Life is not all rainbows and unicorns.

Getting Organized in Your Home and Homeschool:

Dear Friends,

Life is not always easy. Most of the time it is hard. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. It’s not always what you thought your life would be.

This week has had several emotional landmines for me. If you have read my blog during the past year, you know that I have had some difficult situations in my life. Things are much better now, but there are times when I am working on something and the feelings and emotions come back to the surface.

The last two days have had several reminders of the past year. I looked up some quotes to encourage my heart.

“You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have had that sense of accomplishment.” – Aly Raisman

On the hard days, it is important to take time to take care of yourself. Each person has different things that they do for enjoyment. But on a hard day, you may need to remind yourself to take care of the basics of self-care.

Here are the top 10 things I do when I am having a hard day:
1)      Find a quiet place to sit and pray
2)      Read my Bible
3)      Drink my water
4)      Rest
5)      Eat
6)      Talk to someone
7)      Write down my blessings
8)      Delegate tasks
9)      Re-evaluate my schedule
10)    Add “white space” to my calendar

You have to take time to take care of yourself. You cannot take care of your loved ones if you have run yourself into the ground. You might have to say, “No” to some opportunities that you really want to do.

When you continually say, “Yes” to every opportunity that comes to you, you will eventually use up the “white space” on your calendar. This “white space” is the part of your calendar where you don’t have something scheduled. This is the part of your day when you can do something to take care of yourself.

When you are overbooked and overcommitted, the first things to go are your self-care things. You eat on the run. You sleep less. You forget to drink your water. You try to do everything yourself because you do it best. You don’t have time to talk to a friend. You push until you can’t push any more. You forget to take a shower or brush your teeth.

This cycle sets you up for sickness. It can set you up for health problems, too. It can make you cranky with the ones you love the most. It can make you feel bad about yourself.

Stop worrying about letting others down if you delegate a task or simply say, “No.” If you say, “Yes” to too many commitments you are letting yourself down.

The best quote I found today is from Calvin and Hobbes.

“Today is a good day to have a GREAT day!!!”

Today, I am purposing to have a GREAT day! How about you?

Today’s Zone Mission is to detail clean the tub/shower.

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

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and wings for the boys. Date night for the parents.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Siggie - Tami Fox


Scheduling and Homeschooling Young Children

Getting Organized:

In your home and homeschool


Homeschooling in 2009

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your emails and comments about schedules and routines. One thing I have learned in 18 years of homeschooling is that no two school years are alike in regards to scheduling. Sometimes no two days are the same, depending on the ages of your children and how many children you have.

Some of you are in the stage of having young children. Teaching young children at home is a lot of fun, and it is also a lot of work. When you have several young children to teach and a toddler or baby to entertain during school, you will feel like you go from one thing to another over and over.

This stage will not last forever. Combine reading aloud time to include all of your children. When you are teaching phonics or math, have the other children stay close to you while you are teaching. You can occupy them with snacks or crafts or toys.

If you are struggling with teaching several levels of lessons, remember that small children need short lessons. Their attention span is going to be between 5 minutes to 15 minutes at a time. So plan on alternating activities. Pushing through a 45-minute lesson will be taxing on both of you. I know that small children can drag their feet on lessons, so plan on a sitting activity, and then follow up with an activity that gives them some movement.

Use the trickle-down theory on teaching your children. Teach to the oldest and let the younger ones learn what they can. Over the years, you are going to repeat a lot of what you are teaching. Read a short history lesson to all of your children at once, and then ask them to re-enact it. They can make props or dress up. They will learn so much more this way.

Children in kindergarten through second grade need to learn the basics of reading, writing, and math. You do not have to teach them a full science less and full history lesson, too. You can do short and sweet lessons for these subjects and do history three times a week and science twice a week.

You do not have to be supermom homeschool mom! You don’t have to do everything your friends are doing. Teach your children the way that suits their learning styles and your family style.

Today’s Zone Mission is to mop the bathroom floor.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is Taco Thursday for the guys and veggies for me.

Have a great day!

Do you need to declutter unexpired medications?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
When is the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Some of you might not have an official “medicine” cabinet in the bathroom. I keep our vitamins and medications in a box in a kitchen cabinet. So I am using this term loosely, but it is likely something you do not go through on a regular basis.
Several years ago a hospice nurse taught me how to dispose of medications safely. You can use this type of method, or you can contact your local pharmacist to see if they have a program to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription medications.

You want to guard against contamination of ground water, so you do not want to flush unused medications. You also do not want to just throw them in the trash. You need to protect pets and children, too.

The method I was taught was to take the unused medications and put them into a plastic bag. Add water and kitty litter to the bag. Let it absorb, and then you can safely dispose of the entire bag and its contents.
You can use other things besides kitty litter, if you don’t have any on hand. Baking soda and water would also work. You could also use old coffee grounds with additional water added.
Set your timer and get your supplies out for safe disposal of the expired medications. Start checking dates and clean out these medications. They are serving no purpose for you when they are out of date. They are taking up space, and old medications can be hazardous.
One year, we had an abundance of medications for our nebulizer. Before they went out of date, I donated the extra medication to a local crisis center. They were thankful to get them, and I was able to give them away since we could not use them all before their expiration date.
You can do some research and make some calls to see if there is a free clinic with a pharmacist who can use any unexpired medications that you no longer need. I know this happens on occasion when a doctor prescribes a medication, and it does not work out for you.
Please be careful and responsible with prescription medications.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter expired items from your medicine cabinet.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken stir fry. Salad and veggies for me.

Have a great day!

Do you have laundry issues?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,

Do you have issues with your laundry? With a large family, my laundry routine has to be established. I have to follow through on it when I start a load. But I was not always great at doing laundry. When I was first married, I really did not like doing laundry at all. There are probably a few of you reading this who feel the same way.

Back then, I did laundry on the weekends since we both worked during the week. I had grown up with a family who did laundry daily. I did not do my own laundry very often before I was married. I was not a big fan of taking up my Saturday doing laundry.

As I started having children, the amount of laundry increased exponentially. Somehow adding a small baby also meant that laundry seemed to double or triple. For years, I struggled along with doing my laundry as a part of my daily routine. I tended to put it off as long as possible.

The laundry did get folded as I did a load, but I did not put clothes away often. We lived out of laundry baskets. If I put laundry away, it was typically on Saturday, and it took a while.

After I had my third child, the internet was growing in popularity, and I found The FlyLady in a Yahoo Group. I started readhing her emails and was slowly FlyWashed. I adopted routines, and I was doing at least a load of laundry a day.

As my family grew, I needed to do more than a load a day to keep up with the amount of clothing we went through in a day. Small children are inquisitive and messy, aren’t they? (smile)

My next step was to do two loads of laundry per day. I added this into my morning and evening routine. I taught the children to sort their clothes into a white basket and a dark basket. I had another plastic bin for towels.

With doing laundry this way, I was able to keep up with the clothing and towels. But I still had a lot of bedding to wash weekly. We had six beds for the children plu our bed. With seven beds in the house, I decided that it would be better to wash the bedding for one to two beds per day instead of trying to do all of them on Monday.

This lead to my deciding to do a load of laundry during each part of the day – morning, afternoon, and evening.

Now, we only have four beds in the house to take care of each week, and I have assigned the boys to a laundry day each week. That is the day they do their bedding and clothing. I will help the youngest one, and I will combine loads if they are small loads.

Over the years, my laundry routine has changed. It is as efficient as I can make it. Each of us puts laundry away daily, and we do not live out of laundry baskets.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter items from under the bathroom cabinet.

My menu plan for Tuesday is grilled chicken thighs and salad.

Have a blessed day!

Giving Your Children a Legacy of Habits and Routines

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Are you setting the example in your home and getting dressed first thing in the morning? As you establish this habit, encourage your children to move along with their morning routine as well. When my children were little, I made it a point to be dressed before they got up. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes it did not happen. For the most part, I was successful!
Then I taught my children the following routine:
  • Get up
  • Go potty
  • Wash hands
  • Go to the kitchen table for breakfast
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash hands and face
  • Get dressed
  • Make bed
They still follow this routine, and they are much older now, though don’t tell them I mentioned the potty thing. (smile) Give your children a legacy of habits and routines!
This week we are decluttering and detail cleaning in the main bathroom and one extra room. Pick the area in your home that needs to be decluttered the most. For some of you, it might be your school area.
Zone 3 Missions: The Main Bathroom and One Extra Room
Monday – Declutter the counter tops and wipe down
Tuesday – Declutter items from under the sink
Wednesday – Declutter from the medicine cabinet
Thursday – Mop the bathroom
Friday – Detail clean the tub/shower
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
Keep decluttering daily and celebrate your successes! Be sure to take off the items you are donating and get them out of your house completely!
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter the bathroom counters and wipe them down.

My menu plan for Monday is taco soup.

Have a blessed day!

A Special Offer for my Readers for my Homeschool Planner

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
How do you handle your lesson planning? Over the past 18 years, I have done different methods of planning our homeschool lessons. I have used plan books. I have used computer- based lesson planning. In the end, I used a composition notebook and made my own planner.
This spring, I took my pencil drawings in a composition book, and I hired a designer to make a beautiful Homeschool Planner for you. This Planner has forms designed from what I have used in my own homeschool.
Not only did I ask my designer to make this Planner easy to use for 1 student and up to 4 students, I included pages for you to list your daily routines. Since I know you need flexibility in the timing of some of the routines, I left the pages ready for you to write them in. When you have a field trip day or co-op day, you can do a quick, basic Morning Routine. Later in the day, you can do the rest of your daily routines.
You can choose the day of the week for each of your Home Blessings (sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, wipe windows, wash sheets, and declutter magazines.)
There are pages for menu planning for the month, and you can also write in your menu plan on the daily pages. I use pencil for my menu planning, so it is easy to move things around if we have a schedule change.
If you have a high school student, I have included pages for you to keep information for their transcript. If you keep up with courses and grades each semester, it is easier for you when you need to create their official transcript.
Some of you use various educational websites for your homeschool, and I included pages for you to keep up with login information and passwords. I know how complicated that can be for multiple students and a teacher log in password.
This Planner is made for the 2018-19 school year, but you can use it starting now. For the next 3 days, I am offering the Digital Download of my Homeschool Planner for $4.95. This is the color version of the Planner. It can be printed as a color file or in grey-scale. You can print just the pages you want to use now, and later you can print them again.
It is 230 pages, so you will want to consider that when you print it. I used our laser printer and printed on both sides of the paper. Then, I three-hole punched it and put it in a binder. That is how I did the initial proof-reading. I wanted to make this Planner work for you.
If you have any questions about my Homeschool Planner, I am happy to answer them.
Today’s Zone Mission is to wipe out your microwave and wipe your stove top.

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

My menu plan for Friday is pork roast and veggies.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Will I ever be finished decluttering?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
“Will I ever be finished decluttering?”
This question has been asked of me many times. My response is the same, “As long as you bring new things into your home, you are going to need to declutter.”
Decluttering daily is something that needs to be a part of your routine. Mail is delivered. Packages arrive. You go shopping. Your children make things. The list can go on and on.
A few people were discouraged when I told them that I still declutter daily. It’s true. It’s often not a lot of stuff that I declutter, but I either throw things away daily when I clear a Hot Spot, or I put things in the “to be donated” box. Some things from the Hot Spot end up getting put away.
If you have a lot of clutter in your home, you need to get rid of two things for each new thing that comes into the house. You also need to declutter for 15 minutes a day. You will need to work with your children on decluttering from their rooms, too.
If you have an area in your home that really bothers you because of the clutter, I want you to focus on that for a couple of days and start seeing a difference. You have to throw things away. You have to donate things. Once you start getting clutter out of your house rather than just finding a new place for it, you will love seeing areas cleared up.
Many of the ladies I mentor find that they maintain areas very well once they have decluttered it. It gives them peace and joy. They do not let the clutter back into those areas.
You do not have a lot of extra time in your days to declutter. Use your timer for 15 minutes a day. You can spare that much time. You spend more time than that on your computer or phone. You can budget 15 minutes a day to declutter your way to peace.
The first step to change is the hardest step. Take it today.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter items from one kitchen cabinet.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter magazines or paper.
My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies for the boys. Salad and veggies for me.
Have a great day!

Are you avoiding cleaning out your fridge?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
Happy anti-procrastination day! Do you avoid cleaning out your fridge like the plague? Each week, I spend a few minutes tossing out leftovers. Once a month, I spend a few minutes wiping the inside of the fridge. By not procrastinating, I do not have a huge task before me. I am consistent with getting rid of the leftovers the day before we take off the trash.
Either pick anti-procrastination day or the evening before your trash goes out to clean out leftovers each week. Set your timer and toss! If you notice a spill on a shelf, spend a couple of minutes wiping it. Once a month, look through your condiments and toss the ones that are out of date. Then start at the top shelf and do a quick wipe of each shelf.
Some of you are thinking it is just easier to get a new fridge than to clean the one you have. (smile) When I first started following The FlyLady, I felt this way, too. Just remember that it does not have to be perfect. Consistency will win out if you just keep working at it a little at a time.
Another tip that has helped me is to use clear containers for leftovers and keep them pulled to the front of the shelf. The things that get pushed to the back of the fridge are the ones that end up in there for a while. Things stored in containers that are not see-through are also subject to growing mold before you open them again. Raise your hand if you just toss the whole container at that point.
Keeping your fridge clean and under control will help you when it is time to make your weekly grocery list. This will save you money in the long run. We all like to save money! So stop beating yourself up for tossing leftovers, and work at keeping your fridge orderly.
My weekly routine for menu planning starts at the fridge. I check to see what is on hand and will be usuable in the next week. I start formulating a plan for my menu. As I develop the menu, I check to see if I have all of the ingredients on hand. I am going to save time and money if I get what I need when I go grocery shopping once a week. If I run out of something important, someone has to make a trip to the grcoery store again.
Decluttering your fridge will help you save time and money. Why are you putting it off?
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter leftovers from the fridge.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is chicken and rice for the boys. Salad and veggies for me.

Have a great day!

How do you occupy young children when you need to do something?

Dear Friends,



Recently, I have had the question asked about occupying young children when you need to something. It has come up more than once, so there are probably more of you who wonder the same thing.

Here’s a typical scenario I hear often. You just finished a meal, and the kitchen needs to be cleaned. If you do it right then, the kids will disperse and make a mess somewhere else. Sound familiar?

When my children were little, I had something planned for them after a meal. It became a part of our routine. In the morning, I would start cleaning up the table as they finished breakfast. I would wipe them off as they finished and quickly get the dishes into the dishwasher. Then we moved into the morning routine of brushing teeth and getting dressed.

After lunch, I would put them down for a nap. Then I would clean the kitchen and do some dinner prep.

Dinner time was a little trickier though, but we would tag team someone playing with the little ones while the other one did the dishes. Waiting to do the dishes after bedtime is just not fun, and our goal was to get the dishes done and the dishwasher going. Then it could be emptied before bedtime.

As far as decluttering, home blessings, or homeschool time, I would rotate the activities the little ones had while I did the things that had to be done. For my babies, I would rotate stations for them. They had a high chair, playpen, bouncy chair, etc. We just moved school around the house to keep the baby close to us and occupied.

If I needed to fold laundry, I gave the little ones a job. Even a toddler can sit near you and play with a washcloth. (smile) I have two children who were very active, and if I could keep them from tearing my house apart, you can, too. It just takes a little creativity.

When I did my home blessings, I included them in those, too. The benefit now is that they can do anything around the house that I can do. I have worked myself out of a few things, but I know they will eventually grow up and move out. Then, it will be my tasks again.

Give me some of your tried and true ways of occupying younger children when you have something you desperately need to do. (I know a few of you would just like to get a shower each day.)

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

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

My menu plan for Tuesday is Shepherd’s Pie.

Have a blessed day!

Siggie - Tami Fox

Decluttering and Detail Cleaning the Heart of Your Home

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Happy Monday! How was your weekend? This week we are going to declutter and detail clean in the heart of our homes, the kitchen. This room sees a lot of activity. It also sees a lot of clutter and hot spots.
Zone 2 Missions: The Kitchen
Monday – Declutter the counter tops and wipe down
Tuesday – Declutter items from 1 drawer
Wednesday – Declutter leftovers from the fridge
Thursday – Declutter items from 1 cabinet
Friday – Wipe Stove/Microwave/Front of Fridge
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
Last fall, I did a kitchen renovation, and during that time, I decluttered items that had been in my cabinets for 28 years and not used. I have been decluttering monthly in the kitchen for years, and I still found things to give away.
You probably have things in your kitchen cabinets that are taking up valuable space. This week, I want you to pick a cabinet that you have been avoiding and spend just 15 minutes decluttering. If it is a lower cabinet and hard to get into, ask your children to hand you things from the back. They have an advantage on being small and flexible.
As I have added kitchen appliances, I have let go of appliances. I have two InstantPots. I let go of two slow cookers. I got a Kitchenaide mixer, so I let go of a hand mixer. The Lord has blessed me, and I bless others by letting go of the extra things I am not using.

Take a look at your cups and plastic items. Do you have so many that they fall out of the cabinet when it is opened? Many of us were raised by people who used things until they had no use. I want you to look at your things as tools to bless others if you have too many.
Send me an email when you declutter and let go this week.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter the kitchen counters and wipe them down.

My menu plan for Monday is chicken.

Have a blessed day!