Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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My Journey: Mom and Dad-Getting Organized

ducks in a rowWhen a family is going through the tragedy of preparing for the final stages before the passing of a loved one, you tend to be overwhelmed and consumed with more important things. Being organized is the last thing you are thinking about.

The past few weeks have been chaotic to say the least for me. Just for my own sanity, I need to get organized. I NEED to have that sense of being in control of something, well anything. Getting my ducks in a row helps me do that.

Here are some things I am currently working on.

This past week I have gathered photos of mom, her family, Dad, us kids and the grandbabies to make a photo slideshow at Mom’s viewing (when the time comes). I have scanned all photos into my computer and have edited each one to make them better.

This was a hard task to do. But also very enjoyable. I got the chance to talk to mom about each photo, listen to stories I’ve never heard before. The best part was, it was like I was seeing these photos for the first time. Looking at them with new eyes. I never realized how pretty my mom is. She and my dad made the cutest couple. The biggest surprise was, I didn’t realize how much my sister looks like mom.

Now the only thing left for the slideshow is picking out a few songs to play while the video is scrolling through. Another tough challenge but I am up for that one. It should be fun listening to some beautiful piano music. Mom just loves a great pianist.

The other thing I am working on is a guest book (so to speak) for Mom/Dad’s house. Since all of kids work, we miss out on visitors to their house during the day. It’s nice for us to know they are not alone.

I was also thinking this is a great way to remember to thank the ones that have stopped by, brought food, helped out with chores or just volunteered to set with Mom while Dad ran some errands.

Not only that, if I don’t send Thank You cards out or miss someone, Mom would be disappointed with me. Mom is very proper when it comes to these sort of things. She always sent out hand written thank you notes within a week. I have some big shoes to fill.

I figured a guest book for their house would be a great easy way for me to stay up on all the visitors. This way the guests can sign in, let us know if they brought food, visited or helped in anyway. And I can be sure to thank them properly.

This weekend I will be bringing a notebook and pen to keep at their house so we can take notes on any arrangements that need to be made, write down songs she would like to have played, jot down anything we deem important or would like to remember and leave notes for the siblings.

I know all of this seems trivial in the grand scheme of things. I will be honest, I thought it was kind of odd too. But I’m here to tell you, it helps. I am not searching my home or purse for that one little piece of paper that had a note on it that mom wanted me to remember.

I will not be rushing around the last minute trying to go through photos (that will tear me apart) to make a slideshow. I know for a fact how hard it is to look through photos just after a death. I have helped a couple of cousins with this. 

I won’t have to worry if I missed someone for Thank You cards. I will have my list. And you all know how much I love lists.

This is just the beginning stages. There will be more challenges ahead. But for this week. I feel like I am on my game. I’m probably not but I do love the sense of control I have with these steps I have taken this week.

I hope in the weeks/months to come I can stay on top of all the balls in the air. Only time will tell. For now this is good thing.

If you have any helpful tips I would love to hear them. I can use any help I can get.

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Are You Ready For Winter?

My answer….never. I do love the change of the seasons but my least favorite is winter.

When I got up this morning there was a heavy frost outside. It was beautiful but cold. I don’t enjoy the cold. I took a walk and snagged a photo hoping it would change my outlook. It didn’t….still don’t like the cold or winter even though it is pretty.

Photo by: Mother of Necessity

Photo by: Mother of Necessity

There is a four letter word that I swear is a cuss word and I cringe every time I hear it……..SNOW.

I am never mentally prepared for winter. I’m probably going to jinx Ohio for saying this, but I am grateful that it is December and we have yet to see that white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. Grateful that it hasn’t been so cold yet that I haven’t broken out the winter garb.

It’s coming, I know it is, so I might as well get prepared for the inevitable.

Here are a few things that I do to get prepared for that dreaded yucky winter.

  1. Make sure I have hat’s gloves and boots.
  2. Dig the snow shovel out and inspect it, so I know it will work.
  3. Buy a few bags of salt for my sidewalk and path to my car.
  4. Put a bag of salt in the trunk of car. I can always use it in an emergency. I can use it when it’s icy in any parking lot. I can use the unopened bag under a tire if I get stuck and it’s added weight to the car to help with traction.
  5. Keep an extra pair of gloves, hat, a pair of socks, jacket, a blanket, bottled water and a few snacks in the car in case I get stranded.
  6. I never let my car get below a quarter tank of gas. I want to make sure I have gas to stay warm if I get stranded or if I get stuck in traffic.
  7. I put plastic on my windows of my home to keep the warmth in. It saves on my fuel bill too.
  8. Kerosene heater with 5 gallons of fuel. Just in case the electricity goes out. This will keep a couple rooms warm, it will prevent my pipes from freezing and it’s another way to cook food if there is no electricity.
  9. Stock up on canned goods, bread, snacks and water. If I’m not able to leave the house I want to make sure I have something to eat while I am waiting for the snow to stop falling.
  10. Get my car inspected and fix whatever problem there is. I have the oil changed, and get new wipers. I want my car to be extra safe in the winter. I am too old to be setting in a broken car waiting for a tow truck.
  11. I keep lip balm and lotion in my purse. The winter does a number on this old menopausal skin.
  12. I get an extra box of tissues and stock up on cold/sinus medication. It never fails, I always get the flu, a bad cold or have a sinus infection this time of year.
  13. I open my blinds during the day to let the sun help heat my home. It saves on fuel and can brighten you mood too.
  14. Last:  I pray that this winter is mild and I don’t have to use any of the above items.

I hope this winter passes without incident for all of you.

What do you do to be prepared for the yucky winter months?


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Holiday Tips & Reminders

snow

It’s that time of  year. The holiday season has begun. Time to start prepping for visitors, big dinners, and lots of shopping.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the holidays.

VISITORS: If you are making your rounds and making impromptu visits, keep in mind people may not be prepared. No judging their homes or actions.

If the home is dirty or they don’t have anything to offer you (drinks/food), don’t be mad. You are surprising them.  Remember why you are visiting. You are there to check in with them, have conversations and see if there is anything you can do to help. These are people you love and adore, please do not judge. Be kind and offer your help.

If you would like to, you can always bring a small gift when you go visit. The gift could be your help around their house, such as helping with decorations or cleaning. You could also gift them with coupons to help with cost of the upcoming events. A nice small centerpiece is always good. Bring your own snacks and drinks.

Bringing a small token is a great gesture of kindness and love.

When you have folks come to your home to visit, I recommend on Thursday or Friday night before the weekend or the day or 2 before the holiday, go through your home and do some light housekeeping.  

Make sure the bathroom is clean, dishes are done and you living room is picked up. Maybe go to the grocery store and get some snacks and extra drinks. This way you are prepared for any visitors.

Visiting is a great way to reconnect with loved ones and everyone feels good when you are able to connect.

DINNERS:  If you are hosting the dinner, make sure you have everything you need. Making that last minute grocery store run can be awful or the store may be closed and you are out of luck.

Ask for help. No need to do this by yourself. There are others that would be grateful to assist you.

Relax: Don’t pressure yourself to make everything perfect. If something doesn’t work out the way you planned, it’s ok. Remind yourself why you are hosting. It’s not for the glory of compliments (even though compliments are wonderful) but for making memories with the people you hold dear. Trust me, your guests don’t care that things are perfect, they are happy to be surrounded by folks they love too.

If you are going to someone’s house for dinner, remember your etiquettes. Be polite (please & thank you), offer your assistance, clean up your mess and play nice with others.

If you are helping with the dinner by bringing a dish (pot luck style) please bring what was asked of you or what you committed to bring. Your friends/family are relying on you to do your part.

If you are not bringing a dish you might want to bring a small gift for the host or for the home. If you are like me and can’t afford a gift, make sure you help with the cleanup. Your host will be so thankful for the help.

Send a nice “Thank You” card after the dinner. It shows your appreciation and the love you have for that family.

SHOPPING: Just a few helpful tips.

Fill up the car with gas before you leave. You don’t want to interrupt the shopping spree by getting gas. Travel with your car lights on. Even during the day. 

Have a list of people you need gifts for or a list of gift items needed. It helps keep you on your budget and reminds you who/what you are needing to purchase.

Keep your money secure. Keep your purse in your hand at all times. Wear a cross-body purse (less likely to be set down or stolen). Carry you debit/credit cards in your front pocket of your pants.

Charge your cell phone or have a car charger. You don’t want to be out shopping and not have any service to retrieve those online coupons.

Carry a small amount of actual cash. Some of those small business do not accept credit cards. It’s also nice to leave your lunch tip in cash for the wait staff.

Set a budget for how much you are spending on your spree.

I hope you have a safe, happy and stress free holidays.


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6 Categories for Shopping Online: Gifts

shopping online

I have been asked to do a blog on shopping sites that I like to use. I enjoy shopping online because it’s easy and I don’t have to leave my house.

I like to send ‘little’ things to my cousins and family to let them know that I am thinking of them and that I love them. Since the holidays are coming up, I figured this would be a good time to share.

I have to admit that some of these sites I have not used yet, but I sure will in the future.

This would be a great blog to favorite or bookmark so you can come back to it if you need some help.

I have broken the categories down to help you.  Well, to be honest to help me.

Yummy Treats:   

http://www.thepopcornfactory.com/    Good for small gifts. They offer a $5 box of popcorn that you can send anywhere. Also great ideas for college kids, care packages, holidays or just for yourself.

http://www.cheryls.com/    Cheryl’s is known for her cookies. You can order 1 cookie that ships in a decorative box and when it arrives they also give a $5 coupon for that person’s next order. Cheryl’s has some great cookies, brownies and small cakes to offer. You can make your own gift basket or buy one they have created for you.

http://www.mariescandies.com/   Marie’s is famous for their chocolates, it is a local small business, owned by the same family since 1956.  I think they have the best chocolates around. All made in house by hand. They will ship anywhere and you will always get the best.

https://nuts.com/    OMGoodness, this site has more than nuts. They offer chocolates, healthy snacks, coffee, tea and more. If you are planning a party, I recommend this site. If you want to gives these as a gift, you will not go wrong.

http://www.hickoryfarms.com/    Here’s a trusty go to. Not sure what to get someone, then this is the site. They offer cheeses, sausages, fruits, jellies and more.

Personalize:    

http://www.personalizationmall.com/     This is one of my personal favorite sites to use. I generally get Christmas gifts here. Lots of ornaments that you can personize. Great site for weddings, showers and graduation gifts. They usually have some great sales too.

https://www.shutterfly.com/    My ultimate favorite site to use. I have made calendars, photo books, cards, mugs, magnets and so much more. You can load your own photos and make a gift out of it. Very personal and not that expensive. Plus if you are new they offer 50 to 101 free 4×6 prints. I say they also have the best quality.

http://www.snapfish.com/photo-gift/home?baseUrl=true     Another photo site that you can load your own photos and make into gifts. This site is a little cheaper and the quality is good but not the best.

http://www.personalcreations.com/      Another great option for wedding, graduation, and anniversary gifts. Every item the sell can be personalized in some way.

Crafts:   Do it yourself gifts

http://www.hobbylobby.com/     Most of us know about this store but they have a website too. You even get a coupon with your purchase, up to 40% off an item. It’s a great site for a crafter or sewer.

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/     One of my cousins told me about this site. When I took a look I was surprised that it offered more than craft products.  I was impressed with this site. Lots of great ideas.

http://factorydirectcraft.com/index.php    This site offers every supply you would need for a project. If you are a painter, quilter, crafter or just like to do a fun project….this is your go-to site. Very inexpensive and pretty quick shipping too.

DEALS: 

https://www.livingsocial.com/     A wonderful site to get discounts on almost anything in your area. You can search for restaurants, events, and fitness, for the family, services and more. Discounts are generally 20%-40% off.

https://www.groupon.com/       Discounts for automotive, shopping, things to do, weekend get-a-ways and so much more.

https://www.mypoints.com/       Now this site works a little differently. You earn points for things you purchase. The points earned can go toward gift cards. Mypoints offers discounts on your purchase so you are saving twice. I have been using this site for almost 8 years and I am always able to save and earn enough points to earn at least one $50 gift card. This year I was able to earn three $50 gift cards.

Geek/Nerd/Tech: 

http://www.thinkgeek.com/    My kid is the geek/nerd in the family. I use this site to get T-shirts and fun things for him. They offer all kinds of fun gadgets/toys and clothing.

http://www.newegg.com/      This site is nothing but electronics. If you are looking for a new computer they have it. Need a part or accessory for the computer….look no further, it’s all here.

http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?cat=388       If you are looking for that unique gift for your favorite computer geek, look no further. This site has everything. Computer cases/bags, gadgets, computer equipment, gaming accessories and so much more.

https://www.touchofmodern.com/     This site is catered to the modern man. They offer clothing, watches, gadgets, furniture and a ton more. It’s a very cool site and you can find a great deal too.  The items they offer are for a limited time.

Miscellaneous:   

http://www.1800flowers.com/    Flowers are always a great gift. They offer seasonal gifts and great for any occasion.

http://fineartamerica.com/       This is my shameless plug. I sell my photos on this site. Check it out:  http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/shelly+dixon/all   You can also purchase from other artists. This site you can get bags, prints, pillows, phone cases, shower curtains and much more. It’s a fun site to shop.

http://www.zulily.com/    I have not used this site personally but others have told me that this is a wonderful place to get outfits for the kids or for yourself and lots of accessories.

http://www.ltdcommodities.com/homeltd     Now this site has almost everything. If you are looking for trinkets or something unique, this is the place.  Lots of great ideas for any occasion.

Don’t forget to bookmark or favorite this blog for when you are looking for a great idea for a gift. I hope this blog has helped you get some ideas for gifts and has given you a variety of options to use. Have fun shopping and let me know what sites you liked.

 

 


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4 Weekend Ideas

We all get a little bored on weekends. Doing the same old stuff or not knowing what to do. I thought I would help you out. Here are some ideas you might enjoy.

board games Childhood Weekend:  Think about your childhood and plan some fun activities. This will be fun for the adults and the kids. It’s time to unplug and just relax having fun.

Have a game night. Invite your friends over. Have them bring one board or card game. You can make this a pot-luck meal too or order some pizzas. Have fun playing games.

Go to the park and play on the equipment. Bring your friends. Take pictures, Have a picnic.

Play in the yard. Get some yard games, invite friends or family over and play till it’s dark.

Go to the zoo, a water park, play miniature golf (Putt-Putt). Visit your local aquarium.  How about mid-night bowling, that’s always fun and entertaining for all.

Go to a county fair or festival. How about a flea market or a few garage sales. Go to a car/truck or bike show.

lazyLazy Weekend: Use this weekend to re-coop or have a mini-vacation at home. Treat yourself.

When you get off work on Friday, Go to the grocery store and pick up just the things you want/need for the weekend. Then go to your favorite restaurant and order 3 meals for take-out. One for Friday night, the second one for Saturday and the third for Sunday.

If you want turn your phone off and set in front of the TV, watch movies or get caught up on your shows. Just relax. No cooking, no clean-up…just you and the things you enjoy.

Another option for a lazy weekend is to do little as possible. If you have to get something done, do it first thing in the morning. This way you have the rest of the day to relax.

If you don’t want to be alone, invite a friend to share in your laziness. No fuss, no muss. RELAX!!!

I really don’t think I need to tell you how to be lazy. I think we all have that one under control.

The point here is to really be selfish and do something or nothing just for you. Take a break and relax. Make an appointment with yourself.

paintProject Weekend: Mark your calendar and plan for that project you have been putting off because every weekend is a party or social event. Make the time to get some things done.

Organize your electronics: sort those selfies and photos so they are easier for you to find. Get those photos off your phone and load them to your computer so you can easily print them off or use one of those print sites like, Shutterfly or Snapfish.

Organize your electronic documents. I don’t like doing this one either but it needs to be done.

Have you been putting off redecorating that room? This is the time to get that project done.

Why not make a project to visit family for the weekend. I’m sure they would love to see you and you will enjoy the time as well.

Haven’t given the apartment or house a good cleaning, this is the time.

Fix the broken drawer in the kitchen. Fix the screen door. Try and fix what you can to save money.

Take those charity boxes to your local facility.

You get the idea. If you have been putting off ANY project, big or small, here’s your opportunity.

Make a list and get it done.

place settingNew Adventure Weekend:  I’m not talking about sky-diving or anything like that. Let’s do something we’ve always wanted to do but never have.

Have you ever wanted to pet a cow or a goat? Go to a petting zoo and pet as many animals as you want.

Never been bowling? Here’s your chance.

Have you ever thrown a dinner party? Why not now and use your friends as guinea pigs with a new recipe.

Go someplace you have never been. For instance a festival or an antique shop. Go hiking for the first time.  Go to a car show.

Visit a museum you have not been to. Go to a historical spot in your state. Be a tourist in your home town.

This is your time to do something that you have never done. Go small and simple this way you are not over whelmed.

Let me know how you plan on spending your weekend.


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My Top 20 Movie Choices

Here’s a list of some of my favorite movies. I don’t do horror flicks. I just don’t like them too yucky for me. I hope you enjoy the list and maybe give you few new movies to watch.

movies

Romantic Comedy:

5 Flights Up: Diane Keaton & Morgan Freeman   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2933544/

Under the Tuscan Sun:  Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328589/

The Other Woman:  Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2203939/

 

Real-Life Drama:  my favorite category

The Railway Man:  Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2058107/

Devil’s Knot:  Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2170593/

23 Blast:  Mark Hapka, Bram Hoover, Stephen Lang    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2304459/

Fury:  Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2713180/

The Good LieReese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2652092/

 

Movies that made me cry:

Second Hand Lions: Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Haley Joel Osment    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327137/

Big Hero 6:  Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2245084/

 

Movies that made me think:

Sunset Limited: Tommy Lee Jones & Samuel L Jackson   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1510938/

 

Pixar Favorites:

Up:  Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/

Wall-E:  Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/

Finding Nemo:  Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0266543/

 

Misc. movies I have enjoyed:

Pitch Perfect: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1981677/

The Homesman:  Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2398231/

St. Vincent:  Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2170593/

 

Clint Eastwood Movies:

American Sniper:  Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2179136/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Trouble with the CurveClint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2083383/

Jersey Boys:  John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1742044/

 

Tell me your favorite movies.


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Planning A Reunion In 9 Steps—Promotion included

family reunionIt’s that time of the year where some of us will be going to family reunions. Better yet some of us are planning the reunions.

I love our family reunions. I like reconnecting with my family which are my friends too. I like catching up with everyone, playing games, looking at pictures, hanging out and I love all the food.

If you are planning a reunion this year I have a few helpful tips.

First: Ask for help, you can’t do this by yourself. In our family we have a group of cousins that pitch in and help. There are 5 of us that generally do all the planning, date setting, organizing, set up and clean up.

Second: Pick the date/time. You need to pick your date and time at least 2 months in advance. We do ours about 6 months ahead. Because we have so many that come out of state and we need to be sure this is the final date for them to have time to arrange their schedules.

Third: Pick venue. Decide where you are going to have the reunion. It could be someone’s home, a city park, the country club. Make sure you have your reservations in place.

Fourth: Food options. Have a chat with your committee to see what options they are wanting. You could have it catered, you can assign what foods to bring by what family, and you can do a pot luck style, or the committee provided the main dishes (meats) and everyone bring a side.

Fifth: Make a list. You and you team of helpers need to make a list of everything you will need for the day of the reunion. Such as, plates, cups, silverware, ice, coolers, trash bags, table clothes, extension cords.

Once the list is made then divvy out who’s getting what. This helps relieve the pressure for one person to get everything. You can also ask other family members besides your team to help purchase a few items if needed.

You could also do a day shopping spree with your helpers. This way you have everything at one time and no need to any more shopping.

Sixth: Send out invitations. I recommend social media as your first invites. Do this about 2 months ahead as a reminder. Then mail or send e-mail or social media reminders a month in advance.

Corn HoleSeventh: Entertainment. Plan for some games. This can be yard games, board/card games. You can have a craft table for the little ones.

If you want you can have a DJ come in and play music or a band.

Eighth: Set-up/clean-up. Here’s where your committee comes in handy. Make sure you have everything you need and have your team meet you at the venue at least 1-2 hours in advance. You will need this time to put table sloths on, make sure bathrooms are clean, setting up food stations, drink stations, games, the band or DJ.

The clean-up is just as important. You want to make sure the venue is just like you found it, if not better. Make sure you help take out the trash, sweep up you mess, wipe off tables and chairs. This will also help your family remember everything they brought. No need for a lost and found each year.

Ninth: Remember what worked and didn’t work. After you get home rest a day and think about the things you want to do different the next time. Call your helpers and see what they have to say too. Make a list of what worked and what didn’t so you can be sure to make your reunion better the following year.

If you would like more information on planning a family reunion, please go to the top of the page and click on the “BOOKS” tab. I have written a short book on family reunions. It is a step by step guide with lots of helpful tips. Only $3.99 and you can have it the same day to help you get started.

I will give away (for free) my book to the first 3 people that e-mail me at motherofnecessity1@gmail.com  In the e-mail please provide your name and e-mail address you want your book delivered to. Promo ends on July 3rd.

I hope these tips and book help you and your family have the best reunion.

Please let me know what worked for you or what didn’t work.

Do you have any helpful tips for a family reunion?