Thursday, July 19, 2012

What's New, Pussycat?

It probably has caught your attention that some things have changed at my house, even after all these months of non-posting.  I'm no longer homeschooling, for one thing. Economics have driven me from my home, but it's not a bad thing.  Here's what has happened in the last year:

Hubby has picked up more freelance work and qualified for social security. See? There are good things about being old :o)  Financially he feels more secure.  He's also written a book (Full Circle by Phillip J. Powers) which is available on  Another book he wrote years ago is also available (The Longest Night) which I like better. The second one is a psychic thriller and involves all kinds of plot twists.

Jack earned his Eagle award from scouts, got his driver's license, got a car, got a job at a hardware store (working about 25 hours/week), finished up his last year of high school as a homeschooler (graduating with honors), and started junior college in the Fire Science program with a goal of becoming a firefighter. He's also teaching himself to play the guitar.

Steve started public school for the first time, entering a smaller school than our local one that is working out GREAT.  He's in all honors classes and earned a 4.53 GPA his freshman year. He was also on the track team.  He's spending time this summer doing volunteer work for Nana's Kidz (feeding motel kids), and at our church as well as learning to skim board. Steve just got back from a week of hiking and tubing at Bass Lake in Utah with our high school youth group.

I am still working as a kindergarten aide and have picked up a bunch of odd jobs as well.  I "companion" a dear little 94-year-old lady, do PR/social media for an organic gardening company, work for Breast Cancer Angels, and have different clients who require different things (decluttering, family helper, etc.)  I also lead a prayer group and volunteer where I can. My big goal this summer has been to try and lose some weight :o/ I walk in the pool a lot.

So... while I miss homeschooling, I did wean out of it. My children are flourishing; I have NO complaints.  I even have time to fool around with my hobby of making little miniature room boxes. I haven't actually finished one yet, but they're fun to think about.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Achey Breaky Body

So... getting older isn't for sissies.  This next month I'll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday (I'll wait while you add that up), and my body isn't getting any younger.  Arthritis in the back is my biggie, and it's curtailing some of my fun.

One of the new things I'm doing is working for an organic gardening company that puts garden boxes and raised beds in people's yards.  Part of my job is to find complementary articles and pictures for our Facebook and Pinterest sites, which is really fun!  As I've been investigating organic and holistic information, I came across one recipe that looked doable.  It's apple cider vinegar, honey, and garlic blended up and used as a supplement.  Here's the info:  That article will give you all the pertinent details.

I blended up my concoction this afternoon, sealed it in a jar, and have it steeping in the fridge for the next five days.  I tasted it, of course, and it's not bad at all!  It tastes like really strong apple juice.  I can deal with that, especially if it means I can get up and get moving again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

Talk about a busy week... I've been working long night shifts this week taking care of a preemie baby in the NICU (alongside her nurses).  During the day I've been finishing up a merchandising job at Sam's Club, doing laundry, and trying to sleep. Add in Steve's birthday, and there's an opportunity for my brain to explode!

Taking all the boys to Shakey's for the all-you-can-eat buffet was inspired. Bringing them back to my house for swimming and video games was a no-brainer.  Snacks/beverages/candy was purchased in one quick trip to Smart and Final.  But... the cake.  There's got to be a cake, right?

Well, not necessarily.  A case of Kit Kat worked just fine. The boys LOVED it.  I went the extra mile and arranged them beautifully on cake tiers.  You can see by the expression on  Steve's face that he was okay with it, too.  Happy Birthday!  Now, let me nap.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I have been invited to participate in something completely new to me -- a Quartermania.  I've been to one, so now I'm an old pro, but the concept is very new to me.  Basically 10 vendors get together (the home party gals, mostly), wrap up lovely lavish prizes consisting of their products, then raffle them off for anywhere from one to four quarters each.

The main money comes from the customers who pay a flat fee to get in.  Then they start bidding their quarters for the prizes.  Since I declutter, my "prizes" are basically certificates for an hour or two of my time.  I've been thinking of ways to make it more fun: one prize could be for cleaning out the medicine cabinet (1 hour) + a basket consisting of fuzzy slippers, tea, and magazines for the winner. She'll be able to kick back and put her feet up while I do the work!

Other prizes I've thought of are an hour of pantry cleaning + a lazy Susan and shelf extenders, an hour of closet purging + a sweater bag for under the bed, and another closet hour + a pack of nice wooden hangers.

The other gals have tee-shirts and aprons that advertise their companies.  I don't, so I went out and found a very cool/hip full apron in a tan and aqua leaf pattern.  I'm going to wear my distance glasses so I can see the nice people in the audience and I'll probably look like everyone's mom, LOL!

I'm excited!  If you're reading this, and you're local in Southern CA, find me on Facebook and request the flyer. Tickets ahead of time are $12 and they're $15 at the door.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Making Moolah From Decluttering

One of the biggest excuses reasons I hear from folks about why they live amidst clutter is that they are waiting for the right time to have a huge garage sale where they can sell all their treasures.

If you're living in clutter...
  • You're not boxing/sorting the mess in order to sell it
  • You have ceased to see the clutter around you and perceive it as "normal"
  • You are creating excuses for your clutter (like waiting for a garage sale) and not acting
The last reason is the most common. I hear time and again from people who say, "Well, this stuff isn't mine; it belongs to my son" (who moved out 22 years ago).  You can't throw out someone else's stuff, but you CAN make them take it with them when they leave (or give them a time limit to come and pick it up).  Stick to your guns and get it gone!

You MUST stop making excuses.  You are too valuable to live in a mess!  It's better to clean it all out and donate everything than to wait for some day in the distant future when everything will suddenly be "better".  I have news for you -- it won't be.  The time is NOW!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Oh boy... As I've mentioned, I've been helping a client get organized and giving her advice on storing her belongings in an orderly manner.  Then we got to the garage... I gave her advice about shelving and placement, which she liked.  When I got home, there was a text from her: "Can you send me a picture of your garage?"

MY garage?  The one where we dump all our stuff?  It is most assuredly NOT ready for a photo opportunity!

Our 2-car garage is the one source of storage for my family of four.  Our attic is negligible and awkward, so we don't store anything there.  Our closets are small and hold our clothing, period.  The garage holds a treadmill, weight bench, refrigerator, stand-up freezer, all our tools, 20 bins of Christmas decor, bins of outgrown hobbies, hubby's framed artwork that he hopes to sell some day, our overflow pantry, beach and camping equipment, the grill, and five bikes.  I'm sure there's more, but those are the big items right there.

It should be fairly obvious that we don't store a car in our garage.  I have organized our shelving well, though, and there's actually room for a knife-throwing station and two large trash cans in addition to everything else.  However, I do live with humans... everything can be arranged as beautifully as I can make it, but I can't control the way people put tools and bikes away.  Individual shelves are pretty messy, and the boxes and bags of items for donation threaten to overtake the floor.

Yesterday and today I did some rearranging.  There are a couple of really big things that need to go to the dump, and I'm waiting for the bike rack to come in (we'll be able to hang two of them, which will be great), and then I can take a picture.  I'll post it here for all of you, too!  Heck, I'll be so proud of it that I'll probably use it as my icon photo on Facebook!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Paper Trail

Yesterday I met with my client to attack the volume of paper she had stored in her home. During this past two weeks she has done a good job of gathering the assorted piles, bags, and boxes of paper and putting them in the pantry, our staging area.  By doing so she was able to physically see the amount of excess "stuff" that had piled up and was affecting her peace of mind.

I didn't count specifically, but there were at least 15 different bags or boxes that were stuffed with paper. She and I went through and touched every piece.  A huge issue was the volume of unopened statements and bills.  She says she pays her bills over the phone, so there really is no need for a paper statement.  Also, paying by credit card can incur finance charges and possible service charges -- these can be negated by doing bill pay through your checking account.

For statements you need to keep, such as IRA or 401k plan info, as a new statement comes in, throw the old one out (actually, shred it).  Keep an expandable pouch file labeled in categories and drop in the new info as you clear out the old.  If you devote 15 minutes a week to this, you're set, or just keep the file by the trash can.

I taught my client the TRAF method, which I learned nearly 30 years ago: When paper comes in, your first response should be to TRASH it, then ROUTE it, ACT on it, and lastly FILE it.  70% of your mail will fall into the T zone. Another 3-5% will be an R (must set it aside to chat with the spouse, etc.).  You may need to Act on another 10-15% (invitations and bills), and then File the odd flyer or postcard advertising a vendor you'd like to try some time.  Hopefully that added up to 100%!  If it didn't, throw out a little more.