Friday, January 11, 2019

Decluttering 2019

One of my goals for 2019 is to DECLUTTER! We live in a very nice size house, almost 4,000 square feet. Over the months and years, one tends to accumulate while at the same time not getting rid of the same amount that you bring in. I love organization but at the same time am sentimental and practical. It is hard to get rid of some of my kiddos childhood things that hold so many memories. I also hate to get rid of stuff that is still useful but don't really need or use anymore. I am by no means a HOARDER! I actually get a great cathartic thrill when I declutter and once, I get started I am a woman on a mission. My husband says, "Declutter as if we are about to move. If we wouldn't take it to move than get rid of it. It makes total sense." As my children are getting older and leaving home and getting jobs and are not home as much, I am no longer cooking needing to cook LARGE portions. Unfortunately, more often than not I still find myself falling back into my old habits of cooking too much. I find myself buying larger quantities of food items than I need that end up going to waste. I am determined in 2019 to make a concerted effort to buy for our shrinking crew’s needs. This will actually enable me to buy more healthy, organic choices and spend the same amount of money. Win, win! Today, I took to decluttering my kitchen and pantry shelves. I was SHOCKED at the amount of canned and boxed items that were YEARS out of date. I only share this because the craziness of life tends to make you forget what you do and do not have. Before you know it, you have four bottles of catchup, three cans of salsa, 9 various boxes of crackers, and cans of tomatoes at the back of your pantry that are bulging out that expired in 2014. You know that fifty-dollar bottle of Manuka Honey that you purchased at Costco over a year ago that you haven't been able to find. Well, you would be surprised to find that it usually shows up during the declutter process, lol. 

If you have kids and live in Texas, the great Clothing Migration tends to take place all year long! Just in January alone one day it will be in the high 60's and the next day it will be in the 30's. With a large family that leads to A LOT of clothing. Luckily, I only have to really deal with my younger three now. It is a constant process of sorting through because of clothing getting to small and needing stuff that is bigger, or clothing getting too worn/holes/torn, sensory issues with the clothing, just not my style, and so forth. I am constantly going through the clothing and assessing what needs to get donated, given away, or taken to the resale store. Having five girls and one boy (one not at home anymore) makes this process so much more difficult, lol. 

As I peruse my homeschool inventory, I am a bit overwhelmed at everything I have. There is so much I don't use or haven't used in so long. Do I keep it or get rid of it? That is next on my agenda. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

My Thoughts on the online kids resale, Kids on 45th

As fast as kids grow I am definitely always looking for sales and bargains on kids clothing. I am also a huge fan of one particular Once Upon a Child store that is local to us. Other than that I am not the biggest fan of second hand stores as I find them a bit disorganized. The clothing is usually overly worn out, out of style, and for the most part lower end brands. The particular store I go to is very selective as to the clothing they select in their buying process which makes shopping their store worthwhile. Having a large family I prefer to spend a bit more on the higher end brand clothing so that I can pass it down to the next kiddo and not have it look worn, oddly shaped because it has shrunken from washing, etc. It lasts and and holds up well. I came across Kids on 45th on the internet and after looking at the reviews and the many pictures that people had posted thought I would give it a try. Many people talked about receiving clothing with tags still attached. The clothing was very nice looking. Not wrinkled or shrunken from lots of wear. This lead me to believe that they were selective in their clothing that they were willing to ship out to customers. WRONG! I wasn't expecting Versace but I sure was not expecting Wal-Mart, oddly shrunken, stained clothing either. Sure, from time to time, I buy my kiddos clothes from Target for play knowing that it will probably not be handed down. It is cute and the price is right. I wouldn't expect to resell it. I may hand it down to a friend for free. Here is the invoice of what I ordered. Keep in mind these are clothes for a 10 1/2 year old.

5 long sleeve shirts
1 sweater/sweatshirt
1 winter dress
1 pair of jeans/pants

The sweater had a pull on the back with a small hole. 

The jeans were very wide legged and definitely not what you would 
consider IN STYLE!

This shirt is just beyond ugly. I am sorry. It is like a huge balloon. Not stylish at all!!

If anything in the box was decent it was this dress but then again
the dress is so short you have to have leggings to wear it. My daughter is
very short for her age. She is 10 and is the size of an average 7-8 year old so 
that tells you how short the dress is. You can see the shirt above is the same
length as the dress?!?!

This shirt has a stain right on the front on the upper middle. Also, when the arms
and the shirt part are the same length there is a problem. It has SHRUNK! Meaning
the torso part is going to be too short!

See the oval stain?

Again, a wonderful Wal-Mart, Faded Glory, shirt. Torso part has shrunk so 
that means that it is not going to fit!! 

I requested long sleeve shirts. This is not a long sleeve shirt?

Again, NOT A LONG SLEEVE SHIRT!! I requested long sleeve shirts!

So many of the videos on their Facebook site are deceiving. People talk about receiving 
clothing with tags still on them. The clothing is not wrinkled. It is A LOT NICER than what
I received. It is almost like the videos shown are staged. I am not saying they are it just
seems odd to me. Most of our clothing was very wrinkled and quite worn. Not 
like what people on the site are showing in pictures and videos. 

Overall thoughts on Kids on 45th. I will not be ordering from them again. 
I guess lesson learned. It was a $27.72 lesson learned. Hope this review 
helps someone else considering purchasing from them. Maybe your experience
will be far better than mine was. I will stick to purchasing in person so that
I can see what I am buying. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mazie is officially an Adrenal Insufficiency Service Dog

Mazie will be 2 years old in March 2019. She is a labradoodle from Novacek's 84 Labradoobles. One of the major reasons that the dogs from the Novacek's are such natural alerters for Adrenal Insufficiency is that Amy Novacek herself has Adrenal Insufficiency. When new litters are born the puppies are exposed from day one to the scent emitted by Amy's Adrenal Insufficiency. Amy herself has two working service dogs, Hank and Buddy. Hank became a natural alerter for Amy's AI and has gone on to be a huge help for Amy in fighting her AI. On a side note, Mazie actually naturally alerted for one of my daughters in the middle of the night before she was officially scent trained. Okay, back to the beginning of getting Mazie. We were blessed to be a part of Mazie's life from the very beginning. We were able to travel to the Novacek Ranch to look over all of the puppies and choose which puppy would be ours. Fairly quickly were knew which puppy we wanted. Mazie was off in a corner by herself. She was smaller than the other puppies. She was on the calmer side. Her coloring was unique in that she was black but had brown paws. She was in our eyes the cutest one of the litter. Maybe we were a bit partial but then again it was kind of love at first site. For the first 9 months of her life, she lived with an amazing family, the Richard's, who loved on her and worked day and night on obedience training. Miriam Richard took Mazie on many outings such as the mall, zoo, state fair, museum, sporting events, movies, etc. early on to get Mazie used to being around crowds and different environments. She exposed her to a plethora of sounds, people, objects, environments, and situations at an early age so that Mazie would learn to not become reactive to these things. They also began basic scent training with Maize. During this time, we would visit Mazie so that we would be able to bond with Mazie and she would be able to bond with us. During this time a dog trainer was used to help with Mazie's training. 

Here is a picture of Mazie as a puppy. 

At around 9 ½ months old, Mazie came to live with us. It was an exciting time but also a scary time too. It was a bit like bringing home a new baby. I had a dog as a child, but we really did not know much about dogs and their needs.  Our initial trainer helped to guide us as we continued to train Mazie on our own. After about 10 months it was clear that change was needed. We realized that in order for Mazie to become a full-fledged Adrenal Insufficiency Service Dog we needed to seek out a trainer who specialized in training dogs for Adrenal Insufficiency. While a lot can be accomplished "owner trained" Adrenal Insufficiency is a bit more complex. We wanted to ensure that Mazie had the specialized training to ensure that she could and would alert for my two daughters that have AI when they have issues. This required consistency, a lot of time, and the right training. That is where Beverly Swartz came into our lives. She is the owner of All Purpose Canines, Inc.. Mazie is a recent graduate and is now home working for both of my daughters and ALERTING! We still have to practice using scent articles from past Adrenal crises a couple of times a day. As many know, unlike diabetes where your blood sugar is constantly going up and down each day, those with AI may go long gaps without having a crisis. Therefore, it is important to keep past scent articles available to train with your dog in order to ensure that their training is being reinforced. The scent article is hidden on the person with AI. The dog alerts and then you treat the dog and give the dog lots of praise for a job well done. In a real-life situation building up to a crisis they have potentially averted a crisis. Or maybe, saved your life! 

Here are some pictures of Mazie working to pass her Public Access Test the last step before becoming an Official Service Dog. We are so very proud of her. 

Mazie making herself at home at the hotel.

Together at last.

Happy, Happy!

Placement on elevators is important.

Beverly going over important information. 

Walking with a loose leash right beside her handler. 

Eye contact.

Right in line with each other.


Waiting on commands.

Being told to lay down.

Being told to stay!

Separation but obedient to stay. 

Command to sit but stay. 

Command to come along with praise.

Mazie laid politely beside the table during our meal. At the end of the meal we
 tested Mazie by placing food beside her. She did not sniff at the food. She looked away 
from it because we told her to "leave it". 

Beverly, Karis, and Mazie 

Entering the Courthouse

Going through a metal detector. A great way to simulate airport security.

Sister's turn. 

All smiles. 

Step in line. 

Slow, step, slow, step. 

Practice makes perfect.

Walking along her dog. 

Walking along her dog.

Talking to Mazie. 

Giving Mazie a command. 

Good girl, Mazie!

Time to sit for a bit. 

It's been a long day.

Waiting for the jury duty crowd to emerge so that we can see what
Mazie's reaction will be. 

Mazie STAY!

Let's go!

Load up. 

Let's go!

Load up.

Mazie passing another dog without reacting. 




Mazie sitting next to a dog without reacting, sniffing, or moving. 

Chilling, just sitting. 

Being praised for tasks well done. 

And the best for last an Adrenal Insufficiency alert 
using a hidden scent article on my daughter. The scent article
was from a previous adrenal crisis that my daughter had.