Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zeta


From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

Ziploc. Saved the best for last? Eh. Z isn't the most friendly letter to work with! But I do love Ziploc bags, maybe more than Swiffer! We use them for tons of storage, but here are some additional uses for Ziplocs:
  • Travel - I always put any bottled liquids or powders in ziplocs, had too many spill in the suitcase! Gallon size
  • Buy big and make your own snack size, saves lots of money
  • Leftovers - especially meat. I hate throwing food away, but meat is not usually served within the alotted time, so I end up throwing most of it away anyway. When I ziploc it right away, throwing it out is easier and cuts down on bugs
  • Crumbling - need graham cracker crumbs? frozen chocolate chipped down? etc? Put it in a ziploc and hammer away!
  • Money - especially for kids to bring to school for book fair or what have you, better than an envelope
  • Have to ship something fragile? Blow up a ziploc bag or two and put them in the box with it!
Z Special! - Puzzles! You must go visit Clarissa Draper and have your brain teazed! It's zany fun! And your thinking muscle needs exercize too!

Editing Tips
brought to you by Curiosity Quills

Zero, Zilch, Zippo.
I have no more to teach you, young padawans. Just go write!

Well, we made it through the challenge! Hope you enjoyed all the tips. And I hope you come back for the Reflections Post where I will share the stats from the over 800 blogs I visited during the challenge. PS - I kept track of my visitors and will be catching up with you in May! Thanks so much!

Find more A to Z posts here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Psi (for Y)

From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

You! We are supposed to put ourselves last - and usually we moms do. But we also deserve time for us. Don't you forget about you! To spotlight you all, here are a couple of Lazy Housewife questions I asked friends that you can answer in the comments:

  • What is your most hated cleaning job?
    • bathrooms/toilets got the most votes
    • mopping
    • dusting
    • windows
    • laundry
    • garbage
  • Do you live close to relatives? 57% said no. How about you?
  • Yummy Recipes from You! 
    • When I celebrated my first year of blogging, I had a party and everyone brought a dish (shared a recipe). Here is the post if you'd like to see what the winners brought
    • I met a couple of new foodie friends with awesome recipes during the challenge:
Y Stress Reliever - Yoga, of course. I've tried this PIYO class recently that combines Pilates and Yoga and it's fabulous! Totally kicking my butt!

Editing Tips
brought to you by Curiosity Quills

Yes, I only have commonly confused "Y" words for you:
yin and yang (not ying and yang)
you're (contraction of you and are) / your (possessive)

Find more A to Z posts here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chi

From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

Xercise! So sue me, not many things start with X. And Xercise is important! I know I've mentioned xercise before, but it bears repeating! So here are some MORE TIPS, gathered from Prevention and SELF magazines and then some!
  • To motivate us to keep at exercising, Prevention recommends...
    • Start with "show-off" muscles like biceps which show results in as little as 2 weeks!
    • exercise in front of a mirror to see your muscles at work, flex it baby!
    • music - lifting to the beat is inspiring
    • challenge or even dare yourself to beat your last number of reps or to add weights
    • bring a friend - letting someone else down is harder than just letting yourself down
    • multitask - two moves are better than one and you get done with your workout quicker
  • SELF says...
    • do less cardio! their study said 30 min/day and 60 min/day lost about the same amount of fat in one week
    • try a new class, like 2Fly - a combination of aerobics and strength to a retro 90s beat
    • mind power - when doing an activity, think positive thoughts and you will be less likely to fail or fall. if you think you'll nose dive, you probably will!
    • workout in the AM
      • you feel fresher in the morning and by afternoon, you may use the too tired excuse
      • treats aren't as tempting, since you worked out, you may not want to waste it on that donut
      • mood high! you'll be happier all day
      • exercise gets brain juices flowing too, so you will be more productive
      • you will sleep better
      • and to motivate you: set a loud alarm & lay out your workout clothes the night before
  • Now the Lazy Housewife advice - Xercise while you...
    • pick up groceries - bicep curl those cans and 5 pound sugar sack and powerades... heck, we have to lift them about five times each (think about it)
    • walk upstairs - squeeze those glutes!
    • do the dishes, vacuum, & make dinner - ab crunches
    • talk on the phone - leg lifts, or any xercise of choice!
X Xtra: I have to mention another Xtra special blogger - Lady Jai is doing some awesome posts with Post It Notes. Great bits of advice in little reminder size! Check her out!

Editing Tips
brought to you by Curiosity Quills

Xtra spaces - go "find" all your double spaces - you will be surprised how many you have. And gone are the days of double spacing after a sentence - all single spacing, all the time. And check the beginning sand ends of paragraphs for an extra space which sometimes tag along when editing... little invisible buggers!

Find more A to Z posts here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Omega (for W)

No, it isn't the end. But W is another pesky letter we have that the Greek alphabet doesn't. Woot! It's W day! We're almost done!

From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

Walking. Simple, yet effective. And a great way to multitask. Walking, requires little brain power, you just try not to walk into things like oncoming traffic, and don't trip. And watch out for that goose poop! Yuck! But here are a few of the many advantages and some TIPS for walking:

  • Exercise - the most obvious. Get up offa that thing! (courtesy James Brown)
  • Reduces Stress - gives you time to think and sort things out... or not think
  • Energizes - you just feel better after a good walk, ready to take on the next big thing, or be the next big thing!
  • Fresh air - being outside on a nice day just puts a smile on my face
  • Listen - to a book, music, or nature
  • Take the dog - if you have one, they need exercise too, and they are great walking partners.
  • Take a friend - the walk goes by so fast when you're gabbing with a friend
  • Treadmill - if you can't go outside, a treadmill has the same benefits, except the outside stuff. but on a treadmill, you can read or blog or catch up on a show
Extra W news: Weekly Support!


  • Celebrate the Small Things! Every Friday, my friend Vikki hosts a hop for us to support each other in our weekly accomplishments
  • Express Yourself! Danielle and Jackie get your week going by giving you a Monday topic to blog about


BTW, from yesterday, Velcro was invented in 1948 by a Swiss engineer (George de Mestralwho got the idea from burrs sticking to his dog!

Editing Tips
brought to you by Curiosity Quills

was - weak! telling. need ACTION! can have some, but replace most.

commonly confused "W" words:
wander (to roam aimlessly) / wonder (to have curiosity or doubt)
wrack (n, wreckage, ruin) / rack (v, to strain, torture, or torment)
wreak (to vent, bring about, or inflict upon a person) / reek (to give off fumes or unpleasant odor)
woke awoke (use awoke unless using woke up)

Find more A to Z posts here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

5 (for V)

Ah, no V in Greek alphabet. Oh well! We are getting near the end, and almost out of letters! V is Five in Roman and Arabic. Novody's pervect!

From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

Veggies & Fruits! Again, I ask, Why can't veggies taste wonderful? Especially to kids! No one has to say, "Finish your dessert or you don't get your veggies!" This is one area I wish we could all go back to the basics about. We eat so much processed food with so many enhancers, chemical additives, perservatives, etc. It's terrible! We really need to go back to home grown. I honestly can't say I really like or crave any vegetables, I wish I did - I force myself to eat them. They are tolerable as we get older because we MUST eat them! That's why we need to get our kids used to eating them and liking them when they are young. Well, here are my TIPS for making Veggies easier to swallow:
    • Veggies don't count - On any weight loss program, I never count fruits and vegetables as negatives, encouraging myself to eat them when I'm hungry instead of trying to squeeze in bad calories (not to mention their nutrition info isn't on the package!)
    • Snack Size - when fresh fruits & veggies are in convenient, snack size portions, all you have to do is grab one and go. While many fruits come this way, the healthiest ones don't. When I first dig into my grapes or celery or cantalope, etc, I cut the whole thing and split them up, sealing the servings in ziplocs. Handy, healthy snacks! And great for lunches too!
    • Taste the Rainbow - no, not Skittles. Not all fruits & veggies are created equally - and you can't judge them by their covers. (I think I need a few more cliches here) The more colorful the "meat" of fruits and veggies is, the more nutrients they have (and by meat, I mean the part you eat)
    • Berry Best - berries are one of the best sources of nutrition. But they are hard to maintain. My skinny, veggie loving mother-in-law has great advice for healthy eating and she recommends not washing fruits and veggies until you are about to eat them to keep them fresher longer. And in my experience, this is the order to eat berries before they turn: Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries
    • Bagged Veggies - bagged salads and precut veggies are awesome time-savers and stay fresh for just as long as their whole counterparts
    • Take a Dip! - I love the individual cups of ranch and peanut butter for putting in lunches - perfect with celery, carrots, apples, etc.
    Extra V TIPVodka, et al - one drink a day keeps high cholesterol away...

    Other V stuff:

    Do you know when Velcro was invented? (Will reveal tomorrow)

    I'd love to know where you like to Vacation. We need some ideas. If you'd like, give a response to the poll in the margin. Or give us recommendations in the comments.

    And if you ever decide to Vacation abroad, my friend Rhonda and her family visited the whole world in a year! Her A to Z theme is travel tips! You'd be surprised at some of the ways things work in other countries (or don't work!) Funny stuff! Check her out!

    Editing Tips
    brought to you by Curiosity Quills

    commonly confused "V" words:
    vice (bad habit or sin) / vise (a clamping device or motion)
    vicious (evil, spiteful, malicious) / viscous (thick, non-flowing)

    Find more A to Z posts here.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    Upsilon

    U Extra! I wanted to note these Ultimate Bloggers for their Ultra Encouraging Attitudes!
    DL Hammons with his Blog Blitz
    Alex J Cavanaugh with the Insecure Writers Support Group and constant support of others
    Keith Wynn is the Optimistic Existentialist - newer to me with thoughtful, relative words bringing us together
    Betsy Brock, the newest to me, showing how to power through the darkness and see the bright side!

    I made a special award for them that they can pass on if they choose. Feel free to take it and award it to bloggers who are Ultra something to you!

    From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

    Useless v Useful. Seems like a no brainer. Do away with useless and keep the useful. Unfortunately, if I got rid of all things that seem useless, I would be sad. So I guess some of them have a use after all... making me happy to have them! Here are things I find truly Useless:
    1. Dust & Lint
    2. Telemarketing (does anyone actually buy anything from them?)
    3. Mosquitoes
    4. Pot Holes
    5. Tangles
    6. Negative Attitudes
    7. Worrying
    8. Nagging
    9. Moping
    10. Loafing (the definition of useless)
    And here are the Superpowers, the Useful, for vanquishing the Useless!
    1. Vacuum Cleaners
    2. Caller ID
    3. Citronella
    4. Stimulus Package (ha ha)
    5. Conditioner
    6. Kick in the Pants
    7. Talking to someone
    8. Asking nicely
    9. Finding something to smile about
    10. Doing
    What do you find Useless?

    Editing Tips
    brought to you by Curiosity Quills

    all I have for U is a few compound words:
    uh-huh or uh huh       undersized      
    upper crust (n)       upper-crust (adj)

    Find more A to Z posts here.

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    Tau

    T Extra! Here are Three Talented Artists I found! Joanie, Kate, and Saul. You really need to see their different styles! And one has a contest to win a poster! Go see to find out who =)

    From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

    Tweet! I finally tumbled into Twitter. @Taratylertalks, of course. But as a Twitter Toddler, I need TIPS from YOU! I still feel like I'm at TJ Max, sifting through tons of clothes, looking for that one awesome top! So here are my questions for you Twits (affectionately titled)!

    1. What is the point of Twitter? The exchange of information, yeah, I know that much. But when I think of something to say, I debate whether to say it on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook seems more informal and Twitter seems more businesslike and advertisey (I like to put y's or ish on things to create my own adjectives, it's fun!)
    2. I finally figured out that RT = retweet, right? (don't laugh!)
    3. I am getting a bunch of new followers I don't know - how does that happen? Does my name get put on a "new twitter list?" Am I being suggested to other writers or something? And do I have to follow back?
    4. Speaking of following, how do I keep track of all the tweets? As I said, there are so many that are just advertisements - here's my book, here's my blog post. Where's the BEEF? Not really sure what I'm looking for and don't have time to sift through it all.
    5. What is protocol for responding to a tweet? star it as a favorite to "like" it?
    6. And I am really confused by the whole hashtag thing. Are those just ongoing conversations on specific topics? How do you join those? (or get out of them?) and which ones would you recommend? WTH is #FF??
    7. But I do have the lowdown on abbreviations - here is a list from A to Z 2011, Nyms (can't believe that was two years ago! IKR!?)
    8. Oh yeah - follow me if you like! I added social links in the margin for the occasion =) 
    More T TIPSTexting
    • don't be rude! the text can wait! talk to the person in front of you!
    • don't text and drive, duh! (or tweet or read comments. I admit I'm guilty at stop lights. I hope they install the device that turns off reception in cars when it's in Drive! Remove the temptation!)
    • don't be like teens! SET THE EXAMPLE! Show them you care about the world around you and you can limit your screen time! Limit thyself!
    Editing Tips
    brought to you by Curiosity Quills

    that - it's distracting from your beautiful writing, that! over there! find and remove as many as you can. If sentence makes sense without it, delete it!
    timelines - use them to keep your story straight, even if you're a pantster. What time is it? (gotcha!)

    commonly confused "T" words:
    than (used to compare things) / then (sequences)
    that (refers to things) / who (refers to persons)
    there their / they're (you better know these by now and use them properly!)
    tic (involuntary muscle spasm) / tick (a light noise, a mark to check off items, a blood sucking insect)
    towards (depends on the editor)

    Find more A to Z posts here.

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Sigma

    S Extra! I met a Super Woman in my a to z travels. Becky Due has done a fabulous job with the challenge. I was drawn in by her B-Word post and so many of her other posts are encouraging and empowering as well. And she's on her fifth publication! Check her out!

    From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

    Showercize! I've mentioned this before and I'm finally getting around to elaborating on it. There are many tasks we do each day that require very little brain power. Showering is one of them. And many of us complain we do not have time to exercise. So I thought I would maximize my time by exercising in the shower - Showercize!* (*Copyrighted, because I said so!) And I've been doing it for over five years. 15 min/day!

    But first, before I explain, for anyone interested in trying Showercize, I am issuing a...

    DISCLAIMER! Always check with your doctor before taking on a new exercise program. And anyone who tries this in the privacy of their own shower better have a nonslip mat or stickers and a safety bar or something to grab onto. The Lazy Housewife is not responsible for any injuries sustained while doing Showercize.

    That was fun. Also note, these are not aerobic, no jumping around! And I don't count unless specified. Now here are my moves (naming them was half the fun! you can just read to have a laugh! I know it sounds crazy, I crack myself up, too):
    trunk twist stretch
    • Inner Thigh Lifts - I have heard many aerobic instructors say that lifting your legs also works on your stomach muscles - yeah for multitasking moves! So when I wash my face and hair, I alternate lifting my legs with bent knee and thigh facing up.
    • Trunk Twists - so hair is rinsed. When my back started hurting, I realized I needed to stretch it and exercise it more (I also got a back support pillow for my writing chair) There is an awesome back stretch where place your leg over your other leg and twist away from it (see pic) so I added it as an exercise. While adding conditioner and soaping up my washcloth, I lift and turn my right knee to the left and twist my upper body to the right, alternating sides. (I leave conditioner in through the body washing)
    • Lunges - I recently added this move as varicose veins creep up my legs because I read doing lunges helps prevent/lessen them. During the body wash, I put my foot up on our built-in bench and lunge as possible. I know, if you have a stall shower, you're out of luck... But that's okay. I don't get many in and it's awkward, but I'm dedicated!
    • Tricep Lifts - time to rinse the washcloth. Holding it spread out on both hands behind my back (under the water), I lift up, keeping elbows straight, about 20-25 times (I count these) then...
    • Chest Press - Anyone remember "We must, we must, we must build up the bust!" ? Hook hands together at chest level and push, and squeeze washcloth at same time, only about 10 AND
    • Chin Stretch - whenever I think of it, I work this muscle to curb that double chin that has been peeking out! Stick out your chin and lift and lower your jaw or just hold for 30 sec or do a combination AND
    • Butt Crunch - gotta keep those legs moving, too. During the previous upper body steps, I alternate lifting each heel from the knee up to ninety degrees
    • Stomach Suck-Ins! - Last one! This was the first move I incorporated, the biggest trouble spot! During the conditioner rinse out, I suck in that gut and release. I get in 50-75 reps, changing it up by holding in longer sometimes or shorter if I'm in a hurry.
    • But that's not all! After the shower, I do a few exercises while putting lotion on my legs, I alternate from time to time between these two moves:
      • Baby Kicks - laying on back, leaning up, alternate kicking legs in and out
      • Frog Legs - same pose, but kick both legs in and out at same time
    Other S TIPSShowers & Sinks - probably in the top ten of least liked cleaning jobs. I keep Tilex Mildew & Mold cleaner, a scrubber brush, and a big plastic cup in my shower. See some gross buildup? Clean it while you're in there! And for sinks, I try to keep the surface areas clear, then I can easily wipe up in between cleanings, which lets me put off those cleaning longer!

    Editing Tips
    brought to you by Curiosity Quills

    SHOW! - you've heard it before, hope you're applying it by using action verbs and dialog and rich descriptions! Don't tell what they feel, what is their reaction? what are they doing about it?
    Semi-colons - use to separate two related, complete sentences; use sparingly
    Slashes - informal, okay to use at your discretion, again, sparingly/not all the time
    Sounds - for sounds we make with our mouths, use 2 letters after the initial letter, Ahh. See? Mmm. And for onomatopoeias (sound effect words), use italics. Whip it! Whoo-Pah!

    commonly confused "S" words:
    sheath (n) / sheathe (v)
    shudder (v) / shutter (n)
    snug (adj, a tight fit) / snugly (adv, fits tightly) / snuggly (adj, cuddly)
    stationary (unmoving) / stationery (writing paper)
    staunch (firm, steadfast, faithful) / stanch (to stop the flow of blood)

    Find more A to Z posts here.

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Rho

    R extra! I recently met Rhonda Parrish through this challenge. She is the publisher of Niteblade magazine, and she is gathering speculative fiction pieces about cancer to publish an anthology to Raise money for the cause. I submitted a poem. Check her out!

    From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

    Remember. One of the worst things to lose is my memory. That's why I use my lists. But I struggle with remembering the things I would like to improve about myself. Here are a few things I am working on, that I wish I could remember before I do them...


    • Let others finish their sentences. (I'm the interrupting cow! Knock, knock! Who's th...Moo!)
    • Slow down. I'm always in a rush - probably because I cut things too close and things come up I don't plan for that make me run late
    • Patience is something I don't have time for... see above
    • Stop correcting people, especially spouse, especially in front of others
    • Don't procrastinate
    • Be more positive
    TIPS:
         Remember to make time for you
         Remember to think about and plan for your future!
         Remember to appreciate what you have

    Bonus R - Read more! Research says Relating to a fictional character creates a satisfying sense of belonging. Writers are therapeutic!!

    Editing Tips
    brought to you by Curiosity Quills

    Redundancies and Repetition - Many action verbs don't need defining, most common - shrugged his shoulders, nodded his head, etc. And did I really need to say repetition? Did I?
    Regions - use lowercase to designate direction, like north. Use capitals when referring to a region, country, etc, like the South.

    commonly confused "R" words:
    rein (to gather in or control) / reign (to rule over)
    rigid (stiff, hard, strict) / turgid (swollen, distended)
    rogue (scamp, scoundrel) / rouge (blusher)

    And lastly, here's a drabble I wrote a while back about Remembering (or forgetting...)

    Losing It.

    I came in here for something.

    I see my book. I sit down and read. The burly soldier is about to have his way with the buxom maid. Words are blurry.

    I need my glasses. I think they’re in the kitchen.

    I look in my purse and find a receipt. I have to return a blouse. I go upstairs to get it.

    My cat is on my bed. I pet him. He’s shedding. I go back downstairs to get his brush. The doorbell rings.

    It’s a delivery man. “Ma’am you still need to sign this.”

    “Wait a minute. I’ll go find a pen.”

    Find more A to Z posts here.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    Xi (for Q)

    From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...


    Quotes. I've seen several blogs with famous quotes for their themes. I love reading them! Well, I have some quotes from friends, some they said themselves and some they recommended. All are great words to live by...

    "Necessity may be the Mother of invention, but Laziness is the Father." - Tara Tyler, LHW

    "Don't learn it." - Barb
    Because if you learn how to do something your spouse does, you will be expected to do it all the time!

    "Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet." - Beth

    "Eat like Adam and Eve." - Leslie

    "Happy wife, happy life!" - Stacee

    "Don't sweat the small stuff" and "Pick and choose your battles." - Caroline

    "I am too blessed to be stressed" and "If God brings me to it, He will bring me through it." - Jaime

    "There's a reason why God made children so cute!" - Sarabeth

    "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." - Lisa

    "Make it fit." - Mom (one of my favorites, especially with the dishwasher!)

    "Don't do anything half-assed." - Dad

    Would love to hear one of your favorite quotes!

    Editing Tips
    brought to you by Curiosity Quills

    Quotation Marks - Only use single quotes for quotes within quotes
      commonly confused "Q" words:
      quiver (v. to shake or vibrate) / quaver (v. give off unsteady sounds, n. a tremulous sound)

      Thursday, April 18, 2013

      Pi

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

      Pets! This might be my favorite letter of the month. Pets are so wonderful. Some people don't like or want pets and see them as too much responsibility or just a general nuisance. But if you've never had one, you really don't know what you're missing! Here is what a pet can do for you:

      ** Find a pet to suit your needs - most of these traits come from dogs, but there are various other animals that provide close to the same benefits. There is surely a pet out there for you.
      ** Unconditional love - no matter what happens, they won't fault you for it and they will always forgive you and be there for you
      ** Attention - they give it to you, undivided, whenever you want and they're always happy to see you
      ** Warmth - most furry pets like to cuddle and it's a great feeling on a cold night
      ** Smiles and laughs - animals will get into trouble and do silly things all the time, they don't mind doing the tricks because they live to make you happy! (and get treats) Just watch America's Funniest Home Videos!
      ** Extension of life - people with pets live longer than those without...
      ** Protection! - having a dog lowers your house insurance for theft prevention!
      ** Listening Ears - pets are a willing, captive audience and they don't talk back or give their opinion or make you feel bad. Usually by just listening, they can help you talk out your problem to find a solution!

      And 2 Bonus P TIPs
      • PMS management, taking care of your cycle: (guys can skip this section)
        • wk 1 - on it. need more sleep and less caffeine and screen
        • wk 2 - peak of least annoyance! tackle tough jobs on to do list. and enjoy the friskiness!
        • wk 3 - drink milk, more milk pre PMS can lessen symptoms during
        • wk 4 - PMS again, already? Avoid salt, drink water, your body is bloated enough this week
      •  Plants promote health! and not just by providing oxygen. Here are some Positive Plants (info from Prevention, 1/13)
        • Gerbera Daisy - my favorite! reduces levels of dry cleaning chemicals which can compromise immune system
        • 'Janet Craig' - lowers levels of a toxic chemical released from hot shower steam (called TCE)
        • English Ivy - removes formaldehyde, which is used in some dishwashing liquids and disinfectants AND some cabinets and tables!
        • Peace Lily - a powerful detoxifier
        • Boston Fern - also effective for removing formaldehyde and toxins present in some fabric softeners, carpet cleaners, and paint
        • Golden Pothos - removes ozone from auto emissions (not THE ozone)
      Apparently our modern conveniences and inventions are killing us - I need to bring more nature into my house!

      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      Passive - don't be. engage! entertain! punch! pounce! proliferate! ponder! Not is/was/were which are define passive.
      POV - no head hopping. Stay in one POV per scene and indicate a change in POV by extra spacing or asterisks or chapters. As the narrator, to keep a tighter POV, make sure you only reveal what the current POV knows and not what others think.
      Plurals and Possessives -

      • singular or plural not ending in s, add 's; 
      • singular ends in s, add 's (unless next word starts with s)
      • singular proper noun ends in s, only add '
      • plural ends in s, only add '

      commonly confused "P" words:
      passed (v. past tense of pass) / past (no longer current, over)
      peak (the pointed summit, the point of greatest value or intensity) / peek (look quickly) / pique (n. vexation or resentment; v. to provoke or arouse)
      penned (enclosed by a fence, or wrote) / pent (confined, repressed)
      populace (the general public) / populous (containing many people)
      principal (main or first; leader of a school) / principle (basic rule or doctrine)
      prone (lying face down) / supine (lying face up)

      Wednesday, April 17, 2013

      Omikron

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...


      Optimism. Time for another boost of Optimism! Being a lazy housewife/husband is hard and discouraging. We need Others to vent to and lift us up when we are down so we can carry on. Who else would do our job? Our families need us! TIPS for staying Optimistic:

      • Pause - with all the gaming, the term "pause" is used more frequently. I tell the kids at home and at school to pause what they are doing so I can tell them something and it gets their attention. But we need to pause too. When I get angry or irritated and start snapping at everyone, I have to take a break, do something that makes me happy - talk with a friend, play a game with my boys, take a walk. Reboot!
      • Don't Overdo! - everyone has a limit, even Wonder Woman was vulnerable sometimes. You have to gauge yourself and not take on too much - it stresses you out and you get cranky and yell and then the kids yell and then the hub yells, a very nasty cycle forms. Head it off before it starts. See the above tip. 
      • Exercise - have I said this before? I say it a lot because so many of us need to do it more, especially me. I'm hoping if I say it more, I might actually heed my own advice!
      • Sleep - Lack of sleep = lack of patience = not happy!
      • Others - don't be afraid to lean. We were not put here to be alone. Reach out - someone is bound to put that smile back on your face - and you will help them right back.
      And here are "Six Weird Things that Make You Happy" from Prevention (1/13):
      1. Tearjerker Movies - they make you remember why you love your loved ones
      2. Aging - what? I know, right? Apparently as we age our neurons react less to negative things, therefore we are more positive! (Another amazing thing God does for us)
      3. A Fake Smile - smiling, fake or real, eases stress and boosts your mood
      4. Thursdays - (that's tomorrow!) it's the upsweep to the weekend! we made it through the first three days and over the hump!
      5. Doing Less for Your Kids - I like this one. Mothers who worry too much about making their kids happy are usually more depressed. Lighten up. (I must be ecstatic!)
      6. Reading a Newspaper - get your hands dirty! Happier people read the real thing, according to a study.
      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      Only - only follows the word it modifies, as an adverb. when in doubt, put it after the verb, unless used as an adjective.
      of - a filler word, most can be removed.

      commonly misused "O" word:  okay (not ok!)

      O compound words
      off balance       off-duty       offtrack       old-fashioned
      once-over       online       out-of-body       over(anything) - no hyphen
      Find more A to Z posts here.

      Tuesday, April 16, 2013

      Nu

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

      No! The first word of most toddlers. Why? You know why, because we say it to them all the time. So here are some toddler TIPS - how to avoid saying "NO!" so much...
      • Paaaatieeence - have a mantra, happy place, focal point, whatever. Know that these kids are not trying to make you crazy. Take that deep breath (or 5) and give them a time out so you can deal with the horrible mess they made. I sometimes cry over spilt milk, but try not to in their presence. I tell myself, "It was an accident. It was an accident. But I just cleaned the floor! It was an accident." And when they go to bed, have a glass of wine and read your book or watch your show.
      • Lower your expectations - they're little. Their attention spans, bladders, retention skills, muscles, fuses, etc - are all small! This is the safest time of their life to assume innocence until proven (easily proven I might add) guilty. 
      • Raise expectations as they grow - You can tell what they can and can't handle. Make sure you give them the right amount of pushing out of the nest so they will fly. Trust your gut.
      • Remove temptation - I say again, little kids are like puppies, curious and persistent and destructive! If they want something, they will try their hardest to get it. 
      • Don't be afraid of messes - this is the time for making messes - and it's fun to watch. Need some time to make dinner? Stick little Suzi in her high chair with a bib and a mat on the floor and giver her some edible art - pudding, jello, whip cream, etc. Of course, she might need a bath - Hey, Daddy... Other messy things little ones love - bubbles, sandboxes, chalk, finger paints, water painting (for water painting, dip brush in water and paint on construction paper. Outside, my boys loved water painting rocks, sidewalks, bricks, wood, etc)
      • Terrible Twos AND Threes! potty training, ugh! Don't force, but again give little encouraging pushes. It's a delicate balance. ** More attitude, "Me do!" This is where "Pick your battles" originates ** Preschool Blues - Drop them off, let them cry, they will get over it (or you will get a call) and when you pick them up, they realize you didn't abandon them. It gets easier each time.
      • Pacifiers and Big Kid Beds - hard times. More crying. And crying. Mom crying too! But once it's over, it's so worth the result of them being able to get themselves to sleep - they need to be able to comfort themselves.
      • Door knob covers - one of my favorite kid proof gadgets. We also installed high locks on the doors going outside - I've seen too many wandering youngin's! They are smart!
      • Motivators - reward chart, earn stickers or points and when goal is reached, prize! And prizes can be as simple as playtime with you or a trip to the park, not always monetary.
      Bonus N TIP - Don't be afraid to say, "No!" to adults either. Know your limits and don't stretch yourself too thin.

      That should be the last of the kid/family posts, I know you might be getting tired of them... but when you get them, they consume your life!

      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      Nearly - weak. Either you do or you don't. Don't bother with nearly.
      Numbers - here's the drill
        • 0-100 spell out
        • >100 use the number unless it is followed by thousand, million, etc.
        • wattage: 60-watt bulb
        • spell out fractions and height and age, ex. six-foot-one
        • use numerals for addresses, dates, room numbers, measurements
        • write out decades and centuries
        • 9-1-1 is always 9-1-1
      commonly confused "N" words:

      nauseous (makes you sick) / nauseated (feel sick)
      nosy NOT nosey
      night vision (n) / night-vision (adj)
      Find more A to Z posts here.

      Monday, April 15, 2013

      Mu

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

      Moving. A part of life for most of us. When I was a kid I think I moved about ten times in the same city, then a cross country move and a few more moves after that. After college, I moved around a bunch too. Since I've been married, we moved every time I got pregnant (three times). This is the longest I've lived in one house - ten years!!! So I think I know a thing or two about how to move efficiently.

      Here are my Moving TIPS:
      • Showing the house - Can't stand it! Worst part of moving. Especially with little ones and pets. Keeping the house decent is impossible as it is, but showroom clean? Ha! 
        • Unless you are desperate, make showing times known, if they are seriously interested, they will work with you.
        • Have places to go - a neighbor, a park, a store, etc.
        • Get into a routine of making beds & keeping bedrooms neat in the morning (uh, no, I don't do that on a regular basis)
        • Keep some rooms off limits for playing in during this hectic time
        • For spur of the moment showings, have bins for toys, clear surfaces & floors of debris, flush the toilets, and screw the rest - what do they expect, they called at the last minute!
        • the ideal situation: move out before selling - then it's clean and empty... but it's not very feasible
      • Making friends - I had more difficulty with this than the kids did - if we moved now, they would have a tough time because they've been here most of their lives. But I moved so much, as soon as I found a good friend, I had to go. Now it's the opposite - I make a good friend and THEY move! 
        • Regardless, we need friends. Great places to make friends: church, activities, moms with kids  in activities or on teams with yours, mom parties - worth going!
      • Decor - moving so much, I never got into decorating. Many of my walls and windows are still bare. What's the point when I'll just have to take it all down. And what if it doesn't fit in the new house? So here are standard decorating ideas that will move with you.
      • cheat sheet curtain =)
        • frame your kids' art work (idea stolen from my Sis)
        • photos are timeless
        • moving gives you a reason to go shopping for new decor, enjoy it!
        • Target!
        • my window treatment cheat - sheets! they are awesome!
      • Before you move in - these days you have to register for school and sports well in advance. Do your research! And look into the activities you like to do, too!
      • Take heart! Don't lament your move. There are good people out there, waiting for a friend like you!

      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      commonly confused "M" words:
      metal / mettle (true grit, nerve) / meddle (to interfere)

      M Compound words
      makeup       ma'am or Ma'am       man-made       marketplace
      matter-of-fact       midafternoon       midday       midlife
      midpoint       midwestern       mind-blowing       miniskirt
      mixed-up       monkey wrench       moreover       mouthwatering
      multicolored       multimillion

      M Extra!! Get Monthly Support from the 

      Find more A to Z posts here.

      Saturday, April 13, 2013

      Lamda

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

      Laundry & Lists. Let's see. I covered Ironing, Cleaning... Ah, yes. The dreaded Laundry! But first the good part.

      I <3 Lists! I need organization. I like to know what I have to get done (and I have a terrible memory!) Plus I feel great accomplishment as I cross things off my list. Ahhh. TIP: keep a pad of paper & pen handy in various locations throughout the house (bathroom, laundry room, etc - you know, where you spend a lot of time!) to jot down those things you are running low on or need to do when you are thinking of them, so you don't forget later!
      not my kid - from MS clipart

      And here I dangle these Laundry TIPS with two fingers, like a stinky, dirty sock:
      • Kids can help - Kids can put dirty clothes in a basket and as they grow, they can put their clothes away too. Really they can.
      • Use a timer - I <3 timers! I think I said this before. If you're like me, you load the washer, turn it on, and go off to do other things where you can't hear it. I hate it when I forget about those clothes sitting in the washer (or dryer). Set a timer.
      • Sanitize - When the clothes go into the washer, I spray emptied laundry baskets with Lysol to take care of any germs that might have attached themselves to my dirty boys' clothes!
      • Hand Wash - Nuh uh. I use a netted bag for delicates/hand washables. Most washers these days have a hand wash setting. I also turn down my super speedy spin cycle. Then hang or lay flat to dry.
      • Folding - Again, the DVR is my friend. Don't know what I would do without it. Oh, yeah. I used to use a VCR (any of you youngin's know what that is? ha ha!) Anyway, I fold when the kids are going to bed and beyond, and catch up on my DVR'd shows. Funny thing, my kids like it when I am upstairs folding at bedtime. I guess they feel comforted knowing I am sitting outside their doors. Aww!
      Bonus L stress reliever - the scent of Lavender!

      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      Lay/Laid/Laying/had Laid - LAY means to place an object, needs an object to be placed, past tense is LAID.
      Lie/Lay/Lying/had Lain - LIE means to recline, no object, past tense is LAY.
      (I mix these up ALL THE TIME!)

      more commonly confused "L" words:
      lathe (shave wood) / lave (wash)
      let's (contraction of let us) / lets (verb, allows)
      lie low (not lay low!)
      lightening (growing less dark or less heavy) / lightning (electric flashes in the sky)
      loath (adj. unwilling or reluctant) / loathe (v. to abhor or despise)
      loose (not secure) / lose (to misplace something)

      Find more A to Z posts here.

      Friday, April 12, 2013

      Kappa

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

      Kids! I love my kids. Kids are full of surprises. Gifts we are blessed with. Too bad instructions aren't included. We only get about nine months to prepare. And no matter how much you read or get advice, no one is ever really ready when the baby arrives. It's extreme on the job training! Then as soon as we figure out how to handle one phase, they move on to another one.

      There is so much to say about kids. I listed just a few TIPS:
      • Kids test you at every age to see if you are serious about your rules. Be serious! Be firm!
      • Ages 3-6 - These little ones are sponges, recorders, and mimics. We must set a good example. Teach them. ** Give hugs aplenty! Show your love! ** Be prepared for sickness, especially as school starts - but do not shelter! Getting sick now builds their immune systems ** This is the cutest of ages and though they seem like a lot of trouble, enjoy the fun while it lasts. They need you now, and before you know it, they won't!
      • Ages 7-10 - Enter homework and chores. Keep on them! Don't get weak now, this is your intro to harder times to come ** Chores are the beginnings of responsibility - kids are part of the family and need to do their share - allowance is up to parents, but chores are necessary!
      • Siblings - All ages - kids fight. They also get along. They need to be taught diplomacy (how to settle their differences!) ** At younger ages, I let each child have a turn choosing an activity, then they all get their way ** Free time leads to boredom and bickering, I try to minimize it. When they say "I'm bored" I show them a list of things to do, or else they can do a chore or READ! ** Reward for getting along, punish for mistreatment of each other. Keep at it! They will learn eventually and grow out of it. ** Remember when you were young and use that.
      • Respect and Responsibility - hold kids accountable! It's hard work to be a parent who teaches responsibility and earns respect. Don't give up! Don't give in! Society is making us lazy, don't succumb to its tempting easy way out! Don't give them everything they want - they need to do some work!!
      • Love Quote "Let your children overhear you saying complimentary things to other adults."
      • Ages 11-18 - Kids want love and respect and they love us, even though they don't act like it. ** Know where they are and who they are with. Be nosy. Be embarrassing. ** Gradually let them do things to show they are responsible and you trust them. ** And as you see them change from crabby teens into confident young adults you can talk to, be happy with a job well done! *sniff*
      • But I'm still single! I know some of you aren't married or don't have kids - my advice to you is to get a puppy. Puppies ease you in to having a baby. They are just as gross and almost as delicate, but they only stay puppies for a few months, then you have a faithful companion who will never talk back.
      xmas pics 2005-2011

      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      K compound words:
      kick-ass       kick-start       kindhearted

      KEEP WRITING!!!
      Find more A to Z posts here.

      Thursday, April 11, 2013

      Jota

      (J is one of the stragglers that didn't even get an alternate Greek letter. Jota is Spanish for J, pronounced as an H)

      From the messy countertop of the Lazy Housewife...

      Joy! Time for another boost of happy! Hey, Single Ladies/Fellas, I don't want to get you down on marriage and kids, but live it up now because once you're tied down, your time is not your own any more. But don't lose heart, the joys of being single are easily replaced by the joys of family! So enJOY!

      Here are your joyful TIPS:
      • Kids are hilarious - they always say enjoy them while you can, and I completely agree. Sit back and really watch them sometimes, chores can wait!
      • Save those memories - take pictures, write down what they say, video record! You'll be glad you did!
      my silly guys (2006)
      • Prioritize - then the most important things get done first. It's okay if you don't get to it all. Those leftover items can be higher priority next time. Less stress = more happy
      • Always make time for
        • the kids
        • the significant other
        • you!
        • friends
        • family movie night, game night, dinner out, monthly events, whatever - put these times on your calendar if you need to! the more connected the family is, the less stressed and the happier we all are - what are we here for if we're getting all our work done and not enjoying life? 
      • What do you do that makes you happy - I found writing! and blogging! Friends far and near make me happy! And at home, when my kids & hub are happy, I am happy - and there is peace and joy.
      Editing Tips
      brought to you by Curiosity Quills

      Just - find it and delete it. (unless you just can't)

      J compound words:
      jawline       joyride       jet-lagged       junkyard

      A side note - For the challenge, I am visiting blogs by letter again as I did last year. I'm hoping to visit as many of the almost 2000 participants as I can, at least once. And I'm jotting notes on new followers and comments back, etc - so if I don't get back to you this month, I will go back through my notes and jet over to you as I catch up and settle down in May! I just want to say thank you so much for commenting and following, present and past. I can't believe how big this challenge is!

      Find more A to Z posts here.