A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: prioritizing is hard

The results are in…

Well I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about my Pampered Chef par-tay last Saturday!

The reason this was such a big deal is that I don’t entertain very often. I’ll be honest with you, it’s because I have an inferiority complex. Most of the time, I feel like a laminate counter top girl living in a granite counter top world. Or as my husband lovingly says after he witnesses me try on the 14th outfit, “It’s tough being you, isn’t it.”

Long story short, I rarely ever get my shit together enough to entertain.

So, the thought of hosting a Pampered Chef party was daunting.

But I sucked it up and I did it. And we had a great time! Well, I think we did. I was actually too tired from cleaning until my fingers bled to fully enjoy it. But the food and the company were excellent, I must say, even if the hostess {me} was not.

I learned a few things about life in general during the process that are worth sharing:

For starters, never have a party over spring break. You’ll get a poor turn out. Duh.

Secondly, the tone you set with your invitation is really important. Know your audience! I emailed out two different invitations, and the one that led to the best attendance was the one I sent to my closest friends. Maybe they came because they are my good friends. But maybe they came because their invitation started with the phrase “Please… save me from myself.” These gals rose to the occasion and supported their anxiety-ridden friend in need. These are the kind of friends you cherish for life. Anne, Kathy, Terri – thank you.

The invite that wasn’t so well received? That would be the one I sent to the ladies I know in my neighborhood. It started like this:

My sister-in-law Teresa is a brand new Pampered Chef consultant and I promised her I’d help her get started by hosting a party. I’m trying to assemble a group of the nicest and most fun people I know to help her practice her schtick! Unfortunately, none of them can come, so I thought I’d ask you.
Seriously, want some free food?
Or perhaps you just want to see how ugly my kitchen cabinets are so you can feel better about your own home?
Either way, I’m cool with it. I’m just looking for a good time. And some new recipes and kitchen gadgets wouldn’t hurt.


I don’t need to tell you that this invitation went over like a blender full of three-day-old roadkill.

Of the 16 neighbors I sent it to, only one came. That’s a success rate of 6%. Sure, it was spring break and many of those gals were out of town. But also, apparently not everyone gets my humor. Who knew?

The ONE person from my neighborhood who did take the bait, as shitty as that bait was? Turns out that gal is a real peach, bless her heart. I already knew that actually, but she sealed the deal for me when she showed up at my house carrying this:

"I brought you a hostess gift!"

One, the “hostess gift” is a dying art. Who does that anymore? Especially to a purchasing party where the guest is kinda expected to spend money! But two, a hostess gift that looks like a specimen jar of urine? I love this girl.

Don’t worry. It’s not urine. It’s actually real extra virgin olive oil that someone in her family exported from an olive orchard in Tuscany!  I wish you could smell it… pure HEAVEN. I drizzled some of it over a salad this weekend and it practically made me weep with joy, it was that good. What an incredibly thoughtful and generous gift. Thank you, Lisa!

I also learned some fabulous new ways to respectfully decline a shitty invitation…

For instance, from my good friend Nora Vagina:

I hate these almost as much as I hate baby showers! I don’t understand housewares or babies, so it’s all kind of lost on me.  So I think I will respectively decline.  You are a good wife and sis-in-law and God will reward you.

I just applaud her honesty, don’t you? And bonus points for ending with a blessing. She’s a classy broad all around, that one. And believe you-me, it takes one to know one, fuckin’-A.

Or how about this decline from one of my other friends, Yolanda:

Or you can just stab me in the eye.

Again, how can you not feel anything but admiration for someone who just tells it like she sees it? Respect, girl.

One more decline that I enjoyed:

Love to. Can’t! But thank you for the invitation.

Simple. Succinct. Effective. Well done!

I also learned that one should never save the most critical cleaning tasks for the day of the party.

I was waiting to do the powder room right before people arrived because, hello, I have two little boys and a hairy-ass husband… things don’t stay clean for long around here. In fact, next time I redecorate, I’m just going to paint my powder room walls yellow and choose a pube-patterned floor tile.

Murphy’s Law, however, guarantees that whatever you save for the last minute will inevitably have to be added to the “Shit I Didn’t Get Done” list.

Thus, I have learned that I should create a prioritized cleaning schedule before a party, and that means things like the powder room take precedence over things like the car and the freezer. Yeah… my freezer was spotless and opened exactly ZERO point ZERO times during the party, but my guests were undoubtedly holding their noses while they used my hairy, pee-sprayed powder room. Good times.

And lastly, I learned to listen to my friends. Margo at Joyful Homemaking suggested I host the party in my newly clean van! Brilliant! And OneShabbyChick advised that I “Have a blast and don’t sweat the tumbleweeds!” What a wise (and stylish) woman! I mean really, true friends seem to like me anyway… stinky powder room, laminate counter tops, quirky humor, and all. And as for the rest, who cares? Let’s all worry less, and party more.

By the way, my sis in law, Teresa did a wonderful job. Not only is she down to earth, but she’s also just as cute as can be and fun to boot. I particularly enjoyed her vast product knowledge and masterful demonstration of the Veggie Wedger, which is almost as fun to use as it is to say. If you live in the northern suburbs of Atlanta and are in the market for some Pampered Chef fabulousness, email me and I’ll hook you up.

Thanks for stopping by!


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

How to prepare for a kitchen party… if you’re an idiot.

Well, tomorrow is my Pampered Chef party. {Gulp!} And like Laura the Org Junkie says, inviting company over is the best motivation for getting your house in order! That’s just one of the 100 great tips in her book, Clutter Rehab. It’s fabulous.

When time is of the essence and you are about to have a gaggle of women held hostage in your kitchen for two hours, you need to get your clean on.

That’s why this week… I cleaned out my car.

Oh yes I did.

Clearly my Grandma dropped me on my head. Probably right after my Mom squeezed my papery-thin skull and my Grandpa blew smoke rings in my newborn face.

Sorry. I just can’t get enough of this picture and thought it was worth the repeat.

But back to getting organized. I actually did clean out my kitchen drawers this week too so that I’d have some kitchen gadgets to donate to the women’s shelter. But I also needed to clean out my car because it was beyond gross. You know it’s time when you start purposefully parking far away from other cars for fear that someone will peer in your windows and know your dirty little secret.

Fortunately, I have a cool system for cleaning out my car, so it wasn’t that bad.

I recently bought some flexible rubber buckets at one of the big box stores. I won’t tell you which one because my business manager/husband tells me I do too much free advertising, but the store name rhymes with Ball*Fart.

Aren’t they pretty? I love them so much that I bought one of each color! (Can you say: “Bucket Slut”?) And I use them constantly for all my organizational needs.

I assigned one color for each kid and I keep three buckets behind the couch to toss in the crap the kids constantly leave lying around. The kids empty their buckets once or twice a week as part of their chores. It works for us. We like it.

Of course, no surprise that Bucket Head likes the buckets. We don’t call him Bucket Head for nothing.

I also enjoy the buckets for sorting/purging tasks…

He's a keeper!

These buckets are great because they are made of flexible heavy duty rubber and they have handles. They’re easy to carry, even for the kids. And they won’t crack or break when they get dropped or thrown at each other, unlike some other hard plastic buckets I’ve tried in the past. They were about $5 each. Totally worth it.

So I took two buckets outside with me to clean out my rolling petri dish the other day…

One was for crap that didn’t belong in the van (teal). The other was for crap that did (magenta). I also had a garbage bag with me for crap that could go right into the trash.

A few minutes later, the buckets looked like this:

Why yes, that IS a rainbow clown wig. Everyone has one of those in their cars, right? I like to put that on right before I go through the car-rider line at school to pick up my two older kids while I’m blasting some Donna Summer and singing along with the windows down. Beep beep….yeeeeaaaahhhh… toot toot! Good times.

Once the van was emptied out, I was able to vacuum out three cubic tons of crumbs and wipe down the surfaces. I’m no professional auto detailer, so take this next part with a grain of pink Himalayan sea salt. There are only a few things I need to clean the inside of my car…

Pictured from left to right: Shaklee microfiber towel, Shaklee H2 All Purpose Cleaner, Swiffer Duster, and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

The center of my dashboard is shiny black plastic and shows every speck of dust. That’s nasty. I have a solution though. I keep a Swiffer Duster under my passenger seat in the built in drawer right next to my first aid kit. You never know when you are going to need a band aid or a duster, right?

Some people text while they drive. Some people dust. Don’t freak out, I wait until I’m at a red light. Geez!

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my go-to tool for scrubbing off scuffs and dried boogers. If you’ve never used one, you are missing out! Just wet it first and wring it out, then scrub scrub scrub. I use the Shaklee H2 with the microfiber towel for everything else. What a difference it makes to not be driving around in such a garbage hole. Smells better too.

Oooh, quick tip. I owe you one this week since I was busy dealing with the Po-Po and my faithful dog’s arrest on Tuesday. I have this center console table thingy in my van. It’s a great spot to rest my phone or a huge bowl of Cheez-Its. But I didn’t like the way my shiz would slide around when I took corners on two wheels. So I cut out a square of rubber area-rug backing and put it there. Works like a charm.

I also keep a little plastic bin with rubber feet and a rubber liner (also from Ball*Fart) under the center console to hold my box of tissues so it won’t slide around.

Ahhhh. Molto bene! Driving around in a clean vehicle feels like such a treat. It even makes listening to Geronimo Stilton audio books less grating.

As usual, I’m linking this post up to Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing. It’s week # 14 there and her topic this week is “Does your system need a change?” Go there and see what my other sisters in organizing are up to! So inspiring!

I’m also branching out and linking to Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify. Check it out! It feels so good to know I’m not the only one out there struggling to simplify my life and get organized!

Well if you’ll mi scusa, I have to get crackin’ for my party tomorrow! Wish me luck!

your friend,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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