Monday, January 15, 2018

What to Do with Stuff Post

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Tis the season after Christmas when I ask myself where in the world can I stuff all the new stuff into drawers and closets already bulging with all the old stuff.
It's major stuff overload.
I could buy a bigger house, rent a storage unit, or build an outbuilding, but eventually, I'm sure we'd fill that up too.

So, the uncluttering begins. 

-It's a good rule of thumb that if you haven't used, or worn something in a year, you probably don't need it. Clear it out.
-If it doesn't fit, get rid of it. We all tell ourselves that we'll lose the weight one day, and hopefully we will. But instead of holding onto a bunch of stuff that depresses us and reminds us that we've gotten chubbier, I say toss it and when you lose the weight- buy new stuff. You deserve it.
-When you buy something new, get rid of something old it. Buy a new shirt? Out goes an old one. Get something new for the kitchen? Something in the cupboard has to go to make room. *I like this because it also slows down my impulse shopping.
-Clear things out when no one is home and they can't see what goes. This has obvious repercussions if someone misses an object within a year-- after a year, you can honestly say, "I got rid of that over a year ago and you never missed it."
-Use vacuum bags for items you'll be storing long term. (Also great for packing for a trip when there is limited room in the trunk!) I put all my boys' baby blankets in one and shrunk it to a few inches thick rather than a large stack.
-Take movies and video games out of their cases and put in multi-disc binders. That frees up a lot of space.
-Have a "re-gift" party. This year for Christmas, my extended family added re-gifts to the gift exchange, My niece had a set of Christmas dishes that were my mother's that she didn't need, but I did. Genius idea. I'm glad she thought of it.

Another way to make room is to find some incentive to purge. A friend of mine runs a charity that helps cancer fighters. They have a yearly auction and everything I get rid of helps raise money for a great cause.

And here's a site I found this summer that is helping shrink the closet clutter. is an online consignment shop where you can sell unwanted clothes and some other assorted household items like books, toys, etc. Make an account. Request a box. Fill it up. Mail it in. And they do the rest of the work. I've sent in two boxes full of stuff. It's taken about a month and a half for my items to be placed for sale, but I've been getting email notifications of which of my items are selling. The first $13 goes to pay for my shipping and then the sales are split with

If none of this motivates you, watch an episode of Hoarders, the tv documentary that chronicles the life of people who become consumed by their stuff. That always motivates me to purge.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Shaking Off the January Blahs

Happy January! Or should I say, Ugh, it's January again...

December is such a sparkly, festive, pepperminty month. But when January 1st rolls around, you better get those decorations down or feel the wrathful stares of your concerned neighbors.

This year, I happened to get those lights down lickety-split! And now that Christmas is put away and the company is gone and the vacation is definitely over, the house seems so dreary and bare. So mundane and unscented. And since the weather outside is still frightful, we have to spend more time inside wallowing in all the boring drabness of it!

So here are some suggestions to Shake Off the January Blahs:

  • Game and/or Movie Night - Just because the holidays are over, doesn't mean the fun has to be! A family night of games or a movie will liven and lift everyone's spirits. And doing this on a regular basis will bring your family closer, keeping your house warm with smiles all year.
  • Slumber Party by the Fireplace - A spontaneous night cuddled up by the fire or any out of the ordinary surprise - baking cookies, going through old photos, making funny videos instead of just watching them! - can spunk up any dull January weekend.
  • Change out the photos - January is for new beginnings, so put fresh faces in your picture frames. Time for an update!
  • Rearrange the furniture - Another way to give the old homestead new life is by changing the foot pattern, switch the seats, shed new light. And sometimes you'll find some lost items in the process...
  • Have a Mom Party - Christmas was mostly for the kids. Now how about some pampering for the head of the house who did most of the decorating, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc (two or three times as much in November and December as the rest of the year!) And if you're like me, you probably had to return a few things anyway, so now you can get something you really want!
  • Sales - I love finding a good deal. And this is one of the best times of the year to do it. Sales, sales, sales! On Christmas stuff for next year and closeout winter clothes.
  • Treat Yourself - I know. January is also the time we try to avoid treats because of all the December parties and candy and scrumptious snacks. But the treat doesn't have to be edible. This section is more about "Me" time. Give yourself some alone time with a book, a couple of episodes of Netflix, a hobby you've neglected, or just a snuggle with someone you love - like the cat! Maybe even 30 minutes of exercise. Do something for you to recharge your batteries and January won't look or feel so bad!
Hope your 2018 is off to a tremendous start!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome 2018!

It's time to welcome in another new year!!

Tara and I are doing that by revamping the Really Real Housewives blog. We're changing things up and planning some extra fun and surprises, so stay tuned!

Since we're both busy writing books and raising boys, we're always trying to find the quickest and easiest ways to get the house stuff done, And we'll be sharing those cheats and maybe a few rants and whines here. Here's to 2018 being a year of blessings!

Now, for the official post:

                                                18 quick and easy tips for 2018

1. Got a leather purse that is losing its luster? Clean it with leather furniture wipes. You can buy them in the cleaning aisle of the grocery store.

2. Ink stain on your shirt? Spray it down with hair spray and wash in cold water.

3. Accidentally throw a red sock in the white wash and have a lot of pink clothes? Rewash in cold water adding a bottle of hairspray to the wash (empty a pump bottle, not an aerosol save time  and the ozone layer ;)

4. A dash of vinegar in your pancake batter will make super fluffy pancakes without changing the flavor.

5. Tired of frying bacon? Bake it. Lay it out on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven on about 350 degrees. Turn every 8-10 minutes until desired crispiness.

6. Dirty, stinky microwave? Heat up a cup of lemon water. Wipe down immediately. The steam from the water will loosen the crusty stuff and help eliminate odors.

7. Smelly hands after cutting onions and such? Wash hands in salty water or shake some salt on your hands and use it like a scrub.

8. Plastic drinking bottles smelling a little funky? Fill with water, vinegar, and salt...allow to sit over night then rinse.

9. Hard water building up in your tea kettle or coffee pot? Add a few ice cubes and salt, swirl around the bottom a bit then wash.

10. If you ever leave the men home alone for a few days and return to a kitchen with what appears to be dried up pancake batter on the counter tops...wet a paper towel and lay it over the spot. Allow to soften, wipe, and toss. Works well on upchucked fur balls too.

11. Tis the season for snow on the windshield. I drive a van and I'm also short, so reaching across the whole thing can be a pain, so my broom is the perfect snow removal tool.

12. Need a quick and easy heat pack? Make a pouch for rice out of a washcloth or a sock and secure with a rubber band. Throw it in a the microwave for 30 seconds and you now have a heat pack.

13. Food, blood, or grass stains on clothes? Pre-treat with dish detergent. Just squeeze a little on the spot and scrub it in and then wash.

14. To best get pre-treater or soap into the fabric, keep a hand held scrubber near the wash. Give stains a little scrub before washing and the stains come out easier.

15. Is your stain still there after a wash? Don't throw it in the dryer! Treat it again and toss back in the wash.

16. Winter static on your clothes? Rub them with a dryer sheet.

17. Getting static from your hairbrush? Hit it with a spritz of hairspray and the problem is solved.

18. I saved the best for last....a quick and easy recipe!

Pan Cookies
Grab a premade cookie mix. Follow the instructions, all but the butter...where it says to soften and add butter...melt the butter before adding it. This will make the batter a little moister. Pour it into a cake pan and spread it out. Bake for 15-20 minutes and you have a batch of pan cookies.

Cut, serve, and enjoy without any fuss.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pardon Our Dust

Life has taken us in many different directions... 
We promise to come back soon with more housewife goodies 
after we take some time off and make some changes.

If you would like to volunteer for a future post, give us a shout!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crystal Liechty: A Mom's Crazy Journey Inspires A Comic Strip

When Crystal told our group of friends about a comic strip based off her "interesting" moments with what crazy things her kids say/do, I totally laughed at the sample one she showed us! If you have ever read any of her hilarious Facebook posts about the conversations they have, you would be to! Here she is to talk a little about the woes of motherhood, and how it helped her to find her way into the comic strip world. Take it away, Crystal!!

First off, thank you to the Really Real Housewives for letting me come visit this blog!

I’m here to talk about how I have fun despite the trials of being a mom. There’s two things you should know about me before I get started:

1. I’m a yellow personality. I thrive on fun and excitement. If I don’t have something to look forward to, I fall into a bit of a depression. So I chase “fun” like it’s my job and sometimes that means I do too much and go too hard.

2. My third child, Hazel, broke me. My two older ones were pretty easy babies (I realize now). They were cheerful and didn’t mind my nonstop, chase-every-moment lifestyle. They were also well-behaved enough that I could feel relatively secure in my mom skills. But then Hazel came along. Every opinion I had about myself as a mother; every plan I made; every hope and dream I held for the future – she shat on all of that. Firmly and intentionally, while maintaining eye-contact.

Once Hazel came along, I realized that I wasn’t in charge anymore and my previous priorities would have to be seriously rearranged.

No, I can’t show up at church with perfectly coifed children. You’re lucky they’re wearing pants right now.

No, I can’t go on an extended family camping trip. I have no plans to leave my house for the next five years.

No, I won’t join you in scoffing at that mom with the out-of-control toddler. My youngest just threatened to kill me with a pillow. I have no room to judge anyone.

I make light of it, but the reality was hard. By the time Hazel was two, I was in a dark place. Really, real dark. I had some hard thinking to do about who I was and what my limits were.

I made the choice to keep going, to keep trying, to keep failing, to keep trying again. My vision of being this awesome mother had been totally shattered. I mean, straight to pieces. But in the end, it was a good thing. Instead of momming like the magazines and the commercials, I started momming based on what I was actually capable of doing. Instead of looking outward and mimicking the moms that seemed to have it all together, I realized I couldn't -- literally couldn't -- keep up if all my goals for myself were based on what other people were doing and thinking. I had to get down on my rusty knees, beg for Heavenly help and accept that I would always be just a bit of a hot mess.

Once I did all that, something amazing happened. I started having fun again. What can you do but laugh when your four year old calls the doctor a “bastard” for giving her a shot? He said he would count to three but then did it on two. It was kind of a dick move.

And when your seven year old repeats a very embarrassing health problem you’re having to a table full of church friends, you can only shrug and say, “Don't worry, it's not contagious.”

And when your ten year old asks why his friend’s penis is so much bigger than his, you hunker down and have a conversation about anatomy. Because why not? I’ve been to the edge and back. I’ve got nothing left to fear.

I used to be so scared of the judgments and the humiliation of letting people see how flawed I was. But the absolute worst happened (someone called the cops on me because Hazel wouldn’t stop crying and they thought I was abusing her) and happened (AJ told me a horrific tale of playground bullying so I confronted the mother, all froth and anger, only to find out that about 80 percent of it had been exaggerated or outright made up and my daughter was actually the one bullying) and happened (after my first year of homeschooling, I took Griff in for a reading test and found out he was well below grade level). And I lived.

So I guess that’s my big secret: understand that being a mom is ugly business and any moms who act otherwise are probably faking it. Or they haven't been blessed with their own Hazel yet. Once you’re secure in this reality, you can enjoy the particular bit of madness you’ve been given.

And then you can turn it into a comic like I did! And I named it after my general plea to the world: Please Don't Call Child Services.

Crystal Liechty is the mastermind behind the Please Don’t Call Child Services webtoon, which details the always funny and often inappropriate hijinx involved in homeschooling three mischievous children. If you’ve been to college lately, you might have seen one of her essays in the Elements of Arguments textbook (Macmillan Press). When not homeschooling or torturing college students with argumentative essays, Crystal can be found watching Korean dramas, teaching herself Kpop dances or in general working as an unofficial ambassador for South Korean culture. Find out more about her online comic by visiting her official Facebook page or blog.

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