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Archive for November, 2016

Organizing Month 11:Clearing out Holiday Stress

Organizing Month 11: Holiday stressWith the end of November comes my second to last installment of my walk through the book “One Year to an Organized Life,” by Regina Leeds. So far in this series we have tackled emotional and physical clutter and it has made all of the holiday activities so much easier. Here are links to the spaces we have organized so far; Kitchen, Garage, Bathroom, Bedroom, Paper Organization, Memorabilia, Travel, Kids Rooms, Living/Dining Room.

The author said it but I didn’t really believe it until Thanksgiving came upon us. She stated after creating organizational habits throughout the house this year your home will now support you during the holidays instead of sabotage you. She was totally right!

The freak-out begins

Every year about two weeks before Thanksgiving, I start to get anxious. I start to freak out imagining all that has to get done before Thanksgiving. Creating lists upon lists or what needs to be cleaned, purchased and cooked.  Tending to take on way to much this time of year, the process of prepping for the holiday’s makes me over complicate all of these things.

I worry will there be enough food? I envision how messy my house will be for guests.  Not to mention the time it will take to shop, prep, cook and clean the house, while still having to work a full-time job. Add to that the anxiety of seeing Christmas ads all over the place by early November. Are they kidding I haven’t even gotten through Thanksgiving yet and I’m already feeling the pressures of Christmas shopping?

Turkey, family and flooring oh my!

Well, to my surprise this year that didn’t happen when by all reason it should have been worse. See, about two weeks before Thanksgiving we were scheduled to get new flooring installed through almost all of our home. This renovation was scheduled for October but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.working-mother-clip-art-multitasking_mom1

Not only did I have my entire house in shambles, I had no floor for about a week and a half before the big day. Almost the whole house of furniture was packed into three bedrooms and we were still living in it! So roughly about four days before Thanksgiving, I had to put my entire house back together.

Still we could not move all the furniture back completely until the baseboard’s were done THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. What? When I should be prepping, cleaning and cooking I had to move furniture.

The weird thing was, this year I was not stressed. I truly believe all of the work of de-cluttering had played a large roll in this lack of the anxiety I have come to associate with Thanksgiving.

In fact, once the floor was installed we realized how much nicer our home felt with less stuff. As we moved in some furniture, we uncluttered more and decided to get rid of pieces to make our small home feel more open.

During the renovation my kids and I were stuck in the bedroom and front yard for much of the time. I took this opportunity to further pare down my children’s belongings and tackled the scrapbook cabinet I had mentioned in a prior post. Getting rid of toys, cloths, and video games I missed on the first go around. Once that was done we moved on to Thanksgiving.

What was Thanksgiving like as a kid?

The first section of this chapter, in my view, is the most important. Surprisingly it has nothing to do with organizing your physical space. Instead it deals with confronting where your holiday stress comes from and setting your intention for this years celebration’s. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is huge.

It starts with several journal questions that dive into what your holiday was like as a child. They seem like simple questions at first but help you to discover some thought patterns that may be trapping you into a certain way of thinking about Thanksgiving.

Growing up my parents hosted Thanksgiving. My mom and Dad where really good cooks and dinner was always delicious. However my cousins, who would come over, had a beautifully decorated and immaculately clean home. My family… not so much. I remember being the only one to clean the house before Thanksgiving because I was embarrassed. To me our house was always a mess, our furniture was old and out dated. It was nothing like the clean, well-kept home my cousins had.

Looking back I realized my parents were more concerned about the food they prepared and the family time we had.  They were never much for appearances. Not having a ton of money or time, they felt these resources were better spent on providing a great meal, not on the appearance of the house.

However, after answering these questions I discovered the majority of my Thanksgiving stress was generating from this memory. It was not in the food preparation so much as the house cleaning I worried over. It was so difficult to keep the house clean to the way I wanted with two dogs and two children.

Mom, we really didn’t need a 20 lb Turkey

The other thing I realized is I completely over spent and over-cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. Every year I would watch my parents prepare Thanksgiving enough for 30 people when we where only 10. One year my mother even bought a 20 lb turkey! So growing up I always thought this was the way Thanksgiving was done.

This discovery was made when I was making my Thanksgiving menu, something that the author advises in the third section of the chapter. Going down my list, noting all of ingredients to shop for there was a nagging feeling to make this list longer. Eventually my husband asked why I was trying to make Thanksgiving stressful for myself by adding more to do? He was totally right. I didn’t have the time or the energy to add more and why did I feel like I needed too?

This Thanksgiving we had a wonderful time and I actually got to spend it with my family instead of in the kitchen. I allowed myself to take some shortcuts and help by purchasing cake and pie instead of making it myself and let my husband do the clean up.

Thanksgiving isn’t suppose to be about stressing out, or having an immaculate home filled to too much stuff. It is about family and making memories. So this year I am setting my intention on that.

[ctt title=”‘The holidays are about families celebrating together-the holiday is not supposed to be perfect,’ ” tweet=”‘The holidays are about families celebrating together-the holiday is not supposed to be perfect,’ ” coverup=”bla8Z”]from One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds.

Five Reasons to Shop Small

Small Buisness SaturdayHometown businesses, local artisens, and handmade gifts when you purchase from these types of vendors your money is not going to a big corporation that has an army of faceless nameless employees or an home office states away. It goes into the pockets of neighbors, communities and friends.

This year I have pledged to by as many Holiday gifts from small business owners, handmade crafters and locally known shops. Small business Saturday is November 26 by why wait until then to start your shopping.  Here are 5 reasons to shop local and small.

Your money is fund a dream

When you buy from small business you directly support the business owners and their family. Maybe for the owner this shop was always a dream for them. By using their business you are helping fund that dream.

Your money goes to people and families you know

By purchasing from a local business, direct seller or small business owner you are helping people that you know. Does your neighbor sell at a craft fair? Does that mom at the PTA sell Avon? Look around at the people you know you will be surprised to find how many people have a business on the side that you could contribute to.

You money helps your local economy

When you buy from local business, that business owner will most likely spend that money locally, it might be dance lessons for their daughter or supplies from a local manufacturer or a dinner out at a local restaurant.

You can find something unique

If you have not perused handmade online marketplaces like Etsy you are missing out. Handmade crafts are unique, and one of a kind. They are crafted with skill and caring not found in mass produced items. When you order handmade you don’t just get a gift you get an experience from the packaging to the hand-written notes it goes far beyond a Target bag.

If you can’t find a local business that fits your needs, check out direct sales

I am a big supporter of direct sales businesses. There is a pride in knowing when I purchase from direct sellers I am helping a friend. I’m supporting the future of a stay at home mother, and a newly made entrepreneur to grown in their business.

If you are a handmade business owner, direct seller or you want to give a local shop a shout out please leave a link in the comment below. Let’s share the love this holiday season and shop local, handmade and small business.

Stop it…Just stop it now… there are kids watching

Are we teaching kids how to be intolerant?How do we teach your children it is ok to disagree?

How do we teach our children you can disagree and still be respectful? How do we teach our children people who are different from us are not bad, stupid or ignorant? How do we teach our children these lessons when adults are struggling to do this.

Nastiness

The nastiness is plastered all over social media. News and TV have made what should be civil discourse into a circus of misinformation and fear. People think it is generating from this election but this is something that has been around for a long time. No, I don’t expect people to get together and sing kumbaya but I am personally saddened by the nastiness from all sides, the uptick in hatred and name calling of and by every color,  nationality, every sexual orientation or political and religious belief. People all over the place are making snap judgement about each other based on assumptions feed to them by the media, Facebook meme’s, Hollywood and others.

Name-calling

In this past week alone I have been called a ignorant, white-privileged bitch. Friends of mine were told they need to get “back on the boat.” Co-workers have had doors literally slammed in their face because of their nationality. Family members and acquaintances are blaming each other for events that have not even happened yet. And Facebook bullies are making assumptions about peoples character based on political posts.

So I ask you what are we teaching our children? One side shouts at the other, the other side name calls back. But not one is hearing each other, no one is listening. Well, our kids are. They are learning that different opinions are wrong. They are learning that if your neighbor doesn’t think, look or act like you they are to be blamed for our countries ills. They are the problem.

Lessons in bad behavior

This squabbling, bitterness, anger and fear are teaching them it is ok to be intolerant of others. It is teaching them to stifle their own ideas if they aren’t in agreement with their friends. Our children are not learning to listen to both sides, they are not learning to be open-minded. They are learning to make snap judgements with little information and to be angered by differing opinions. Civil discourse and open communication are no where in sight, instead they are getting a lesson in stereotyping, non-conformity and name calling.

Who is teaching them this? Why, it is us of course. No… not one side or the other, it is all of us because well, it takes two to fight. So yes, we are all to blame for setting this example for our children.

It’s time to stop

Let’s be honest, we where never thinking of them. We were thinking of how wrong the other guy was, why would they think this way, why would they believe that? We were so caught up in proving the other person wrong that we all just kind of forgot our kids where watching. They we’re listening. But they saw your angered rant on Facebook, heard you yell at the TV commentator, watched as you argued with friends and family.

So how do we teach or children it is ok to disagree? How do we teach them that differences are not a bad thing? We teach them tolerance, respectfulness and civility, by doing it ourselves. That’s it… that’s all. Maybe we all lost our heads for a little while. But we all need to stop the nonsense, get off Facebook, make up with our friends and get back to living our lives because our kids are watching.

 

How to Get Back on Track When Financial Calamity Strikes

When financial calamity strikesUggg…bye-bye savings, hello debt… again.

These are moments when financial emergencies erase everything you have worked so hard to achieve. Dave Ramsey would say it is in those moments when Murphy comes to visit… as in Murphy’s Law. It happens to us all from time to time and well it just sucks. It is hard to watch your progress be undone, your savings melt away, or your fun money become not so fun.  When the planets collide, the stars explode, and everything conspire to screw you.

It is those moments when a calamity of costly events converge. For example, you find yourself with illness or injuries that require medical attention (aka doctor bills.) At the same time your car breaks down, your roof leaks and the washing machine explodes. It is during these times when you feel like you are being buried financially.  Really it is all just the timing of things. If we planned a little better we might have been able to avoid the stress of converging events.

So then we have to ask ourselves what could we have done set ourselves up better when these things occur. Lets face it, stuff happens and more often then not it is going to happen at the most inconvenient time. Like right before a major trip, or after you just finished unburdening yourself from a large debt. Here are some things to consider when financial calamity parks itself at your door.

Don’t beat yourself up

Sometimes all the planning in the world won’t prevent Murphy from coming to town. The best thing you can do is accept the situation and make a plan to prevent it from happening again. Yes, it sucks. Give yourself a few minutes to feel bad, then get down to the work of digging your way back out.

Know it is only temporary

You got out of debt once your will do it again. Even though your situation might seem like it will never go away (like the college loan that takes forever to pay off.) If you keep in mind that you have already know the way to get out of debt and get on better financial footing. So this time around it will not take as long to recover.

Don’t give up

I know it is easy to start spending when you are already outlaying a huge chunk of money for car repair, home repair or another big expense. You might think, “what is another few grand I might as well tack on a couch or vacation expenses to the bill.” This will only dig you in deeper. It is a slippery slope once you start to spend. Soon you will find an excuse to wipe out your hard earned savings or run up that credit card you worked so hard to pay off.

Make a new plan

The key to this experience is to get though it and learn from it. After going through a major financial set back you are that much more educated to prevent it from ever happening to you again. We can all be caught off guard when these things happen. That is why an emergency fund is used from “emergencies.”  Here is your opportunity to make a new step by step plan to avoid this type of setback in the future.

It is a dog, not a baby

Your dog is not your babyLet me tell you a little story.

There I was sitting at a local restaurant waiting for burgers and fries with my children. When I looked to the side and noticed in the booth next to me sat a blonde haired women. At first I thought she sat alone in the booth however, upon further inspection she was not alone but sitting on her lap was her four legged companion.

Yes, her and her dog were in an enclosed restaurant seated next to me and my children. I would love to say this is the first time this has happened but it is not. Sometimes the dogs are in a carrier, sometimes they are in a stroller. One actually chased my daughter, barking at her though Macy’s until I found the owner.

This is not what was meant by doggy bag.

People are going to disagree with me on this but a dog doesn’t need to go everywhere with its owner. I don’t mean place like the park or strolling down the street. I mean they are being brought everywhere. There is a disturbing trend in the area I live. It is showing up in shopping malls, in hair salons, and government buildings. Now it has infiltrated supermarkets, restaurants and other food establishments. It is the trend of bringing non-service dogs into stores and restaurants.

Not only is this unsanitary, it is inconsiderate to those with allergies. I am an owner of two dogs myself and the thought would never have crossed my mind to shove my dog into a stroller and bring them into the supermarket with me. This has been happening so often that it has become a literal “pet” peeve of mine.

For whatever reasons people (mostly women) are treating their dogs as if they are babies, dressing them, putting them in strollers and even swaddling them. There is now a whole industry created to forcing you dog into the role of baby. Let’s get something straight.

Your dog is not a baby.

When you are treating your dog like a baby, it is not only inconsiderate to those around you who might have pet allergies, or who find it just disgusting to take a pet into a store that sells food. It also is in defiance of the dog’s natural state. That of a domesticated animal.

You can say you are a mom of a four-legged fur baby but unless you have fur yourself, you are not, in fact, your dogs mom. What you are part of its pack, a caregiver, a companion, but not the dogs mother. It doesn’t mean there is not a special relationship between you and your dog. But it is of that of dog and owner, not of mother and son.

Let your dog be a dog

Each breed of dogs has been created with many valuable and heightened skills humans don’t possess such as keen hearing, domestic herding, family protector and the like. When you attempt to give your dog the human attributes of a child, you negate the strengths and ignore these natural abilities.

A boy and his dog

A boy and his dog

I have been witness to the amazing nurturing and watchfulness of a herd dog with my family. Also I have seen my dog’s fierce protectiveness of the pack (my children.) There is no denying the keen emotional connection dogs have to their human families when they are allowed to be what they are. Dogs are not meant to be treated as infants. Let’ be honest here this role playing is not done for the dogs benefit but for the benefit of its human companion.

Dogs are meant to run, play, herd, protect, work, and hunt. They are meant to be part of a pack, having a role and a duty to the pack hierarchy. It gives them purpose and is part of what is natural for them. They are incredible companions, protectors and care-givers. So let a dog be what they are naturally born to be…a dog, not a baby.

 

Video

Kid, I’m Not Suppose To Be Your Friend

kids I'm not suppose to be your friendSaw this video the other day I thought I just had to share it on the blog.

It is sassy, funny and so on point. Just when I feel I am messing up my kids something like this comes along to let me know I am doing the right thing.

We can not always be our child’s friend. If we want to mold them into productive members of society and help then ultimately live a happy life,  we need to know sometimes they are going to say “Mom, I hate you.”

It hurts to think of this, but it is our job to guide them. Even when they are hating you for some imagined slight or removal of a privilege. Know in your heart that you are doing the right thing. You are protecting them, guiding them, parenting them. If they don’t like you, it’s ok because in the end you are loving them the way they need you to.

How do you feel about this video? What do you think about her points? Have you ever mixed ice cream and wine? Would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Share them in the comments below.


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