Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Facebook Powers Activate!

Hi Friends...if you've just joined us via Facebook then WELCOME! (If you are not on Facebook...then go now,'s awesome! And then join the "Friends of The NeedLess Experiment" group.)

So here's the scoop...
We are a fun group of people (okay, mostly cool moms) who are trying to live a simple and happy life. No keeping up appearances...just a place to try and figure out what is important, share what works and then let go of the rest.

The site is still in the very beginning, but browse around, have fun, and if you want to pass the word then we will welcome whomever you send.

Have a great day today!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NeedLess Guilt

Today at my MOPS group we had an awesome speaker named Paige McCoy Smith. You local Dallas mom's may recognize her from Good Morning Texas. She is The (not so) Perfect Parent. It was great! All about letting go of the guilt.

You know that guilty feeling you have after exploding at your children when they have (for the fifteenth time) asked for the Halloween candy in the pantry...just an example. Not that it has happened to

Or the guilt we feel after chatting with Neighbor Nancy who is the "perfect" mom and chairs the school fundraiser, while teaching her children a third language, while preparing a healthy dinner in her perfectly clean kitchen in her amazingly decorated house that is probably paid for ten years ahead of schedule just because they had the extra cash from selling the eggs she raises in her chicken coop in the backyard. You know you know someone like this...but let me tell you something - she has her dark days too. We just can't see them behind her Chanel sunglasses.

The problem with guilt is that it doesn't really do anything healthy. It is not a meaningful motivator. If you are doing something out of guilt instead of joy then you are really just selling yourself and your family short. And most guilt comes from comparing. So stop!

I always compare myself to ultra-organized moms who seem to have it all together. (Which, of course is comparing my weakness to their strength. Not fair at all.) I make myself crazy. But my sweet friend made me feel good today when she said, "the same trait that leads to your disorganization is the same trait that compels you to make Kleenex ghosts with your kids."

Sniffles...I love my friends...where are those dang tissues now?!?

So let your hair down ladies and be real with each other. You will be much happier and you won't have to pretend that everything is alright all of the time. Face it - houses get messy, kids get messy and lives get messy. It's okay. That's what makes life interesting!

Spooky Tree complete? Check.

Alright, so we wrapped up our Spooky Tree Centerpiece before Halloween. I like to be pretty hands off during their art projects, so I wanted to figure a way out of drawing cats and bats and witches myself. Then, when I was searching my pantry for something sweet, I found Halloween cookie cutters still in the package. What a fun surprise! See sometimes it is good to be minute you are digging around for some chocolate and the next you have found something you didn't even know you had.

Anyway, Lulu got in on the fun this time with Molly and little man stayed busy by jumping off the arm of the couch into a huge pile of laundry. More proof that I don't do it all...and that laundry is still my nemesis. Darn you dirty clothes...I say with my fist to the sky.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Looking for me?

I am around...just crazy busy with photography business stuff. 'Tis the season. Yeah for holiday family photos. It is always such a great way to finish up the year.

If you are ever wondering where I am check here and keep up with my business happenings. But I will also continue posting NeedLess stuff.

Friday, October 17, 2008

NeedLess Deal of the Week (Oct. 18 - 24)

OK, so the last Deal of the Week seems like it may be a dud. Thanks to whoever left the comment about your terrible experience with SwapTree. I LOVE feedback! It saved me a lot of NeedLess stress.

So on with the new Deal of the Week. And I know this is an awesome company because I chatted with the ladies who created it at The MOPS Convention in Grapevine a few weeks ago.

It is a weekly menu planning service that costs approximately $7 each month. (I really do not care to plan out my menu and grocery list so the NeedLess stress outweighs the money spent.)
You have the option to choose from a wide variety of meals for the week and it creates a printable grocery list and recipe cards. They are always creating new recipes and rotating favorites. The recipes are kitchen tested, kid-friendly, take less than 30-minutes to prepare AND the average cost of the dinners is about $85 per week! Sweet!

They also have freezer meals so you can choose to cook on the weekend and pop them in the freezer and pull out a meal a night.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NeedLess Challenge of the Week: Purge your House

Sometime I feel as though the walls are closing in. If I didn't have so much stuff then I wouldn't need so much space then I wouldn't need to work so hard to pay the mortgage on our house with all of the stuff in it. Circular logic, I know.

So my challenge this week is to throw away or give away 12 things a day for 5 days. Just keep a bag by your back door and chuck it in there. By the end of the week you will have 60 less things taking up space and perhaps helping out someone else. I am a huge fan of passing it on.

The only things I am really determined to keep are a few very sentimental my rocking chair that I rocked all of my babies in...pretty special, not going anywhere and their baptismal gowns. But the 1000 pieces of artwork and scrap paper I have saved from my first child will be getting the fine tooth this week. I have a few dozen from my middle and one from B. I seriously have two big Rubbermaid tubs of Lauren's preschool artwork. What was I thinking? More ideas on how to organize that mess soon.

Repeat as many weeks as necessary.

Just remember...Space is good. Blank is beautiful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Put that credit card away...

If you haven't noticed...the advertisements for home decorating and home improvements have ramped up over the past couple of weeks. In fact, Pottery Barn has already started their endless e-mail campaign to pressure me into buying everything I need to make the holidays perfect. I honestly get a warm (and sometimes fuzzy) feeling when I look at their beautiful pictures of staged homes and think...

Ohhhh, if only I had those dishes/napkins/place mats/candles/gourds/place cards then my children will have a perfect Thanksgiving. Then when they get older they will bring all of their friends home from college because I always provided the most amazing linens and perfect turkey and stuffing. Then when they get married they will always choose our house instead of their in-laws for Thanksgiving. In fact the in-laws will feel so inferior to my autumn themed finger-tip bathroom towels that they will crumble under the pressure and join us too. As long as they do not bring their Jell-O salad.

But then I snap out of it and remember my Thanksgivings as a child...Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the smell of my mom's broccoli and rice casserole, and the delicious pies that my Nanny whipped up without a single recipe. Sure there are some not-so-happy memories associated with Thanksgiving, but I think that it is because I had some mean cousins and used to have unrealistic expectations of this one day.

Now I know. I will try to let go of those expectations. My life is not a catalogue and I will not give into the pressure to charge NeedLess things. My children won't recall if the house was in perfect autumn attire, but they will remember that we enjoyed the day, thanked God for our blessings and shared food and fun times with our friends and family.

I have to admit it though...I really, really want to play flag football someday.

By the way...I am working on getting some fun Thanksgiving stuff together. But right now I am working on no-sew, last minute Halloween Costumes for under $10. That will be posted soon. Yeah!

Friday, October 10, 2008

NeedLess Deal of the Week (Oct. 10 - 17)

This is so cool!
You can swap books, cd's, dvd's and video games online with other people from all over the United States. All you pay is postage and they even have a handy postage label printing feature.

Directly from their website:

You list the books, CDs, DVDs, and video games that you want to get rid of and the books, CDs, DVDs and video games that you want and swaptree does the rest.

Swaptree will show you all of the items that you can receive for your items. Clicking on a "GET NOW" link next to an item will show more information about both the item and the trader you will be receiving the item from.

If you decide that you want to initiate a trade for an item, then an e-mail will automatically be sent to the other parties in the transaction. If the other traders accept, the trade is completed and you will then be provided the shipping address where you need to ship your item.

Happy Swapping!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cut and Paste

Hi Friends-

I know that I have many democrat and republican friends and some of you are even independent weirdos like me...but I have had it with all of these e-mails about Barack Obama being the anti-christ...or a terrorist or worst yet...a Muslim. Dun, dun , dunnnnnn.

So I decided to actually reply all after receiving an e-mail from a family member, once again, spouting all sorts of untruths and racist comments and my favorite...out of context quotes.

I am totally NOT POLITICAL. I usually delete these messages. But I am tired of them. I am just a hippy mom-of-three and humanitarian who wants to be inspired.

So please know that this will be my only political post.

Here is the message just as I sent it...feel free to cut and paste and actually "reply all" next time you get one of these messages.


This is why I cannot talk politics with very many people I know.

This is what is wrong with America…people take things out of context or misinterpret or are plain ignorant and create their own version of the truth in order to scare others into being like them.

Please don’t be part of the problem and if you insist on continuing to forward these so-called “truths” then leave me out.

These quotes are completely taken out of context. I mean…give me a break. It is written in red and quadruple bolded in order to play on your ignorant fears of Muslims. My thought is “so what if he is Muslim?”

Muslims are not the enemy. Only a small group of Muslim extremists are responsible for most of the terrorist attacks. The religion is actually quite beautiful when not taken to an extreme. If you would like to learn more about Islam then you can check it out at:

There will always be extremists. A true Muslim is just as disgusted by the violence of Muslim extremists as I am as a Christian sickened by Evangelical Fundamentalists. Have you seen Jesus Camp? Watch it…pretty scary.

E-mails like this only spread ignorance and fear. Can you find anything uplifting about your candidate and then try to gain support that way?

Please, please…I beg you. Before you vote, investigate what your candidate will do to make a better world for our children, your grandchildren.

Vote out of conviction…not fear or racism.


Hope all is well.


P.S. – If you are interested in truth about Barack Obama give this a try…

Sad Crap and Free Music

I have this uncle who is awesome. Well, actually two of them. And they are both awesome. But anyway, this one once told me that if you don't want to be sad, then to stop watching "sad crap" on the tv. Imagine it in a charming Oklahoma accent.

It was great advice.

I rarely watch the news because it makes me feel helpless and overwhelmed. I get my news from The Daily Show (kidding...kinda) and online. But I have also stopped watching all of those crazy violent shows. The other night instead of watching CSI:Miami we watched the RPS Championships. Yep...that's right the Rock, Paper, Scissors National Champioship. It made me happy.

I also have stopped listening to the melancholy tunes of my college years.

So in search for a free internet music station I found is called the music genome project. You can create as many commercial free stations you want based on a particular song or artist. It then searches for other music with the same qualities. You've gotta try it.

What's your Barometer?

What is it in your life that indicates that you have had enough?

You know-
... like enough running around at a breakneck speed...enough spending money that you don't have...enough carting the kids to 101 activities...enough spending hours in the same 10 square feet in your kitchen...enough multi-tasking with a smile on...just enough.

I have weight and my house. If everything has spun out of control then I don't take the time to run like I love to do and the house spirals out of control. I gotta weight is up and my house is a disaster. But the good news is that I recognize these signs. So now I can focus on getting life back in line.

Things are actually starting to get better, but it is hard to tell from looking at my house. (Or my bum.) But it is. I have to pull everything out before purging the unnecessary and then reorganizing what's left. Are you following the metaphor here?

Most times our lives have to explode before we pay attention to the important things.

So figure out your barometer and nip what is truly bothering you in the bud. (When I was a kid, I thought the saying was 'nip it in the butt' very appropriate now.)

Bottom line...take care of yourselves. Even Mother Teresa took one day off a week. Every single week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Keep Your Promises

Sprinkles...little things that make life sweeter

I used to always make promises to the girls and then unintentionally not keep them. Life gets busy. I would forget (or hope that they would forget) and then I would have this negative dialogue running through my head about what a terrible mother I am and imagine the therapy bills my children would incur as adults.

So now I only use the word promise if I really, truly mean that I will 100% do it. Otherwise, I just say that I will try my best and it is up to them to remind me so that I don't forget.

Today when we were at the Teddy Bear Picnic at the Arboretum the girls really wanted to get their faces painted, but the line...seriously...would have been over an hour long. So instead I promised I would paint their faces when we got home if they would just go play for a while and give me a little break.

So they did...for over an hour. Unprecedented.

On the way home 2 of the 3 fell asleep and I sooooo didn't want to go to the store to buy face paints, but I did. I promised.
It has been ages since I painted a face, but the girls LOVED it! They played "flower princess" and "butterfly princess" for over an hour while I cooked dinner. The sounds of heavenly harps should start playing now...because that rarely happens in my house.

My NeedLess Situation

I have received lots of e-mails and questions about The NeedLess Experiment.

So hopefully this will answer some of the questions...

Currently, My NeedLess Situation is stress. I need less of it in my life. And since a big source of my stress is money (the company my hubby worked for lost it's funding over a year ago) then I am trying to do things that reduce my spending and at the same time only do things that feed my soul.

I don't do it all. People say that to me all of the time. I don't know how you do it all? For one, I do not sleep much...stress keeps me up. And two, you should see my house right now. If you could take the top off and look down you would see an unorganized pile of clothes that need to be priced for a garage sale...folded laundry on the coffee table...unfolded laundry in the basket...dinner dishes in the sink...beds aren't made...I have a mound of work on the dining room table...and my studio is piled with empty boxes for another project I am working on...but everyone is having a great night. The laughter right now is contagious.

And that is what is important to me.

Just think about what brings stress into your life and then try to make the changes needed. For example, if you have plenty of money, but your marriage is not going well then focus on ways to reconnect with your mate. And get rid of those things that are bringing stress into your marriage. Except the can't really get rid of them yet.

Have a great National Night Out!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Manage your Expectations

I love this advice: manage your expectations. I first received it from my friend Jen when I was expecting my toddler to feed herself without making a mess. I have heeded this advice in many ways, but lately for myself. I have this distorted idea that everything must be "perfect." (Those crazy, unrealistic expectations I have for myself sometimes creep back in.)

So recently we had an opportunity to go on our first camping trip ever. (2030 list #16) Some friends who were self-proclaimed "camping divas" planned it and were willing to teach us "urban" parents how to camp. I knew that in order to go we were going to have to borrow supplies from friends and I could not go out and spend hundreds of dollars on the tent and sleeping bags and everything else I would need to make it "perfect."

Also, in order to go we were going to miss a school ice cream social, a birthday party and a soccer game. But I knew this would be a great opportunity to learn how to camp with some awesome friends and to give the kids a wonderful memory.

It was great!

We made the right decision.

NeedLess Challenge: Make a Life Priority List

Repeat after me...We cannot be all things to all people.

We cannot be all things to all people, we cannot be all things to all people...keep repeating until you convince yourself of that truth.

I used to live my life for others. Trying to do everything I could for my mom, my sister, my brother, my grandparents, my husband, my kids, my friends, the PTA committee, the homeroom mom, the preschool board, my church, my clients, my MOPS group, my bible study...and on and on and on.

And it all came crashing down last fall. I could no longer do it all and I was in a debilitating depression for months because of it. Over and over in my head I would say, "You are lazy, unorganized, and not good enough."

Why are we so tough on ourselves? I have always expected more from myself than anyone else ever has. Everyone would say. "I don't know how you do it all."...and I would just smile. But inside I was yelling "HELP! I can't do this anymore." Someone save me from myself. I brought it on by saying yes to everything I was asked to do. I thought, "No one else can do it as good as I can."

If this sounds familiar than I encourage you to slowly get out of any commitments that are stealing your joy. And only keep the ones that feed your soul. I know half of you are yelling at your computer screen, "but if we all do that, then nothing will get done." Or "one person will be stuck with it all!" Not likely. The world won't come crashing down, I promise. We are all energized by different things. And so what if we don't have a committee on every single decision or project that needs to be done.

So start saying, "No" without apology. I learned several great ways to say no from a wonderful mom at the MOPS convention. Her name is Julie Barnhill and I love her outlook on life. These are what she suggested...

Thank you for sharing that idea with me, and no.
I hear what you are saying, and no.
I understand that you would really like that, and no.
I hear you, you could be right, and no.
Thank you for asking me, and no.
I hear you, I care about you and no.
Let me tell you a little story about a man

Isn't she funny? Alright so here is my challenge. Make a list (mental or physical) of what is truly important to you so you can know when to say yes and no, thanks.

I'm Back!

Convention was amazing! I learned so much about how to be a better mom and wife and woman. It was great! And what I liked best was that most of the advise was to simply prioritize what is truly important to you. And to STOP COMPETING...for heaven's sake parenting is not a competition.

Think about will you ever win? What is the evidence? I know some amazing people who had terribly absent parents and then I know some people who had very involved and caring parents and they are miserably negative and exhausting to be around.

So in the coming days I will be blogging about some great resources I found out about and how to manage our expectations of ourselves and our families.

If I met you at convention and you are just now joining us then welcome! I hope to start a movement of slowing down and loving life!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Off to Convention!

In a few minutes I will be dashing out the door leaving my sweet husband with our three children alone on our anniversary. I know, I know...but he knows I love him and sometimes you just got to get out of town. At least to Grapevine!

I am headed off to my very first MOPS convention. I am so excited to meet new mommy friends and gab with my girlfriends who are also going. There are ten of us in all! Yeah, so fun!

Keep watching because I will be blogging from the convention and maybe I will have some cool new ideas or some funny stories to share. Who, me? Stories? Never...

Happy Anniversary Boos! Yeah for nine years!

Deal of the Week (October 1 - October 6)

I have found it!

Albertson's won again...

They are having a mix and match extravaganza!

I bought ten packs of frozen Steam Fresh veggies for 5 bucks! Seriously. The catch is that they are on sale for $1 but if you buy ten then you get an instant savings of $5. And it's just not veggies. They have Steam Fresh rice as well.

So now I have two weeks worth of quick and easy dinner vegetables. (We have fruit with lunch and veggies with dinner. I know 5 a day...but I am doing the best I can with my picky little eaters.)

Check out their ad for details and I am so sorry if there is not an Albertson's in your week I will do an online "Deal of the Week!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Laundry...enemy number one!

I can't stand it...dirty clothes everywhere. Before I had children Sunday was our laundry day. We were able to wash, dry, fold and put away every single dirty piece of laundry in our house. But now the hamper has a revolving door and I feel like there is never a time when laundry is "done."

So what to do? Even when I had Maria, Maria, as amazing as she is, we still couldn't get it all done.

This makes me draw one of two conclusions.
1. We have too many clothes or 2. I am going about it the wrong way.

I was chatting about this very perplexing situation with one of my girlfriends and she had an interesting suggestion. Each person in the house should have their own laundry basket. Then do one basket of laundry per day. If it doesn't get folded just put the basket back in their room and have them either fold it or hang it or wear it.

That makes since...there are five of us and on Saturday I could wash towels and sheets. Rest on Sunday. "You know... because of God." (Twenty NeedLess points to anyone who can name that quote about a pair of missing "Sunday" panties...probably just gave it away.)

Anyway...chime in. How do you do laundry? comparing my life to a hamster in a wheel...I am very sensitive about that. I am not a rodent!

New Domain Name

Hi all!

I changed my domain name to

Mostly because when you put together the words "needless experiment" it looks like "need less sex experiment." Not quite what I am going for.

Hopefully this won't be an issue for any of my readers...if you really need a support group for the "oversexed" I am sure there is one out there. But this blog is for us ol' married folks.

ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Mommy School

Pictures from Mommy school. It only lasts an hour and a half an we do it Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The best part is we can learn and play in our jammies!

This is our schedule...
9:00 am - Free draw on dry erase board
9:15am - Circle time (days of the week, weather, songs about our theme, shapes, letters, etc)
9:30am - Dance time (turn on the music and rock out while I get our activity ready)
9:45am - Activity/Craft time (usually very simple caddy anyone?)
10:15am - Clean up and have snack
10:30am - Put on a video or tv show that can teach them something while I blog :)

After that I try to get them outside and playing.

That reminds me I need to check Craig's List for a swing set.

This is a picture of Papa. (my grandpa, her great-grandpa)
Check out the eyebrow...that's singular...eyebrow.

Why I do Mommy School

I used to have this list of questions that I would casually work into a conversation with moms at the park/mall/preschool to see if we could be friends. You know things like..."Did you see Oprah yesterday?" and "How old are your children?" and most importantly, "Where do they go to school?"

With most of my questions there wasn't a right or wrong answer. I was listening for how they answered it. Except for one question..."Where do your children go to school?" If they answered, "Oh, I home school." Then I would discreetly pinch one of my kids to make them scream and then we would run for the car.

Seriously? I can't be friends with someone who home schools. She is probably amazingly organized and patient and brilliant and disciplined and all of those other things that I am not.

But here I am teaching my two little ones at home because sending them both part-time to preschool would:
  • cost $600 a month in tuition, and $150 in supply fees each semester
  • plus gas to get there and back twice a day, which means that we would have to keep both cars (My goal is to become a one car family.)
  • plus the stress of getting them up and dressed and there on time
  • plus packing a "peanut-free" lunch
  • plus buying teacher gifts, director gifts, party favors, and treats for every holiday

Too much!

So I have decided to teach them at home and socialize them by being involved with my awesome MOPS group each week on Tuesdays. Which by the way is the only day I am allowing myself to use the car. We'll see how that goes once it gets cold. I am a wienie in the cold weather.

Bottom line? I am LOVING it!!! We have so much fun and are closer than ever. I don't answer the phone or check my e-mail. It is just an hour and a half of undivided attention for them. They love it too.