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I’ve been experimenting with a few niche websites

I’m starting another four in areas of interest right now.

I did a “best of WV” travel post for another site and doing the research got me interested in doing a kind of travel site for West Virginia. There are so many places here in WV that are great places to tour and visit, lots of great locally owned businesses and small, local artists/artisans and authors and I want to shine the light on those places and people.

After working on the book review/spotlight for Booklure Promotions, I decided to start up a Fantasy site. This one will have exercpts from a few fantasy books/stories I’m working on as well as reviews of fantasy books, movies and series I have really liked.

I also started a site as a resource for both new and seasoned parents- different products, books and other things that I (and others) have found useful as well as tips, research and studies I find that have to do with parenting (none of the celebrity gossip crap unless a celebrity parent comes out with a baby product or baby clothing line)

 

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I’m tired of stuff

I have five hobbies I can think of off the top of my head.

I sew, do crafts with my kids, make candles, read, write and garden.(candles and crafts are pretty much one in the same)

I have a few things I’d love to pick up- kayaking and working out.

I belong to several decluttering groups on Facebook and use those groups for guidance as well as inspiration.

I watched Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix and grabbed her book on audible and listened to it. Before watching or reading (well, listening) I started to try to tackle my home.

Over the course of the years since I grew up, I have ended up with such a cluttered mess of a house. We have been pre-approved for a home loan so we just have to find the house and when we move, I do not want to take the clutter from one house to another.

Some of the clutter belongs to my kids (my husband just has tools he needs and a closet with stuff like fishing poles, camping supplies and hunting stuff- he’s not bad at all- I have a whole room that I can barely breathe in). Most of the clutter is mine.

For the past several years, the minimalist approach has really appealed but how can I part with my useless stuff that I don’t use? I’m working on getting rid of all the clothes I don’t wear, what sits in my drawers and is never picked. The uncomfortable pajamas (I have very specific types of fabric I am able to wear, anything else will make me lie awake for hours agitated until I change)

I already have pared down pretty much everything in my kitchen and clothing but when I look around my house, all six rooms and both walk in closets (storage closets that are the size of small rooms) are stuffed. I’m currently playing the game of “do I want to load you in a box and move you to another home?” game with all my stuff but it still feels like there is so much left.

 

Last night I finally tossed my favorite pair of jeans (holes that couldn’t be patched worn from me wearing them so much) and a favorite pair of pajama bottoms for a similar reason.

I also got most of my main clothing down to what will fit in one large tote. We threw away a storage container that was damaged and some other damaged items from the bathroom, so now I’m trying to pare down bathroom items because we don’t have enough space.

I’m constantly working to try to get as clutter free as I can, I’m also working on trying to use less plastic. I have to drink bottled water- I can’t stomach any water that was out of the tap- including filtered, I just can’t take the chemical after taste. Once I use up the very last bag of disposable razors I bought, I’m going to stop buying disposable and I’m looking around at either making or buying produce bags. I use shopping bags most of the time I grocery shop- with 2 kids, it’s easier to take 2 or 3 bags from the car to the house and I’m looking for reusable stainless steel straws, although I’m trying to quit drinking with straws altogether- they can cause wrinkles around the mouth.

Over the years, I’ve worked at trying to find time to make small changes to my lifestyle.

I ran across a minimalist challenge on another site and I would try to follow it for a month, but I’ve done half the things listed. I have studied minimalism up and down but letting go of the anxiety over things I don’t use but am afraid of getting rid of is the major challenge. I’m torn, part wants to hang on to everything and part wants to blindly throw everything out.

 

 

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“I can’t keep plants alive”

I’ve heard that “argument” for not having kids a few times.

I have to ask, is that a true worry or is that one of the random “excuses” people feel they are forced to come up with when they don’t want kids (by the way, the only valid excuse should be “because I don’t want to have kids.” I’m sorry, but people should never be pressured or told they are selfish if they don’t want to have kids.

This question is coming from someone who has managed to keep 2 kids alive- for 8 years almost now (8 years next month for one and 3 years for number 2) but still managed to kill cacti and other “impossible to kill” plants. It’s so much easier to keep children and pets alive than it is to keep a plant alive, at least in my book.

With kids you just have to provide food, shelter, water/milk, teach safety and make sure they aren’t in dangerous situations.

With pets, it’s the same.

With plants- make sure the soil is perfect, the temperature and lighting is perfect and give them water- but not too much. That’s not enough… no! that’s too much… you just killed it.

Inside plants are the worst when you have cats. You can’t put something by the window, if you do, the cat will perch. With the cat perching, they will likely destroy the plant, make a mess and destroy the blinds.

Outside plants are a bit easier, until it rains and you end up with mud soup. You go outside in the morning after a hard rain and watch your flowers floating around your garden. Or you see huge bite marks in your sunflowers. Or your tomatoes are ate up.

I’ve had successful gardens a few times but more than once I’ve had unwanted visitors eating my plants and over watered succulents. Every year I’ll keep trying to keep plants alive, but I will always say- it’s much easier to keep kids alive than plants.

 

 

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My writing has been featured

A while back I submitted a “Share your story” post about losing my Cassandra to Pickle & Poppet. They submitted the post to “ABloggingGoodTime” and they selected it as their featured post this past week.

“Reflections
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Three year olds say some of the funniest things

My three year old has my imagination. She is always someone different.

Yesterday, she was Doc McStuffins and I was her patient.

“You have a bleed on your cheek. When your cheek has a bleed on it, I’ll get some cheek paste for the bleed.”

She got sick one day, I’m guessing from drinking too much soy milk before her meal. She threw up in the restaurant and asked my mom “what is that? That’s not my favorite thing.”

I guess it’s good to know that throwing up isn’t her favorite.

Another time, I got glutened. We went out to eat when it kicked in (almost exactly 12 hours later) and I was sitting in the restaurant crying unable to move or sit still. She had to run over and inform the waitress mommy was sick, then she had to tell every single customer that we walked past that mommy was sick.

She has also announced to all of Walmart that “that milk is diarrhea” or “that juice is diarrhea”

She is learning and she now verifying with me if food is “diarrhea” or safe and is doing a good job avoiding “diarrhea’ foods.

 

What are some of the funnier things your young kids have said?

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Participation trophies and ribbons

One thing people are always screaming about are how Millennials grew up getting participation trophies, so that makes us “entitled” and that makes us think we deserve more than we do.

It makes me think of when I was in school, when we had competitions and I didn’t place, I wanted to be invisible. I hated those stupid ribbons- they were a symbol of failure not fun rewards for participation. I don’t know anyone who took pride in receiving a participation trophy- unless maybe they had physical disabilities and competed against fully able bodied children. (I can’t speak for them- so I don’t know how they felt)

It was also not our idea to give trophies to every child- we were children, not the adults leading the competitions so to blame us for being the generation given the ribbons is unfair itself. It was not our idea and we didn’t demand it. (parents likely did)

I wasn’t even that interested in the awards themselves- just to show to my parents (I do still have them somewhere but my mom saved nearly everything) but the stories about winning the field day or coming in second/third place were what I was proud of- one of my classmates got a bunch of participation ribbons and I actually traded them a second or first place for them to show their parents- the award meant nothing- I had placed they hadn’t and trading meant nothing. They were empty symbols. I have yet to meet anyone who actually took pride in those ribbons, that’s not to say no one ever has but they were meaningless at best and embarrassing at worst.

Do I think they are good for some physically or even mentally disabled children at a young age? Maybe. Especially since children with certain types of disabilities can’t compete as well with “normal abled” children. Not to say there aren’t exceptions, but kids who have trouble walking or running can’t win a race against a kid who is a naturally fast runner. I had 2 problems that both were undiagnosed. I just thought that thanks to hip dysplasia, I wasn’t flexible. I thought my joints snapping in and out were normal reactions- I didn’t know that’s what was happening (or that each snap was weakening my joints and leading to the somewhat severe, at times, OsteoArthritis I have now. I also had no idea I had asthma until one of my lungs started to collapse a few years ago and I ended up going to the ER becuase I was having trouble breathing and my chest was killing me.

None of those counted as real disabilities. I worked out daily at home, could pretty much keep up with the athletes in gym class and running was my only real weakness. I didn’t know I had Ehlers Danlos or that some of the nervous habits I had meant I was double jointed. I also had no idea the breathing problems were asthma. I was simply called lazy, a slacker and made to redo until the class was over. I still remember feeling like my lungs were on fire and the pain in my chest, but I never had major attacks.

There are children with much worse disabilities, though, and those kids may benefit from the trophies. Like I said, I don’t know. At a high school level, it may be as embarrassing to them as it is for most of us at a young age.

 

Did you ever get a participation trophy in school? Were you as embarrassed as I was or was it something you took pride in?

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I’m doing a challenge this month

From a woman I met on Twitter, Thoughts with N from over on Blogspot.

She came up with the “Self Care Challenge” which includes different little things to do for yourself throughout the month.

Today’s is to read, which goes perfect with one personal goal I have to read a little bit more than I have been.

 

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The number one piece of advice I would give anyone who hasn’t had kids yet

Men and women are pressured, maybe equally, maybe women a little more to have kids. Once college is over and a career is started, a common question seems to become “when are you getting married?” Soon after marriage, the question that seems to come is “when are you having kids?”

It’s a concern a lot of women seem to battle with, for no real reason. Now, we have the ability to choose- whether using birth control, morning after, adoption and even abortion- women have choices about when or if they become moms.

It’s not a choice to make lightly. Many people do not want to be a parent, others give in to pressure and later regret. In reality, becoming a parent is a lifelong responsibility. It extends beyond the time they leave. You will always worry, want to see them as often as possible and want to spend time with grand kids.

The early years involve a lot of late nights, potty training isn’t smooth, you will grow comfortable with every type of bodily fluid (although I still have to ask my husband to clean up if someone pukes most of the time- just the smell alone can make me join in). When I was pregnant, I had to have other people change poop diapers due to my extreme sensitive smell and how prone I was to queasiness. (once again, unless I wanted to puke)

You can deal with colic, temper tantrums over everything, there will be times they don’t want to eat anything and times they only eat one food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and you’ll deal with all types of bad but the good should outweigh the bad. You will feel a strong maternal bond, but not every woman feels it- even after kids. You will feel a strong love and bond and the good times will quickly outweigh the bad.

A lot of people try to justify the why behind why they want kids. To me, it sounds like they’re talking themselves into wanting instead of actually wanting to be a parent “just because.”

This is my opinion alone, I always wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to be a career mommy (career and kids) and I never had a reason. Over the years, I read a lot and all the reasons people gave for having kids sounded more like they were trying to convince people or themselves they wanted something they were unsure of.

After looking at the realities of having kids, the numbers of women living in regret, I never give advice without being asked but if I was asked, I would always tell someone if they have a reason or a list of reasons to hold off on having kids.

What are your thoughts?

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Christmas Traditions

Since starting a family, almost 8 years ago, I’ve been thinking about different holiday traditions.

As a young child, we got together with my mom’s side of the family a lot and not my dad’s that often.

When my grandma died (I was 13), we stopped getting together so much but I have a couple aunts we did get together with a lot- especially one who has always treated me like a daughter.

We still get together with her a lot.

Throughout the years, I have had jobs (especially 1) that had me so busy this time of the year (thank you, retail) so I barely had time to breath during the whole season. With the job change, I’m only working a few days a week so I have time to actually do stuff with my kids and it has me thinking on the lines of Christmas traditions.

I ran across my Facebook memories yesterday, after my 2 year old helped me bake cookies and found last year on the same day, she helped me bake cookies as well.

With our new found food restrictions, she and I can’t partake in events like cookie exchanges like my mom, cousins and aunts did one year- she couldn’t eat anything with butter or milk and I couldn’t eat anything with flour and certain other ingredients.

My mom and I were talking about both of us wanting to do our trees primarily in home made decorations and with a very few exceptions, mine is this year (we have a few football team ornaments and a few the girls really like but other than that, everything else was bought off Etsy or made by us)

We have the main celebration with my family on Christmas eve, his on Christmas day and ours Christmas morning with a few gifts on Christmas eve.

Over the years, I’ve slowly started incorporating some Yule rituals either privately or with my kids included and we’ll do that at home instead of celebrating Christmas in our home- since a lot of Yule traditions overlap with Christmas.

What types of traditions do you have with your kids?

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I tried Hello Fresh

So, I heard quite a bit about the company and read several paid reviews. I also read it’s overrated but I got ahold of a 25.00 off 2 week so I decided to give it a try.

My first issue was that nothing specifically stated “gluten or dairy” either free or in the ingredients, so I had to guess.

My second issue was that I couldn’t find much without actually setting up an account and ended up paying before I saw much of what was offered.

I selected 2 meals a week for a family of four. It came out to 37 for the week with the coupon.

Aside from those issues, I selected the Spanish chicken.

The recipe was fast, easy to follow and came well packaged in a ice packed box.

It was a bit spicy for my kids, and I left several ingredients out. I also didnt use most of the garlic (my husband cant take garlic) but outside of that, I really liked it and my kids seemed to like it.

My husband hasnt ate it yet.

I’ll be fixing the cranberry pork chops tomorrow and I’ll see how they like them.

But for the price, it’s pretty good. For the non-sale price, I dont think 2 meals a week are worth it honestly.

*note- this is NOT paid, this is simply me trying and posting about the meal delivery company*