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A blog to support, encourage, and mentor at home moms in all aspects of home making and family life.

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Wednesday
Nov022016

The 10 Minute Trick That Will Keep Your Closet Organized FOREVER!!!

Okay, prepare yourself, I'm about to blow your mind.

I learned this trick 3 years ago, and it's changed my life.  Well my clothing life, which admittedly is a big part of my life.

In my ideal world, I would clean my closet out at the end of Spring/Summer - when I bring out my Fall/Winter clothes, and then again, at the end of Fall/Winter when I switch them back.  But it's a HUGE job!  So I tend to avoid it, and just throw the Summer stuff in with the Winter stuff, and just resign myself to a crammed closet, knowing the things I love are in there somewhere - if I could only find them!

Then came "The Tip."  The tip of all tips!  Wait for it!

At the beginning of a new season, flip all your hangers around.

That's it!  Seriously!  That is the whole tip!  You will NEVER have to clean out your closet again!  I'M NOT KIDDING!!!  Trust me!  I've been doing this for 3 years, I've consigned or given away about 50% of my clothes, I don't miss a thing and now I love everything in my closet.  I just flipped all my hangers last week, when I declared it "Fall" in my world! So most of mine are still reversed.

I'm pretty sure I'm wearing the same number of items I did before, they're just not drowning in the over growth of stuff I never wore, which makes the things I do have feel more special.  In fact, my closet sort of feels "boutiquey" now.  Fewer, more beautiful things, nicely hanging - as opposed to squished like they were before.  (I was so excited about this I bought matching store-ish hangers!)

So here's the formula that has changed my life, and the lives of several girlfriends who have also tried this.

Right now, go into your closet and spin every single hanger so that the hook faces the wrong way.  See pic.  

Wear your clothes normally.  But when you put them away, hang them back on the rack, normally.  With the arch of the hanger facing you.

Of course things that come out of the wash, get placed on hangers that hang normally, because you've obviously worn them.

Then at the beginning of Spring (because we're currently in Fall/Winter), look at any items whose hangers are still reversed, and ask yourself why.  Too small, too big, don't like it, needs alteration?  Need something to wear with it?  It's more of a keepsake than a day to day item?  And decide if you still want to keep it.  There's no pressure to get rid of it, if you have an extra closet where you store heavy Winter things during the warmer months, simply put it away with the hanger reversed so you'll remember next Fall to put it into your closet in the reverse position.  If it's still like that after a couple seasons, I'm guessing you won't have much trouble parting with it.

(If you don't have an extra closet available, just switch the hangers around twice a year anyway.  The systems still works, you'll just have to allow for things that haven't been worn because they were out of season, not because you didn't feel like wearing them.)

The other thing I like about this system is I find I try to choose things from reversed hangers, I often find that I really love certain things, I've just gotten out of the habit of wearing them. 

In the past 3 years that I've done this, I now spend about 10 minutes switching out my seasonal stuff.  I don't even really look at the things on the hangers facing forward - I know I like them.  I just go through the things still reversed and decide if they're worth storing until next Fall, or if I should put them into my consignment bins.

Which brings me to my one last suggestion - since I've started doing this, I've bought myself two additional laundry hampers that I keep in the closet under our stairs.  One is labelled "Summer" the other "Winter".  As soon as I decide I don't want to keep something it goes into that hamper, then I cart the whole thing off to the consignment store at the beginning of that season.  I keep all this money hidden away to buy - more clothes of course!!!

Since I've been doing this, I find I shop differently.  I buy fewer, better things that I get more pleasure out of wearing.  I don't feel guilty when I buy something, because I know I need it/will wear it, I also find I enjoy my clothes more because they're under control, I know what I have, and I like every single thing in my closet.

This is definitely worth a try!!  :) 

 

Tuesday
Sep202016

How To Get Your Husband To Whisper Sweet Nothings

Every girl wants her man to whisper sweet nothings.  To say those things we all love hearing.  The things he used to say spontaneously - way back when.

I've been married 27 years and over that time, I've figured out how to get my husband to tell me exactly what I want to hear.  And here it is…

I ask him!!!!

Yup, that's right!  I straight out ask him to say what I want to hear.  Never mind ask him!  Half the time I simply tell him!

 

"Who's your favourite girl?"

-Shonna Peeler!  (He always uses my maiden name on this one).

~

"Tell me how much you love me."

-Ummmmm….  347

"Wow!  It's really high today!"

-Oh ya!

"What's that out of?"

-15

"Nice!!!"

"Tell me nice things."

-What kind of nice things?

"Tell me you love me."

-I love you…

"I love you too.  More nice things."

-You're beautiful...

-You're a good Mom...

-Candles.  (He threw that one in one mid-Winter day, when I had about 15 candles burning all around the house.  Candles are definitely "nice things!")

Call me crazy, but when I tell him what to tell me, it doesn't feel any less sincere than if he had said the same things spontaneously, unbidden.  He smirks, eyes twinkling as he comes up with the number for how much he loves me that day.  Because the thing is, I know he loves me, thinks I'm pretty, that I'm his favourite girl, it's just not in men's natures (at least not in my man's), to wax poetic at the end of a long work day, or in the midst of Saturday chores, and frankly I don't want to wait for the occasional romantic dinner or luxurious vacation to hear it!  So I just ask!

These are flirtatious interactions, that invite intimacy into an everyday moment.  They remind him, he's my boyfriend and I'm his lover, and we don't have to be in bed or Bermuda to enjoy that knowledge.  They're a verbal smack on the back side, or peck on the cheek.  They're playful, the little things, we women so often accuse men of forgetting.  And that's exactly the point!  They do forget!  I realized this several years back, when I told him, I didn't feel he was being affectionate enough with me.  His response was, "You know I think the world of you, and that I find you very attractive."  Me, "Ya, I know.  And you act like it, I'm not complaining about that, but I want to hear it."  Him, "Ya, I know, I'm bad about saying it." 

And there it was, of course I knew he loved me, desired me, treasured me, but I wanted to hear it.  And he was more than willing to tell me, it just simply didn't come to his mind to tell me, as often as I needed to hear it.  So that's when I just started asking!!

"So….  How do you feel about me today???"

-I love you!

"How much?"

-Tons!

"Do you think I look pretty?"

-I think you look gorgeous!

"Thanks!"

That's it.  Done.  No pouting that he hasn't noticed me in a while.  I ask, he answers, we kiss, the end.

 

**If you have a cute image that would be great for this post, please feel free to send it to me through the "contact" button!  I'm picturally challenged, but love having nice images on my posts!  (Non-copy writed images only please).

 

Tuesday
Apr192016

What I Know Of Grief

What I know of grief.  

This is not the extent of what I know.  There are others.  A tiny one - that I still can't write about.  An older one, who was my True North.  And one whose guidance and counsel I still miss.  Unfortunately grief is not unfamiliar to me, or to my house.  But today, on the second anniversary of her death, I remember my mother.  Noreen Madge Peeler.  Who loved me.

I woke up this morning in the exact same spot I was two years ago.  In Scottsdale, Arizona, in our bed, in our vacation home.  And just like that morning.  I was alone.  

Normally when I wake up my husband is still in bed, but that day, he'd gone out for a sunny, early morning walk.  It was Easter weekend, and we had flown down with our family for a vacation, booked months earlier, before we knew…  Our eldest daughter, Megan, had come and crawled in bed with me.  Which is a rare treat for the mother of married daughters.  Her own little one and her husband were both still sleeping, so when she heard her Dad leave for his walk, she snuck out of the guest room to came into mine, to snuggle.

I knew when we left on that trip that there was a chance my mother might not be there when I got back.  That she might die while I was away.  She had ovarian cancer.  A relentless, insidious disease, that creeps in and takes hold before anyone knows it's there.  She had been ill with it four times in three years, or three times in four years.  It feels like a blur now.  She deteriorated and rallied so many times, it is hard to remember.  It was hard to know, as we left home for our flight, if this was it, or just another valley she would rise from.  And it was the babies' first Easter…  And the flights were booked…  And it was only one week, surely she'd hang on.

Mom was diagnosed the Fall Megan got engaged.  It took months.  One test, nothing.  Three weeks later another.  Nothing.  Three weeks later another test.  There are currently no early detection tests for Ovarian Cancer.  It is incredibly hard to diagnose.   So while the doctors searched, my mother writhed and withered.  She dropped 50 pounds in 3 months.  In too much pain to eat.  My father would call me, daily, frantic for help, frantic for relief, a reason, a diagnosis.  He was looking for somewhere to cling, someone to carry his burden.  And I was the nearest, and easiest vessel.  

That first Christmas, when she was finally diagnosed, but too weak and despondent from pain, she now refused to eat.  She could barely drink.  And so, with her vital organs threatening to shut down, she was hospitalized.  For weeks.  We thought she might come home on Christmas day, but no.  It was the first Christmas my parents hadn't woken up together in 51 years.   We went to the hospital, we opened gifts beside her bed.  She tried to feign interest and gratitude.  I couldn't hug her because I had a cold, so I sat far away from her, in a chair on the other side of the room, cheerfully oohing and ahhing over each of her gifts as she opened them.  Ever my mother's daughter, feigning interest and excitement.

To say this robbed me of my joy in the planning and celebrating of our daughter's wedding would be inaccurate.  It was joyful, and bittersweet, as it always is when a child marries out of her parent's home.  There were lots of cuddles, late night chats that we knew were soon coming to an end.  There were tense conversations and frustrations with each other over the thousand details that make up the big wedding of a young bride.  And there was cancer.  At every bridal shower, at every dress fitting, on her big day, cancer came too.  It escorted my mother in her wig and her dress, proudly announced to be three sizes smaller than she used to wear.  

Mom "fought" her cancer from the Fall of 2009 until April 19th, 2014.  But we all knew from the beginning it was a pointless fight.  One we had watched my aunt loose some years before.  In that time, during those four years, Mom had countless doses of chemo, lost her hair twice, vomited until her teeth were spoiled, lost control of her bowels, always warning us not to use her toilet as both her vomit and stool were toxic from her treatments.  She agreed to let the healthcare nurse bathe her when my Dad finally admitted it was too much for him, both physically and emotionally.  During that time too, she watched both her grand daughters, dressed in white, on the arm of their father, walk down the aisle, to teary eyed young men, delighted and anxious the claim them as their own.  And in time, was thrilled as each of those brides presented her with her first and second great grand children, both girls.  Making her, Nana-The-Great.  Her last coherent conversation was one cooing to one of those baby girls, while she held her in her hospital bed.  She adored those little girls. 

And so tonight, when I strangely find myself, alone, in the same bed I first mourned her passing, ironically watching Claire Underwood go through the same thing.  I'm sentimental.  Many friends messaged me today with notes of love and sympathy in response to the picture I posted of Mom and I.  But until tonight, watching Claire loose her own mother, I had forgotten the tremendous weight of the anxiety and conflicting emotions of that time, so much joy in watching our girls celebrate their weddings and the births of their first little ones.  So much sorrow watching Mom deteriorate and my Dad fail to cope well, finding reasons to stay away for hours, leaving her alone, when she shouldn't have been.  Unable to face it.  Unable to fathom his pending loss. 

Death is a gift some times.  My Mom's was.  She was done.  She was ready.  It was remarkable, watching her.  She was just waiting, calmly, for relief.  For transformation from this world to the next.  This broken body to a perfected one.  We always think we'll fear death.  When we're young and healthy and it's just an abstract thought.  But that day, April 19, 2014, death was a blessing.  For both Mom and for our family.  And so when the call came from Dad, back home, alone, as Megan and I cuddled, in a bed, in the desert, we knew.  It was time.  She had suffered enough.  It was time for relief.  It was time for Mom to go home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Feb062016

Link: We Lost A Child And Gained Something Greater

Normally, when I'm moved by blog posts, or find them helpful, I post a link to them to our Apron Strings Facebook page.  I normally only post original essays I write myself here on the blog.  But this one is special, it's for a lady who contacted me in a private message through the Your Apron Strings "contact" button.  She told me she was expected her second child.  She told me that she had delivered a still born little girl last year.  I told her we'd lost a grand daughter last Summer, and that I would be praying for her.  Which I have been.  For joy in place of fear, for a healthy baby to take home and to hold.  Praying in a way I couldn't have before last Summer.  She comes to my mind often.  So when I read this article, I found randomly on Facebook, and sobbed my way through the whole thing, I knew I had to post it on the blog itself, to be sure she sees it.  

I'm praying for you C.  And for your little babe on the way.  xoxo Shonna

"We Lost A Child And Gained Something Greater" by Kyle Porter

Saturday
Jan302016

Are You Treating God Like Kim Kardashian?

Are you treating God like Kim Kardashian?

Do you read about Him.  Listen to people talk about Him.  Base your opinions on what you know of Him?

If you're only reading your bible or listening to sermons and not taking the time - or don't have an interest in - praying to God, in really getting to know Him, then you're treating Him like Kim Kardashian.  

You think you know Him, you feel like you know Him, because you know so much about Him, but you don't.  You can read about Him all you want.  That doesn't mean you know Him.  And it doesn't mean you have a relationship with Him.  

God didn't come to be admired from afar.  He came to know you, and to be known by you.  And outside of prayer, that's not going happen.

 

"If you're only reading your bible or listening to sermons and not taking the time - or don't have an interest in - praying to God, in really getting to know Him, then you're treating Him like Kim Kardashian." 


It actually make me sad when I hear Christians talk about how "hard" it is to pray.  How they should "discipline" themselves to pray more.  It makes me feel like they don't like God.  They believe in Him - they just don't want to hang out with Him.  

I get that it's a time thing.  It is hard to find time to pray.  Our mornings are rushed and by evening we're exhausted.  And during the middle of the day we're all busy with work and kids.  But I don't believe that we can't find time to do the things we really want to.  Men, do you find it hard to "find time" to have sex with your wife?  Do we women find it hard to "find time" to look at Pinterest?  Sorry for the generalizations, but in my experience they ring true.

Praying is a cultivated skill.  And it does require will and choice.  Outside of airplane turbulence or sick children, many people don't feel the need to pray.  Including Christian people.  But only reading or hearing about God, is not the same as having a relationship with Him.  He didn't intend to be a celebrity to you.  He intended to be a father.  A comfort, a guide, the voice inside your head.

 

"Praying is a cultivated skill.  And it does require will and choice.  Outside of airplane turbulence or sick children, many people don't feel the need to pray."


Here are some suggestions regarding prayer:

Do it the same time everyday.  Habits - whether good or bad, are comforting to us, and they're hard to break.  Make prayer a habit.

Don't kid yourself that you'll pray when you won't.  If you're not a morning person, don't kid yourself that you're going to get up 30 minutes earlier each day to pray.  You won't.

Plan to pray when you won't get interrupted.  When our girls were in school I used to drive to pick them up 20 minutes before school let out.  I'd park on the curb where I could read my bible and then pray through what I'd just read.  I didn't look at my phone (because it was the 90's and all it did was call and text), or listen to the radio.  I basically set it up so that I had no choice but to pray.

Make sure you understand what you're reading, and then pray through it.  Earlier this year a friend told me about Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary.  Changed my bible reading and prayer life!  Now I actually read shorter passages in the bible - usually just one or two chapters, because I want to leave time to read the commentary on them afterwards.

"Pray" in a way that works for you.  I have a short attention span.  My mind tends to wander.  But I love to type!  So I type my prayers.  Since I started doing this I find I can stay focused for long periods.  It also keeps me on topic because I'm mid-paragraph - I can see what I'm praying about.  This has been a big one for me.  I know it seems kind of weird, or like someone might read what you've prayed, but you can always just delete it afterwards.  I don't.  I like to go back and re-read my prayers during different times.  Particularly hard times.

If you feel like you're praying the same thing over and over - for the health and safety of your children, etc., etc.  I'd really encourage you to pray over the bible passages you've just read.  Pray about what resonated with you, what you feel God is teaching you through it.  And really pay attention to the things God promises those who love and obey Him, and pray for those things (instead of nice weather during your vacation - not promised in the bible).  Things like a deep peace even during really hard times, a feeling of rest at your deepest level, and joy.  Pray for the things God tells you to pray for - you're much more likely to get a favourable answer!  


If you're a Christian, it's kind of your job to pray.  It's also, and more importantly, your privilege.  If you're unsure where to start, follow the format, the template, that Jesus Himself laid out.  The Lord's Prayer.  And then just put it in your own words and expand on the parts that resonate with you that day.  I've included it below, in the Modern English Version - so it's more approachable.  This is Jesus speaking;

 

Matthew 6:9-13

“Therefore pray in this manner:

Our Father who is in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come;
Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.