Friday Frolics #12

Friday Frolics #12

What a beautiful Friday here in New Mexico – the sun is shining, the wind hasn’t picked up yet and it’s time for a quick Friday Frolic!

April is the quintessential springtime month and, as such, a perfect time for our minds and hearts to turn to thoughts of spring cleaning. Personally, I think if I’m moving everything around to clean around it, I might as well re-think my organizational plan as well so I get a fresh start every spring. Doing this each year helps re-energize my home and me for another year with a fresh outlook and helps keep clutter at bay. This is no small task for someone who is, at heart, a hoarder. Many of these ideas ultimately came from my mother but didn’t sink in until I had a family of my own – others came to me as a result of struggling for solutions through the years. I struggle with the clutter monster daily so a yearly fresh start is a must. Being organized is critical whether you’re juggling a busy career with family life or just trying to achieve a sense of normalcy while living with the limitations of a chronic illness – a sense of balance and harmony can be healing. Let’s get started:

To-Do Lists. I love lists. Long-term Goals, Short-term Goals and To-Do Lists separated by Tasks related to those Goals are a must. Keep it all in your planner so you work from one central information clearinghouse – paper or electronic, it’s up to you and your personal style. There’s a particular sense of satisfaction when one marks off completed tasks, knowing the goal is one step closer.

Clean as you go. Gather the supplies/materials needed for the task at hand before you start and clean up after yourself as you complete various stages of the task. The relief at the end when you realize the task is complete and there’s no big clean up waiting is so empowering the next task on the list is not so intimidating.

Sort as you go. Inevitably, as you clear an area for cleaning, you find yourself sorting through excess things – clutter, if you will. Designate four categories and set up a box or bag for each: Keep, Toss, Donate, and Undecided. The Keep pile is for items that are currently in use and valid in your life. The Toss pile is for items that are trash – no good to anyone and need to disappear. The Donate pile is for items that need to be loved by someone else now. The Undecided pile are for those things that are still friendly but not so current that they need to take up valuable real estate – they go in a box with the current date on the outside. If you haven’t opened the box within six months – it moves to Donate status without ever being re-opened. If you do open the box within six months, put the new date on the outside – once six months has passed without opening the box, it gets donated.

What does it mean to you? As you sort, clean and designate categories for your belongings, be mindful of what each possession means to you. Keep what you love – re-home the rest. If you don’t love it anymore, it’s either time to toss it or time to give someone else an opportunity to enjoy it.

Like with like. Remember the old saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place?” As you return your belongings to their appropriate places think, ‘like with like.’ You probably already do this with many things, T-shirts with T-shirts, socks with socks, etc. Can you take it a step further and put all the white T-shirts together, then the yellow, green, blue, etc.? All the summer clothes grouped together, by color, followed by winter, by color. Better yet, if you have a spare closet, split the seasons so you have only one season of clothing in your closet at a time. Then, sort by color and keep the accessories (think purses, shoes, etc.), by color, on the shelves above each color grouping. It may sound trivial at the moment, but the time and stress it saves in a busy morning, allowing you to get out the door looking pulled together and serene is immeasurable.

Expose everything. In the dresser drawers, that is. Most of us stack our T-shirts, shorts, pajamas, or whatever is in the drawers so what we see is just what is on top, and that’s what we wear most often. Try rolling these items and lining them up like logs instead. You will see everything you have in each drawer resulting in more items being worn more regularly plus, the items wrinkle less when they’re rolled versus being folded. Of course, as you’re rolling and re-filling the dresser drawers, you might as well sort by color. I also take this opportunity to check for stains, wear and tear, etc., to make sure what goes in the drawer is wearable.

Keep workspace clean. Moving on to the office area, keeping your workspace clean and clutter free is key to increased productivity. Using the same rules as the household (only keep it, if you love it or it serves a real purpose), clear the desktop as much as possible. Keep the current projects in a vertical file on the desktop or credenza close at hand – other projects go in a file drawer.

Streamline files. Current projects close at hand – in a vertical file or top file drawer of desk. Research needed within a month or two – bottom drawer of desk or top drawers of file cabinet that’s close by. Completed or legal files – file room or bottom drawers of file cabinets. If original documents aren’t needed, consider scanning for digital long-term storage and disposing of originals.

Cleaning products. I give this category a paragraph of its own because I veer off from the ‘like with like’ philosophy on this point. I keep cleaning products in the laundry room, kitchen and bathrooms so I don’t have to drag them throughout the house as I’m cleaning or every time there’s a spot mess to address. This has become even more important through the years of dealing with a chronic illness – fatigue is an issue that requires streamlining everything. The bathrooms have ‘scrubbing bubbles’ for the tub and toilet as well as mirror cleaner while the kitchen has grease-cutting spray cleaner as well as appliance cleaner and dish detergent. The hardcore cleaning products for the floors and furniture polish are kept in the laundry room. Additionally, I have the swift duster things strategically stashed throughout the house for quick touchups. Obviously, if you still have children in the house, you need the cabinet locks to keep these things out of the hands of the little ones, as did I. The minutes saved and the ability to do spot clean ups without the extra steps is invaluable. Keeping up with the cleaning as you go through the week virtually eliminates having to spend an entire day on the weekend catching up with chores – spend the day with your family instead.

Hopefully, these ideas give you a starting point for your own foray into spring cleaning. It can be a formidable task so take it one room at a time and before you know it, you’re done!

Enjoy your weekend!

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Friday Frolics #11

Friday Frolics #11

Happy Friday!!!

Today’s Friday Frolic is one of my favorites right now, especially since I just dropped my favorite blush AND eye shadow palette breaking them to pieces on the same day! I know many of you have done this, thrown the remaining product away, and headed to the drugstore or department store for a replacement. No need to do that once you know this save-the-day process.

After decades in the beauty industry, this is a trick that I learned and have used many times – it’s simple and it really works to repair broken ‘pan’ type cosmetics. Think: eyeshadows, face powder, blush, bronzer, etc. I’m not sure what it is about spring and summer, but it seems I have need of this particular trick at this time of year more than any other time.

What you need:

The broken product
Rubbing alcohol
Eye dropper
Paper towel
Drinking glass

What you do:

Using the eye dropper, drip rubbing alcohol into the broken product until it turns mushy. I use the handle of a small makeup brush to stir it around and spread it back out to fill the pan again. Once it’s all mushy and spread out, let it air dry until the majority of the alcohol has evaporated. Then, place a piece of the clean paper towel on top of the product and weight it down with the drinking glass. The product should be usable by the next day – good as new!

Hope this little frolic saves you some money and headaches somewhere along the line.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday Frolics #10

Friday Frolics #10

On this beautiful Friday morning, I started out in the garden, such as it is, so early in the season. Nonetheless, it got me thinking about preparing for the onslaught of the season ahead and preparing my various potions for plant growth and pest control.

I prefer to minimize, if not eliminate, the use of harsh chemical preparations as much as possible so I have a couple of favorite concoctions I’ll share with you today. One is for feeding the plants in the garden and one is for pest control. Both of these ‘recipes’ were shared with me by my mom, may she rest in peace, although I have seen similar recipes on Pinterest and other sites.

garden tools

D-I-Y Garden Plant Food

1 tsp Epsom salts

4 cups warm water

Spray on plant leaves every 10 days.

-or-

2 Tbsp Epsom salts

1 gallon warm water

Substitute for regular watering once a month.

-and-

When you are planting your new plants in the garden, put a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the bottom of the planting hole along with the new plant. Mix it into the loose soil at the bottom of the hole before inserting the new plant. I find it gives the new transplants a bit of a boost as they’re establishing themselves in the garden. Of course, be sure to water-in the transplants well to activate the salts.

garden tools

D-I-Y Garden Bug Spray

This doesn’t repel pests so much as it kills insects such as aphids and squash beetles that are already on the plants. I find companion planting does most of my work as far as repelling the majority of the pests – we’ll get into that on another day.

10 oz. rubbing alcohol

2 Tbsp dishwashing liquid

14-16 oz. spray bottle

Mix alcohol and dishwashing liquid in spray bottle. Fill bottle to capacity with water.

Spray plant leaves and stems in the early morning or in the evening (so alcohol and water have time to evaporate before full sun hits the plants). Remember to spray the undersides of leaves too. Repeat as needed.

These are simple concoctions that have worked well for me. I have had multiple pets and children in and out of the garden throughout the years and have always felt comfortable about their being around these ‘potions.’ I hope you achieve acceptable results if you choose to give them a test run.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday Frolic #5 – One for the Puppies

Friday Frolic #5 – One for the Puppies

It’s Friday and it’s time for another Friday Frolic!

So far I’ve shared some recipes for the humans in the family and circles of friends but let’s not forget the furry, tail-wagging variety either. I have a little, girl-dog so I’ll focus on dogs but it must be said: I love cats too. My dog, however, does not. Since I live in my dog’s home, I am not allowed to have a cat join us.

Since that is the case, I will share a simple recipe for doggie treats that my little girl loves. It’s easy to do as-is and can be adapted for gluten-free as well as various add-ins as you desire:

BASIC DOGGIE TREATS

Ingredients

2-1/2 Cups flour (plain wheat, whole wheat or oat)
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 egg
1 tsp chicken, beef or vegetable (onion free) broth (you can substitute a bouillon cube instead but definitely eliminate the salt)
1/2- Cup hot water if using bouillon cube

*optional add-ins (approximately ¼ cup…maintain doughy consistency)
Whole oats, liver powder, wheat germ, shredded cheese, bacon bits, peanut butter, pumpkin, coconut oil, chopped green beans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If using bouillon cube, dissolve it in hot water in large bowl.
Add remaining ingredients.
Knead dough until it forms into a ball (approximately three minutes).
Roll dough out on a floured surface until it’s about ½” thick. (Remember, if you used oat flour to be gluten-free, use oat flour on your surface.)
Cut into slices, squares or rectangles the size you want or use cute cookie cutters. I use tiny cutters found in the clay section of the hobby store, since my little girl needs tiny snacks.
Place the snacks on a cookie sheet (parchment paper makes this a non-stick proposition).
Bake for 30 minutes.
Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy the weekend with your fine, furry friend(s)…

Friday Frolic #3 – Quickie Valentine Ideas

Friday Frolic #3 – Quickie Valentine Ideas

OK…everybody’s minds back up on the curb, out of the gutter…I said ‘quickie Valentine ideas’ not ‘Valentine quickie ideas.’ Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Times are tough, money is tight but there are ways to make our sweethearts feel loved and appreciated that don’t take a great deal of money. Here are my top ten ideas for making Valentine’s Day a success (in no particular order). Maybe a couple of them will work for you!

• Homemade gift certificate or coupon booklet for chores or favors around the house, e.g., doing the dishes, a foot massage, bubble bath;
• World’s Best Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Wife/Husband – fill in the blank – certificate with a single red rose;
• Breakfast in bed;
• Picnic in the park complete with a book of favorite poetry read aloud;
• Couples pedicure (you’d be surprised how many people would love for their partner to do something with those feet!);
• Matinee followed by an early dinner (save money on the movie and still have time and energy for romance after dinner);
• Make it Valentine’s Week by leaving notes and small gifts (chocolate kisses or the candy conversation hearts, for example) in unexpected places throughout the week leading
up to the big day(use the leftover Valentine’s from the children’s school packs to leave those silly love notes);
• Actually mail several Valentine cards to each other the week before so they arrive during the week of Valentine’s (extra points if they’re handmade) – there’s just
something special about receiving a card in the mail these days;
• Movie and dinner for two at home instead of out – make it special – mood lighting, the ‘good’ dishes, dress up, the works!
• Look lovingly at one another and say how wonderful it is that you finally found each other.

By the way, if you happen to not have a sweetheart this year, that’s okay. Do something nice for yourself, one of those ‘sweet of heart’ people you know, or a good friend. It’s great practice for when you do have a sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

Now, that you have a plan in place for the big day – that’s tomorrow, you know, I’d like to hear back from you all about your most memorable Valentine’s Day. What made it so special (or awful)?

Enjoy your Valentine’s Weekend…