Giving Your Children Wings – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Today is my youngest son’s birthday, and I thought I would share an excerpt from my book, Giving Your Children Wings Without Losing Yours.

My house has not always been neat and tidy. I didn’t always have a menu plan, but we always had an abundance of love. What I found is that I can raise my children, and we learned a lot together. Instead of losing parts of myself, I am giving my children the skills they need as adults. I am giving them their wings to fly. My children are now 24 down to 8. I have raised two children who are young adults and love what they do. I helped them find their joy in life.
The biggest asset you have in blessing your home is teaching your children to love their home and bless it with you. I have raised, educated, and graduated two of our six children from our homeschool. Both of them are currently working full-time and running their own homes. Each of them has thanked me for teaching them how to care for a home and helping them to be prepared for adulthood.
Your perspective sets the tone for your home. If you have a positive perspective on life and the obstacles you face in life, you will be a much happier person. This means your husband will have a happier wife, and your children will have a happier mother. We have all heard the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, no one is happy.” You can turn this around to, “If Mama is happy, everyone around her is happy, too.” A positive mood is contagious.
Do you view home keeping as a chore and drudgery? Is it something you have to endure? Is it something you ignore? Any of these perspectives will hold you back from receiving the blessings that come from having a clean and orderly home. Look at keeping order in your home as a blessing to you and to your family. Change a negative perspective and look for ways you can bless your family with a clean home.
A natural result of the amount of time we spend at home is that we work together to bless our home and keep it orderly. I start including them from young ages to help around the house. A two-year-old can fold washcloths and pick up things, especially toys they got out to play with. Teaching children in small steps to clean up behind themselves is a habit that they will carry with them. You want to do it in a positive way so they carry a positive attitude with them, too.
You have to let go of your perfectionism and let children learn; but, in the end, they can learn alongside you if you include them in everything you do. My goal has always been to raise my children to be independent, productive adults. I want them to achieve their dreams, and I give lots of opportunity for them to learn, make mistakes, make messes, clean up the messes, and grow.
My book is available on Amazon in print and for the Kindle.
Today’s Zone Mission is to go sofa diving.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is beef stroganoff for the boys and chicken and a salad for me.
Have a blessed day!

Monthly Home Maintenance – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 Dear Friends,
How do you do with monthly maintenance around your home? The FlyLady has a Control Journal to help you establish routines for monthly maintenance.

My grandfather was a mechanic, and I grew up in his home. I was taught to care for certain things around the house every month from a young age. I have passed this knowledge on to my children now.

I use the first of the month as a touchstone for monthly maintenance. Air filters for our heating and air conditioning system are changed during the first week of the month.

Every three months, the dryer needs to be cleaned with the dryer lint cleaning kit. I put a reminder on my digital calendar.

The smoke detector has back-up batteries, and these are checked every six months. I also put this on my digital calendar.

Light bulbs are changed as needed, so that is not on my calendar.
During our Zone Missions for the Kitchen, I wipe down the stove and ventilation hood. Once a year I clean the oven (usually in the dead of winter).

The refrigerator needs to have the drip pan emptied once a month and the coils needs to be wiped off.

By using the digital calendar and The Home Maintenance Control Journal, I have established these habits. By teaching these habits to my children, not only do I have help, but I have also passed on valuable life skills.

What home maintenance projects do you need to do?

Your Zone Mission today is to dust along the baseboards in the Living Room.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is hamburgers and mac and cheese.

Have a great day!

Lots of Moving Parts to My Days – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool



Dear Friends,

Most of you reading this homeschool your children, so you know exactly what I am saying when I say I have lots of moving parts to my days.

Even though my schedule has been busier than normal this summer, I am not stressed or worried about how I will get everything done. I do my basic daily routines. Then, I do three simple things from my To Do List. This gives me forward progress, and I don’t feel like I am juggling 10 balls a day.

I am in charge of how many balls a day that I juggle, and so are you! Take a look at your calendar this summer. Have things crept onto your calendar that you can take off?

Do you have some quiet days in your week? Resist the urge to fill your calendar up. You need quiet days where you are not going, going, going. Some call this white space on your calendar.

Honestly, if I did not have white space on my calendar, I would have been very overwhelmed this summer with the addition of my son’s appointments.

I have used the two-letter word, “No” this summer when needed. I do not have to say, “Yes” to every opportunity that comes my way. I do not have to volunteer for everything that comes my way.

My days are full, but they have down time within each hour listed below.
Here is an example of how my day went on Monday:

5:00 am – Get up, make bed, read Bible, eat breakfast, get dressed down to shoes, brush teeth
6:15 am – Run
8:00 am – Swim laps
9:00 am – Shower and get dressed for the day, Morning Routine
10:00 am – Start Laundry, check on the boys’ routines, do my morning Facebook video
11:00 am – Lunch prep, dishwasher, reboot laundry, sip water, check emails
12:00 noon – Lunch
12:30 pm – Host Online Weekly Home Blessing Hour for FlyLady Premium
1:30 pm – Tech stuff on the computer and phone calls
2:00 pm – Afternoon Routine – Laundry, dinner prep, paperwork, decluttering
3:00 pm – Sort mail and file bills, update son’s notebook on medical care
3:30 pm – Dinner Prep with my son
4:00 pm – Writing time while dinner cooks
5:00 pm – Family dinner at the table
6:00 pm – Host Online BINGO Decluttering Game for FlyLady Premium
7:00 pm – Tech stuff and emails
8:00 pm – Before Bed Routine, Hot Spots, and down time
9:00 pm – Go to bed

This is pretty much my summer routine. My FlyLady Premium game hosting and mentoring fits in daily.

In August, we will add back homeschooling. Mostly, I explain new concepts, and they do independent work. Then, I go over their work with them when they are done.

Your Zone Mission today is to detail dust along the ceiling, the ceiling fan, and across the door tops.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday and a salad.

Have a blessed day!

Swishing and Swiping Every Day – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,
The FlyLady Habit of the Month is Swish and Swipe. Last week, I talked about this in a video, and you would be surprised at the questions I was asked about Swish and Swipe.
First off, do you Swish and Swipe your bathroom daily?
If you do not, I want you to do it the next time you go to the bathroom. Go ahead and drink that water sitting next to you, I will wait.
OK, swish and swipe is so easy, even a child can do it. I keep a plastic vase of water with a squirt of shampoo in it next to each toilet in my house. The Rubba Swisha sits in it all the time. I change the water out once a month. Just flush, refill with water and shampoo, and drop the brush back in.
I keep FlyLady purple cloths folded and stacked on the back of my toilet. I use one a day to wipe my shower walls, tub, sinks, and counter. Then I swish the toilet, and wipe with rim with a piece of toilet paper.
I take the FlyLady purple cloth to the boys’ bathroom, and one of them does swish and swipe in their bathroom.
Last week, I talked to someone who found herself doing swish and swipe while traveling.
This is a habit that I do not think about it. I just do it every day after my shower. It takes less than 2 minutes including wiping the shower walls and tub.
One of my friends has incorporated swish and swipe into her evening routine after her bath. That makes the most sense for her.
Another friend has three bathrooms and drinks water all day, so she does swish and swipe in a different bathroom each time she goes.
Do you have any questions about Swish and Swipe? I am happy to answer them.

Have you seen my YouTube Channel? I am posting encouraging videos there.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your Living Room and detail dust.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is BBQ pork and salad.
Have a great day!

Cleaning Out the Car – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,

When you open your car (or van or SUV) door, do things fall out? Do you have a regular habit of cleaning out your vehicle?

Almost every Friday, I do my weekly grocery shopping, and I also fill up the gas tank on my van. While I am at the gas station, I toss any trash that has accumulated that week. Once a month, I take my van to the car wash to get it washed and vacuumed out.

When the boys and I get home from an errand, I remind them to get all of their stuff out of the van. For the most part, they do this, but there always seems to be a stray church bulletin or an empty water bottle floating around in the van. These are the items I am tossing out weekly.
When we travel out of state, there is always a lot of stuff in the van. On these trips, I ask them to hand me trash every time to we stop to get gas. This helps me to not have as much trash in the van when we get to our destination.

When my children were really little, I would get a grocery bag out and hold it open for them to drop things into it as they got out of the van. I think at one point, I had three in car seats and booster seats, so the bigger kids helped me a lot with gathering trash in the van and unloading the little ones.

Taking the trash out of the van is a habit, and it took a while to establish. It is worth it though! I am sure we can all share stories of foods found in our vehicles that had been there for a while.

How does your vehicle look right now?

Today’s Zone Mission is to clean out under your bed.

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

My menu plan for Friday is BBQ and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Planning Your School Year – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
As we are on this side of the 4
th of July, many of us are starting to think about school again. Most years, I start school somewhere in the first two weeks of August. How about you?

Since I did end my school year and even did videos of it, I am in a good place to start formulating my plans. If you have not decluttered your school stuff from this past year, watch my videos. You can declutter your homeschool papers and books a little bit at a time, but you need to get started soon.

Here is how I start my planning:

  • Review last year’s test scores to identify areas we need to work on.
  • Talk to my husband about goals for the children.
  • Talk to the children about the goals and interests.
  • Start making a book list.
  • Look to see what I already have on hand.
  • Order any books that I need for them.
  • Start formulating a loose yearly plan. What do we want to study in the fall? What do we want to study in the spring?
Look for any field trips that I want to do that goes with our topics.
About a week before we start school, I will write up a brief lesson plan for each of the boys.
The first week of school, I slowly introduce them to each of their subjects and new books. We talk about how it will be divided up.

I don’t plan the whole year at once. Too much can happen. I just figure out how many pages or lessons need to be done in a 36 week school year.

I use a composition book and a paper calendar. I am very simple in my planning. That way I don’t feel like a failure the first time someone is sick, and we go off plan.

Tell me about your plans for the school year. I will be homeschooling grades 11, 9, and 6.

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter mismatched socks.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is fish for the boys and chicken and a salad for me.

Have a great day!

FlyLady Tami

An App to Help You with Your Routines

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

In recent weeks, I have talked a lot about establishing routines. There is a free app in the iTunes store that was developed by FlyLady Premium. It’s called FlyLady Plus. It is a FlyLady-approved app.

Within the app, you will be able to read The FlyLady’s Morning Musing, The Daily Mission, and the Ask FlyLady essay of the day. You can also use a daily check off for your Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Routines.

The Weekly Home Blessing Hour is also listed for your convenience. You can also see the Zone Missions.

The Routine list is also editable, so you can customize it for yourself. If you have been looking for a way to help you with your Routines, and you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use this app.

The daily agenda can connect to your Google calendar, so you can check your calendar within the app.

A timer is also included and makes it easy to carry your timer around with you as you are doing your missions each day.

The final section of the app is connected directly to the FlyLady Premium site. This is the only part of the app that includes purchases. Within this part of the app, you can access videos and decluttering games. I am a part of this with providing one-on-one mentorship and hosting weekly games. I did a behind the scenes video on the FlyLady’s Facebook page when I hosted one of the decluttering games last week. It was fun showing a little part of how I help people make it fun to declutter their homes. You can view it on the video page from The FlyLady’s Main Facebook page.

You can use all of the free features of the app and never use the paid portion, and I think you would still think the features are amazing in a free app.

This is the first time I have devoted a whole article to the FlyLady Plus app, but I think it offers a lot of help for you as you are working on your routines. It’s time for many of us to start thinking about the coming school year, and this app is a great tool to help you get organized in your home. This will spill over into a more organized homeschool.

If you use the app, tell me. I want to know what you think about it.

Zone Mission today is to clear the flat surfaces in your bedroom.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is turkey pie.

Have a great day!

Home Blessings with More Than One Level

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,

Someone recently asked me how to do Home Blessings in a multi-level home. She is having difficulty getting both levels cleaned at the same time. She also has several small children at home. So she feels like she is cleaning all the time.

If you have a home with two or more levels, you might need to break your Home Blessings up by the week. One week, you will do the Home Blessings on your Main Level, and the next week, you might do your Home Blessings on the next level.

Another way to do it, would be to do one Home Blessing on the Main Level in the morning, and then do the same Blessing on the second level later in the day.

The main problem with lots of children and multi-level homes is the clutter they take from one level to the next level. The stairs become a landmine of things that either need to be put away upstairs or down stairs.

You really need good routines for picking up daily when you have a multi-level home, and your children need to pick up behind themselves throughout the day. What is really bothering you about getting your home clean is the clutter.

Declutter as much as you can. Have a place for everything. Teach your children where to put their things when they are not using them. Stay consistent on pick up times during the day. With young children, you will need more than one pick up time per day.

In the summer, I am doing my Home Blessings on Monday, but during the school year, I split them up and do one a day. It is really a personal preference in how you want to do them. You have to be consistent either way.

When I talk to ladies, I find that dusting falls to the bottom of the list almost every time. I want you to do this Home Blessing first, so you can just check it off. If you put it at the bottom of the list, you will find that you don’t get around to it all the time. You will find ways to procrastinate dusting.

Get a good feather duster. I use The FlyLady’s Feather Duster. I just dust around the things on the flat surfaces. When I do my Zone Missions, I do the detail dusting and move things around.

What Home Blessing do you put off the most?

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter 5 tops and 2 bottoms from your closet. (Yes, I gave you a number this time, but you can declutter more than that.)

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is chicken and a salad.

Have a blessed day!

Let’s Play a Game – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,
It’s a beautiful Monday morning! Are you ready to start your week off?

Let’s play BINGO today. Every Monday, I play a decluttering game that is quick and easy. I write down five areas that need attention and assign one to each of the letters, BINGO.

Then, I use our BINGO game to pull letters out, and I am make sure I get pull one for each of the five letters. (That means I might redraw every now and then until I do all five things.)
I keep this simple and only work on a mission for 5 to 6 minutes. Sometimes I only have a 2 minute mission. I know that the weekend can be hard on your house, and this helps me pick up my house after the weekend. I can also involve the boys. We do this as we finish up our Morning Routine.

You don’t even have to have a BINGO game. You can just write down the letters on paper or index cards and draw. If you don’t know where to start, you can use the 5 Zones of your house (Entryway, Kitchen, Main Bathroom, Master Bedroom, and Living Room or Family Room). Spend 6 minutes dealing with Hot Spots and decluttering in each Zone. This only takes 30 minutes total if you done each Zone for 6 minutes.
Once you do this, you will feel ready to take on whatever the week throws at you. This works really well for me when I split up my Home Blessings because Monday is sheet day. So I can do this quick game while the sheets are being washed.
You can do many different variations of games to help make taking care of your home fun!
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your bedroom and detail dust.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers.
Have a great day!

Some Questions and Answers

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,

Your questions and emails inspire me every day. Some of your questions become topics for these articles or essays as Marla calls them.

This week I have had questions about young adult children, and I have had questions about how to redistribute daily missions when a child has a camp or activity that takes them away from home for one day or several days. I have had questions about laundry systems.

Let’s talk about these today. If one person has asked, I am sure there are others of you who wanted to ask.

What kind of responsibilities to you give to young adult children who live at home and work full time?

For my young adult children with jobs, I ask that they keep their room reasonably picked up, do their laundry, and swish and swipe their bathroom.

If they work more than 40 hours per week, I will offer to wash their clothes if they sort them for me. They do not help with cooking or House Blessings. If they eat with us, they do help with kitchen clean up. That is a family activity at the end of the meal. Everyone pitches in to help.

How do you deal with things not getting done if someone is away from home for a few days or a week?

When my children have camp or an overnight stay away from home, I just redistribute the missions and home blessings to whoever is home. We go with the philosophy that caring for our home is a team approach. The team is whoever is at home at the time. If it is just me, then I do the missions and home blessing.

Basically, I am the mom, and the buck stops with me in terms of blessing my home.

How do you handle your laundry for a large family?

Each bedroom in our home has a dirty clothes basket. I have three baskets in my room.

One for dark clothes, white clothes, and towels. We sort into the bins as we take a shower or bath. Anyone can put whites in my white bin. We only have one load of whites per week. Then each person uses their laundry basket for dark clothes. Each person has a day of the week to do his or her laundry.

We have three loads a day that are washed, dried, and folded. I try not to do laundry on Sunday unless it is necessary due to illness.
The main thing with laundry is to do it consistently and do all of the steps. You need to get it put away the same day to keep it from building up into mountains of clean laundry.

Please feel free to send your questions! I love hearing from you.

I am wrapping this up quickly because the power has gone off twice while writing this. I want to get it finished while it is back on. A summer storm passed through here earlier today, and I need to get off the computer.

Today’s Zone Mission is to take a bubble bath and get ready for date night.

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

My menu plan for Friday is chicken and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!