Planning Ahead Helps You in Many Ways

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Dear Friends,
Today is Plan and Play Day. Have you updated your Christmas shopping list? A big part of your Holiday purchasing and gift giving is to keep track of your budget. You don’t want to spend months after Christmas paying off credit card bills. Set a budget and stick to it. Update your gift list each time you make a purchase.
If you haven’t started your Christmas cards yet, start them today. Start with checking your mailing list for updates. If you print labels, go ahead and do that. Then you can start signing the cards a little at a time. You can spread this out over a couple of weeks; you don’t have to do a mega Christmas card session at one time.
If you enclose a family picture in your Christmas card, get those done this week or over the weekend at the latest. You need to get them ordered in ready to pop into your cards.
Do any of you write a Christmas card letter? I used to do them when my children were little, but I have not done one in a while. I like reading them from others, but it gets harder to put them together as the family grows and moves into adulthood.
In my small town, we have a special stamp we can use on our Christmas cards that says, “Bethlehem, North Carolina.” It’s a star-shaped stamp, and it is one of the things that I enjoy doing each year on my Christmas cards.
We are coming close to the end of the month, and we have been practicing the habit of menu planning this month. How do you feel about your progress in this area? I did my weekly menu planning, and while we switched around a couple of meals, I think it went well.
What have you learned this month about menu planning?
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to detail vacuum the Living Room or Family Room.
My menu plan for Tuesday is spaghetti and a salad.
Have a blessed day!

Finishing Up the Month of November in the Living Room

Dear Friends,
How was your Holiday? Does your house look like things have been dropped here and there? This week we are in Zone 5, but if you need to put things aright in your home, you can spend 5 to 10 minutes per day putting things away.
This week we are Zone 5 – The Living Room. If you have decorated the Living Room, spend some time putting things away. You can do you detailed zone missions this week. They just might look a little different than normal.
If you have purchased gifts, start a wrapping station and wrap a few each day. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your wrapping.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 5 Missions: The Living Room
Monday – Deal with Hot Spots in the Living Room or Family Room
Tuesday – Detail Vacuum in the Living Room or Family Room
Wednesday – Dust Decorative Items in the Living Room or Family Room
Thursday – Do a 27 Fling Boogie (Put things away, Throw things away, Give some things away)
Friday – Declutter in the Living Room
Set your timers for 15 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!
Take a look at your calendar today. Write down the things you want to do as a family this Christmas season. As you are invited to events, guard your time to do the things you want to do as a family. I read some posts this weekend about homeschool families who do Christmas School. For the month of December, they do their school based around Holiday baking, crafts, and doing things for others.
What are some fun things you can do as a family in December?
Weekly Menu Plan
Monday – Chicken and Rice Casserole
Tuesday – Spaghetti
Wednesday – Lasagna
Thursday – Pizza for the boys and Date night
Friday – Chicken
This is a great week to do some baking ahead and preparing of your Christmas cookie dough. You can freeze it and pull it out as needed. You can also double some of the recipes you are cooking over the next few weeks and build your reserve of freezer foods up.
Here’s your recap of the Weekly Zone Missions.
On Monday, decide where you want to do your missions this week, Living Room or Family Room. Deal with the Hot Spots today.
On Tuesday, detail vacuum the Living Room or Family Room. If you have time, do both!
On Wednesday, dust the decorative items in the Living Room or Family Room.
On Thursday, do a 27 Fling Boogie. Spend this time focusing on things to donate. There are many people with real needs this Holiday season. Look for a shelter that is in need of clothes, blankets, or toiletries. Start a box to donate later in the week.
On Friday, declutter in the Living Room or Family.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to deal with Hot Spots.
My menu plan for Monday is chicken and rice casserole with a salad.
Have a blessed day!
FlyLady Tami

A Wrap Up of 12 Habits for a Happy and Healthy Home

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

12 Habits For a Happy and Healthy Home Wrap Up
Over the past couple of weeks, I have shared with you
12 Habits for a Happy and Healthy Home. You cannot jump in and establish all 12 of these habits at one time. If you try to do them all at once, you will get overwhelmed and give up.
You need to work on establishing one at a time. Each habit is important, but the first one to focus on is shining your kitchen sink. This daily habit will make you feel great about your home, even if you have other areas to clean and declutter.
As soon as you finish reading this, I want you to check your kitchen sink. Is it empty and clean? If not, set your timer and spend 15 minutes on it. You might have more dishes to do when the timer goes off, but I want you to relish in the progress you just made.
Many of you have things that have happened in your past to hold you back from establishing your habits. You are resistant to change. You rationalize in your mind that you are too busy to establish these routines.
These 12 Habits will make your life better. You will find peace in your home as you get rid of the clutter and use these routines.
Let’s review them quickly:
Habit #1 – Shine Your Sink Daily
Habit #2 – Declutter for 15 Minutes Each Day
Habit #3 – Get Dressed Down to the Lace-Up Shoes First Thing in the Morning
Habit #4 – Making Your Bed Daily
Habit #5 – Move (Exercise) for 15 Minutes Each Day
Habit #6 – Drink Adequate Amounts of Water Daily
Habit #7 – Swish and Swipe Your Bathroom Daily
Habit #8 – Do One Load of Laundry a Day (More if you have a large family)
Habit #9 – Do Your Before Bed Routine Each Night
Habit #10 – Declutter Paper Daily
Habit #11 – Menu Plan (Weekly or Monthly)
Habit #12 – Pamper Yourself
Each habit is important. I can tell you that every one of them has made a positive difference in my life. Over the years of doing them, they have become ingrained habits. I do not think about them most of the time when I am doing them. I am on auto-pilot. That is what I want for you, too.
Doing my routines is joyful. My home runs better. The boys know how things go. They know what to expect, and they have learned so much by being a part of my routines.
If you have not jumped into all of the routines, follow along each month as we practice the Habit of the Month. You are not alone! There are a lot of us doing the same things to have a happy and healthy home.
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter your kitchen counter tops.
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!

Healthy Habit #12 – Pampering Yourself

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Habit #12 – Pampering Yourself
When I ask ladies what they do to take care of themselves, I am often met with silence. We have not learned to take care of ourselves and pamper ourselves. We put the needs of our family and caring for them before we take care of ourselves.
It was shocking for me to learn that caregivers of chronically ill people are often at a higher health risk than the person they are caring for. This happens because caregivers burn the candle at both ends. They often do not sleep enough, eat healthy, get regular movement, or drink water.
Do these habits sound familiar? These four habits are essential for you to have a healthy lifestyle. You many still have health issues, but sleeping, eating, exercising, and water all help you to feel the best you can feel. Your baseline health can vary, but these things give you the most bang for your efforts.
Most moms also forget what hobbies they used to enjoy because they get so busy in the day-to-day care of their children. Schedule time for yourself each day to do something you enjoy. Some ideas are reading for fun, needlework, art, crafts, soaking in the tub, and more.
Doing something you enjoy for a few minutes each day relaxes you. It reduces your stress. It makes you feel happy and joyful. It does not have to be complicated or expensive. You just need to find that place in your day where you can do this regularly.
Once a week have a nice soak in the tub and do a facial or pedicure at home. Talk to your spouse about watching the children for this time regularly if you have small children. You need to recharge your batteries.
Plan date night with your husband as a way to pamper yourself. If you budget is tight, serve the kids a snack kind of dinner and set up a movie night. Then enjoy a candle-lit dinner or dessert with your husband in a nearby room. You can be creative on a budget and have date night.
When you don’t take care of yourself, your health will show it. It might take a little time, but you will have physical symptoms if you neglect taking care of yourself. It is not selfish to have a good self-care routine. You need to love yourself and your family by taking care of you.
These twelve habits won’t be developed overnight. It takes time to build a habit. The FlyLady has assigned one of these habits to each month of the year, so you have time to implement each habit into your daily schedule.
You are important. Your health and happiness are important, and these twelve habits will help you.
For more information on The FlyLady and her system, go to You can read articles on her website. You can subscribe to her daily emails. You can follow her on social media. She will help you and encourage you to create habits that will help you have a happy and healthy home.
Your Zone Mission today is to shine your kitchen sink.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is soup and sandwiches.
Have a blessed day!

Habit #11 – Menu Planning

Habit #11 – Menu Planning
Do you find yourself in a panic and stressed out every evening when it is time for dinner? Do you hit the drive-thru because you don’t have a menu plan? It might be easy to hit the drive-thru, but it is more expensive, and it is usually less healthy than a home-cooked meal.
Where do you start menu planning? Most of us were not taught how to menu plan, so we don’t know how to even get started.
First, establish a food budget. It can be a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly budget. It is likely dependent on how often you are paid.
Sit down with your family and make a list of favorite meals. Ask for ideas for different types of meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish). Ask for favorite vegetables. Write these ideas down in a notebook or on cards. This gives you a base of meal ideas to work from when you menu plan.
If you have never menu planned in your life, start with planning meals for one or two days at a time. Work your way up from there. The fewer times you go to the grocery store, the more money and time you will save.
Be sure to include recipes that make a larger quantity than your family will eat. That will give you leftovers for another meal. You can store leftovers in a couple of ways. You can just keep them in the refrigerator and use them for lunches or another evening meal that week, or you can freeze the leftovers and use them at a later date. Be sure to label the items with a name and date.
You can make an inventory list of items you have in the freezer and incorporate them into your menu plan.
Typically, it helps if you have a theme for each day of the week to help you with your menu planning. How many of you have heard of Taco Tuesday?
Side items can also stump people when menu planning. You do not have to have a seven-course meal every night. Keep side items simple. A cooked vegetable, a starchy item, and some fresh veggies make great side items. Raw vegetables are healthy and easy to serve.
Side salads and a few veggies will help you boost your family’s intake of vegetables, and it will not complicate your meal preparations.
Involve your family in planning, shopping, and cooking. All of these steps are important life skills, and it helps you delegate some of the cooking responsibilities.
Toss leftovers from your fridge weekly. This is best done on trash day or the night before trash day. Getting rid of the expired leftovers will help you free up space in your fridge, and it will help you when you make a grocery list to know exactly what you have in the fridge.
Declutter expired items from your pantry once a month and put new items toward the back of your pantry. Pull the older items to the front, so you use them sooner. Keeping an orderly pantry will help you save money in the grocery store and will help you cut down on waste.
Try different recipes once a month or once a week. Exposing your family to different tastes and textures will expand their palate. Often you will see that recipes can have similar ingredients but different tastes depending on how you season and prepare the food. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
As you get more proficient in menu planning, your evening meals will be less stressful and more fun. As you replace take-out meals with home-cooked meals, you may see health benefits for your family.
It’s Plan and Play Day, so do your zone mission by decluttering in the pantry. Then, sit down for a few minutes and do some menu planning.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to spend 15 minutes purging items from the pantry.
My menu plan for Tuesday is cheeseburger bake and salad.
Have a blessed day!
Siggie - Tami Fox

Decluttering in the Kitchen and Getting Ready for the Holidays

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Dear Friends,
Are you relishing in fall and the activities that come along with it? One look at the calendar, and my guess is that your calendar is starting to fill up with Holiday plans just as mine is. If you are not following The FlyLady’s Holiday Missions, I encourage you to do so. It is much easier to get ready in small, baby steps.
This week we are decluttering in the Kitchen.
Here are you missions for the week:
Zone 2 Missions: The Kitchen
Monday – Clean Out Under the Kitchen Sink
Tuesday - Purge from the Pantry
Wednesday – Shine Your Kitchen Sink
Thursday – Declutter Your Kitchen Countertops
Friday – Sweep and Mop the Kitchen
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
Habit #10 – Decluttering Paper
How many of you are living with paper clutter in many areas of your home? This is not the safest way to insulate your home (smile). Paper clutter brings us down. It makes us feel defeated when we see paper, paper, paper all over our homes.
Paper comes into our homes on a daily basis. Paper comes in the mail. Our kids bring paper home. Our spouses bring paper home. We bring paper home. For a digital society, we still process a lot of paper.
How do you stem the tidal wave of paper? You need to set aside 5 to 15 minutes a day to deal with the paper that came into your home that day. You need a good quality paper shredder, and you need to be ruthless. Only hold onto papers that you need for legal purposes, and only hold onto special papers by your children for a short amount of time.
You can display your children’s artwork for a week or so. Then take a picture of it. Then you can share it with a loved one. If you want to hold onto some of their artwork, designate a plastic bin for each child. Only keep the amount of papers that will fit into that bin. If it overflows, you will need to let more go.
From personal experience, I can tell you that the artwork that you are saving for them means more to you than them. They will likely not take it with them when they move out.
What you can do is take pictures of their artwork and make a photo album. You can share their artwork with friends and family members. You can teach your children how to address an envelope and mail it to someone. This teaches your children a life skill, and it also brightens the day of your friend or family member.
When you are sorting piles of paper, resist the urge to make a lot of piles at one time. Most of the time, you will end up re-stacking the piles and having to sort through them again later.
Set up simple files. You will need one for bills to pay. You can put them in order of due date within the folder. You will need files for papers you need for your tax return. You will need permanent files for birth certificates and other legal documents.
When you go through the mail, either trash the paper, shred the paper, or file the paper. Do this daily. Don’t let your mail pile up. Eventually, you end up with a mix of junk mail and important mail if you don’t deal with your mail daily.
Try to handle your incoming papers as few times as possible. Many times your piles of paper do not shrink because you keep handling the same papers over and over again. You delay on making decisions on what to do with the paper, so you just pop it back in the pile to deal with later.
You do not want your legacy to your children to be boxes and boxes of paper. Start today and purge paper. You will start to feel lighter and more peaceful as the piles of paper shrink in your home.
Here’s your recap of the Weekly Zone Missions.
On Monday, spend 15 minutes decluttering cleaning under the kitchen sink. Write down any items that you need to purchase.
On Tuesday, start at the back of the kitchen pantry and toss expired items. Organize what is in the pantry. Write down items that you need to purchase for Holiday Baking.
On Wednesday, spend 15 minutes shining your kitchen sink. If you have extra time, spend a few minutes tossing leftovers from the fridge.
On Thursday, declutter and wipe the kitchen counters. Put away appliances you are not using often.
On Friday, sweep and mop the kitchen. Tag team with your kids if they can sweep for you, and then do a quick mop.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for Monday is to declutter under the kitchen sink.
My menu plan for Monday is cheeseburger bake.
Have a blessed day!

Habit #9 – Everyone Needs a Before Bed Routine

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Habit #9 – Have a Before Bed Routine
The most important habit of your day is your Before Bed Routine. This routine sets you up for a less stressful morning the next day. Reducing your stress is a healthy habit. It does not have to be a complicated routine either. You don’t have to wait until bedtime to start your Before Bed Routine. You start it right after your evening meal.
Each night, check your calendar for the next day and check the weather report. Lay out your clothes and lay out anything else you will need first thing in the morning. Designate a place in your home as a “launch pad” for these items. Teach your children to lay their clothes, shoes, and socks out at night also.
Next, tackle a hot spot in your home. A hot spot is simply a place that has accumulated clutter. Spend a few minutes putting things away, throwing out trash, and organizing this flat surface. As you do this consistently, you will start to notice you have less and less clutter to deal with daily. You will also see that it is easier to clean your home when you don’t have to work around clutter.
Wash the dinner dishes and shine your sink. This is usually the best time of day to run your dishwasher. Then, it can be emptied before you go to bed, and it is ready for the breakfast dishes the next morning.
Just before you go to bed wash your face and brush your teeth.
Now, I know I will step on some toes with this next part of your Before Bed Routine.
Establish a bedtime for your children and for yourself. You need a good night’s sleep, and that doesn’t happen if you are staying up until all hours of the night. Set a cut off time for electronics in your home in the evenings. Spend some time relaxing and go to bed at a decent hour.
This routine will help you the next morning when you wake up, and your clothes are ready for you to put on. Your kitchen will greet you with a shiny sink and maybe even a pot of coffee, if you set it up the night before.
You will be healthier and have more energy when you get enough sleep at night, and your stress will be a lot less when everyone has what they need laid out for the morning. Think about how your family gets ready to leave the house now, and think about how it would be if everyone had their clothes, shoes, and socks ready to go.
Today’s Zone Mission is to have a Hot Spot Fire Drill in the Entryway.
Your Home Blessing for today is to take out the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is take out.
Send me pictures of your progress this week in zone 4!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Habit #8 – A Load of Laundry a Day

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Habit #8 – Doing a Load of Laundry a Day
Laundry is the bane of most of your existence. Doing laundry requires several steps, and we often get busy with other tasks and forget about it. We also have too many clothes, and that makes it difficult to put the laundry away once it is finished.
Is dirty laundry sitting around your house mixed in with clean laundry? That is very common, especially in households with children. Add in a few pets, and you can have some yucky situations arise.
Establishing a daily laundry habit will help you maintain a cleaner and more organized home. Doing one load of laundry per day will help you stay on top of the laundry monster.
If you have a large family, you might have to do two or three loads per day.
Some of you put doing laundry off until someone (or everyone) runs out of clean clothes. Some of you do marathon wash days once a week.
What I have found is that it helps my home run smoother and look less cluttered if we do laundry daily. Each person has a laundry day. From age 12 and up, each person can do their own laundry. This is a necessary life skill. It does not have to be a chore or drudgery. It is a way to love yourself and care for yourself by having clean clothes in your drawers and closet.
Set up a simple system to help your family sort clothes. Provide dirty laundry bins in the bedroom or bathroom where your family changes clothes. Designate a dark bin, a white bin, and a towel (wet clothes) bin.
Teach your family how to empty their pockets and put their clothes in the correct bin. (You cannot believe the number of young adults who do not know how to sort laundry.)
When you are launching a new person in the adventure of doing laundry, teach them about the different cycles on the washer and dryer. Teach them about the different water settings. Teach them when to use bleach and when not to use bleach. Show them the appropriate amount of detergent to use.
When you start a load of laundry, use a timer or alarm on your phone to remind you to go back and switch the load to the dryer. When you switch the load, reset your alarm. When it’s time to go back to the dryer, be prepared to fold of hang the clothes up right then. This will save you some ironing time later.
Next, put that load of laundry away. Don’t leave it in the basket. Don’t pile it on your dresser, or chair, or treadmill. If you struggle with having room to put your clothes away, you need to declutter and let some clothes go.
Laundry does not have to be a mountain in your home. It can be managed and done daily to help you achieve a cleaner and more organized home.
Today’s Zone Mission is to take down Halloween decorations and sweep the Front Porch.
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!

Habit #7 – Swish and Swipe Daily

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 
Habit #7 – Quick Cleaning Your Bathroom Daily
Wiping your bathroom sink area and swishing your toilet daily sounds like a simple habit to implement, but most of you reading this put off cleaning your bathroom until you need to don rubber gloves and break out the heavy duty cleaning agents.
You can wipe your shower or tub, bathroom sink and counter, and swish your toilet in less than 2 minutes a day, and you will never have to deep clean your bathroom again.
Our bathrooms at home are used frequently. They also harbor germs and bacteria. A quick clean each day will help you keep germs at bay. It will also mean you have a sparkling clean bathroom when you have company.
You and your family are worth having a clean bathroom greet you each day. You will not believe how happy and confident you will feel about having a clean bathroom until you do this quick habit for several weeks.
When someone does get sick in your home, it will be easy to clean behind them when you are not having to clean months’ worth of build-up in the bathroom.
You are probably thinking it is a little compulsive to clean the bathroom daily. It really isn’t. You can do this quick daily maintenance with a few simple things and avoid using harsh chemicals.
You need a microfiber cloth, such as The FlyLady’s purple rags, and you need a toilet bowl brush, like The FlyLady’s Rubba Swisha.
You can store the rubber Swisha in a plastic crock with water and liquid soap. Germs will not grow in the soapy water. You just need to give your brush a little shake and swish it around in your toilet. Grab a small piece of toilet paper to wipe the rim of the toilet, and you are done. Once a month, you can wipe around the base of your toilet.
You can use the microfiber cloth with warm water and wipe down the shower or tub. Then wipe your bathroom counter and sink. The easiest way to maintain the counter top is to keep very few things on it. Store your personal hygiene items in a cabinet or drawer. If you don’t have storage, you can use a portable basket. You can wipe the counter in seconds when you don’t have to remove items first.
A clean bathroom is a healthy habit to have in your home. When you walk into a clean bathroom every day, you will smile and feel happy that a few minutes a day is all it takes to maintain your bathroom.
Your Zone Mission today is to have a Hot Spot Fire Drill in the Living Room. It’s time to purge some clutter.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is soup and sandwiches.
Have a blessed day!

Habit #6 – Drinking Water Daily

Getting Organized:
In your Home and Homeschool 

Habit #6 – Drinking Adequate Amounts of Water
Do you know the signs of mild dehydration? Most people do not drink an adequate amount of water each day. They often feel lethargic, cranky, have headaches, have dry skin, can feel dizzy, and can have issues with your urinary tract.
Drinking an adequate amount can help boost your energy and make your skin look healthier. It can plump your skin up and fill in some light wrinkles. Drinking water can also help curb your appetite and cravings.
How do you know how much is a healthy amount to drink each day? The easiest way I can remember it is to take my body weight and divide it in half. That is how many ounces I need per day.
If the weather is extremely hot or humid, I increase my intake by 10 to 20 additional ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds. You need approximately 75 ounces of water per day. If you are exercising heavily, you will want to increase your water intake to compensate for your sweat loss.
Even in cool weather, you need to drink your water daily. I have a friend who got dehydrated over the weekend because she was not drinking enough water last week. It caught up with her.
Drinking other beverages, especially those with caffeine, does not count toward your water intake for the day. Caffeinated beverages actually cause dehydration when consumed in large quantities. Drinking sugar-sweetened drinks (or sugar substitutes) also does not count toward your water intake for the day.
If you are sorely lacking in the area of drinking water, start replacing your other beverages one at a time with water. If you are drinking a lot of sodas, start weaning yourself down. You will feel better and have more energy as you give your body the water that it needs. You may also see some health concerns rectify themselves when you are drinking an adequate amount of water daily.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Mission for today is to go sofa and chair diving.
My menu plan for Tuesday is spaghetti and salad.
Have a blessed day!