Everything Else

Making Your Skills List


Going back to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom is scary. There are people your age who have BUILT their careers while you were wiping noses and changing diapers.

So if you can’t go back to your old career, what CAN you do?

This is where you make your skills list. Your skills list will have every type of skill you have and will help you evaluate yourself for potential employers as well as seeing if you need to make a career change. However, this will require you to REALLY look at yourself. Good and bad. You need to write ALL your skills down.

To help you get started, start with listing all the skills you learned from each of your jobs before becoming a stay-at-home mom.(Yep, even the ones in high school)  This will also help you when you go to dust off that resume by adding some updated descriptions of your work. For example, I use to work at Sonic while in college. I learned how to “balance” food while rollerskating. It sounds like such a small thing, but you would be surprised how many times I was asked about it in an interview. It was a great way to show as an example how I was a great multi-tasker and was perfect conversation starter into my personality. Why did I roller-skate if I wasn’t required to? Because I could (and the tips were much more profitable, too).

Next, your going to list every job you have been done while staying at home. What do I mean by this? Well, what do you DO all day? Sit down and eat bon-bons and watch soaps? or do you do laundry? clean the house? Home-school? etc. Either way, LIST those skills!

Having difficulty describing your Netflix binging while the kids are away at school? Label that skill as “movie critic” or “media analysis”. Are you a Facebook junkie? Write that skill down as “proficient with social media”. Don’t blow those skills off! There are people who will PAY people to do these things for them. You don’t need a degree to post on social media. Just know people and trends.


Here is a small example of my list of things that I’ve been doing for the past few years as a stay-at-home mom to help get your mind buzzing on yours:

*Cooking (2 course meals)

*Cake decoration (i’m not great but i know the basics)

*Do laundry including using an industrial machine for larger items

*Clean house (not a bad job choice if you don’t mind cleaning other people’s messes, which you have been doing with your kids all these years)

*Teach (history, math, english, science)

*First Aid knowledge

*Managed small guild in MMO, organizing mergers, raids, and recruiting (LEADERSHIP SKILLS! Don’t laugh. A guy actually got hired at a Yahoo! for this reason)

*Proficent with Social Media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

*Hostage negotiator (Kids. need i say more)

*Teenage Crisis Counselor (Girls.)

*Wash Dishes

*Pet groomer

*Dog walker


*Event Planner (birthdays, bat mitzvah’s)

*Blog (social media calendar, editorials,)

This is just a small list, but should help you think about some of the things you do. Big or small. It’s the small things we let pass us by and yet we will find that we might be able to actually DO something with it.

If you craft, list all the types of crafting skills you have. Include projects that you have done to really shine your skills. Made costumes for the school play? Add costume designer to your skills list!


Now, some skills you can’t just jump into (like becoming a doctor because you know a little first aid). So you will need to probably go back to school or to a technical school to get certified in that field. For example, as the financial secretary of my synagogue I’ve become fascinated with numbers. Many moons ago I took an accounting class and loved it. I’ve decided to go back to school and learn accounting because my degree is no longer applicable to what I can do in my life anymore. I need a new “career”.

Soon you will begin to realize that even though you haven’t been “working” you HAVE been working but on your other skills. I would love to see which one of your skills really spoke to you. Comment below with you “skill”.


Finding who you are


So I heard back from some potential employers.

No go.

Part of me is a bit disappointed about their decision to not hire me, but the other side is going, “whew!”

Thing is I don’t know if I really wanted to go and work for them. It was in the field I had been trained and educated in, but didn’t I leave for a reason? For some of you, you may feel the same. What you left behind when you decided to stay home may not be the same as you left it. Industries are growing at a rapid rate these days that few things are the same.

Which means you have the luxury of reevaluating if this is what you really want to go back to. Some might say, “of course!” while others may feel lost in the new changes. Unless you have been working part-time on the side in your field you might just as well be a kid fresh out of college.

But hold on…..


First, you need to think about if you could be in any job, what would that job be? Do you want to have a job that has the flexibility to allow you to still be home when the kids come home from school? or are you looking at work that is the regular 9-5? or works around your husband’s schedule?

Self-employment is the most flexible job. You are your own boss and you set your own hours. Do you have a special skill that would allow you to be self-employeed or a contract worker? When I was younger I was a Real Estate Agent. This allowed me the flexibility to be home when the kids were home but cut generously in my weekends. Also, the pay fluctuated greatly. Some temp agencies will also have jobs with flexible schedules.

As with any job change though, check to see if there are any educational or certification requirements before beginning.


Sometimes its not WHAT we are but WHERE we are. If you could live anywhere doing your job, where would that be? If you want to be a marine biologist, you may find it difficult finding jobs in a landlocked state like Arizona. However, if you were in a place like San Diego you might have better luck.


The best jobs are those that you can do, however, anywhere. For example, nurses are good anywhere in the WORLD, as are teachers. Once you become a Realtor, its a matter of a small test to get you certified in another state. Some technical jobs also can even be simply done in a home office.

Simply, imagining your dream job is not going to get you that job. You need to look at yourself and see what skills you have and what you don’t to fulfill that job. Listing your skills will help determine what you can and can’t do.


More Changes

Just as I put myself out there, more changes have happened. My eldest daughter was recently (finally) accepted into the Early College Program for her school district. In this program, an associate’s degree is completed simultaneously within her four years of high school. She is a sophomore this year so they said they will pay for her summer school classes to help her catch up with the rest of her class.

THIS IS AMAZING for our family! And of course for her.

My daughter has aspirations of becoming a business lawyer. We, as parents, fully support her and her work has shown that she is more than motivated to do this. This goes beyond the dual credit you normally get in High School as she will be physically on a college campus experiencing “college” from the safety of her high school life. She has been praying and hoping to get in since 8th grade. Entrance was based on a lottery and her number didn’t get picked till recently. She started crying with joy when I told her I finally got the call.

Now, this brings more changes to our house. There are some days the bus will not be able to take her to school because the regular high school is out but her college classes are still going. This means she will need a ride. Something that would be difficult if I was working. Especially if I was back working for an airline (since that is where my degree and experience is).

Maybe I’m making excuses but it feels like the universe is giving me signs again to not work. Or at least full time.

H&R Block

So to keep me “busy” I decided to reenroll into the Income Tax Course that H&R Block does. I did it once before about 5 years ago and even though the tax laws haven’t changed, much, I still feel like I need a refresher course. We haven’t even DONE our own taxes in the past 5years because we use a preparer. So I feel out of the loop.

My class doesn’t start till mid September so I have some chances to see if I want to keep looking for a job or just hold on and wait till after I do the course. My gut is telling me to wait only because I did apply for several different types of positions at several airlines and so far all I’ve heard back is crickets.

Again, is this a sign from the universe or me just making excuses?

I’ve also thought about going back and taking some accounting classes at my daughter’s college. I figured it might help me with doing the finances at the synagogue but even that I think I won’t be doing next year. It is only a two year position and that would make this my last year. The thought is there but I don’t know if I will act on it. I wouldn’t be working for a degree because I already have a AAS degree which is what a degree in accounting would give me. But I think the extra classes would help me feel a bit more confident only because for a business degree, I really don’t feel like I took enough finance classes nor were any required for me.

Let’s see what next week holds.


Let’s start over

911I’m back.

I’m here with my Lipton tea (fresh without milk since my kids used it all up) and sitting at my kitchen table at 3am thinking of what should I write. Is anyone even reading this? Apart from my family and friends, probably not.

As you know from my previous post my son has decided to go back to public school. I don’t know if you could tell in my writing or not, but part of me was in fact hurt. Only because I had felt we had created this bond. This special relationship that would make us successful homeschoolers. I feel bummed that we aren’t going to do it anymore.

On the other hand, not homeschooling leaves me open to a vast more opportunities to do more crafts or even get a job again. Even my crafting has gone a bit downhill since I found little inspiration while dwelling in my own self pity from not homeschooling anymore.

Some projects you can expect up.


I bought myself a Serger with my birthday money. (Squeal!) I’ve been making napkins like crazy that my family had to have an ‘intervention’ asking me to please stop making them for now. For the 4th of July I was going to make some patriotic napkins. The family quickly told me no and said they didn’t feel right wiping their faces with the american flag. I don’t blame them.

Planner Addiction.

I have become ADDICTED to decorating my planners. Like, how did I miss this INSANE craze?!?! Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Recently I saw Michael’s start putting out “planner” decorations when all it was is the same scrapbook stickers and washi tape that we always use. lol.

Job Hunting.

Yep, you read that right. I’m looking at probably getting a job. (As if my life isn’t busy enough.) I’m still volunteering for my synagogue but I’m needing some cash flow. Mostly to support my crafting as well as have my own play money. My hubby is sweet and says I don’t have to but he knows I’m already starting to get stir crazy and its only summer.

Random Bits.

I don’t want to lose this blog. I’ve enjoyed sharing things with everyone and I wish to keep doing those things. Things are going to be a bit wonky for a while until we see where this blog will go. I’m sure it will stick with the theme of my life. Travel, Crafting, and Judaism. This. This is my life.


Still Here…

I’ve been kind of silent.

Mostly because I’m not sure where this blog or my life in general will go.

Homeschooling at our home is quickly fading away. We are doing test to get him ready for public school. Both scholastically as well as emotionally and socially. This way when he returns he will have the tools that he needs to succeed in front of him.

I, myself, am staying busy too. With being our congregation’s Sisterhood president as well as it’s financial secretary my life these past few months have been rather busy.

Let’s just say its a welcome distraction to the end that is inevitably coming.

No more homeschooling.

My Jewish life has not ended though. (Nor will it in the foreseeable future) So keep close to the blog. I’ll be publishing my Passover Menu here soon.

For now, I hope everyone has a Happy Purim. IMG_3854

Upcoming Changes for 2016

After 3 years of homeschooling, ginnstars.com is about to go through some changes. My son has decided to go back to traditional school. After a long talk we both feel it would be for the best. The biggest reason is he feels like he is missing out with meeting new kids. Although the people he have met in his groups have been great and he has strong relationships with many of them, he wants to meet more kids. Many of his friends attend traditional school and he is hoping he will be able to see them a bit more as well as meet some new friends.

I do not take this personally but as a learning experience. He knows he is welcomed to come back to homeschooling at anytime. We talked about what to expect. The bad and the good. The bad being, the school system might feel he is not in the same grade as his friends but maybe lower. He’s been behind on his Khan and has only completed last years math recently. Yet, he has time to get caught up by Fall and we plan to go over what he is “suppose” to know according to the most recent state standardized testing. I’ll be teaching by the test until Fall, and I hate it.

The other bad is the getting picked on. This was an issue before, yet he’s learned a lot about himself and what he is capable of this past few years while homeschool. I am very confident that he is prepared for it and how to respond to such treatment.

I’m not sure where this blog will go. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing what was planned and will probably tweak a few things. We will just have to see where this leads us.


How to make a Beaded Kippah

orginalAs a Jewish woman, you know how important it is to have your head covered when you are up at the bima. Now you don’t have to use those ugly nylon ones they have at the synagogue but you can make your OWN Beaded Kippah. I’m pleased to share this pattern with you from our Sisterhood.

Now, to be perfectly honest this can be a bit hard to do. Although many of our older ladies were able to do it, some did have issues due to arthritis. At our last beading, we had several young ladies join us and those as young as 12 years old were able to do this. The result?

A beautiful personalized beaded kippah that shines your femininity.

So let’s begin!

Materials Needed:

  • 460 (minimum) Size 6/0 beads
  • 24lb gauge wire cut to 1 @ 8″, 1 @ 12″, 4 @ 18″, and 1 @ 20″
  • pencil or chopstick
  • small barrette comb

Step 1- the base

This is the hardest step. Watch the video for clarification if the directions don’t make sense.

Take the 8″ wire. Place perpendicular against pencil leaving a small tail on one side. Take the larger tail and wrap around the pencil, then as you come out on the other side, bring it forward and wrap the 8″wire once, then once again. This will give you your first loop.

Take the pencil out of the loop. Place a bead on the wire, then create the loop again by placing the wire against the pencil with the loop and bead one side of the pencil and the remaining larger tail on the other side. Wrap around the pencil, then as you come out on the other side, bring it forward and wrap the 8″ wire once, then once again. This will give you your second loop.

Remove pencil and add another bead. Keep doing this until you have 6 loops and 6 beads.

After you add your last bead you will take the two tails and connect them to make an octagon, circular shape. Your finished product should look similar to the photo below.

Step 2 -Row 1

Using the 18″ wire, connect your wire at the top of one of your loops. Using 6 beads connect them to the next loop by wrapping twice. Add 6 more beads and wrap twice on the next loop. Continue all the way around. Finishing in your original loop. Wrap and cut off excess.

beaded kippah 2

Step 3- Row 2

Using an 18″ wire you will now connect 6 beads between every third bead as shown going in between the loops as well as at the tips. This will help form your “Star of David” in the middle. Continue all the way around. Finishing in your original loop. Wrap and cut off excess.beaded kippah 3

Step 4- Row 3

Using an 18″ wire you will connect 6 beads to every 6 starting at the top each loop of the previous row as shown. Continue all the way around. Finishing in your original loop. Wrap and cut off excess.

beaded kippah 4 beaded kippah 4A






Step 5 – Row 4

Using an 18″ wire you will now connect 8 beads to every 6 beads , starting at the top of each loop from the previous row as shown. Continue all the way around. Finishing in your original loop. Wrap and cut off excess.

beaded kippah 5 beaded kippah 5A







Step 6- Row 5

Using an 18″ wire you will now connect 8 beads to every 8 beads , starting at the top of each loop from the previous row as shown. Continue all the way around. Finishing in your original loop. Wrap and cut off excess.

beaded kippah 6 beaded kippah 6a


Step 7 – Row 6- Final row

Using an 20″ wire you will now connect 9 beads to every 8 beads , starting at the top of each loop from the previous row as shown. Continue all the way around. Finishing in your original loop. Wrap and cut off excess.

beaded kippah 7 beaded kippah 7a






Step 8 – Adding comb

To keep the kippah on the head you will need to attach a small barrette comb underneath the kippah. This will help it stay in place. To attach it to the kippah you will need to use some scrap wire and twist tie it on the kippah via the comb’s base.


I think you will find that it can be an easy pattern to follow once you get the hang of it. Leave me a comment if you feel a video demonstration would be better solution.

If you are not feeling daring enough or are having difficulty and would like to by one of the test ones I’ve made for the blog, then go to my Etsy shop to purchase them. You won’t find them in any store.

I invite those who are DIYers to purchase the pre-made kits complete with instructions so they may make one themselves without the hassle of trying to find the material. Order now while they are in stock.


Straight Talk About Transitioning to Modest Dressing

IMG_3322Every once in awhile, you come across a moment that makes you rethink the way you are living. At the beginning of this year I was sitting down, listening to my Rabbi talk about how important it is for us, as parents, to walk the walk. To change at least ONE thing that makes us more observant during this time that our children prepare for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. It was in that moment, I looked over at my eldest who had just FINISHED her bat mitzvah when I realized what I needed to do. There she was, in tight skinny jeans that hanged off her waist and a see through t-shirt with a camisole underneath. She looked like something out of a fashion magazine but being in the synagogue she looked out of place. She looked obscene. Then I took stock of myself. I too looked out of place with my v-neck t-shirt exposing my cleavage., my hair up in a messy bun and my jean pants ripped at the knees.

This was me just 10 months ago. 

How could I tell my own daughter to not dress inappropriately when I myself was dressed inappropriate? That’s when I decided to take the plunge and being to practice Jewish Modesty, Tzniut.

During my transition to a more modest lifestyle, I ended up affecting other people unknowingly. One of those people was my good friend Kristi. Kristi had come to the conclusion that she too also wanted to dress more modestly. I decided to go ahead and sit down with her and find out why she would decide to make this change despite not being married or having any kids.

Gin: Why did you decide to make a change and try to dress more modestly?IMG_4962

Kristi: Um, a few reasons actually. I saw the style and actually really liked it. We had googled it in (conversion) class one night and a saw a few and I said to myself, “yeah I could wear that!”  Also, I had been dressing very immodestly and felt like it was time to grow up with my clothes, working in office and all. 

Finally, I wanted to do something different with my Judaism. I wanted something that pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

Now, all of the rituals (of Judaism) came naturally to me then finally once I started doing dressing modestly I fell in love. I was going to just do it until my adult bat mitzvah and then reassess, but I think I will stick with it.

Now I know you had some difficulties with dressing modestly. Can you describe your biggest from when you first started?

Oh well, I still have them! There’s two. One is I started when it was hot in Texas. LOL Not only that but there were no modest clothes so I had to wear the same thing every day. It was hot. Also I have not fully transitioned and still own a lot of immodest clothes. So the temptation to wear short sleeve shirt on a hot day instead of doing laundry is so strong.

Have you heard of modest clothing companies like Shelly Shelly? And kosher casual? If so, what has prevented you from purchasing them?

Okay, yeah Kosher casual ! Yes, I think that might’ve been one I googled. But I’m nervous to purchase online clothes.

How do you feel when you dress modest?

I feel like I’m on a personal level with G-d out of everything I’ve done that is Jewish. Dressing modestly is the most meaningful thing I have done vs. everything else that I have done. Like lighting candles for Shabbat, going to service, and praying, It’s obvious to the world what I’m doing because I’m Jewish but when I dress modestly, it’s truly between me and God. No one sees me cover my elbows or put on a skirt and says, “Well, she must be Jewish.” If that makes sense.

Would you say you don’t feel like you stand out when you dress modestly?

I did at first. I felt like I stood out. But now I don’t know if I got used to it or what but I don’t think I stand out anymore.

Did current fashions have any influence on your decision to dress more modestly or  would you say it was purely for religious reason?

Um, I would say fashion had about a 20% influence.

Any advice for those transitioning based on your experience?IMG_4975

Like I said, we pulled up Google images and saw the modest clothing. LOL. Make your journey your own. Don’t beat yourself up if you ever struggle because you will. Just have fun with it.

Okay. Would’ve helped if there was someone who guided you? Like a how-to video or someone personally raiding your closet?

I think the how-to would have definitely helped. Anything that I try to find on the subject involved hair. I learned everything I know from Google images of women dressing modestly. Having a person in my closet, not so much, because like I said I wanted it private and personal and I wanted to make it my own. Something as simple as “these are the basic rules, Here are some fun examples,” Would have been amazing! And not something designed to be like, “okay now you’re married so now you do this.”

Has anything stopped you from asking someone you know who already practices modesty? And if so, why?

Definitely. Being single and stay modestly by choice, not because it’s how I was raised, was definitely hard. Having something new and kind of overwhelming is bad enough, but I felt surrounded by people who meant well but we’re telling me how unnecessary it was, how they could never do it, and how it wasn’t like I was married or anything. At my lowest, it made me feel like I had less value as a Jewish woman unless I was married. That was the absolute lowest it got. Like I wanted to give up. Ironically, I felt like my biggest support and the person who kept me focused on the spiritual reason I am doing this was my very non-Jewish mom.

Thank you for answering these questions.

You’re welcome. Thank you for listening.

Like Kristi,  I found my transition difficult mostly because I am a Conservative Jew and not Orthodox. I had no help either. I did find some inspiration from people online like Jew in the City and Wrapunzel who had style ideas from a more modern jewish orthodox point of view. Since then I’ve shared my knowledge with Kristi and all those who wish to put a little more observance in their life. In fact, I’ve made a video to help those, like Kristi, who need just a couple of ideas.

As a result of my transition, I have found that my daughter has become more conscious of what she is wearing and dresses just a LITTLE less revealing than she was. She knows the “rules” on modesty and for the most part, she covers at least one of the items. Because of that I am happy.

My daughter was not the only reason I have done this journey. I too wanted to improve my relationship with G-d and my husband. Dressing this way, acting this way, and living this way has given my relationship with G-d and my relationship with my husband greater meaning than I could ever imagine.

Right now, I’m inviting you to sign up online to join me and receive updates and tips on Jewish Life here in Texas. A free pocket-book on Modest dressing will be yours once you subscribe. Join now!

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