Growing In Self-Acceptance Community for FML

I was made aware that I never “officially” told you about the Facebook group made in connection with the blog. A community where people can support each other as they grow in their understanding of themselves and improve self-esteem together is a dream of mine. That is what I’m hoping Growing in Self-acceptance can be.

Members will get early notification of any new projects I do or any exciting announcements. (They will know second after my email list.) There will also be fun challenges to do together, if you want to participate, and other community building activities.

Exclusive to the group, will be weekly Facebook live sessions where we can do Q&A’s, talk about a recent post, or discuss any number of other subjects as we decide on together. I want to be there for you and share in this learning! These will then be posted to YouTube for re-watching. Only group members will have the opportunity to ask questions live and participate in the discussion as it happens.

This group will be an important part of the Flawed, Messy Life community, and I’d love for you to help me grow it. Once it gets big enough, I’ll need to choose a few admins to help out also.

How to join Growing in Self-Acceptance

Growing In Self-Acceptance

Just click this link to be taken to the group, and request to be added. To be sure you don’t miss out on any bonuses I may send out later, join my email list also. You can find a form to fill out on the side bar, or toward the bottom of the page if you are on mobile.

We are a small group at this point, but we are developing. I believe that if we work through some growing pains we will have an amazing community. I look forward to seeing you there!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

12 Extremely Useful Spoonie Cleaning Tips

I wrote a post with a few cleaning tips before, and enjoyed sharing some of the shortcuts I’ve found over the years. I recently had a request to share some more, and I was happy to compile another list of spoonie cleaning tips. These really work for anyone who wants to spend less time and energy on housework but, obviously, my fellow spoonies come to mind first. 🙂

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This is what we are trying to prevent!

Vacuuming

We need to vacuum our carpet almost daily, since we have three dogs and cats. We only vacuum the main part of the carpet though. Once a week we get more detailed, and get the edges with the hose.

Dusting

If you can afford it, buy the fluffy Swiffer dusters. They are the only thing I’ve found that actually pick up the dust rather than push it around. All other dusting methods leave me sneezing.

Use a microfiber cloth on a Swiffer broom to dust/remove cobwebs from walls. It has a 4 foot handle, so you can reach all the way up to most ceilings.

I use pressurized/canned air and a vacuum to get the assorted flotsam out of the keys of the keyboard (and from the inside of the computer tower). A Q-tip with alcohol can help remove any sticky spots, etc.

Laundry

Have you ever forgotten the laundry in the washer and found it a day or two later? Smelly laundry can be fixed by adding a cup or two of white vinegar to the load followed by a soak cycle. If you can, interrupt the cycle and leave it to soak an extra hour. Then resume and follow the soak with your usual wash cycle. Repeat if it doesn’t work the first time.

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Hey, it’s better than having to do it this way.

Toilet

We keep down stains and smells by swishing the toilet daily, which lets us only worry about a deep clean about once a month. I learned about toilet swishing from FlyLady. While most of her techniques don’t work for me, the toilet swishing has helped a lot. We keep a toilet brush by each toilet, stored in a container that can hold water. One of ours is in an old flour container, and one is in a vase. Just a little water and any type of soap in it then you can dunk your brush in it, and swish it around the toilet bowl.

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(Pictured: A chamber pot with a toilet brush in it.) This is not what mine look like, but gives you an idea of what you can use.

Stains

Vinegar gets used quite a bit around here. Along with the cleaners I make with it, I also use it as a carpet stain remover. I dilute it in a spray bottle at about a 1:1 to 3:1 (water:vinegar) ratio with water. Then I spray it on the stain; soaking the carpet well. I let it sit a few minutes, and then blot it up. Repeat until most of the stain is gone. Then you can switch to scrubbing. If this doesn’t work, re-spray and sprinkle some baking soda on top. Let it bubble, and follow-up by scrubbing with a clean damp rag until rinsed. Let dry and vacuum the area.

Baking soda also works great to get into the small hollows of a textured counter top to help remove ground in dirt/stains. Mix enough water with it to make a “soft scrub” consistency (a paste) and scrub the counter. Leave for 5-15 minutes on any stains. Spray with vinegar for extra tough dirt. Then, wipe off and rinse thoroughly. I usually have to keep rinsing until my bare hand finally doesn’t feel the grit.

Magic Eraser is your friend. I find it useful in so many places.

  • Marks on walls (gently! you can remove paint if you scrub too hard)
  • Finger prints on doors
  • Tub and shower walls
  • Sinks
  • That weird baked on grease stuff on cookie sheets
  • Grease and grime build up on kitchen walls and cabinets. (It can dry out wood, so watch for that.)

Sippy cups

Have a sippy cup/thermos that was left too long? That smell is horrendous and can be really tough to get out. Before you just toss the cup, try this.

First I dump, rinse with hot water, and then fill with soapy water. Replace the lid and shake really well. Repeat and let sit 30 mins to an hour. Now, dump that water, and refill with very hot water and about a 1/4 cup baking soda. Replace the lid, shake, and let sit for a few hours.

If the cup is still smelly, rinse and fill with either full strength white vinegar or 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water. Let this sit a few more hours or overnight.

If the smell still isn’t gone at this point, you can keep repeating, but I usually give up and toss the cup. You fought a good fight. 🙂

Miscellaneous Spoonie Cleaning Tips

Don’t feel you need to make your bed. According to researchers at Kingston University in England, making your bed holds in the humidity from you sleeping in it the night before which is the perfect environment for dust mites to breed. So, if you don’t want to make your bed, don’t. It will allow your bed to air out and might cut down on the dust mites. If you still want to make your bed, leave it to air out for an hour or so first.

Clorox wipes are another great multi-tool. We use them to wipe down sinks, counters, appliances, light switches, handles, door knobs, etc. Everything gets a swipe with them if we have an illness running through the house. (Very important tip for my fellow spoonies who have a weak immune system) Keep a container of these wipes near/under each sink and make it easy to wipe up spills, stains, etc as they come. One quick wipe is much easier to deal with rather than scrubbing later. Save those spoons!

Interested in some of those DIY cleaners I mentioned earlier? I’ve got the recipes for 5 of my favs typed up and ready for you to download. Just click on here for the cleaner recipes, and we’ll get you hooked up!

Well, that does it for this batch of spoonie cleaning tips! If you have a specific area of the house that you would like more tips for, drop me a note! I would really love to hear from you. 🙂

Also, if you want to be sure to be notified when I post next, be sure to subscribe!

 

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Self Care: 5 DIY Spa Day Recipes

Sometimes it’s fun to have a spa day at home. You get to pamper yourself in the comfort of your own space. It may be the introvert in me that prefers that, I’m not sure. Anyway, when you plan a spa day, you either make sure you have stocked up on your favorite products, or plan to make some yourself.

Personally, I enjoy making them myself if it is cheap and easy to do. I have a Pinterest board filled with DIY recipes that are, for the most part, simple and use ingredients you can find at your local store.  Most are untried by us, so my daughter and I tried five recipes to share with you.

The Recipes

DIY Exfoliating Honey Sugar Scrub

Honey Sugar Scrub in a small mason jar

We found the optional olive oil in this recipe didn’t mix in well, so we recommend leaving it out. It did a great job exfoliating in the shower, and my daughter gave it two thumbs up. She chose lavender E.O. to add to it, but there are a few to choose from at Walmart, Walgreens, etc.

Raspberry Lemonade Sugar Lip Scrub

I couldn’t find raspberry lemonade, so we used pink lemonade. This turned out very sour, so I wonder if you are meant to use the “sugar added” type. According to C, this DIY version works even better than my store bought lip scrubs. She gives it two big thumbs up, so I plan on figuring out how to lessen the pucker level.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookie Scrub

Unrefined coconut oil gives you the coconut scent, but you can go with the refined type if you would rather scent it with essential oils. Although it doesn’t affect the scrub any, I’m not thrilled that this separates out as it sits. You aren’t going to want to make it too far ahead of when you plan on using it, or give it as a gift. That said, it did a lovely job as a scrub and left C’s skin very soft.

Lemon Vanilla Bath Bombs

C was most excited to make and try this one. She was frustrated to read they have to sit at least 6-8 hours (overnight is even better).

I almost didn’t include it because of the dried lemon rind ingredient. It cost more than I wanted to spend at the store. Instead, I bought three lemons to zest myself, but ended up not having near enough once we dried it in the oven. We estimate we had maybe a 1/2 T compared to the 3-4 T it called for. To make up for it, we chose to add a couple extra drops of E.O.

We haven’t been able to use them in a bath yet, but I can already report that they are sorta a flop. When I tried to get them out of the molds this morning, they crumbled all over. They aren’t holding together at all. 🙁 (UPDATE: Most of the bath bombs actually did pop out ok, and my kids had fun using them in baths. This was a bigger win than expected, but we plan on searching for another recipe we like better.)

Oatmeal Milk Bath

We haven’t had a chance to test this one. It was very simple to mix up, and should store well in an airtight container.

We just used the non-fat that is found at the store, since I couldn’t find “whole fat dried milk”. Whole oatmeal can possibly clog your drain, and that isn’t very relaxing, so I like using ground up oatmeal for this.

My daughter and I had so much fun making these up to test out. If you would like us to do this again with some more recipes, let us know in the comments. Feel free to share your favorite recipes too! I’d be happy to pass those on to my other readers.

Leigh

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Self Care: Daylight Savings and Sleep

The time change in spring and fall is rough on most people who have to go thorough it. I’m not sure if anyone outside the U.S. does Daylight Savings, but I know that there are only a few lucky states that don’t. (I’m so jealous!) To try to help at least a few more people to get the rest they need, I researched some DST sleep tips.

Daylight Savings Tips

I think the best tip I found was to gradually transition over a few days. Starting a few days ahead of time, go to bed 15 mins earlier each night until you have adjusted an hour. If you aren’t able to spread it over enough days beforehand, continue to go to bed early a few days after the change.

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If you find yourself sleepy the day of the time change, try to slip a 20 min nap in during the day to recharge. Keep it to no longer than 20 though, or you will mess with your next night’s sleep.

Give yourself plenty of wind down time since you are going to bed earlier. Turn off the TV, laptop, etc. at least an hour or two before bed. Put your phone aside too. Try listening to some relaxing music and/or reading instead.

Even if you don’t usually avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, go ahead and do it for the next few days. You might as well not make the transition any harder than needed.

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Another thing to try over the next few days is to make sure you get some sun exposure immediately after getting up in the morning. This helps with the setting of your internal clock.

All of the sleep tips in this post should help also.

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Check those clocks!

Finally, something to watch out for with your clocks. Many devices automatically change the time for DST now. That’s really helpful, but it can be problematic also. You don’t want to forget to change a clock you rely on. So, walk through your house and lay eyes on each clock you have. Make sure each one has been adjusted for the time change. Don’t forget your car clock also!

Hopefully these tips will help you ease the transition this weekend. Do you have any other go-to tips you use each year? Share below! Also, feel free to come back and let me know how it went!

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Meet My Dogs

I thought I’d do a just for fun post today and introduce a few of the four legged members of our household.

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Lilly

Lilly is a seven year old black lab we got from an acquaintance. She was a terror as a puppy, always chewing everything, but she has mellowed a lot now. As long as we keep a variety of toys available for her, she rarely chews our stuff now. She is fantastic with the kids, and can never get enough attention. She loves our new kitten, and tries to lick him any time she can get close. She’s very tolerant of him playing with her tail.

In fact, she’s tolerant of everyone. The only time she ever barks or growls at anyone is when she thinks Cash is playing too rough, or when she’s just done with him. She’s an attentive watch dog, but a big baby. She lets us know when people are around, but she will hide if anyone comes inside.

Meet my dogs

Maggie

We adopted Maggie about 4 years ago. She is a six year old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix. We got her, because I wanted a smaller dog to be able to keep me company in bed when I was curled up in deep depression. We were living in the camper at that point and Lilly couldn’t make it up onto the bed.

She fits perfectly. Maggie is playful, and yet loves to sit with you for hours. She is skittish when underfoot, but if she is on the couch the kids can jump up next to her and she won’t flinch. I have zero concerns she would ever bite. This is something I watch very closely with animals. Maggie and the kitty get along fantastically. They play and wrestle around daily. It is adorable! They also like to curl up for naps together. She and Lilly get along fine, but don’t play much.

Meet my dogs

Cash

Cash is our newest addition. He is three years old and a Great Dane/Mastiff/Lab mix. He belonged to a close friend of mine until she suddenly had to move and couldn’t find a place that would accept him. He’s a big boy (over 150 lbs).

Meet my dogs
Cash with his boys

He is a lovable monster who thinks he’s a lap dog. We have joked about amputating his weapon of a tail. Lilly and Cash hit it off right away. By day two he had adjusted his playing to her, and by the next he figured out how gentle he needed to be for Maggie.

Maggie still isn’t very fond of him, but she gets excited to see him again after they are crated, and waits for him when they go outside. Cash and Lilly are always grooming each other or playing together. He lets her steal his chew toys too. (Lilly has a toy hoarding problem.) Cash is a bit too big and enthusiastic for the kitten. They timeshare the living room for now.

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Cash with his boy

Cash is capable of getting your whole hand in his mouth, but has learned to take treats “gentle” and will only use his front teeth. He loves to lie next to you and either take up your whole lap with his head, or lean against you and flatten you against the back of the couch.  If he lies on top of you, you’ll be struggling to breathe, but he’s so sweet, you hate to move him. He has zero idea where he is at any given time though, so we all end up with injuries from him. Bruised feet, thighs, stomachs, etc are common. His tail is at especially bad level for my husband and older son. It’s also at a great level to clear a tv tray in one swipe. LOL

Well, that’s our dogs. Next time I do a post like this, I’ll introduce our cats.

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Random Acts of Kindness Day

 

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the United States. I compiled a list of ideas for you to choose from to celebrate. Some ideas are quick one shot type of things, and other ones are more of an ongoing type of thing.

  1. Compliment someone.
  2. Pay for the person behind you in line at the drive through.
  3. Offer to help someone carry out their bags at the store.
  4. Take a cart back for someone.
  5. Send a nice card to somebody for no reason.
  6. Pay someone else’s library fines.
  7. Ask your local nursing home for the name of a resident who never had visitors, and send them flowers.
  8. If you know someone with small children, chronic illness, or another reason that makes it hard to get out of the house, offer to pick something up for them the next time you go to the store.
  9. If you use Amazon.com, you can donate some of their money to your favorite U.S. nonprofit through Amazon Smile  It only takes a few seconds to set it up, and then Amazon will donate to your chosen nonprofit each time you make a purchase.
  10. Leave a note somewhere to surprise a loved one.
  11. Offer a granola bar or other snack to your mail carrier, UPS/Fed Ex person, etc.
  12. Take flowers to your local ER to thank them for what they do.
  13. Send a thank you note to your local police officers, fire fighters, EMT, 911 dispatch, etc.
  14. Send a thank you note to a former teacher of yours who made a difference in your life.
  15. Ask a nursing home if they have any residents who could use a pen pal.
  16. Drop a postcard to someone who you haven’t talked to in awhile.
  17. Text someone to tell them why you appreciate them.
  18. Donate blood.
  19. Share a treat at work.
  20. Take a treat basket to your local hospital for the nurses.
  21. Make a donation to the food bank. You can find your local food bank by checking here.
  22. Loan money to a third world entrepreneur through Kiva  It can change the lives of the families who receive the loan and 99% are paid back.
  23. Invite someone to dinner.
  24. Buy a small gift for someone just because.
  25. Give a care package to the next homeless person you see.
  26. Let a car merge in front of you.
  27. Become an organ donor.
  28. If you notice someone searching for something at the store, offer to help.
  29. Leave a big tip.
  30. Compliment a parent on their child’s behavior in public.
  31. Praise an employee to their manager/boss.
  32. Become a Big Brother/Sister.
  33. Pick up any litter you see while you are out.
  34. Put sticky notes with positive messages on the mirrors in restrooms.
  35. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
  36. Purchase extra dog or cat food, and drop it off at your local animal shelter.
  37. Take two lunches to work, and give one away.
  38. Encourage someone.
  39. Find a local woman’s shelter, find out what they are needing, and make a donation.
  40. Check out the charity, Random Acts.

Of course there are oodles of other ideas out there, and if you can think of something else you would rather do, do that! Please come back, and post a comment letting me know what you chose to do to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day. Or, drop by my Facebook page, give it a like, and let me know there! I’d love to hear from you!

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My Personal Love Story

The first time I remember really noticing Josh was our sophomore year in high school. He’d had long hair for as long as I could remember, and he came to school one day with it cut short. I had heard some of the other kids giving him a hard time about it, and I didn’t want him to feel self-conscious, so I gathered up my courage, and told him I thought his hair looked nice.

We ended up having a few classes together that year, but I remember talking to him in accounting the most. I sat in the back row, right behind a friend of mine. Josh was one of three guys in the class interested in her, so he and the other two crowded around my desk so they could cheat off of me and flirt with her.

I had fun that year. I had never hung out with any guys before, and they were entertaining. When it came to the end of the year, I was sad that I wasn’t going to see Josh every day anymore. I hinted to him that I was going to miss him and be bored all summer, but I didn’t hear from him. My anxiety never let me even consider giving him a call. I figured he was busy with his own friends.

Junior Year

When junior year started in ’95, I was thrilled to learn we had five out of seven classes together. Amazingly, we picked right up where we had been three months before. I was thrilled that he was just as happy to see me and still wanted to be my friend.

I got my first boyfriend that year. My step-brother introduced us. He was older, and Mom didn’t approve, but my grades were good, as always, so she didn’t do much about it other than give me my first curfew. I dated him for about four months. During this time, Josh and I talked more and more, and he started showing an interest in me.

At the beginning of the year, we started getting into some deep talks, and I realized that we had a ton of differences. Well, I had already known that we were different. He hung out with guys that liked heavy metal music and rode dirt bikes. At that time I pretty well stuck to country music. He didn’t care about his grades, and I worked hard to keep my straight A’s.

Falling In Love

It turned out we had even more differences that I didn’t even know could exist. We had intense discussions, and he frustrated me to no end. I’ve always said that he can win any argument, even if he isn’t right. At the end of the day I would go home and rant about him. I’m not sure why I kept at it, but I did and somewhere in there I became fond of him. He was so intelligent, and I loved how he made me really think.

We started writing letters back and forth during the day. Many times we would even have a letter for the other first thing in the morning. We sat together in every class we had together. On the days he didn’t work, we would spend hours after school talking by my locker. We talked about everything. I started to appreciate the way he never made me feel stupid even when I disagreed with him. He had such patience in explaining things, and he really listened to me.

We annoyed the teachers to no end with all our note passing and talking in class. I spent as much time as I could with my boyfriend, but between my school and his job, I ended up seeing Josh more. Josh let me know he wanted to date me, but he was not only supportive of my making up my own mind, but adamant. He didn’t put any pressure on me to choose him. Really, both he and my boyfriend were great during this. I lucked out in that way. Josh even showed up at my winter vocal concert and other activities to show support.

We Start Dating

Around mid December, I chose to break up with my boyfriend. I started spending all available time with Josh, and we were officially dating a couple of weeks later. Starting the day after Christmas, we saw each other daily.

In school, the teachers gave up on trying to keep us from talking, and just paired us up for projects. We did great work as long as we were together. Our classmates were pretty confused by our pairing. Like I said, we were very different. I’m pretty sure no one thought we would last even until the end of the year.

Engaged

Sometime in March we were talking in my room and I realized that we were talking about our future. Subjects like how many kids, and where we were going to live. I stopped him, and pointed out that we were sort of talking about marriage type things, and he hadn’t even asked me to marry him yet. He asked what that would require, so I told him. The next thing I knew, he was on one knee and asking me to marry him. Of course I said yes. 🙂

I really don’t feel it was any less romantic that way. It still made my head swim and made me feel faint. It is for sure a part of our story I would never change.

We didn’t tell anyone about our engagement until July, when we were able to get my ring. I was 17. My mom didn’t take it well, but I pointed out that I was only engaged, not married, and she calmed down. We would have been married the following December, but my mom had promised my dad that she wouldn’t sign for me. So, we planned for the following July, when I would turn 18.

We finished out the school year pretty well attached at the hip.  I kept my grades up, and was looking forward to the next year. We ran into scheduling problems for our senior year though. I was going to need to either take three P.E. classes or a freshman class to finish out my seven periods. Josh didn’t have enough classes to take either. They wouldn’t allow us to do work release, so after months of trying to work with the school board, Josh and I both decided to do our senior year by transferring to a correspondence school.

After High School

I got a job at Wal-Mart over the summer, and kept that up while doing my classes at home. After I graduated early, I started looking for a new job. Soon after we got married, I got a job working in the mail room of the same insurance agency that my mom worked.

We also had decided we wanted to own a house rather than rent, so we were looking into a mortgage and where we wanted to live. We bought a house in Josh’s home town a couple of months before we got married and started fixing it up.

Married

Picture of us at the wedding.
Josh and me exchanging rings.

In July of 1997, after being together for a year and a half, five days after my 18th birthday, we got married. I wanted it simple, so it was at the judges chambers with a reception afterward. I still wouldn’t change any part of it. Our close family and a couple of friends were at the wedding, with everyone else invited to the reception. It was just right for us.

One year later I got pregnant with our first child. F was born in ’99 and we had E in 2001. In 2002, as E was turning a year old, we bought a different house back in my home town. My mom moved in with us in 2003, and is still with us in our finished basement. E was quite the handful, so it was 2005 before we were ready for another and had C. Another four years and we were ready for one more, and we had W in 2009. Once he was born, I was positive I didn’t want to be pregnant or go through labor ever again, so Josh got clipped. We have never regretted that decision either.

So now we have our four kids, three dogs, three cats, 16 chickens and a couple of fish. We have been through loads over the past 21 years together. Our wedding theme was “Today I marry my best friend”, and that is just as true now as it was then. I honestly love him even more now. We have really grown over the years, and we managed to do it together.

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