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!

Blessings In Laundry

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
As I am writing tonight, I have the sounds of my washer and dryer going in the background. It is a comforting sound to me. It is a sound that has been a part of my background sounds for many years. I sit here and wonder what it would be like to not have that sound so prevalent in my home.
My washer is going and that means clean clothes, clean bedding, or clean towels. When my dryer is going that means we will have warm, dry clothes, bedding, or towels. When it is time to fold or hang the laundry that means I have time to fold and pray for my family. When it is time to put the laundry away, it shows that we are blessed with clothing, bedding, and towels.
My perspective is changing as my children grow. I remember as a young married woman that laundry was not something I enjoyed. I had never been in the habit of doing laundry, so it was a change for me. When it was just the two of us, I did laundry on the weekends. Both of us worked, and we shared the household tasks.
As we started having children, I was not prepared for the amount of dirty clothes a new baby would generate. I adjusted my laundry days to meet the needs of my family. As we added more children, we had more laundry. I also found The FlyLady, and I learned about doing a load of laundry a day to keep Mount Washmore Away.
Our winter laundry needs are greater than the summer. We had bigger, thicker clothes in the winter. As it cools off, I start to notice the laundry bins filling up faster. I still maintain doing a load of darks per day. I also have a load of sheets and towels each day. This rhythm fits us right now. I see that it will change again as my children grow and move out.
While the amount of laundry I do each day with the help of my family might seem like a lot to some of you, I am enjoying this season of still having them at home with me. All too soon they will grow up!
A positive perspective can change how you look at anything you do to take care of your family.

My friend, Tricia Goyer, has written a new book called Walk It Out. I am currently reading it, and it has been a blessing to me during a hard time in my life. She has given me a digital download to share with you of Chapter 1.

What Happens When We Read God’s Word and Actually Do What It Says?

Bestselling Author Tricia Goyer demonstrates the powerful work God accomplishes if we are willing to step out in obedience to Biblical commands and His quiet urgings, no matter our fears or feelings of inadequacy In Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time (David C Cook, October), the newest of bestselling author Tricia Goyer’s inspirational works, readers are challenged to obey Scriptural mandates and watch their purposes unfold as God uses their past sins and greatest shortcomings to redeem the lives of others. Goyer’s own experience as a teen mother and her past abortion are central to the book, highlighting the guilt, shame, and fear that kept her from sharing her story with others. Yet, once she obeyed God’s call to reveal her testimony to her pastor, church community, and other women struggling with the same feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, she saw a glorious purpose that God had designed just for her. And that was just the beginning.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter your dresser drawers for 15 minutes.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is shepherd pie.
Have a great day!

Keep Working on Your Basic Routines

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

You keep hearing from me how important your routines are to your daily life. The Morning Routine gets you moving along in the morning. The Afternoon Routine helps you work in decluttering and getting the laundry finished up for the day. The Before Bed Routine helps you get ready for the next day. Each one is important.

Read this testimonial from Elizabeth:

Well, I have not been great at decluttering, so I can’t give you a big testimony on that.

I go in phases.

BUT routines have saved me during tough times.

I started following Flylady years ago when she first started, and when my daughter was born, 12 years ago, my routines were super solid. My control journal was impressive with my menus and recipes always at my fingertips.

Then when my twins were born 15 months later, I was on auto pilot because my routines were so solid!

 My routines are still pretty solid and have weathered the storm of changes in life over the past few years and allow me to focus on what is most important in life — to major in the majors and not the minors.

         THANK YOU for helping me re-focus and for keeping me focused, Tami!!!!

The basic routines will help you when times are easy and when times are busy. As I sit here in my kitchen writing tonight, I can look around and see where the routines have worked well for me today. To be quite honest, today was a hard day, and it is comforting to see the sink empty and the counters cleared off.

If you are not doing your Before Bed Routine, I want you to do it tonight. Start right after dinner. Then do it each night for the rest of the week.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter in your closet.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!

 

Clearing Off Your Dresser

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 
Dear Friends,
Happy Monday! We start a new zone today, and that is our Master Bedroom. This is the place you have set aside in your home to rest and relax. It is the place where you sleep and renew your energy.
How does the top of your dresser look right now?
In many cases, the bedroom dresser becomes the catch all. It is a nice flat surface, and you don’t have to use it for much. When you pick up things around the house and are not sure where to put them, they end up in a pile somewhere. For some of you that is your dresser.
If you procrastinate putting away laundry, a pile of clothes will end up on your dresser, especially if you dumped a basket of clothes on your bed to fold them.
If your dresser stays cluttered, then you are likely not dusting it regularly either. So you are adding more dust to your room over time, and if your bed is close to the dresser, you breathe it in all night.
Your children will follow your lead and clutter the tops of their dressers, too.
This week, I want you to focus on the clutter in your bedroom. If it is on the dresser, then deal with that area a little each day until it is done. If it is a chair or other area in your bedroom, focus on that. If you have to make room for your clothes, declutter in the closet or dresser drawers a little each day until you can put everything away.
My goal for you is to have a clean, decluttered bedroom. Let’s get started!
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter and detail dust the flat surfaces in your bedroom.
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!

You Can Fly Through the Zone Missions

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
Happy Friday! It’s the last day of our school week and last day of the week for Zone Missions. Then, we get to have Family Fun Day and Renew Your Spirit Day! Once you get the routines into your life as habits, you will find peace and joy and more time to do the things you really enjoy doing. I do not spend as much time decluttering as I did when I started. That is what I want for you.
Week 3 of the month is my easiest Zone Mission week because of how I maintain my bathroom with swish and swipe. So I can do quick missions in the main bathroom, and then I am free to do decluttering anywhere else in the house that needs attention. I do want you to think that areas in my house are always perfect. They are not.
The FlyLady told me once that “good enough is good enough.”
I remember this and don’t go overboard with missions. The Zone Missions are meant to be quick and fast, and you do not need to dump drawers of stuff or empty closets. Do it a little at a time on a consistent basis. As you do the missions each month, it will add up.
You have to guard against bringing in more stuff to replace what you decluttered. You have to guard against it with your children, and you have to be aware that grandparents like to spoil grandchildren and give them lots of things.
Start this month with paring down the amount of toys and clothes your children have. Box toys up and rotate different kinds of toys. Toss the junk toys. Donate toys that they just don’t like anymore.
Last month, I did a kitchen renovation and let go of things that sat in my kitchen cabinets for 28 years. So I do know that things can hang around for a while.
You can do this a little at a time. I believe in you! I know you can bring peace to your home by decluttering and establishing routines. You CAN homeschool and have a clean home on the same day!
Have a wonderful weekend! Please email me with testimonies of how decluttering has helped you!
Today’s Zone Mission is to do a 15 minute room rescue anywhere in the house.

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!

The Good Days will Outnumber the Hard Days

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Most of you have a few school days under your belt for the year, and I would guess that some of you have already had a difficult day.

Homeschooling will have great days, and it will have hard days. You will have hard weeks or even months during your homeschool journey. Remember that the hard days will be outnumbered by the good days. Don’t focus on the negatives and get discouraged.

In my 18 years of homeschooling, I have had many hard days, and you know what? I don’t remember the details of most of them. There are a very really hard days that stand out, but overall, I look back with fondness at the many, many good days that we had along this journey.

One year in particular, I can remember struggling with teaching high school chemistry to one child and phonics to another child. That was a labor-intensive year of teaching for me.

The year both of my in laws passed away was a difficult school year, but out of the ashes of grief, I saw my children grow and learn. They also learned about compassion, love, and empathy. They learned that it was okay to cry when you were sad. They learned is was okay to laugh when you were happy. Academically, they all progressed even as I look back at what a difficult year it was.

There were the school years when learning was not easy, and I learned different ways to teach my children. Not only did they grow through learning struggles, I grew, too.

There were years when money was tight, and our school book budget was small. In those times, we learned through being creative. We found joy in the simple things. We pulled together and learned together.

There were days when I woke up and did not feel like being the teacher. There were days when my children woke up not feeling like being students. Somehow on those days, we pulled it together and did it anyway. A well-placed field trip or day to learn outside can help when you need a change of scenery for your learning.

You are giving your children the gift of learning. What I have discovered in the past 18 years is that you need to teach your children to read, write, do math, and know how to find the answers to their questions.
Teach them about the Bible, God, and loving one another. You cannot teach a child every single thing they need to know in 18 years, but you can teach them to always be a learner and how to find answers.

What are you struggling with today?

Today’s Zone Mission is to do a 15 minute room rescue anywhere in the house.

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!

What are you thankful for?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
In recent days, we have seen a lot of new about hurricanes and floods. There is much we have to be grateful for, and the fall is a great time to practice intentional gratitude in your home.

One year, we made a construction paper tree and put it up beside my kitchen table. Each day we wrote down something on a paper leaf that we were thankful for that day. It was a tangible way for my young children to see the many blessings in our life.

We also used this as an opportunity to practice the boys’ writing skills, so I made it a part of our school time. In the evening, we would share around the table what we had written earlier in the day.

When you take a look around your home, you will see that you have been blessed with a lot of stuff. Talk to your children about this abundance of stuff in your house and work together to bless others with your abundance.

You can look for local charities that are collecting items for relief for the hurricane victims. You can look for organizations that use your donations locally. There is an abundance of places you can send donations.

Encourage your children to give away their excess and let them see you giving away your excess. In the process, you are teaching your children gratitude and blessing others. You will also be getting rid of clutter. Start today!

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the items you don’t need from the bathroom drawer.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is chopped BBQ.
Have a great day!

 

Why shine your sink?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

If you are new to FlyLady, you probably wonder why our first habit to practice is shining the kitchen sink. I want to share my personal experience with this one.

Shining your kitchen sink makes you feel good about how your kitchen looks. In the mornings, I smile when I see my shiny sink. There have been times when I was not greeted with a shiny sink, and I did not feel great about the start of my day.

When I first started shining my sink, I wondered how it was supposed to influence me to take care of the rest of my home, but you know what? It really does.

Once you are maintaining the kitchen sink on a daily basis, you start to do more decluttering on the kitchen counters. Then, you start picking up more around the house. You start wanting to do those Home Blessings because you are feeling great about your house.

Is it all roses and sunshine? No. There are days when it is hard to shine the sink due to illness or an emergency. You do need to teach your family how to keep the sink clean and shiny, so when you are sick, they carry on with this habit for you.

Several years ago, I had surgery. I did not think about telling my family how important my shiny sink was to the start of my day. I had been shining it right before bed for a long time, so it did not occur to me that something would sideline me for a couple of weeks. The first morning after my surgery, I was greeted with a sink of dirty dishes.

I realized I needed to share my Before Bed Routine of shining my sink with my family. Because I had my tonsils removed, I could not talk, so I had to write it out. They took care of the sink for me each night after that. Once I recovered, I picked back up on my routine at night.

During the day, we all work together to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher as they are dirtied. We run the dishwasher twice a day for the most part. We clean and rinse dishes while we cook. For a large family, keeping the sink shiny has not been a burden because we work together throughout the day.

At night, I leave the sink clean and shiny right before I go to bed, but you remember that I have three teenage boys. There are occasionally a few dishes in the sink when I get up in the morning if they had a midnight snack. Typically, I turn the dishwasher on, and it has clean dishes in it overnight. So I don’t let that fret me. A few dirty dishes is not a big deal if they eat during the night.

How are you doing with your shiny sink? If you are not doing it daily, start today. This can be day 1. It will make a difference in how you start your morning.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter items from your bathroom cabinet.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is hot dogs.

Have a blessed day!

Just Pick One Thing on Your To Do List

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,
How does your To Do List look right now? If it is long, I want you to take a sticky note and write down one thing from that list that you want to accomplish today. Don’t pick a big thing, but pick one small part of it if it is a big thing.
If your To Do List is overwhelming, I don’t want you to look at it all of the time. Write it in a notebook or in your Control Journal. Each morning just pick something to do from that list, and you will see progress. You can go back to the big list and mark it off.
You have a lot of things you are doing in a day, and I want you to feel like you are accomplishing something daily. I know you will have days that you wonder what in the world you have done. It’s hard to quantify all the things a homeschool mom does in a day.
Doing school with your children will take time from the things you are doing around the house, but if you engage your children in helping with some of your projects, they will go faster. I balanced a kitchen renovation and the first month of school in August. I was able to do that because I paced myself with small daily goals, and the boys pitched in to help me in the afternoons.
This week our zone missions are to detail clean the main bathroom and one extra room. You can use 5 to 10 minutes a day to deal with an area in your home that has been bothering you because it is cluttered.
Use the FlyLady’s method of decluttering – Only Handle it Once. Don’t just keep moving it around. Decide on what to do with it. You have three choices: Throw Away, Give Away, or Put Away. Put the giveaway items in your vehicle immediately. Take the trash out as soon as you fill a bag. Put things away but don’t pile them somewhere to deal with later.
Encourage your children to pick up behind themselves today. It will make a difference for you!
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the top of your bathroom counter and wipe it down.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is leftovers from our Sunday lunch.
Have a great day!

 

Wrapping up Kitchen Week on a Strong Note

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

microwave-during

Dear Friends,
Happy Friday! We are wrapping up our week in the kitchen. How does your kitchen look? Even if you did not do all of the Zone Missions, even doing a couple of them will help you. We started with the counter tops, hit the hot spots, cleaned out the fridge, and decluttered a cabinet or drawer,
Today we are going to finish up by wiping down the stove top and wiping out the microwave. For some of you, this will be an easy task, so if you missed any of the other missions, pick one of those, too.
If your microwave is really yucky, put water in a coffee cup. Fill it halfway. Add a squirt of lemon. Set the microwave for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. This will steam the stuck on foods. You can then wipe with a wet purple cloth or any other wet cloth. If it is really bad, you might have to do this twice.
Stove tops can be easy or tricky. My stove top is a flat top cooking surface. It is easy to clean. Some of you have electric elements or gas stove tops. Those take longer and have more details. Whichever you have, set your timer and do the best you can.
In the summer, I do not clean my oven since the self-clean cycle is really hot. I do it in the winter. I do watch for drips and spills and try to take care of them when the oven is cool.
If you did not check under your sink this week, I want you to spend 5 minutes checking on what is under there. Declutter and make sure you don’t have any small leaks. This is a preventative measure for you.
Make plans for Family Fun Day tomorrow and have a wonderful weekend!
Today’s Zone Mission is to wipe your stove top and wipe out the microwave.

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

My menu plan for Friday is chicken alfredo.

Have a wonderful weekend!