Enjoying Snow Days

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Do you get snow days where you live? In North Carolina, it does not take a lot of winter precipitation to slow things down, or in most cases, shut things down. We are not equipped to deal with snow since it does not come along that often where I live.

So snow days for me are a day to slow down. They are a little like a holiday. Outside appointments that have been scheduled are changed. The boys are motivated to do their school work quickly and efficiently, so they can play outside. When I am sitting at my computer writing, I have a lovely view.

Snow days give us a day to reflect and have a little break from the normal schedule. They also bring an increase in laundry and cause my floors to be a little wetter. By the afternoon, gloves, hats, boots, and clothes are wet and hanging by the door on the drying rack.

Snow days mean comfort food. Soup in the electric pressure cooker. Hot chocolate in the coffee mugs. We make some fun memories on snow days. It makes me think back to my childhood and snow days.

How many of you remember wearing bread bags over your shoes and gloves to keep your hands and feet dry? (Snow in the South is really wet snow most of the time.) How many of you enjoyed tomato soup with grilled cheese for lunch? How many of you remember making snow men or snow angels?

You can make memories with your children. Go outside and play with them. Even if you don’t have any snow, you can make memories and do special things with your children. Live each day with love and joy!

Life is for learning, living, and love.

Today’s Zone Mission is to check your supplies in the bathroom and laundry room. Add items to your shopping list as needed.

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is leftovers.

Have a great day!

Are you putting off taking care of yourself?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
Do you put off taking care of yourself? In our busy lives, we take care of many things in the course of the day. One person we need to take care of daily is ourselves. We should not be an afterthought. We should not put off taking care of ourselves until we have “time.”
Not taking care of yourself can cause you to have health issues. Staying up late at night to clean the house does not allow you to get enough sleep at night. I understand that you are juggling a lot during the day, and you tell yourself you can grab some extra cleaning or decluttering time after the children are in bed. I submit to you that you can use the time after the children are in bed to finish your Before Bed Routine and have some quiet time before you go to bed.
You are trying to burn the candle at both ends by doing cleaning projects after 9:00 at night.You are stealing your sleep.
By going to bed at a decent hour after relaxing, you will get more rest, and you will have more energy during the day to work on these projects.
Some of you are arguing in your head with me right now. I have homeschooled for 18 years. I have balanced the needs of 6 children. I have learned my lessons the hard way that you can only push yourself so far before you feel the effects on your body.
If you have difficulty with your decluttering projects, you may consider getting some outside help during the day. There was a season when I had a few teen girls come to my home to play with the children in the afternoon while I did therapy with one child and did a few things around the house. It was something that helped me greatly during a very busy time in my life.
You do not have to do everything in your home that needs to be done. You can teach your children life skills, or you can hire some help. If your budget is tight, maybe you can barter services.

You need to rest daily. You need to drink your water (and watch the sugar and caffeine). You need to get in some purposeful movement. You need to eat healthy foods. You may need some extra vitamin D in the winter. You need some down time each day.

If you are feeling depressed, schedule an appointment for blood work. Have your vitamin D checked. Have other things checked if you have health concerns.
Please do not put off taking care of yourself. You need your health to take care of your family.
Your Zone Mission today is to toss out of date cosmetics.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is spaghetti and salad.

Have a great day!

Finishing Your Daily Routines

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,
Many of you have shared your word of the year with me. More than one of you has shared the word, “Finish” with me. That word can be fueled by your perfectionism. You need to finish your daily routines, but it should not take your hours to accomplish your routines.
Each of the daily routines has 6 steps. Start with the Before Bed Routine. Once you have that routine in place, you will see how easily the Morning Routine and Afternoon Routine will go for you.
Where I see ladies stall out is that they want to do everything at once. They get caught up cleaning the bathroom perfectly instead of doing a quick swish and swipe. If you are spending 15 minutes or more in cleaning your bathroom daily, you are doing too much. I set the timer and checked myself. I can wipe the shower walls, tub, and sink area in 90 seconds. It takes me 30 seconds to swish the toilet. In two minutes, I have done a quick swish and swipe and am ready to move on.
With your daily Zone Missions, if you are taking longer than 15 minutes, you are doing too much. I want you to see that you can finish a room, but you have to take small, consistent steps to do it over the course of the week.
The other two common things that you get hung up on is laundry (pun intended) and dusting. Laundry is a basic part of your daily plan. You need to do all 5 steps, and you will not be living with piles of laundry. You may have to figure out of you need to do more than one load a day if you have a large family. I do three loads a day to stay on top of laundry in my home.
During the Weekly Home Blessings, many of you skip over the dusting because you want to move everything off the flat surface to dust. During the Home Blessing time, you only need to use your feather duster to dust around the things on the flat surfaces. When we do a zone mission in that room, you will declutter the flat surfaces and detail dust.
You do not have to clean your house perfectly to have a peaceful home free from chaos. Your consistency with your routines each day is what will help you to the finish line!
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Missions for today is to declutter under the bathroom sink.
My menu plan for Tuesday is taco Tuesday.
Have a blessed day!

Picking Your Room to Declutter this Week

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
The third week of the month is one of my favorite weeks around the house. Our Zones this week are the Main Bathroom and one Extra Room.

This is the week that you can choose where to focus some of your decluttering time. The FlyLady system addresses the most common areas that we have, but some of you have other rooms, such as homeschool rooms, family rooms, dens, or basements.

Use your timer for 5 to 10 minutes of decluttering in the bathroom, and then reset the timer to declutter for 5 to 10 minute elsewhere in the house.

Zone 2 Missions: The Main Bathroom and One Extra Room
Monday – Decutter the Bathroom Counter and Wipe Down

Tuesday – Declutter Under the Bathroom Sink

Wednesday – Declutter Expired Cosmetics/Toiletries

Thursday – Check Bathroom Supplies

Friday – Clean the Tub/Shower

Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!

You can space these missions out during the day if needed. You do not have to do both the bathroom decluttering and the extra room decluttering together. I find it easier to do the decluttering in the bathroom after I shower and do swish and swipe. Later in the day, I will do a zone mission elsewhere in the house. The main thing is to be consistent in your decluttering.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.

Your Zone Missions for today are to declutter the bathroom counters and wipe them down. For your extra room, you can declutter in the laundry room or anywhere else in the house that needs it.

My menu plan for Monday is chicken fajitas.

Have a blessed day!

Getting Ready for the Weekend

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? Today I want to take a look at the things you wanted to do around the house this week. Make a list of these things. Rank them in order of importance. Set your timer and do them one at a time.
If you just listed 8 hours’ worth of projects that is too much. A better balance might be to spend an hour on these projects, you can switch between tasks every 5 minutes to 15 minutes. If you need to do all of your Home Blessings, then spend that hour on that.
The goal is for you to go into the weekend guilt free! You deserve to enjoy Family Fun Day! You do not need a long list of projects for Saturday for yourself and your family.
Your weekly schedule is busy. I understand that, so is mine. My goal is to get my Home Blessings and Zone Missions finished before the end of the day on Friday. There are things that have disrupted that, such as sickness, so I do have mercy on myself if we are not able to finish all of the Home Blessings. I make it a point for procrastination to not be the culprit.
In talking to some of you this week, perfectionism really stalls you on your list. You are waiting on a big pocket of time to do your Home Blessings. You are waiting on help with some of your projects.
Assemble your army and divide and conquer the clutter!
Sound the alarm for a Hot Spot Fire Drill.
Play a reverse scavenger hunt where you pick up things and put them where they belong.
Set up a BINGO game and write down 5 areas you need to work on. Assign one area to each letter. Write out the letters on 5 pieces of paper, and you can draw from a hat.

Use a timer and spend 10 minutes on each of the Home Blessings.

Today’s Zone Mission is to wipe the stove top and microwave.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is take out.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Showing Gratitude to Others

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Do you teach your children to write Thank You notes for gifts? I can say that this has been something that has been harder for me to impart to my boys. I do well with writing Thank You notes for myself. Is this a lost art?

Showing gratitude is important. We should be intentional about showing our gratitude. In a digital society, people send Thank You notes through texting or social media. Think back to the last time you got a hand-written Thank You card in the mail. Can you remember? I can’t.

This year, let’s purpose to write more Thank You cards and teach our children to do them, too. If you have any ideas or ways you do this with your children let me know! Just reply to this email.

How has your school year started off after the Holidays? We jumped back into our lessons, and I am feeling good about our progress this year. If you are having a hard time jump starting your school, rest assured that you are not alone. There were many years that we had a rough re-entry into our lessons after Christmas break.

If you are struggling, remember that you can start slowly and work on the basics, and then add in the rest of the subjects over the course of a week or two. Your perfectionism wants you to be able to get through every lesson you planned without any struggles. The reality is that learning is a process, and there will be struggles.

When I speak at homeschool conferences, I share that I have had some really hard homeschool years, and even in the midst of difficulty, my children learned and thrived. Sometimes, I just had to be patient as they learned a new skill.

If you have any homeschool questions, feel free to ask me. I might not know all of the answers, but I will try to help you!

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter items from one kitchen drawer or cabinet.

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and a salad.

Have a great day!

Your children mimic you.

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
You are a role model for your children. If you are telling them to clean their rooms and make their beds, you have to be doing these things for yourself. You are with your children the most. You are the one who influences them. You are the one who teaches them life skills. This influence stems from what you do. You words carry weight with your children, but your actions carry more weight.
You will not be able to do everything perfectly. You will have days where it is hard to get your routines done, but you still need to do your daily routines even if you are doing them a later in the day. You can start your day over if you have not been able to get through your Morning Routine. If you are struggling with getting your Morning Routine finished by lunchtime on a regular basis, you need to look at what is derailing you.
The things that I typically see derail a Morning Routine are getting up later in the morning than your children, not having things laid out for the morning, getting up to a sink full of dirty dishes, or having illness in the house. This is not an exhaustive list. These are just the top things I have heard from ladies like you.
Start with your Before Bed Routine and really work at completing it each evening. I know you encounter road blocks there, too. Overcome those roadblocks! Start right after dinner. As you get this routine going well, start working with your children on their Before Bed Routine. You will be modeling it.
When you set your alarm for the next morning, set it for at least 15 minutes before your children normally get up. I set mine for 5:00 am every morning to accommodate my morning routine and exercise. When you get up in the morning, make your side of the bed immediately, even if your husband is still in the bed. I make my side of the bed as soon as my feet hit the floor. (He makes his side of the bed when he gets up as well.)
Get dressed as soon as you can after getting up. Have your coffee and morning quiet time. Quiet time is much quieter when the children are still in bed. I know that this is harder with nursing babies and toddlers who hear you get up and want to get up, too. Have something prepared for the toddler to sit with you and eat. Hopefully, that will give you a few minutes of quiet.
Are you swishing and swiping your bathroom daily? You have to model this behavior, too. If you assign swish and swipe to your children for their bathroom or the main bathroom, they need to see that it is important to you, and that you are swishing and swiping your bathroom daily.
If you want your children on board with routines, you have to do them, too.
Tell me how you are doing with your daily routines.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter items from the fridge.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is taco soup.

Have a great day!

You can’t just do the things you want to do.

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,

How many of you structure your To Do list, so that you are doing the things you want to do first? If you focus on the things you want to do or the things you like to do, you will miss out on doing some of the things that need to be done.

Some of our tasks are not pleasant, and we do do enjoy them. We tend to put them off as long as possible. We you make your To Do List, put something at the top of the list that needs to be done that you have been avoiding.

You do not have to complete this task, but I want you to start it and keep it at the top of your list until you complete it. Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day on it.

It’s January, and for some of us, that means we need to work on paperwork for our tax return. In talking to ladies throughout the year, I know this is one thing that gets put off until March or April. Start spending a few minutes a day gathering information. Have files set up for papers that you will be receiving this month. Make a check off sheet for forms that you know you need to have ready for your tax preparer.

How about your homeschool paperwork? Have you been putting it off? Spend a few minutes daily on it, and it will not pile up into a mountain of paperwork. Use the Do It Now principle when it comes to grading your student’s work.

Do you push off doing your Zone Missions or Home Blessings? Do them during your Morning Routine. You only need 20 minutes to do these, and you can enlist the help of your children. This can count as Life Skills for your homeschool. Your day and your home will go much smoother if you declutter and do your Home Blessings.
Tell me what is your list today.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Missions for today is to declutter items from the pantry that have expired.
My menu plan for Tuesday is taco Tuesday.
Have a blessed day!

Decluttering Daily in the Kitchen

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
This week we are decluttering in the kitchen. You do a lot of things in your kitchen in a day, and it can quickly become cluttered. You can spend a few minutes a day decluttering this week, and at the end of the week, you will have less clutter. It’s the daily consistency in decluttering that works the best.
Zone 2 Missions: The Kitchen
Monday – Decutter and Wipe the Kitchen Counters
Tuesday – Declutter Expired Items from the Pantry
Wednesday – Declutter Leftovers from the Fridge
Thursday – Declutter Items from 1 Drawer or Cabinet
Friday – Wipe the Stove top and Microwave
Set your timers for 10 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!

If you had a busy Holiday Season, you may have things out in the kitchen that you are not using regularly. You might have some Holiday dishes and serving pieces that need to be put away until next year. You may have received some new appliances that you need to find a place to put them.
The missions that I give you are the basic missions that help me in the kitchen. If you have other areas in the kitchen that need attention, please focus on those. Some of you have a desk area in your kitchen, and it is usually a cluttered mess. Spend time this week decluttering it and putting things away. Then purpose to spend 5 minutes each evening dealing with the Hot Spot that accumulates there during the day.
Some of you do your homeschooling at the table, and it is never quite cleared off. Spend 5 minutes a day this week dealing with it. Teach your children to put their things away each day after they finish their school work.
Little by little, you can get your house decluttered.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.

Your Zone Missions for today is to declutter the kitchen counters and wipe them down.

My menu plan for Monday is shepherd’s pie for the boys and chicken and salad for me.

Have a blessed day!

What do you do when you are sick?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Many of you have had illness in your families in the past few weeks. I had a question about what to do about your routines if you are the one who is sick.

My advice on your routines after an illness is to just jump back into your routines when you feel better. You do not need to try to make up any of the zone missions that you missed. You will get back around to the missions later. You just need to be consistent with your routines as much as possible.

If you are sick, your main goal is self-care. You don’t even have to get dressed down to the shoes if you are sick and need to be in bed to rest. When I had my tonsils removed a few years ago, I rested on the sofa to stay propped up. I wore my sweats and warm fuzzy socks. (Don’t you love that they have no-slip fuzzy socks?)

If your children are sick, you may still need to adjust your routines. It will be depend on the age of your children and their age. Just give yourself grace to take care of the most pressing needs of your sick ones. Do the important things for your self-care, too. You do not want to get run down and get sick, too. So rest, hydrate, and eat well.

You do not need to feel guilty about any missed routines or zone missions. It is going to be okay in the long run. Posting your daily routines will help you get back on track when you feel better. Just remember to keep things simple as you get back to your normal routines.
What is the hardest thing for you to do around the house?

Today’s Zone Mission is to do a quick Hot Spot drill in the dining room and entryway. Weather permitting declutter anything else on the front porch that does not belong.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is take out.

Have a wonderful weekend!