Monthly Archives: January 2016

Little Lessons – Road Trip!

My next vacation is only a few days away, and I am so stinkin’ excited!  It seems like our family tends to vacation during the warmer months, and we are stuck at home during the colder months when I would do anything to get away.

But not this time.

It is almost Frozen February, and I get to go someplace warm!

Cruise vacation 2012 240

The first and last legs of our trip involve travel by car between Indiana and Florida.  Two days of road travel doesn’t have to be terrible.  Planning and packing appropriately will resolve much of the stress of being on the road.

When packing for a two-part trip, I use separate luggage pieces, so my needs for road travel are not mixed in with my needs for cruise travel.  (See my cruise travel tips and packing tips.) I pack for comfort first and foremost!  Sitting in a car in tight jeans for hours is not my ideal form of relaxation.  I pack mostly workout/sweats outfits that I can dress up just a bit with a scarf or sweater for dining in a restaurant road stop.  If you choose to wear yoga pants or leggings for comfort, please be certain to throw on something to cover your intimate intersection for modesty, please!


Other items to remember for your road trip:

Small pillow – Unless you are the designated driver for the entire distance, you may want to snooze for a bit

Dramamine or similar if you are prone to motion sickness

A book to read or puzzles to work, knitting or crocheting, or a tablet loaded with no-wifi-required games

A small blanket – No two people have the same capacity for air conditioning or heating needs, and you don’t want to ruin a vacation by an argument over sweating or shivering!

Prescription or oft-needed over-the-counter medications

Toiletries, including wet wipes – You may want to freshen up during fuel stops and meal breaks

A car charger for your electronic devices since batteries run down quickly when roaming

Plenty of change for tolls – Even if the planned route does not include toll roads, you never know when you may have to be diverted from your plans.  Be prepared!

Snacks!  Include some fresh fruit and vegetables.  Snacking on all carbs, like chips, candy and crackers, can leave you feeling logy and lethargic, and they can mess up your digestion with all of the sitting required when on the road.  Also, bring lots of water and less or no soda.


Some other travel tips:

Take a photo of your car and of the license plate.  This will help when checking into a motel and in case of any incidents during your travel.

Get an oil change and have fluids in the vehicle topped off.  Check tire treads and tire pressure.  Clean out the inside of the vehicle of unnecessary items while you are at it, and vacuum the interior.

If you have reserved rooms at a night stop along the way, be sure you have copies of the reservation confirmation.  Check for coupons and deals online before traveling.

Cruise vacation 2012 203 (2)

Now get out there, explore, take lots of picture, make memories, and have fun!!!


Little Lessons – Clean Routine

Little Lessons – Clean Routine

The List Lady strikes again!  Today’s little lesson is my home cleaning schedule, with the bonus of my personal morning tasks.  This list may seem like mundane and common sense duties, I find that it helps me to have it in list form with handy boxes to check off when a task is complete.  Your list will very likely not look exactly like mine (are you writing an Everything Beautiful blog?) but is reasonably easy to change out and in the appropriate assignments.

Yes, I have “brush teeth” as a responsibility.  Hey, some days it may be the only entry that gets a check!

planner pages


  • Eat breakfast
  • Take meds
  • Brush teeth
  • Exercise
  • Bible reading plan
  • Positive Post Pledge daily post
  • Everything Beautiful daily post


  • Make beds
  • Unload, load, and run dishwasher
  • Wash, dry, and put away hand-wash dishes
  • Wash, dry, and put away one laundry load minimum



  • Living room
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust TV, tables, bookcases, etcetera
    • Vacuum floor and upholstered furniture
  • Office
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust desk, computers, bookcases, etcetera
    • Vacuum floor


  • Kitchen/Dining room
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Wipe down counters, sink, appliances, table chairs
    • Sweep and Swiffer floors, including back hallway
  • Laundry
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Wipe down appliances and folding surfaces
    • Sweep and Swiffer floor


  • Playroom
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust TV, tables, bookcases, etcetera
    • Vacuum floor and upholstered furniture
  • Take trash/recycling to curb (evening)


  • Bedrooms
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Clean/dust tables, shelves, etcetera
    • Remove sheets and take to laundry room
    • Take empty hangers from closet to laundry room
    • Vacuum floor and upholstered furniture, including bed
  • Bathrooms
    • Put away anything that doesn’t belong in this room
    • Take towels to laundry room
    • Wipe down mirror, sink, cabinet fronts, shower/tub, and toilet
    • Sweep and Swiffer floor


  • Water plants
  • Sweep porch, sidewalk, and deck
  • Check hot tub chemicals
  • Clean car: empty trash, vacuum, put away anything that doesn’t belong in the car – wash, weather permitting



  • Check/change furnace filter
  • Sweep cold air return vents
  • Vacuum dryer lint trap area
  • Clean and drain washing machine


  • Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Clean display shelves
  • Wipe down light switches and outlet covers


  • Wash exterior windows and sills/tracks
  • Scrub decks
  • Purge and clean closets
  • Purge and clean garage

a time for everything

Little Lessons – Cruise Control

I am The List Lady.  My life is made up of lists.  If you need a list for almost anything, it is likely that I have one.


I don’t see this as a bad thing.


I will be enjoying my fourth cruise in a few weeks.  Of course, I have a cruise preparation and packing list at the ready.  I have it saved on my computer and printed, and I have laminated the sheet for durability and so I can use a dry erase marker to check items off as I am compiling and packing.  By using my system on this list, I rarely forget to bring anything!  (I have a separate packing list for the road trip to the port and home afterward, and another packing list for clothing for the cruise, not included here.)


Tips for What, When, Where, Why & How

Items in red are absolute essentials!  Everything else can be replaced on board.



  • Cruise documents (boarding pass, passport, visa, driver’s license, photo ID) – make multiple copies in case they are lost or stolen
  • Medical insurance card
  • Credit cards Be sure to call credit card companies before traveling to notify them of travel plans
  • Cash in small bills for tipping porters, valets
  • Prescription drugs, essential medications
  • Glasses, contacts and saline solution, reading glasses, sunglasses
  • Cell phone and charger
    • Change lock screen on your phone to display emergency contact information, including email address and an alternate phone number
  • Necessary toiletries and wet wipes
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Ink pen (not gel-type pens)
  • Lanyard with clear pocket
  • Vehicle keys

Do pack: (placing a dryer sheet in each piece of luggage will help to keep everything smelling fresh)

  • Use soft-sided luggage so it can be stowed under the bed after unpacking
  • Appropriate clothing needs (plan two outfits per day + 2 swimsuits)
  • Hygiene needs (for liquids in bottles – remove lid, place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening and replace lid to avoid spills)
  • Camera, extra memory card, charger or extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Waterproof phone cover
  • Small flashlight
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sunhat or baseball cap
  • Extra folded duffle bag
  • Tote for excursions
  • Lightweight jacket or sweater
  • Watch
  • Small clock for stateroom
  • Ear plugs
  • Dramamine or seasickness bands
  • Tylenol, Advil or other pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrheal medication (*if you get diarrhea and go to the ship’s MD, you will be quarantined! Take care of it yourself if possible*)
  • Ziploc bags
  • Pop-up hamper or trash bag for dirty clothing
  • Travel coffee mug and/or insulated cup with straw
  • Clothespins – a half-dozen should be plenty
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Magnets or magnetic clips/hooks
  • Bottle of Mio or other water enhancer
  • Hanging shoe organizer
  • Highlighter marker
  • Multiple outlet converter
  • Umbrella
  • A few extra hangers
  • Clips to fasten towels to deck chairs
  • Dry erase board with magnets on back
  • Collapsible closet organizer
  • Small first aid kit (bandages, antibiotic ointment)
  • Lint roller
  • Safety pins
  • Hanging air freshener

Don’t pack:

  • Clothes iron or travel steamer
  • Weapons
  • Candles
  • Small electrical appliances (coffee pot, toaster, hot plate)
  • Cooler
  • Sports equipment (snorkeling equipment is okay)
  • Scissors with blades longer than 4”
  • Electrical extension cords
  • Swim towels, beach towels
  • Valuable jewelry
  • Liquor or beer


  • Complete online pre-registration
  • Bring your packed carry-on and don’t check it with your other luggage
  • Luggage tags affixed securely
  • Take a photo of luggage before checking in
  • Be on time! Checked in and onboard no later than 90 minutes before sailing time
  • Avoid the lunch buffet while waiting for the stateroom to be ready.
  • Download Royal Caribbean app to use for communication with the group
  • Choose a location for meeting other than staterooms
  • Check into embarking day spa specials
  • Check out the ship library for reading material


  • Turn cell phone off or to airplane mode and turn data OFF
  • Take advantage of free room service for breakfast and snacks
  • Order whatever you like at the main dining hall. You are not limited to one of each appetizer, entree and dessert in the main dining room. You can order two entrees or three desserts if you choose. You can also order appetizer-sized portions of entrees as starters or order a few appetizers for your main meal. It’s a great way to try new foods you’re not sure you’ll like
  • Check stateroom Bible for extras left behind for you by previous cruisers – drink cards, coupons, so on
  • Check out saunas, showers, and steam rooms – bigger shower stalls, more clean towels, fancy toiletries
  • Use the stairs – less crowded, burns more calories, plus see many great pieces of art!
  • Green apples and saltines will help combat seasickness
  • Use the slot machine as a loophole to get actual cash money instead of the expensive ATM. Just insert your card into the slot machine. Consider betting a nickel or so on a slot pull just for fun. Now cash out with the banker and you’ve just turned your onboard credit into cold hard cash
  • Main lobby deck is a good place to get away from hustle and bustle of upper decks


  • Check that all charges are accurate
  • Complete customs declaration form
  • Keep all ID documents in your carry-on
  • Count checked luggage. Take a photo of bags outside stateroom door.
  • Pack your carry-on same as for boarding, minus swimsuit


Above all, remember to have a great time on your vacation!  That is why you are going, right?

Finnegan Begin Again

On the eve of my final year before I reach the mid-century mark, I am still stubbornly holding fast to my age being 48.  Let’s face it, we are only 48 years old once, one day only.  Then we are 48 and a day, 48 and 2 days, 48 and 360 days.  We will cling to that year mark with every fiber, until, at last, the day changes, and here I am at 49 years old.

I tend to use my birthday as a back-up New Year’s Day, with another shot at being better at something, at anything.  In reality, every day is a new day and a new chance to change.

So, here on my New Day, I have set my sights on this goal:  I will.

Humpf.  Two tiny words doesn’t sound that awe-inspiring or groundbreaking, does it?  These two words could make all of the difference in my life, however.  So many times I hear these words coming from my mouth: “I can’t help it.”  Somewhere I read this little quip – I can’t means I Certainly Am Not Trying.  Really, what most of us mean when saying I can’t is that I won’t.

cant wont

            Obviously, I actually can’t help some things.  I can’t help it who my parents are; I can’t help it what race or ethnicity I am; I can’t help it that I am almost 49 years old.

However, I can help many aspects of my life and the lives of others, and my goal is that I will.  Three things that I can control and that are my focus are

My attitude

My outreach

My productivity

            My attitude is what I make it; no matter what the action is, my reaction is my own doing.  I have been through a lot of trials in my life that I would never wish on anyone else, and some of the memories still affect me today.  I can choose to let these situations overtake my life and drive me down into a hole of self-pity, self-loathing and despair.  I can also take these circumstances and use them to bless someone else who has gone through or is going through similar times.  I will have an attitude that blesses and encourages others and myself.

My outreach consists mainly of my work through blogging and Facebook pages that I manage, along with various groups which I am a part of, both on social media and face-to-face.  I need these groups of friends and acquaintances to keep me accountable, to keep me balanced, to keep me sane.  I will strengthen my outreach to help myself and others have and live a better life.

My productivity is tied in closely with my outreach.  I depend on my personal and business contacts to help spread the word about my blogs and early education website.  (Side note: You can help too, by sharing my blog posts with your friends and coworkers – thanks!)  My productivity depends on some things that are out of my control, also.  I have several issues like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and IBS, that affect my productivity in a negative way occasionally.  By developing and keeping control of my attitude and my outreach, I can counteract some of the impact that these health issues have on my work.  I can also work on health aspects that influence my physical problems.  I need to lose weight, I need to eat healthier, and I need to exercise.  I can control these habits, and I will.



Join me on the journey, won’t you?