The unofficial end of summer?

Temperatures in the Phoenix area are still in the triple digits.

That’s okay, I wasn’t ever on the pumpkin spice bandwagon anyway.

Here’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods lately:

Reframing summer as winter

I had a really hard time this summer because it’s not in my DNA to stay inside in July. That feels like something invalids do, you know? But when Caitlin was here in early July, we nearly killed ourselves in the 115-degree heat. OK, exaggeration, we didn’t get hospitalized, but when we got in the car one day, it said it was 120, and I’m sure that was an exaggeration (you know how cars get), it got me really frustrated.

Until I realized that July = January and August = February, months that certainly have always sucked in the Pacific Northwest.

So, I did what I typically do in those yucky months: I turned to the kitchen.

Clara and I have been baking a little, and also fermenting a lot. One fun thing about living here is that we keep our house at 77-78 degrees, which if you’re not from Arizona is very warm, and if you’ve lived here a long time, you think, “WHOA you guys must love sending the power company all your money!” and that means things ferment faster here than they ever did in Oregon.

Brent’s been making sourdough, although the temperatures have made that a little challenging (he’ll figure it out though, he’s smart). I have made umpteen batches of kombucha (Clara calls it kom-dap-dah) but recently stopped because apparently, there’s still too much caffeine in the finished product for a toddler to have (or an adult to have in the late afternoon).

Instead, I’ve turned to two things: water kefir and probiotic sodas. Water kefir is this weird grain thing that eats sugar and turns it into this bread-ish water that is delightful when mixed with some sort of fruit (I really like lemon, which will SOON be free, but for now still comes from the store). It’s decidedly hydrating, but has NO sour tang or caffeine, so I feel better about giving it to Clara.

But probiotic sodas ARE SO FUN. First, you make a ginger bug, which is just ginger and sugar in water. It has to get fed daily (it eats more sugar and more ginger) for “five days” (quotes because everything is shorter here!) and by the end of that, you no longer have ginger syrup, you have this fizzy concoction that smells slightly of booze (or more than slightly if you grate the ginger — so don’t do that, it’s gross, chop it up fine). Then, you make your soda.

I’ve made:

  • Ginger ale/ginger beer — sometimes with citrus, sometimes just ginger + sugar (although not nearly as much sugar as in commercial sodas)
  • Root beer — which has been “OK not great” at its most successful batch
  • Fruit soda — right now, I have a guava soda sitting on my counter, waiting to go into the fridge once it has reached optimum fizzitude

As someone who didn’t grow up drinking pop with calories in it, this has been a fun experiment while also feeling a bit naughty, because I’m definitely drinking more calories than I used to.

But that’s not the reason I’ve gained weight.

Baby girl Celmins #2 coming in February 2019!

I’m in my second trimester of pregnancy, and it’s finally sinking in: we’re going to have another family member just after the holiday season!

Okay, no… it hasn’t sunk in. You should see the “nursery” aka the place where all the boxes of baby clothes are just sitting out.

We learned about her sex early, which was fun, but has made finding her a name all the more urgent and stressful.

I keep having to remind myself that we didn’t even know Clara was a girl until week 20, which I’m not even in yet.

But she’ll have a name, and since I’ve done this once already, I am not worried as much about being a good mom/good entrepreneur combo.

I mean, my office is in my house these days, which also has Clara’s rocking chair, and once baby girl #2 (Sara, Carla, Claire) is here, she’ll be joining me while she’s in her crying baked potato stage.

Also, I now know that the ideal balance does not exist, and that seeking balance is just another way to feel guilty about not doing enough.

Showing my kids what work looks like is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Speaking of work…

Gaining momentum over at Dabble Media!

I’m doing my best to get out in my community and network to let other business owners know what to expect from me.

I’ve joined Toastmasters, joined the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, attended a bunch of networking breakfasts/lunches/etc., and I’m already seeing results. No, not in terms of clients booked necessarily, but in terms of confidence.

I keep having to remind myself that I joined the personal finance community in 2011, so I can’t expect to become a part of a new community after a couple weeks of handing out business cards.

But we’re working with a few new clients, and I’m really proud of what we’re building! I’m also working on a product for people who are not going to spend a ton of money hiring out promotion, and I’m excited about that, too.

Check out the sales page: dabblemedia.com/toolkit

I got some really great feedback from one of the people we’re working with, too, which I have yet to implement publicly. Our main product is a year’s worth of marketing planning with an option to hire us to do your implementation. We send you a questionnaire, which you fill out, then book a call. We get on the phone (or video call, really) and map everything out. We figure out the projects you should focus on in the next 6-12 months that will get you the most bang for your buck. Then we send you a report, with every single project we discussed broken down into to-do list items.

It’s awesome, and to one business owner, completely overwhelming.

“What I’d like from you in addition is a summary: here’s what we should focus on first, here’s how long I think it will take, and here’s what it will cost. Send me that, and you have a customer.”

I said okay, great idea.

She said, “no, send me that. And we’ll start working together.”

Which I think is a great idea! Not just for her, but for other business owners as well.

See, I think the problem is that people who don’t want to think about marketing don’t want to pay 1500 for a marketing plan, no matter how detailed and thorough.

So what I’ll be offering in the future is a scaled down version of that (and I’ll do my best to use the word promotion instead of marketing because everyone wants their business promoted!).

Instead of 2 hours + research + a huge report for 1500, we’ll do 30-minutes + research where you get that one-page plan for your next project. It’ll cost 300, and you can apply that cost to our a la carte pricing if you hire us to implement it. We’ll work on a super-tight timeframe, and it’ll be awesome.

I’m excited to make that happen, but right now it’s on the back burner while I get the toolkit product to a point where I can sell it.

Ashley’s coming this month!

I’m hoping it will have cooled off enough to do fun outside things when Ashley and Elliot come visit at the end of this month, but if not, there are plenty of inside things to do. She’s coming during a weekend where Brent is out of town to play board games, so this will be like our girls’ weekends of the past only this time with two-year-olds and a pregnant lady.

But other than that, JUST LIKE those girls weekends we had in college. 🙂

Fake Christmas

If you know me, you know how I feel about Christmas on a scale of 1-Buddy the Elf. So when I realized I wouldn’t be able to travel for Christmas this year (due to being ~6 weeks from a due date with insurance that won’t cover me if I’m more than 30 miles from home), and Caitlin/Andrew/Dad wouldn’t be able to come here because Andrew has one of those work schedules that say UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU TAKE EVEN ONE DAY OFF IN DECEMBER, I pitched fake Christmas.

See, my aunt Maureen married a guy who has four grown daughters, two of which happen to live within 15 minutes of me. They come out here twice a year from Nebraska, so my grand scheme of a plan was to get Dad/Caitlin/Andrew down here the same weekend Maureen and John are coming, and to have a holiday celebration (sans presents!) when they come.

It’s a great plan, because:

  • I’ll have a reason to decorate an entire month early
  • I get to see my favorite people
  • No one actually has other plans on some random Saturday in October (unlike every single Saturday in December)
  • I get to decorate early
  • We get to eat one more holiday meal than we usually would

So, fake Christmas it is. I hand-made invitations, and they’re going in the mail this week.

No ugly sweaters, no forced gifting.

In fact, the gifting we’re doing is a “found object” white elephant gift exchange. The rules are that you have to bring something in your house that you’re not using. I think it’ll be hilarious (especially given what I’ve found!). Low key. Inexpensive. Non-consumer.

Also, this gives me something fun to look forward to when it seems like the thermometer outside (which, PS, I totally need one) won’t drop below 100 ever.

I do believe we’re heading into cooler months, and I’m excited for that. There are cool hikes (and some are not so strenuous!) around here, and we have some exploring to do.

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