Monday, May 12, 2014

How to Clean and Refresh Your Chicken Coop Naturally!

"Many of the cleaners used on chicken coops, like bleach and aerosol sprays, can have disastrous effects on a flock. Chickens are very susceptible to respiratory illnesses and cleaning a coop with harsh chemicals can cause problems. Let me share how to clean your coop more naturally and still leave it smelling fresh (and even like an herb garden) when you are finished."

Read the rest of my article here!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Writing and Parenting Without Feeling Guilty OR Losing Your Sanity

I was asked just recently how I find the time to write and raise a sixteen month old son. The honest answer is that I'm not entirely sure, but it happens. I am passionate about writing. Getting paid for my articles helps too. It makes it a little easier for me to justify not keeping the house clean all of the time and not having the best of meals prepared. And, I'll admit, that my husband does come home and rescue me sometimes. Though, I'm not entirely sure if I can blame that on my writing. Sometimes life with a

I wrote this article recently for Thalo Artist Community about being both a parent and a writer. There are some secrets to making it work. The Parent/Writer: Secrets to Surviving.

First, it comes down to what you're passionate about. Because it takes work and sacrifice. Too many people feel guilty for making their writing a priority. I'm a mommy and wife first, but there are times when I place my son in his playpen or I let him play by himself, or I make another hamburger and pasta meal. There are times when my husband watches my son so I can write. In the future, I think I'll begin asking a babysitter to watch him sometimes so I can write. It's because I see my writing as important. While I may not be "working," at least not for cash all of the time, writing is my work. In many ways, I feel like I am called to it. So, in short, passion is key. Don't put yourself through the grief and stress if you're not passionate about it. It's not worth it.

Secondly, creativity and flexibility are your friends. Love them, marry them, vow lifelong devotion to them. Get creative in finding times and places to write. Carry a notebook with you when you go to the park. Place a notebook on top of the stroller when you go for a walk. Get a voice recorder and dictate your ideas when you are making supper or driving in the car (though if multi-tasking is not your strong suit, please, please, just focus on driving). Get up earlier or go to bed later. Institute quiet times during the day. Make meals ahead. Love your crockpot. Don't feel bad for telling people "no" when they ask you to volunteer for something.

Thirdly, don't feel guilty. Every parent writer has to work through it for themselves, but I know for many of us, writing is not a "hobby" or a "selfish pursuit." It's something we agonize over. It's something we make ourselves sit down and do even when we just want to drink a hot cup of tea and crawl into bed. While I know it can be easy to feel guilty for "wasting" that time writing, I wonder if in actuality we're sending a strong message to our children. We are saying, "Here, son, this is what passion and calling and drive look like. This is what dreams and hard work looks like." While I have twenty or more years to wait until I know if this is the message I'm getting across to my son, I hope I can give him a heritage of what dreaming and doing looks like.

I'm still learning how to make parenting and writing work. I'm passionate about both. Any and all ideas are welcome! So, share away, what do you do to help you write and parent?