AnimalEO Experiment

12/22/16 Update: the AnimalEO did not work for us. The dogs had no fleas, but it did not control ticks. I used Animal EO for over a month, but after pulling multiple ticks off of each dog I gave up and bought Seresto Collars. The Seresto Collars worked well. No more ticks all summer and fall. 


Today starts the great AnimalEO experiment of spring and summer 2016. I’ve used topical pesticides and oral pesticides for flea and tick control on our dogs for years. The topical has caused serious chemical burns in dogs, though not in mine. I stopped using it three years ago because it just stopped working. Next came one of the new oral flea and tick control medications. Kind of expensive and didn’t control ticks as well as I wanted. Also caused some mild diarrhea in one of the dogs. Last year I gave it every twelve weeks instead of every four. I found absolutely no difference in the tick control. None of them have ever had a problem with fleas. But ticks are plentiful here (and of the devil).

So after months of research I decided to try the AnimalEO brand product called Away. It is a blend of essential oils made by a holistic veterinarian. To start, I mixed four drops of the oil in four ounces of distilled water in a glass spray bottle. I’ll follow up to let you know how it works.


Added bonus-it’s environmentally friendly.

Side Hustles? Part Time Job? Help!

So here’s some honesty. We need to have more money coming in than what we currently have. Here’s some more honesty. We could probably cut a little bit more, maybe $100/month. Maybe not.

We’re not going hungry. We’re not in danger of losing our home. But we’re only getting by. Like many Americans, we’re living paycheck to paycheck. We have no reserves. No savings other than a retirement account we can’t really touch until we retire. (Which may be a good thing.) We’re in some moderate debt. We want out. But we don’t want to sacrifice life in the process.

Okay, yes, we could go completely bare bones, but I believe we do deserve a few things we enjoy. My husband enjoys sports, movies, documentaries so we pay for cable-one tier above basic. We both enjoy shooting so we do have a gun range membership. Those are two things I’m not willing to cut. But those two things together are less than $170/month.

I could probably drill down the groceries a little more. And, I’ll work on that.

This all leads me to my question. Side hustle or part time job? Should have called this the honesty post because here comes some more. I really, really don’t want either of us to get a part time job. We have limited time together as is. And frankly, our marriage is more important to me than money. But it may come to one of us getting a part time job for a very limited amount of time.

What about side hustles? I’ve read a little about some. Have any of you used any and did they help? I’ve been using one of the survey sites for over six months and still haven’t earned enough points to cash out at the lowest level which is only $10. So that doesn’t seem very effective. Has anyone used Inbox Dollars? Have any of you worked as a virtual assistant? I’m considering some very limited and lite pet sitting-maybe just dog walking and feeding.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Mid-Month Check Up


Time to check those April goals. Where are you on track? Where do you need to catch up? Where do you need to adjust or go a different direction?

Here’s my progress so far.

I added 4293 words to my story last week, well ahead of my goal of 3000. They will be heavily edited, eventually, but that’s okay. Can’t edit what isn’t written, right?

I posted on my blog three days last week. That hits my goal exactly.

I worked on revisions on my short story on Tuesday. That also hits my goal exactly.

So, I’m on track for April.

Doesn’t it feel good to meet goals? When I meet a goal it gives me a little more confidence that I can realize my writing dreams.

So let’s hear it. Where are you with your April goals?

“Hope comes covered in fur.” John D. Waugh and Why I Love Scent Dogs

Canine scent detection seems like magic to me. Oh, I know there’s science to explain it. Though science cannot yet make anything that matches the skill of a dog’s nose.

Watch this TEDx video where Donna Waugh explains it much better than I ever will. And always remember to trust your dog.


Working the Plan

The first full week of my April goal plan is over. How did I do? Great! I met all my goals for the week-YAY!!

  1. I wrote 3676 words (goal -3000)
  2. I posted three times on my blog (goal -three posts)
  3. I worked on my short story on Tuesday (goal -work on short story every Tuesday)
  4. I decided to enter ICL’s novel writing contest (goal -make a firm decision by mid month)

Did you set goals for the week? The month? Do you have a longterm plan? Are you on track to meet your goals?

Tick Season

I hate ticks. There, I said it. They are evil little pustules of disease. But I also hate what harsh chemicals can do to our dogs. Here in the southeastern United States ticks are rampant so doing nothing is not a valid choice. After a little bit of research I hope I’ve found a solution for the dogs and for us. AnimalEO. I bought a small bottle of Away to use on all of us.

To use, mix a few drops with distilled water in a small glass spray bottle. Spray on before going outside.

IMG_0660 (Edited)

I picked up this handy card at our vet’s office this week. So far I’ve seen three Lone Star ticks this season.

What do you use for insect control for yourself? For your pets?

Goodreads Reading Challenge


Current Read

Most writers I know are also readers. Makes sense, really. Why would someone who doesn’t read a lot want to write stories for others to read? Right? But over the past couple of years I haven’t read very much. Day job, fatigue, life, etc.

Anyhoo, this year, inspired by my friend Kaye Dacus and her posts about what she’s reading, I decided to do the Goodreads reading challenge. If you’re on Goodreads, shoot me a friend request. You can follow my progress in the sidebar widget. At some point I may completely copycat Kaye and do some ‘here’s what I’m reading’ posts.

Do you read a lot? What are you reading now? What’s next in your to be read pile?


April Goals or Getting There From Here

Bright Yellow FlowerYes, I know it’s a weed. I know most people cringe when they see them in their yards. But, I think it’s pretty, happy, joyous even. That yellow shouts “Spring!” And, it makes me happy. Color me weird.

What does a photo of a dandelion in my yard have to do with my April goals? Well, other than the bright, happy color makes me smile, dandelions are tenacious, strong, stubborn. In short, they never give up. Ever. Mow them down? Sure. They are back the next day.

That’s my motto for my goals. So I didn’t meet my goals for March. I learned from them. And I’m still here. Strong. Stubborn.

I carried over my weekly word count goal, but set more concrete dates. I also carried over revising the short story I’m working on. I’m letting go of the nonfiction piece for a couple of months.

  • Add 3k words per week to my WIP due on April 9, 16, 23, 30
  • Blog posts due on April 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29
  • Short story revision-work on this every Tuesday
  • Make a firm decision about whether or not to enter the Institute of Children’s Literature‘s novel contest (entry due by 6/15/16)

Ambitious list, for sure. But, like the strong, stubborn, happy dandelion, I stand on my deep roots, refusing to give up.

Do you have some goals for April? How are you positioning yourself to meet them?

March Goal Update or How I Failed and Succeeded at the Same Time

Short answer to the question Did I meet my March goals? Nope.

But I did learn some stuff.

Recap-my March goals looked like this:

  • 2 days off writing per week
  • Add 3000 words to my story per week
  • Complete the draft of one article
  • Complete the draft of one short story
  • Install a word count tracker on my site
  • Research magazine markets

My March reality looked like this:

  • Most weeks took more than 2 days off writing
  • Added 8229 words to my WIP
  • Did not even work on an article
  • Managed a partial rewrite of a short story
  • Installed a StoryToolz word count tracker on my site
  • Ordered and received Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers 2016, no research yet

So even though I technically failed, here’s why I count the month a success. I set some reasonable goals and tracked them. Every weekend I looked back at the week to see where I was in relation to my goals. I’m going this monthly evaluation. This is more goal setting/evaluating than I’ve done in Y.E.A.R.S.

Takeaways include learning that I’m not really very good at working on several writing projects at once. At least not yet. I write better, or easier, away from the house. I’m much more easily distracted than thirty years ago. Furthering my writing involves things other than actually writing. I’ve missed reading. A lot. (I’m on Goodreads and participate in the reading challenge-plan to blog about it this week.) Goal setting is good for me. Success does not always look like a checked off to do list.

Did you set goals for March? Did you meet them? What did you learn from setting and evaluating your progress?