Monday, December 30, 2013

Pictures and Progress as Promised!!!

I've worked non stop for the past three days, today making four. I'm moving a little slower today as I'm pretty sore from all the trips up and down the stairs with bags full of everything from excess clothing, to fabric, even reptile supplies from when I had a reptile rescue years ago. I have one Iguana now and have no intention of getting anymore reptiles. So, if it's not used or loved, out the door it goes.

One van load, and there are bags on the kids' laps!
This was our first trip to a donation center, and there were two large garbage cans and about a dozen garbage bags full. I'm not even close to being finished yet. I can't wait!!!! Once it's all done and I've purged the clutter out of my home I can focus on finishing painting projects and such, not to mention my sewing projects I've been putting off simply because I couldn't find anything or even get to my sewing machine!
How is your great purge of 2013 going? Any progress?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Decluttering my entire life! Wanna join me?

Do you remember that post about my decision to try the Flylady method? Turns out I'm not real good at sticking to only fifteen minutes at a time. While I was putting away my Christmas decorations I realized something: I had way too many decorations that hadn't been used in over two years. So why was I holding onto them?

I have no idea!

While I was looking at my excess of...well, Everything, we had yet another flood from a backed up pipe. Turns out there was a bundle of roots growing in there. I digress. While these guys are walking through my basement I caught myself continuously apologizing for "the mess". There really is no reason my house should look like this every day! I clean from 6am until at least 8pm! Yet, no matter how hard I work there's always a mess!!!! Why? That's right - WAY TOO MANY BELONGINGS!

I spent over twelve hours yesterday purging anything and everything that I either a) didn't love b) didn't have a current function, or c) hadn't been used in at least a year. I've lost count of how many bags have gone either into my car to be donated or thrown into the garbage. Really, Christy? You need to hang onto things that "you might fix some day"? Oh don't worry, I promise to post pictures of my very full car before my first trip to our local thrift shop.

While I was going through every nook and cranny in the basement, I had the boys go through their clothes and pick out their favorite 10 outfits each. The rest is going out the door! If you realized how many pieces of clothing they had in their rooms, and how many they didn't wear or didn't fit you'd totally understand! lol My daughter's room is next, although she doesn't have nearly as many as the boys. She's been growing so fast I'm constantly having to buy her new pants to keep her from looking like Michael Jackson in the 80s! Last will be mine and the husband's closet. Mine will be easy because I'm slowly changing my wardrobe over to reflect the 40s and 50s, so anything that doesn't work, or I don't wear on a regular basis is GONE!!!

Once the basement is finished I'll move up to the kitchen and purge all those little butter containers, the tupperwear with no lids, all those extra plates and cups (my sister already asked for those! lol), etc. I'll keep you all updated as this little project moves along!

The husband and I have decided once this is all done I'm going to reward myself by redoing the a 50s remake! Seriously! I'm going to make my basement look like a 50s house! I'm so excited and have already started looking at paint colors.

Alright ladies and gents...who's with me? Who is willing to take this little challenge and completely declutter your lives? We can all keep each other accountable and on track! Feel free to post pics or leave comments as to your progress.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

If I Could Do It All Again - An original essay by Christy Parks

If I Could Do It Again
By Christy Parks

Like every new mother I stressed, yelled, and complained. I couldn’t wait for the day when my kids could do more for themselves and give me a break. I couldn’t wait for the day when I no longer had to stay up until three in the morning to ensure the visit by Santa would remain secret. I couldn’t wait for the day when I no longer had to sneak into my kids’ rooms, tripping over toys, and slip money under their pillowcase in exchange for a blood stained tooth.
Now that my kids are in high school, edging toward adulthood, I can’t help but wonder where the time went. Sure, I wanted the time to fly a little faster, to get some time for myself, to allow at least one day when I could sleep past six am. I was a fool.
As I set about decorating for the holidays, shopping for the perfect gift, my heart is a little broken. No longer do I get to hunt up and down the toy aisles, searching for the coolest and noisiest toys possible. No longer do I get a child bundled up in foot pajamas climbing up onto my lap to watch Rudolph, Frosty, and Charlie Brown. Sure, my kids still enjoy hanging around me at times, but there are no more little hands slipped into mine when we cross the street, no more tear streaked faces over tiny scrapes and boo boos.
Where did the time go?
I didn’t get the same amount of time as others, as my children didn’t come into my life until they were four, five, and six years old. There are no baby pictures hanging on my walls, but there are memories everywhere. There are no memories of the first step or the first word, but there are memories of the first time my kids called me mom, the first time they said they loved me, and the first time I realized my heart was swollen with love for these three.
If I could do it all again I would slow down, listen to every tiny detail of their day, let them paint, color, and build as many mud pies as they could fit into a day. I would pull them onto my lap and watch lightening bugs flash in the summer night sky. If I could do it all again, I would sing more, read more books to them, and take more field trips to the zoo, Grant’s Farm, Purina Farms, and any and every museum I could find. If I could do it all again I would let them cook alongside me no matter how big of a mess they made, I would let them roll the dough, and I would let them decorate the cookies by themselves, even if the gingerbread man’s eyes didn’t match.
If I could do it all again I would enjoy every single second and would never wish for them to grow up a little faster.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flylady Challenge: Day 1 Results and Today's Schedule

I tried. I really did try. However, anyone who has a scatter brain knows how easy it is to get distracted. Yesterday was 1 hour home blessing day, and we were supposed to sweep our entry ways (front porch, or in my case front and back porch). Do you realize how many times I picked up the broom to clean the porch only to find something else that needed to be swept? *sigh* I did shine my sink twice, but ended up leaving something soaking in the sink overnight. And, I got up and got dressed to shoes yesterday morning, but I didn't bother putting on any makeup. I hadn't planned on leaving the house and with as much dusting as I was doing it would've just ended up running down my face.
Yeah, something like this.
In the meantime, I continued putting up and out more Christmas decorations, and being as the habit of the month is Pampering ourselves, I took time out to sit down and paint Christmas decorations with my daughter. I remember doing this kind of thing with my mom when I was little and wanted to share the joy with my girl.
Today we are supposed to keep shining our sinks, no new habits added yet. And here is today's mission:
Zone 1: Mission #2 Tuesday 

 We are going to have a multi room mission today, it might take you longer than 15 minutes to do it, so set your timer for each room and FLY through it!

For the Front Porch, Entrance and Dining Room, put out the fires that are burning in your hot spots. Get rid of the pile of shoes by the front door, get rid of the pile of junk mail and put away the magazines and school papers that are piled on the dining room table.

They are smoldering so get to it!
If you're anything like me you have a pile of shoes, socks, bags, and other various things lying around. I'm also notorious for hoarding paperwork. No, you'll never see me on the Hoarding shows, I'm not quite that far, but I'm always afraid to throw anything away for fear I'll need it later. So, today, we need to go hit these hot spots, of course only spending 15 minutes on it, and hopefully put out some "fires" before they are too far gone.
By the way, did you get dressed to shoes? I'm having a really hard time getting used to wearing shoes in my house as I feel they track dirt through the house, and being as we have hard wood floors, I fear they will scuff or scratch my beautiful flooring. I've dedicated a pair of shoes specifically for inside, but sometimes I've had to clomp out in them. At least I have rugs at every entrance! lol
Happy Flying.
Are you following along? How did you do yesterday? Any better than I did? (I hope. lol)


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 1 of the FLYlady challenge starts tomorrow.

I'm posting this tonight so that those of you interested can follow along and implement this into your own life. Supposedly, by following these steps you create habits for yourself. Of course, this isn't an exact science, and she doesn't promise to change your life, after all it's up to us to stick to it. This challenge will last thirty days at which I will post my results and sum up my experience.

Okay, so tomorrow is Monday. Here is what we're supposed to do, starting with waking up. The very first habit we are supposed to implement is shining your sink every morning and night. In other words, just make sure to dry out the sink when you're finished using it.

Monday is Home Blessing Hour. Here's the deal: you can only spend about ten minutes on each chore, thus taking approximately an hour to complete. Here's the list for the Blessing Hour:
  • Vacuum - center of the room only. No lifting furniture or getting on your knees to get all the crevices.
  • Dust - this is done with a feather duster, not deep and dirty dusting.
  • Quick Mop - supposed to be a damp mop, not carry a bucket around the house
  • Polish Mirrors and Doors - you can't be caught scrubbing. You're just cleaning these things.
  • Purge magazines/catalogs - self-explanatory
  • Change Sheets - Nice to have a specific day to do this each week. I've done my sheets twice in a week because I couldn't remember which day I'd done them.
  • Empty all trash cans - again, self-explanatory. I always recommend grabbing a garbage bag and emptying each can into it instead of carrying each can outside.

  • Seems simple enough, right? The real challenge to this is not trying to do everything at one time. You're supposed to stop with these chores at the end of ten minutes. We'll see how many of us can discard our perfectionist/defeatist personalities and stick to the plan. For more details on this, go here.

    Also, there are zones we work in each week. If the method works the way it's supposed to you're not supposed to ever really need to spring clean again. Because we spend time on each zone, really purging unnecessary items and deep cleaning it's pretty much done on a regular basis instead of once or twice a month. So, this week's zone is Entrance, Front Porch, and Dining Room. Go to the link to get the details on this zone.

    Here's the instructions:
    Zone 1: Mission #1 Monday 

     We are in Zone 1 this week, that is the Front Porch, the Entrance area and the Dining Room.

    Today you are to sweep your front porch area around your front door. Shake out your welcome mats and wipe down your front door. This makes a huge difference in how your home looks. We have a tendency to neglect this area and yet it is the first thing that people see when they come to your home.

    Spend 15 minutes taking care of this, you will be pleased with the results!
    I don't want to have to tell you every single word on this site, so make sure you go to Flylady's site and read everything. I would definitely do this when you don't have anything pressing; I got carried away soaking everything in for hours one night! lol Happy flying, and wish me luck!

    Friday, November 29, 2013

    Thanksgiving, Family Traditions, and Black Friday....

    When I was younger, even at 18, stores were closed on the holidays. Any year on Thanksgiving, when traveling to a relative's house, there would be hardly any cars on the road, and shopping centers resembled ghost towns. It was a serene feeling. There was that part of my brain - the part that romanticizes - that pictured every family circled around their tables, laughing and talking over turkey and gravy.

    Fast forward to November 29, 2013. This year more and more stores stayed open on Thanksgiving (my mom worked yesterday and wasn't able to join us), and the yearly Black Friday sale moved from 6am on Friday (as it was when I was young) to as early as 6pm last night. I got curious; the kids and I hopped into the minivan and drove to the local Walmart and a local shopping center. It. Was. RIDICULOUS! There was a heavy police presence at Walmart, and people were parking in nearby parking lots because there was no more space. At the shopping center people were lined up in the cold out side of Target.

    Today, I've viewed dozens of videos of the brew haha that is Black Friday. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! People were fist fighting, screaming at each other, trampling people to get to a sale. What happened to spending time with your family? Do these people not realize that if you encourage stores to stay open others will follow suit and we'll ALL eventually be working on the holidays? Hmmmm, I wonder how many of you just read that and thought "I didn't think of it that way." I am a stickler for tradition and believe that everyone (obviously first responders don't have the same choice) should be with their families, NOT out shopping for a discount. I mean, did any of those people who shoved others down and injured people (anyone remember the child who was trampled to death?) really need a new TV, an iPad, or whatever?

    Can we, as a society, agree to respect traditions, holidays, and common courtesy? Okay, I'm into deals and bargains, but how about everyone realize these sales are NOT what they seem. How many times have you heard stories of people standing in the cold for hours only to find whatever it was they came for was no longer there? They only have a limited supply of these bargain deals! It's a ploy to get you into the store to spend more money when you would normally be hunkered down in front of the football game moaning in agony from an overstuffed belly!

    Am I being old fashioned? Maybe I'm becoming that old curmudgeon! I don't know...either way, you'll never catch me shoving someone to the ground to save money on something I would never buy anyway!

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    New Challenge Starting Monday, December 2

    Have you ever heard of the Flylady?
    If the answer is no, you need to go check the site out. The system by the Flylady is for SHEs (stressed home executives). There is a day by day, week by week, and month by month schedule for not only getting your house clean, but most importantly clear of clutter. In this method you go about building routines and habits by doing certain things every day, and you only spend 10-15 minutes a day on certain tasks. This type of thing is supposed to get your house in tip top shape and help you avoid CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). Oh come on, you all know what that is. You get a phone call that someone is going to stop by to visit so you run around like chickens with your head cut off, hiding things in bedrooms, scooping all that junk on your counter into a basket, etc. I refer to this as the Flight of the Bumblebee cleaning.
    This is what I hear while running around cleaning as fast as I can with sweat running down my back!
    The Flylady is big on starting where you are and you are not behind. So, having said that, I'm going to attempt to start each day with the flight plan of the day, and implement things such as the control journal.
    Here's the funny/fun part....I'm going to post a Vlog of myself on here each day, first thing in the morning, and after I've (hopefully) accomplished the daily habit and the flight plan for the day.
    Any chance I'll look like this at the end of the month?
     If you join me in this you HAVE to start from Day 1, no skipping ahead because you got so much done for the day! lol Who am I kidding?! You all know I'll probably still be doing other housework/yard work while following this schedule.
    See you all Monday morning! And have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    I'm a Glamorous Author....aren't we all?

    When I was a little girl I read Charlotte's Web; it devastated me. Why the HELL did they have to kill Charlotte? (Mind you, I've always been terrified of spiders, yet Charlotte was different somehow) At six years old I rewrote the ending of one of the most beloved books. Okay, it wasn't very good, somewhere along the lines of "Charlotte lives and her babies live and they all stay with Wilbur forever and no body kills Wilbur." Oh, and it was very misspelled - give me some slack, I was six!

    Fast forward thirty years and I'm still writing. Gotta tell you, my image of a professional writer is so much different than reality. Do you remember seeing the movie She-Devil with Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep? Okay, maybe you didn't see it, as most with any taste in movies laugh at me when I talk about it. There's a point in bringing it up. Meryl Streep is a romance writer in this movie, and has a very specific image. This is what most people picture when they think of writers:
    Pink hat, pink clothing, pink laptop, and iced drink at hand. I mean, isn't this how EVERY writer looks while working? Ha...HA.....HAHAHAHA! You want to see a little reality?
    Yes, that's me working on my latest book. No zooming in!
    The reality is we (as in those of us who work from home) tend to stay in our pajamas, we go hours into the day without brushing our hair, and so many of us write wherever we're comfortable. I'll spend a few hours like I am in this pic, then flip to another couch. At some point the laptop will end up on the coffee table with me hunching over it, before I'll finally give up and have to walk around to stretch out my back. Between the wrist issues and the neck and back pain, this is a very NOT glamorous job! lol

    There's a site on the web by Paige Cuccaro who has one of the coolest pages. If you haven't checked out The Writers Cave you need to head over there now!! I'll be here when you get back. Good? Did you like it? I TOLD you so! Wow...I just realized I not only talk to myself, and to my fictional characters, but now I'm talking to my readers on the blog like they can hear me.

    Anyway, I would love to see you writing. If you're a reader, send me a pic of you reading. Do you have a specific place you work/read? Are you only comfortable once you have your coffee, cigarettes, chocolate, etc?

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Day 5 - Shopping and a MAJOR Aha Moment!

    Confession - I don't like people. Not like it sounds, I just don't like to be in crowds, especially when shopping. I do not like people in my bubble, nor do I like to be touched. This has been something I've dealt with my whole life. Don't get me wrong, I like to go out and see friends and such, but I can't stand being bumped into in crowds, when people stand too close to me, or - huge pet peeve - when people bump into me with their shopping carts!

    Today, because it was unavoidable, I had to go to the grocery store. We were way short on everything important, especially perishables and fresh fruits and vegetables. After putting on some makeup to perk myself up before the dreaded trip, I headed out to run a couple errands then off to the grocery store. This week has been such an eye opener for me, so I decided to try my new attitude change at the store.

    Here's the story: As soon as I stepped out of the car I made sure there was a grin on my face. The first person I saw was an older man just inside the door; I smiled at him...and he smiled back. Cool. Okay. Just a fluke. As I continued through the store there were two ladies in the produce department, talking about Parsnips. Yeah, I know, strange topic. Anyway, they were talking back and forth about whether they're good or not, so, I chimed in and told them they were similar to a spicy carrot and smelled awesome. We chit chatted for a couple of seconds and separated to go about our shopping. Huh. Well then. Okay, so down more aisles. This pattern kept repeating itself, with each person I made eye contact with smiling at me, making small comments; I even received a compliment on my hair.

    When I was done I went and stood in line behind three guys who looked like they were on a lunch break or something. They glanced at my overflowing cart and joked about how if I'd pay for their groceries, they'd pay for mine. "Deal!" lol Yeah, obviously that didn't happen. My order was over $200 so they had to call a manager over. There was an elderly couple behind me with a small amount of things. I thought "Okay, here we go. They're going to get huffy and invade my personal space or push their cart too close to me." Nope. They smiled, struck up a conversation about feeding a large family and waited patiently. That never, ever! Once everything was rang up, approved by the manager and ready to be bagged the manager actually brought a second cart over and helped me pull the second one to the bagging table. She joked about having so much, and offered to help me out to the car when I was done. I told her no thank you and proceeded to bag.

    As I was pushing the cart out of the store the elderly woman who was behind me smiled big and joked about my cartful, and two register ladies offered to help me out and went back to make sure I didn't forget anything. This was the best and easiest shopping trip I've ever been on. I smiled and changed my attitude about being there and about the people around me and they reacted in kind. Wow.

    Had I known I could make my own life easier by changing my attitude about how I react to things I find uncomfortable I would have done this YEARS ago!!!

    Day 4 - What's that smell?

    I actually took yesterday off from being Suzy Homemaker to get some writing and editing done. Funny enough, the only thing I kept from doing was blogging. HA! Apparently, I live as Suzy Homemaker every day anyway. I still made beds, hand washed dishes (I don't own a dishwasher), did three loads of laundry, picked up several messes, and as the headline indicates, picked up an accident from my darling puppy. *sigh* Just what every glamourous woman wants to do, pick up a pile of dog poo!

    There's a blog by a Canadian woman named Jen, but never Jenn who not only did a 1950s housewife experiment, but actually made the food, walked to the shops, and donned a dress all day every day. Go read it and have a good laugh! Wait until you see some of the meals she made!! (She actually used cookbooks from the time period, and all I can say is EWWWW!) She committed to two weeks and actually followed through and had some great insights. Seriously....go read

    As I sit here writing this I've decided I have a ghost in the house. It's either that or my lamp is possessed. The bulb in the lamp keeps flickering; when I get up to check it it turns back on. As soon as I sit back down...yep, flickers out. Anyone know a number to a good ghost buster...or somewhere to get a cheap lamp?

    I digress. Today is officially the fifth day of my experiment and I've learned a lot about spending more time with my family. While I didn't originally tell the kids what was going on you can definitely see a change in all of us. The kids seem lighter, the husband seemed like he was able to relax more when he got home, and I realized this is something I need to do every day, not just for a week. My life has always revolved around my family, but now, instead of saying I'm too busy doing laundry/dishes/cleaning/insert chore here, I take the time to listen to my kids and husband. I mean I really stop, look them in the eye and listen to what they have to tell me. It has been wonderful!

    I can't tell you if I lost weight by all my scrubbing as I don't and won't own a scale, but I definitely feel good both emotionally and physically (all except my knees). Even with financial stress I find I'm able to sit back and hand my worries to God and realize there are some things I can't control. You know the saying - Let go, and let God.

    Here's my challenge to you: Stop what you're doing, slow down, and really listen to what your kids, husband, wife, whatever have to say. More than likely whatever it is that you're busying yourself with isn't nearly as important as what your kids are trying to tell you.

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Day 3 - Total FLOP!

    Today was not a 1950s success. Because we have those little things called bills I had to find a way to find some money. Like so many people in the country these days we're struggling financially. Our pay check (meaning, the husband's as I don't work outside the home) was cut in half by higher insurance premiums and higher taxes. Of course, at the same time, all our bills have gone up. We're not shoppers or spenders, and have lived on as tight of a budget as possible. Regardless, bills are late and Christmas is coming up.

    Today, I spent hours posting things I'd made for a craft fair on Etsy and Craigslist, as well as posting some things we no longer use on Craigslist. I also spent hours looking for a job that would work around my very strange schedule. *sigh* Nothing. I'm disheartened to say the least.

    In the meantime, I continue writing books and trying to get published. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and seeing my books in bookstores (both online and in brick and mortar) has always been a big dream!

    I am a true believer in everything happens for a reason, and God puts us where we're supposed to be. Apparently, writing and taking care of my family is exactly where I'm supposed to be. Today has been emotionally difficult, but I'm going to put a smile on my face and go upstairs to make dinner for my beautiful kids and unbelievably supportive husband. Have a great night, y'all!

    Day 3 - First few hours, and a revelation

    I already live this life, well sort of. The only thing that has really changed during this little experiment is the fact that I spend some time making myself presentable for my husband and instead of being constantly distracted by the Internet and television, I've spent time making my home beautiful and comfortable for my family and spent time making sure they each felt important to me. I can honestly say I think I'll continue doing these things after my little experiment is over.

    So, here's the question - What would you like to see on this blog? Most of you already know I'm an author and I intend on putting some writing advice and anecdotes on the page, but is there something more that you'd like to read about?

    How about another experiment? Is there a lifestyle you'd like to see me try? You know, the budget meals for a week/month? Creating meals from one specific ingredient for a week? Organizing a room/drawer/home? Organizing on a budget? Learning some new talent/skill? Etc. You tell me what you'd like to read about. *ps. Come Spring I'll be blogging about my first year as a full homesteader! Tee hee....wait until you hear about my failures and successes with raising ducks along my chickens!

    Okay, that's enough Internet for the morning. I have a house to clean and a book to write. Talk to you all tonight.

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Day 2 - Why did I decide to do this again?

    Day 2 started out fine. Got up, got the kids fed and off to school, then went about doing dishes and other housework. Because I've decided to take on the traditional role I went about with my feather duster making sure there wasn't a speck of dust anywhere, fluffing pillows, refolding sofa throws.
    I didn't want to listen to the same ten songs again, so I turned on some Christmas music and danced along as I cleaned. What a great mood, what a great day! Ha! That is until I decided to clean my daughter's room. Let me give you a little background here; my daughter is fourteen but only has the mentality of a six or seven year old. When I tell her to clean her room that means she shoves as much as she can under her bed, in her closet, under her dressers, etc.

    On with the story. As of last night there wasn't a single sock left in the laundry room - all laundry was caught up. Again...HA! After cleaning the darling daughter's room I ended up with FIVE HAMPERS full of dirty clothes from all over her room. That doesn't even include the summer clothes she hid that I still have to pack away, nor the trash I pulled out of some very interesting places.

    Nonetheless, I'm Mommy Dearest this week. Wait, maybe that's not someone I should claim to be.
    Whatever. I stretched a smile on my face, no matter how much it hurt to do so, and finished the room, and am now waiting for yet another load to finish washing and drying so I can put the clothes away. *sigh*

    I ended up using the good old coffee maker instead of another failure with the percolator. I didn't sleep much and caffeine was much needed today. My knees are killing me, my feet are throbbing, my back aches...I can't imagine doing all this without my washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, Swiffer duster. Oh, yes. My darling Swiffer duster.

    I don't like using paper products (um, other than toilet paper, of course) so I make my own Swiffer covers. How appropriate that this pad has dog prints all over it. Do you realize how much hair I've cleaned up in the last few days? I mean, I always clean my house, but a good 50s housewife always made sure her home was spotless. I have no idea how they did that with toddlers at home, but I digress.

    It was time to go to the grocery store. I made a promise to myself to stay as genuine as possible, and women in that day and age too pride in how they looked when they were in public, so it was off to slip this bad girl on:
    You would think something so simple would be comfortable. You would think wrong. I don't know if my waist is lower than the original owner of this dress (this is an actual vintage dress), but I couldn't raise my arms and, with a belt, it was too snug. Anyway, here I go...

    I assumed I would get looks...and I assumed correctly. Oh, you think I'm bluffing?
    Yep, that's me picking out some bacon to go with my homemade potato soup. I opted for my usual purse instead of the pearl covered vintage hand bag. Really didn't want to have to hold on to it all night. Notice the cool updo? It was really easy, in case you're wondering. Pull your hair into a ponytail (I pulled my hair into a low pony), then separate the hair just above the rubber band and thread the whole ponytail. Just do that over and over again until there's just a little hair left and bobby pin what's left.

    Anyway, as I was saying....everyone stared and the girls at the pharmacy started cracking up the second I walked in. They know me fairly well (I'm in there several times a month) so I let them off the hook. Once I got home, though, I stripped off the dress and changed into something more comfortable, yet a little more appealing to the husband's eyes than a grubby t-shirt.
    Cute fitted, lower cut shirt, jeans, and flats. I even donned some pink pearls to go with it. After changing, it was time to make dinner like the good wife/mom I am. What housewife would be caught dead cooking without a precious apron.
    Seriously, how cute is that baby! It's a vintage apron/pinny I found on Ebay sometime last year. I'm actually peeling potatoes in this pic. I know, I rock! lol

    All in all, today was a little better than yesterday, especially since I realized I was going about it all the wrong way. Instead of focusing on the perfection we think of/romanticize about when we think of the 1950s housewife, I chose to focus on the importance of making my family happy, healthy, and comfortable.

    Day 2 - First few hours

    I'm breaking my own rule today and have gotten online fairly early. As I started my day today I kept beating myself up for not being "pretty". The common misconception is that women got up before dawn, curled their hair, and painted their face. Society has an image of the 50s housewife as floating through the house wearing a flowing skirt, heels, pearls, and a red mouth.
    I agree June!

    That's a false conception. Yes, a lot of women did wear dresses every day. My mom has memories of my grandma wearing a dress to garden. As I posted yesterday they would wear something called a day dress or house dress, complete with apron. They wore comfortable shoes or house shoes for their housework and gardening.

    Yeah, so this dress isn't as appealing as our mental images of the 50s housewife, but what does this say to you? To me, I think of the shortage of everything, especially money. This shortage of money generally meant that women not only had to make their own clothing, but they had to take great care to keep the dresses in good condition. If you've ever bought, or even held a vintage dress originally from the 40s or 50s you'll notice how much better quality was put into the clothing of that time as compared to our wear and throw away wardrobe of today.
    As I cleaned in my jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes to as much classic music as I could find in my small oldies library I couldn't help but think about family dynamics of yesteryear as opposed to today. At that time in history staying home and raising your children was just expected. Yes, we have a choice whether we want to go to work, go to college, or stay home now, but is there really a choice for us as women?
    Think about this for a minute - in that day, the man went to work while the women stayed home to raise the kids, clean the house, cook, pay bills, run errands, etc, etc, etc. Now, we have the choice to go to work so we can come home and raise the kids, clean the house, cook, pay bills, run errands, etc, etc, etc. So, where is the choice? Oh, I know there are men out there who help around the house, but admit it....that's rare. And honestly, I don't want my husband to do the laundry, and homeboy can not cook! He helps when I ask him to, but being as he works up to twelve hours a day, why in the world would I ask him to do something I could've done during the day while he was working his butt off to support the five of us?
    Okay, so where am I going with this? Honestly, I'm not sure. I laid in bed last night for hours, my feet throbbing, my body exhausted, and my mind reeling. I already live the life of a housewife, but what makes me different from a 1950s housewife? Is it because I choose to live this life? Is it because, as a society, we no longer put pride in our appearance when we go into public, or pride in our homes and family? When I think of a traditional 1950s housewife the picture at the top of my page is what comes to mind.
    To me, this is the 1950s. The family didn't save their nice clothes for strangers; they dressed nice to have dinner with each other. The family is praying together, sitting at the dinner table to eat instead of everyone making a plate and disappearing into another room where they can eat in front of the television or computer. The wife (at least in this picture it was the wife who prepared the meal) took great care to make sure she made something not only nutritious but tasty and appealing to the eye for those who are most important to her. Why have we decided that we'll save our best (personality, manners, kindness, appearance) for strangers or a night out with friends rather than the people whom mean the most to us? And when did this shift from family happen?
    I will still post about my experience from today this evening, but for now I can't help but reflect on these things while I attempt to rebuild the 50s family in my own home.

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Day 1 - Crappy first day...sort of

    Started out at 5:50 instead of 5:30 this morning. I set my hair in foam rollers after my shower last night but my hair was still wet this morning, so no Doris Day curls. No dress for cleaning this morning; unlike popular belief, women didn't wear pearls and heels when cleaning their home. Those who did don dresses in the home wore what is referred to as a day dress or house dress.

    Not exactly sexy.
    However, a majority of women cleaned their homes and worked their gardens in trousers. I'm in search of a good pattern for a pair of traditional trousers, but as of right now I only have jeans. (Refuse to wear my good slacks to clean this house!) Because I only have tennis shoes or heels I chose the former to clean in. Normally, on my day to day ritual, I prefer to be barefoot. Shoes collect and drag dirt through the house so it bugs me when my family clomps through in their shoes.

    Having said all that, I did make the face and hair presentable:
    Complete with updo, liquid liner, and red lips!

    However, ummm, yeah.....not so much with the clothes:
    Not exactly June Cleaver (if you look behind my right elbow you'll see I laid out my husband's change of clothes for after work, just like a good wife is supposed to *wink*)
    Okay, so I got up early, made breakfast, did my face and hair, and...well, got dressed. Hey, at least I got out of my pajamas before noon. After the kids were out the door (which I did the good mommy thing and walked them to the door and waved them goodbye. They asked me not to do that again.) I proceeded to do the dishes and off to clean I went. I seriously cleaned for nine hours straight. I found dirt in places there shouldn't be dirt. How in the world do you get walls so dirty? I mean, really? I have teenagers, so it's not like they're coloring on the walls. There were actually streaks going down the walls where someone walked down the hallway dragging their hands along my beautiful butter cream paint! WHAT?! Why? *sigh* And why in the world can kids (and men) not know how to change a toilet paper roll? AND, if the trash can is right beside you throw the trash in the can, not beside it. Oh, oh, and did I mention I found candy wrappers ON TOP of the entertainment center? I am exhausted! 

    Okay, I'm okay, I got it together. About noon I decided to make myself some coffee (hello caffeine withdrawal) and of course used my percolator. I put the grinds in the canister, filled the pot with water and turned on the burner. Last time I was out at the chicken coop one of my hens was laying so I went back out to retrieve the egg.

    Here's what I came back in to find:

    I don't know when but apparently something fell below the burner and caught fire while I was outside. Luckily it went out on its own instead of me walking in to a kitchen fire! Emergency avoided, on to the coffee...right? Ha! It turns out I don't remember how to use a percolator.

    I'm pretty sure it wasn't supposed to look like this:

    Ummm, isn't the coffee supposed to stay inside the pot?

    After a few minutes of looking at this bubbling mess and scratching my head I gave up and poured myself a cup. There was more grinds than coffee. At that point all I could do was chuckle, pour the mess into the sink (the same sink I had diligently and dutifully scrubbed out, mind you) and went to my trusty back up:

     Notice the red lips on the mug?
    *sigh* I have to admit, today did not go the way I had hoped. Tomorrow WILL be better, dammit! I can say my house looks and smells great, but after a while I had to actually return to the 21st century and sit down after dinner and rest of my feet. They were damaged months ago and were really killing me after hours on them. Dinner has been made, dishes are done, laundry is COMPLETELY caught up (seriously! There isn't a single piece of clothing in the laundry room! Happy dance!) and now I'm here talking to you. There is my disaster of the first day of my version of the 1950s housewife experiment. Not exactly June Cleaver, but I tried. Honestly, the hardest thing today was fighting the temptation to get on Facebook and update everyone with the failures and successes of the day. I really didn't miss television, and I loved that I didn't get many calls or texts today. My phone usually goes nonstop, so the quiet was great! Oh, how I miss you all!

    *I almost forgot, everyone knows I'm terrified of spider, right? Well, I was at the front door cleaning my hardwood floors and something above my head caught my attention...a spider! I grabbed my handy can of spray and sprayed the demon spawn. FOUR MORE came crawling from the doorway and the jam! I have a theory - they were all waiting for me to walk below them and they would all jump on me at the same time, causing a heart attack. They would then rule the house! That's my theory, anyway.*

    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Daily Cleaning Schedule - 1950s Housewife

    So I found a traditional schedule of a 1950s housewife. I already do quite a bit of it, but I don't bother making myself presentable unless I need to leave the house. Even then, I settle for clean clothes and brushing my teeth and hair. Nope. I will be a good vintage housewife and don a dress/skirt and heels/flats when leaving the house and will make sure I change into something pleasing before my husband gets home.

    1. Throw back the covers
    2. Open up the blinds and windows
    3. Freshen up
    4. Make and serve breakfast
    5. Clean up breakfast
    6. Complete a 10-minute exercise regime
    7. Shower, do hair and make-up, get dressed
    8. Gather a basket for tidying. As the rooms of the home are tackled, pick up items that aren’t where they belong and place them in a basket. Redistribute them where they should be as you enter a new room
    9. Straighten up the living and dining room, including picking up potential clutter, light dusting, fluffing / straightening pillows, and watering plants or flowers
    10. Make the beds
    11. Tidy the bedroom, including light dusting
    12. Hang up any clothes that may be about or ensure dirty ones are in the hamper
    13. Do a light tidy of the bathroom including removing and replacing used towels, refilling toilet paper and soap (if needed) and cleaning the sink and basin area including soap dishes
    14. Review the menu for the current day and the next and compare it to what’s currently available in the home. Make note of anything that needs to be prepared ahead of time or marketing (shopping) that needs to get done
    15. Begin long-advance preparations for dinner (such as making dessert)
    16. Wipe down kitchen work surfaces and inside the fridge
    17. Dispose of garbage
    18. Rinse dish cloths and hang to dry
    19. Sweep or mop the kitchen floor
    20. Handle errands that might take you out of the home (such as marketing, volunteering, going to the post office, getting an item fixed, etc), bookkeeping, correspondence, or indulge in a hobby
    21. If returning from the grocery store, wash vegetables, wrap them and put them away. Place rest of groceries or purchases in their proper place
    22. Have a quick lunch
    23. Start advance food conditioning like crisping vegetables or thawing frozen foods
    24. Handle weekly chore for the day (Saved that for a separate post)
    25. Set the table for dinner
    26. Arrange the living room for evening enjoyment (such as “the Mister’s” newspaper, book, and cigarettes, or in our case, the husband's change of clothes and glass of ice water.)
    27. Do a quick sweep of the floors and ensure entrance ways are clear
    28. Prepare a special dish for dinner
    29. Freshen up before the husband returns from work. Consider changing into something more festive if the day dress is plain
    30. Set out a tray with equipment for making cocktails, should “the Mister” want to serve drinks before dinner
    31. Greet husband “gayly” (*snort* We should seriously bring this word back)
    32. Serve dinner
    33. Clear table and wash dishes
    34. Pour boiling water down the sink to ensure pipes are flushed (I prefer to clean my sink after dishes with vinegar and baking soda. Heads up, it bubbles when mixed)
    35. If necessary, pack the husband’s lunch for the next day. Set aside a lunch tray in the refrigerator for yourself if having leftovers (Already do this daily)
    36. Set table for breakfast
    37. Ensure breakfast foods are available and do any make-ahead preparations for it
    I seriously got tired just reading then typing this list up. How in the world am I supposed to finish all of this is a day? *sheesh* Oh, and that's not all. Check out the other half of the list; these are to be done at least once a week:

    • Use metal polish on bathroom fixtures
    • Clean and disinfect all kitchen appliances
    • Scald and disinfect bread boxes and garbage pails and bins
    • Replace flowers with fresh bouquets

    I don't know about the whole bouquet thing. I mean, I'll do my best, but we tend to only use wild flowers in the area and there's nothing really growing in November. Maybe I'll just make sure there's a pretty centerpiece on the dining table. Oh, and I don't have a bread box, so I'll have to just put something in its place.

    So about the cleaning thing. I know there were things such as comet available, but the women used a lot of natural things, as do I. Most of my cleaning products are pretty much the same as they used in the 50s - baking soda, vinegar, Castille soap (I don't have access in my small town, so I use Fels Naptha and Ivory for natural detergents), lemon juice, and Borax and washing soda. Own and use all of these (I make my own laundry and dish soap). Guess I'm living a lot more like a 1950s housewife than I thought. Now, if I can just break the Internet and background television habit (I don't watch much TV. Just like the background noise when everyone is gone).

    I already live the life of a traditonal housewife, soooo.....

    Why not do a 50s housewife experiment? I think we need to lay out some game plans before we start. Here's what the "rules" were of the time and how they will be altered in my home:

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • - I already do this, but for the experiment I will stick to cooking from scratch and use very little, if any, prepared foods.

  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • - I don't know about putting a ribbon in my hair, but I will follow this one.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • - I assume they meant happy, or I'm sure there would've been some very happy men in the 50s!

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • - Definitely something I need to stick to.

  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • - Already do this.

    *  Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
    - As our kids are teenagers they're usually doing their own thing anyway. However, I will make sure they're cleaned up and presentable, as well as make sure they keep the bickering down.

    Be happy to see him.
    - Always am, but I think I'll greet him with more than just 'hey'.

  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • - Didn't we cover this already?

  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • - Ha! That's funny! Luckily for me, my husband is an extremely supportive person and has never subscribed to the whole caveman mentality!

  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • - Yeah, yeah. Got it.

  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • - If he's out all night he better have a really good reason for it. Did women really look the other way when men came home in the middle of the night reeking of women's perfume?

  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.
  • - I'll just comment on these four as a whole. I got it. I'm the wife, he's the husband. Make him comfortable and happy, yada yada.

    Yes, that's really me.

    On to the daily aspects of my day to day life:

    - I WILL still use my vacuum cleaner. I have two dogs, a cat, a very large lizard, three kids, and I have a head full of very long hair. The vacuum is a necessity.

    - I will forgo my automatic coffee maker for my beautiful vintage percolator. (suddenly I feel tired.)

    - I WILL still use my washer and dryer. I have three teenagers, two of them boys. Clothes get dirty FAST here!

    - There is no way I can walk to the stores. I live in the country, so I couldn't get the shopping done in time to be home for the kids.

    - I will NOT be getting up before my husband to make him breakfast; husband gets up at 4:30 in the morning and I have issues with sleep as it is. However, I will set the coffee maker for him, have breakfast premade for him in the refrigerator, and I already make his lunch for him every day.

    - Now, I will be getting up a little earlier than I already do so I can make sure I'm cleaned up, dressed, hair and makeup done, and cook breakfast for my darling monkeys.

    - I don't own a dishwasher so I'll still be doing dishes by hand.

    - I will make a menu weekly and fight to stick to it.

    - I do plan on following the traditional wife's daily and weekly cleaning schedule, with the exception of spending an entire day on laundry, then ironing.

    - Facebook, Internet surfing, text messaging, and Iphone use will be limited to updating this experiment and blogging. If you want to talk to me you need to call me. If you email or text me you need to include a mailing address so I can respond by mail. My phone will stay on as I have a special needs child whom I need to make sure can reach me in case of an emergency, and my family live all over the place and will need to contact me. However, I will limit my use of the phone outside of the home to emergencies only. If I don't answer I'm not home. If it's an emergency call back or text me the problem.

    - No time suckers like television. I don't really watch tv with the exception of Sunday nights (The Walking Dead) and Wednesday nights (Revolution). I do tend to keep the tv on throughout the day for background noise, so I will stick to the radio/ipad and try to listen to as much 40s/50s music as possible. (My inventory isn't that large)

    - If the husband/family is watching television I will find other things to do such as darning socks, mending clothes, sewing, quilting, or other housework.

    - I will wear a dress or skirt as much as possible. I don't own an extensive wardrobe, so I will save the "cuter" outfits for errand running.

    - There is NO WAY IN HELL I will make the traditional meals of the 50s! Have you seen those gelatin molds?

    - I will attempt to host at least one get together with a friend or a small group of friends and play the good hostess.

    That's all I can think of for the moment. I haven't quite decided exactly how long I'll attempt this experiment, as I just never know what the universe will throw my way. I can't see this changing my life all that much as I already stay home, clean, and cook all day long. lol But, the distractions of the Internet and Facebook have always been something that gets in the way. Yeah, I know it's totally up to me to walk away from these things, but COME ON! Anyone who plays on the computer knows how addictive it can be!

    So there it is. I'm HOPING to start tomorrow, although I haven't really done much preparation. Hey, the day is young. I can still get things going for husband's breakfast and lunch as well as getting my clothing for the week. Tomorrow I will post my weekly and monthly schedules, as well as photographic proof of my appearance of the day (even if it was major fail). Feel free to join me in this quest.

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Putting My Money Where My Red-Painted Mouth Is!

    I said I was going to do it, and I have! All last week (with the exception of the day I received news a friend of ours passed) I have put in an effort to wear makeup, do something with my hair and wear decent clothes. I refuse to go into public with ripped clothing, my behind hanging out, or ratty tennis shoes.

    This all paid off last night! I decided to go ahead and reveal my look to my husband's band members. I slicked the red lipstick across my lips, and applied eye makeup in the traditional fifties manner. I even curled my hair. I received more compliments last night than I have my entire life...I'm not kidding! Some said I was "glowing", another said I "looked classy", and another said I looked "elegant". Really, they had always seen me where makeup to their gigs, but I put some effort into my appearance.

    Today, I volunteered to help my sister with some promo shots for her Valentine's Day pin up specials. Here's me in my interpretation of Rosie the Riveter. (ps. This may or may not be the only pic of my face ever put on this blog).

    So, I started writing this days ago, and am now finally finishing the post. For an update, I was out and about several times this week. When I was home I still wore makeup and a decent shirt, but wore jeans when I was home. Yesterday, I left the house with my hair in a forties style complete with victory rolls. I went shopping with my mom, searching for a pencil skirt, and instead came home with a new coat. All the skirts were just too short for the style I'm going for, so I guess I'll be hitting some vintage shops next week.

    Have a great day, everyone!

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Finally getting into a routine!

    Today is Monday, and I'm finally getting into a good routine now that the kids are back in school. Thursday and Friday I made sure to put on makeup, styled my hair, and wore decent clothes. I refuse to wear junkie clothes into public ever again. A shopping trip yesterday confirmed my feeling of that. Everyone seemed to be wearing sweats, pajamas, or really low cut and saggy pants. It was almost as if they had given up. I, on the other hand, felt like I was walking a little taller. I didn't have anything more than mascara and lipstick, and my hair was twisted into a bun, but I looked pulled together. I had planned on posting pics of my look this weekend but I just acquired a new phone and haven't had all of my pics transferred over yet.

    On to another part of my new routine. I've always made my bed when the family left in the morning (husband is still stirring in bed when I climb out), but I've added more to my ritual. Every morning, once I've made my bed, applied my makeup, and done my hair I collect the laundry throughout the house and get a load going. This has kept me from being swamped by the ever breeding dirty clothes. I also make sure to do all the dinner dishes and shine my sink per the Flying Lady's method before I go to bed. When I wake up there is no mess to get in my way while I make my morning coffee. If I didn't fix husband's lunch while making dinner I make it while the kids are getting ready for school. I'm getting ready to add to my routine, and I'm really feeling confidant and motivated!

    On a side note, I went shopping today. I bought a couple of vintage items to add to my collection and can't wait to wear them! There's only a couple of dresses, a handbag, some scarves, etc, but they make me feel like such a lady.

    Okay, that's it for today. Have a great day!!!

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Almost There!

    The kids go back to school tomorrow and I'm ready to start my old and new routines! Originally, I would get up at 6am, wrap my robe around my cold body, then go about waking the kids up and making coffee. I would stay in my robe and/or pajamas for half the day, usually only getting dressed before I had to run errands, or just before the family got home. After the kids were gone I would make myself some oatmeal for breakfast (I have fructose malapsorption and lactose intolerance, so I'm limited on what I can eat), and wash dishes while the water was boiling. Eventually, my bed would get made and some cleaning would get done in between writing and/or researching.

    No more. No more will I hang out looking like Mrs. Frumpalot for the whole day. That does absolutely nothing for my self worth, nor my self-esteem. Starting tomorrow, I will brush my hair and teeth before waking up the kids, and will "get dressed to laces" including my hair and makeup.

    Along with my physical appearance, I've been compiling my daily routine list and forming a control journal to keep myself on track. Have I mentioned how much I love the Flylady website? FLY stands for "finally loving yourself". In her way of thinking taking care of yourself and your home is something we all deserve, not something to strive for perfection. We are right where we're supposed to be. I love that way of thinking. Instead of giving up before I even start because of feeling overwhelmed I can jump right in where I am at the moment. Yay for not feeling like I don't measure up to someone else's expectations!