Friday, May 19, 2017

New(ish) Job Title!

"Home Shopping Clerk"

That's it.  That's my newest job title. ☺

About 10 months ago, I started working at HyVee.  As some of you know, I love grocery shopping.  I had been known to say, "I'd do this for other people...paid or not!"  And now, I'm getting paid to do it...for real!  Dream come true?!  I'd say yes.

The store is about three minutes from our house, so it was the one I shopped at before applying for the position.  I always saw these home shoppers in the store, and thought, "I wonder if that's all they do..."  So, I decided to just ask!  The girl I asked told me that yes, indeed, she was just there to shop for customers' online grocery orders.  She also told me to apply right away, because they were short-staffed and in need of help.  I applied shortly thereafter and was hired about five minutes into my interview.

After some general training, it was official!  My schedule at HyVee is flexible, because they understand this isn't my only job, so I'm able to work some weekday mornings and have afternoons open for teaching lessons, etc.
Least favorite part about the job: the uniform.
At least they spelled my name right.
First Day Flowers from my sweet hubby. ☺
People are always very curious about this, I'm going to assume you might be, too...?  Here are some FAQs and answers:

How do people place their orders?
Everything is done online!  I've not actually taken the time to go through the process of placing an order, myself, but pretty much anything any HyVee carries is available to put on an online order.  Sometimes, customers call to add things they might've forgotten, but that only happens occasionally.

How do you know what is on each order?
Technology.  Haha.  But really - each order is printed out, so there is a hard copy, but we also have scanner "guns" that we use to scan each item as we put it in the cart.  These make for a pretty fool-proof process - not only is there a picture of each item as you go along, but also, the gun won't let you scan the wrong item if you happen to pick up the wrong size, or something.  Sometimes, though, there are more shoppers than there are guns, so there have been times I've had to shop "by hand" using the hard copy list to check UPCs, quantity, etc.

What if you don't have something on the list?
Customers have the option to "allow substitutions" or "no substitutions."  If we are out of (or don't carry) an item on a list, and the customer allows substitutions, we can give them a different size/brand/flavor, as applicable, for the same price as the item they actually ordered (unless the substituted item is cheaper, that is).  For orders not allowing substitutions, items out of stock or unavailable are often "scratched" from the list, and the customer is not charged for these.  There are certain cases where I may substitute a different size or brand, depending on what the item is (i.e. it is evident they'd need it for a recipe, the item they ordered is no longer available, period, etc.).  I will often call customers to double-check these substitutions.

How do you know exactly what they want?
It's amazing to me how many options of everything are available to us, as Americans, anywhere and anytime...but esp. in grocery stores.  There are so many decisions to be made while grocery shopping!  Each customer's list is a starting point, but several judgement calls are left to me, as the shopper.  There is, however, a "comment" section that many customers utilize to make special requests, and these are usually very helpful.  My favorite/most memorable comment, to date, was something like, "3 green and 3 ripe bananas please" - in that moment, I knew for certain I'd been preparing for this job my entire life.  My mom regularly requested we pick out bananas this way when I was growing up, and it was a habit I adopted for myself, as well.  Other examples of customer comments include: requesting items they know we have in our store, but aren't listed online (because not ALL HyVee's carry that particular item); ripeness of avocados; special packaging for meat (i.e. 4 lbs. of ground beef packaged in 1 lb. increments); and one of my favorites (on an order allowing substitutions), "Please do not substitute anything but Fruity Pebbles for the Froot Loops with Marshmallows, or my grown husband will throw a fit."

Do you deliver the groceries?
I do not deliver the groceries; there are delivery drivers who do so.  I do, however, take "pick-up" orders out to customers, sometimes.

Do you receive an employee discount?
Yes!  We have access to a 10% discount coupon every pay period (every 2 weeks).  We also have access to damaged (non-perishable) items that are sold at a discount.  Yes, I love these perks.

How long will you keep working there?
This is a question I've been asked more recently, due to my current, growing "state." The answer: I'm playing it by ear.  I have some great coworkers who have been willing to help with the (literal) heavy lifting part of the job, and so far, I've been up for it's activity level.  I will not be back on a regular basis after our baby is born, but may stop in to help, on occasion - we'll see.  There's been talk of a HyVee opening that will be for online orders, only, so my job at my current store may be liquidated soon...who knows.  Either way, I'll continue to shop there and enjoy knowing/recognizing several employees while I'm there!

This does not fall under the question category, but I want to share it with you, anyway:
You may have seen something about this on Facebook at the time it happened.  HyVee's everywhere had the opportunity to participate in a "Springtime Party" contest, and our store was one of the participants.  The theme (each store chooses it's own) was "Kansas City," and each department was decorated as a well-known KC district/landmark/etc.  I happened to be working on the day of judging, and it happened to be a slow day, so when I arrived that morning, my manager, somewhat guiltily, told me he needed a favor...and really, that he'd volunteered me for something.  He went on to explain that our store would receive bonus points for up to ten different sample stations, and the bakery needed help manning theirs.  So, he was wondering/asking if I'd be willing to be the sample lady.  Of course, I said yes, and he went on to explain I'd be handing out Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake.  I said something like, "Seriously?!"  I think he thought I wasn't thrilled about it, and he said, "Are you sure you don't mind?"  I said, "Of course not - this is a dream come true!  For real."  I've always loved samples and thought it would be fun to be a sample lady for a day...and that day, I got to do just that!  Of course, for only a couple hours starting at 8:00 on a Wednesday morning, I didn't get a lot of traffic, but it was still fun...and yes, I got to partake in a sample...or two.  I was stationed by the donut case, and the most interesting part of the experience was how many people came back for their Wednesday morning "treat" only to be faced with the decision of whether to buy a donut or partake in a bite of free cheesecake.  Some chose the cheesecake, others stuck with their donut...but several (with my encouragement) treated themselves to both.  ☺
My cutting/serving resources were limited, so the pieces were a little unconventional...though, no one complained.  ☺
So, there you have it - another one to add to the always-growing résumé!  ☺  Happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Thank you, as usual, for reading and for your interest!


Favorites of the day:
feeling this wiggly/active baby boy moving inside me on a regular basis, now!
garage sales
being able to use Bed Bath & Beyond coupons at BuyBuyBaby

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pampered Chef-iversary

Happy March!...?!?!  

As per usual, this post is a little belated, but I recently (2 months ago...still relatively recently, right?) celebrated my one year anniversary as an Independent Pampered Chef Consultant!

It may be a blessing in disguise that I "waited" so long to commemorate this milestone with a blog post, because since it's March, now, I can share the new spring/summer products with you!  How exciting!  Click here to check them out!  And, of course, let me know if you'd like to host a party (cooking show/catalog party/Facebook party/bridal shower) to earn FREE products!

My goal for the year was to be an "active" (submit $150 in sales) consultant each month, and thanks to many of you, I reached my goal...and beyond!  I earned some great commission, as well as some awesome new products for our kitchen.  

I had another goal, too: I didn't want to beat down anyone's door to drum up business...or become any sort of "pushy salesman" type.  I met this goal, as well!  I didn't ask anyone to host a party - all my hosts came to me of their own accord.  Word of mouth was my friend, for sure (as was my mother and her PC-loving friends! ☺)! 

My hope for the future of my Pampered Chef business is to build more clientele in the KC area.  Many of the parties I helped host this past year were from Topeka and/or Lincoln connections (and included a couple bridal showers - my favorite!).  This was to be expected, and I'm so thankful for all the support of friends and family in those previous home cities of mine.  I'm looking forward to continuing to meet new people in my current home city and hoping to bring some great products to their kitchens, too!  ☺

In an effort to spread the word about our businesses to our KC area friends, my BFF (who sells Norwex - I could write a whole post about these awesome products.  Please check them out and let me know if you want/need her contact info.!) and I hosted an open house last fall!  We had a good turn-out, and had so much fun fellowshipping and sharing our love of all these products with all who came!  Here are a few pictures from our day:
I still have a few of these left, if you see something you'd like!
Yes, the fruit is cut in shapes.
Unfortunately, the product I used to do so has been discontinued, but you're welcome to borrow mine! ☺
Used the brownie pan and the mini muffin pan for these yummies!
A "before" shot of the Sausage & Pepper Biscuit Frittata.
Apple Nut Ring before...
...Apple Nut Ring after!

Thanks to all who were able to join us!  We had so much fun, and just may have to do it again someday!

Thank you, again, to those of you who have helped support/encourage/further this business adventure of mine!  Couldn't have done it without you!

Happy cooking, all! ☺

Pampered Chef-ly,

Favorites of the day:
our home
Mini Robin Eggs
Starburst jelly beans

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The "pregnancy card"

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends!

Hope this finds you happy and healthy (a pretty fantastic feat this time of year...the healthy part, I mean)!

I realize my posts as of late seem to have a theme ( starts with a "p"), but that's because this is all new for me, and new life experiences are some of the things this blog was originally created to share.  ☺  

I've been trying hard not to play the "pregnancy card" too frequently, and never unnecessarily, the past few months.  Others encourage me to do so more than I care to, as it is!  haha.  My sweet husband is on the receiving end of this excuse more than anyone...he's often the one who takes the figurative card from me before I can even pull it out...and he's been so wonderful about it!  

Anyway, the other day, we started our baby registries (no, we don't know what we're having, yet)!  While this was really exciting and fun, it was a little overwhelming and tiring for this child-carrying girl.  It wasn't a problem - just giving you a little back story here.  We were in a part of town we don't often frequent...and a part of town that is home to The Cheesecake Factory.  You know my love of cheesecake, of course, but due to my lack of sweet tooth, lately (I know...I don't even know who I am), I was more excited about taking advantage of being so close and getting some actual food there (rather than just dessert)!  Upon approaching the hostess counter, however, we discovered it would be over a 30-minute wait.  Normally, this would be fine, but we were both quickly getting more and more hungry, and hungry and pregnant don't mix well.  So, we decided to try again another time and pick up something a little faster this time.  As we started to pull out of the parking lot, though, I started to cry...just tears, at first, but the snot and sobs came rapidly once my hubby started asking what was wrong.  There were a lot of contributing factors to this meltdown, but at the time, the only explanation I could muster was, "I just wanted some Cheesecake Factory bread."  (I've always loved their bread - that wasn't new.  But the apparent urgent "need" for it?  That was new.)  Next thing I knew, we were back in a parking spot and that man I married was headed back into the restaurant.  I kept crying, but this time, because he was being so nice.  And I KEPT crying when he came back with warm bread and butter a few minutes later, because he told me they gave it to him for free!  He'd played the "pregnancy card," and they took pity on me...or maybe him?  Who knows, but either way, they gave us free bread!

Speaking of having babies...I'm going to be an aunt so soon!  My brother and sis-in-law are ready and waiting for the arrival of their baby boy.  Thought I'd take a moment to share a little bit about the shower I got to help throw for them.  It was so much fun!  ☺  
Can't take credit for the book theme idea, but sure enjoyed helping execute it!
I'd made these (with the help of that awesome Cricut owner I know) almost immediately after finding out they were expecting, and was so excited to finally be able to give them to them!

Would love to hear any pregnancy stories you'd like to share!  And we're always open to suggestions about baby things we shouldn't try to live without.  ☺

As usual, thanks so much for reading, and enjoy your day!

More cool-calm-and-collectly than the other day,

Favorites of the day:
Girl Scout cookies!
flexible work schedules/students
annual Valentine's Day roses ☺

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My brain on pregnancy...& a DIY update!

Hello, hello!  Can you believe February is right around the corner?  Crazy.

I have a few things to share with you today:

The first is an up-close-and-personal look into (my) pregnancy brain.

I haven't been super affected by this (pregnancy brain), yet (knock on wood), except that I've been a little more forgetful lately, which was/is to be expected.  A recent dream incident took me (and my husband, I'm sure) by surprise, though:
The other (early) morning, I woke up before our alarms in a panic.  I'd had a dream (more like a nightmare) during which another country invaded the US and started setting up their battle stations (is that even what they're called...?) right across the street from where I was.  There were grenades, bombs, plans to sneakily shoot their general ourselves (maybe they wouldn't shoot back at a pregnant woman?), etc., etc.  It was waaaay more detailed and vivid, but I'll spare you the lengthy explanation.  I didn't spare my husband the explanation that morning, though.  Don't worry - I waited till his alarm went off...and until then, I was awake worrying about all the "what if's" related to war time and how we'd cope...and making mental lists of all the things we needed to stockpile in our basement...including a place to go to the bathroom in case the plumbing goes out. 
Anyway, as I was telling him about all this, I started to cry...for no reason other than I was scared the same foreign soldiers were going to start setting up camp and we'd be trapped in our home and the pets would run out of food and, and, and...  I don't even think I was concerned about the longevity of this dreamland war and potentially having to give birth in our safe room.  Who knows.  All I know is it took me way too long to bring myself back to reality...but once I did, it was so funny and ridiculous to me.  Which is why I'm choosing to share it with you.  You're welcome.  ☺

Anyway, moving on...

As I've mentioned before, we've been super busy with various house projects and we're so excited about them all!

A recent project that came to its culmination was a collage wall between our upstairs living and dining rooms.
All these pieces came from different places at different times, and we were really pleased with how it all came together!  I'd love to share where these all came from - starting from left to right:
-The black frame on the left came from a former coworker's husband's business' moving day.  They were moving to a new space, but not taking many (if any) furnishings with them, so were just giving stuff away!
-The "Amazing Grace" cross was an after-Easter-Hobby-Lobby-clearance find.  I figured it was appropriate for any time of year!
-The clock was made by an super-talented-and-creative person who wishes to remain anonymous.  It's similar to one Bryant and I had seen in a shop and loved, but couldn't afford.  This handmade one is so unique and special!  (It's 30" in diameter, to give you an idea of scale.)
-The green window frame was a gift that was originally raw wood.  I had some paint left from the mason jar sconces (I don't think I ever shared about that project on this blog...hmm..or maybe I did?), so decided to paint it to match!
^Those are the sconces we made!
-The piece below it with the black frame was a recent "transformation" project!  It was a wall hanging I'd found on clearance (yes, at Hobby Lobby) when I was living in the coop.  It had hung at the coop for a long time before moving with me to KC and hanging in our first home together.  I still liked the size and shape, but wanted to freshen up the sentiment and color.
didn't really have a design plan, but I already had lots of coordinating paper, a paper cutter, and Mod Podge, so I just went for it!
Thank you, stamping/card-making hobby, for my extensive paper collection...and thank you, also, to those of you who have contributed to this collection over the years!
I went all the way to CA to cut those words out on a Cricut that now resides there (with the help of its awesome owner, of course).  ;-)  Will have to tell you more about the rest of that trip another time.
Anyway, I was really excited with how it turned out!
So, there you have it!  I think that's all I have, for now.  Again - I have several more posts I'd like to share...all in good time...thanks for being patient!

Craftily (and dreamily, I guess - haha),

Favorites of the day:

Raspberry Ice Crystal Light
coupons and great deals!

Amazon Prime

Monday, January 2, 2017

We're having a baby!

This is not a drill.

I know you've been "burned" by me before with sharing pretend big news, but this time, I'm not pulling on your leg.  (I promised I wouldn't do it again after that one post...)

We're actually having a baby!

Here are some common questions we've received upon sharing this news with people in person, along with our answers:

When are you due?

Will you find out the gender?

How have you been feeling?  
Eh.  Ok...haha.  I keep telling people I definitely know there's something different going on, because I haven't wanted to eat anything, really, for the past month+.  Who am I?!?!  I'll leave it at that, for now; more details upon request.

Are you excited?  
Duh!  haha - jk.  Yes, we're so excited!

Have you started prepping the nursery?  
Kind-of.  We (and by "we," I mean my amazingly-handy husband) are in the middle of finishing up several house projects.  Once they're done, we'll be able to (finally!!!!!) move things downstairs, including the guest room.  Then, and once we find out the gender, we'll be able to focus more on the nursery.

What have you been craving?
This is what I always like to ask expectant mothers - I think it's so interesting!  Come to find out, though, my experience with "cravings," so far, has not been so much what sounds good on top of my normal diet, but rather, it's been the only things that sound good, period.  And they change daily.  (Bless my sweet husband.)  Some "regulars" have been cereal, fruit juice popsicles, grilled cheese/fried egg sandwiches, and banana/PB/marshmallow cream roll-ups (these were already a thing for us - not a crazy pregnancy creation).  But really - these are just a few of the "Yeah, I think that sounds good..." items.  More extensive list upon request.

Any questions we forgot to include?  Ask away!

In case you missed it, this was our official announcement for the world of social media:

I thought I'd treat you, dear readers, to some behind-the-scenes shots of this gem.  ☺
Sometimes, neither of them looked.

Sometimes, Charlie looked.

Sometimes, Pepper looked.

And sometimes, she stuck out her tongue.

Sometimes, they got tired of waiting for treats...

Sorry to not have video documentation of this ordeal...I'm sure it would've provided even more entertainment.

Anyway, that's our news!  Thanks to those of you who have shared in our excitement!

More later...


Favorites of the day:
pineapple juice/ginger ale/orange sherbet/vanila ice cream NYE punch!
Christmas pictures/letters/correspondence (we didn't send one out this year, for the record)
my hard-working husband ♥