirit of this day I thought I'd share some of the tasks I did on the 8th and what I hope to accomplish this week.

·           Emptied my inbox. No, not emails. The ever so neat looking "inbox" sitting on the top shelf of my desk with all manner of notes, to-do's , half-finished  projects and the like.  Nothing urgent enough to do ASAP.  I have a folder just for those projects.
   Seems I've let this task go for a while. I unearthed some love notes from my girls and re-read each with a smile straight from my soul.  No wonder they are still here I think to myself.  I’m such a clever lady to have put them back to re- discover them later.
  Hmm, what else do I have in here? Pizza coupons.  The email address to a contact I've already put in my hubby's business contacts,   school fundraiser forms (you know the kind sent home almost daily until the event)?  I know I volunteered or sent in the money/drink/gadget required because,   see?  There’s my check in the top right corner indicating DONE in my world.  So why do I still have the paper? Cause my neat looking inbox hides oh so many secrets.

·          I did a quick eenie, meenie, miny, moe to decide which file cabinet to open first.  Left or right.
 Left being the behemoth holder of ALL and right the smaller less frightening holder of how to manuals, notebooks and trade publications with important articles for hubby.  Yes! I do read them and turn down the corners of interesting articles.   I am his secretary after all and you could learn a lot about the state of our economy by reading what is going on in the housing industry, but let me not stray too far from the subject:  file cabinet on the right was my best option last Tuesday.  35 minutes later I felt pretty good about the overall state of affairs in that file cabinet, but alas, I broke my stapler!  Darn the luck, looks like I'll just have to put off file cabinet on the left until I purchase a suitable replacement.

·            Next, I took everything off my desk and gave it a good cleaning. Not just a dry dusting, nope. Warm, slightly sudsy,   lemony scented water and a nice towel dry.
Okay, you may be yawning at this point and saying to yourself: Boring!  Trust me on this one: a clean and shiny desk in an office that smells good equals a happy work zone.  I also de-cluttered. The pencil sharpener that didn't really do more than gnaw the pencils?  Tossed and added to my list of needed office supplies.

And so went my morning. I had a box of recycling and the lid full of shredding and a nice happy work zone to show for it.
Today I am  still minus a stapler (I was way too busy flying kites and re- learning archery with my family to go running to the office supply store this weekend) so this week:
 I've decided to tackle the sideboard in my dining room that doubles as work/family filing and storage. I'm a bit nervous because I can't quite remember the last time I took everything out of this lovely piece. Wish me luck.

 I'm also going to do away with the ever present basket of incoming stuff that has taken up semi-permanent residence on my kitchen counter. It's full of receipts, coupons, pictures, cards, washers, nails, cameras, and better keeps because this looks important to (insert appropriate family member). 

It’s amazing how much time I have to spring clean my office and home now that I’m no longer working in direct sales. It’s true what they say about less is more. I feel more efficient and in control.  Please try to do yourself the favor of cleaning off your desk and maybe ridding yourself of the clutter of too many things on your plate.  You and your family will reap the benefits.

Walking has long been a part of my healthy living regimen, but last week I noticed that my once "easy" 1-mile power walk wasn't quite so easy.

If I was pushing myself to power it up in a brisk 15-minute mile on Monday, well being jazzed about a 2-mile power walk with weights on Tuesday seemed...torturous!

Sunday is all about family time here and this Sunday was no different, so as I'm picking out paint colors and listening to the happy chatter from my oldest daughter, it occurred to me the reason why I was pooped after one measly mile!

 My blog! Yikes! I LOVE my blog! But, is this love making my jeans a tidge tighter just like my hubby's eating habits did way back in our dating days?

Yep, sad I know but true. Blogging is a sedentary hobby or job ( depending on your blog) and I have fallen prey to the PC spread! I try to watch the clock and limit my time online, but still, I obviously need to do better.

 Maybe I will take my walking outside now that there is a hint of spring in the air. Maybe I will be joining the local walking club.

 I'll play with the kids after school for just a few more minutes. Maybe I'll just get out on my land and climb up our hill a couple times.

So that's my plan for the day ( and week, and Please!) the month: Move more, type less. Be a clock watcher (online and off), schedule
moving just like I schedule everything else.

Is your blog making your butt look big too? How about your mates? Are you leading a too sedentary lifestyle?

For once, we ladies aren't the only ones suffering, oh no, the guys with desk jobs have it even worse! Check out this great article I just read on how to avoid on the job weight gain
and then stand up, do a few quick squats, run to the kitchen and down a glass of water. Then come back here and let me know what you think! 

Remember to smile, treat yourself well and put the oxygen mask on yourself first!