Friday, September 21, 2018

Animal Shaped Memo Clip Holder Note Pad Dispenser Organizer Review

Animal Shaped Memo Clip Holder Note Pad Dispenser Organizer Review
I am always writing little notes and reminders for myself, as well as for my family.  These little notes help me tremendously to stay on schedule.   They also serve as reminders to take out the trash or refill a prescription, or other mundane chores I would rather forget.  I rely heavily on them everyday.  Sometimes I even write myself a little reminder about an upcoming holiday so I can remember when offices and stores are closed.  That helps me avoid being annoyed if I try to reach someone on business only to get an answering machine.  Needless to say, my laptop is often decorated with colorful post-its.  

Until recently, I didn't have a great place to leave a note for a family member, or for something that was unrelated to my computer work.  Seemed like my little notes ended up on the floor or covered by other "stuff" rendering them useless.

That was all before I bought my rabbit memo clip holder!


My Rabbit Memo Clip & Note Pad Holder


To say I love animals, would be an understatement.  I have rabbits, mice, squirrels, bears and even a giraffe included in my home decor surroundings.   They are beautifully displayed on pillows, afghans, magnets, and more.  Plus, I have cookie jars and teapots in the shape of animals.  Not to mention my beloved plush animals that decorate my craft room and our bedroom.

 Chris-Wang Multi-functional Plastic Animal Figure Memo Clip Holder Stand Note Pad Dispenser Organizer, With 200 SheetsCheck PriceOne day I was browsing Amazon, searching for shaped post-its when I spied a  rabbit shaped clip holder.  Yes, I had to have that memo clip holder!  

Now, my pretty blue rabbit chomps down on my daily reminders, receipts, or even my outgoing mail.  She keeps those slips of paper and envelopes front and center on my kitchen counter.  Therefore, the notes are no longer "lost" under other things or blowing to the floor unnoticed.  My blue rabbit has become my most useful home office helper.  

She also features a cut out space that is the perfect size for a pad of post-its.  She came with a blue note pad, but once they were all gone, I replaced them with a pad of post-its.  She can hold a post-it as well as any slip of paper.  I simply use post-its more often, but someone else might well prefer the less expensive note pad replacements.

In addition to the blue rabbit style that I selected, there is also a dinosaur, a giraffe, a donkey, a elephant and a hippo available.  I have to sit on my hands to keep from buying them all.  I think they are all adorable, but I really only have a place for one and I have a special affinity for rabbits.  However, you might prefer one of the other animal shaped memo holders so I have displayed them all below. 

 

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House of Sylvestermouse




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Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review
What Others Are Saying About This Book
Nazi Germany.  1942.  A priest in search of redemption.  A widow seeking provision for her fatherless children.  A people desperate for relief—relief from oppression, from evil, from hopelessness.  Olivia Hawker's new historical novel, The Ragged Edge of Night, is a revelation.  To immerse ourselves into Anton and Elisabeth's war-torn lives is to see glimmers of unimaginable beauty beneath the desolation of loss, shame, failure, and fear.

As the story begins, Anton is still reeling from the abrupt end of his mission as a Franciscan friar.  To be wrongly stripped of his life's calling has been painful, but even worse, he cannot forgive himself for being powerless to save the children who were in the church's care.  When the Nazis loaded up Anton's students, he was overcome by an overwhelming sense of having committed the unforgivable sin.  Though there was nothing Anton could have done to save the children's lives, the guilt is crushing.


While Anton wrestles with his demons, Elisabeth, a young mother of three who is still grieving over the unexpected death of her beloved husband, is in the midst of considering the hardest decision of her life: whether to remarry in order to provide for her family.  Elisabeth feels great shame as she struggles to reconcile the feeling of being unfaithful to her first husband.  If there was another option, she would gladly choose it.  Alas, the harsh realities of wartime force Elisabeth to publish the following personal ad:
Good churchgoing woman, widowed, mother of three.  In need of a humble, patient man, willing to be a father to my children.  Interest in legitimate marriage only.  I have no money, so those who think to profit need not reply.
 In coming across Elisabeth's plea for help, Anton is immediately struck with a new sense of purpose.  Though his first choice would be to eventually return to his Franciscan order, and while Anton remains true to his sacred vows, he feels that supporting Elisabeth and her children is the right thing to do.  This opportunity has the potential to fulfill Anton's deep need to be useful, to find forgiveness, and to protect those who need it most (addressing his need for redemption due to the loss of the children snatched up by the Nazis who shut down Anton's school and religious order).

The soul of this book is revealed in the simplest, and yet loveliest of ways, as two faithful individuals remain true to their vows, their principles, their hearts, and all that defines a life worth living, and for which they are willing to die.  When Anton's involvement in the resistance movement against Hitler brings danger into his new family's life, relationships will be tested, and the true nature of love will be revealed.

Based on the real life experience of one of the author's family members, The Ragged Edge of Night is a timely story that is sure to inspire every reader who is concerned about the extreme tensions that are being felt in today's world.  This is a moment in history when every single one of us can take heart as we consider the difference an ordinary person like Anton can make in the lives of those who are hurting.  I was deeply moved by this book and highly recommend it.








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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Halloween Costumes: Important Tips for Everyone's Safety

Kids everywhere are already discussing what they will dress up as for their favorite holiday,  Halloween!  

Let's review some important safety tips so our children/ grandchildren can continue to enjoy this holiday.

Even though the end of September is quickly coming, adults and kids alike are getting into the Halloween spirit.  Everywhere you look there are dozens and dozens of costumes just trying to get your child's attention.  At the end of October every neighborhood will have dozens of Superheroes, Doctors and Nurses, Witches and Werewolves prowling about.  

Halloween safety tips, halloween costumes, childrens safety
These are my grandchildren, Miss BoPeep and her Sheep!
               

The excitement of  all the Treats has most youngsters just chomping at the bit to get out on Halloween night.
  
Let's just take a minute to review some important safety tips to keep our children/grandchildren safe during their escapades.

1.  Never ever let your children go out alone and unsupervised.
-team up with some neighborhood parents  and share the role as supervisors.  There are always some big kids that will take advantage or prey on younger children that are alone.  Instead of having fun, they are robbed of their candy and may even suffer some physical injury.

2.  Make sure their costumes allow them to walk without tripping, climb stairs without "face planting" on the next step and just see where they are going.  

3.  If they have chosen to be a witch, zombie, ax murderer or some other very dark creature, make sure that somewhere on their costume there is reflective tape or better yet, a  bright flashlight that will illuminate them in the dark.

4.  Rather than masks, try using makeup to augment their costume.  If you slather them with cream before makeup application, it will be much easier to come off later.  Makeup does not hinder their ability to see what's around them.  Masks tend to slip, dip and drop and the children are more interested in keeping that mask in place, than looking at where they are going.

5.  Keep the children off the roads.  One accident is one too many.  Check your route, and see that you do one side of the road and then cross to the other side.  Cars and kids running amok are not a good combination.

6.  Don't allow any treats to be consumed until they have been checked over.  With food allergies and treats being tampered with, eating on the run is never a good idea.

7.  Have fun and take some pictures along the way!  They will make some great memories in the future.

If you are looking for a great flashlight for your children to use on Halloween night, I would suggest this one:



I  like this flashlight because it can be used at Halloween, but it can be used at other times of the year too.
It is an Amazon Choice and has three light settings.  It's a regular flashlight with a powerful beam, it's a reading light with a softer and wider light surface and (here's the reason I really like it) it has a powerful red flashing emergency light too!  That would add just another facet to any Halloween costume out there.

We have three of these in our apartment and they really work well when there is a black out!  So after Halloween, keep these flashlights in and around your home, so that if the power ever goes out, you are prepared.


Halloween Safety Tips, Halloween costumes, Keeping children safe








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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ant-Man Costume Reviewed

Most Likely A Popular Halloween Costume This Year

Will these ants help Ant-Man? Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I have a feeling that the Ant-man costume will be one that many children will want for Halloween this year. At least I will be surprised if I don't have a least a few show up at my door to trick or treat!

Our dear Cynthia reviewed the Ant-Man movie for us back in July. My husband and I just watched it this weekend. If you haven't seen it, you really do not know what you are missing. I wasn't so sure that I could get into the whole concept of a Super Hero being an ant. Ants are not even close to being on my favorite list. After reading her review, I decided that it might be a movie that I could enjoy and I knew my husband would like it because it is from Marvel. I have to tell you, this was probably my most favorite of the Super Hero movies from Marvel. It was action packed but it was also very funny! The ants (as much as I don't like 'em) were pretty incredible! 

A little factoid: There about 1 million ants for every human in the world. (That is a lot of freakin' ants!)

Anyway, back to the costume. I do think the children who have seen the movie will want to be the Ant-Man for Halloween. He really is a pretty cool and easy to relate to. Above all things he is a very loving Dad. 

So, the costume is relatively inexpensive as costumes go and it comes with everything a child would need to be his or her new favorite hero. There is a jumpsuit with attached boot tops, a belt and a mask. I was glad that it is just a mask because if it was an over the head helmet, I think some children would struggle with wearing it. As it is, they can have fun wearing it for Halloween and they can also play with it after they have gone from door to door.

Do you know a child who would enjoy dressing up as a Marvel Super Hero?


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Monday, September 17, 2018

Reviewing Forgotten Ellis Island

Forgotten Ellis Island.
I recently reviewed an interesting book that was set on Ellis Island in 1911. While reading that book I realized how little I knew about the early days of Ellis Island. Immediately after finishing the book, I looked for more factual information about immigration via Ellis Island in the early days.  I found Forgotten Ellis Island based on multiple recommendations. And I'm here to recommend this documentary to you.

In the novel, A Fall of Marigolds, I learned about Nurse Clara and what her job entailed on Ellis Island. That brief visit piqued my interest. I wanted to know more about the doctors, nurses, and healthcare provided in those early days. In the days before antibiotics. While some immigrants arrived with diphtheria, cholera, trachoma, and other severe physical ailments.

Forgotten Ellis Island is a PBS documentary that shows us the inside of the abandoned medical buildings of Ellis Island. Did you know there are 3 islands that are a part of Ellis Island? I had not known that prior to reading this book and watching this documentary. In the documentary, we learn about the medical center being used as the first defense, and attempt, to stopping contagious diseases from spreading through the country. We hear about the treatments used - before medical knowledge grew and provided better treatments for diseases. Specifically for trachoma. 

I enjoyed seeing the photos of the nurses, touring the inside of the buildings, and seeing the fashions during that time period. If you are interested in this time period, in "the great wave" of immigration, or in early medical care, A Fall of Marigolds and Forgotten Ellis Island is a wonderful combination that brings this time period alive. 

There are many ways to view this video; television, streaming apps, or purchasing the DVD. I want to mention that I watched it for free via Amazon Prime. Also, I watched it on my Insignia Roku television. With all of these free and nearly-free shows and movies, I'm LOVING this tv!






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Sunday, September 16, 2018

5 Items for the Home to Ward off Evil Spirits

Halloween is on the Way! Time to think Protection, Protection, Protection

O.k. not really, but just in case here's a review of items for the home that are said to protect your humble abode from all things evil.

1. Horseshoe Home Décor Accessories

When it comes to protecting your home, the best place to put a horseshoe is on your front door as a door knocker. However, if you're unable to place it on the door, go ahead and place them inside your home. A horseshoe in the home is said to attract good fortune, and in doing so, evil gets knocked on it's butt. Some people believe it's better luck to hang the horseshoe with the ends pointing up so that all the good energy has a place to pool inside the horseshoe.

2. Use Cinnamon Scents in Home

Did you know that Cinnamon is associated with prosperity. Besides baking, you can incorporate cinnamon in your home using cinnamon oil or cinnamon sticks. During the holiday season include cinnamon scented pine cones in a center piece, or decorate using cinnamon sticks in wreaths. Place cinnamon Crystal Allies Materials: 1lb Bulk Rough Black Tourmaline Crystals from Brazil - Large Raw Natural Stones Reiki Crystal HealingWholesale LotCrystal Allies Materials: 1lb Bulk Rough Black Tourmaline Crystals from Brazil - Large Raw Natural Stones Reiki Crystal sticks in all your wreaths. If you don't want to see the sticks, simply tuck them in so they're not visible.

3. Feature a Rosemary Wreath

For those who enjoy the history of witches, witches believed that hanging rosemary on your front door would ward off burglars and intruders. It was also used as a way to rid a room of illness during the time of the plague. If nothing else at all, between the rosemary and cinnamon in your wreaths, your home will smell lovely.

4. Display Gemstones Throughout Your Home

The topic of gemstones is a rather in-depth one. Feature in a centerpiece or in a lovely decorative bowl the following gemstones to ward off bad energy: Tourmaline, Agate, Emerald, Labradorite, Black Onyx, Peridot and Emerald. If you need to pick one, choose Tourmaline as it's said to be the most effective for dark energy.

5. Smudge Your Home With Sage

I know a few people who do this in their home. It's derived from the Native American belief that the smoke from sage will cleanse a space and clear negative stagnant energy. Spread the sage clockwise around your home and while doing so, visualize positive intentions as you clear every room. Reiki Practitioners are known to clear the energy in their home or office with Sage after a session with a client. It clears the energy for the next client so their treatment can begin anew from a cleansed room.


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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Review of a Beach Dish Towel by Primitives by Kathy


Beach Dish Towel by Primitives by Kathy Review

I have lived on the Georgia coast for nearly 20 years and during that time my 'kids' and grandkids have frequently been to visit. My daughter, especially, loves the beach and the ocean and often wishes she could see it every day.  Since that is not possible for someone living in the Midwest, I thought this beach towel would make the perfect gift for her as a little reminder of her favorite 'beach days'. 

As soon as I saw this dish towel, I knew it was perfect for Kimberly.  The saying reflects words I have heard her wistfully say on days when she wishes the most for another beach day. 



I cannot adult today. If anyone needs me
I'll be at the beach building Sand Castles

Primitives by Kathy offers a number of different dish towels with beach themes, but this one is  my favorite.  It shows a sandcastle on a blue background with wavy lines top and bottom and the words are SO Kimberly! 



Primitives by Kathy


Kathy, and her  mother, had a paint studio and retail store in Lancaster, PA for over 10 years.  They always searched for unique and creative items for their shop. Then one day in 1997 Kathy decided to create a handmade “primitive candle box”.  That one product began what was to become a very successful business. 

In the next 20 years, Primitives by Kathy grew from 1 product to over 8,000 and today the company has a team of over 150 talented industry experts and is ranked in the top 25 of the fastest-growing women owned businesses in the world. 

Primitives by Kathy is now primarily a wholesale company for stores. I found this particular dish towel in the gift department of my local Ace Hardware, which carries a number of unique and creative handmade products such as this one. Being a proponent of handmade items myself, I greatly admire products such as these that Kathy offers.  

Visit her website Primitives by Kathy to learn more about her company and see her wide range of interesting and useful home décor items. 

In addition to selling wholesale, many of Kathy's products are now available on Amazon and range from decorative signs and boxes to coasters and dish towels to a large variety of home and kitchen décor items. Or check your local gift stores, as I did, to find these interesting items. 


Another Favorite Beach Theme Dish Towel


Available on Amazon

Besides the dishtowel I got my daughter, one of my other favorites is a dish towel with the saying “We're at the Beach ~ Kitchen Closed”.  Here on the Georgia Coast, we have a LOT of 'beach days'. 


Dish Towels as a Decor Item


I love finding the perfect gift for a relative or friend, and I am also thrilled to find a unique item such as this dish towel I purchased for my daughter.  I can just picture how special her memories of the beach will be every time she sees this beach-themed dish towel hanging in her kitchen. 

So leave the ordinary behind when you are searching for an accent item for your home décor or for a creative and clever gift item. 








(c) Wednesday Elf




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Friday, September 14, 2018

How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture

How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture
Renew Your Outdoor Furniture with Rust-Oleum Spray Paint

For the last few seasons, our outdoor furniture has started looking worn and tired.  Metal outdoor furniture is too expensive to throw away and replace, but it was definitely time to restore the beauty of the pieces.  

Last spring my husband started refinishing our outdoor furniture one piece at a time.  He choose our wrought iron table as his first project.  With a few cans of black Rust-Oleum and less than an hour, our outdoor table looked brand new again!  

Since then, he has refinished the chairs that match that table and the whole set is beautiful again. 

Last week, he refinished our wrought iron glider.  I love all of our outdoor furniture and appreciate its durability.  But, that glider is the one I use the most.  I am thrilled to have it restored to its original beauty.

My new slogan for wrought iron metal outdoor furniture:  Restore, Don't Replace!
 


Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture
Refinished Wrought Iron Patio Table & Chairs
He also painted my little ghost  in the background with a can of White Rust-Oleum - Getting him ready for Halloween



How to Refinish Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture

Time:  45 mins
Cost:  $25.00

Compared to the Cost of a New Glider:  $300.00

Because the refinishing of the metal table and chairs had been so successful, when my husband said he was going to refinish the glider, I grabbed my camera.  I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to tell you exactly how to repaint your metal outdoor furniture too.

  How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor FurnitureItems Needed:
  • Cans of Rust-Oleum
  • Plastic Drop Cloth 
  • Tent Pegs
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Old Shoes & Old Painting Clothes
Step 1:  Clean the piece - remove all dust & dirt

Step 2:  Cover an area in the yard with a large, thick plastic drop cloth  (2.0 mil preferred)

Step 3:  Use tent pegs to hold the drop cloth down.  We used old army tent pegs at all four corners, but you could use bricks instead to weigh down the corners.

How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture Step 4:  Shake up the Rust-Oleum spray paint

Step 5:  Turn the piece over and start spraying the underside

Step 6:  Turn the piece right side up and spray the entire surface from every angle in order to cover it completely and evenly

It took about 45 minutes and 4 cans of Rust-Oleum to spray paint the glider.  That short amount of time spent renewing our glider will give us many more years to enjoy the beloved glider.  Plus, the Rust-Oleum spray paint helps to prevent rust.


Restoring Wrought Iron Metal Outdoor Patio Furniture


Additional Spray Painting Tips: 


Wear disposable gloves  (see products below)

Wear long sleeves to protect your skin

You may need to wear protective eyewear and disposable masks

Keep the spray can moving as you are painting to avoid runs.

You should do all of your painting on any individual piece within an hour.  

This spray paint, in our experience, tends to self- level any heavy areas of application as it drys, within reason.

Let the furniture piece completely dry for 24 hrs. before use.

 
How to Easily Paint & Refinish Metal Outdoor Furniture
My Wrought Iron Glider Beautifully Restored

   

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House of Sylvestermouse











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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Reviewing Lighthouses near Eastham on Cape Cod

Nauset Lighthouse

The iconic lighthouse above is seen on the package of Cape Cod potato chips and has become a symbol of Cape Cod.

Nauset Lighthouse

Nauset lighthouse was originally one of the twin towers in Chatham which were built in 1808. When erosion claimed these lights they were replaced by metal ones in 1877.  In 1923 one of the Chatham lights was restored and moved to Nauset.  The beacon on the light has been fully restored and is used as a private navigation aid.  The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is a very popular tourist attraction and although it is privately owned you can get private tours in the summer.  I was able to walk the grounds and photograph it from several angles.  I love the bright red and white colors on the lighthouse.



If you think this lighthouse looks familiar, it may be because you have seen it on the package of Cape Cod potato chips.


   

Three Sisters Lighthouses

Just a short walking distance away from the Nauset lighthouse you will find the restored Three Sisters lighthouses which originally were located on the Eastham coast.  The original buildings fell into the sea around 1890.  They were restored in the early 1900's.  Two of the three lighthouses were at one time summer cottages.  They are now located in Cape Cod National Seashore.

View of Sea near Nauset Lighthouse

Zazzle Products from my Photos

I have taken many photographs in the past few years since I became enthused about lighthouses and in my quest to find a way to share them with others I came across Zazzle.  This print on demand site is a great place for me to put my photos on products that can then be purchased.  Here is one of my photos on a metal print from Zazzle.  Click on the link to discover other lighthouse gifts on Zazzle.



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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews

Two Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories 


We've all heard about hoarders or seen documentaries about them on television. Few of us, however, have grown up in a hoarder's house. The children of hoarders have no choice. I'd like to introduce you to two of those children, now adults, who have written their stories.

Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews
A Hoarder's Living Room Probably Looks More Cluttered than This
By Maschinenjunge [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons


My myLot friend, Lori Moore, wrote The Hoarder's Daughter: Memories of a Life in Chaos. Her mother was not only a hoarder but also an emotional abuser. Lori wrote her book to show others what the life of a hoarder is like and how it often destroys the hoarder's relationship with family and friends. She hopes to help people distinguish between a real hoarder and a messy or really disorganized person that keep a lot of clutter around. She also wanted to finally expose her family secret. She says "Toxic family dysfunction has to be acknowledged before it can be fixed."

Izabelle Winter's father also hoarded his possessions. Izabelle had left home as a young woman to escape the house.When she was married with eight-year-old twin girls and a ten-year-old son, her father fell from a ladder while pruning. He had turned his backyard into a garden all his neighbors admired, but most had never seen the inside of his house.

Izabelle's mother had died nineteen years earlier, after a mental breakdown. Isabelle's brother Ant still lived in the house with his father even though he was long into adulthood. He suffered from learning disabilities that hindered his ability to make decisions and take initiative. Isabelle knew she would have to take charge of getting the house ready for her dad to come home to, probably unable to walk. She wrote Diary of a Hoarder's Daughter to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Lori's Story of Living with Emotional Abuse in a Hoarder's House


Lori writes as an abuse survivor. She dedicates her book to her brother whom she calls "my sibling survivor of the lying, manipulating, stealing, and hoarding person that we un affectionately referred to as 'Mean Mom.'" In the book she calls her mom Louise, though it's not her real name. Louise had so perfected her skills of  intimidation  and inducing guilt that Lori was fifty before she realized she was the abuse victim -- not her mom. Although her brother was also a victim, Lori believes his story is his to tell, not hers, so she tells only her part of it.

Growing Up in a Hoarding House


Lori recalls that the house she grew up in smelled so bad that people almost gagged when they walked in. The house was already full but her mother kept accumulating and the possessions had to go onto the backyard patio. Lori called the junk at the entrance "Mount Trashmore."

There were also health hazards. I won't go into all the horrifying details, but here are a couple to give you an idea. Trash was strewn everywhere. There was an air force of flies and gnats. There were maggots in the toilets and sinks. A stray cat had become part of the household, but no one cleaned the litter box, so the cat stopped using it. I think you've got the picture. It was so bad that Lori's brother, who had inherited the house, had to evict Louise from it after she'd lived there for 19 years.


Trying to Help Louise

After the eviction, Lori and her brother found a low-rent apartment for senior living and Louise didn't even pack since she resisted moving. Lori and her brother had supplied the new residence with clean furnishings and clothing and stocked the apartment with food. Louise had already begun to hoard again a month after she had this chance to start fresh. After four months she had done no cleaning, dishwashing or laundry.

How This Affected Lori

Lori's parents divorced when she was eleven. Her father and brother were now a hundred miles away and she missed them. Her mother neglected her and she was often hungry. This probably is part of what led to Lori's eating disorder. Lori also suffered the lack of love, security, protection, and approval she craved. She believes her mother was incapable of providing it. 

Because of the emotional abuse and the secrecy the hoarding behavior required, Lori was socially isolated. She could not have friends over.  She has been through years of therapy to deal with the abuse she has endured.  

In spite of what she suffered during childhood as a hoarder's emotionally abused daughter who struggled with guilt, lack of parental support, and social isolation, Lori has had a successful adult life. She has four graduate academic degrees and has been an adjunct professor and an upper level manager for large corporations. She has also written several books besides this one. 

Things I Learned from Lori's Book


Besides just telling her story, Lori did a lot of research on hoarding and emotional abuse. She covers some of these areas:  
  • Ways in which emotional abuse and hoarding are related. 
  • Manifestations of Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Symptoms of a Cognitive Disorder
  • Cognitive Symptoms of Depression
As I was reading through the behavior of someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder, something hit me like a bolt of lightning. I believe that's what my daughter suffered from. It may be part of the reason for her suicide as an adult

Izabelle's Efforts to Clear Space in a Hoarder's House


Izabelle Winter, a busy mother with a part-time job, had to completely disrupt her life for over a month to suddenly deal with what she saw as her "personal Everest" that she had to climb -- alone! She even refers to the clutter in her father's house as "The Mountain" whenever she writes about dealing with it. Because she found around sixty pairs of shoes in the clutter she went through, she calls her father Imelda in the book, after Imelda Marcos.

Climbing "Everest"


Izabelle had a deadline to clear enough space in the house for her father and visiting outside help to function. He could not be released from the hospital with a broken back until this was done. Wheelchair or walker access might also be needed.  He needed to be able to get to his bed and an accessible bathroom.

The problem with clearing space in a hoarder's house is that there is no room for sorting. Every available space in Imelda's house was filled with junk from floor to ceiling -- every room, every cupboard, and every path through the house. The kitchen, bathroom, and stairs were also full. None of the items were organized. Junk mail mixed with shoes, clothes, spare parts, broken items, unopened packages of children's clothes, money inside magazines and receipts, trash ... well you get the idea. Izsabelle describes her feelings here:

I felt as though I was at Everest base camp, all  alone, wearing just flip-flops and a woolly hat. I was totally unprepared for the nightmare I faced; totally terrified by it and afraid I'd fall on the way up the mountain. I just wanted to go home and hide. 

Health Issues


To add to Izabelle's problem, she had severe dust allergies and asthma. She sometimes had been unable to breathe when around too much dust. This often sent her to the hospital and she almost died there once. How was she to attack clearing the space Imelda needed?  Even on her visits to him she always talked to him outside in the garden.

After he fell, whenever she entered the house to work she had to wear a dust mask, trousers, and long sleeves. When she started the clearing project, she had to recruit help, often from her brother Ant, to carry boxes of stuff outside so she could sort there.

Helpful People Who Told Comforting Stories


You can just imagine Izabelle's life, caring for her children, working on "The Mountain," and visiting Imelda in the hospital every afternoon just before going to work in the late afternoon. I will leave the details for you to read in the book. She attacked the junk piles methodically and searched through every pile or box before throwing anything from it in a trash bag. Close friends and neighbors often helped her, and they told her stories about her mother from the good years. She appreciated that. She also unearthed diaries her mother had written that showed how the hoarding had affected her.

It's Hard to Cure a Hoarder

This first video is very sad. We watch a woman choose her stuff above her relationships. She just can't let go. But we do get a feel for why some people hoard and why they can't stop even with professional help.


This next video shows us two other hoarders who may be headed for a more normal life. But you can see how hard it is for them to make the changes that are good for them. 



Success?


When Imelda was finally released from the hospital, Izabelle had cleared enough space so he could come home and sleep in his bed and take care of his needs. She and her friends had worked almost nonstop in every spare minute. Later Izabelle and Imelda were approached to participate in a BBC documentary show on hoarding. After much soul searching and discussion with the producers, they decided to participate. Later they did a follow-up episode. Before that episode, professionals came to clear the living room enough to allow Imelda's grandchildren to get to the sofa so they could sit there together to interact. The camera view of the room was clear, even though some stuff still remained outside the camera view.

The idea was that they took everything out and were hoping Imelda wouldn't want to bring it all back in, but he did want to bring most of it back in. Izabelle didn't visit much that first month. She wanted to see if her father would actually clear anything he had said he would.

Six months after the program was filmed, Imelda's stuff was creeping back up the stairs and into other places Izabelle had cleared. She decided it's his house and she would let him live as he chose. It's hard for a hoarder to change -- even with professional help. She accepted he'd never change at 83. Ten months after the fall, at the time the book was written, the house was filling up again.



Contrasting These Memoirs by Hoarding House Survivors


Both books discuss these topics.

  • Some reasons people hoard
  • Broken family relationships due to hoarding
  • Experiences of family members trying to help hoarders
  • Descriptions of hoarder house conditions
  • Health hazards of hoarding and living with a hoarder

Unique Content in The Hoarder's Daughter by Izabelle Winter

Izabelle had a deadline to meet and had to act quickly to meet it. She emphasizes the emotional and physical struggles of clearing rooms without harming her own health. She goes into more detail than Lori about the mess and the clearing strategy she used. Izabelle was less socially isolated than Lori appeared to be in clearing clutter, and her friends and neighbors supported and helped her. Lori and her brother seemed to do most of the work in helping their mother themselves. 

Izabelle goes into much more detail on the thinking process of a hoarder. A hoarder's perception of value is different than that of someone who is just messy and accumulates more clutter than neater people do. Because Izabelle understands the process, she realizes she won't be able to change her father. Since he seems to be able to function in the mess, once he heals, she leaves him be and resigns herself to the condition of the house going back to what it was. 

Although Izabelle doesn't analyze her father's mental conditions as much as Lori does her mother's, she does mention the ways that her father still treats her like a child. She goes into detail about his selective hearing and not caring about what she and her children have to say to him about everyday things unrelated to the hoarding. She feels dismissed because she is female. She gives examples of conversations that make her point. She doesn't label this as emotional abuse, but Lori probably would have. 

Isabelle's story is primarily about dealing with "The Mountain" and her relationship with her father in that context. While clearing she also unearths her mother's diaries that reveal the effect the hoarding had on her mother's mental health. 

Izabelle seems to have a better relationship with her father than Lori did with her mother, in spite of the past and continuing problems caused by the hoarding that affected her life. Example: Izabelle visits her father and brother often, but she doesn't visit with them in the house because she can't breathe inside the house. I don't know whether her visiting is also primarily because of her brother. She did want her children to have a relationship with their only living grandparent. 

Note: One thing that took some getting used to while reading this were all the uniquely British terms Izabelle used that aren't in American English. Izabelle lives in Wales. 

Unique Content in The Hoarder's Daughter by Lori Moore

Unless Izabelle left out some of the worst details in the hoarding, it would appear that Lori's mother's hoarding was more unsanitary than that of Izabelle's father. Perhaps that is because Ant, an adult child, still lived with him to see that it didn't get to the place where feces -- both human and cat -- were scattered around. Louise's house didn't deteriorate that much until Lori and her brother had moved out and she lived in the house alone. 

Lori shares, as noted above, many of the facts and symptoms of the disorders that turn someone into a hoarder. She points out that secrecy is a factor in both emotional abuse and hoarding. In her research she discovered that hoarding is a distinct genetic subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The best chance for changing the hoarding behavior appears to be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the hoarder's home. A hoarder needs a lot of help in developing new habits. You can see this process in the videos I shared above. 

Both Lori and Isabella struggled with their duty to their hoarding parents. Lori shares Billy Graham's suggestions for how to honor a parent engaged in such behavior without enabling the behavior itself. Lori alone provides a list of helpful resources and things to read for those who want to dig deeper. 

More Resources

Here are some additional resources if you want to get more information not included in these memoirs. Amazon Prime has several videos on hoarding and helping hoarders. Click here to see the list.  At least some are free for Prime members to watch. 

The product page for the book below has an informative series of clutter rating images by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee, experts in dealing with hoarding. These images can serve as a guide in identifying the difference between normal clutter and a hoarding disorder. 

The books below are aimed at those who fear they may be headed toward hoarding and want to deal with it now, those who want to help a loved one with a clutter problem, and those who want to understand and help those close to them they suspect may have a hoarding problem. The two memoirs I've reviewed here are also included for convenience.



Whether you have a tendency toward hoarding, want to help someone with a severe hoarding problem, or just want a better understanding of hoarding, I hope this post has helped you. If it has, please share it. People who hoard tend to keep it secret. You never know whom you may be helping by giving them this information.


Hoarders' Daughters Tell Their Stories: Book Reviews

The image above is credited as follows: By TheDoctorMo [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons, modified





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