Category Archives: life

2016 Year in Review – Worst Year EVER!

Photo Credit: GeekTyrant -Facebook

My previous years in review (posted here and linked) are upbeat and address my top blog posts. This year has been completely different and unlike any other year.  It has been, simply put, the WORST year I have had in my lifetime, and I know a lot of others can attest to this in their lives too.  If we could time travel, I’d come back to 2016 and change everything about it, or wipe it from our history altogether.

2016 wasn’t just about politics and the “alt”-election that will bring us into an unknown 2017 and with social issues, possibly launch us back into the 1950s.  2016 was about a lot of lives lost. The theme for 2016 was loss, loss, loss;  losses that some of us will never get over.   My husband and I personally know so many friends and family who have lost so many loved ones this year (from children, spouses to parents), so it’s not just about political loss.  This year, we didn’t just mourn political losses and the crazy Brexit decision, so many good celebrities, musicians, artists, and Americans lost their lives,  but I still love what my friend Richard Parker posted on Facebook after we all learned of the passing of 60-year old Carrie Fisher.   He said, “We’ve lost a lot of celebrities this year, and we did not like it. But some of us lost people we actually knew – family and friends. And I promise that losing those we once spoke to on the phone or hugged good-bye after a visit hurt a lot more than ‘losing’ the people we never ate breakfast with or whose wedding we attended. Yes, we mourn the loss of those great artists and heroes who inspired us and made their way into our hearts, but let’s not forget those who lost others who were a lot closer than pop stars or politicians for their hearts break far longer than a moment on social media.”  Well said, Richard!   I do believe, however, that people share their disappointments, fears and heartache through posting about or talking about known public entities lost, because most people find that common ground.  And celebrities are symbolic to most, representing our lives and people we know and love in reality.

The biggest loss my family experienced was my biggest celebrity and champion in life, my beautiful momma.  She meant the world to me, to my daughters, and so many others.  2016 took my mom.  I wrote this Mother’s Day post to her after she was diagnosed with cancer in March, and had surgery in April.  Despite chemotherapy and all other attempts, she succumbed to uterine sarcoma on December 4, 2016.  New Year’s Day will make four weeks since she left us, but I know in this lifetime, none of the people she left behind will ever get over it.   Her absence is being felt all over the world by loved ones. We miss her terribly and gladly bid 2016 good riddance!  I wish I could go back in time and change this entire year.  If I could, I’d have my mom back, for sure, and healthy.

The only theme for 2016 for our family and so, so many others is echoed in a John Oliver video made after the election about how horrible 2016 has been. If you want to view it, you can google “John Oliver F**! 2016 video.”  It is on you tube, and is excellent, but due to explicit language and gestures is not shared here.  I did share a shorter video John Oliver made for the same segment, which also represents how we feel about 2016.

The other great video is one on facebook from Friend Dog Studios, 2016: the movie. It’s quite good and who knows if the curse is over? From Brexit, exploding phones, the election and all the havoc in 2016, it captures the year well.

For my faithful readers, I do hope to post more in 2017.   This past year has been tough and I didn’t have time to post as much.  I wanted to spend as much time with my mom as I could, and of course, most of the time did not feel like posting at all.  No matter what you experienced in this shitty year of 2016, may you all have a fresh start in 2017 and experience health, love, and happiness, and here’s hoping (despite my pessimistic, realist outlook), 2017 goes okay for our government and nation as well.

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My Reality*

*Note:  This post is published today at Mile High Mamas for their feature story on motherhood and the choices we make.  Thanks to Mile High Mamas for allowing me to share this and reproduce here, and thanks to my friend Eileen who helped me edit this.  Who knew getting it down from 2000 words to 600 something could be so hard?

“Women’s libbers say we can have it all. I do not believe that we can have it all at the same time. Life is give and take. For me, I cannot immerse myself in my career without falling short in other areas. This is not a pessimistic approach or a judgment against those who chose their careers over staying at home. This is my reality and I would not change it for the world.”  Amber Johnson, Mile High Mamas

She’s not wrong, but my reality is a bit different and I wouldn’t change it for the world, either. Being a parent is a tough balancing act that takes a lot of work, and this women’s libber believes you can have it all, if that’s what you want.

I am an “older” mommy.  I had a professional career when I chose to get married, and even later still, when I chose to have children.  Actually, I have two careers; I am an attorney and a JAG for the Reserves. Working now for 17 years in both careers, I have seniority, have moved up the ranks and earned promotions, and I am successful as both a professional and a mother. I am doing what I love and have amazing kids to boot!  I have great employers that are flexible, and understand that my family comes first.  I can achieve balance.  That’s why I didn’t take a break.  I did not want to lose the employers I had, and frankly, it’s not easy to jump back into a career like mine.

Another great thing I have is the perfect husband – well, perfect for us, that is.  There is no division of labor.  We both do it all! Our mutual respect makes our reality work.  Our house may not be clean when you surprise us, but we are raising two great kids.  They are smart, funny, and support their parents’ choices to work (my husband also had a20150320_112821 career when we married and then had children).  They see the independence in me, the can-do attitude, and they emulate that.  Which is why I often wonder why I am asked to justify why I chose a career after I chose to have kids. My husband is never asked that.  For me, I don’t choose either/or.  I choose to have it all as long as I am able.

I acknowledge that I can do this because of him. He does way more than his fair share of household chores and shuttling the children around.  I am lucky to have an employer who allows flexibility for all its employees in the year 2015- what a concept! We are also lucky that we picked a school that has an excellent schedule for our dual working household.  My children have never gone without.  I had a longer maternity leave and was able to nurse both kids upwards of a year, and they get to go on some pretty amazing trips at an early age because of my work.  I haven’t missed a single field trip, play or gymnastics meet.  With 17 years seniority, I have plenty of leave and I take time off when I need.  When my parents needed me in 2012, I was able to fly out each time and help them as well!

I hold no judgment against your choice to have a single income family, and we ask for the same in return.  I want my kids to succeed in all they do, but I also want that next promotion, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  So that’s why I choose it all, not because I want to escape my family (because I don’t), but because I am driven and I love serving my country too! I hope my girls one day say what a great role model they had in me.  But mostly, I hope my girls will grow up in an America where no one will ask them, “why do you choose to work,” or “why do you stay at home.” That would be a great reality, indeed.

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Get Clued In’s Year in Review- 2015

Last year‘s review was a personal inventory into life, time management, and learning the technique of lowering stress.  2015 brought a lot of change in the fourth quarter, with health and wellness leading the way as we go into 2016.  We didn’t travel as much as past years, but we did a lot of fun family activities including our first family cruise on Disney Cruise Lines!  I would say the theme for 2015 for Get Clued In is continuing to balance family, work, and life.  I am also trying to introduce wellness and health with essential oils, and more natural eating towards the end of the year.  I am so grateful for all that we have and another year with you all!

Here are my top posts for 2015, not necessarily because of traffic to the site, but because I enjoyed writing them and sharing with you and some of them did receive more traffic and attention than others.

  1.  Milestones & Memories – Princess Party Fun! We hosted a big birthday at our home for our little princess who is not so little anymore.  She turned 6!  It was a cold, snowy February day and we were sure everyone would cancel, but no, alas, we live in Colorado where people run in 6 feet of snow!  More people showed up than RSVP’ed because let’s face it, what else can children do when they are trapped at home on cold, snowy days in Colorado?  It was crowded, it was insane, but it was fun, and hailed by our little princess as “the best party ever!”
  2. Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream- Top 20 Tips for First Timers- We loved our first cruise as a family, and sailing Disney is like none other.  It’s quite a treat to travel or do anything with Disney.  The pictures of this post say it all.  It was our parents’ 70th birthday, and we had our whole family together.  It was quite the treat.  We had a blast and cannot wait until our next sail date.  It was the only family trip we were able to squeeze in this year, with no phones, or emails, so I have to say it was quite special.
  3. Am I cheating?  This post was hilarious to write, fun and honestly, got a ton of traffic. All you people love reality TV and a good scandal even when there is none.  It explains why Trump is leading the GOP side of things too — we all love drama and can’t stop reading/watching/hearing it.  Anyway, politics aside, I am glad I got your attention.  This post is awesome!
  4. Sherlock Holmes in Denver– The Game is Afoot!  I got the privilege to blog for Mile High Mamas and go on a murder mystery through The Denver Museum of Nature and Science at the Sherlock exhibit.  We had a great time and enjoyed the evening of mystery and solving crimes.  I had a lot of fun writing this post too, so it made the Year in Review.
  5. My Top 10 Oils – There’s an oil for that!  Honestly, all my essential oils posts are in this Year in Review and you can read about them at my ESSENTIAL OILS tab from my home page but they have helped so much this year.  Last year, I was sick nearly every month with something new, something extreme.  While I say these do not substitute for medical treatment, I know they have helped me and my family this past year for wellness, symptom relief, and just over all feeling great!   Other top posts are my DIY Body Wash and DIY deodorant, naturally.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2016!

Postscript:  As the clock hits midnite here in Florida, I raise my glass for one big toast to you, my neighbors and dear friends affectionately entitled, K***e Krazy.  This past year we were so thankful for you, and we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.  Our hearts are full with how much love, care, and affection we all have for one another, and not just with words, but with actions. This Year in Review is dedicated to you, Krazy bunch 🙂  Happy New Year and so many more to come with you all.

 

 

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DIY Fragrance Stones for Essential Oils

I got this recipe from my friend Barb’s blog, Mom Off Track, and I have to give her and Sarah all the credit.  Sarah blogs at Moose and Tater and has some amazing posts and recipes for essentials too.  I got the idea and recipe from them and I use these stones for so many things.  Now that I use essential oils, I find them invaluable to have in the house and on all the trips I go on, so wanted to share here.

2015-12-24-21.46.27.jpg.jpegFragrance Stones are a must to have around any home along with essential oils, of course!  I use my stones in the garbage can, the washer, the garbage disposal, and for a bath when you are on the road and don’t have bath salts.  I love my fragrance stone when showering too — so great when you are feeling under the weather to put a drop of Eucalyptus and a drop of Peppermint and just breathe it all in!   I do this for the kids too when they are sniffling.  It works, and it’s so simple to make fragrance stones.  You can do this!  I promise.

  1.  Buy or get a silicone mold – it will not work with metal ones.  I got mine on amazon, but others have reported getting them at Michael’s or other craft stores.2015-12-24-21.42.46.jpg.jpeg
  2. Here is the recipe (makes about 25-30 small stones as seen in my picture) – double or triple it if you want more: 1/4 cup water to 1 cup of baking soda.  Mix it together by hand and make sure it is NOT runny or watery or they will break apart and crumble. You can even add water as you go so you do not add in too much. The drier the better.20151224_173058.jpg3. Place molds in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for about 25 minutes, and pull them out of the molds after cooled.  These make great gifts too with a bottle of essential oil.  I love, love my fragrance stones and give them out to my friends too!

2015-12-24-21.48.42.jpg.jpegUses for Fragrance Stones:  Put your favorite oils on these stones and use as you wish.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Place one in your garbage can with purification essential oil and lemon (one drop each).
  2. Place one in your washer machine when it stinks to clean it- place 2 drops of purification on the stone,
  3. When I had a particularly difficult garbage disposal smell, I put lemon, peppermint and purification (1 drop each) and let it dissolve in there with hot water.
  4. You can put one stone in your car to get rid of a hard to find or get rid of an odor– use lavender and purification.
  5. You can put in stinky shoes and remove before wear, but my favorite uses are to bathe with them to get a good smell in the morning, or just wake up.  I used it in the kids’ steam shower when they were sniffling.  The best oils for colds are Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Wintergreen, and Lemon combo, but I think Eucalyptus can do the great job alone too.
  6. I like to take these on travel with me and put them in baths to relax or unwind. One drop of Lavender, and one of stress away and you are guaranteed a good night’s sleep in a loud hotel room.*

I am so glad Barb and Sarah introduced me to fragrance stones because they are wonderful and I love to have them on hand always.  I also give them away at craft events.  I hope you will find them useful too!

*Disclaimer:  These statements are not FDA approved.  The statements made here are my own and not attributed to young living.  The experiences are real, and my own.  I received no compensation for this or other posts on essential oils.  I am a distributor of these products because I believe in them.

**If you want pure essential oils for this and other great things, don’t forget to read all my posts on Essential Oils, and get started on the starter kit.  It is a life-changing journey.

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DIY Keep the Spiders Away, Naturally

14579133110_4041a5f688_zHalloween is over and so is the need for creepy, crawly friends and spider webs. You know they are everywhere, and now you can try this recipe at home, and naturally keep them away! Then, they will scurry to your neighbors’ house so share this recipe with them when they complain next.  It works! I used peppermint and not a single chomp of our pumpkins happened.  It just works and the scent/taste keep bugs away, naturally.  No need to call pest control over and over again.

I had no idea it was this easy – you can use concentrated oil without the water dilution as well.  You will need:  Young Living Peppermint Oil (see below how to get yours or contact me),  1 Qt Tap water, 4 drops of dish washing liquid and a spray bottle. That is it.  Mix it up, and spray where you see them the most, or near water sources. Repeat once a week and they will decrease over 2 weeks!  If you are going to spray in areas where you do not want dish soap, use plain water and peppermint oil only.  If you have kids constantly crawling or eating things off the floor where the dish soap potion can be sprayed, then I recommend the straight up peppermint oil and water solution.

**If you want pure essential oils for this and other great things, don’t forget to read all my posts on Essential Oils, and get started on the starter kit.  It is a life-changing journey.

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