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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Important Member Of Our Office Staff

Meet Crystal Nickell. The folks in the stores know her as the A Cleaner World payroll person, but I know her to be so much more. Professionally, besides being a whiz at payroll, she’s also a General Ledger Accountant, Financial Statement producer, payroll tax expert, and substitute IT department. Fantastic skills aside, she’s also unbelievably fast. I’ve never known a person that can produce so much work in one day. Personally, she’s a devoted wife and mom and a pie-baker extraordinaire. She has such a quick wit about her and this incredibly contagious laugh. She is just plain fun.

Sixteen years ago, she responded to a newspaper ad for a Bookkeeper at our corporate office. I remember seeing her resume for the first time and thinking “wow, she’s way more qualified for my job than I am.” During the interview, she asked very detailed questions and was incredibly honest about her willingness to work hard and her desire to leave work at the door when she left so she could enjoy her family life too.

I just loved that about her – that incredible honesty. That honesty has created some very memorable moments during the time I’ve known her. For instance, just a few months after she was hired, a group of us were going out to dinner. I posed the question – does this dress make me look fat? She responded – well it does make you look a bit hippy. Finally, someone that answered honestly! I never wore that dress again. And from that point on, I always asked her if I really wanted to hear the truth.

Thanks Crystal for your dedication and hard work. A Cleaner World is lucky to have you, and I am blessed to be able to call you friend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another Dying Art

Did I mention that I can crochet? Well I should also mention that I’m not very good at it. I know I’ve talked about my grandmother before. She’s the wonderful woman that taught me about baking, sewing, salve, and scented soap. She also taught me how to crochet – something that I hadn’t done in a long time until recently.

A number of months ago, Danielle Hatfield (@dhatfield) tweeted about something she was crocheting. Feeling inspired, I went out and bought a crochet hook, yarn, and a how-to book. Now almost a year later I have finally finished my first dishcloth. The instructions called it a dishcloth but it seems to be about the size of a hot pad. I’d also like to mention that the instructions didn’t say to make it crooked. That just somehow happened.

The older I get, the more nostalgic I become. Especially on things that I consider to be a dying art. So while this first attempt was less than stellar, I am certain that my grandmother would be proud. Thanks Danielle for inspiring me to give it another shot. I’m starting another one. I hope that this time it won’t be crooked.  I also hope this post helps to inspire you to give a dying art a try.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fading Furniture

I’ve gone and done it again – given advice and failed to follow it.

We’ve created a lovely guest room for our visitors – it’s painted a warm color, has a soft bed with lots of pillows, and a nice nook for reading or relaxing with a comfortable leather chair and ottoman with an afghan (made by my mom) thrown over the back. So a few weeks ago I was in that room dusting when I noticed it – fading on part of the ottoman and the arm of the chair. I immediately knew what I’d done wrong. I tend to leave the blinds of the window right next to the chair open.

I’ve since started keeping the blinds in that room closed but it got me thinking about where else in the house that fading could be occurring. After going through the house, I noticed that our dining room rug has also experienced some fading. When Matt got home from work, he helped me rotate it – something I should have done over a year ago.

Knowing I’d shared just such information in the past, I searched back through my tweets to see if I could find that great advice that I didn’t follow. Here are two that I found rather quickly:

Prolonged exposure to dirt, dust, stains, and sunlight can shorten the life of your drapes. Regular cleaning is a great way to add years to their life and beauty.

Rotate your rugs at least once a year to help them wear more evenly. Sunlight causes fading and traffic patterns can cause uneven wear.

Let me just go ahead and add another tip for today – based on a lesson I learned the hard way:

Avoid direct sunlight as much as possible on leather furniture. UV light causes fading and deterioration. Close curtains or blinds during the day to prevent fading.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

He’s Motivated By Money

Throughout the month of February, we’re offering suggestions on how your kids can help out around the house. I don’t know about your children, but my child can make a huge mess in no time. I used to find myself walking around picking up after him….and fussing a lot. I decided that I’d had enough of feeling like the maid. So I began trying things to encourage him to help but I was inconsistent and nothing really stuck. So I got one of these:

It’s a chores board that is posted on the refrigerator. We came up with a list of age appropriate chores – some that he’s just required to do because he lives here and some that offer an incentive (i.e. money). I thought I’d share it with you just in case you are trying to figure out how to get your kids to help out more around the house.

It’s definitely a work in progress, but so far I’ve learned a few things:

• As a part of the carrying his load with chores, we’ve set up three piggy banks – spend, save, and give. He uses his spend money to purchase toys and things he wants. So now when we go to the store and he wants something, I ask if he’s willing to spend his own money on it. Plus he now donates his give money to church or other places that help those in need.
• If he doesn’t do his non-paying chores, then he doesn’t earn any money for the paying chores. I quickly figured out he is motivated by the ability to get stuff.
• If he doesn’t do his chores, I purposely point out that I am spending less time with him because he failed to do his job. Quality time with mommy is also a big motivator.

We’re tweaking this as we go, and we’re not nearly as good about it when school is in session. But I hope that this will teach him that helping out – whether chores around the house or others in need – can result in joy. I also hope it teaches him, currently at his 6 year old level, about responsibility. That things don’t just happen – we have to pitch in and do our part to make them happen. We’ll see. Like I said, it’s a work in progress.

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