The Clutter Remedy

PC: Instagram @within_novaki

Remember the Nineties, when trendy new cable networks like HGTV featured reality shows about getting your life organized? A team of tough-as-nails psychologists worked with licensed neat freaks branded as ‘professional organizers’ to strategically put every piece of crap a person owned out on their front lawn for all of America to see. After those shows took off in popularity, our American lexicon included new phrases that changed our lives forever… Read more

Scholarship Couch

PC: Instagram @buzzwilcox

I watched another all-day “Hoarders’ marathon recently, a showcase of craziness about people who can’t throw away any of their crap. It takes just a few hours of seeing someone cling to empty bread bags and Target receipts before I start to feel better about every aspect of my life. Compared to Lois from Ohio, my mountain of dirty dishes seemed utterly meaningless stacked up against the cat carcasses she kept in her freezer. Read more

Oyster Culture

Website: Instagram: @frankabbottphotography

PC: Frank Abbott Photography

I have two vivid memories of my dad saying to me, “You’re gonna have to learn to do this by yourself.”

The first was riding a bike and his exasperation came from having to give me a hundred pushes, but then also having to catch up and run behind me as I peddled. He held onto the back of my bicycle seat with one hand, trying to keep up, exhausted after just a few hundred feet of that nonsense. I think we’ve all attempted that awkward move ourselves as parents, until our kids could finally do it on their own.

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The Cuban Mop and Other Great Ideas

PC: Instagram @rewindryan

As I pondered the forthcoming (weird) collection of freaking AMAZING ideas, what immediately came to mind was how bizarre and disconnected it all seemed. It doesn’t even really fit nicely into a Blogging Category, per se, you know… like Recipes or Good Books.

But, seriously, I just have to share this stuff…

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The Wordsmith

(noun) word·smith \ˈwərd-ˌsmith\
Definition: a person who works with words; a skillful writer

Alternative (my) definition: a person who seeks out and will not settle for anything less than the *perfect* word

When we grow up with siblings, we learn the unfortunate necessity of doing equally for every child. No one should get more ice cream or better Christmas presents, more extravagant birthday parties or nicer clothes, certainly not fancier sporting equipment or techier technology than her brothers or sisters, and uneven distribution of anything can turn a home into a house of utter mayhem. I remember the burden placed on my parents in having two girls a mere fifteen months apart. Everything was a metaphorical scorecard and no kindness for that other child ever went unnoticed or untallied. Read more

Rumspringa: A Study of Wants and Needs

PC: Instagram @munsookwan

Don’t let the drab black bibs and the bonnets fool you, the Amish have good taste. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. What they lack in fashion choices and modern conveniences they more than make up for in their flair for custom homes with trendy designs. I visited Lancaster County recently and yes, I was one of those people, the touristy outsider rubbernecking from a charter bus as these quiet, private families made their way home (via horse and buggy) from church. They fascinated me. Their pallid homeliness baffled me. Their penchant for volleyball made me laugh. And their gorgeous homes with the wrap-around porches and the detached 3-buggy garages left me a little envious, to be honest. One thought came to mind, “Ya know, at the end of the day, we all kind of want and need the same things.Read more

Mind Your Manners

Five Things That Will Absolutely Make Us Think Your Mama Raised You Right (and Other Helpful Hints for Getting Along with Southerners)

I know The Good Lord says we shouldn’t judge, but trust me when I say that within about one-half a moment of focused conversation with any new person I meet (whether it’s you or your child) who’s “not from ’round here,” I will decide I’ve got you pretty figured out. Or, to put it another way, I will decide silently whether you had any proper raising at all.

It’s not that all folks “not from ’round here” are rude, or even uncivilized. I’m not saying that at all. They’re good people, in their own way. Bless Their Hearts. But there are some people from below the Mason-Dixon Line who take manners very seriously.

Very, very seriously, in fact. Read more

My Dog Stinks and Other Reasons You Can’t Come Over

PC: Instagram @brittany_sherwood

The app on my phone says I have 7 days, 8 hours, 54 minutes, and 4 seconds left before I go back to work for the new school year. I definitely have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, my favorite (ok, only) son is a freshman and will be with me every day all day at the same high school where I work now, and I never get tired of him being nearby. However, on the other hand, I’ve had a rather horrible summer [what with the dog deaths and dog bites that caused me straight-up heartache over the last two months].

Nevertheless, as I do every year during the months when I don’t have to report to work each day, I develop some really bad personal habits. By the time August rolls around, I begin to actively worry about the discomfort that 5:30 a.m. is going to bring me, so much so that now I’m not even sleeping well at all; the stress of my backwards and excessive sleeping habits weighing heavily on me. I mean, my circadian rhythms are on vacation, too. Don’t believe me? Here was my day yesterday: Read more