10 Reasons Why You Should Hire Me

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hi, my name is Alison and you should hire me. You can see my resume here and my corporate website here, and below, are 10 other reasons which are not on my resume on why I would be a great addition to your team.


1. I had my first "T4 providing" job going into grade 9. My father came home one night in the summer of 1993 congratulating me on my new job as a canteen attendant at the Quinte Sports Centre. I was the first of my friends with a job, and funny enough once my friends found out I was working, one by one they too were getting jobs. In other words, I'm a trend setter for teens.

2. I have never been fired from a job. Ok, that one babysitting job in grade 9 where I did have friends over when I was told not to did result in the "we no longer need you" talk, but other than that, each new job I accepted were fabulous opportunities I jumped on.

3. I once had a serious debate on an elevator ride with my peers about wishing I was a unicorn with an invisible horn. My peers fought a great case as to why being an unicorn with an invisible horn was the same as a horse, but I still believe they are not the same.



4. While visiting a friend in Newfoundland, I started a breakdance competition at one of the popular bars on George Street. Sadly when I tried to get one started in a Toronto Bar it was shut down when I asked the bar staff for cardboard boxes.  Basically, I think random dance parties are fabulous and spice up everyone's day.

5. At the age 13 I was a competitor on home grown cafe. We made it through to the 2nd round, but lost out to a sister piano act. Blerg. I also sang "Blitzkrieg Bop" when asked last minute to join my sales team "garage band" at a client's Halloween party. Not when I was 13, I think I was 28 at that time.



6. I own a full piece unicorn onsie that I have worn every Halloween for the past 5 years. Greatest costume ever. I will gladly loan it to coworkers who appreciate a fabulously warm onsie.

7. One of my most favourite jobs was working as a dog walker. I actually left my cushy corporate job in pursuit of "something else". My boss was the greatest, most genuine person I have ever worked for who continues to amaze me with life achievements. It's also because of that job that we brought Seamus the GSP into our world and I became a board member of Pointing Dog Canada Rescue.

 
8. One of my best friends was the youngest regular on Sharon, Lois and Bram. See? I know famous people. She's actually quite awesome herself.

9. I used to honestly enjoy a nice cold Labatt 50. True story.

10. I used to make my friends homemade cards. My friend reminds me every few years about the time I made her a birthday card which exploded confetti when she opened it. She was horrified, I loved it.

So there you have it, 10 reasons aside from my professional skills, why you, yes YOU, should hire me. While I live in Prince Edward County, I am available for telecommuting positions. You can trust me to meet or exceed all my deadlines as I have done for past positions. The moral of this post? I'm an awesome, hard-working person you will not regret bringing on board. I promise. 



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Hanging Out at Campbell's Orchards

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yesterday my mother and I packed up the kids and decided to head to Campbell's Orchards in Redneserville. I can't recall the last time I went there, but it was likely in the eary early 90's.


Recently they built a children's corn maze which Eggs ran through injecting squeals and laughter. We thought about tackling the adult maze as well but decided the smaller (more shady maze) was more than enough. Instead we took a short stroll down the dirt roads and took the tour offered to us my Mr Mac (the cat).


Yesterday proved to be the perfect day to pack into the car and zig zag across the colourful county roads. Eggs had a blast and loved burning out all of his energy while taking in the country air, while Miss A laughed at her brother and "hung out".


One would think we'd do some apple picking while at the county's famous orchard, however we opted to explore the corn maze and play on the play ground instead. Maybe next time we'll go for the "pick your own" adventure. That's the beauty of Campbell's Orchards. There is so much to do that you can return regularly and have a new experience each time.

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4 Months In and We Have a Roller!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Remember when R was born I wrote a monthly update called the "The R Files"?

Do you remember when A was born I started to write ... no wait ... nope, no regular updates. Oops! Poor 2nd child, already getting overlooked.


Just over 4 months old, Miss A is awesome. She is such a happy baby who smiles all of the time. She is totally mama's girl and is just starting to get used to Daddy and her time.


Like her brother, we lucked out on another beefy baby who loves to eat and sleep (last I weighed her she was 18 lbs. Her last dr's visit at 2 mos had her at 98 percentile for height and weight). We've figured out the napping routine (she naps 3-4 times a day, 1-3 hrs per nap) and are a week into her bedtime education. She's doing awesome and only seems to vocally wake up is if she's rolled over or her legs are stuck between the crib bars. She discovered rolling over this week and has been practicing all day every day. Abs of steel!


She's been hinting at wanting to crawl by pushing onto her knees and popping her butt in the air, but I doubt she's actually thinking about crawling (gawd help us all is she does).  She's a constant drooler thanks to her hand always inserted in her mouth, but this makes sleeping that much easier as she's already able to self soothe.

Miss A adores her big brother. She watches his every move, grabs onto him whenever she's within reach, and laughs at their inside jokes. R is also a great big brother offering her lots of hugs and kisses, and encourages her to snuggle next to him on his couch. I can't wait until I can throw them out in the yard with Seamus the dog and let them have hours of fun.

When I first found out I was having a daughter I was freaking out. Being a girl, I know how challenging we can be. Now that Miss A is here, I'm embracing my role to help raise a strong, smart, beautifully-souled individual alongside her equally strong, smart, beautifully-souled big brother.

In other news, check out an interview I did on Lealou about moving to the county and opening a B&B. Be sure to spend time on Stephanie's blog as it's full of awesomeness (just like her) Pin It

5 Toddler Ipad Apps I Don't Hate

Saturday, September 6, 2014

As a non-mother, who else heard themselves say "my kid will never make use of an ipad. Nope, my kid will (insert anything we did as kids, pre internet here)". This lady did!! Then my mother came down, showed Eggster some games on her ipad, so I caved. As of now, the only games I have on the ipad are educational, and I must admit are incredible. The explosion in knowledge and vocabulary coming from my 26 mos old child is jaw dropping. Here are 5 apps I encourage other Ipad parents and grandparents to invest in.


Endless Numbers

This was the first app we downloaded, and at the time it was free. We have since purchased add ons that go all the way up to 100. Here's the description from the website:
Set the stage for early numeracy learning with Endless Numbers!  Kids will adore learning number recognition, sequences, quantity, numerical patterns, and simple addition with the adorable Endless monsters. Each number features interactive sequences and equation puzzles with numbers that come alive, and a short animation that provides context and meaning to each number. (source)
After 4 months of use, counting to 10 (sometimes 20) is the norm and he can recognize numbers up to 25. We only upgraded to 100 last week so I'm predicting he'll be able to recognize them all by Christmas, with counting to 100 taking a little longer. We love counting in our house now (this isn't the app, but just a sample of his counting)


Endless Alphabet

Another app by Originator we downloaded early on when it was free.
Set the stage for reading success with this delightfully interactive educational app. Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate!  (source)
After only 2 months of use, we were able to recognize all letters of the alphabet, and while we are still working on the order of the alphabet, he does pretty good with the alphabet song. He is also able to recognize most of the 50+ words in the app (we tend to turn the sound off now).

Endless Reader

Yes another app by Originator that we downloaded for a reasonable fee.
As a follow-up to Endless Alphabet, set the stage for early reading success with Endless Reader! This app introduces “sight words”, the most commonly used words in school, library, and children’s books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures.

Kids will have a blast learning sight words and their context and usage with the adorable Endless monsters. Each word features an interactive word puzzle with letters that come alive, and then a sentence puzzle with words that become what they describe. See the word “dog” as a barking dog, and the word “up” reach for the sky! (source)
After 4 months of use, we've been forced to purchase the add on package as he was starting to get board with the initial 20+ words he had mastered (with the sound off). I am shocked with how much he is able to read! I'm talking about words such as farm, house, kite, and now he can recognize and clearly say invention. I know!! This app is seriously impressive. My mother-in-law, a retired kindergarten teacher is highly impressed with these Originator apps.

I also attribute this app as the reason why this happened the other week.


Learning Money With Leo

A freebie  from our friends at Royal Bank.
Brought to you by the RBC Advice Centre, Learning Money with Leo has been designed to provide parents with a practical and fun way to help teach their children (3 to 6 years old) about the concepts and value of money. (source)
This one is fun encourages recognizing Canadian coins. While we don't spend too much time on this app, it's FREE so the price is right.

Cookie Monster's Challange

We recently downloaded this one after I read about it on Mashable. This is the new fav, and makes Eggster giggle like crazy.
Cookie Monster needs your help! Play through sets of fun and challenging mini games to build a cookie contraption and deliver cookies to everyone’s favorite Monster!

Cookie Monster’s Challenge offers a series of brain-building games designed to challenge and engage children (ages 3-5) by practicing self-control, focus, memory, following directions and problem solving – skills that are essential for school readiness. (source)
While pretty good at it, we have determined R has zero patient (like his mother) and when told "no touching" by Cookie, he develops a sly smile on his face before he touches. Yep, a little rebel. He would not pass the marshmellow test. It's also entertaining to hear Cookie Monster gets a little annoyed and make passive-aggressive remarks when the same mistakes are made.

So there you have it, as a "no Ipads will be in my house" mother, these are the toddler apps we have that have made my little dude look like a genius.

BONUS: Check out Bebop Blox as well. Since he started playing this game, everything he looks at resembles something else. Love his creativity! Pin It

City vs Country Living: Transportation, Food, Internet, Medical and Entertainment

Saturday, August 30, 2014

On Wednesday, August 20, it was a year ago this happened:


Can you believe it's already been a year since we bought a house in Prince Edward County? Amazing how quickly a year went. Since then we've had a baby, opened our B&B, and lost a Pickles the cat. I thought I would celebrate our "formalised arrangement" anniversary by doing a little comparison of the city vs the county.

Transportation

We only have one vehicle, and most of the time, it's not an issue. The odd time I've been left a couple of days without the van when Rockstar has a gig out of town but as of yet, it hasn't been problematic. That said, the closest store is a 40 minute walk (or 2 minute drive) down a busy county road, so if I ever had to load up the 2 kids and take that trek, it would be the last time Rockstar leaves us without 4 wheels. The nearest grocery store is a 10 minute drive, same with gas station, banks and other specialty stores. There are no buses, and taxis I'm told you need to plan in advance for.


Food

When we lived in Toronto, we ate out a lot. There were oodles of diverse restaurants that delivered, and of course the nearest starbucks was a 3 minute drive from our house. Tons of options for those days you were too lazy to cook. Where we are now, there are no delivery options. If I'm ever too lazy to cook (which is often I admit), dialing 439-0000 is no longer a possibility. That said, if we do go out to eat, there are many fabulous places to venture. We just need to make sure we check out their hours of operations as many places adjust their hours during the off season.

The greatest perk to living in the county during the spring/summer/fall are the farmers markets and stands within a 10 - 15 minute drive. Fresh veggies, fruit, farm eggs, baked goodness ... all so tasty!! So while Toronto provides more options and variety, having access to fresh food for 7-8 mos a year is a real treat.


Internet 

This is a biggie. In Toronto we were with Teksavy and were running netflix 24x7 (US and hulu) without ever going over. Rarely was the service down, and the speed was great. Price tag, $45ish.
Here, or only option really is kos. We have a 60MB plan , pay $60ish and the Internet can be patchy at times. You can usually tell when it's going to rain or when it's 8pm as netflix starts to freeze. That said, we still play netflix quite a bit and rarely go over. Rumour is Bell plans to run cable out this way in the near future, but we're not holding our breath.


Medical

I love my Doctor in Toronto and doubt I will ever find anyone like her again. That said, after stressing about going through Health Care Connect to find us new doctors, once I had Miss A, we found it very quick to find someone in town. The nurse told me Doctors jump at having new babies, and since we were a package deal in good health, we found someone to take us within a few weeks. Wait times for appointment are about the same. We have yet to find a dentist but until then the public health offers free checkups for kids which is where we took R.


Entertainment

My biggest heartache is knowing my kids likely won't be dancing at Dance Fusion. I say "likely" because if it turns out any of my kids are naturals, I could always figure out a way to make it work. After teaching there for 10 years, I refuse to invest a lot of money in a local dance studio who will not bring out the best in my children.

Since transportation is limited, most of our adventures includes running errands and play for Eggster. Whether it be playgrounds near farmers' markets, or visiting the animals at farms, we always find something great to do in the county. Come the fall, I plan to sign Rockstar and Eggster up for swim lessons and hopefully I can find a mommy and me group for Miss A (although the only one I found that looks interesting runs on Mondays when Rockstar works and it's not appropriate for R to attend as well). There is one movie theatre which runs one movie at a time, and of course the mustang drive-in however we haven't been to anything yet. Adult entertainment includes live music, art shows and other tidbits we have yet to stumble upon.


I knew moving out to the county could mean less take-out, more time planning out errand runs, and forcing us to slllloooowwww down. If we could get kos here and convinced Robin to open a county dance school, living in the county would be that much more fanstatic.

Loving it here, and still not regrets.



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Cousins Take Over The County

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Last summer Rockstar blasted through Parenthood on Netflix. Many times he mentioned that every week the show family got together for dinner, and that he would love to do that with our family. When we moved to the county, the intention was to invite our family over for dinner and establish a tradition (even monthly) but it never happened.

For years I have heard about how much fun Rockstar and his brothers has spending time up in Barry's Bay with their cousins (11 within the same age range, 22 in total on his father's side) so I decided it was time to host a Cousins Weekend and introduce the next generation of Kellys to family fun. I would like to add a number of younger cousins (late teens/early 20s) declined because we're too old for them. ha!
 

After months of planning (well, really just emails confirming who was coming) there were 12 adults, 5 children, 2 dogs, and one awesome bouncy castle (via Extreme Rush Adventures) rocking in the county. While we were laughing, eating, and enjoying one another's company, Rockstar was doing his own thing playing in the Eastbound Hoedown in St. John's Newfoundland. *shaking my head how he missed his own cousin reunion*

 


A great time was had by all despite the insane downpour Saturday afternoon. Seeing the mini cousins get along so fabulously was, well, fabulous, and being able to spend quality time communicating with adults was a real treat for me. Seamus was thrilled he was able to hang with his cousin Pierogy, and was begging us to escape to the quiet zone to sleep after a full day of running.


I look forward to future cousins weekends and the memories our children will have of those times. Hopefully next year Rockstar won't double book himself and he'll be able to partake in our after-dinner party games for horrible people and late night debauchery (AKA lights out at 11pm in this house!!)


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Running a B&B: The First Year

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Last weekend there was a family of four staying at our B&B: Mother, Father, Daughter, Son-in-law and eight month old grandson. While I was prepping the table for breakfast on day two, the daughter said to me: "How do you do it? A two year old, newborn, B&B ... how are you able to function?"


When we decided in December of last year to run a B&B, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to work out. We had a lot of work to do on the guest wing (still do), I was pregnant with Miss A, Rockstar's employment situation had not been finalised and I had this thing about cooking. I HATED IT (note the past tense).


Fast forward to now, 1.5 months since we opened, and I still can't believe we are doing this. We are on our 14th round of guests, with four more currently scheduled. Day-to-day tasks are handled by me (cooking, cleaning, shopping, booking) while the outdoor work is handled by Rockstar. Most mornings R is happily eating and playing while I cook and serve breakfast while Miss A is either still asleep or attached to me. And when it comes time to cleaning, Mr Egg "helps" me out, while Miss A tags along or takes a nap.


Most mornings my work is done by 11am which I can then hang with the kidlets before they go down for their afternoon nap. Afternoons are spent cleaning our side of the house (sometimes) and hanging with the kids and dog (more of this), and early evenings are usually spent hitting up the local farmer's market or grocery store.

This lifestyle change had taught me quite a few things:
  • Cooking on high is not the solution to quicker cooking (ha!)
  • The less "stuff" there is, the easier is to to keep areas of the house clean. Simple hey? Rockstar and I decided to do some major purge in the host wing (where we actually live) come the fall. Less stuff = more time NOT CLEANING!
  • I don't hate cooking. At least breakfast meals
  • Not everyone will love our house as much as we do. We want our guests to feel comfortable and not afraid to ruin our furniture or break our property, so most of our furniture and decor are pre-loved. It also suits our 150 year old home.
  • B&Bers are well respectful of our home and always leave it in pristine condition when they leave. That or they really want their $100 security deposit back.
  • While the main purpose of the B&B was to supplement income I was not getting from work (I'm self-employed so no EI either),  I'm also a quasi work-a-holic. I got my first job when I was 14, and only took time off twice. When R was born (I went back to work when he was 10 weeks ) and leading up to Miss A's arrival and six weeks afterwards. So in 21 years and two kids later, I have only not worked for a grand total of seven months

Friends and family make regular comments about how I look happy. Although no one posts the bad and the ugly truth on social media sites (well, people I associate with),  I can honestly say I am very happy.  I love my house in Cherry Valley (Prince Edward County), I love being able to provide income for the family while on "Mat leave", I love that I get to spend so much time with both of my kids, and I love knowing that there are amazing opportunities to attach myself to in the community and help make my children's future that much more spectacular. 

10 months since we left the city, and I have zero regrets. 
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