The Home Executive

Managing My Life

The Home Executive - Managing My Life

Now that the Kids are Grown

We have always had a very loud house.  After all, having six people and various animals at different times can create a lot of chaos.  There have been challenges along the way, but we all survived and came out loving and supporting each other.

I have collected many books along the way on home organization, cleaning the house, setting up routines, etc.  Something I was doing always needed improving.  There had to be a better way, an easier way.  So, I read all of Emilie Barnes’ books, but there was always something that needed to be picked up, dishes which needed to be washed, laundry which needed to be done, animals which needed to be cleaned up after.  You get the idea.

Having a house that was always in order wasn’t my reality.  We didn’t live in filth, mind you, our home just always had the lived-in look.  Definitely not a catalog picture.

I worked full-time plus adding in commuting time, and then I decided to go back to school; which meant more time away from home.  At that point the kids ranged in ages from 16 to 10.  Also, my hubby worked for another company and was studying to take the CPA exam.  We were busy.

Today, my husband is a CPA with his own business (yay!), the kids are all grown (the oldest is 28 and the youngest is 21), and I have since earned my college degree.  I still have a full-time job.

The house is not as disorganized as when the kids were still at home, but there is still lingering clutter which I need to get to.  You know, the room where you shove everything that you will get to later because right now you have company coming over?

That’s where I am now.  Getting through the clutter that has collected over the years and eliminating it.  My family knows this is challenging for me.  The magazines that I know I will want to read, but never seem to get to so the stacks just keeps growing.  I impressed everyone when I told them that I actually threw a bunch away.  Wow!

Now that the kids are grown this should be easier.  So, on I go.  Decluttering and eliminating.

If you can relate to this, please comment below.  I would love to you hear from you.





Dog Walking With Shock Collars

My son, who’s in the Army, brought us his two dogs, a Border Collie mix and a German Shepard mix.  Both dogs were almost two years old and in need of training.  Zoey, the Border Collie, was a terrible walker and would pull and pull on the leash.  Being pulled down the street while trying to walk the dog is no fun at all.  Shay, the German Shepard, was pretty good to walk on a leash, but she was definitely a follower of Zoey, Zoey being the alpha of the two.  Taking them for a walk together was quite the challenge.

Taking Shay for a walk on her own was a lot easier.  She walked in the heal position and I even trained her to sit when we stopped.  Taking Zoey, on the other hand, was exhausting.  We would get to the end of the block and would turn around to go home.  We need a fix to this problem.  In all the reading I’ve been doing on dog training some mention was made of shock collars.  So I searched and found the Dogwidgets Rechargeable Remote Dog Training Shock Collar.


The package came in and I put a collar on each dog.  I have to mention that we, my youngest son, daughter, and I, tested the collars out first to see how it felt.  The collar has a vibration and two levels of shock, low and high.

We put the collars on and got to work on training.  The girls, Zoey and Shay, quickly learned that the kitchen is off limits.  We also used them to correct behavior while outside in the backyard.  Any kind of barking at the neighbors was unacceptable behavior and warranted a correction.  The collars where very useful in teaching them what was not acceptable behavior.

In the meantime, I discovered the head halter for Zoey for taking her on a walk.  Although there was great improvement with the head halter, it still was not enough.  Zoey had this bad habit of pulling and was tough about breaking this habit.  One day, when getting ready for our walk instead of taking off the shock collar and putting the head halter on, I thought why not use the shock collar for walking.  I grabbed the remote and we were out the door.

Pretty much as soon as we were on the street, Zoey started to pull ahead, but not too bad as we had been previously working on training in this area.  As Zoey started to pull ahead I pushed the vibration button on the remote, she paused, looked up at me, got back in the heal position and we continued our walk.  As I loosened the slack on the lead and Zoey started to walk ahead of me, I would hit the vibration button and she would get back in the heal position.  Zoey was getting the message that she could not pull on the lead, however, her bad habit persisted.  The next time she pulled ahead of me I pressed the low shock button.  We did this three or four more times and Zoey learned she was not to walk ahead of me but at my side.

We walked 2.67 miles according to the app on my phone.  It was the most pleasant walk I have had with Zoey in the four and half months she’s been with us.  What a great tool to use in training a dog who has strong alpha instincts and tries to lead the walk!

Here the girls are relaxing on the front lawn after our walk. :)

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P.S.  I would love to hear about your experiences.  Have you tried shock collars?

Saving With Coupons

Couponing is currently a big thing.  I have been using coupons, too, but not to the extreme.  I just do not have time for that kind of planning.  The following is what I do and I have been quite pleased with my success.

I put together a binder with pages in page protectors and have several baseball card pocket pages in each section.  On Sundays, I purchase two newspapers.  Please note, always make sure there are coupons in the paper.  It is frustrating when you get home only to discover there are no coupons.  Not a happy moment, since that is the whole purpose of getting the papers.  I know from experience.  The reason I purchase two papers is so I will have two coupons for each item.

I have shelves in my garage where I store all of my items.  Basically, I am building a stockpile which we can live off of for several months if we need to.  It’s like have a grocery store in your garage.  There are many reasons to build a stockpile; not being able to go to the grocery when you need to due to a busy lifestyle, your current economic condition may be a reason, unexpected company and the need to have items on hand to feed you company.

Putting together your binder is pretty easy.  I have prepared pages for you to use if you would like.  When I go to the grocery store, I take my binder with me and do my shopping according to what is on sale at the store and if I have a coupon for it.

Now, there are times when I make purchases without coupons, but those items were at least on sale.  I try to avoid making purchases at regular price without a coupon.  Some grocery stores will put items on sale at 10 for $10 and this is an exception of which I take advantage.  Of course, if you have coupons for those items then that is great!  

Here is my most recent grocery store receipt.  My total purchase was $147.97.  This particular store I went to used a rewards card to be able to take advantage of the sale price.  As you can see, my total rewards card savings was $31.99 and my total coupon savings was $23.10 with additional savings of $2.00.  My grand total saved was $57.09.  That’s 27.84% off of my grocery bill.  I’m happy with that.

So remember, the key is to use your coupons on items that are on sale.

Happy couponing!

Gwyn Mendez

Overcoming the Overwhelm

In my quest for organization and order in my home, when there is always so much to do, it is easy to get overwhelmed and just not do anything.  The challenge is to press on and just do one thing.  Sometimes all it takes is just doing one thing to get going.

Yesterday, I focused on one thing, cleaning the refrigerator.  I wiped the whole thing down.  When I was finished, I moved on to the ceiling fan, and then to the chandelier over the table.  Seeing the first task accomplished gave me the drive to move on to do another task.  Amazing how this happens.

We all know this list never really ends but these accomplishments encourage me to continue to press forward and dig myself out of the overwhelm.  Taking on a project one step at a time and having small victories may be all we need to help us get the results we are looking for.

What are you going to get started with today?

Using Splenda Can Cause Painful Side-Effects

So many people are using Splenda as a sugar substitute, and I joined in on that bandwagon as well.  I purchased a large bag of Splenda instead of sugar and promptly began to use it as I would use sugar.  It was great.  It tasted just as sweet as sugar but without the calories.  I could use it in my coffee, in baking, in my tea, whatever I wanted.

There are cookbooks filled with recipes specifically for using Splenda instead of sugar, so it had to be safe, right?  Everywhere I went there was Splenda, Splenda, Splenda.  Then the pain started.

Living in the New Orleans area during Mardi Gras season means there will be parades.  My daughter is on the dance team in high school and her school participated in three parades.  As her mother, I walked with her.  The distance of the parades was five miles.  At the end of the first parade, I had hip joint pain.  I had never had hip joint pain before.  Walking in the other two parades meant the hip pain would continue.  I thought once parade season ended I would have time to recover from walking so long and the pain would simply go away.  It did not.

I found that while relaxing on the sofa in the evening, I would have to change positions frequently.  Getting out of the car took effort and I would have to stand up slowly and stretch out my hip.  I was walking hunched over and wobbling all the time.  I felt as though there was a hip replacement in my future, and I am only 43 years old.

Then one day, I went to the drugstore to pick up a prescription for my husband and was glancing through a book on the Christian book rack entitled Eat This and Live by Don Colbert, MD.  In his book, Dr. Colbert listed joint pain as a side effect of using Splenda.  Joint pain.  That got my attention.  By this time, we had gone through the whole bag of Splenda and I hadn’t yet replaced it.  Well, I begin thinking about when my pain started, it was around February which is Mardi Gras season.  About a month after the Splenda was gone and we were back to using sugar, my pain disappeared.  Was this a coincidence?  I did not want to find out.  I was just happy to not be in pain anymore.

A month later, I went to my dad’s house and had a cup of coffee only to find out they had Splenda in the sugar jar, not sugar.  The next day the hip pain was back and lasted approximately three days.  I was convinced.  Never again would I eat Splenda.  It is just not worth it.

Party Pictures

Whether you use a digital camera or a traditional camera, there are some basic steps you can take to make sure that the party pictures turn out. The first thing you need is a functioning camera. If your camera runs on batteries, make sure the batteries are fully charged or that you have extra ones on hand. Taking party pictures works best when you can capture the moment and if your batteries are dead, the moment will pass.

You also need to have enough storage space for your photos. This means an extra memory card if you are going digital or extra film for the traditional camera. For people who do not use their cameras often, sometimes problems with the camera do not become apparent until they are at the party and ready to take pictures. This is not the time to find out that the lens is dirty or that the buttons stick. Check the camera out the day before the party so that you have time to clean it up and make sure everything is running perfectly. Most digital cameras have a built in flash. Make sure that you know how to use it. If you are using a traditional camera, bring your flash unit.

The most important hint for party picture taking is to safeguard your equipment. You will be partying too and it is too easy to set the camera down while getting a drink or something to eat. It is also too easy for someone to knock the camera off the table (or wherever you set it) or for someone to spill something on it. Either have a little carry case you can hang around your neck or a bag you store it in a safe place.

5 Tips to Manage Your Time Effectively

Time is the most powerful currency of the 21st century. And this powerful currency demands much of our attention. Unfortunately, most people never make use of this remarkable resource we have – our time. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time every single day:

1. Break down large tasks into smaller ones: We all know the feeling of staring at a new complicated project feeling overwhelmed and wishing we were anywhere but here. But, even complicated tasks are not impossible to handle. In fact, most tasks become unbelievably trivial once we break them down into small pieces. Get into the habit of breaking down your tasks into small ones and tackling each individual part one at a time. This will help you stay calm as well as it will help you accomplish your goals without the urge to procrastinate.

2. Get rid of unproductive routine tasks: This included getting up each morning and checking your email. Do not start your day on somebody else’s agenda. Get out there, take some time to focus on the goals for the day and then start working on them. Do routine tasks during slow times of the day. For example, check your emails right after lunch.

3. Look at your habits to see if they could be changed, maybe you could do certain things different ways and save yourself some time in the process.

4. Evaluate yourself to determine if you are a morning person or night person and organize tasks to use whatever time suits you best. I am usually the most productive at night or after 10 AM and that is exactly why I work on my most important goals during those hours. 2 hours of focused work is far more valuable than 10 hours of unfocused work.

5. Learn to say the word “no”: One of the biggest secrets of success is leadership. You need to be able to become a leader and say NO when someone asks you for a favor that can take considerable amount of highly productive time from you.

You need to be very cautious about where and how you spend your time. Time is the most precious resource you have and you need to stop wasting it and start treating it like gold.

To learn how you can take control of your time and use it to achieve your goals, visit

All my best,

Gwyn Mendez

4 Easy Steps to Stop Procrastination

Are you a victim of procrastination? Do you often find yourself unable to meet deadlines because you spent too much time in front of the TV, cooking or even sleeping? Well, I was exactly like that just a few years ago. But, that’s now Past. These days, I can set goals and achieve them easily without any complaints. And you can do the same. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

1. Plan your daily must-do activities. Draw up a to-do list; preferably, write it down on paper; or, use a computer if you prefer. And, include all the MUST do’s in your list. These are things that must be done today. Period.

2. Prioritize the activities, the more important ones taking precedence over the less important. If there are urgent things to do, but not important enough to be worried about if not done, put them below the important ones. The idea is based on the established principle that 80% of rewards come  from 20% of effort directed towards accomplishing important work.

3. Start working: Even if the deadline is 5 days from now or a month from now, starting out on an important project will help you avoid stress and do it well. When you start a major project just the day of the deadline, you are bound to stress out and leave out important points. Get in the habit of starting things before the deadline.

4. Start working bit by bit. Things may seem like huge mountains at first but it is important to stay calm. Just start working on the project or task on hand and don’t worry about getting it perfect. You still have a lot of time to iron out the details. Remember to start well before the deadline so you can focus on finishing the task and then ironing out the details. Trying to get everything right on first attempt is the best excuse used by procrastinators!

Procrastination is a deadly disease and it not only kills motivation but also your chances of success. Stop procrastinating right now and start achieving your goals. You can learn more about getting rid of procrastination and how to manage your time to achieve all your goals by visiting

All my best,

Gwyn Mendez

Gifts from the Heart

In giving gifts, it’s the thought that counts. Yes, it is a cliché, but clichés exist because they are true. So the next time you need to give someone a gift, why not make one instead? A homemade gift tells the recipient that he is special enough for you to take the time to make something especially for him. It is also a budget-friendly alternative to the usual gift items that can be bought from the shops. Both you and your recipient will be happy, and isn’t that what gift giving is all about?

If you’re at a loss with what to make, look around for materials around your house and use your imagination and skills to create something out of them. If your talent lies in the kitchen, bake some cookies and use as container a jar that you’ll surely find somewhere in your house. Steam off the label from the jar and use a square of pretty fabric as a lid, with a ribbon to tie it in place. Aside from cookies, you can also make candies, fruit preserves, and even sauces. If your culinary skills leave something to be desired, you can buy goodies from the nearest bakery and put them in the jar. The result will still be less expensive compared to pre-packaged food items you can get from the market.

If you’re an artist, you can create a memorable gift by making a framed charcoal portrait of your recipient. The portrait itself doesn’t cost a thing, while framing can be done by affordable yet quality framers in your area. If you’re into sewing and knitting, you can make your recipient everything from a scarf to a pillow.

Indeed, you have lots of options to choose from. With homemade gifts, what you can give is only limited by your imagination.

All my best,

Gwyn Mendez

Taming the Paperwork Beast

Paperwork is an ever-present part of most people’s work lives. Anyone with a position of any greater prestige than the burger-flipper at the local fast food restaurant most likely has to deal with paperwork at some level. And you may have discovered, as many people have, that papers have a tendency to pile up. Things get mixed together, lost, and jumbled, leaving you spending hours going through endless stacks of the stuff looking for that one lone order form or bill that you need right away.

Although this sort of frustration and wasted time is all too common, it is by no means necessary. There are simple ways to be sure you will not run into this sort of trouble with your documents. The first and most important rule is to put everything away and filing them in folders when you do not need them. The easiest way to lose track of papers is to leave them laying around where they can be shuffled together, slid under something, mistakenly thrown into the trash bin, or fall into a corner somewhere.

Once the documents are filed away, you need to be able to quickly and easily find the papers you need at any given time. Be sure to clearly label your folders to avoid confusion as to where a specific paper or document might be filed. Also, you should consider using a color coding system to organize your files so you can easily find something at a glance. A black folder, for instance, may be used for your professional documents, a blue folder for personal documents and a brown folder for filial asset documents, and so on. This will help streamline your filing and retrieving process. Keep a note posted somewhere nearby of what each color means, in case anyone else needs to find something in your files.

All my best,

Gwyn Mendez

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