Write Down What You are Thankful for this Week

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Happy Thanksgiving Week! Are you ready to celebrate this Holiday of being thankful this week? I am thankful for my family and my friends. Even though 2017 has had some ups and downs, I am thankful! I am blessed. Tell me what you are thankful for this year.
Our Zone Missions this week will focus on the Master Bedroom. If you have children at home, they can do some Zone Missions in their bedrooms, too.
Zone 4 Missions: The Master Bedroom
Monday – Wash and Remake Your Bed
Tuesday – Declutter the Flat Surfaces in Your Bedroom and Dust
Wednesday – Put Away all of the Laundry
Thursday – Pick Up Behind Yourself Today
Friday – Clean Under Your Bed
Each day this week take turns sharing what you are thankful for as a family. Encourage your children to think of different things each day. One year, we spent a week writing down things we were thankful for, but we could not repeat any of the things we were thankful for. That made each of us think deeply and come up with new things each day. If you have never done that as a family, get out a notebook and start today. By the end of the week, you will have quite a list!
If you are baking this week, include your children in the preparations. If you have a big, family dinner planned, let them color placemats and make place cards holders. The can also make napkin rings. If you are visiting family, have your children make Thank You cards for your hosts.
Spend a few minutes each day on your Zone Mission and Holiday Mission.
Your Zone Mission today is to completely strip your bed, wash your bedding, and remake the bed.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is pasta bake for the guys. Chicken and a salad for me.

Have a great day!

Using Rewards and Positive Reinforcements for Motivation

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
Do you reward yourself and your family for a job well done? Part of the FlyLady system is to use rewards, and on Saturday, we have Family Fun Day. This is a great way to reward everyone with a fun activity on a regular basis.

If you have been remiss in rewarding your family, you can change that today. Plan something fun to do tomorrow as a family. Positive reinforcement works. Some of you are already thinking that I don’t know how your week has gone. Your kids did not do well with routines. They whined about their schoolwork. They did not get along with their siblings. You don’t think they deserve to be rewarded.

Look deep. Think of one good thing each person has done this week. Then, I want you to tell them what they did well this week. I do not want you to dwell on the negatives right now. The goal is for them to feel like they accomplished something good.

Many times, I talk to ladies who tell me they had a hard week. They did not complete their list. They are down on themselves. I redirect the questions I ask to help them discover the good things that they accomplished. By the time they get to the end of their list, they feel better. They have a positive outlook. They are ready to meet the next week with a new sense of purpose.

Children need routines, and they need your praise. Try to “catch” them doing something good. Then, tell them how proud you are of them, and thank them for a job well done.

If you think back to a time that you used negative reinforcements, it was harder to motivate your children to do what you need them to do. They feel inferior. They don’t want to try because they feel defeated.

You may need to offer constructive criticism to your children about their schoolwork or how they are doing with their routines, use a positive reinforcement followed by a constructive criticism. End it with another positive reinforcement. They need to know that you see the good things.

You can change how you motivate your family to do a good job on their routines and in working together as a family with positive reinforcements. Make Family Fun Day a weekly event for your family.

Today’s Zone Mission is to sweep and mop the kitchen.

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

My menu plan for Friday is takeout.

Have a wonderful weekend

What day do you do your errands?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
What day of the week is your errand day? The FlyLady uses Thursday as her errand day. I use Friday as my errand day. Having a specific day of the week helps you manage other days of your week better. The less you go out, the more money you save and the more you get done around the house.
Errand day has been on different days of the week during different seasons of my life. When my children were young, I did some of my errands when my husband was home from work. With six children, it was difficult to navigate stores and follow a list. Sometimes, I needed two shopping carts or had to use the stroller.
When I picked the errands that I would do with the children along, I liked to do the ones that involved dropping off things or picking up things at a drive through window. When gas pumps started offering “pay at the pump,” I was thrilled. Any parent who has had to unbuckle and re-buckle children in car seats knows what I am talking about.
Grocery shopping can be more expensive when you have a lot of little helpers along. You tend to buy more, not look for deals, and try to get in and out as fast as you can. If you have a toddler like one of mine, you also spend a lot of time picking stuff off the floor because they keep throwing stuff out of the cart.
As my children grew, I would still try to take one or two children with me on errand day, but there were times when I needed to get a surprise for someone, or I just needed quiet time. Those times, I would just go alone when my husband was home. Those occasions were rare, but sometimes you need a little time alone.
These past few years, I have found that we can get the bulk of our school work done in four days. On Friday, they can finish up anything that was missed during the week. We can also do our biggest home blessings on Friday morning. Then, I can go grocery shopping and run my errands on Friday afternoon. This has been the best routine by far for me.
If we have an appointment during the week, I might do some of my regular errands (pay bills, post office, etc.), but I typically do not move my grocery shopping day around. I do my best to not stop at the grocery store in between weekly trips. That helps me save money and use the resources I have at home.
Tell me what day of the week do you do your errands?
Today’s Zone Mission is to detail clean the tub/shower.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is corn dogs and tater tots for the boys. Chicken and a salad for me.
Have a great day!

Celebrating Holidays as a Family

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool



Dear Friends,
Next week is Thanksgiving, and I am getting excited to have all of my children together for a few days. The Holiday Missions have helped me get ready for the visit from my children who do not live at home. My menu planning has helped me to not have stress about feeding everyone.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving next week?

If you do not plan breaks for Holidays, I want to encourage you to rethink that. Over the years, we have done things to make memories the week of Thanksgiving. We put away the books and focused on spending time together, baking, shopping, and playing.

My oldest son will be wanting to eat Cranberry Bread because we read the book, Cranberry Thanksgiving, for many years when he was little. It is one of his favorite memories. I have it on my menu to bake next week.

Stop doing your paperwork part of homeschooling and spend a few days doing crafts and baking with your children. Some of you resist doing these kinds of activities because it can be messy. That’s okay. You can clean up afterwards. Make memories now!

This year it has taken some time and coordination of schedules of my young adult children to have our family celebration. If all of your children are still at home, take advantage and enjoy this time in your life!

When your children grow up and move out, you will not have control of their schedules anymore. You will have to share time with their spouse and their spouse’s family at the Holidays.

If you are in the season of life where you are dealing with your children being married and splitting time between two families for the Holidays, remember that you can celebrate on any date. Last year we celebrated Christmas with our daughter and her husband on New Year’s Day.

Some of you may be military families, and if your spouse is deployed, you may do a small celebration on the actual Holiday and save the big celebration until your spouse is home.

Celebrating Holidays and milestones bind a family, and you can be creative in how and when you celebrate!

Your Zone Mission today is to sweep and mop the main bathroom.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken and a salad.

Have a great day!

How does decluttering a little at a time help?

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,

Many of you have been reading my Zone Missions, and you are wondering how decluttering one drawer can help you.

By decluttering one drawer, you are starting a process of purging things a little at a time. As you let go of things, you are making room for other things. If you work on a different drawer each month, you will get through all of your drawers eventually.

You will also be less apt to refill the drawers you have decluttered. You will enjoy having space to put things away properly. You will start living by the rule of getting rid of one thing when you bring a new thing into the home.

Some drawers will be easy to go through and declutter. Other drawers will be harder and take longer. You will find things you forgot you had. You may find things you don’t even know what they are!

The consistency in decluttering a different area each week keeps you from burning out on one thing. It also helps you work your way through your home systematically. This week is a special week. You can choose the room you do your zone missions.

Week 3 of the month always finds us decluttering the Main Bathroom and one Extra Room. If you do swish and swipe in your bathrooms daily, you should not have a lot of maintenance to do in your bathroom, so you focus on another room for 10 minutes a day.

We don’t all have the same types of rooms in our homes. Some have home offices or craft rooms. Some have basements or garages. Some have guest rooms. Some have attics. Many of you have a dedicated school room.

You can even rotate which room you focus on in the third week of the month. Throughout the year, this should help you get through all of the different types of rooms in your homes.

You can be successful in decluttering with small, consistent steps.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter under the bathroom sink.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!

Surrounding Yourself with Positive Affirmations

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
We are moving swiftly through the month of November. Keep doing your small Zone Missions and Holiday Missions. It will help you in the month of December, if you do these a little bit each day.
Zone 3 Missions: The Main Bathroom and One Extra Room
Monday – Declutter Bathroom Counters and Wipe Down
Tuesday – Declutter under Bathroom Sink and Check Supplies
Wednesday – Sweep and Mop Bathroom
Thursday – Detail Clean the Shower/Tub
Friday – 15 Minute Room Rescue Anywhere in the House
How does positivity help you throughout the day?
In my house, I have placed Bible verses above most of our doors using cut-out vinyl letters. This is a great way to memorize Bible verses, and it gives everyone in our home positive words throughout the house.
If I am having a hard day, I can look up and see a verse from my spot at the table. If I walk somewhere in the house, I just have to look up and read a verse.
During specific times of crisis, I have written Bible verses and prayers on sticky notes and posted them throughout the house. Many times this year, I have written a different verse a day on a sticky note and kept it on my notebook. Today’s verse is 3 John 1:2.
Surrounding yourself and your family with positive words will encourage all of you throughout the day. You will find yourself speaking positive words and affirmations if you are reading them daily.
Life is hard at times, but you can foster a positive outlook during the hard times.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the bathroom counters and wipe them down.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is pizza and wings for the guys. Chicken and a salad for me.

Have a great day!

Are you consistent with your routines?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
Do you have consistency in your routines? If your routines are hit or miss, I want you to keep them simple for the next week. Use notes or a white board to help you. If you have an iPhone, you can download the FlyLady Plus app from the iTunes Store. The routines, zone missions, and home blessings are loaded into the app for you. You just click and check them off.

Many of you have asked me how I keep up with my routines. It’s the consistency. My routines are short and sweet each day. Doing my Morning Routine is like a dance. I go from one part of it to the next without thinking about it.

Each step happens automatically because I have practiced it for years. I get up and make my bed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, get dressed, and exercise. The caffeine does not even have to kick in for me to do my Morning Routine. After I exercise, I shower, swish and swipe the bathroom, get dressed, and start the laundry. I check my calendar and menu plan for the day. Then we start the Home Blessing for the day and begin school.

My boys know their routines, too. If you teach your children the order of their routines and stay consistent with them, they will do them. It will take some training and daily consistency if you have never established solid routines with them.

The afternoon routine fits in right after lunch, but it can also be done a little later in the afternoon. If you have little ones who nap, you need to rest, too. So include rest time after lunch, and then you can do your afternoon routine. Reboot the laundry that you started in the morning. Clear a Hot Spot or do a decluttering mission in the Zone of the Week. Deal with papers-school, mail, bills, etc. Drink your water. Start dinner.

Your Before Bed Routine is the most important routine of the day, and it starts right after dinner. I know you are tired at this point in your day. So am I. The kitchen is cleaned and sink shined. I take care of a hot spot because there is always a hot spot in the kitchen. I check the calendar and lay out my clothes. The only things left are to put on my pj’s, wash my face, and brush my teeth. The Before Bed Routine does not need to be complicated. You need time to relax, play with your kids, read to your kids, and get them tucked in bed.

Are you ready for a great week? Let’s keep it short and simple next week!

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

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

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Being Proactive with your Health

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
As we are approaching the Holidays, we are approaching cold and flu season. There are things you can do to be proactive in caring for your health and the health of your family.
Replace toothbrushes monthly.
Toothbrushes hold germs, and if anyone is sick, you will want to replace their toothbrush when they start feeling better. As a general rule of thumb, replace toothbrushes at the beginning of the month. You can dip them in mouthwash and rinse them to cut down on the germs. It’s important that you rinse the toothbrush if it is for a young child.
Drink water daily.
Drinking water daily flushes toxins from your body and hydrates you. If you become dehydrated, you become lethargic, and you are more susceptible to germs. Encourage your children to drink water as well. This is a habit to instill in your children while they are young.
Eat healthy.
Plan your menus. Grocery shop. Prepare your meals. Offer a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. If you have picky eaters, keep offering healthy foods to them. Don’t make it a power struggle, but you can encourage them to try new things. Eating a healthy diet will build your immune system. During cold and flu season, try to avoid take out and processed foods and sugars. I know it’s hard during the Holidays, so make sweet treats a rare occasion.
Get enough rest.
If you do not have an established bedtime for everyone, start this week. Getting adequate sleep helps your body fight off germs. It also helps you to be less stressed and cranky, if you are getting enough rest at night.
With shorter daylight hours and colder weather, we tend to spend less time outside. Be creative in getting in movement daily for you and your children. You can use an app on your phone to track steps. If you have never tracked your steps before, you can start now and get a baseline. I shoot for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. You can do other types of exercise, too. Step counting is the easiest way for me to track my daily movement.
Have your physicals and bloodwork done.
Have you had a physical lately and bloodwork? If not, schedule an appointment. A large percentage of Americans are low on Vitamin D, and it only gets worse in the winter with less sunlight. There are other important components of your blood work, too.
Do something to relax every day. By reducing your stress and not rushing around all of the time, you will not be taxing your adrenal system. If you are too busy, start looking at things you can eliminate from your calendar. Some of you with young children will need to be creative, but you can carve out 5 minutes a day to relax.
Have fun.
After you eliminate some of the extra things in your schedule, you will have more time to have fun with your children. Play with your children. Laughter is good for you.
Enjoy your life. Enjoy your family. Stay well and take precautions!
Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter items from 1 kitchen drawer.

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!

Are you wearing your lace up shoes every day?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool



Dear Friends,
Your questions and comments encourage me and give me ideas for my writing, so keep it up! A few of you have told me that you don’t wear lace up shoes around the house. You have lots of reasons why, but I want you to consider putting your lace up shoes on every morning for one week. Then, tell me how you feel at the end of the week.

Putting your shoes on your feet first thing in the morning signals your brain that it is time to be productive. Lace up shoes give your feet and body good support. If something comes up, you can leave the house quickly if you have your shoes on your feet. If your child breaks something, your feet are safer in shoes. I could go on and on about the reasons why you should put your lace up shoes on first thing in the morning.

I have several pairs of lace up shoes. Some of them are my running shoes. Then, I have two pair that I rotate for daily wear and walking. Shoes last longer if you rotate them. They have time to dry out and spring back up if you wear them every other day instead of the same pair every day.

Children need to wear their shoes daily, too. I know I will get some eye rolls from a few of you on this point. They can have indoor shoes and outdoor shoes. We live in the woods. The boys have learned to clean their shoes off before they come into the house. Several times of being asked to sweep up behind themselves have helped them develop the habit of wiping their feet before they come into the house.

It’s anti-procrastination day, and if you have been putting off this habit, I want you to start it as soon as you finish reading this.
Your Zone Mission today is to clean out the fridge.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is pasta and a salad for the boys. Grilled chicken and a salad for me.

Have a great day!

Is your sink shiny?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

How does your kitchen sink look right now? Do you shine it daily?
One of the first habits we practice with The FlyLady is shining the kitchen sink. I have talked to a few of you lately who have been slacking off on this important habit.

Why is it important to shine your sink daily?

When you get up in the morning and are greeted with an empty, clean sink, it starts your day off on a happy note. On the flip side, if you get up to a sink full of dirty dishes, you feel like you are behind on your day as soon as you get up.

Most homeschool families eat more than one meal a day at home. We eat all three meals at home 90% of the time. We have fine-tuned our system.

If you dirty the dishes, you need to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher is full, you need to put detergent in and start it. Everyone in the house with the exception of the 11-year-old knows how to run the dishwasher. Our dishwasher is run twice a day.
During the day, it is rare that the sinks have dirty dishes in them. If someone gets up in the middle of the night to have a snack, they will typically rinse their dishes and leave them in the sink. That does not bother me since it is usually a couple of items. They are being considerate and trying not to make a lot of noise in the kitchen at night. If you have teenagers, you probably have middle of the night snackers in your house, too.

If you struggle with the dishes, you need to be the one to start the consistency of shining your sink each evening as a part of your Before Bed Routine. You start this routine right after dinner by shining your sink. Give each person in the family a different task for kitchen clean up.

Some ideas are:

One person clears the food from the table and puts it in the fridge.
One person takes dirty dishes to the sink. (Or each person can take his/her dishes to the sink.)
One person does the dishes.
One person sweeps.
One person takes out the trash.
One person shines the sink after the dishes are done.
You can assign or more tasks depending on your family size. We currently have five people at home, so we divide it up accordingly.
Afterwards, have each person lay out their clothes for the next day and put things at the Launch Pad for the next morning.

If you do this right after dinner each night, you will have half of your Before Bed Routine done. Then you can relax for a bit.

Tell me how you are doing with shining your sink daily.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter items from one kitchen cabinet.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is sub sandwiches for the guys. Soup night at a meeting for me.

Have a blessed day!