Archive for December 2012

Ten Ways to Counter the “Overconnection Disconnect”   Leave a comment

Talking with some friends on Facebook (yes where else would I be talking with them?) I asked why people don’t have time to get together with other people these days.  Why do studies show that people have less close friends than they used to?

Several people mentioned that back in 85 when the original study was done, there was no internet.  If people wanted to connect to people, they sure weren’t using Facebook.  You could call, write, or…, write, or just walk over there and see the person.

While I love how Facebook has brought me together with friends, and helped me reconnect with people whom I had completely and totally lost touch with…I don’t like the way we are feeling disconnected more and more, when you would think with the world getting smaller, we’d feel more connected.

So in the spirit of encouraging true connection I offer these suggestions for us all — including myself.

1.  Buy a small package of note cards.

2. Buy the stamps the go with them.

3. Write a card to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, a relation, heck someone you have just seen!

4. Enjoy the opportunity to talk to the clerk at the store or post office.

5. Take a walk.  Hope you see actual neighbors and can say hello to them.

6. Use the telephone.  Pick it up and call someone.  Keep calling until you find someone who answers their phone, and then, have a conversation with them that has no emoticons in it.

7. Go outside on your lunch break instead of using the internet.

8. Call a friend and invite her to join you for lunch.

9. Spend time with other people working on a common cause.

10. Call someone and invite them to come over for dinner or games.

Maybe it just takes the effort to step away from the screen…which I promise I will do in just a moment…and focus on the person right in front of you.

That’s where I’m going now.


Posted December 11, 2012 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

Christmas for Slobs (or How to Enjoy Yourself with Less than Half the Effort)   5 comments

by the author of the forthcoming manual Homeschooling for Slobs (when we get around to publishing it)

Does Christmas stress you out?  You don’t have to feel that way.  Just follow these five easy tips and join the Slob Revolution!

Item number 1: Decorations

My rule here is, never buy Christmas decorations.  People will give them to you anyway, and then you will have enough to make your house cheerful and festive, without having to worry much about where to store it all.  A few tasteful decorations go much farther than five boxes full of battery powered wreaths and all the rest.  It’ll take less time to take down as well.

Also I definitely don’t recommend putting up Christmas lights.  That can be a health risk and takes quite a few hours.  Here’s what you can do instead:  Gather the kids and your husband.  Get into your car.  Drive down your street.  (Or better yet, get some exercise while enjoying the lights, by walking!)  Maybe even make it into the next neighborhood.  You will see gorgeous light displays everywhere!  I like the blue lights on the Christmas trees in other people’s front yards.  I am especially fond of the white lighted reindeer.  Seriously, these light displays are awesome!  You will get so much enjoyment from them.  And the best part?  You don’t pay for anything but the gas money.  No cost for lights, no cost for electricity, no doctor bills from falling off the roof.  You really can’t lose!

Item number 2: Festive baked goods

I remember reading one of those “simplify your holidays” articles years ago, and here’s the part where I started choking.  This article recommended that, to decrease your stress level, you could make only 6 kinds of cookies, instead of your usual 15.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating the former amount, but I am not exaggerating their recommendation of doing “only” six kinds of cookies.

What do these people do for a living?  SIX kinds of cookies?  I have always made two things: frosted sugar cookies and fudge. That’s it.  They are annual favorites, they are delicious, they are not hard to make.  And trust me, your kids will be getting enough sugar and food coloring from other sources anyway!  Boy, if I had ever known I was supposed to be making SIX kinds of cookies to be doing the holidays properly….I think I’d have just forgotten that fact.

And now I give you permission to forget it as well!  Make whatever you want, and hey, you could even buy it!

Item number 3: Decorating your Christmas tree

The way I handle this is, I have kids who are old enough to do the decorating themselves.  My husband brings the box in, and they all get the pieces out, set up the stand, and attach the branches.  My husband helps the kids with the lights, and then presto! They do the rest of the decorating!  The effect is wonderful, and I didn’t have to do it.

Item number 4: Christmas gift wrapping

This one kind of reads like number three.  I have a child who likes to wrap Christmas presents, so I definitely recommend letting a responsible child do the job for you.

If you don’t have a child who is old enough and capable enough, maybe you could borrow mine.

Item number 5: Christmas shopping made easy

My secret is that I buy things throughout the year when I see them, if I think someone will like them.  At yard sales, on sale, when traveling, whenever.  Then I already have a stash to draw from for my favorite people, and there is less pressure at the last minute to come up with something.

Of course this doesn’t always work.

Then I have to confess I turn to Amazon.  Or some other wonderful site on the internet.  I really like not having to leave home to go shopping, unless I am totally in the mood and ready for it!  If you order enough from a lot of these retailers, you can get free shipping, which makes it a winner all around, if you ask me.

So…see, you really can have a fun Christmas season, with less stress, if you just take my advice.  Christmas is a lot more fun if you are a slob.  Then you can focus on whatever aspect of the season you enjoy the most.  Make time for those who are dear to you and those who are alone.  Do something fun and relaxing.  You can use some of the time you saved following these five helpful tips – and thanks for joining the Slob Revolution.

Posted December 11, 2012 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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