The Chancleta Chronicles: How I Handle Pests

When the frog princess started noticing bugs, I would have to remind her that bugs are our friends and she should not be afraid. I didn't want her to run scared from every critter she saw. To reinforce this notion, I enlisted Miss Spider and her friends and family at the Sunny Patch. As I type this, the frog princess sits next to me singing the theme song which ends in "be good to bugs". I try to live by this motto. Unless you're a roach. Or a spider. Or a fire ant. Or a fly.

Yeah okay so, maybe I don't live by that motto. My motto is more"if you're in my territory you must die". I am the killer. I am not afraid. I'm the one that can swat, spray and generally demolish any creature that crawls (except snakes but that's a different blog for a different day). My preferred method: la chancleta (aka the flip flop)!

Except that I have one problem. I can't seem to kill in front of the frog princess. I will usually identify the target and then I will distract the frog princess while I handle the issue. In Florida, this means that I am trying to capture and destroy palmetto bugs (aka big roaches). I hate them. I think they are yucky and disgusting and must be destroyed if I find them in the house. I have nightmares that they will start flying (did you know some of them fly?) and attack me while I sleep.

I've also become increasingly concerned with spiders. While I can appreciate Ms. Spider's caring nature and the fact that she has adopted all those other bugs, two words always come to mind now that I have a child: brown recluse.

Have you seen the yucky open wounds that this spider can cause? Don't look it up because you can't unsee that! So, while in the past I would simply state to the spider "go about your business and I will allow you safe passage in my home" (this is what happens when one grows up reading Charlotte's Web) I now will seek and destroy all 8 legged creatures near and far.

Also, I have a thing about killing flies. I blame The Karate Kid. Mr. Miyagi looked all cool and zen doing it. Now when a fly enters my house, I grab my bandana, my chopsticks, my chancleta and get to becoming one with the lack of buzzing. Seriously, the flies would be okay if they just learned to stop buzzing while inside. I don't know about you but it drives me nuts!

But, I am tired of trying to hide my kills. Especially after the rains in Florida and me scouring the house trying to figure out entry points. It's a never ending battle. I have to distract the kid while I plan on destroying and let's not forget cleaning up. The other day I pounced on a palmetto bug that oozed white intestines or something and it was just yucky. And who has time for that when I have cookie dough to sell for the kid (can I interest you in a tub)? So I'm biting the bullet and getting a pro to come in and handle all this killing.

The next issue is who? And where do I start? Enter Pest World (thank you Geezus)! PestWorld.org is your go-to resource for everything you need to know about bugs, rodents and other household pests. You can identify your infestation, find helpful prevention tips, pest photography and videos, educational articles on a variety of pest topics, and more. Not only can I find out way more information about pests than I care to (but really, you can't help yourself. I'm currently studying the stink bug!) but you can find some pest control folks in your area.

In the fall, pests often enter our homes seeking shelter from colder weather, so it's important to take steps to pest-proof your home. Pest issues are better handled by licensed pest professionals. They have the knowledge, training and tools to properly identify a pest species and recommend ways to safely remedy an infestation before it becomes a serious problem.

You can find a pest professional in your area by entering your zip code in the Find a Pro database on PestWorld.org: http://www.pestworld.org/find-a-pest-control-professional/.

I'm looking forward to giving my chancleta a rest and letting the professionals handle this while I enjoy baking cookies thanks to all this cookie dough that's about to grace my fridge.

Are you scared of creepy crawlies? How do you deal with them?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the National Pest Management Association. The opinions and text are all mine.

A Mami's Christmas Story: Keeping Your Home Clean...

I hope the title got you here. I'm sorry to say I have no clue how to keep my home clean during the holidays.  I don't even know how to stay awake long enough to write a post according to my editorial calendar (for example, this post was supposed to go up on Friday. Instead, I am fashionably late due to my inability to stay up past the frog princess's bedtime). For those of you who don't know, I moved into my parents home a few months ago after mami passed away earlier this year and dad, overwhelmed with grief and the upkeep of a home, had a heart attack in July.  I moved from a 4-bedroom home into a 5-bedroom fully furnished home.  To say that we have clutter is an understatement.  My life is a puzzle! I move things from one place to the next, declutter then move back.  It doesn't help that during the 10-months of my mom's illness, very little was done around the house and to be honest, no one but her really knew what it took to keep up with the home.

So here we are: CHRISTMAS! It was my mom's favorite holiday and so I really want to decorate and do it all up. Except for the whole "where the heck to I put stuff" question.

Well, I put up the tree.

And everything looks fancy schmancy, except for the surrounding areas which looks like this:

On a good note, I've been able to wrangle enough bins to at least clear up the clutter in order to give myself a little bit of sanity.  At a later date, I'll take them one by one and peruse through them for further purging.  But right now, the decorations must go up!

In a day or so everything will be nice and neat and the house will smell of fresh pine and potpourri and will sparkle and shine from all of the cleaning I will do (I like to use great Mami products like: Nail & Polish, Moxy Sheen and Kazoom! Haven't heard of them before? Well, they are my own brand! If you should want to sponsor me then perhaps you can see your products listed here instead!). You may be asking yourself, with all of the stuff I have, how will my house be clean and neat in such little time?  Well, I have this:

Also, if you should come and visit, I want to let you know that you should NOT OPEN ANY CLOSET DOORS! If you do, please be sure to 1. pile everything back in the way it was and 2. don't sue me for any injuries you may have gotten as I've just warned you to not go in there!

What do you do keep your home clean during the holidays?

I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners.

I Wish She'd Had More Birthdays

Every year for the last 7 or so, I've participated in the Relay for Life.  I loved the idea of doing something to help others, enjoyed the events because it gave me a chance to pull together a team of friends, join for a common cause and generally have a great time at the overnight events.  And so, this became part of my yearly to do list which I very much looked forward to. My dad was diagnosed with stage II Laryngeal cancer in September of 2007.  And the relay had a different meaning for me. But, the odds were good and after 29 days of radiation, it was as if it'd never happened.  He's been cancer-free ever since and has had more birthdays since.

After that, I met the frog princess's dad.  He is a survivor of a pheochromocytoma. He'd been in a coma for 6 days before the doctors found out what was wrong and he remained in a coma for 6 weeks.  And the relay had a different meaning for me.  Malignant pheo's are rare and the survival rate at 5 years is 48%.  But he has been cancer-free since 2004 and has had more birthdays since.

Then, on April 6th, 2010, mami was diagnosed. I remember that the relay certainly had a different meaning for me that May.  Because it seemed that we were fighting a different animal this time.  We had a 10-month battle with cholangiocarcinoma.  We all fought.  We all prayed.  We thought we had a chance even though this type of cancer has a very low rate of survival.  In the end, Randall (it's what we called the tumor) got the best of her.  We don't say that he won because she is pain-free and in heaven now so the joke's on him!

Mami died 4 days before she turned 65.  And oh, I wish she'd had more birthdays!  I will once again sign up for our relay for life this coming spring.  Because I want to make sure that YOU and I have more birthdays. Do you participate in a local Relay?

This post is sponsored by American Cancer Society.

The Reason For Being

Last weekend had me driving up and down I-75 in search of information at Bloggy Bootcamp. It did not disappoint! Bloggy Bootcamp was awesome. My head is still spinning from all the information shared! This week I blogged about..stuff ;-).  I wrote a couple of blogs about the conference, I poured my heart out (that was a tough one on Wednesday), I shared a picture book review and finally, my fears on febrile seizures as my frog princess is under the weather since yesterday afternoon.

The BIGGEST highlight of the week was my guest post on SITS (check out my post about papi's pernil. If you need incentive, I totally posted a pic of him in some adorable short shorts).

Well, that was until tonight.  When the frog princess's dad came by to help put her to bed and I asked her to say a prayer.  Normally, it goes something like: gibberish, gibberish, gibberish. Pause. Amen.  Today, though she began with the gibberish and mentioned dadda, mama, Chico, uncle Pete and on and on and on. I'm not sure who else she mentioned because I was busy not trying to bawl.

You see, every night, I keep it short with her because I wanted her to learn the "now I lay me down to sleep" prayer before we got into the long prayers.  Earlier today I noticed that I started praying  as I usually do (just talking to God) but somehow, even though my hands weren't together and my eyes weren't closed, the frog princess knew it was a prayer because she put her hands together and said Amen when I was done.  And then her prayer tonight brought me to tears, plain and simple.

This week I've been reading a lot about what I learned at the conference.  I purchased the DYI Blog Critique e-book from MomComm.  It's awesome! If you're ready to do more with your blog, you should check out this great blog resource.  I'm not going to give you any of the great nuggets in there because you really need to read it in its entirety but the first question it asks is: what's your blog about?  That's a hard question!

But I think I know the answer: I am here to tell my story.  To remind people that even in the midst of turmoil, crisis and what might seem like interminable suffering, there is still beauty in this life.  That there are still things to be grateful for.  There is still laughter and joy.  I hope I can encourage others and provide them with some words of comfort through the stories of my life.  The good and the bad.

Today, my almost 2 year-old frog princess gave me a most beautiful gift and I was so grateful for it.  She reminded me that she is absorbing everything I say or do even when I don't think she's looking.  I was comforted in knowing that she instinctually knew to pray for others and in that way, she reminded me of her abuela.  My life can be turned into a book with all of the downs that I've experienced.  But I believe that what would make it worth reading is all of the beauty and joy that I experience and live with in spite of it all.

If you write a blog: what is your blog about? If you don't: what is your life about?

Mami's Back!

I am finally home!  I made it back in record time though I could've done better had FHP not been all over the place.  Didn't they know I had to get back home to blog? Sheesh! Unfortunately, the laundry did not magically fold itself while I was gone and for some strange reason, food gnomes did not refill my refrigerator.  I am not sure how I feel about this.

There is so much to digest after a great day at Bloggy Bootcamp!  I am excited and ready to hit the ground running.  The best part about it was meeting some of the great bloggers I interact with day to day via social media.  They really exist!  And I do too!  I had the privilege of meeting an amazing group of women that (surprise, surprise) are interested in one another's success.  I was most impressed by the good vibes in the room and the genuine feeling of camaraderie.  I cannot wait for next year.  Not sure how I will make it but, I have my eyes set on Vegas!

My big lesson from the conference?  I can do this!  And not only can I do this but, there's help out there if I need it.  Nothing like knowing that you are not alone!

When I got home and checked my email, I found my Daily Reflection from Babyfit (I know I'm not pregnant but I really like their little inspirations so I never unsubscribed).  I thought it was interesting because when I'm doing my dream coaching thing (more on this later) I always start with that question below.  As you all know, I do not believe in coincidences and so, I take this as a sign that I am on the right path.

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. - Louisa May Alcott

What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail? What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What kind of person would you be? What would at typical day look like? There's a reason that star-gazing provokes the most powerful dreams. They're right there for the taking, yet you can't touch them. Their distance only feeds an ability to inspire. Dreams may seem out of reach, but that's not the point of dreams. They're there to be felt, not touched or dissected. What a star is made of is meaningless to a moonlit dreamer. The epic possibilities are what's important. The payoff is not so much in the destination as it is in the journey. By following your dreams, you make their beauty a part of who you are. Your life begins to shine. You become a better person. By chasing that star, you've already captured its magic.

To my fellow bloggers that I met at Bootcamp, thank you for your presence, your energy and your enthusiasm.  To my readers, what would YOU do if you knew you could not fail?