A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: 52 weeks

We’re having a lean, green, and mean Halloween!

Have you noticed the vast selection of non-edible Halloween treats in the stores this year? We’re talking Halloween themed silly bands, bendy monster action figures, temporary tattoos, glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, mini cans of creepy colored Play-Doh, stickers, pencils, erasers, etc.


How am I supposed to get my annual All Saints Day yeast infection?

Kidding. It usually takes until All Souls Day for me to deplete my children’s entire supply of Kit Kats and Butterfingers.

As a semi-conscientious parent, I suppose the movement away from candy makes sense. You know…all the cavity-causing sugar, the Red Dye #40 that ignites kiddies like roman candles, the neurotoxic artificial flavorings, the risk of cross-contamination from tree nuts, the razor blades…I get it. Long gone are the days of homemade candy apples and popcorn balls.

But you know what? I don’t think I can tolerate any more plastic CRAP in my house.

Because for realio, if I step on one more of those MFing little plastic spider rings in the middle of the night, I’mma be starring in the next episode of Snapped.

Seriously, I’ve already sacrificed one of my formerly lovely toes to the Plastic Clutter Gods. Enough is enough already!

I’m nothing if not practical though. And since handing out non-edible plastic CRAP is the hot trend this year, I’m perfectly willing to get on board.

My approach, however, is a little leaner, greener, and yes, according to my kids, “way meaner.”

It is so simple… you’re gonna kick yourself for not thinking of it first!

This year, I’m going to recycle random kid clutter as Halloween treats! Bye-bye Happy Meal toys, school “Treasure Box” earnings, anything that came home in a birthday party goodie bag, carnival prizes, etc.; it’s all fair game. Your kids want it, and I want it out of my house. Win-win!

Here is a picture of some of the kid clutter I was able to gather in just a few minutes.

"Mom, have you seen my Shrek and Mulan action figures?" "No honey. I haven't." (Heh heh heh)

Frickin’ brilliant, right? And I don’t have to spend a dime! Take THAT, Corporate America!

My husband already thinks I’m crazier than a shit-house rat, so of course this idea came as no big surprise to him. He’s just bummed there won’t be a stockpile of fun-sized Almond Joy bars in the pantry all week.

If you are going to try this at your house, something I learned the hard way is to NOT ask your kids to help you gather your loot. In fact, don’t even do it while they’re around… kids are notoriously clingy to those awful made-in-China choke hazards. Must be all the lead, messing with their brain chemistry. Also, once you assemble your stash, keep it hidden from your ankle biters or you will open yourself up to a world of whining, fighting, and/or stealing.

OH! Lookie here, even as I was taking these pictures, a little hand was sneakin’ in to reclaim some of the booty. That’s my Bucket Head… notorious Crap Raptor.

Hold it right there, Bub.

We get a lot of teenaged Trick-or-Treaters in my neighborhood, so I think I’ll break up the “treats” into two age-appropriate baskets; toys for the little ones, other random household clutter for the older kids.

Finally, something practical to do with our stash of pre-vasectomy condoms! (Clearly, if the kids are dressed up like this little neighbor was last year… a condom or two isn’t such a bad idea. Lord have mercy!)

Look at this little skank rubbin' up against my little Vampire! Maybe she's just cold. Poor thing.

"Well who are you supposed to be? A WHORE? Oh, a teenager? Same diff. Get away from my son!"

So that’s my hot Halloween tip for this year. Reduce your clutter, save the planet, and hoard your cash this Halloween. Sure, your kids might miss some of those toe-breaking-toys, and yes, the neighbors will probably have even more to say about you than they usually do, but think of the serenity you’ll gain by eliminating clutter and reducing your carbon footprint!

And with the money you’ll save you can hire professional window washers to remove the egg shells and soap you’ll most likely receive as a result of your non-traditional “treats.”

Totally worth it.

What do you think? Is this idea a winner or have I gone off the deep end?

I’m going to link up to Org Junkie because I think she’d approve of this idea!


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. 


And speaking of special keepsakes from baptisms

(If you can call a formerly poop-encrusted magnetic stone swallowed by an older sibling of the baptized baby a keepsake, like I obviously do.)

One of my lovely readers, Mary Lou of San Antonio, Texas, recently shared some pictures on Facebook of the baptism gown she made with her own two hands for her beautiful new granddaughter, Emma. All baptism gowns are special by their very nature, but the thing that caught my eye about this one in particular is that Mary Lou made it from her vintage 1974 wedding dress. 

The craftsmanship is simply stunning. But I was particularly drawn to the history and sentimentality of the fabric and trim. I asked Mary Lou for more details and this is what she told me:

I wasn’t able to use the satin because it had yellowed.  Besides, it was too stiff for a baby, in my opinion.  I used the sheer overlay from my dress and underlined it with new broadcloth.  I also trimmed Emma’s gown with the lace from my dress to which my mom, my four sisters, and I had sewn hundreds of translucent sequins 37 years ago. The tiny buttons on the back of Emma’s gown were from an old sewing box that belonged to my husband’s Aunt Emmie.

I am so deeply touched by Mary Lou’s story and her longstanding family traditions.

If I had found this on Pinterest, I probably would have pinned it onto my “Damn, I suck” pinboard, which is what I do when I find yet another thing I never did or probably never will do with/for/about/in honor of my clearly neglected children. But my love/hate relationship with Pinterest is a post for another day.

No, because I discovered this little gem on Facebook, handmade and posted by one of my Facebook friends, I was able to bypass the guilt and go right to appreciation mode.

I mean, really! A vintage wedding dress, hand-beaded decades earlier by her own family, repurposed into a baptism gown for the next generation? It’s so creative, sentimental, spiritually rich, and environmentally friendly!  Being a crafty, God-loving, and somewhat green girl myself, I have a special place in my heart for Mary Lou’s gorgeous creation and felt compelled to share it with you all.

Now before you go beating yourself up for having never done something fabulous like this your own self, you should know that Mary Lou has been sewing since she was a little girl. It’s always been her passion. She used to sew clothes for herself, her sisters, and even her Barbie Doll. Eventually, she became a homemaking teacher so she could share her passion with others.

That there is a picture of four generations of Mary Lou’s family. Pictured from left to right: Meemaw, Amanda, Mary Lou, and baby Emma. That bonnet Mary Lou is holding was made for little Emma by one of Mary Lou’s sisters out of Meemaw’s vintage 1953 wedding gown.

Stay with me, people.

Sentimental sewing is a longstanding tradition in Mary Lou’s family:

I think each of the women in our family have sewn our grandmother’s wedding lace to our wedding petticoats, in addition to wedding rings and hankies from various family members.

Mary Lou also handmade a lace hanky years ago that has since made the rounds in various sacraments through the generations as baptism bonnets, handkerchiefs, and wedding bouquet ribbons. Who knew a hanky could be so versatile?! Not me, I tells ya.

That same hanky, pictured above on Mary Lou’s daughter Amanda’s wedding bouquet, was recently tucked into Amanda’s son Dylan’s pocket at his baptism. Mary Lou hopes that he’ll one day give it to his bride and that his children will have it with them at their baptisms as well.

Mary Lou is obviously a gifted seamstress. But I just love how thoughtful and sentimental she is about so many little details. That is truly a gift that will keep on giving for generations to come. What an inspiration!

I had my wedding dress “preserved” (or so I thought) back in 1997 right after my big day. I took it to a dry cleaner who supposedly specialized in wedding dress preservation and paid the big bucks so that one day I’d be able to hand it down to my daughter or granddaughter like I guessed I was supposed to do. Sadly, the process they used totally removed the white color from the overlay, turning my once beautiful white dress into a tarnished beige color. (Oh hold your snickering, Evelyn… I know you always thought it was wrong for me to be married in white in the first place! Bitch.)

Anyhooo…I have kept my tarnished dress in that ginormous acid-free cardboard “Wedding Chest” for all these years, never knowing what I’d do with it. Mini-Me is not going to want a brown wedding dress…even if it does complement the poop-tainted magnet pendant I’ll be making for her one day.

And now that I’m on a mission to clear the clutter from my life and get organized, I’m thinking about that damaged wedding dress and all the cool things I could make out of it for family heirlooms. All because of Mary Lou!

Baby Emma and her “MimiLou.”

Yes indeedy! You best believe that my kids and grandkids will be sporting little bits of my tarnished vintage wedding gown someday in everything from ring bearer pillows, to hankies, to fancy heirloom bibs and burp cloths. Shoot, with the size of my train, people are going to get mighty sick of all the heirloom hand sewn items soon to be coming their way. Can’t you just hear me now: “Sweetie, you be careful with that custom Trapper Keeper Science Binder Cover! Grandma made that ‘specially for you out of my vintage wedding gown.” Or “Make sure you have those kitchen towels dry cleaned, they’re handmade from my wedding dress, you know.” Or, “Hon, did your poker buddies like the coasters I made?” 

Hey, a girl can dream.

I am linking this to Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing series because I am so motivated by Mary Lou to someday repurpose old, unused or damaged, sentimental “clutter” into new family heirlooms my family will treasure for generations to come. I hope this post can inspire other crafty friends on the decluttering and organizing journey to do the same!

with love, admiration, and inspiration,



PS – New here? Like what you see? Want to help others enjoy it too? Please share the love by voting for The Bearded Iris at Babble.com’s list of the Top 50 Mom Blogs.  I’m currently in the teens on page one of the list. Thank you kindly!

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

On a recent two-week trip away from home, I found myself jonesin’ to organize something! I guess that’s a side effect from being this far into the 52 Weeks of Organizing Project. Or maybe I was suffering from Org Junkie withdrawal symptoms.

I was at my Mom’s very neat and orderly house, and craving an organizing fix, I had no choice but to focus on what I brought with me.

First thing I did was unpack.

Done! Let’s hit the beach, y’all!

My anal tidy husband didn’t like that at all. “But honey, I’m on vacation!” (I whined.) “So am I!” said Mr. Bossy Pants. Oh snap. The man had a point there. Poor thing deserves a vacation away from our cluttered home.

So I put my Mojito down, folded my clothes in a semi-neatly fashion, and put them away in the guest room drawers and closet.

I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl! I never unpack when I’m on vacation. But I decided to give it a whirl and you know what, it was nice. I knew where everything was. It wasn’t (too) wrinkled. And the room was so pretty and peaceful without my piles everywhere. I think I may have actually slept better in that room than I do at home…and not just because of the ocean air or the extra night cap(s).

Feeling the high of my unpacking success, I decided to tackle something else…my makeup bag!

Check it out… I couldn’t even zip that sucker shut, it was so full of junk.


Using Org Junkie’s PROCESS (Plan, Remove, Organize, Containerize, Evaluate, Simplify, Smile), I was able to clean my bag out in a matter of minutes!

1.) Plan: my plan was to clean out the makeup bag, toss the junk and ancient stuff, organize what I keep. {Der.} The planning step always confounds me. But maybe that’s why I live in a constant state of chaos. Hmmm.

2.) Remove: just dumped it out, easy peasy.

Hey, who put that big fishbowl of wine there? Gah!

3.) Organize: make piles, like with like…


Right off the bat, I tossed two old mascaras. I need an eye infection like I need another signed Ohio State football “decorating” my living room bookshelf.

In the photo above you may notice a pile in the middle of things that don’t belong in a makeup bag… a pen, a rubber band, a marble, a flosser, a sweater defuzzer (that I swear to God I do not use on my face, even though I probably could.) All that crap went either right into the trash or into a plastic baggie to take home.

4.) Containerize:


5.) Evaluate: 


Ohmigosh, I don’t think this picture does it justice. Here it is again in relation to a stick of lip stuff so you can see how truly tiny it is:

Seriously. How cheap and lazy can one woman be? I can’t even put the cap on this eyebrow pencil or the whole nub will get stuck in the cap. As a result, the cap-less nub gets lost in the bottom of the bag every dang day and the tip breaks off and discolors the makeup bag. In addition, the tiny pencil nub in my ginormous hand is really difficult to use, and thus, more days than not, I walk past mirrors and am always startled to see this looking back at me:

image credit: www.theluxuryspot.com

And with all that money in my hand, why don’t I just plunk some down and buy a new eyebrow pencil that I can actually use???

My evaluation: time for a new eyebrow pencil, dumbass.

6.) Simplify: I also removed two different drug store eyeshadows that I bought during an extreme couponing phase that made me look (even more) like a hooker. I didn’t throw them out though; I gave them to my 8 year old daughter so she can look like an underage hooker. That’s how I roll. I don’t care if she experiments with frosty eyeshadow, as long as she does it in the safety of our home, under my watchful eye and tutelage.


7.) Smile: my makeup bag is streamlined and organized! I can close it now! I get to buy some new stuff! So hell yeah I’m smiling. Not bad work for a vacation day.

Only one problem…

I’m not on vacation anymore.

Back to reality,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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