Caregiving – 4 Tips for when Mom’s moving in

Mom's Moving In

Caregiving – 4 Tips for when Mom’s moving in

Years ago, back before my Dad passed away, I begged my parents to move in with me in California. They were getting older and I felt they needed some extra attention. Unfortunately, I was traveling a lot at the time and they didn’t want to move across the country where they didn’t know anyone except for me who would have to leave them on their own for days or weeks on end.

I eventually moved to Las Vegas to be closer to family and, once again, asked my parents to move in. They still weren’t interested. They wanted to stay as independent as they could for as long as they could. They’d lived in their Midwest home for decades and were not interested in moving.

Once my Dad passed away, I asked my Mom to move in with me. She said to give her at least two years. Well, it took almost 10 years, and she’s now been living with me about five years. Lots of things have changed over that time and the world I anticipated having with my Mom as my roommate soon turned to pretty much fulltime caregiver as she’s now nearly 100 years old.

I wouldn’t give it up for the world! It’s an honor to take care of my Mom and, although some days can be challenging, it’s also very fulfilling. I’m blessed to have her around so long and she makes me smile every day.

I actually tried to start blogging about my experience when she first moved in but it was such an adjustment for both of us, I’m not sure I could have contributed much. Now, five years down the road, I’ve learned a ton, not only through my own experience but through others who have shared with me or by observation. So, periodically, I’ll share some thoughts/opinions about what I learned taking care of my Mom. This is by no means meant to be medical advice. This is just the experience of a daughter taking care of her Mom.

Here are a few tips to get us started:

  1. They won’t move until they’re ready.
    No matter how badly you want them to move or how hard you try, parents can be stubborn. Who can blame them? Don’t you want to be independent for as long as you can? Suddenly, once they decide, the move can’t come quickly enough. When Mom finally gave me the go-ahead, due to my schedule and the weather, it actually took nearly nine months. We continued to talk about it the whole time, and when it was time to do the move, she left the decisions in my hands. She was ready.
  2. Make them feel at home.
    This is a hard one. You have your house just perfect, then suddenly you’re adding another member to the family. It’s like combining households when you get married. Prepare a place that’s all theirs, like a bedroom and bathroom, but don’t limit their existence to that small space. Have you seen Frazier? Well, my Mom plopped her favorite chair in the living room in front of the television when she first moved in and it’s still there. She’s also very fond of clocks. I counted 77 at her residence before I packed her up. I told her she could take 12. I think we’ve hung eight.
  3. Bring stuff that’s familiar to them.
    Sure, you want to buy all new furniture to make them feel special, or perhaps it’s already in the room they’ll use. Maybe it’s a cross-country move and it’s cheaper to just leave the old stuff behind and buy new. Doesn’t matter. It’s important for them to wake up in the morning and be surrounded by things they’re familiar with. We brought my Mom’s bedroom furniture (not the mattress) with her and she’s grateful we did, although furniture and clocks aren’t the only things to make one happy. I’ll never forget the look on my Mom’s face when I pulled her favorite paring knife from the box. She felt at home. It was something she recognized and that, combined with other goodies we brought along just for her, made her start to feel comfortable. She even uses her own dishes because she’s used them for years.
  4. Hold their hand.
    The older they are, the harder the move will be. My Mom went from being able to easily walk to all her favorite stores to not even knowing the address and phone number where she lives. She was scared. Every sound was new. When we go anywhere, she immediately grabs for my hand for fear of getting lost. Chances are, at her age, she wouldn’t go anywhere alone but when we’re out together, she’s still a bit scared. As she told me, she held my hand when I was little and now it’s my turn to hold hers.

There’s lots more to come so please come back for future posts.

I am,

Your Aunti Cindi

Cindi’s Thoughts – KonMari – Does your house have a set point?

Does your house have a set point?We often hear how our bodies have a set point for weight, that no matter how hard we try to lose, it will always work harder and harder to get back to a weight that it feels comfortable maintaining. Much the same, we try to keep our home organizing in check with the one in – one out rule: For every new item we bring into the house, something has to leave.

So, as I’ve been going through my house with the KonMari method, I noticed that as I was getting rid of things, others somehow were making their way into newly found spaces. I got rid of clothes and shoes, but I had to replace some and I added others. Not as much as I had before, definitely, but I felt a little on the skimpy side when I opened my closet doors after the initial cleanse.

It wasn’t only the closet that was affected. I now have a collection of photo props, things I might have considered tossing, or things I needed to buy, just to improve my business photography, plus other small tech items for my business.

Then, there are new sheets (I went all white) and a quilt because I’d been trying to replace one I received as a gift several years ago. When I found it, I felt joy. Isn’t that the whole point of this KonMari exercise – surround yourself with things that bring you joy? Now, it’s possible the things that bring you joy were buried under those that didn’t, but if that’s not the case, you will find a way to bring in the joy.

Once you clean through your house, you open up the space to allow new, wonderful things to happen. Want to learn to play guitar or keyboards? There’s room. How about learning to paint? An easel will fit. Need a home gym? There’s lots of space.

I’m sure when this whole house is KonMari-ed and I’ve finally sold everything I want to on eBay or Amazon or wherever, my house will have significantly less contents. And, I hope to be able to find and use everything I keep. After all, I quite enjoy the fresh air and free space I get when I clean an area and I have no intention of putting something new in its place.

Still, I wondered: How many of you have cleaned through your house and felt great, only to have to return to doing it again a year or two down the road? Kondo says that if you use her method, you won’t experience that again, but I don’t believe that. People change. Circumstances change. People move. Things break.

However, I think that once everything has a home and we’ve all developed new Kondo habits, we’ll be more aware when things are starting to get out of hand and address the issue quickly. List something on eBay immediately when we determine we no longer want it. Have a donation box in our closet. Throw something in the trash when it’s broken and not just relocate it to the garage. Sounds simple but will that initial KonMari elation fade over time?

To me, deep cleaning is like peeling back the layers of an onion. You remove the first layer or two of items you no longer want, only to realize you can go deeper and deeper still. Items you thought brought you joy actually don’t. Over time, you get better and better at realizing what makes you happy.

As the unjoyful leave us, there is room for the joyful to enter. I suspect there are people who feel the need to be surrounded by material possessions, but the point of KonMari is to connect with what you have. Items are not created to sit on a shelf or in a box. They are made to be used. Without the utility, the circle is not complete. Using might mean something as simple as enjoying a piece of artwork; if it’s hanging on the wall, it’s being used but if it’s sitting behind a dresser, not so much.

Not only should we surround ourselves with things that spark joy, we should be grateful for the joy that these items bring us. And, of course, remembering that the joy in life comes from many different places: relationships, experiences, even challenges.

But that brings us back to the opening question: does your house have a set point? In my heart, i believe homes can get along just fine with less filling. They just need to feel loved and experience love within their walls. What do you think?



This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

Obsessed! Havaianas – Ode to a shoe

Havaianas - Ode to a shoe

Anyone who has ever worn Havaianas knows how comfortable and durable they are. I bought my first pair over 10 years ago, and wore them nearly every day. Believe me, they went everywhere with me and must have traveled thousands of miles. When they recently broke, I felt they needed a proper send-off. So, here’s my personal poem to a perfect pair of shoes. And, yes, the ones in the picture are mine! Enjoy!


Alone on a shelf, discounted to boot,
I wondered if they would even fit my foot.
Perfect they were, in both size and style.
I looked down at the floor and started to smile.

The journey began at the checkout lane
But soon life without Havaianas would drive me insane!
In winter and summer, we traveled the globe
Wearing blue jeans or dresses or perhaps just a robe.

Mile after mile, from land to the sea
My Havaianas were so right for me.
Like soulmates, or solemates, we two became one
Sometimes for work, but mostly for fun.

Wherever I went, my Havaianas went, too.
I just couldn’t leave home without that shoe!
Then, one day, on a trek from checking the mail,
I felt a weird tug on my big toenail.

I tried to walk but I just couldn’t move
My Havaianas had lost their groove!
The strap had broken; it tore apart
But more importantly, it broke my heart!

My Havaianas had been my best pal, you see
Through good times and bad, it was just them and me.
They’d expect no less than a proper good-bye
For a moment or two, I really did cry!

But off to the store, my spirit spent,
I had to replenish – to my heart’s content!
Three pairs are now in my closet to share
Adventures wherever my Havaianas may dare.

So, you see, they may be just a flip-flop to some
But to me, Havaianas are the only one!


Emergency Preparedness: Backup Your Backup- 3 Tips to Keep Your Data Safe

Backup Your Backup


Greetings Sparklers!

Whether you own a business or keep a lot of personal data on your digital devices, the truth is, it can all be gone in a flash. After my own personal experience with a quickly dying computer about a year ago, I’ve been on my soapbox about reminding people to back up their data. The sad part is, I continue to find people who have never even thought about backing things up. And, once again, I had a weird technical event that reminded me to remind you to backup your backup.

There is nothing more frustrating than investing hours, days, months, years in creating a project and having it all disappear when your computer suddenly does a crash and burn. I had a situation recently where I was working on a document and when I went to save it, the program crashed and restarted but there was no autosave file to recover. I looked everywhere and even contacted a community forum where respondents were very kind but could not offer a solution for file recovery other than the steps I had already taken.

While the loss of a file in that manner is a bit unusual, the most common culprit is not backing up your devices. I feel I cannot remind people often enough. Every time I bring up the subject I meet people who lost some important part of their lives because they didn’t back up their stuff.

In the last few months alone, I’ve heard of someone who lost nearly 10,000 digital photos, an author who lost his entire novel, someone else who lost years of contacts and business data, another who kept everything on a portable drive until the drive died. I could go on, but you get the point.

In the IT world, there’s a belief in redundancy. In the prepper world, the saying is two is one and one is none. Whichever mantra you prefer doesn’t matter, as long as you’re taking the time to REGULARLY back up your digital devices.

Here are three tips to help you to keep your data safe and secure:

  1. Do your research.
    Take the time now to research and decide what is the best backup routine for you – and stick to it! I copy files every night to the cloud, then once a week copy to an external drive. I would recommend at least one external drive and a cloud backup of some sort. If you can do two external drives and keep them in different locations, one offsite, plus the cloud, that’s even better. Of course, it all depends on how much space you need.
  2. Back up all your devices.
    Desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, flash drives, memory cards – copy all of it. Check with your cellular service to see if there is a secondary way to backup your phone. You might also want to download your contacts from your phone on a regular basis…just in case.
  3. Don’t forget about your website.
    Check with your ISP/host company to verify that your entire website is backed up. In my case, the database is backed up but any external items I’ve added, such as images, videos and files are not. Twice in the last couple of months, I’ve updated my website and it completely crashed. It hadn’t happened in the previous decade but suddenly it happened twice in a short period of time. If something bad happens to your site, you want to have as little downtime as possible. I use FileZilla to transfer all my files monthly, then back them up to the cloud and on external drive.

Weird things happen when it comes to technology, so always, always, always be sure to backup your backup! I’d love to hear how you keep all your digital data safe. Please share in the comments below.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #9 – Socks, underwear and handbags

Magic of Tidying Up

Ah…socks, underwear and handbags. Could we have a more exciting combination of clothing topics? Handbags, perhaps. Socks and underwear…not so much.

For those of you looking forward to some interesting photos for this post, well…I’m not going to share much here! I applaud the women who have chosen to share images of their intimates. Sorry, not me. But, when you start to see things like socks, underwear and handbags in the title, we at least have to be getting close to the end of KonMari-ing my clothing! In case you’re wondering, I’m following the recommended category order detailed in Marie Kondo’s book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Socks, for sure, are a relatively boring category for me. I’d say I’ve spent 95 percent of my life sockless since I moved to California, and probably even more so since moving to Nevada. I like my feet to breathe and with the beautiful weather, it’s hard for me to even wear closed toe shoes. I’m perfectly content in flip flops (Havaianas) and sandals. However, I do recognize there are times – sport, professional, social – that require socks, but I’m more than willing to pare down what I have. No sense it taking up an entire drawer!

I had recently cleaned through my socks but, in spite of that, I still discarded about 30 percent. Now that some time has passed, I wish I had kept a few. I can’t say that socks bring me an immense amount of joy, given my penchant for Havaianas, but I had some that had never been worn that would have actually been good socks to keep in my emergency kit. Alas, they’re long gone to the Goodwill store by now and hopefully someone who truly needs them is making good use.

Marie Kondo suggests folding or rolling your socks and placing them in shoebox lids in your drawer to keep them tidy and organized. Hmm…not a fan. Shoe boxes are made of cardboard and cardboard attracts bugs and dust. So, after cleaning through my socks, I used empty clear plastic shoe boxes which were left over after tidying my shoes. They fit perfectly in my dresser drawers and they’re easy to clean.

Folding the socks was another issue. Have you ever tried to fold a pair of French terry sport socks? Not easy. Hard to roll as well. So, as you see in the photo, I left some of my socks flat and rolled the rest. I have to admit, getting rid of all the tags and cardboard from my new socks/hose really opened up some room and made things much tidier.

Pantyhose? We don’t need no stinkin’ pantyhose! Seems like forever since I wore any. In fact, some had been in my drawer unopened for so long i was afraid the elastic was dried out and just needed to be tossed. For years, the naked leg had taken center stage in society, for casual and formal occasions, but there has been a bit of pantyhose/tights resurgence with the popularity of Kate Middleton style. Either way, all the pantyhose I had got tossed, just due to age. I used to buy in bulk from Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, so it was sad to see so much money go to waste.

Socks and hose, all neat and organized.

Socks and hose, all neat and organized.

Undergarments are a tricky thing. Ask any woman, and the two articles of clothing that are probably the hardest to find that fit her properly are underwear and jeans. Inevitably, once you finally find that golden style of bra and panties, the company quits making it and your search begins anew.

I can’t say my undergarments necessarily bring me joy; they’re just something i need to have. (Hmm…maybe I need to do some shopping here…) In order to wear certain articles of clothing, we as women have to have the appropriate undergarments. So, tidying up this drawer was more a matter of determining their utility and condition more so than how much joy the item brings me. I tossed about 30 percent.

Handbags can easily become a dangerous weakness (read: huge expense category!) I’m typically the kind of person who purchases one or two really good handbags, then uses them for a long time. I’m not keen on switching bags very often. Or, I wasn’t until I read Kondo’s book and had a bonding session with my closet.

Well, actually, the shift started a couple of years ago when I got tired of the handbag I was using and suddenly found several I liked. I bought them all. (The perfect handbag can be just as hard to find as the perfect pair of shoes.) I also purchased several clutches, something I’d never done in the past. And, as I’ve cleaned through my closet, I noticed there were a number of outfits I didn’t wear simply because I didn’t have the proper handbag. Well, that’s easily solved!

One reason I don’t change purses very often is I hate transferring the contents from one to another, worried I’ll forget something important. Kondo suggests emptying the entire contents of your purse every night and putting it all in one place, so the next day when you select your handbag for the day, you can fill it with everything that’s important because you have it all together. I like that idea if you keep just a few items in your handbag, but I usually carry a store around in there. More on that in a future post! However, I have started carrying a wallet/crossbody/clutch in my tote so I can just grab and go when I know I don’t need everything and the kitchen sink! I’ll write a future post on my favorite mini sometime soon.

I did wean myself off a few clutches from my closet, but in the meantime, I purchased a few more. So, in the end, I’m probably even when it comes to handbags. I’m still planning to reorganize my closet once I’ve completed the whole house KonMari, so temporarily the handbags are just in a bin.


Just a smidgen of my handbags and clutches. More once I reorganize my closet!

We’re nearing the end of the clothing categories, but there’s a whole house to complete! Thanks for joining me on this journey. There’s much more to come. Next up: accessories, clothes for specific events and shoes. Yay! Shoes!



This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!


Why Aunti Cindi Presents?

Aunti Cindi Presents

About a year ago I released my first books in the Aunti Cindi Presents series, including How to Screw Up a Good Idea: Insights for Entrepreneurs (Aunti Cindi Presents)
and Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents). People have been asking me, Why Aunti Cindi Presents? So, I thought I’d give you a little background.

Over the years I’ve had several ideas for small non-fiction books that were not particularly related subject matter. I would jot thoughts down here and there but never took the time to write entire books because I felt if I released them individually, they might get lost in the vast universe of bookdom.

One day I was looking through my cache of domain names and realized I owned I purchased it, along with, long ago for one reason in particular. I’ve been called Aunti Cindi since I was a child, having been blessed with my first nephew when I was a mere eight-years-old. Even in business I used the name to differentiate myself from other Cindis, Cindys and Cyndees in a company. People would remember Aunti Cindi and actually got a kick out of calling me that. I felt, eventually I could put those domains to good use.

Aunti Cindi Presents opens up the opportunity to become a series of much shorter informational books than something like the Dummies, and potentially allow different authors to have books published in the series. In fact, I’ve been talking with two authors already who are interested in sharing their sage wisdom in such a manner.

The goal of the Aunti Cindi Presents series is to offer sage advice for a fulfilled life. Its tagline, Sparkle On! means to find your inner gem and shine it out to the world. Who could resist that?

The first two books in the series are business topics, but others will fall under a variety of subjects, even those I write myself. I’m busy working on two novels right now, so I’m not sure when the next in the series will debut, but keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi

This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own!

TTPD – May is Education Month

Aunti Cindi Presents

Greetings Sparklers!

We’re up to May as we follow along with the book, Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents). May is the month for education.

I put education into this month because we’re finally past the craziness of the New Year, past tax season and before the summer heat makes us not want to work at all! However, we have to take the opportunities when they arise.

I had a number of items on my list to learn this year (yes, even Aunti Cindi needs to grow some new synapses), and when February arrived, my inbox received emails from several different webinar providers that really looked interesting. All of the webinars were free, and in all cases, once I registered, I would have access to the replay to listen on my own time. This was really important to me as I was not available for the live webinars.

Now, February isn’t Education month, but I took advantage of the webinars and I am now extremely grateful that I did. Each one got my mind functioning in an enhanced direction. Now that May is here, I’m working hard to implement many of the concepts and tools that I learned in February.

Some things to consider when it comes to education:

  1. Education doesn’t always come in the form of a formal classroom setting. You can learn a lot on the web on your own time and often for free or low cost.
  2. The same topics may be offered several times a year, so if you’re unable to attend a particular session and a replay isn’t offered, check with the provider to see when they’ll offer it again.
  3. Free webinars do come with a sales pitch at the end, but generally there is enough information provided during the free webinar that you may not need to sign up for more. It also gives you a chance to see the presenter’s style and see if it works for you.
  4. The sales discounts can be well worth the listening effort and generally bonuses are included. I took five free webinars, and purchased from three of them. The discounts were exceptional for the material received. I purchased one set of follow-on materials for only $17! Yes, that’s correct, $17! Many pitches will require hundreds or thousands of dollars for their material so be sure to do your research and know that that’s the best way to spend your money.
  5. Most purchases allow you unlimited access to the materials for as long as that person or company is in business. Many times it will include add-ons or upgrades in the future. I would access the contents as soon as you can in the event things change.
  6. Don’t feel that you have to follow everything to the letter when you sign up for a program or take a webinar. You have to apply the information to your business and how you work. Start with the program then adapt.
  7. There will likely be more educational opportunities as the year progresses. Don’t ignore them simply because they didn’t occur during May. The focus this month is really to determine what you need to learn and to find ways to do just that. And, sometimes you discover that there’s something you needed to learn that wasn’t even on your radar!

Learning helps us to respond to market changes but also to create new opportunities for our businesses. The more we know, the stronger we can grow.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. However, all opinions are our own.

Products – Divatiel – Gift Bag Ideas for Bird Lovers

Divatiel Gift Bags

Let’s face it. The holidays are not the only time of year we’re tasked with finding fun, useful and unique gifts for loved ones. Over the calendar year, there are birthdays, graduations, promotions, Boss’s Day, Administrative Assistant’s Day, and a whole range of other personal events that require a special gift.

Creating the perfect gift bag is always a challenge, but we know the items in this one will be used long past when the last candle is blown out! This gift bag is suitable for a wide range of ages, from the middle-schooler to the college graduate about to enter vet school to the animal-loving retiree. You can adjust the contents depending on your budget and the occasion.

Here are the gift bag contents, in detail:

The book – Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion, tells the story of how four ounces of spirit took over the household and became the diva that everyone has grown to love.

The canvas tote – This makes a great book bag, work bag, grocery bag or knitting bag.

T-Shirts – Shirts come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles to suit your needs.

The coffee cup – Big enough for your caffeine fix, but works for tea, too 😉 If the recipient is not a coffee or tea lover, stainless steel water bottles are also available.

The tiara – Every woman needs a tiara, right? These closely match the ones on the book cover. We have limited quantities available, so contact us at for more info.

All items except for the tiaras are available from the Grand Arbor Press store. If you see something on the site but we don’t have it available in our store with our little birdie logo, please let us know.

These bags make great gift items for any bird or animal lover you know. No one can resist the charms of the Divatiel!

Thank you for your interest,

Team GAP

Happy Birthday, Little One

Little One

Today we celebrate a very special day. My precious Divatiel, my fine-feathered friend, Jake’, was born on this day in 1989.

Unfortunately, she’s no longer here to keep me company, but she’s always around in spirit. Everyone I meet asks me about my bird. After caring for her for 17 years, I suspect word got around that I was keeping a cockatiel.

Jake’ was extremely camera-shy, so I think all my good photos of her are included in the book. I haven’t found any others as I’ve been organizing and tidying my house. However, there are times when I’m cleaning through an area that I know I’ve cleaned before, and out pops one of her feathers. I guess it’s Jake’’s way of saying, “Hi, Mom!”

This photo reminds me of Jake’ because she loved to cuddle on my neck under my hair. It was her comfy napping place, but she also hid from strangers, preened, yelled at me and nibbled on my jewelry in the safety of her little hair cave.

If you’d like to learn the full story of Jake’ and how she took complete control over my life, be sure to pick up a copy of my book, Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion.

I’ll be spending the day thinking about my little one, and all the wonderful things she taught me.



Cindi’s Thoughts – Where to find me in 2016


I like to think that everything we do somehow sets a foundation for our future life. We might not always see an immediate correlation, but somewhere along the line, our decisions today will affect our future tomorrow.

in 2015, I decided to consolidate my websites and to be more active on social media. The websites were easy; social media I’m still working on, although I have improved.

Previously, I had a separate website for each project under my creative hand. It just got too unwieldy to maintain an ever-growing list of projects and their accompanying sites. I finally got things down to what I hope will be a manageable four.

I’ve also tied my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter, so every time I have a new post, you’ll be alerted if you follow me on either one. So, I wanted to provide a breakdown of what you can find on each site. – This is my main blog site. Here, you’ll find out things about me, my KonMari journey notes, recipes, favorite things and so on. It’s an all-encompassing Cindi Maciolek overview. – This is my business site. Anything related to my books, CDs or products can be found here. – Anyone who knows me knows I loved my little birdie so much I wrote a book about her. I have plans to do a few things with this down the line, so I’ve decided to keep it a separate site. That may change in the future, but for now, blog posts will be updated on my Facebook page but on a different Twitter account. – This site is dedicated to my latest non-fiction book series. You’ll find blog posts here related to topics in my Aunti Cindi Presents books including business, caregiving and emergency preparedness tips. Emergency Preparedness was originally on my site, but I’ll be transferring  the content here. As other books are added to the series either by myself or other authors, the subject matter will grow.

You can also join my email list. I currently do not send regular updates via email, but I welcome you to add your name to my list.

Social Media

As I said, I’m not a social media expert while I understand its significance. All my blog posts will also post on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, in the last year I’ve opened Pinterest and Instagram accounts, both of which I hope to build on during 2016. I’m also toying with the idea of YouTube. Maybe somewhere down the line.

So, there you have it! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be on my laptop, fingers traveling a mile a minute, keeping you posted on random thoughts and somewhat useful information while I continue to focus on my books and other outlets for my writing.

See you in cyberspace!