Thursday, October 12, 2017

Things I Sell Thursday: Tupperware Halloween Bowls

How fun is this glittery candy bowl from Tupperware?  It is only available until tomorrow so if you want a great candy bowl to use this Halloween, be sure to order it before Friday.  You will find it listed under the sale section.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Make It Better Monday: Priorities

One of the biggest reasons I ended up being away from blogging for so long, and why my posts are so sporadic, is that I have had way too many things going on and blogging just did not make the cut when I arranged my priorities.  I have a goal to eventually get ahead with some scheduled posts so that you will have something to read even on days when I cannot blog, but until that day I just need to do my best to post when I can.

When I was feeling overwhelmed I wrote out a list of everything I needed to do, whether it be on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or even one-time basis.  I originally wrote mine on sticky notes, with different colors representing the frequency of which it needed to be done.  Nothing was too mundane, including brushing my teeth and making and eating meals.  It helped me to see how much I was doing on a regular basis, even when I felt as though I got little to nothing done and it is a good visual for others to see as well.  I then took all the notes that contained a task that could be done by someone else.  Some of those tasks I assigned to others, and for the rest, I let them know I would appreciate their help in getting them done.  In some cases, they had a vested interest in helping, such as menu planning or food prep and others go completely ignored by them.  I then prioritized the lists (more below on how to do this) and arranged my sticky notes in the order things needed to be done at that moment in time.  Each day, I would begin at the beginning of the list and work my way down until I ran out of time.  At the end of the day, I would re-arrange any priorities that needed moving and begin again the next day.  I no longer am using the sticky notes, but I still use the concept and do write out the things I need others to do on sticky notes.  I keep their sticky notes on poster board on my fridge and they put the sticky note on my bedroom door when it is completed.  I have been able to get ahead in some areas and am finding I actually have more time to do things, which is why I am able to blog again.

If this is something you are interested in, you may be asking yourself, how do I know which priorities should come first (or third or twentieth, etc)?  This is not something I can answer for you, but I can help you figure out what YOUR priorities are.

  1. If you believe in a higher power, pray for guidance and assistance in figuring out what you should do first.  If you do not feel this would be helpful, feel free to skip this step.  For me, it really helps and often makes all the difference in my planning.
  2. Take a little time to think about your goals.  Be sure you are thinking about all areas of your goals.  This may include personal health, work responsibilities, family relationships, spiritual, educational, financial, etc.  
  3. Now as you look at each of the tasks you need to do on a daily basis, ask yourself how much it helps you to reach your goals.  If it helps significantly, it needs to be near the top of the list.  
  4. Also, ask yourself if the task really needs to be done as often as you think it does.  Clean dishes and laundry are important for family health, but folding laundry, or at least putting it away, may not be quite as important. People can grab a clean pair of underwear out of a laundry basket almost as easily as they can a dresser drawer.  When you reach the point that nothing more important needs to be done (or you need your laundry basket), then fold the laundry and put it away.
  5. Some things need to be done on a certain day, those obviously become a priority before they are due.  
The nice thing about this plan is that it is adaptable.  If you were not planning on changing your bedding this week, but a child threw up in the middle of the night, you can quickly move that task up the priority list for today and down the list for next week.  Likewise, you may decide that somethings were really not as important as you initially thought and you can easily rearrange them. I have found I work way more efficiently when I know what I am working on next.  Life just seems somewhat less overwhelming when I have a plan in place.  This plan works well for me.  Your priorities may be different than mine, and they probably are.  That is ok.  We all have different goals and different responsibilities.  Let me know how you plan your day.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Making It Better Monday: Overcoming hatred with communication

Each time that I hear of a tragic event where innocent people have had their lives cut short, it breaks my heart.  We do not know yet why this person targeted the music festival in Las Vegas, but all too often these mass shootings are done because the killer hated something about the group he was targeting.  In many cases, there is also an element of mental illness that also needs to be addressed, but that is a post for another time.  I want to talk about how we can overcome hate, both hatred, or even just dislike, within our own hearts and hatred, that others have towards us, for whatever reason.

The best way to warm your heart towards someone is to simply get to know them.  Learn what makes them so different from you and why they do the things that you either dislike or just don't understand.  I know when it comes to political or religious differences, often, both sides feel as though they are supporting/doing the best thing they can.  Very loosely speaking, Democrats feel as though no one should ever suffer poverty, a very noble thought.  Again, speaking loosely, Republicans feel that everyone should have the dignity of providing for themselves and not relying on the government to support them.  Republicans do not want the poor to suffer and Democrats do not want the poor to feel as though they have little or no dignity, but it is so often portrayed in extremes that we find Republicans hating Democrats and vice-versa.  If people who disagreed could just come together and listen to each other, they would see that they really want the same things and they just might be able to find a way that best suits everyone. Instead, we have a society that only hears the disagreements and people who refuse to try to see things from someone else's point of view.  The next time you hear or read someone saying something you disagree with, rather than immediately shoot back about how they are wrong, I challenge you to create a friendly dialog to find out why they feel the way they do.  If they are open to it, explain your side as well, but be sure the tone stays friendly and civil.  If it starts to get too heated, there is nothing wrong with walking away.  I recently watched a Ted talk, by Theo E. J. Wilson, a black man who went undercover in an alt-Right group.  I loved hearing how his eyes were opened to why some of them feel the way they do.  His experience covers both race and political differences.  I encourage you to listen to his talk, no matter what side you find yourself on, as I am certain it will help soften your heart a bit.

I also want to warn about trusting the media to fairly portray any group.  All too often, they portray people as a stereotype, often one that has been perpetrated and fed by the media.  Currently, if one were to develop an opinion about people based on how the media portrays them this is what they would believe:  all cops are bad and go around killing innocent people and harassing people of color; all white people are racist; all black people, especially black men, are criminals; all Hispanics are Mexican and must be here illegally; all gay people are flamboyant and want to watch the world burn; all Christians hate gay people and anyone else who does not fit their definition of Christian; all Muslims are terrorists just waiting to kill all Americans and take over the country; and so on and so on.  There are people who fit each of those categories that live in America, but most of the people I know, which includes blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics (from all Hispanic countries), gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, agnostic, police officers, and more, they do not fit into those stereotypes at all.

Another way to get to know people that are different than you, is to serve them and/or to serve alongside them.  Maybe you do not want to discuss why you disagree with someone.  That should not prevent you from getting to know them as a person and a great way to do that is to serve them or even serve alongside them.  When you are focused on helping others, the stereotypes don't really seem to matter.  This can be best seen in the photos of people being rescued after the hurricanes and flooding that have recently occurred.  No one was refusing help due to the race, occupation, gender, or religion of their rescuer.  Rescuers were not asking people their sexual preference before offering aid.  People were just being people and helping each other.  Hopefully, you will not have to serve in the capacity of a rescuer, but there are many other ways to serve those who are, or who believe, different than you.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen, participate in a fundraising race by handing out water to runners, help refurbish homes for the poor or refuges.  Whatever you choose, try to put yourself in an area where you are working with or for those who you want to better understand.  It's easy to serve within our own church when we are serving others who believe as we do and often look like we do, but you will grow so much more by also serving in a different church with those who are not like you.

When we get to know people that are on opposite ends of the spectrum from us, big changes can occur.  A friend of mine shared a video today on Facebook, from ABC News, which tells the story of a Neo-Nazi who had a major change of heart after his black parole officer came into his life.  What started as a legal commitment, turned into a beautiful friendship, and a truly changed man.  It is examples like theirs that give me hope for the rest of us.

My heart goes out to all of those who were killed, injured, or experienced firsthand the terror of last night.  I have them, their loved ones, and the first responders in my prayers, along with the shooter's family.  Overcoming hate may not have been able to stop what happened in Las Vegas, but I firmly believe it would have stopped several other mass shootings, and many single killings, in recent years, and we need to start somewhere.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Things I Sell Thursdays: Tupperware

Ok, Thursdays are currently going to be a flat-out advertisement for my other businesses.  Currently, I an a sales consultant with 2 direct sales companies.  Every Thursday, I will share something about one of the companies I am working with.  I am choosing to do this once a week, so that you can choose whether to read about these companies or not.  I will not post about them on other days of the week, only Thursdays.  Posts will vary between products in general, product sales, host benefits, information on becoming a consultant, and just general information.  First up, is Tupperware and it will be a general post.

Tupperware bowls

I first sold Tupperware 18 years ago.  I love the lifetime warranty that they offer on their pieces. They are guaranteed not to crack, break, chip or peel.  If you do find one of those things happened, hang on to your damaged piece and contact me or any other Tupperware consultant to get a replacement or a credit towards new Tupperware (depending on availability).  Due to life events, I stopped selling Tupperware after 2 years, but I recently rejoined and am excited to be working with them again.  If you have any Tupperware related questions, feel free to ask me.  If you want to purchase products, you can order directly through my website, or e-mail me.  If you are interested in hosting a party, just let me know.  I can do Facebook parties for those of you who are not in western New York or those who are and prefer that format.  Facebook parties are a lot of fun and only last about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  You just invite your friends, no cleaning, no food prep, you can even do it in your pajamas.  If you want more information on selling Tupperware yourself, please contact me.  I encourage you to join my VIP Tupperware group on facebook to be sure that you do not miss any sales.  I can share Tupperware sales with you here, but when I offer my own specials, I can only share them in my VIP group.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Make It Better Monday: Reusable Shopping Bags

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Many cities and states have passed laws or are are working to ban plastic grocery bags.  This may be considered an environmental win, but for some it may be an economic loss.  Personally, I used my plastic grocery bags to dispose of dirty disposable diapers and I currently use them to line my bathroom garbage can.  Having said that, I limit the number of plastic bags I get at the store because I only need so many bags on hand and with 8 people in our family, the bags add up quickly.  So, whether you live in an area that has banned plastic bags and you need to find a replacement or you want to help reduce the number of plastic bags that are out there, reusable shopping bags can help.

There are a few downsides to reusable shopping bags, so here are some tips for making them work for you.  After all, if you are spending the money on the bags, you want to make sure you are actually using them.

Problem: Always forgetting your bags

It took me a long time to remember to put my bags in the van before going shopping.  I started out with some of the ones like the strawberry bags posted at the top. These are easy to keep in your bag and take up little space so even if you forget your bags, you have at least have something with you.  It is important to note that these types of bags tend to be a bit smaller so keep that in mind.  Another alternative is to keep your bags in your vehicle.  We keep a stash of bags in the trunk of our van.  It took a couple of trips before we were remembering to put the bags back in the trunk, but it was an easy habit to develop and it works great for us now.  We bring the bags in, empty them and put them right back outside (unless they need washing, see below.)  If you find you forget to bring them in the store, you can always go back out and grab them, bring your groceries our unbagged and bag them in the parking lot, or choose reusable bags that you can clip to your keychain, like the ones shown above.

Problem: You use your plastic bags for garbage, diapers, dog waste, etc.

This is where I am at.  As I said above, we would receive a LOT of plastic grocery bags when we go shopping if everything was bagged in plastic.  When I am just picking up a few things, I will have those items bagged in plastic bags so that we have a small supply of bin liners on hand.  Other options are to only use bin liners in the bins that receive "wet"  or sticky trash, or to use cereal bags, old chip bags, potato bags, etc to pick up and/or hold waste.  By reducing our dependence on plastic bags, we will be able to make the switch easier if and when the time comes that we need to.

Problem: They carry germs

There is no doubt that carrying items like raw meat, will contaminate your reusable bags.  They WILL need to be washed regularly.  Keep this in mind when shopping for them and be sure to buy some that are easy to wash.  Use the ones that are not so easy to wash for canned and boxed items.  We use a few different styles, one for packaged items, one for fresh fruits and veggies, one for raw meats, and an insulated style for cold and frozen items.  If I do not have one with me that is easy to wash, I do go ahead and get plastic to wrap around any raw meat I may be buying or I simply have them bag it for me in a plastic bag.  Many reusable bags can be washed with your regular laundry.  For those that cannot be washed in the laundry, you can wipe them down with a good cloth and disinfect as needed.

I am not perfect about using reusable grocery bags, but it is something I am working on.  I hope this will give you some ideas of how you can reduce your dependence on plastic bags, so that you will be prepared if the day comes that you are forced to give them up.  If you have other concerns regarding reusable bags, please leave a comment and I will try to address it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Spiritual Sunday: Being Kind to Those Who Are Different Than Us

Every third Sunday, I teach in the women's organization at my church.  I intend to share my lessons here after I have taught them.  This is last week's lesson that I taught.  Please feel free to post any questions you might have.  Inflammatory comments will not be published.

This week's lesson is chapter 20 in the Gordon B. Hinckley manual, called “Fellowship with Those Who Are Not of Our Faith.”  The lesson starts by talking about how most people share the common desire to help others.  Most people want to help the poor, lift the distressed, give comfort, hope, and help to all those who are in trouble and pain from whatever cause.  It also talks about when President Hinckley was interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes.   Part of the interview went as follows:   Mr. Wallace asks: “How do you view non-Mormons?”  President Hinckley responded: “With love and respect.  I have many non-Mormon friends.  I respect them.  I have the greatest of admiration for them.”  Mr Wallace followed up by asking, “Despite the fact that they haven’t really seen the light yet?”  President Hinckley said: “Yes.  To anybody who is not of this Church, I say we recognize all of the virtues and the good that you have. Bring it with you and see if we might add to it.” 

One thing that often helps me to better understand Heavenly Father’s point of view on things, is by relating how He is our parent.  If we think like a parent, things seem to make more sense. If I were to ask all my children to do their chores, and at the end of the day, a few of them did not do them, I do not love them any less than I do the ones that did what I asked. To take it even further, if I handed the list of chores to one child and asked that (s)he share it with the others, would it be fair for me to hold those who never knew about the list equally responsible when they didn't complete their chores? Heavenly Father sees us the same way. Those who do not have a testimony of the gospel, or any part of the gospel, are not held to the same level of expectation as those who do have a testimony and have made covenants to live the gospel. Heavenly Father does not love us any more than He loves a Catholic, a Muslim, a Jew, a Wiccan, or even an atheist. We are all equal, and just as I would be upset if one of my children, even the one who was the best behaved, treated another one of my children with unkindness, I am certain it hurts Heavenly Father when He sees us doing it to each other. 

In the eleventh Article of Faith, we read,  "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship, how, where, or what they may. "  This means that while we may worship differently or have differing beliefs, that we can not allow ourselves to become arrogant, self-righteous, or prideful.  We need to allow others to worship how, where and what they may.  I love these words, by the prophet Joseph Smith, back in 1843, If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a Mormon, I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination."  We need to ensure that we are not demonstrating a holier-than-thou attitude.  We need to be open and friendly.  We can do this without compromising our own beliefs. 

The church is often involved in helping around the world.  We see stories of the work that is being done by the church every time we hear of a disaster striking anywhere in the world.  Often, the church as a whole, and the individual members, are working side by side with other churches and other good people.  We are encouraged to be involved in good community causes.  What are some ways that we can reach out to those in our community that are not of our faith?  I know in our neighboring ward (our church is divided into wards, similar to how the Catholic church is divided into parishes), they regularly volunteer at the clothing closet run by another church in their area.  

If there is an instance where serious moral issues are involved, we need to be sure not to bend on matters of principles, but we can politely disagree without being disagreeable.  We can acknowledge the sincerity of those whose positions we cannot accept and speak of principles rather of people.  President Hinckley has said, “ There is a better way than the way of the world.  If it means standing alone, we must do it.  But we shall not be alone.  I am confident that there are millions of people throughout the world who grieve over the evil they see about them.  They love the virtuous, the good, and the uplifting.  They too will raise their voices and give their strength to the preservation of those values which are worthy of maintenance and cultivation.” 

When we are treating others with love, respect, and kindness, we are showing that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. We bear testimony and witness of Him, through our actions.  I think of how Christ was when He was still on the earth.  When the adulterous woman was brought before Him or when those who were sick and afflicted reached out to touch his robes, He reacted with love and kindness.  He did not recoil or act as though He was better than they were.  Why would we?  Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe.  President Hinckley encourages us to live the Golden Rule, treating others as we would want to be treated.  This reminded me of when my oldest girls were little.  Chloe was a bit on the mean side and Yasmin would give it right back to her, even though it was not her typical nature.  I talked to her about it one day and asked if she knew the Golden Rule.  She responded by saying, “Yes!  That is why I am so mean to Chloe.  She is mean to me, so she must want me to treat her the same way.”  I quickly re-explained the Golden Rule, to say that we should treat others as we want them to treat us, regardless of how they actually treat us.  Being friendly does not mean we need to be friends, but we do need to be kind. 

There is a poem in the lesson that I really like that also reminded me of the Chloe and Yasmin story.  It is by Edwin Markham and it goes like this. (I drew 2 stick figures on the board). 
He drew a circle that shut me out- 
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. (draw circle around one man)
 But Love and I had the wit to win:  
We drew a circle that took him in!” (draw circle around both men)
This poem reminds me that it is important that we make a conscientious effort to not be excluding people from our circle, even if they have excluded us from theirs.  An example of this can be seen in the church’s response to the Broadway musical Book of Mormon.  Those who wrote the musical, and in many ways those who act in it, and in some ways, those who see it, are drawing a circle around themselves, with the church on the outside.  The church responded by taking out ads in the billfolds encouraging viewers to now read the book. Missionaries were often found outside the theaters when they let out, handing out copies of the Book of Mormon.  They were drawing that bigger circle and inviting all of them in, and I personally know people who have joined the church as a result of the musical and the church’s reaction to it. 

I want to take this lesson one step further, to say we need to love each other with ALL our differences, not just religious ones.  The world is full of diversity and we need to cultivate tolerance and appreciation and respect one another.  Have any of you watched the movie, “My Big Fat Greek WeddingFor those who have not seen it, it is about a Greek girl who meets a non-Greek man who she falls in love with and decides to marry.  Her father has a very hard time accepting the man since he is not Greek.  However, at the end of the movie, during the wedding reception, the father makes a speech about how the two families have come together.  He had discovered a commonality to build on: one of their last names was derived from the Greek word of orange and the other last name was derived from the Greek word for apple.  His realization was that in the end, they are all fruit. 

I challenge you to look for opportunities like these on the board, to work side by side with others who are different than us.  Whether someone be Catholic, Jewish, black, white, Hispanic, male, female, transgender, gay, straight, old, or young, in the end, we are all children of God.  It is my prayer that all of us will be a little more aware of how we are treating those who are different than us.  Your world will be much richer when you do and you will be treating them the way our Heavenly Father would want us to be treating our fellow brothers and sisters. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Get organized with Clever Container

I have been super tired this week due to an unexpected ER trip with our 4-year old, that threw my whole week off.  I was supposed to host a Clever Container party last Saturday at my house, but after being up all night in the emergency room, I decided to reschedule it for tonight.  If you have never heard of this company, I want to let you know that you are missing out.

Clever Container is a direct sales company that is fairly new to the game.  They offer products that help you organize your home, garage, car, and office.  I love that their products are reasonably priced and multi-functional.  Some of my favorite items are:

  • Shelf Help: This is available in two different sizes and two different colors.  It helps utilize space under an existing shelf.  We use one to hold our bread products in the pantry.  It is great to prevent it from getting squished without having to take up an entire area to store it.  I also use one in my linen closet to keep my Norwex cloths separate from my other linens, making it easy to grab a cleaning cloth when I need one.  

  • Clever Shopper: This is available in several patterns and colors.  These reusable shopping bags can hold a tremendous amount of groceries.  I love that they can stretch across the shopping cart, allowing you to load them up as you shop.  

  • Hang-Tough Headrest: These come in a set of two.  These are great for holding bags on the back of your seat.  These could be garbage bags, handbags, shopping bags, or bags of activities or snacks for your child.  We also have one over our rear-view mirror to hold our sunglasses.

If you are interested in ordering any of these products, or seeing what other great products they offer, you can visit my consultant's (Gretchen Fatouros) website.  If you do order in the next few days, please choose Danielle's party before checking out.  If you order afterwards, that's ok, too.  You will love their products. Thanks so much!