Saying sayonara to Days of Daphne

Standard

I have news and I don’t know how you’ll take it, but it must be said. You see, I have decided that after almost a year of running this blog (on 2 different site hosts, no less) that I am ready to put Days of Daphne to rest. It was a fun project while it lasted but real life has intruded and interest on my part has waned a tad. C’est la vie, right?

This isn’t goodbye though. Not technically. You see, my mother who has written all of those awesome “Mama Says” articles now has a blog of her own now! Yes, my friends, she has finally entered the high-tech world of the internet. It would mean so much to both of us if you checked out her site. Here is the link. (Note: I will occasionally be writing guest articles there!)

To entice you over to Mamavicky.net, let me assure you that Mama has some really cool stuff planned for her blog. In addition, we are currently hosting a great giveaway. You have the chance to win a brand spanking new Christmas CD by artist Michael W. Smith. The album literally just came out a few weeks ago. You’ve got to hear it!

Thank you to all of you who made my internet life so much fun. The comments, likes, etc. you all gave me, made my whole year! I truly do hope to see you around the world wide web again very soon 🙂

Mama Says … What are you going to do with all of those photographs?

Standard

skyscraper1

I have a few things to blog about today; from photographs to donations to gratitude to freebies. Follow along with me, if you would please.

I came across a great way to tame the photograph monster that lurks in cabinets, drawers, closets, etc. I have always kept up with my photos putting them into photo albums or scrapbooks until the last 3 or 4 years. I am not sure what happened to my organization in this department, but I will say that the photograph monster has taken up 3 shelves in my hall cupboard. They are haphazardly placed. I hope they aren’t getting bent. And believe it or not disorganization and clutter drive me nuts.

     I confess there are dust bunnies lurking around my home and the bookshelves need polishing. Oh, by the way, the kitchen could stand a good mopping, too. But as far as my careful belief that every item has its place does not seem to extend to the pictures; until now. When I look at the mess, it seems so overwhelming. Where do I have unlimited time to go through envelopes and packets of photographs? Organizing the family photos has been a goal I have had for some time. But where to start?

     Thanks to my Organized Homemaker, Deniece Schofield, there is now a plan that sounds very manageable and simple. You are going to be amazed. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will all of the photos be organized all at once. The idea is to start and that is where this simple sorting plan comes in to play. Enough jibber jabber, here’s how.

     The Organized Homemaker says that sorting the photos is the key and she makes it a relative breeze. First collect all the loose photos you can find, wherever they may be stashed; hall closet, sock drawer, under the bed, etc. Once you have all the photographs in one place you are ready to start sorting.

     Figure out how you want the photos organized. Do you intend to give some of the pictures to specific people? Are you going to keep them all and put them in chronological order? What-ever categories you decide on get several file folders and label them accordingly. I have already started scrapbooks for my grandchildren. Daphne has done her own as have I. I need to make one for my son since he’s a manly man and not into girly stuff like scrapbooking. Something that might help is to use a dishpan and put the labeled file folders in the dishpan standing them up. I’ll keep mine sideways.

     Now go through your photos one packet/bunch at a time. By doing this you can decide how much time you have available and when you are available. It shouldn’t take too much time to go through one envelope of photos. You can work at this for 15 minutes or 2 hours. It is up to you. And because it is portable you can sort photos while watching TV, waiting for the baked potatoes to be done, waiting for the laundry timer, etc. When you need to quit just put your dishpan of photos away in a safe place. It’ll be ready for you the next time you have a few minutes.

     As an aside, think how fun it would be to sort photos with your family. You can share stories and reminisce together while deciding what goes where. Granted, it will take more time this way, but won’t it be time well spent? There doesn’t seem to be enough family together time, at least not for me. Wouldn’t the time be well spent bonding with your loved ones and strengthening the circle of love that binds you?

      Once the pictures are sorted by category you may wish to sort each folder by chronological order. But by the time you get to this step, it will be quick. Then you can either make scrapbooks to put them in or if not the crafty kind or don’t have the time, mount them in photo albums. A word of caution: use acid free paper, photo albums, ink, mounting supplies. Acid will eat up your treasured photos. Acid free items are available everywhere. They aren’t just for archivists any more.

     Ready, set, go… and have fun!

                                                            ****

Since we are in the de-clutter mode how about an idea that helps you clear out “stuff” and help another at the same time? There is no expense involved. Go through your closet and shoes assortment. Is there anything in there that you hope to fit someday but someday was 2 years ago? How about that jacket you bought on sale because it was so cute, on sale, and you just had to have it? Now when you see it in your closet you realize you have nothing to go with and it isn’t as cute as it looked on the store dummy? Have you just gotten the latest Air Nikes, but your old shoes are still in pretty good shape? Here’s a suggestion. Find a battered women’s shelter and donate your clothes to them. Sometimes they flee in the middle of the night in just their robes and nightgowns. Do you have a county hospital nearby that treats indigent patients? The staff would love to have clothes and shoes to put on their patients. I work for our country psych hospital and I can tell you we see a lot of homeless people and people of lower income. They come in with one set of clothes or in torn items that wouldn’t even make a good cleaning cloth. We have a closet for men’s and women’s clothes that is there because of generous donations. Think about it, will you? You be rid of excess “stuff” and you’ll feel good helping someone else. Sounds like a win-win to me.

                                                                ******

You know, it has been a long time since I have shared with you all some of the things I am grateful for. I think about my blessings every day, but I haven’t put them down in words of late.

3 things I am grateful for today: 1) The gift of hope. Even when things seem to be topsy-turvy, I believe hope helps us handle whatever we are called on to do or endure; 2) I am grateful that I will be switching to day shift in a couple of weeks from night shift. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the night shift and I think the folks I work with are good people, but this past year finding enough sleep to function has been really hard. I find myself planning when I next get to crawl into bed as I am getting out of bed for work; 3) The invention of the knitting loom which allows me to make beanies for people. I can even do it while watching the little TV that I do watch. I don’t feel so guilty sitting in front of the boob tube when I am doing something creative and constructive with my hands. (Daphne, it is your fault you got me invested in Ravenswood! Bad daughter, bad. 🙂 And of course since I like the show it gets canceled. Who’s bad idea was that? Bad network, bad. 🙂 )

     By the way, we still have a couple of hardcover journals available for jotting down what you are grateful for, as well as whatever crosses your mind. Please let us know if you would be interested in obtaining one. It’s free and we’ll pay the postage. We just want to spread some joy around.
Blog you later!

Mama Says … It’s time to declutter your life!

Standard

stacking-boxes

Here is that de-cluttering system I was touting as the next best thing to sliced bread. (Speaking of bread, do you have your bread in a breadbox or in bags all over the counter?)

According to Mrs. Deniece Schofield, the organized homemaker, there are 6 basic rules of organization that apply in many circumstances (and some of these are great rules to abide by in human relationships), and not just when you are trying to tame the lion of messiness. These four are: 1) Think before you act; 2) Discard and sort; 3) Group; 4) Be motion minded; 5) Practice preventive maintenance; and 6) Use your accrued benefits (more on this one at another time).

Industrial and motion experts have estimated that workers are only 50 to 70% as efficient as they could be. Why, you wonder? Simply because they act before they think. Some people think that the time they spend planning could have already been used to get the thing they are trying to do done. If you are like this, can you think of a time(s) when you just went off and did something only to find yourself redoing it because what you did didn’t work out? I know I have. To me it is worth my time to think about what I am going to do and how to best do it. This has saved me a number of times from going back to the store for something I missed to tearing apart what was done and doing it the smart way. A person definitely does not save time (nor energy nor frustration) going about something without planning. (I can’t say I have become perfect at it, but I’ve gotten a lot better since taking the organization class and reading the Organized Homemaker’s wonderful book.)

Now here is the simple but effective way to clear up/out clutter. Determine what function each specific area of your house is going to serve. Do you really want electric saws and fishing gear decorating your bedroom? Ouch! Then work in 1 area at a time. Keep 3 boxes or dishpans in the area along with one large trash can. Our expert calls this the “four container method.”

I don’t like things being out of place once they are done being used. So as I go about straightening the house when I find something in the wrong room I immediately pick it up and return it to where it belongs. I usually try to return 2-3 items a time. Seriously, a waste of time on my part running back and forth. Well, hello Box #1! This box is meant to hold everything that belongs in another room. Sure saves time with the running back and forth. You can just take a friendly stroll replacing things directly from the basket to the area where they belong, and voila! you are done with that little chore.

Box number two is for those items that you want to give away or sell. Just be sure you get those donated items to the right destination in a minimum of time. If you have determined to sell the items, not a bad idea for a little extra cash, get to the swap meet or have that yard sale soon. What’s the point of de-cluttering if you are only going to have those items sitting around ad infinitum?

Box number three is for those things you aren’t sure what you are going to do with them. Should it stay or should it go now? Just make sure that you’re unsure box isn’t overflowing and you are keeping more things than you have gotten rid of.

Trash can – obvious. Perfect receptacle for the broken comb, last night’s candy bar wrapper, pantyhose with giant runs, etc. You get the idea.

The goal is not to just move things from one pile to another, but actually do something with the piles. And don’t forget the “year rule.” If you haven’t used it in a year or in two years maximum you most likely aren’t going to use it. Get rid of it. My instructor, Senor Acosta, was adamant about the year rule. I’ll be generous and give you a bit longer time.

I know that sentimentality makes things hard to give away. I am not saying part w/ everything. For example, several years ago a coworker who knows I am a chocoholic gave me the cutest little fondue set with a tea light to melt the chocolate, 4 dessert plates, and little tongs for Christmas. I had meant to use that a million and one times, but never did. So I donated it to our church thrift store. I haven’t seen that coworker in just about as many years so there was no point in me holding on to it. It can be done.

Trust me. You will feel so much better when you get rid of some of the excess. Your home will be neater and more comfortable to be in. You won’t be afraid to have visitors over. You will possibly make yourself some extra cash or at least bring a little joy into your life by giving your goods to someone in need. The added boon is you won’t have to polish it, clean it, dust it, etc. With all the pros involved what are you waiting for?

****

My partner in crime and administrator of our blog and I have come up with a tiny little column that offers quick and simple tips and advice. We decided to call it “Sugar and Spice Advice” after the name of our really fledgling handmade business. Please feel free to give us your tips as well. We do love to hear from our readers. We’d also appreciate it if you would share our blog with your friends and family. Muchisimas gracias!
BLOG  YOU LATER!

Mama Says … Are You Prepared?

Standard

California has its droughts (which we are in right now) and its wildfires (which we experienced just a couple of months ago. I had friends and acquaintances who had to evacuate their homes because the fires would literally in their back yards.) The Northwest has its rainstorms. The Midwest has its tornadoes and dust storms. The East has its blizzards and ice storms. The South has flooding and hurricanes.
     Have I captured an overall picture of the events across the United States that can put people in a state of emergency? Whoops! I just remembered another joy that Californians get to enjoy – earthquakes! Lately, it seems that Mother Nature is pretty upset as there are now the tremblers in other parts of this wonderful country.
     You know that I am not a doom and gloom person. I really am an optimist and love to see the glass at least half full. So then you may be wondering why I am listing some of the unpleasant weather conditions that we all experience instead of speaking of sunny days and picnics, etc. Well, because I know these things happen. When, I don’t know, but they will come. And I believe that if we are prepared the shock and trauma may be controllable.
     How do we lessen the fear and trauma? By something as simple as having 72 Hour Kits. Have you heard of 72 Hour Kits? Why 72 hours and not a week? Because the disaster experts have figured out that if you are displaced from your home in an emergency situation you will need 3 days worth of supplies before disaster services will be fully in place. In the meantime services may be spotty. There is a wonderful saying that goes like this: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”
    How do we make a 72 hour kit and what goes in it? Use a large backpack and have smaller ones for the children. These kits should be kept in a place where you can grab it quickly and carry it if you have to walk a ways to get to a safe location. The kits shouldn’t be hidden in some back closet with golf clubs, skis, etc. on top of them. My children and I have 72 hour kits that are in the rolling luggage that you see at the airport. Big enough to hold what we need and yet easy to pull instead of carrying something heavy on our backs. What you choose is up to you as long as it holds what you need and is portable.
     Before I forget to mention this, set a date every year to twice a year in which you pull out your 72 hour kits and go through them. I haven’t managed to be good at doing it twice a year, but at least we get them out and go through them the day after New Years. Adults and children can grow and change clothing sizes. Some of the food contents may need to be rotated, adding fresher items to the kit and using the items from the kit for snacks or lunches, depending on what you put in them.
     Pack clothes to cover hot and cold temps. Have you seen those reflective blankets that look like a sheet of tin foil but are flexible and fold up into little squares the size of a man’s wallet? They really do work to keep a person warm and water runs off them. You’ll need flashlights and extra batteries. A supply of medications for those family members who need them. A first aid kit. Pack $20 dollars in your kit and get pre-paid phone cards. (Why not your cell phone? Because what if the disaster has interrupted the electric supply? You won’t be able to charge your phone.) While you are at it tuck in some important phone numbers. When in an emergency situation everyone gets a little rattled and phone numbers may slip your mind. Lighter, matches, flares, a portable radio so that you can hear updates as they come in. (There are radios that can be wound up and then you don’t have to worry about toting extra batteries for a radio. We each have one. They weren’t that expensive.)
    Other items to include: a tube tent, 50 feet of nylon rope, shovel, sewing kit, whistle, and of course, duct tape. It does have a thousand and one uses! Food for each person and water purification tablets. The food can be in packages like granola bars5 or canned. Pick items that your family will eat. If your family members won’t eat Spam (and I agree with that) don’t put it in your kit. If they’ll eat tuna, put that it in the kit. Base your kits on your individual family’s needs. Hand sanitizer and a 2 gallon sized ice cream bucket, minus the ice cream, to use as a port-a-potty if you can’t dig a hole in the ground. Grim detail, but you have to prepare for anything.
      And if you have kiddies don’t forget baby formula, diapers, diaper wipes. (We call them butt wipes for short and even grown-ups might need these.) Take a deck of cards and some crayons and portable games. You might leave the hand-held Nintendo at home since it will run out of batteries in no time and let’s face it, batteries are heavy. You may have to tote them around until you find a safe shelter.
     Last but not least, important papers. Copies of medical info, birth and marriage certificates, SSNs, insurance, wills and up to date photos of family members.  If you should get separated it will be a lot easier for the rescue workers to have a picture of who they are looking for.
     This is by no means an exhaustive list. I just didn’t have enough room to list everything. You can contact the American Red Cross as they have plenty of info and recommendations for a 72 hour kit. Or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to send the info we have to you.
     So sorry I haven’t blogged lately. I guess I need to improve my time management skills. (I’m reading a book on that now.) Have a great week!
                                             Blog you later!! 🙂

Mama Says … Be careful out there!

Standard

clip-art-computers-748694

 

Daphne and I have recently experienced a couple of unusual firsts in our lives. One is rather comical and the other, downright scary.

You know when you have some information to share with someone, say an employee, and there is good news and bad, you try to figure out what you should do first. Bad news first and make them feel better by giving them good news at the end? Or good news first to make them feel at ease and then deliver the bad news? I guess it can go either way depending on the situation. So what does this have to do with the firsts in our lives? Well, should I do the comical story first and then the serious, or vice versa? My father has this expression: Always leave them laughing.” So I guess I will start with the serious one as a cautionary tale for all you good folks out there, and finish with a little humor.

My daughter, Daphne, (I am sure you know that she’s my daughter by now.) purchases a fair amount of things on the internet. She has never had a problem until she made one recent purchase. She found someone on Facebook who could make edits of a show she was interested in and so Daphne ordered from this woman and paid her a fairly large sum for what she wanted. This was back in early April. She waited and waited and no product arrived. She contacted this woman and very nicely asked when the product would come. Each time the woman made an excuse. First excuse, it’s taking a little extra time. Okay, that’s believable. Second time, going on vacation for 13 days and when I get back I will finish them and get them to you. The edits never came. Daphne’s requests for the item or a refund went unheeded.  Finally, Daphne just wanted the problem over with so she asked for her money back and canceled the edits. No reply from the seller.  Last weekend she sent the seller a straightforward message telling her to refund her money by a certain date and all would be forgotten, otherwise she would take them to small claims court. As Daphne will tell you it wasn’t the money so much as the fact that this woman never kept her end of the bargain.

This woman fired back an e-mail threatening to harm Daphne. Her e-mail said, “Don’t’ mess with me, b—h! Don’t forget I have your address and I know where you live. I’ll mess you up.” Is this really okay to say to someone? Can you believe some people? So, now because of the threat of harm the police are now involved and we are contacting PayPal and Facebook. I don’t know where this is going to end up .I can only hope and pray that this shyster  is just blowing hot air and  has no real intention of acting on her threats.

The point to this story is to keep yourself safe. Only order things through people who have earned a good reputation and have a high level of customer satisfaction. If you smell a rat, go with your gut, and don’t order from or contact them. It is really true that your first inkling, instinct, or gut reaction is the advice to follow. When Daphne ordered the edits from this crooked woman she thought it was odd that the seller requested the payment be listed as a donation, and had a couple of other unusual requests. Daphne’s first reaction – this is strange. Why would she want to do it this way? Sadly, my daughter didn’t go with her first reaction.  Unfortunately, Daphne’s suspicions were true. Please don’t get yourself in a situation like this. It is rather frightening.

Now, on the lighter side… I received a Dear Jane letter and it wasn’t even from a guy! It was from a pen pal! Can you imagine that? I have never been dumped in a letter, text, or e-mail before by anyone for anything. But as they say, there is a first time for everything. (Actually this woman also Dear Janed Daphne as well since they were pen pals, too.)  In her “I’m dumping you” letter she said she enjoyed my letters but she was reducing her pen pal list and so she wrote me out of her life. You know it is serious when someone sends you your address labels back! My offense:  I had taken too long to answer her letter and she felt it showed a lack of interest and devotion on my part. She made it clear that she finds a little time each day to write so why can’t I?

From her letters she is the mother of two wonderful children, happily married, and she goes to the movies frequently because her brother works at the cinema and can get her discount passes. I am happy that she gets the joy of being a stay-at-home mom. I would have loved that when I was raising my children. She made it clear that she was very busy. I believe it.

In my last letter I had apologized for the delay of 1 month in writing to her. I explained I had been sick for a bit there and was finding that life was a little hectic with all that was going on. Let’s see. I work full-time on the graveyard shift, I spend time with my grandchildren whenever I can, my own two children have a lot going on, I volunteer at the library twice a month, and I am very active in my church. In addition, I have been working overtime lately to try and get our finances under control. So, Pen Pal, I am busy, too,

She signed her name at the bottom of the letter and in bold script and underlined (You know it is serious when someone underlines things more than once.) she penned the famous line: No Reply Needed. Yowsa! My children and I are still laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing.

Dear J (aka No Reply Needed); I would recommend a course in tolerance and forgiveness for you. And I hope that it would contain a lesson on not judging people without walking a mile in their moccasins. (And, yes, Pen Pal, I do have moccasins. They were a gift from my dear daughter that you also Dear Janed.) I did enjoy writing to you. I do hope your other pen pals are more “devoted” than I was and that you get all the letters your little heart desires. Just thought I’d let you know how silly and infantile you are.  Remember, life is too short to let little things like this ruin you or a relationship. Best of everything to you and your family.

PS: J – Right back at you: No Reply Needed!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July. Blog you later!