The Details You’ve Wanted to Know About Walmart Grocery Pickup!

I think I’m in love.  At least greatly infatuated.  

I just tried my first Walmart grocery pick up. I kept hearing about it; you order online and they deliver the groceries to your car when you arrive.  It sounded almost too good to be true.  It’s FREE!  Two of my friends had tried it and had posted on Facebook that it was amazing.

My hubby just had knee replacement surgery 6 days ago and I haven’t left him home alone yet; so this was the perfect time to give it a try. He promised not to get out of his chair while I was gone.  If he absolutely had to go to the bathroom he was to text me when he got up and text when he was safely back in his chair so I would know he hadn’t fallen.   I was gone from home less than an hour including time to stop and get Jessie an icee on the way home!  My grocery order consisted of 22 items.  Amazing!

I placed my order online.  I loved that as I added each new item there was a running total, so at all times I knew how much I had already spent.  In my case, when I placed the order late Sunday night the first available time for pickup was Tuesday, but I had my choice of most any time of the day for pick up.  The first times to fill up for weekdays seemed to be 5:00 and 6:00 pm, right when folks are getting off work.  

I went here for a promo code for $10 off first grocery pickup. $10, what a great coupon!  It looks like that promo code is good through the end of August.

I downloaded the Walmart grocery app.  I had already placed my order on my browser before I realized there was an app.  I received an email that told me my order was received and that I should “check in” to say I was on the way using the app when going to pick up my order.  There is a number you can call if you don’t have a smartphone to use the app.

At the end of the order it asked if there were any items they couldn’t substitute if they didn’t have the exact item.  I didn’t check that there were any they couldn’t substitute but that worried me a little.  When I picked up my order though, there were no substitutions and no deleted items.  The young man who delivered let me know that when I signed for my groceries.

In the email I was given a cutoff time until which I could make additions or changes to my order.   After placing my order, I went back twice to the app to add additional items.  After the initial time that I put my card number in I never had to do it again, it held my card number and it showed up as 3 separate charges/transactions when I checked my bank account online. 

I was very curious that it didn’t mention letting them know when you arrived.  I mean, you could be 15 minutes or 45 minutes away when you’re “on the way”.  Not sure how it was all going to work, I waited for a minutes after I left the house before I checked in so it would be closer to my arrival time.  

When I “checked in” the app asked permission to have my location when the app isn’t in use, so that they could know when I arrived.  As soon as I said yes, it pulled up my location on GPS and let me know I was 14 minutes away and they would have my groceries ready when I arrived!  When I drove up, I looked at the app and it said something like, “You’re here.   We’ll have your groceries right out.”  

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All over the parking lot there are orange signs with arrows pointing the way to the pickup area.

It was easy to find and there were 10 spaces marked 1-10 for customers waiting for their delivery.  When I parked there was only one other person waiting. When I left, there was the same car and one other waiting.


I got home about 20-25 minutes after my grocery pickup and my frozen items were still well frozen.  I didn’t purchase any produce or meat but I read online that Walmart is conscious of choosing good produce for their customer because they know a customer might be hesitant to buy produce they didn’t pick for themselves.  I did buy 3 limes, but you don’t have to be very choosy about those.  

I had ordered a 40 lb bucket of cat litter.  Knowing that my husband wouldn’t be able to help me unload groceries I was glad the young man that brought out my groceries had lifted it into the trunk so I only had to lift and carry it once.  Nice bonus.  

For moms with multiple small children, wives with husbands who have had knee replacements, moms who don’t want to say, “Come on, come on” fifty times while in the store, or, “No, we aren’t looking at makeup today.” this is an awesome service.  I foresee this making my life so much easier.  

Sometimes Jessie does just fine going to Walmart but it always takes me much longer than I could shop if I was alone.  Sometimes that’s okay and sometimes it makes me want to pull my already gray hair out.  

Jordan, my oldest who is a physical therapist assistant, was like, “Mom! Don’t do that!”  She  told encouraged me not to use this service all the time.  She worries that I won’t stay active enough.  She sorta implied it would make me lazy.  I told her I would rather spend that time and energy pulling weeds in my garden or planting something, cutting the grass, or doing almost any other thing that would keep me moving and active!

 I really dislike grocery shopping.  I seriously would rather clean house or would choose lots of other home keeping tasks over grocery shopping.  I think that’s because those other things leave you with a visual effect of having accomplished something. 

I asked the young man who brought out my groceries and loaded them in my trunk if he could accept a tip.  He said no he couldn’t, that it was just a part of their service.

I hope this service is here to stay.  Although it seems almost too good to be true that the service is free, it is.  And I love it.   

My girl was happy to get out of the house and happy to be surprised with an icee. Also happy that I didn’t drag her around in the store for an hour 😊. Yeah, terrible photo planning with the huge trash can in the photo. She purchased the fidget spinner with her allowance money. She had been given one, but this was blue, her current favorite color. Those socks y’all. She has her own sense of style.

Hope you all are having a great week!

*Here’s a link to where the pickup service is available

Learning to be Content With the Home You Have

Do you sometimes find yourself dissatisfied with your home?  There are many areas in our lives that if not careful,  we find ourselves falling into the comparison trap or maybe because we are experiencing genuinely difficult life circumstances, it is really easy to find ourselves feeling discontented.

Without meaning to, we can lose the joy and enjoyment of our home when we focus too much on its imperfections. While we want our home to be the place of rest and comfort, it can be that instead we look around and see a reminder of all that isn’t quite right.  When I was a younger wife and mother sometimes that is what would temporarily happen to me.  I have since learned that I can choose to be joyful and content with the home I have.

For many years now, it has been on my heart that it is important  to learn to be content.  It was important to me in raising my children that they learn to be content too.  Because I feel I could write a book on my journey of learning to be content; for the sake of this blog post not being ridiculously long, I will confine my thoughts on contentment this week to being content with the home you have.

You may hope to live in a better or more nicely furnished home at some point in the future, but for now, until you do, let’s ponder learning to be content in the home you currently have, however small or sparsely furnished it is, or whatever imperfections your home has.

We tend to think of contentment as being something that we feel when circumstances in our life are good.  When all is well.  When we have most of what we want.  But Paul said, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what is it to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” * This last verse has been used out of context so frequently I hesitated to include it.  I don’t think the “everything” refers to anything we might think of, but I think my use is an accurate application.

Even before I was a stay at home mom,  when we were a two income family, we’ve never had lots of money to spend on furnishings, etc.  We went from being two college students, to paying off our car so that when we did have a baby I could stay at home.  While paying off our car we started spending money for doctor bills when we went through a period of infertility issues to try to find out why having a baby wasn’t just happening.

Then we became a one income family.   When I think of what we lived on when we first had just one baby, I wonder how we ever did it.  Of course this was before such expenses as cell phones and wifi.  As the kids got older we chose to prioritize their activities and things we could do together as a family over new furnishings or other things for our home.

For all wives and mothers, but especially for stay at home moms, our home is where we spend a lot of time.  It seems almost instinctual, that desire all women seem to have that makes them want to make their home beautiful. The desire to make our homes comfortable and lovely is, I think, a God-given one, but with all things we have a tendency to excess or to pervert what is intended to be a good and right thing.

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This canvas I made is imperfect, but I love the truth of what it says.  There is much about our lives and our homes that are beautiful although imperfect.  Now that I’ve learned how to use fonts online with carbon paper, maybe one day I will redo this with better spacing and lettering.  Till then, I enjoy this reminder of truth.

It’s easy to want what others have and sometimes that makes it harder to be satisfied with what we have.   It doesn’t help that these days we have Instagram and blogs and magazines and books that make us drool over pretty homes and lush yards and we want our homes to look like those.  For the most part, probably even those homes don’t look as perfect as the photo all the time.  I enjoy looking at all of those pretty things for inspiration and ideas for my home; but if we aren’t careful we are temped to spend money we shouldn’t or to feel dissatisfied with our home.

It isn’t wrong to want our homes to be lovely, but what if we don’t have money to spend on renovations, updates and all sorts of pretty things?  Well, then, we are better off if we learn to be content with we have and what we can do.

Because we haven’t had a lot to spend on decorating I have gotten to be a pro at hunting down a good bargain at regular stores, thrift stores; I love chasing down a good bargain!

I’ve even been known to pick up a thing or two beside the road, which my husband really hates.  I’ve tried to tell him it’s an “in” thing to do right now.  Like, they purposefully do it on tv shows!  He still isn’t a fan.  But sometimes you find some fabulous things really cheap or by the side of the road!  I will keep trying to convert him to my way of thinking.

Have you ever seen the movie, “Overboard”? ** I love that movie! It’s one of my favorites.  It was never a big hit at the box office, but it’s just a feel good and funny movie. I’m not one to watch movies over and over, but this one continues to make me laugh.   My sister Debbie and I have both seen it tons of times.  Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you need to!  It comes on tv pretty regularly.

One thing I think about every single time I see the movie is their home. Without telling you too much if you haven’t seen it,  Goldie Hawn is initially appalled (and rightly so) at the home that Kurt Russell lives in with his boys.  It’s a complete dump.  Seemingly unredeemable without a bulldozer.  But, after Goldie is there a while and puts her womanly charm to work, the house begins to resemble a cozy home.   It is cleaned, she covers the ratty furniture with quilts, and with a little love the house feels like a warm and inviting home.   The house is still old.  All the furnishings are still very old and out of style and yet the home seems cozy and loved.

This is of course a movie; but I think there’s much about that situation that rings true in real life.  The finest of furnishings aren’t required to make our house a home where everyone feels comfortable, welcome and cozy.  A place that people like to be.

No matter where we have lived, I’ve loved making our house feel like “home”.  Though the reasons why have changed over the years, I’ve never had unlimited amounts (or even what many would consider reasonable amounts) of money to furnish and fix up our home.

Ya’ll we don’t live in a tent; we have a nice home.  But like most women, I could make you a list a mile long of all the things I would love to do to update our home, to make it prettier, to make it more comfortable (we need new furniture and a new mattress) and yet I can truthfully say, I love our home.

Learning to be content is something we can learn.   

When I was a younger wife and mother I didn’t realize how it hurt my husband’s feelings when he felt he couldn’t buy us everything we wanted.  I never meant expressing what I wanted for our home to make him feel that way.  I didn’t even know it did for a while. I try to be more careful now about the way I say things.

My husband works hard for our family and is willing to sacrifice things he would enjoy so that I can be at home.  I never want to make him feel what he is doing as a provider isn’t good enough.  I was making him feel that way,  but I didn’t mean to.

The first step in learning to be content is to be genuinely thankful for what we already have.

Several years ago I read  Katie Davis’ blog and later her book, “Kisses From Katie“.  It was in reading Katie’s blog that I was reminded what a luxury it truly is that I can have a hot shower or bath anytime that I want it, and step out onto tile that is reasonably clean (not a dirt floor) and only occasionally do I not have electricity.  I can’t tell you how often I think of this as I step from the hot shower onto a soft, dry rug.  It helps keeps in perspective for me that everything I want for our home is just that: want, not need.

None of the things I want are wrong.  They aren’t even extravagant.  But it is wrong when I allow myself to be discontented (ongoing) instead of thankful and content with what I have.

For the most part I am content, and what is a temptation for me might not be the same as what leads you to feel discontented.  While learning to be content gets easier over time, it isn’t a decision you make and then instantly and permanently feel content with your home.  Here a few things that I find helpful:

  • trying not to concentrate on too many areas of my home at one time (being content to see progress in that one area I’m currently focused on)
  • prioritizing projects or rooms to work on (one at a time)
  • repurposing objects (shopping other rooms in my home) to use them in a new way to freshen things up spending little or no money.  I do this A LOT!
  • accepting that the change I can make will be slow….this one is hardest for me
  • learning to DIY – there are many decorative projects you can make for much less than you can buy them pre-made.
  • reminding myself that although I greatly enjoy decorating my home, none of the things I want are necessities

Ultimately, I don’t think it honors God when I have all I need and yet I’m unsatisfied.  We can choose to have thankful hearts and learn to be patient.  It’s hard at times, but we can do it.

As women, we are probably always going to have that next project or home improvement in mind.  Let’s just set our hearts and minds to be content with what we have along the way.

Being content with the home we have does two good things for us. 1) Our thankfulness for what we have honors God and 2) We don’t lose our joy over something we can’t change at the moment.

Let’s choose to learn to be content.  Let’s choose joy.

I hope you’re having a great week!

Josette

*Here’s a link to an article I found that I thought did a good job discussing the context of this much misused Bible verse.

**There is one scene in the beginning of the movie with Goldie Hawn in a revealing swim suit (tv version doesn’t show her whole behind) and later some other women in bikinis.

Even If You Think You Can’t Grow Anything; Everyone Can Grow This

I’ve posted a lot about gardening lately on the blog, on facebook, on Instagram; it’s just that time of year! In Spring and Summer, gardening is just on my mind.   My vegetable garden this year was a bust.  I can’t seem to get the hang of the vegetables, yet.  I won’t write that depressing story today ; but my flowers have been so beautiful and I’ve enjoyed them so much.

Even if you’re one of those people that thinks you can’t grow a thing, I promise, these plants almost can’t be killed.  These have been growing in jars for 10-15 years now.  In the larger jars is pothos.  The smaller jar may be philodendron (has no variegation on the leaves).  The leaves are so small on that one it’s hard to tell.  I’ve grown both types of plants in water the way you see pictured.  They both do well growing this way.

This jar was given to me by someone who had it in their garage and planned to throw it away…30ish years ago. I still love this jar.

The little jar on the right is one of several (different sizes) that I bought at a garage sale many years ago. The seller said they were old pharmacy bottles. I love them,  especially the larger ones. The pitcher was a wedding gift. I’ve been married 29 years 🙂  I’m decluttering everything these days, trying to keep only the things I love.  These are some of the things I love.  
It was quite by accident that I learned they could survive this way.  Both philodendron and pothos have little nodes on them, that when you keep them submerged in water will begin to grow roots.  I was originally planning to root a new plant from the one I already had growing.  Well, I left it there a really long time and the roots started getting really long in the jar.  I googled it and realized, that yes, they could actually live that way.

My kids were much younger when I started these and the plant in soil that I got the cutting from has been long gone, but these in water just can’t be killed.   At times the water has gotten too low and some leaves will turn yellow to alert me.  I pluck the dead leaves off, refill the water  and they’re good to go.

This is an excellent way to enjoy something green growing when you’re in a season of life when time for much gardening is a luxury you don’t have.

Here are some tips if you want to grow philodendron or pothos in this way:

  1. To start the plant, just get a cutting from a friend.  If you don’t have a friend with one, you can buy a new one (Walmart usually carries them) to do this and it will make several jars.  Put in water, making sure the nodes are completely covered, as that’s where the roots will start.
  2. As the water evaporates, refill with water, keeping the water level above the roots growing and the nodes that you want to root in the water.
  3. The roots will eventually grow really long.  Just take the plant to the sink, trim the roots (however much so that the jar isn’t so crowded) with scissors, rinse out your jar and refill it with water.
  4. When the leaves get dusty, just sit the whole jar in the sink and shower it with your kitchen faucet sprayer.  That’s usually when I go ahead and change the water. Let it sit in the sink a few minutes if needed till the leaves are dry enough to put back where you have it displayed.
  5. Over time if you don’t change the water (I forget about them until I see the water start to turn green) algae will start to grow.  Just take the plant out of the water, give it a good shower with your kitchen sprayer in the sink.  Wash your jar and refill with clean water.
  6. I haven’t been doing this, so they can survive without it, but I have known this tip for watering houseplants.  I read that you should let city/chlorinated water sit 24 hours for the chlorine to dissipate and then replace the water in your jars with non-chlorinated water.  I used to keep a gallon jug of water under my kitchen sink for this purpose to water houseplants.  Over time the gallon milk jug would spring a leak (they’ve gotten less sturdy in recent years!) and caused water damage under my sink.  I need to get a sturdier container to save water in, plants really do like it better.
  7. Depending on what kind of water you have, city, well, hard, soft, it can cause a build up on the inside of your jar.   The crystal pitcher pictured has hard water deposits that I cannot get off no matter what I’ve tried, so consider what you want to use OR clean them more often than I do 🙂
  8. Both plants are poisonous, you can read here about it.  It doesn’t sound deadly but could make you sick.  I’ve never had my kids or pets bother mine, but just to be aware.
  9. These do require some light but can survive without a ton.  You can experiment with different locations.  My kitchen table is a great place with lots of light, but my cat is too tempted when it’s there.
  10. I have never fertilized mine, but read that tip when researching for this post. If you’re new to this, don’t stress over it, mine have survived more than 10 years without it.  They have stopped growing bigger the way they used to.  I will start fertilizing and see what happens.  The recommendation I read was for liquid fertilizer (like Miracle Gro, you mix it with water)  every 4-6 weeks.
  11. I read years ago that you after they’ve grown them in water for a really long time they may not transplant well to soil.  I haven’t tried to transplant any and I’m ok with that.  Maybe I will try it though just to see.
  12. Look for pretty jars at thrift stores or garage sales.  Most of my jars have come from garage sales for next to nothing.  I loved glass jars for long before they were a “cool thing” to love.

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This is our mantle currently. If your kids are little and you don’t have time for much gardening or anything else….know that one day you’ll have a beautiful picture of your married kid and you’ll have more time for your interests and you’ll have mixed feelings about it all. Enjoy every season. They each have their own beauty. 
Currently I only have one houseplant other than these growing in water and it was given to me.  My efforts at some point switched to outdoor plants.  I do plan to start growing some house plants again soon now that I feel that I can care for them.   I will still want to grow ones that are easy to grow and forgiving.

 

If you decide to grow some plants in water, or already do, please share your pictures.  Even if its weeks later, share them with me please!

Hope you’re having a great week!

Josette

Looking for a Good Book? 8 Books I’ve Read in 2017

I’m always curious to know what my friends are reading, because quite frequently that helps me know what I want to read next.   So, I thought I would share with you what I’ve been reading.  Well, I should say what I’ve been listening to.  As I said here, in this season of life I am really enjoying audiobooks.  Here’s what I’ve been listening to and my thoughts about them.

I recently listened to The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines , narrated by Chip and Joanna Gaines.  Since I’ve watched I think every episode of the show (who hasn’t?) and read about them online, I wondered if much of it would be repeat information.  Nope.  It was almost entirely new information to me.   The book tells how they met and dated and what their life has looked like since they met till now.  It tells how they got started with the show, which is a funny story.  I had wondered how much of their faith story would be in the book, but there isn’t a lot.  They share some circumstances where God clearly moved on their behalf but that is the extent of it.  I loved the book.   It was an easy and enjoyable listening experience and a good story, just what I was looking for.  Chip has a new book coming out soon and I look forward to listening to that too.

The book I most recently listened to was The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, narrated by Ian Cron.   I started hearing different folks mention the Enneagram over a period of probably a year when I was listening to podcasts and it piqued my interest. The Enneagram is a method of personality typing, with nine basic types.    Evidently, a lot of the other books on the Enneagram are pretty deep and complicated and multiple sources said start with this book.  There is a podcast by the same name The Road Back to You and I listened to it some before buying the book.  The podcast is hosted by the authors of the book.  The format of the podcast is interviewing guests and talking about their Enneagram type.  I initially enjoyed the podcast but began to find it annoying. The book doesn’t contain any of the aspects that I found annoying about the podcast and I really enjoyed the book.  I am always interested in personality, all the different types of personality testing and typing and  I’m always curious as to why people do what they do, so I found the book interesting.  I think I have figured out my Enneagram type.  I’m not 100% sure, but for those that know something about The Enneagram I’m pretty sure I’m a 9.  You can have a “wing” in other types, and there are aspects of other numbers that are true of me but almost everything about 9 is true of me.  Listening was a good initial way to take in the book, but it would be helpful to have this as a hard copy book for looking back at.

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind….Dealing with You’re House’s Dirty Little Secrets, written and narrated by Dana K. White, creator of the blog A Slob Comes Clean.  I always resonate with the books whose authors find keeping their house clean and tidy a struggle.  That has certainly always been true for me.  In reading the reviews before I purchased, some reviewers said she keeps repeating, “just do the dishes”, and they felt it was just too much repetition of a simple concept, while others found it extremely helpful that she keeps it super simple. Her method mainly consists of starting first one routine (doing the dishes everyday) and then adding another then another, remembering that no matter how overwhelming things get, to always do the dishes. While I don’t feel my house was ever at the same level hers was, I have always struggled with keeping my house clean and tidy.   I’ve read a ton of organizing and cleaning books over the years and agree with the author that,”…most organizing advice is…written by organized people….but that’s not how my brain works.”  I have found the most helpful books for me have been written by people who really struggle in this area because we have the same faulty thinking, therefore their strategies are most helpful. We have the same thinking patterns in many ways, so her methods of keeping it super simple make a lot of sense to me.  This book isn’t for the person who occasionally can’t keep up; this book is helpful for the person who continually feels overwhelmed, and like me, feels that the house just blows up completely out of control.  For that person, like me, this is a good book.

Different:  The Story of an Outside the Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him by Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson. Narrated by Nathan Clarkson, Ruda Sanda, and Virginia Wolf.   I’ve loved and admired Sally Clarkson for many years now.  My first introduction to Sally was when a friend introduced me to  Educating the WholeHearted Child, which greatly influenced me in my homeschooling and parenting.  Sally’s son, Nathan, struggles with OCD, anxiety and ADHD.  I found it both interesting and helpful, hearing the same story from two points of view; the child and the parent’s point of view.  There are parts of the book that I felt were repetitive, I think because Nathan’s struggle has continued for all his life. At first I thought what I perceived as repetitive was a negative point, but by the end of the book I thought it served a good purpose.  It is helpful for other families reading who share the same ongoing struggles, to see that they aren’t alone in not finding a simple medicinal or therapeutic solution.  Nathan continues as an adult to struggle with these same issues but he has matured, has learned methods of coping, and has learned to rely on God for help.  Different is a true story of the power of a godly mother’s never ending love.  Different shows us too, that while their child may continue to have these difficulties, a godly mother’s love DOES influence how a “different” child sees themself, their world and their God.  This book offers hope to the Christian parent who is parenting an “outside the box” kid.

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth, narrated by Lisa Larson.  I had come across Edie’s blog and had read just a little and didn’t know a lot of her story.  What  I knew about her before reading the book was that she was a doctor, no longer practicing but staying home with her kids, and that she was big into essential oils. Initially, I was intrigued to know more about her for those reasons.  I read the book description when it came up on Audible as “recommended” because of other books I’ve chosen. I was eager to know more of her personal story.  I was drawn into the book right away and finished it very quickly.  All the Pretty Things is a memoir and tells how Edie grew up in poverty with an alcoholic and often absent father.  While we weren’t poor in the same way, there were aspects of her story I could identify with.  One story in particular, where Edie’s sister gets in trouble, reminded me so vividly of a time when my younger brother (who is no longer living) got in trouble because of me.  That story had me squalling like a baby.  This is a good book that can be enjoyed by anyone, but I  think too,  that each listener/reader of this book would take away something entirely different according to their own personal story. I thought about this book for a while after I finished it.  Every reader will be amazed that she achieves her dream of becoming a doctor, and for Christians, there is rejoicing that she finds a relationship with her heavenly Father.

Unstuffed:Decluttering Your Home, Mind &Soul by Ruth Soukup.  Narrated by Windy Lanzl. If you think I read a lot of this type of book, you’re right.  Reading this kind of book helps me stay motivated and gives me the tools to keep making the decisions to live with less stuff, less clutter.  It is an ongoing process. Like  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo that I read last year, it gives strategies for making decisions that help you let go of having too much stuff.

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup.  When I took a blogging course last December, this book was mentioned by several different people as a must read for new bloggers.  I actually read this one in print rather than audiobook, as there are pictures, graphics, etc.  It’s a pretty quick read the first time through but a book you’ll want to continue to go back to as a new blogger.  There are chapters that cover every aspect of blogging:  content, presentation, social media, growing your platform, monetization.  I agree with everyone that recommended the book to me, if you’re starting a blog, you’ll want to read this book.

The Bible.  In this post I shared my reading plan and a tip that has been helping me stick with it.  I’m tickled pink; I’ve reached 27% of my goal of reading the Bible in a year.

If you want to learn more about how to listen to audiobooks for free you can go here to one of my earlier posts.  To get a free trial from Audible, go here.  I listen to what I can for free and get one credit per month from Audible.

I am always looking for the next good book and prefer to read by personal recommendations.  So comment or send me a private message to let me know what I should read next!

Till next week,

Josette

Are You Thinking About Cancelling Cable? We Did and Here’s What We Found Out.

I don’t think of us as the “cancelling your cable” types.  We are just used to the convenience of tv anytime we wanted to watch and options that everyone in the family enjoyed.

We were paying a ridiculous amount for our cable and high-speed internet.  A ridiculous amount.  For a couple of years we contemplated cancelling, but just couldn’t quite make ourselves do it.  It all seemed so confusing to evaluate the other options of how to watch tv without cable.  We didn’t have any extra movie channels, and yet we were paying $214.00.

We were paying $139.99 for “bundled services” for cable/tv, voice (home phone) and high-speed internet.   We didn’t even  plug in a phone but they offered a better price for bundled services.  So, technically we were paying for a service we didn’t even use.  In addition we were paying $41.88 for “additional equipment and fees”.  Then still some additional “fees” that totaled $21.40.  

Below is the “additional” equipment and fees we were paying, totaling $41.88.

  • $10 A DVR I loved my DVR and rarely ever watched live tv.  This allowed me to watch my favorite shows when it was convenient for me and not when they aired.
  • $9.95 digital converter box for our bedroom. The tv was 25 years old and original remote didn’t work, so this was a more expensive box than the other adapters.
  • $11.98 for 2 additional digital adapters boxes @ $5.99 each. One of the two was rarely being used.
  • HD fee of $10. Say what?! That was ON TOP of the 139.99 we paid for “bundled services”
  • $10 fee for the modem….we still have to pay this, unless we later opt to buy our own.

For such a long time, a lack of understanding the other options kept us in limbo.  We just couldn’t figure out how it would all work.  Jay especially wanted local channels, the ability to watch the Alabama games on tv and likes to be able to watch Fox News.

Our married daughter Jordan, and her husband Josh were surviving without cable.  Josh was able to help us understand some of the options. They opted to have Sling TV, Hulu and Netflix.  They were able to tell us we for sure would be able to watch Bama games on Sling TV and that with Hulu, most of the current popular shows are available the next day after they air.  Sling TV  has Fox News in some areas but not in ours, just CNN.

Even though we didn’t fully understand all the options, we did it.  We bit the bullet and cancelled cable.   Jay enjoys tv more than I do, so I knew it would affect him the most.  Jessie had been gifted a 3 month subscription to WWE that I knew she would still be able to watch, and that’s her favorite thing to watch besides YouTube, so I knew for now she would be ok.

I was surprised that when I hung up the phone with Comcast (our cable company) I felt a little sick to my stomach.  It seems ridiculous to say now, but it felt like this big scary leap that I was afraid we would regret.

We kept the high-speed internet offered by Comcast, but cancelled the cable and phone. We knew that whatever options we chose we would want the high speed internet in order to be able to stream tv and use wi-fi for other purposes on multiple devices at the same time.

The same day I cancelled cable I subscribed to Hulu.  Most of the current shows we watch are available on Hulu the day after they air.  We were leaning toward going with Sling TV to be able to watch Alabama football, but since it was off-season we decided to wait on that. We already had Netflix and Amazon Prime.  We didn’t remember to use Amazon a lot for tv, that isn’t our primary reason for having it but without cable it added options.

For the next few 3 weeks we streamed tv using the apps for Hulu, Netflix or Amazon only on our phones or the Kindle, which had a little bit larger screen.  I was surprised to see Jay did great the first 2 weeks.  By the 3rd week he was finding the small screen uncomfortable to find a way to watch.

Jay really missed “live” tv that just stayed on and went to the next thing.  He likes to just leave the tv on in the background all the time, and I really can’t take that hour after hour, which is why he watches in the bedroom a lot.  He likes background noise, its ok sometimes, but I really like quiet.

Jessie before bed the other night asked if I “wanted peace and quiet” in the morning.  That was her way of asking if she was going to be able to watch tv in the living room or would have to watch in our bedroom when she woke up 🙂

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On the 3rd week when Jay was really starting to get antsy Hulu Live came out.  For us, this seemed pretty much the perfect solution.  We subscribed to it for $39.99 a month.  It has “live” tv, built-in dvr, the sports channels for Bama games and Fox News.  His perfect match.  We still needed to figure out how to make our ancient tv in the bedroom work with it.  Because Hulu Live is brand new, not all the devices that work for other options work yet with it.

Jay ordered a Roku Express from Amazon because he read that works with Hulu.  It does work with Hulu, but not the Hulu Live. We returned the Roku device.

Unbeknownst to Jay, Evan was feeling sorry that his dad couldn’t watch tv comfortably. Evan knew daddy wouldn’t buy himself a new tv and he wanted Jay to have one.  On Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend I went with him to Best Buy where he bought his dad a smart tv.

The super sweet thing about this purchase is that  Evan has been working out of town for a couple of months and sleeping on a futon. He is so tight with his money that he won’t buy himself a bed.  But he bought a tv for his dad.

When we drove up Jay was working on the van with his head under the hood.  Evan quickly went to the front door with the tv while I distracted Jay.  In a minute Evan told Dad he needed help with something and went back to the front door where he was holding Dad’s surprise when he came around the corner.  Evan had bought an open box model so how he rode home with it in his lap was entertaining 🙂

 

Waiting for Dad to come around the corner. Of course our porch is messy and dirty for the pic. #reallife

Evan had one Chromecast (streaming device) and we bought another.  Chromecast, like most of the other options, plugs into the HDMI input in back of the tv.  Jessie thinks it’s so cool now that she can use the Hulu or YouTube app on her phone and “cast” it to the tv to watch on the big screen.  We really like watching this way.  Jay finds it slightly less convenient but it doesn’t bother me or Jessie at all.  The only time I think about it is if I  get a phone call.  Then, I’m trying to pause the tv so it will be quiet while I answer the phone.   My solution is use the tv remote to mute the tv until I can pause it after answering.

Although in the end although we chose Hulu Live and using Chromecast to stream it, I will share here for you the choices we considered to help you evaluate your options.

Here is my understanding of the tv options we checked out, including Sling, which we ended up not choosing once Hulu LIVE was available.  There are other options we didn’t really explore.  

Streaming Device Options

On any of the streaming options you have to use a device that enables you to stream them on your tv using your wi-fi.  Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Chromecast seem to be the most popular.  You can go here to see a comparison of all the Roku options.  You can go here for a review/comparison of some of the different streaming device options.

Xbox One works for Sling, Hulu, Netflix and also works for Hulu LIVE, which doesn’t have as many streaming options yet.  Hulu says there will soon be more options for streaming Live.  We went with Chromecast since we chose Hulu Live.  We probably would have gone with one of the options that comes with a remote otherwise.

Evan has an Xbox One, so when he is home on weekends he can use that option in his room but unless you already want one for playing games, it is the most expensive of the options.  All of the other options are less than $100 and some significantly less.

TV Streaming Options

Sling Tv:  they offer a couple of different options and you can try it for 7 days free.  If you pay for 2 months Sling TV you can get a Roku Express device (enables you to stream on your TV) for free.  The Roku Express is currently sold on Amazon for $29.99.  This was what we originally planned to do.  The main thing about Sling was (before Hulu Live) the only option we knew of that was going to get Jay Alabama football and other sports, but Bama football was at the top of the list.  If you don’t care about everything Hulu Live has to offer, but want your sports, Sling is a less expensive option.

  • Sling Orange is $20 and includes 30 channels and streaming on ONE device.  Channels included HGTV, Disney, CNN (no Fox news), ESPN and more.
  • Sling Blue $25 includes  40 + channels Fox (not Fox News in our area but for some areas is offered), NBC, regional Sports, NFL Network and more.  Stream on up to THREE devices
  • IF you subscribe to orange AND blue you can save $5 and stream on up to FOUR devices at the same time.

Hulu- (not Hulu Live) “Watch premium original series, full seasons of hit shows, current episodes, movies and more.”  Like Netflix, they have some original series’.  On Hulu the current most popular shows from a variety of networks are available to view on Hulu the day after they air on live tv.  I mostly dvr’d everything so that didn’t matter to me at all.  When we were considering this option I looked for specific shows and pretty much everything I watch was available on Hulu.  When Jessie’s subscription to WWE runs out, they even have her Monday Night Raw.

  • Hulu you get 30 day free trial then $7.99 per month. One device at a time.
  • Hulu Live Live 7 days free then $39.99 per month . This is the option we chose. For sports enthusiasts they have the sports channels and they have both CNN and Fox News.   You can stream on two devices at the same time for this price.  Comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR. You can pay more to stream on additional devices or add more space on your dvr.  You can click here to see all the channels they offer.

We haven’t received one normal full monthly bill yet for just our Comcast internet, so this could be off by a couple of dollars.  But this is now our current cost of high-speed internet and tv.

$91.76 (79.95. +10.00 modem +tax) high-speed internet
+$39.99 Hulu Live
total $131.75 for a savings of $82.25

I hope our wild ride into ditching cable and finding a less expensive option is helpful to you.  It was confusing to figure out, but we’re so happy now that we’re saving $82 and don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything.  I regret we waited so long.  If you choose any of the streaming devices through Amazon, I would appreciate you using my link.  I will receive a small ad fee at no additional cost to you and I would be grateful.

I wish you the best of luck finding the best value for your family.

Till next week,

Josette

 

 

 

You Can Garden on a Teeny Tiny Budget

I truly believe that planting something and watching it grow has significant mental health benefits.  I googled it to see and many experts agree that gardening is just plain good for you, physically, mentally and emotionally.  I know that sitting outside in my favorite spot for just a few minutes can turn my attitude around when my day isn’t going in a good way.

Some folks have told me they don’t garden because they think they can’t.  While it may come more easily to some than others, everything you need to know can be learned.  It isn’t true that you have to have a “green thumb”, have a lot of time, or spend a lot of money to reap the benefits of some growing something beautiful.  I’m living proof.

My first ever plant purchases were from a yard sale.  An older couple who had a sunroom filled with plants had rooted some new plants from theirs and were selling them.  They had a sunroom full.

They spent probably an hour schooling me on what plant food to buy, how often to water and how to start new plants from existing ones.  All because I stopped at one garage sale.  And all because they were excited and willing to share their knowledge with me.

In those days I lived in an apartment and I quickly developed a passion for indoor house plants.  Now, I mostly have outdoor plants with bright colored blooms.

What your particular stressors are may be different from mine, but we all have them.  A house full of kids, a child with special needs, a full time job, whatever it is that leaves you feeling sapped of all your mental energy,  a little natural beauty that YOU nurture can bring a sense of peace and joy as you watch it grow.

When my oldest two kids were young and they were less than 2 years apart,  I had very little money or time to spend on gardening, but I always wanted to have a little something growing. Just a little something.  A little bit of cheerful on the porch by the front door or on the kitchen table.  That’s all I could manage at the time.

As my kids have gotten older being able to garden a little as a hobby has been something I have tremendously enjoyed.  I still have a teeny tiny gardening budget.  I never spend more than just a few dollars at a time.

My grown up kids don’t need me so much anymore. When they were younger I was nurturing them and watching them grow.  Now I nurture these beauties and watch them grow. Whether you have 20 plants or 1, you can gain the same benefit.

I purchased this Knockout Rose (on the left) last night at Lowe’s for just $3.00! The original price tag was missing, but I would guess it was originally priced about 4 times that.   The plant on the right $1.00 (originally priced at $4.68).  I have another of these in a different color (the featured photo at top of post) and have watched it quadruple in size. It has such gorgeous color and delicate looking but hardy blooms. It has been low maintenance so I was happy to find another on sale.  Can’t wait to get these babies planted.

I LOVE the clearance section in the garden center at Lowe’s.  There’s almost nothing I would rather do with a few minutes and a few dollars. More than half, if not most, of my plants have been purchased at discounted prices.
If you’re new to gardening start with just one or two plants.  Unlike when I first started, you have the benefit of Google to learn everything you could possibly want to know about how to care for your plant.  Start small and gain confidence.

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I’ve loved hydrangeas for many years now, but they’re a little more complicated than what I currently have growing. I got this beauty for $5., marked down from $12.98, so I decided to take the risk!

I am no expert! I have been growing things for about 30 years now.  There is much still for me to learn. I still love to find someone (like at the garage sale that started this plant love affair) who knows things about gardening that I don’t and learn from them.

Tips For Gardening on a Teeny Tiny Budget:

  • If planting outside check different times of day to see how much sun each part of your yard gets.  Write it down or draw it out if that helps you remember and plan. Being sure you plan for the right sun exposure helps you not lose $ on plants that don’t survive.
  • Start with just one or two plants.  Learn about those, grow in confidence and buy 1 or 2 more.
  • Sometimes, the same plant varieties are available in different sizes.  Buy the smaller ones.  The plant marker in the container will tell you what size the plant will be when mature.  If you’re willing to be patient, you can achieve the same look for much less.
  • Once you get started, always save your pots as you re-pot plants.  You will always use them later!
  • If you’re spacing out your expenses, it helps if you buy a little bit of supplies like potting soil or a tool you need all along and not when spring hits and you want to buy the pretty new plants they just put out for sale.
  • Consider planting where YOU will get the greatest enjoyment from your plants, not necessarily where they will be seen by others the most.  I keep something by the front door, but the rest of my plants are all in the backyard near the pool and where I like to escape when I need a mental health moment.  I need mental health moments every day 🙂
  • Friends and even acquaintances that garden love to share when their plants spread out too much and need to be thinned or new plants sprout up from the originals.  I LOVE getting new plants this way, not only because they’re free, but I always continue to remember who I got them from as I enjoy them.
  • You get the most bang for your buck by purchasing Perennials.  Perennials are plants that come back year after year.  In general, they are a little more expensive than annuals (those that grow one season and die) but they can be found on sale. Almost all of my plant purchases are perennials.  You buy once and they last for years.
  • I have recently learned that many annuals will sometimes survive if you have a place to put them inside (if they’re in pots) for the winter.  An acquaintance I met at Lowe’s (y’all I talk to everybody) said many plants sold as annuals will come back the next year even outside because our winters here in way-South-Alabama are so mild.

If you want some natural beauty but don’t have much to spend it CAN be done!

I love daisies of all kinds. This one wasn’t on sale but it was really calling my name!
Our deck. This walks out to the area I like to sit near the pool. I have to let our dogs out multiple times a day and see these beauties every time I do. I can also see them through my blinds when they’re open.
The jasmine hanging over the deck rail has been growing about 3 years. It will only bloom for me a short time, but I’ve learned to be happy with the green backdrop it provides. I sit at a table right beside this flower bed when I read my Bible in the mornings and have my coffee. I will continue to fill in the open spaces in this flower bed little by little.

I sincerely hope that you will be encouraged and inspired to give gardening a try even if you never thought you could.  With anything, the biggest step is the first, so Just Start.    I think you’ll be so glad you did.  And then I want to see pictures!  If you already garden, I want to see those pics too!

Till next week friends,

Josette

To Date or Not to Date?

Tweens: Preparing for the Teen Years. To Date or Not to Date?

I’m so honored to be guest posting today at Like Minded Musings as part of a 30 day blog party offering encouragement to parents of tweens.

It might seem as though the tween-age years is too young to think about our children and dating, but it isn’t.  While they are tweens is the perfect time to put a plan in place for the future.  In fact, if you don’t want your child to date during the early and middle teenage years, your time is well spent coming up with a plan now to win their hearts over to that idea.

While you could enforce whatever you decide is best, it’s so much better to help them see for themselves that dating at a young age isn’t a good idea.  We don’t want our child to have a rebellious heart toward us because they think we’re keeping from them a “right” of the teenage years that everyone else, even those with good, Christian parents seems to have.

How can we avoid that rebellion and the heartache and angst that so often comes with teenage dating?

continue reading this post at Like Minded Musings

My Focus for the Year: Just Start

This post is more for my fellow procrastinators.  The rest of you might not be able to relate to this one.  But I feel sure that there are some this might encourage.

It’s been popular for several years now to choose a word or phrase that sums up your focus for the year.  Lots of bloggers publish their “one word” in January, you know, at the beginning of the year when everyone is making resolutions and setting goals.  I’ve never been one to be on time 🙂  And, I don’t make resolutions cause I know (for me) they don’t last.

I didn’t pick a focus phrase for the year but as the year has progressed one phrase has become my focus:  Just Start.  Whatever it is on your list that you’ve determined is what you should do next, even if it feels overwhelming, just start.

I started this blog in November 2016.  I bought this bracelet right around that same time.  In the beginning, the “Just Start” was about blog related things.  Whatever it was I needed to learn next, just start.  Whatever I wanted to procrastinate on because it was hard, just start.  I told myself often, Just Start.

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I’ve been wearing this bracelet every day. There have only been a few exceptions when it just really didn’t jive with what I was wearing. Other than those few days, I’ve worn it and thought about it every single day.  I’ve worn it and thought about it so much that when I’m at home and not wearing any jewelry, I will still think of it on my arm.  Just start.

The bracelet has been a good reminder to me and has actually inspired me to just start with many projects that don’t have anything to do with the blog.  Reading this book, wearing the bracelet and seeing the progress I have made in different areas has been fuel to keep me going in a good direction.

I was surprised a couple of years ago when I read that sometimes procrastination is really a form of perfectionism.  Say what?!  Yes, really.  I know its true for me that sometimes if I feel I can’t fully complete a task or do what I consider to be a good job, I just wouldn’t start it at all.  A friend of mine has confessed to the same.  Perfectionist sounds slightly better than procrastinator so I might like that.

In this book the author referred to naturally, habitually messy people as “messies” and those that keep a clean and tidy home and make it look pretty easy as “cleanies”.  She pointed out, as an example that “the messies” were less likely to pick up little things they noticed on the carpet because they were going to vacuum later anyway.  They would just wait and do the job completely, rather than doing little things all along.  “Cleanies” she said would, almost without thinking just pick up those things on the carpet (and whatever other little things that came along) and as a result their homes tended to stay more tidy.

There are so many areas of my life where I realize I do this.  Put off a project until I can set aside a large lump of time to knock out the whole project.  I have really attempted more and more though, even if I know I can’t do the entire project, to just start.  Most of the time once I get started the progress I see will give me the motivation to keep going.

In recent years I have increasingly felt that I really wanted to rid my home of clutter and things we own that we don’t use.  I don’t want to dust anything that I don’t absolutely love.  I don’t want our closets filled with things we aren’t wearing.  I will never be a true minimalist, but I do want to own a lot less stuff than we currently do.

It is a slow process when everyone in your home doesn’t feel the same 🙂  Slowly but surely though, more and more bags of stuff that we will never miss is being weeded through.  Sometimes just a couple of bags at the time.   That is a new way of approaching it for me.

A couple of months ago, I knew there wasn’t time to go through every single thing in my closet. I told myself to just start.   One day I went through a bunch of event t-shirts that I’ve been putting off deciding what to do with them. Another day when I had more time I went through most of my clothes and shoes.  That was 2 or 3 bags.  One week I spent a few hours going through books on one of my several bookshelves.  Two boxes to donate.

I have gotten started on a task I really dislike.  I still have a lot of homeschooling books from when my oldest two were homeschooling. I had specific things in mind for home projects I would want to use the money for if I could sell some of these things.  It’s a huge job.   Looking online to see if the materials are current and figuring out what the value is, taking photos and listing them on Facebook for sale.  This one I did put off for about a month before I could finally make myself get started.  Unlike most other things, this particular task is one that even once started I still put off.  I just hate the whole process.

I want my friend Pam from Tennessee to have a comfortable guest room to sleep in when she comes to visit this summer.  Jessie’s old room (Jessie has moved to what was Jordan’s room) is going to become our guest room, maybe with multi-purposes, not sure.  Currently there are 5 kittens and a mama cat residing there.   They are getting close to being ready to go to their new homes.

As a starting point, this week I took a car load of stuff that had been stored in Jessie’s old closet to married daughter’s house.  There are still more things of hers in the closet.  I tend to want to get it all done in one big sweep.  But this time I grabbed a car load full and took it and put in her guest room closet when she wasn’t home 🙂  Done.  Now that I can see progress in the room it gives me incentive to keep going!

So often, I feel I must have it all planned out perfectly before I can begin.  I am realizing though more and more that done truly is better than perfect.

I have one last example.  I guess I’ve been learning this for a while, it’s just been a full throttle, all out, every-area-of-my-life focus this year.

Three years ago I had been wanting a flower bed in my back yard for a long time.  I knew I wanted some natural beauty that I could see and enjoy when I sit outside to read or relax and would be in my view from the pool.  I felt so stumped over exactly where to make a flower bed and what to start with since I couldn’t afford to spend a lot at one time.  I finally decided on a location, that I wasn’t sure was the perfect one and began to add plants just a couple at a time.  A Gerber daisy here.  Some climbing jasmine there.  I stuck with low maintenance perennials and just one or two at a time.

I’m not sure if I were making the decision today, that I wouldn’t change the location of that flower bed.  Even so, I’m glad I did it and that those plants, some of them, have been growing and being enjoyed for 3 years.

That flower bed, as imperfect as it still is, brings me so much joy!  I love seeing it every time I step outside.  I have started adding some potted plants on the deck.  Something I can see every time I open the door to let the dogs and cat in and out.  I love watching them grow.  The progress has been slow, one or two additions at a time, so it doesn’t cripple the pocket-book.

These are my examples of projects that I applied the Just Start to.  What is your project that you KNOW if you could JUST START that you would keep making progress? Think about how much better you would feel once you get going.  Keeping the project going is so much easier than getting started!  Put a note on the refrigerator or a reminder  on the calendar or in your phone, whatever the thing is that will remind you to Just Start.  You’ll be so glad you did.

I hope this encourages you.  A month from now you could be looking back and thinking about what you have accomplished.  Today is a good day to get started.

Till next week,

Josette

So, It Turns Out I Was Causing Our Cat to Have Seizures. You Might Be Doing This Same Thing.

A couple of months or so ago our cat started having seizures.  She was almost 13 years old.  When I started googling it, I was able to put together that just before she started having seizures she had thrown up a few times randomly.   Not the hair ball throw up, but undigested food suddenly throw up.  She had never done this before.

We went to the vet who confirmed that what we were seeing was seizures.

A friend whose dog  has seizures said getting too hot can trigger one for her Phoebe.  She also seems to be more vulnerable to having one in a higher stress situation like a new dog groomer or boarding at a new place.

Our vet said most of the time in cats there doesn’t seem to be a particular reason, as far as an event setting them off.  I had recently been squirting her with a water bottle when I would see her on the kitchen table and wanted to be sure that wasn’t likely to cause her to have a seizure by startling and upsetting her.

I never dreamed that diffusing citrus essential oils was the cause of her seizures.

I had used some lavender on my dog’s ears before during a storm because I had heard that could help with the anxiety.  In the research I did, it did say citrus oils were dangerous for cats, that you shouldn’t ever put citrus oils on them or touch them after handling the oils without washing your hands.  I didn’t read anything that made me feel sure that I couldn’t diffuse the oils.  I did pay attention when I first started diffusing them, but she didn’t seem to have a problem right away so I forgot about it.

Our vet prescribed Valium for the seizures.  We started on the lowest dose and when she continued to have seizures we increased the dosage.  Older cats are lazy anyway, but she was being pretty sedated.   She’s a really persnickety cat, so we liked her more mellow medicated personality better 🙂

One day it just randomly popped in my head to question could it be the essential oils?

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So I asked my friend google again and this time it came up looking a little more certain (in one person’s opinion) that diffusing them could be enough exposure to be dangerous.  I told Jay what I was thinking and I stopped diffusing any citrus oils.  We decided to start lowering her Valium dose and see what happened.  She was taking enough that it probably wasn’t safe to just stop it cold turkey.

We got her medicine dosage down to where she was not taking any in the morning.  No seizures.  We continued the night time dose and then began to lower it.  She’s outside some, and sometimes even inside we wouldn’t always see her when she would have a seizure.  Most of the time when she had a seizure she would pee, so we watched for any suspicious wet spots as well as catching her having a seizure.

It’s been more than a week now that she hasn’t had any medicine and no seizures.  She had been having seizures at one point more than one a day or at least daily.

I feel confident the culprit was the essential oils.  This makes me REALLY sad because I LOVE to diffuse citrus oils.  They’re my favorite and do a good job of making the house not smell doggy or stale.  I miss them.  I was feeling pretty irritated about it honestly, because without Valium, this cat isn’t all that sweet.

We decided to keep one of the 5 kittens Jay rescued. You can find that story here.  I knew that Jay would want one and Evan kept nagging me that it wasn’t right of me to not let Jay keep one of them.  They are all so sweet and I have gotten so fond of all of them. They all have homes when they get just a bit older, Hallelejah!

Jay loves Buddy, that’s his name.  It fits him.  He’s Jay’s little Buddy.  And Buddy is sweet.  So that helps me be a little less resentful about giving up diffusing citrus oils.  I still have a lot of them and want to find other ways to use them that won’t cause them harm.  Maybe cleaning sprays?

 

This is sweet little Buddy

Next time we visit our vet I will mention it so he can warn other cat owners about the danger of diffusing citrus oils.

It’s a beautiful day in South Alabama.  I’m typing this with coffee beside me under the shade of an umbrella on the pool deck.  The pool is getting bluer and no longer swampy green.  It’s almost summer and most of the summer is a slower pace.  Yippee!

Hold on, y’all.  The spring is crazy busy but summer’s comin’.

Hope your day is beautiful.

 

 

 

I’ve been eating some pretty big frogs! Have you been eating frogs?

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Ok, so I haven’t LITERALLY been eating frogs 🙂  But I read this book, “Eat That Frog, 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating And Get More Done In Less Time.”  I listened to it on Audible.  It was so good that I immediately sent it to Jay and Evan (my husband and son).

During my years of homeschooling, I’ve read many books on scheduling.  As a lifelong learner I’m always reading some kind of book I think of as being in the self help/personal growth category.  I’ve taken away something good from each and all of the books I’ve ever read.  This book, however, I feel has made the most immediate difference in my life of any book that I’ve read in a long time.

You see, I’m a long time procrastinator.  I can get the absolute essentials done.  But if there’s not a deadline, a task tends to get put off.  Productivity and goal setting gurus (I’ve been listening to tons of podcasts) recommend setting deadlines for yourself if there isn’t otherwise a deadline.  And I agree that if there isn’t a deadline, for many of us (for sure ME), a task will take however long we will give it.

The main concept of this book is based on a quote that is attributed to Mark Twain, ” Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  The frog is whatever is the biggest or most important task that you need to complete.  The author, Brian Tracy, explains that often the reason we get stuck or procrastinate is because we don’t have clarity about what we should do next.  We get hung up doing lots of things that aren’t THE things that would propel us forward and we don’t ever get around to tackling the big frogs.  This is certainly true for me.

The audiobook is only 2 hours and 40 minutes.  The author’s personal story of success in using these techniques is compelling and immediately draws you in.  Although I usually enjoy all the why’s and psychology behind why you should do anything, Brian explains that he purposely left that out in this book.  That’s probably a good thing in this instance because one of the reasons that I think I am able to remember and apply the concepts is because it is succinct.  The points aren’t amongst a lot of other information, it’s just, “Do This, It Works.”  It IS working for me and I’m a pretty hardcore procrastinator!

Since my older two graduated from our homeschool I’ve slowed down some.  There are some aspects of that I have liked.  I’m 52, its kind of okay with me if I’m not at break neck speed every minute.  Some of my time I’ve used wisely, like starting a small garden and doing some of the yard work and pool care.  Some of the slowing down was in part because I was vitamin D deficient and chronically tired (I’m also scheduled for a sleep study next month), and partly because I was floundering, finding my way in this new season of life.  That’s probably another blog post 🙂  I struggled to make myself get caught up on daily, ordinary things so that I could make time for larger projects I really wanted to do.  Then came Eat That Frog.


When I started this blog, along came hours and hours of googling, podcasts, and webinars.  I knew nothing about website design which is really what building the actual blog is about.  The actual writing, researching how to’s, and working on the blog site has added a lot of hours of work to my week.  I needed to become more efficient to make blogging fit into my life.

The concepts in Eat That Frog are helping me to do that.  I’ve not become a new person overnight, but I have made real changes and slowly am getting my house more under control and making progress with the blog at the same time.  Here are some changes I’ve made:

  • Cooking dinner pretty much every night (I’ve told y’all I struggle with this).   Eat At Home Meal Plans is another tool helping with that.  In the past, with adding a project like blogging, cooked meals would be less consistent.
  • I’m being more diligent at working with Jessie on some specific things.
  • Enabling me to spend 10-15 or so hours each week on blogging tasks.   Some weeks more, some weeks less.  I know y’all are thinking, “what?!” since I only post once a week.  This includes learning about blog graphics, editing photos, plugins etc., y’all, the technical stuff is killing me.
  • LESS STRESS.  This is a big one.  Some people call writing down every single thing you need to do a “brain dump”.  That is one of the list making tools he recommends. Seeing it all written on paper is helping me find clarity about what is the most important thing to do and what to “purposefully procrastinate” on.  Yep.  That’s what the author actually says.
  • Overall, I feel I have increased capacity to do more without losing my mind.  This is big for me too.  In comparison to others, I always feel that I can’t do as much outside the home and keep any measure of control inside the home.
  • I just feel better.  My mind is more clear even though I’m doing and achieving more.

I’m NOT about to win any productivity awards, so don’t be deceived into thinking that.  But, more things are getting done without me losing my mind.  And I’m really happy about that.

So, there.  If you have a tendency to procrastinate on things you shouldn’t, read or listen to Eat That Frog.  You won’t regret it.  The advantage of listening to the audiobook is if you don’t have much free time, it’s easier to fit that in while washing dishes, folding laundry or driving.  The downside is, it would be helpful to be able to write down and put in plain view some of the main points.  There is a list of the “21 Ways” at the end of the book and I’m going to re-listen and write them down and put some of them where I see them regularly.

If you’ve read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts!  If you have other book recommendations, I would really love to hear them.  I’m always looking for the next good one!