Have you been in my house?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Over the past week I have had several emails from readers who wonder how I know what their house looks like.

It’s simple. I am a homeschool mom with a large family, and I have learned from my experiences. Many times what I am sharing with you in these messages are from my personal experiences. I have used the FlyLady system to get my house and life out of chaos.

Having homeschooled for nearly 18 years, I have had the messy house with books and papers everywhere. I have not had a meal plan and scrambled to get food on the table for dinner. I have procrastinated Blessing my Home. I know you because I am one of you.

Even with as many years as I have had of following The FlyLady, I still declutter. I think that is something we all have to do continually. It is just in smaller amounts for me now.

You may be balking at one part of the FlyLady system. It could be getting dressed down to the shoes. It could be doing swish and swipe. It could be shining your kitchen sink. Whatever it is, work on that one habit this week. Once you get them all into place, you see the sense in the system, and why Marla has us do the things we do in our routines.

Every routine takes time to practice and make into a habit, but once it is there, you do not have to think about the next thing. You just do it. It’s hard for me to list the Morning Routine because I just do it. I don’t think about it. That is what I want for you, too. I want you to have joy in the routines. I want you to have peace in your home.

Tell me the one routine you are struggling with right now.

Your Zone Mission today is to deal with Hot Spots in Zone 1.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!

Taking Care of the Front of Your House

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
How does the front of your house look? It’s the first thing people see when they come into your driveway or drive down your street.
In the past few weeks, I cleaned out my bedroom, so I could paint it. That meant that a lot of stuff went into boxes. Those boxes ended up in my entryway. Over the weekend, I painted my room, so this week, I will spend a few minutes each day putting things away. This will clean up my entryway.
Your entryway is where people come into the house and drop things. It becomes a gathering place for clutter. You might have your launch pad area in the entryway, too. This is another clutter magnet.
Shoes, coats, hats, and bags end up in the entryway as people come into the house. If this happens in your home, make it easy for people to hang coats and put away their things.
What does your entryway look like right now?
Purpose to spend 15 minutes a day decluttering and putting things away. Remind your family to put their things away instead of dropping them when they walk into the house. If everyone just picked up behind themselves, it would make a big difference on how your home looked.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the Entryway.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers for the guys and grilled chicken for me.
Have a great day!

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Fridays are for wrapping up your week

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
It’s wrap up day! Time to check those lesson plans and finish up for the week. How did you do this week? Some weeks everything is going to flow well, and some weeks you are going to have some kinks. Use your Friday to get back on track.

You can be flexible on your Friday planning. Have some hands on learning planned, a little reading and writing, and some fun math activities. Then if you have a day during the week that did not go as planned, you can use your Friday to get back on track.

Some of you are discovering that your child is struggling with a subject. You may be frustrated, and they may be frustrated. You are not the first ones.

With six children, I learned that they had strengths and weaknesses. I had to switch curriculum a few times to accommodate a different learning style. One child is dyslexic. I had to do a lot of different things with him. I learned to not plan too far ahead on our lessons. I learned that slow and steady works.

If you are seeing a problem now, investigate why the child is frustrated with the subject.
If you have questions or struggles with lesson planning, please email me. I am happy to talk more about it, if you have the need to learn more.
Make plans for Family Fun Day tomorrow and have a wonderful weekend!
Today’s Zone Mission is to do some fall decorating in the Living Room.

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

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

How do your bookshelves look?

Getting Organized:

In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Yesterday I talked about your paper clutter. Today I am going to talk about a more sensitive subject to you. I am going to talk to you about your book collection. Do your books fit on the bookshelves? Are you living with piles of books in your home?

As homeschoolers, we like books. This is a good thing unless they are taking over our homes. Some of you also like to check out a lot of library books. I have talked to a couple of you who could build a library based on your late fees and lost book fees. (smile)

When we check books out of the library, I have a plastic crate that we keep them in throughout the week. I have taught my children to put the library books back in the crate after they read them. This has helped a lot. I also use the online library book list to make sure I have all of the books before we go back to the library to return them.

Over the past few years, I have significantly reduced the amount of books I have in my home. I take them to homeschool mom’s meetings and give them away. I have donated them to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club for the tutors. I have mailed some to family members with younger children. I have only kept the children’s picture books that are special to us.

As my youngest child progresses, I pass his books along to others. This blesses others, and it frees up space on my bookshelves.

Today, I want you to take a look at your bookshelves. Can you purge any? Do some dusting while you are checking them out. Don’t spend hours doing this. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Let me know if you donate any of your books.

Today’s Zone Mission is to detail dust your bookshelves.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is spaghetti and a salad.

Have a great day!

Paperwork and Piles of Paper

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
Are you procrastinating your paperwork? Paperwork is often stacked and piled and moved to the side day after day. You might sort your piles, but you give up and make one big pile again. Since today is anti-procrastination day, I want you to work on your paper pile for 10 minutes.
You need a filing system for your papers. Some papers you need to keep, but you also need to know where to find them. Create files that fit your needs. Buy colorful file folders. Get a plastic crate if you don’t have a file cabinet. Use your markers and make them pretty.
When I set my files up each year, I set up personal files. These include papers that I need to hold on to for taxes. Then I set up my business files. Each month I sort and file the papers into their appropriate file folders.
For my homeschool paperwork, I have a permanent file in a three ring binder. This holds our attendance forms, annual standardized test results, homeschool identification card from the state office, and immunization records.
Each day I review school work, and at the end of the week, I look at my plans for the next week. I do my best to keep the amount of homeschool papers in my home to a minimum. We use a couple of computer-based programs this year, and that has reduced some of the paper in our homeschool.
Each day, I go through the mail and trash the junk mail, shred papers that I don’t need, and file my bills to be paid. I have one file folder for bills to pay, and I file in date they are due in that folder. It makes paying bills each week easy. If I have an auto-payment or paperless bill, I make a note in the file folder to check due dates on thoses, too.
Next week, we will start a new habit of the month, and that is to deal with our paper clutter. This is your jump start on that. I want you to be free of the piles of paper.
If you struggle with papers that cause you to make phone calls or deal with in some way, use your timer. Just deal with them for a few minutes at a time each day.
Your Zone Mission today is to go sofa diving.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is shepherd pie.

Have a great day!

Fitting Exercise in Daily

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Are you taking time each day to take care of yourself? Moms get really busy taking care of everyone else, and sometimes don’t take the time to take care of themselves.

There have been busy seasons in my life where I had to get creative on how I fit in my daily exercise. When you have children and homeschool, you have a full plate. For a time, I did exercise DVD’s in my living room early in the morning or during naptime.

Then we went through a season where I helped take care of family members in addition to my other responsibilities. My exercise time went to nothing, and I had to prioritize my time. I gained weight and was not eating well.

That year, the boys got a Wii for Christmas, and I started using it to exercise. As funny as it sounds, I enjoyed it, and I was getting in some good workouts. I started running in place in my living room. I am not a natural runner. I never liked it when I was younger. I was always dead last on field day. I was usually picked last for team sports. I was not athletic.

Next, I decided I wanted to run outside. I found an app for my phone that was free for the first couple of weeks called Couch to 5K (c25k). I started out well, but it took me a while to figure out my breathing with asthma.

I took the next step of signing up for a 5K, and it was a hard race. I finished, and that is what was important to me. I kept running and extending my distance a little at a time. I progressed from the 5K to the 10K distance. Later, I ran my first half marathon, and I had a dead last finish.

My goals continued to grow, and I learned a lot about training. I was able to run early in the mornings, and my children were older. I signed up for a marathon, and I learned what commitment for that type of training entailed.

This year I ran my fourth marathon in March, and I am training for my fifth marathon currently. Most mornings during the week, I run for about an hour. Some days are a little shorter and some a little longer. But that equals about what I was doing years ago with exercise DVD’s. I have a long run on the weekends, and it all works because I have figured out where exercise fits in my schedule.

You do not have to run a marathon to be fit. Exercise can come in many forms. If you have not exercised in a while, remember to start slow with a few minutes a day. Start with step counting. You can find an inexpensive step counter to help you get started. Once you figure out how many steps you average during the day, you can set goals.

Use a timer to help you with 15 minutes of purposeful movement each day. It does not matter if it is morning, afternoon, or evening routine. If you have little ones, use nap time, early morning, or when your husband is home.

Find something you like to do for exercise. I like swimming, biking, walking, running, hiking, kick boxing, and skating. I like playing with the boys, too. We shoot hoops in the driveway. They like to throw the football to me. There are many options for exercise! You can include your family, too.

Tell me what you do to take care of yourself through exercise.

Your Zone Mission today is to detail vacuum under the living room furniture.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!

Making It Fun To Clean

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
As moms we have an awesome responsibility in our homes. Our moods and attitudes affect our families. How we look at taking care of our homes spills over to our families. If we approach house cleaning as a Blessing to our families, it trickles down to our children.
If we view house cleaning as a drudgery, they also see and feel this. The change starts with you. You can be positive or negative. You can make it fun or make it work. You can have the teamwork approach or the “poor pitiful me” approach.
Today starts a new week, and it can start a new attitude, too. You do not have to do it all in one day. I don’t recommend that anyway. Break down the things you need to do around the house. Keep it small and manageable. You can do big things if you break it down and take consistent steps.
We are focusing on the Living Room this week. For some of you, this can apply to the Family Room, too. This is the week to make your Living Area peaceful and declutter it. Each day, focus on one thing.
Start your Weekly Home Blessings today. If you make it a point to start your week off strong on Monday, the rest of the week will feel great! Each day is a new beginning. You just start where you are and take small steps. I know you can do it!
Yesterday I posted an article on my blog from my heart: Parenting and Prodigals. It will help you understand a little more about my recent struggles.
Your Zone Mission today is to have a 15 minute Hot Spot drill in the Living Room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is lasagna and a salad.
Have a great day!

 

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Parenting and Prodigals

walking-away

 

For years I read the story of the Prodigal Son, and I never could get a handle on why the father celebrated greatly when his son returned. I have always felt I had more in common with the son who stayed home.

Until you are in the position of having a prodigal child, it is hard to relate to how the father felt in this Bible story.

Christians tend to not share when they are struggling or when their kids are struggling. When we need support the most, we withdraw. We put on a happy face. We don’t want to be judged, so we hold it in with a brave face.

If you are in this situation, you are not alone. There are probably parents close to you who are in the same situation, and they are holding it in, too. God is with you, too. He is the constant source of peace and hope for you.

Now that I find myself in the position as a parent of a prodigal, I am understanding the father and his love for his son more. I am understanding God’s love for us more, too. Every one of us does things to hurt God, and yet He loves us anyway. He loves us despite our failures, short-comings, and sins.

Moms of Prodigals

 

What a club to be in if your child is a prodigal.

 

You often do not know where your child is.

Are they safe?

Did they eat?

Are they warm?

Do they have shoes and a coat?

Are they dry?

 

You don’t know what emotional landmines you will hit.

A trip to the grocery store and see their favorite food or snack.

When someone asks how your child is.

When the sight of someone reminds you of them and you strain to see if it is them.

When you talk to people who have seen them recently and are concerned.

When you fold their laundry and clean their room.

You look for pieces of the child you knew and raised.

 

You pray.

You wonder what you could have done differently.

You forget to eat, forget to drink, and don’t sleep soundly.

 

When you lock the door at night and remember they won’t be here.

When you come home and look for their car and realize it won’t be there.

When all that is left is your faith and your prayers.

You do the next thing.

You take the next breath.

You move forward because you have other children who need you.

You cry.

 

Not many people talk about this club.

It’s painful and gut wrenching.

You pray for the next call.

You pray for their safety.

You pray they come back to God and to you.

You pray it never happens to another family, but you know that you can walk beside them if it does.

Even when you know where they are but are separated from you, your heart cries out for them. It longs to be restored with them.

Their place at the table sits empty. A glaring reminder that they are not there.

 

Sometimes you do know where they are, and it is not where you would have wanted them to be. You pray without ceasing for their protection and for restoration.

 

Some of these children will make decisions that you cannot blame yourself or take responsibility. If they are an adult, they have to stand on their own two feet and accept responsibility for their decisions.

 

Have mercy on us each day, Lord.

As I await the return of my prodigal, I have cleaned his room, washed his clothes, prayed for him, and look forward to the day that he comes home.

There will be bumps along the way in his return, but I know he will return. I have prayed for him since he was in my womb. I read Scripture to him from a small child. I have watched him memorize Bible verses. I know it is in him, and he will be back. I have faith. When he comes home, I will be ready with open arms.

I do know where he is today, and I know that he is healing, too. God uses all things for good.

While this is his story, it is also my story. If you find yourself in this situation as a parent or child, reach out to others. Don’t shut people out. Don’t worry about being judged. You might be surprised at the people who have been through this, too.

 

FB Cover - Tami Fox

 

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A Change of Seasons

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
It’s Friday! Let’s all cheer together! We are ending another week of school, and it is cooling off outside. I am ready to welcome fall! How about you?
The change of seasons is one thing I love about living in North Carolina. I get to experience all four seasons every year, and some years the temperate weather does not last as long as I want. Some years it goes from blazing hot summer to nice fall temperatures to winter in short order. But I am grateful for it all.
Look for some fun, educational things for your kids to do this fall. A trip to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch is a lot of fun for kids of all ages. A few farms in our area have corn mazes in October.
You can have a bonfire and cook dinner outside if it has not been too dry where you live.
You can do something for a shut-in or widow or visit a nursing home. There are not as many germs this time of year, and that makes it a great time to visit the residents of a nursing home.
You can take a ride to look at the fall leaves as they begin to change and have a picnic.
Any of these would make great family fun day activities, and it really helps motivate your children to do their routines throughout the week, if they know family fun day is coming. They are less motivated if they have a day of cleaning or projects to do on Saturday.
Finish up your Zone Missions in your bedroom today. If you did not do them all, work on the clutter that is in your room for 15 minutes. Either throw it away, give it away, or find a place for it.
Finish up the school week and try not to stress out if you didn’t check off every single thing that you planned for the week. Regroup and try to cut out any busy work or extra things. Focus on the basics (reading, writing, and math) and build from there.
You are doing a great job!
Make plans for Family Fun Day tomorrow and have a wonderful weekend!
Today’s Zone Mission is to clean under your bed.

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

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

You are encouraging to me.

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
How are you doing today? In reading your emails and seeing responses on Facebook, many of you have been encouraging to me as I am going through a difficult time. It is not my story to tell just yet. One day I may be at liberty to share more with you. Thank you for your supportive emails and posts!
The things that are getting me through this difficult time are:
My close family and friends.
My faith and prayer.
Having a routine, so I don’t have to think.
Having a menu plan, so I don’t have to decide on our food each day. (I even had a refrigerator have an issue and lost the meat I had planned for two meals. Plan B and Plan C went into action.)
Having my house decluttered helps me not have to do a lot of cleaning.
Having a system to do laundry means I am not wading in piles of
dirty clothes.
Everything I have learned from The FlyLady over the years about routines and peace in my home from decluttering to blessing my home has helped me so much in the past week. There have been times when I could not think past the thing I was doing at that moment. I was not thinking about the next routine or thing on my list. I was doing one thing, and in most cases, auto-pilot kicked in, and I did the next thing in my routine.

Somethings I have really not wanted to do, and the next thing I know, I have done it.
I have wanted to be as transparent as I can that I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. I have great days, and I have hard days. I am just like you.
On the hardest days, I still look for the blessings. They are there even if they seem hidden. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold for me, but I know I will meet it with joy and happiness. I know that I will get up and make my bed, get dressed down to the shoes, and do my Morning Routine.
We have two days left in our Zone this week. I want you to really focus the next two days on getting rid of the rest of the clutter in your bedroom. I will let you in on a secret. I totally cleared off everything in my room two weeks ago to paint my room. Life changed, and I still have not painted my room. It’s okay. I will get there. In the meantime, I am enjoying completely decluttered flat surfaces.
Today’s Zone Mission is to put away all of your laundry. I hope you made room for it by decluttering this week.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is spaghetti and a salad.
Have a great day!