1) Its never a good time to buy property. The best time to buy is always five years ago. Therefore, most people don't invest in property and then kick themselves five years later when they see how much money they could have made. Take the time to learn about real estate and you'll be mentally ready when the right deal comes along.
2) There's a lot of nice renovating you can do on the cheap. Not everyone is looking for $100 knobs on the closet doors. Mostly buyers want a clean place that they can just walk into and start living in. Mostly buyers want a clean place that they can just walk into and start living in. Clean and new go a long way.
3) While you're learning about real estate, start fixing up your own house. DIY. Many of these projects can be intimidating, until you actually do them. Its not as hard as you think. Home Depot often has classes on this stuff, especially in the colder months. Start small. Wanna lay some tile? Try the kids bath or the basement bath first. Wanna hang cabinets? Buy some cheap ones and install them in the garage. Thats your practice run. Then try the more important rooms. Some things you'll have to hire out. Again, use your own house as a learning experience.
DIY sets a good example for the kids as well IMO.
4) Don't sell yourself short.
My sister-in-law does small daycare (a few extra kids) and the money is not bad. Plus, with the extra kids, they play with each other and her kids don't bug her so much. She gets a lot more done around the house.
Anyways, I wish there were more good paying jobs too, in OR out of the home:-) Good luck to you.