Guest Interview with Amanda Thomas

I’m healed! Thank God and Baby Jesus, I am healed! Just in case you didn’t know, about 2 weeks ago I woke up and felt like I had been on the losing end of a bar brawl. Yeah, it was that bad. I could no longer use my car in reverse because looking over my shoulder was a thing of the past. Makes it difficult to leave the house…or do just about anything else, for that matter.

Two weeks and two chiropractor later and I could drive all over town BACKWARDS, if I wanted. Did you hear what I said, err wrote, whatever you know what I mean….I CAN LOOK OVER MY SHOULDER!

I owe my life and the life of my neck to Dr. Kyle Collins from the Upper Cervical Heath Centers of Scottsdale. And I will admit that after extensive x-rays and some amazing scanning machine, I cried. Well it could be from the shooting pain in my neck when I got the adjustment and the fact that I couldn’t see in that moment of white-hot pain but when I finally came to…I could actually lift my hands over my head again! I might even be able to do my hair again (everyone that has to look at me is thankful of this too).

Anyway, long story short, I am healed, it was painful, I cried like an idiot but it worked and I owe it all to Dr. Collins who I am eternally thankful to. Other thankful people include my husband, my daughter and various drivers in and around the Gilbert Arizona area.

Now on to our main story…

Today we have an interview with Amanda Thomas, owner of Moxie Girl Household Assistants and Domestic CEO on QuickAndDirtyTops.com. When it comes to cleaning and organizing, she the man and today we have her all to ourselves and I got to ask her anything my disorganized and dirty little heart desired.

Since we are basking in the glow of spring I thought it appropriate we discuss spring cleaning. I also threw in a few questions of my own. Because it’s my blog and I can.

Enjoy…

The Better Half: Hi Amanda! Thank you for joining us, don’t mind the mess, I live here. So let’s get the ball rolling and jump right in. It’s spring cleaning season! Woohoo! What’s the best way to get the ball rolling and what absolutely needs to be on our to-do list?

Amanda Thomas: The best way I have found to get the ball rolling is to kick everyone out of the house, turn off the tv, play some fun music, and commit to 30 minutes of hard work before I let myself sit down. Often times, once I get going, I end up doing way more than 30 minutes, but that initial goal is small enough to get me started. Whatever you do, do NOT turn on the tv. Even if you think it is just on in the background, you will lose precious time. Every minute you stop to hear Maury say, “You are NOT the father,” takes 2 minutes away from your productivity. You have to refocus, and restart wherever you left off. Don’t even tempt yourself, just put on your favorite “kicking-but and taking names” songs and get to work!

The tasks that I see most forgotten in homes are the ceiling fans, inside the fridge, and behind appliances. If you can’t remember the last time you dusted your fans, or you can see dust hanging over the edge, that WILL affect your indoor air quality. Clean those at least once a quarter to keep your air cleaner. Inside the fridge is the job everyone knows needs to be done, but no one wants to. Take a little time and clean up the spills and hardened pieces of veggies from there. It’s well worth it, just so you don’t have to feel guilty every time you open the door. If you have cats, ferrets, or any other small, roaming animal in your home, there is an 60% chance you have feces behind your fridge. If you cook, you have a 90% chance of having food spills and remnants between your stove and the cabinets. These aren’t scientific, but they are true to my experience of working in homes. At least once a year, pull those appliances out and clean around them. Don’t be scared. Put on your big girl panties and do it. You’ll thank me for it later.

BH: OKay I’m liking the kick everyone out of the house part. Do I have to let them back in when it’s clean, haha. Kidding. (Kind of.) So I often hear about people tackling one task a week or a day in order to keep from getting overwhelmed. I am a super scheduled type of person, I just need someone to tell me what to do. So tell me…what to do…

AT: You CAN do that, but I don’t recommend it. The chances of you losing steam after the first week are pretty high. I advise getting as much done in as little time as possible. Make a list of the tasks you want to tackle. Then, order them from most to least important. Start with the tasks you rated as most important first. That way, if you do give up (and I’m not saying YOU would), at least your most important things got done. The other stuff is just kind of a bonus!

BH: I love lists, this might work for me. Now I have to make a hard admission, in my house, we have a bad case of the “junk drawer”. It’s so bad that are starting to multiply. I think we are on 3 and a 4th seem eminent. What are some great tips for organizing and taming the junk drawer?

AT: Oh good lord, Nicole. STOP shoving stuff in your drawers! :)  The best way to avoid having a “junk drawer” is naming your drawers. If all your drawers have a purpose (ie- the silverware drawer, the cooking utensil drawer, the sharp stuff drawer, the crayons and coloring book drawer, the batteries and tape drawer, etc), then they can’t become a junk drawer. Why would you put batteries in the crayon drawer? You wouldn’t! No more junk drawers!

BH: I should probably stop calling drawers “Misc. drawer” then too. That might be my problem. And “sharp stuff drawer”? Good grief, might as well call it “stuff that will get me a visit from CPS drawer”. So now this question is purely selfish in nature but since I have you here I’m going to ask you. (And I’m guessing since I have this problem, I can’t be the ONLY one.) Please, for the love of Baby Jesus, what can I use to clean the stand up shower in my bathroom? The cleaning lady made it look brand new and I can’t get it to look anything other than semi-gross. What am I doing wrong?

AT: Elbow grease. Just kidding, sort of. A great natural product I like is Tub and Tile by Melaleuca. If you are looking for something you can buy at Target, the best thing I’ve found is Ka-BOOM Foamtastic. Use either of those with a scrubby sponge, grout brush, and a little elbow grease, and your shower can look new again. Just make sure to have your bathroom fan running and DON’T close yourself into the shower if you are using chemicals. Unless you like to get high and pass out. If the soap scum is thick on the walls, you may need to use a plastic scraper to chisel the hardened build-up off too. It’s not the best of news, sorry!

BH: Hmm, sounds like it’s easier to call you guys as Moxie Girl because that sounds like a lot of steps. Well, last but not least lets talk floors. Swiffer? Steamer? Bucket and mop? What’s the best way to clean floors when you have toddler, kids, dogs and dirty husbands to contend with? (Both wood and tile.)

AT: In all my (and my Moxie Girl team’s) experience, I have yet to find a floor steamer that isn’t a pain in the butt. In theory, they are wonderful. In practice, something always goes wrong. Either it takes 20 minutes for the steam to appear, it only steams for 15 seconds, or it just pushes dust around. I recommend a string mop and bucket to clients who are convinced they need a mop. Otherwise, I prefer using a microfiber floor pad with a spray bottle of cleaner. Just spray the spots, and wipe up. It’s the same principle as a Swiffer, but works a million times better and costs a hundred times less over the life time of the tool.

BH: Is there anything else you think we should know?

AT: My biggest advice is to not wait until something is gross to clean it. As soon as you see something starting to get dirty, clean it. It’s much easier, less time-consuming, and you never have to feel guilty about the nastiness if you just wipe up the little stuff when you see it.  :)

There you have it and if you have any questions that I didn’t ask, feel free to contact Amanda Thomas yourself! She’s super nice and as you can see, there’s no such thing as a stupid cleaning question. Amanda can be reached on Twitter, on Moxie Girl’s Facebook page,  at Moxie-Girl.com  and read all of her best cleaning and organizing tips at QuickAndDirtyTips.com.

Thank you Amanda for your time and expertise! You rock!

Was there anything we should have asked? Comment below and I will get you an answer!

Guest Post by Clumsy Crafter!

I am really loving this guest posting series we have going on here. You guys were all so welcoming and sweet to the new kid on the block, Jennifer from Silicone Valley Mommy. I hope you guys all checked out her new site and read her second ever post about Peyton Manning, where she breaks down his new salary and begs for money. It’s worth the read. And Peyton, dearie, if you’re reading this, I too would like a few things…if you don’t mind. 

Today’s guest poster is Bobbie Byrd from Clumsy Crafter. (If you recognize her name it’s because she’s the lucky little bugger that won the ErinCondren.com giveaway!)

I have to say, I’m really excited about this one. I loves me some easy, n0-sew crafts and today she is teaching us how to make a super cute cape complete with pictures of her oh-so cutie pie daughters. If you like this post, please go check out here site where she has many more just like it, along with stories about her kids, her husband, her new dog and life in Texas. 

(Personal message to Mrs.Byrd: Thank you so much for always being so supportive of my piddly little blog. You da man. Or da woman. Whatever. You know what I mean. You rock.)

Please welcome, Bobbie the Clumsy Crafter…

Hey guys, my name is Bobbie Byrd and I try to write a blog named Clumsy Crafter. Somedays I really think I should rename it to, “Mommy’s Gone Crazy, the laundry pile is now in charge and the dog is eating diapers again” but it won’t fit on my business card. I’m a homeschooling, minivan rocking, mom jean wearing, uncoordinated and slightly crazy mother to three beautiful girls and married to a sweet guy, Mr. Byrd, who puts up with it all. Most days on Clumsy Crafter you can find anything from cute craft ideas to the horror stories of motherhood.

If your kids are anything like mine than they love to pretend to be super heroes. I secretly wish they had super powers so they wouldn’t take five hours to pick up 10 toys. If they could move faster than a speeding bullet can you only imagine how many chores they could do each day while I sit on the couch and eat bon bons? Or they would just whack their sister and then run away so fast that I couldn’t put them in time out?

Every child deserves a super hero cape to live out their dreams and the good news is that now you don’t have to buy one from a high priced children’s store. Today I’m sharing a no sew super hero cape that everyone can easily find the supplies to make. This one is even easier that trying to rig some way to keep the pillow case tied around their neck like a cape.

TShirt to Super Hero Cape. It’s easy, no sewing required and cost about $6 per cape if you use new t-shirts.

To make one cape you will need a t-shirt several sizes larger than what your child is currently wearing, two coordinating patterns or colors of craft felt, scissors and fabric glue. Use new t-shirts or raid your husbands closet.

I also printed out the letters that I wanted on the capes from my computer to use as a template.

You can just hold the letter in place, tape it, or pin it over the top of your flannel and just cut it out. I also cut a diamond shape from the coordinating piece of flannel that was a little larger than the letter.

Using your fabric glue, attach the letter to the diamond shape and set to the side to dry.

Now it’s time to work on the actual cape using the t-shirt.

Lay your shirt out flat on a large surface with the front facing up. Follow the pattern show up above to cut only one layer of the shirt starting at the bottom edge and going towards the back, behind the arms, and over the shoulders.

Once you cut behind the sleeves you go up over the shoulder, around the neckline and back down the other side of the shirt in the same manner.

Then you will have something that looks like this;

When you’re finished it should look something like this. (The backside of the shirt is now pointing up.) The edges of the shirt might seem a little ragged, depending on how bad your scissors are and how many times your kids have used your fancy scissors to cut their Barbie’s hair. There’s an easy way to solve this….. wash and dry the shirt/ cape. When you wash raw edged jersey fabric, the edges get a nice little roll and you won’t see the jagged edges anymore.

After you wash and dry it, it’s time to glue on the super hero symbol that is hopefully dry as well.

Wait until the glue is dry to give it to your kids or if they’ve already seen it, let them have it and keep the glue bottle handy.

Then when they are dry, let them fly. (forgive me)

These capes are pretty safe since jersey stretches when pulled but as always when a child has something around their neck, it’s best to keep an eye on them.

Yes, they had fun, so much fun that they had to have baths before we could leave the house! I really hope that your kids have fun with their new capes too.

Thank you for letting me barge on in and make myself at home Nicole!

 

Oh you’re so welcome! Mi casa es your blog. (Hey, I got a D in Spanish, get off my back.) I have a few t-shirts of my husbands that I cannot WAIT to take scissors to. (Not because I want a cape, especially, but because they are totally ugly and need be put out of their misery. AND I look dashing in capes. Win-win.)

 

 

Guest Post by Sillicone Valley Mommy!

Guest Post by Sillicone Valley Mommy!

Starting a blog is an exciting and scary process. Will they like me? Will anyone even care what I have to say? Well today I am starting my guest posting series with a brand new blog called Silicone Valley Mommy . Please take a moment to get to know her, visit her blog, like her Facebook page, follow her Twitter and even see what she pins. She’s witty, intelligent, fun and has impecable taste in friends and wine. We all know what it’s like to be the new kid on the blog block, let’s show her some love and support.

 

Without further ado…Meet Jennifer the Silicone Valley Mommy…

 

I Am Unwritten

I’m one of those girls who likes lots of different music. My iTunes collection is a crazy mix of it all – Top 40s, Reggae, Country, Rock, Oldies, Soul, Classical, Punk, etc. Mostly, I just looooove songs with a great beat. I’ll be the first one on the dance floor. I don’t care. I DEFINITELY don’t look as “cool” dancing as I used to, but don’t even try and stop me. I just love to close my eyes and nod my head like yeah…. move my hips like yeah…. I’m also not embarrassed to tell you that I can’t get enough Dirty Rap. Yep, I said it. Dirty, offensive, insulting rap. My husband looks at me in complete shock as I rattle off the words to songs like “Ain’t No Fun” by Snoop Dog. I know. I completely admit that the lyrics in that song are unbelievably offensive towards women. (Feminists, please skip the next sentence.) Still, I know the whole song word-for word, by heart and love to sing it while imagining I’m right there in, my boy, Snoop’s music video. I’ll be that 85-year-old lady sipping my cocktail in my rocking chair, nodding my head and still loving those dirty rap songs.

Right now though, as I sit down to write my very FIRST blog post, I’m thinking of a very different, equally awesome song. It’s by Natasha Bedingfield about new beginnings. Have you heard her song “Unwritten”? It starts out like this:

“I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin”

As I embark on starting my own blog, Natasha’s lyrics describe exactly how I’m feeling.

I’m unwritten.

I’m unknown.

I’m going to release my inhibitions. I’m not sure where this will all go. I recently told my Internet Wife and good friend Nicole, who already has her own hilarious, witty and successful blog, The Better Half Blogs that I wanted to start a blog as well. She offered me a guest blog spot on her site (THANK YOU, NICOLE!), and asked me to describe who I am, why I want to start a blog and what it’ll be about. So, here goes!

[Ed. note: YOU’RE VERY WELCOME JENN!]

Who I am –
I’m a mommy of two adorable kids, ages 7 and 8. They are the loves of my life and make me the happiest mommy ever. They are also the reason I’ve recently started growing patches of grey hair all over my head and need to spend $200 every six months getting my hair colored. They are my best job and my hardest job. I have a handsome husband who after (almost) 14 years of being married, still makes me laugh and still makes me blush. He also drives me crazy at times and we have stupid arguments just like everyone else, but we are good for each other. He brings out my wild side when I need it and I tame him when he needs it. We are a good team. I also have two puppies, three nieces, a close & tight-knit family who I adore, and work part time for a startup company in Silicon Valley.

Some things I love– Chocolate, Bloody Mary’s, reality TV, sleeping in, laughing, warm weather, traveling, a great book, the smell of wet paint, Rombauer Chardonnay, lots of color, planning parties, the smell of Jo Malone Orange Blossom perfume, music and shoes.

Some things I hate – Needles, blood, sleep deprivation, cleaning, being unorganized, eggplant, being pregnant, being late, people who think they are “too cool”, cellulite, and s…l…o…w… drivers. (I was named “DMV’s Most Wanted” in my high school yearbook, thankyouverymuch. It made my parents very, very proud.)

Why start a blog?
Well, I’m a serial entrepreneur who loves to try new things. I love technology, the Internet and social media. I love funny and interesting stories. I love to learn and love to share. I’m not the shy type. I won’t hide the truth and I’ll give it to you straight. But, I also realize that these are just my OPINIONS. (I can’t stand people who think they are right about everything. Ugh!) I would love to share my experiences with others and connect with mommies and women from around the world.

My blog-
“When you start a blog”, people tell me, “You need to have a hook. Your blog should be about something in particular, like being a mommy, or about technology, or about living in Silicon Valley.” Sorry folks, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. Or, I should say, It’s my blog and I’ll blog what I want to!” I want to blog about current events, celebrities, mommy issues, wife issues, great deals, great styles, bikini waxes, fun DIY projects, fabulous finds, Botox, ways to save money, how to please your man, health issues women should know about, beautiful houses we all dream of, things that piss me off, great family friendly vacation spots, funny friends and stories, etc. etc. I want to interview cool people and write about them. I want to give honest reviews on recipes, places, products and destinations. I’ll tell you about experiences I’ve had and I’ll be honest. Doesn’t that sound fun? It does to me.

Fears?
Yes, I do have some fears. I actually think I’m just a mediocre writer. I’m not always the best with words or the best with my punctuation. I use far to many exclamation marks!!!!!! What if people think I’m boring? What if it’s a big flop and my only followers are my mom, my sisters and my best friends? I know there will be some haters, but do you know what? They can go start their own brand new blog and be super interesting all the time and not have any haters. DO IT, I DARE YOU! DO IT!!

So, if you are more of a lover than a hater, I hope you will come join me in this fun new endeavor at www.siliconvalleymommy.com. Come groove with me on the dance floor! Just as Natasha Bedingfield sings, “Today is where my book begins and the rest is still unwritten.”

xoxo,
Jen

Thank you Jen, so much, we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. Gangsta rap and all. Cheers!

If  you would like to be a featured guest poster here, contact me at NicoleYontz5@gmail.com.

10 Bodily Functions That Don’t Stop When You Die

Yeah, you read that right.

 

Not our normal topic of conversation here at the Better Half Blogs. Usually the only bodily functions we discuss are puke (both dog and child) and poop (again, both dog and child).

 

Today we are mixing it up a bit with a book I wrote on Britely  because I want to educate you, dear reader. And if anyone can educate you on stupid nonsense and useless facts, well by golly, it’s me!

 

As always, check it out and check out my other books and the books of other authors on the Britely site.

 

In the spirit of today’s book I’m asking all of you about death. Eeewwww creepy! Do you believe in ghosts and if so, have you ever encountered one? I know I do and I HAVE!

 

I’m totally dead  serious. I’ve always kind of had a sense of this kind of thing but once when I was in high school I went to a house party of a friend. While there, I went to the bathroom which was at the end of a long hallway. After I came out of the bathroom I SWORE I saw tiny imprints of feet in the tall plush carpeting.

 

Chills.

 

I found the kid that lived in the house because I had to ask. He told me that yes, they have a ghost of a small child in their house and they see the feet often. Usually in his younger siblings room where the ghost likes to play with the toys.

 

OH EM GEE.

 

Once in college I was at a friends house where I was told, again after the fact, that there was something in her house. Only this something wanted me to know it was there. Moving photos, setting off her pager (yeah, i’m dating myself with that one), taking the phone off the receiver and totally spazzing out her cat.

 

I left soon after that, never to return.

 

Your turn! Tell me your close encounter with the ghostly kind…

 

And read my book here —> 10 Bodily Functions That Continue After you Die

A day in the life of the stay-at-home-mom…

Recently I have been working on a new project that I would like to tell you all about and I hope you love it as much as I do.

 

So I have been lucky enough to be apart of a great team that is launching a new website called Britely.com.

 

Briefly, it’s a site where you can easily create and design your own slide shows or flipbooks. It’s awesome, you guys are going to love it.

 

So I am going to be, hopefully daily, posting the books that I have made.

 

Please, feel free to go on the site. Check out my books, the other authors books, like them, comment on them, pin them, email them to your friends. There are some amazing authors on this project with me, you will love them!

 

Today’s book is A Day In The Life of the Stay At Home Mom. Please let me know what you think! Did I hit the nail on the head? What do you think I missed? What would You have added?

Enjoy!

http://www.blinkbooks.com/nicole-pena-yontz/a-day-in-the-life-of-the

Not So Wordless Wednesday

Not So Wordless Wednesday

So it’s been awhile since I’ve done a wordless wednesday and since I am currently typing, it’s obviously not exactly wordless.

I mentioned in the last post I did that we had a small addition to our family.

Well, he isn’t so small. He is currently a 16 week old German Shepherd puppy who happens to be 45 pounds.

Yes, you read that right.

16. Weeks. Old. 45. Pounds.

I have to say, however, in his defense, he’s awful sweet. He’s GREAT with Audrey. He doesn’t mind the ear tugging, the tail pulling, the being made into a doggie jungle gym. She is free to play with him a little more rough than she can be with the dachshunds.

Oh and speaking of the little buggers, well, they are learning to deal with him too. Beanie has been wonderful. They play together constantly and drive me nuts all the time.

Cece, well, Cece isn’t his biggest fan. He’s gigantic. He’s clumsy. He has sharp puppy teeth. All the things Cece doesn’t like in a friend and it’s showing.

So now the photo.

Last week I took some Mommy Time out to go get a pedicure and I get this photo texted to me.

Meet Otto, the world’s largest German Shepherd puppy.

Big Giant Mud Covered Jerk Face