Decluttering in Two Zones in One Week

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
This week we are wrapping up January, so we will be in two Zones. Monday through Wednesday, we will be in Zone 5 – The Living Room. On Thursday and Friday, we will be in Zone 1 – The Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room. Do quick 10 minute Mission each day and don’t stress about it.
Zones 5 & 1 Missions: The Living Room & Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room
Monday – Declutter and Detail Dust in the Living Room
Tuesday – Move Furniture & Detail Vacuum in the Living Room
Wednesday – Put away anything that does not belong in the Living Room
Thursday – Declutter & Dust in the Entryway & Dining Room
Friday – 27 Fling Boogie in the Entryway & Dining Room
Set your timers and then take a break when it goes off!
As we transition into February, I want you to look at your daily routines. If you are not decluttering for 5 to 10 minutes a day, I want you to find a place in your schedule where it makes sense for you to declutter daily.
By decluttering a little at a time, you will find it gets easier and easier to maintain your home. You will have less stuff to deal with daily. I talk to ladies all of the time who struggle with making decisions on what to do with stuff. That is why it will help you to do this a little bit each day. You will only have to make a few decisions. If you try to spend a lot of time decluttering, you wear yourself out. Then you don’t want to do it again for a long time.
For me, my decluttering either happens in the middle of the afternoon or right after dinner. With homeschooling, I do not have time in the mornings to do my decluttering.

You can do it! You just need to practice it until it becomes a habit.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your living room and detail dust.
My menu plan for Monday is pork chops.
Have a blessed day!

Doing Monthly Maintenance Around the House

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Next week we will be ending January and starting a new month. Do you have a monthly schedule for routine maintenance for your home and your car?
Here are some items I have on my monthly maintenance list for the first week of the month:
  • Change filters on heating/air system
  • Change water filter under the kitchen sink
  • Dryer lint removal
  • Check back up batteries
  • Check fire detectors
  • Check for vitamins and medication refills
  • Check first aid supplies
  • Check trash bags and storage bags
  • Check for light bulbs that need to be replaced
  • Outdoors – check the gutters and other seasonal needs
  • Outdoors – check the barn and food for animals
  • Car – check inspection date, check oil and other fluids, check tire pressure, get it washed
This is not an exhaustive list, and I don’t do all of these alone. The boys know how to do most of these. We do it as a team and pick one or two things a day. The Zone Missions take care of the detail cleaning around the house, and these are just things that need to be done that don’t really fit my Zone Missions.
All of these are great teaching points for your children. If you don’t know how to do these, ask your husband to show you and the children. You should know how to do routine maintenance in the event that your husband is unable to do it.
Learn how to check your oil and tire pressure on your vehicles. Learn how to change a flat tire if you don’t know how to do it. Check for supplies hat you need to have in your vehicle, too. First aid kits, extra oil, and a tire pressure gauge are essentials in my vehicles. I also like to keep an old towel in my vehicle for incidents that might come up.
Friday is also clean out your car and clean out your purse day. If you have not integrated this into your schedule, start today. Send your children out first to get the trash out of the vehicle, and then you can go out to check it. I also throw away any trash that is in my vehicle when I am filling my car up with gas. If the boys are with me, they hand me trash, and I drop it I the can. That way, they are contained and safe, and I am able to get rid of trash that needs to go.
What are some of the things you need to do for routine maintenance around your house?
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 take out.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Being Proactive in Dealing with Germs

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

This year colds, the flu, and stomach bugs are going around like mad. You can be proactive in caring for your home and family. You can use cleaning wipes for commonly touched surfaces. I use bleach wipes from a pop up container to wipe door knobs light switches, and my kitchen counters.

We are not sick in our home right now, but any time we go out, we can be exposed to different germs. When we get home from an outing, I ask every to wash their hands first thing. I also keep hand sanitizer in my purse to use while we are out.

Some of the most known places to spread germs are church and shopping cart handles. I have been known to keep my gloves on my hands inside of the store to keep my hands from touching the handle of the cart.

The flu is quite bad this year, and I want to be proactive with our health. We take vitamins, drink water, eat healthy, and get adequate rest.

Even with these precautions in the past, we have gotten sick. I have protocols for that as well. Frequent hand washing helps contain the spread of germs. If someone has been ill, I replace their toothbrush when they are better. I use washcloths in place of hand towels in the bathroom.

The FlyLady has a great article on dealing with a stomach bug. Take a minute to read it today. You can be prepared in case the stomach bug does come to your house. I pray that it doesn’t!

What do you do to stay healthy and keep the germs at bay?

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter items from one dresser 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!

Getting organized by decluttering clothes

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
How does your master closet look? The master closet can become a dumping ground for things you are storing, for things that need a place, for things that you don’t use often, and for your clothes and shoes. Your master closet has a lot of functions, but is it functional?
Is your closet stuffed full to the brim? Have you been avoiding decluttering in it because it is such a massive job?
Today, I want you to stop putting off decluttering in your closet. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Have a box or black bag handy. Start pulling things that you do not wear. Yes, those things you have been holding onto. The clothes that don’t fit. The clothes that don’t make you feel pretty. Let them go!
Look in your closet floor. What is there? Do you need to let go of some shoes or other things that are piled in your closet floor?
You may need another bag, but I want you to declutter some shoes today. After your 15 minutes is up, take the bags of items you are delcuttering and put them in the car immediately. The goal is to get the excess out of your house. When you have your errand day, stop and drop off the bags.
A few of you are thinking to yourself that you want to sell the clothes instead of donating them. I want to discourage you from doing this. It will take time and energy to sell them, and you will likely not see a good return on the investment of your time.
If your closet is really packed full, try to spend 10 minutes once a week in decluttering. Drop of the donations weekly and keep at it consistently. It will get better. Resist the urge to pull everything out at once.
Your children may also have issues with their closets. You can use the same formula for decluttering their clothes. Children often have clothes in their closets that do not fit. They like to hold onto their favorite clothes. Sometimes I make a quick visit to their closets and just pull the stuff I know doesn’t fit. Then I ask them about it. Usually we can talk through any reasons why they want to keep the items.
Another strategy I use is to throw away items with holes or big stains when I am folding laundry.
If you get the amount of clothes in your home down to a manageable level for your storage situation in your closet, you will also improve your laundry process. The more clothes you have, the more laundry you have.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter items from your closet for 15 minutes.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is beef roast and salad.
Have a great day!

6 Creative Ways to Kick Cabin Fever for Kids


Photo courtesy of Pixabay


6 Creative Ways to Kick Cabin Fever for Kids

For kids, being stuck in the house all winter can seem like a punishment. And as a parent, you know that the more bored your children get, the more unruly they can become. So, why not find a solution for both of your problems?


If you can find activities for your cooped up children to do, they will come to love their indoor time almost as much as outside time. And if these activities are educational, that’s a parenting win! So, how about taking a little time to try out some of the following activities that will have your kids laughing and learning their dreary winter days away?

1.  Make Elephant’s Toothpaste

According to School A to Z, science experiments not only help kids with fundamental knowledge, they also help them develop patience and perseverance. That’s why experiments like elephant’s toothpaste are the perfect indoor activity. It’s not actually a toothpaste for elephants or anything else for that matter. It is a fun and colorful science experiment that elementary-age kids love. Using household ingredients, they can make a fun colorful foam that will teach them about oxygen gas.

2.  Give Them a Fun Workout

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that one in five school-aged children is obese, and being cooped up indoors all winter could certainly be a contributing factor. The best way to keep your kids healthy is to ensure that they get at least an hour of physical activity each day. And just because they can’t run or ride bikes outside doesn’t mean you can’t encourage exercise. There are tons of fun workouts just for kids available online.

3.  Nurture Their Artistic Sides

Art sometimes gets pushed aside to make room for subjects like math and English that are considered more important, but the truth is art is responsible for much of a child’s development. Language development, decision-making, and visual learning are all skills strengthened through creativity. You’ll find all kinds of artistic activities for kids online with a few creative search terms. For example, try searching for “girls crafts” or “giraffe crafts” to find ideas specific to your child’s personality and interests.

4.  Call on Your Inner Teacher

You may not consider teaching one of your skills, but anyone can teach a lesson that’s already prepared. Try searching for homeschool lesson plans for the age of your children or get creative and use your kids’ interests. For example, you can look for dog-themed lesson plans, dinosaur-themed lesson plans, or many other things your kids find entertaining. offers some helpful suggestions for lesson plans about dogs. If you make learning fun, they won’t even know they’re being taught something useful.

5.  Make Some Noise

Let’s face it—they’re probably already whooping it up anyway. Why not channel their noise into something that accelerates brain development and motor skills. Sites like Lesson Face and Take Lessons offer a database of instructors who either give music lessons face-to-face or online. Or you can opt for some fun and educational musical game sites that all kids love.

6.  Share Some Memories

Children love hearing stories about themselves, and what better way to make memories than to start scrapbooking together. There are certainly plenty scrapbooking supplies available in craft stores, but most photo-sharing sites now also offer online scrapbooking. These digital scrapbooks can then be shared via email or social media or even printed to keep for family keepsakes.


Cabin fever takes its toll on the whole family, so it’s important to plan ahead when you know you’ll be spending extended time indoors. But don’t just plan mindless activities like eating and watching movies. Keep your kids moving and learning all winter to keep them healthy, active, and mentally alert.


Thank you, Special Home Educator for this article.



Teaching Life Skills is not Nagging

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your responses to my emails! You give me ideas on articles, and it also helps me to know the areas in which you struggle.
This month we have practiced the habit of shining our kitchen sink. I have asked for pictures of your shiny sinks, and some of the responses have been interesting to me.

One mom related that she felt like she was nagging her children if she asked them to rinse their dishes and put them in the dishwasher. If she had to ask them more than once, she felt like it was nagging.

You children need to learn to clean up behind themselves. It is a life skill to clean up behind yourself. Rinsing your dishes and putting them in the dishwasher is a life skill.

A few of you don’t want your children to put dishes in the dishwasher because they won’t put them in the “right” spot. You don’t want to go back to the dishwasher to rearrange it. You can show your children what items go on the top rack and which ones go on the bottom rack. You can show them how to put the silverware in the basket (knife points down for safety).

Teach them and remind them when needed (reminders are not nagging). If you praise and reward them for a job well done, they are more apt to continue in the habit.

Shining your sink does not have to be a big ordeal for you. Keep it simple. When I shine it at night, I wash it out with warm, soapy water. I rinse it. Then I dry it with that day’s dishcloth. I pop the dirty cloth in the washer and lay out a clean cloth.

I run my dishwasher twice a day. In the evening, I start it right after dinner. During the day, I start it after lunch. The boys put their dishes in it throughout the day, and they work as a team to unload it. A few weeks ago, we had to hand wash dishes for several days, and they now have an appreciation for the dishwasher and ease of just rinsing dishes.

Unless you do not have water running to your kitchen sink, no excuses today. Shine your sink!

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

Your Zone Missions for today is to put away ALL of your clothes.

My menu plan for Tuesday is beef stew.

Have a blessed day!

Bringing Peace to Your Bedroom Through Decluttering

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Do you wish to have peace and sweet rest in your master bedroom? This week we will declutter and detail clean a little each day to bring you peace to your bedroom. Each mission should take between 10 and 15 minutes. If you need more time, go back later in the day. Don’t pull out everything!
Zone 4 Missions: The Master Bedroom 
Monday – Declutter the flat surfaces and detail dust
Tuesday – Put away ALL of your clothes
Wednesday – Declutter from your closet
Thursday – Declutter from 1 dresser drawer
Friday – Clean out under your bed.
Set your timers for 10 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!
Your bedroom should be your happy place. Purpose now to not use it for storage of things that do not have a home. Resist the temptation to toss things in your room when you are tidying up for company. Use your bedroom as a retreat. Pretend it is your own personal bed and breakfast.
If you do not have decorations in your bedroom, get some silk flowers. Hang some pretty pictures. Fluff your pillows. You do not have to spend a lot of money to make your room beautiful.
Wash your sheets today. Make your bed look pretty even if you are going to get in it tonight. You deserve a pretty place to sleep. If your husband works shift work, you can still take care of your bed. You just have to be creative. I usually get up before anyone in my house, so I just make my side of the bed in the dark. Later I make it look pretty.
How are you doing with making your bed daily? It is the shiny sink of your bedroom.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.
Your Zone Missions for today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your bedroom and detail dust.
My menu plan for Monday is pork BBQ.
Have a blessed day!


50 Things I am Thankful For Today

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Today is my birthday, and I am thankful for the life I have been given. As an infant I was adopted by two amazing people. I have a wonderful husband, 6 beautiful children, 1 handsome son-in-law, and two more special young people in my children’s lives.

I have been blessed beyond measure. I wanted to share with you a list of the things I am thankful for today. God has been do good to me!

50 Things I am Thankful For:
1)      Jesus
2)      My Bible
3)      Prayer
4)      My husband – Jonathan
5)      My children: Ashley & Cass
6)      Nick & Tricia
7)      Jacob
8)      Daniel
9)      Quinton
10)   Ben
11)   My parents: My mom who is my rock and my friend.
12)   My dad and step-mom who love me unconditionally.
13)   My birth family for choosing life for me
14)   My brothers, sister, nieces and nephews
15)   My extended family
16)   My friends who keep me straight and love me
17)   My friends who are family to me
18)   My virtual friends who bring happiness to my days
19)   The freedom to homeschool my children
20)   Another birthday
21)   A warm house
22)   God’s provision for my needs: Food
23)   Clothes
24)   Shoes
25)   Transportation
26)   Good health
27)   My church and my church family
28)   My job and the people I work with
29)   My freedom
30)   Faith
31)   Love
32)   Hope
33)   Laughter
34)   Joy
35)   Peace
36)   The ability to communicate
37)   Music
38)   Art and a colorful world to live in
39)   The change of seasons
40)   Having fun and playing with my kids
41)   Running
42)   The encouragers in my life
43)   The people who are truthful in my life
44)   Being outside to enjoy God’s creation
45)   Living in a first world country where I have hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing
46)   Appliances that help me take care of my family
47)   A good night’s sleep
48)   The beach
49)   The mountains
50)   For God’s gracious Hand on my family this past year

Have you studied other countries and cultures with your children?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Have you done any culture studies with your kids? One of the most interesting things we have studied has been cultures around the world. We enjoy learning about the countries, their customs, and what they eat.
Sometimes we get the winter doldrums in our homeschools. What helps me is to inject a fun little unit study into our plans. That gives us all a little lift in our spirits.

If you have never done a unit study before, they can be simple and fun. They do not have to be complicated. They do not have to take a lot of time either.
Does your family have a certain type of food they like to eat? You can use that to help you decide on what country to study. One year, we used a cookbook that gave menu ideas and recipes for various countries around the world.
We used our world map to locate the country. We watched some videos about the country. We discussed their economics and exports. We learned about their government and religion.
We made lists of foods that they ate, and we made menu plans. For our study of Asia, I took them to a large Asian supermarket. That was an education for us all. It was fascinating.
When we studied Mexico, we went to the Hispanic grocery store. We played music from the different countries, and we listened to their language. We attempted some simple phrases, too.
There are so many ways you can study about other countries and cultures, and if you have never done a study like this before, consider doing one soon.
Today’s Zone Mission is to clean the tub/shower.

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

My menu plan for Friday is take out.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Enjoying Snow Days

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,

Do you get snow days where you live? In North Carolina, it does not take a lot of winter precipitation to slow things down, or in most cases, shut things down. We are not equipped to deal with snow since it does not come along that often where I live.

So snow days for me are a day to slow down. They are a little like a holiday. Outside appointments that have been scheduled are changed. The boys are motivated to do their school work quickly and efficiently, so they can play outside. When I am sitting at my computer writing, I have a lovely view.

Snow days give us a day to reflect and have a little break from the normal schedule. They also bring an increase in laundry and cause my floors to be a little wetter. By the afternoon, gloves, hats, boots, and clothes are wet and hanging by the door on the drying rack.

Snow days mean comfort food. Soup in the electric pressure cooker. Hot chocolate in the coffee mugs. We make some fun memories on snow days. It makes me think back to my childhood and snow days.

How many of you remember wearing bread bags over your shoes and gloves to keep your hands and feet dry? (Snow in the South is really wet snow most of the time.) How many of you enjoyed tomato soup with grilled cheese for lunch? How many of you remember making snow men or snow angels?

You can make memories with your children. Go outside and play with them. Even if you don’t have any snow, you can make memories and do special things with your children. Live each day with love and joy!

Life is for learning, living, and love.

Today’s Zone Mission is to check your supplies in the bathroom and laundry room. Add items to your shopping list as needed.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is leftovers.

Have a great day!