Showing Gratitude to Others

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Do you teach your children to write Thank You notes for gifts? I can say that this has been something that has been harder for me to impart to my boys. I do well with writing Thank You notes for myself. Is this a lost art?

Showing gratitude is important. We should be intentional about showing our gratitude. In a digital society, people send Thank You notes through texting or social media. Think back to the last time you got a hand-written Thank You card in the mail. Can you remember? I can’t.

This year, let’s purpose to write more Thank You cards and teach our children to do them, too. If you have any ideas or ways you do this with your children let me know! Just reply to this email.

How has your school year started off after the Holidays? We jumped back into our lessons, and I am feeling good about our progress this year. If you are having a hard time jump starting your school, rest assured that you are not alone. There were many years that we had a rough re-entry into our lessons after Christmas break.

If you are struggling, remember that you can start slowly and work on the basics, and then add in the rest of the subjects over the course of a week or two. Your perfectionism wants you to be able to get through every lesson you planned without any struggles. The reality is that learning is a process, and there will be struggles.

When I speak at homeschool conferences, I share that I have had some really hard homeschool years, and even in the midst of difficulty, my children learned and thrived. Sometimes, I just had to be patient as they learned a new skill.

If you have any homeschool questions, feel free to ask me. I might not know all of the answers, but I will try to help you!

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter items from one kitchen drawer or cabinet.

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!

Your children mimic you.

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
You are a role model for your children. If you are telling them to clean their rooms and make their beds, you have to be doing these things for yourself. You are with your children the most. You are the one who influences them. You are the one who teaches them life skills. This influence stems from what you do. You words carry weight with your children, but your actions carry more weight.
You will not be able to do everything perfectly. You will have days where it is hard to get your routines done, but you still need to do your daily routines even if you are doing them a later in the day. You can start your day over if you have not been able to get through your Morning Routine. If you are struggling with getting your Morning Routine finished by lunchtime on a regular basis, you need to look at what is derailing you.
The things that I typically see derail a Morning Routine are getting up later in the morning than your children, not having things laid out for the morning, getting up to a sink full of dirty dishes, or having illness in the house. This is not an exhaustive list. These are just the top things I have heard from ladies like you.
Start with your Before Bed Routine and really work at completing it each evening. I know you encounter road blocks there, too. Overcome those roadblocks! Start right after dinner. As you get this routine going well, start working with your children on their Before Bed Routine. You will be modeling it.
When you set your alarm for the next morning, set it for at least 15 minutes before your children normally get up. I set mine for 5:00 am every morning to accommodate my morning routine and exercise. When you get up in the morning, make your side of the bed immediately, even if your husband is still in the bed. I make my side of the bed as soon as my feet hit the floor. (He makes his side of the bed when he gets up as well.)
Get dressed as soon as you can after getting up. Have your coffee and morning quiet time. Quiet time is much quieter when the children are still in bed. I know that this is harder with nursing babies and toddlers who hear you get up and want to get up, too. Have something prepared for the toddler to sit with you and eat. Hopefully, that will give you a few minutes of quiet.
Are you swishing and swiping your bathroom daily? You have to model this behavior, too. If you assign swish and swipe to your children for their bathroom or the main bathroom, they need to see that it is important to you, and that you are swishing and swiping your bathroom daily.
If you want your children on board with routines, you have to do them, too.
Tell me how you are doing with your daily routines.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter items from the fridge.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is taco soup.

Have a great day!

You can’t just do the things you want to do.

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool

Dear Friends,

How many of you structure your To Do list, so that you are doing the things you want to do first? If you focus on the things you want to do or the things you like to do, you will miss out on doing some of the things that need to be done.

Some of our tasks are not pleasant, and we do do enjoy them. We tend to put them off as long as possible. We you make your To Do List, put something at the top of the list that needs to be done that you have been avoiding.

You do not have to complete this task, but I want you to start it and keep it at the top of your list until you complete it. Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day on it.

It’s January, and for some of us, that means we need to work on paperwork for our tax return. In talking to ladies throughout the year, I know this is one thing that gets put off until March or April. Start spending a few minutes a day gathering information. Have files set up for papers that you will be receiving this month. Make a check off sheet for forms that you know you need to have ready for your tax preparer.

How about your homeschool paperwork? Have you been putting it off? Spend a few minutes daily on it, and it will not pile up into a mountain of paperwork. Use the Do It Now principle when it comes to grading your student’s work.

Do you push off doing your Zone Missions or Home Blessings? Do them during your Morning Routine. You only need 20 minutes to do these, and you can enlist the help of your children. This can count as Life Skills for your homeschool. Your day and your home will go much smoother if you declutter and do your Home Blessings.
Tell me what is your list today.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
Your Zone Missions for today is to declutter items from the pantry that have expired.
My menu plan for Tuesday is taco Tuesday.
Have a blessed day!

Decluttering Daily in the Kitchen

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
This week we are decluttering in the kitchen. You do a lot of things in your kitchen in a day, and it can quickly become cluttered. You can spend a few minutes a day decluttering this week, and at the end of the week, you will have less clutter. It’s the daily consistency in decluttering that works the best.
Zone 2 Missions: The Kitchen
Monday – Decutter and Wipe the Kitchen Counters
Tuesday – Declutter Expired Items from the Pantry
Wednesday – Declutter Leftovers from the Fridge
Thursday – Declutter Items from 1 Drawer or Cabinet
Friday – Wipe the Stove top and Microwave
Set your timers for 10 minutes and then take a break when it goes off!

If you had a busy Holiday Season, you may have things out in the kitchen that you are not using regularly. You might have some Holiday dishes and serving pieces that need to be put away until next year. You may have received some new appliances that you need to find a place to put them.
The missions that I give you are the basic missions that help me in the kitchen. If you have other areas in the kitchen that need attention, please focus on those. Some of you have a desk area in your kitchen, and it is usually a cluttered mess. Spend time this week decluttering it and putting things away. Then purpose to spend 5 minutes each evening dealing with the Hot Spot that accumulates there during the day.
Some of you do your homeschooling at the table, and it is never quite cleared off. Spend 5 minutes a day this week dealing with it. Teach your children to put their things away each day after they finish their school work.
Little by little, you can get your house decluttered.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets.

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

My menu plan for Monday is shepherd’s pie for the boys and chicken and salad for me.

Have a blessed day!

What do you do when you are sick?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Many of you have had illness in your families in the past few weeks. I had a question about what to do about your routines if you are the one who is sick.

My advice on your routines after an illness is to just jump back into your routines when you feel better. You do not need to try to make up any of the zone missions that you missed. You will get back around to the missions later. You just need to be consistent with your routines as much as possible.

If you are sick, your main goal is self-care. You don’t even have to get dressed down to the shoes if you are sick and need to be in bed to rest. When I had my tonsils removed a few years ago, I rested on the sofa to stay propped up. I wore my sweats and warm fuzzy socks. (Don’t you love that they have no-slip fuzzy socks?)

If your children are sick, you may still need to adjust your routines. It will be depend on the age of your children and their age. Just give yourself grace to take care of the most pressing needs of your sick ones. Do the important things for your self-care, too. You do not want to get run down and get sick, too. So rest, hydrate, and eat well.

You do not need to feel guilty about any missed routines or zone missions. It is going to be okay in the long run. Posting your daily routines will help you get back on track when you feel better. Just remember to keep things simple as you get back to your normal routines.
What is the hardest thing for you to do around the house?

Today’s Zone Mission is to do a quick Hot Spot drill in the dining room and entryway. Weather permitting declutter anything else on the front porch that does not belong.

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!

Decluttering the Entryway to Your Home

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

Your main entryway likely is a busy area in your home. It can easily become cluttered as people drop things as they come into the house. It is also where most people have their launch pad to put things they will need when they leave the house.

Take a look at your entryway today. What can you do to make it look better? If possible, have a place to hang things by the door. Consider a shoe organizer if outdoor shoes are stored in this area. You want the launch pad area to be functional and decorative.

Because of the traffic through this area, you may need to deal with a Hot Spot daily in the Entryway. That is not unusual. Observe yourself and your family as you come into the house. As you enter the house, your first inclination is to drop anything in your arms.

You will have to train yourself and your family to put things away instead of dropping them at the entry to your home. It is possible, but you will have to be consistent with reminders.

Your launch pad area is an asset to you as you go through your Before Bed Routine and put items out for the next day. If it is a cluttered area, it will not be as efficient for you.

If you find that you misplace your keys or other items that you need to leave the house, designate a place for the keys to be placed. We hang most of our keys near the launch pad area. If something comes up, and we have to leave quickly, our keys are accessible.

During the colder months of the year, you may have more things in this area than other times, especially if you have snow. So plan how this area is organized accordingly.

Tell me how the area near your main entrance looks today.

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter the launch pad area and put stuff away.

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!

Your routines provide structure to your days.

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
How are your routines moving along today? With a Holiday on Monday, you probably are still adjusting to what day of the week it is, but the beautiful thing about a daily routine is that it gives you structure to guide you days. You do not have to spin your wheels or move from thing to thing, but you can use your daily routine to help you focus on decluttering your home and bringing peace to your family.

In recent days, I have talked to ladies who worked really hard getting ready for Christmas, and now they are happy to get back to a normal routine. Some of you have crisis cleaned for guests, and you desperately want to keep things moving along in the same direction. Because we live in our homes, we will always have things that need to be done.
The secret I have to keeping your home clean and picked up is using my daily routines. If the boys get things out, they know to put them away when they are done. They do not leave toys, books, or their stuff all over the house. This did not happen overnight for them. It took years of practicing the daily routine of picking up behind themselves.
I asked you to practice your Before Bed Routine for two weeks because this is the one routine that helps you the most, and it is the routine most of you struggle with. By the time you get to dinner, you are tired, and your family is tired. Things start falling to the wayside.
Shining your kitchen sink does not have to take a long time in the evening. Run some hot soapy water on one side while you are cooking dinner, and you can wash and rinse as you go along. It surprises me at times to see my sons do this when they are in the kitchen. I have not verbally told them to do this, but they are mirroring what they have seen me do.
Someone asked me this week what a launch pad is. Since this is an important part of the Before bed Routine, let’s talk about it. A launch pad can be any spot in the house where you put things you will need for the next day. This could be clothes, keys, bags, or any item you need to take with you when you leave the house.
For most people, the launch pad is near the main entryway of the home, but it can be in a hallway, mudroom, or other place in your home. By establishing a certain place to put items, you don’t have to think about where things are when you are ready to leave.
Tell me how you are doing with your Before Bed Routine and shining your sink daily.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter in the Dining Room.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is pork chops and a salad.

Have a great day!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Getting Organized:
In Your Home and Homeschool


Dear Friends,

Yesterday many of you made New Year’s Resolutions. Some of you made resolutions to get organized in your home. Some of you made resolutions to take care of your health. Some of you made other resolutions for your life.

With any goal, you need to take small steps to succeeding. It is much harder if you tackle the whole thing at once. So look at your goals for 2018. How can you break them down into achievable steps?

If you want to get organized in your home, start with shining your sink and getting dressed down to the shoes first thing in the morning. These two steps will propel you forward toward your goal.

If you want to lose weight or work on your fitness, set weekly goals. When I put my health back on the front burner after years of neglect, I started small. I replaced my drinks with water. I started moving more. I started eating more salads and less carbs. I did not change it all at once. I changed one thing at a time.

If you want to declutter in your home this year, set aside 10 minutes a day to focus just on tossing things or putting things in the giveaway box. If you bring home something new, get rid of something. If you have a lot of stuff to declutter, get rid of two things for every one thing you bring home.

For those of you with children in the home, a consistent daily routine will help you have peace and less mess. With young children, include toy pick up time twice a day. With older children who like to create, give them an area for creativity, and then have them pick up around that area.

Some of you are tired from the Holiday, so work on getting bedtime backed up to an earlier time. Holidays tend to have lots of activities and shorter nights of sleep. It’s a great day to shore up your routines.

Your health – mind, body, and spirit – are important. Take time each day to take care of yourself!

Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets, dust, and vacuum.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter in the entryway.

My menu plan for Tuesday is chicken stir fry.

Have a blessed day!

Happy New Year – Top 10 Posts of 2017

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Happy New Year! It’s a wonderful new start for you. Our Habit of the Month is having a Shiny Sink each day. This is a part of your Before Bed Routine, but you need to do dishes along the way during the day to make it easier at night. Encourage your family to do their dishes as they go along through the day, too.
This week we are in Zone 1 – The Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room. Spend 10 to 15 minutes per day on these quick missions.
Monday – shake the door mat and sweep the porch
Tuesday – Deal with hot spots in Zone 1
Wednesday – Put things away in the entryway
Thursday – take down outdoor decorations
Friday – sparkle up the dining table and chairs
Each night as you shine your sink, make a mark on your calendar. The goal is to have a mark on every day this month. When you wake up in the mornings and see your beautiful sink as you enter the kitchen, you will smile.
Keeping your sink clean and shiny will help you with organizing in your home. You will also find that it is easier to cook in the kitchen when you start with a clean sink.

As I was looking at different things over the weekend, I thought you might enjoy reading my Top 10 Posts of 2017.

1) Parenting and Prodigals
2) You are Encouraging to Me
3) Taking a Deep Breath and Taking Care of Myself
4)  Swishing and Swiping Every Day
5)  Breaking the Silence
6) Life is messy, and I am not perfect.
7) 12 Tips to Help You Get Ready for Christmas
8) An App to Help You with Routines
9)  Lots of Moving Parts to my Days
10) Your Organized Kitchen

Your Home Blessing for today is to wash the sheets, dust, and vacuum.

Your Zone Missions for today is to shake the door mat and sweep the porch.

My menu plan for Monday is the traditional Southern version of a New Year’s Day meal – pork, cooked cabbage, black eye peas, and corn bread.

Have a blessed day and a Happy New Year!

Making your routines into habits for life

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
As we are entering the last weekend of this year, I am excitedly looking forward to 2018. This year has not been an easy year for my family. We have had some trials that tested us. Our faith was strengthened. We have seen healing and growth in our family.

The consistent thing for my family has been our daily routines. On the hardest days, we still accomplished the basics. Some of you have asked me how we continued in the face of trials. We have practiced our routines for many years, and doing them has become a habit.

When I asked you this week about your most difficult routine of the day, I had the most responses for the Before Bed Routine. You have many reasons for your difficulties with your Before Bed Routine. Over the course of the next two weeks, I want you to focus on your Before Bed Routine. Start it right after dinner, and do all of it except for washing your face, brushing your teeth, and going to bed.

If you need a reminder of the six steps, here they are:

1)      Shine your sink.
2)      Check the calendar. (I also check the weather.)
3)      Lay out your clothes.
4)      Put things at the Launch Pad.
5)      Wash your face and brush your teeth.
6)      Go to bed at a decent hour. (You need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night.)
Many of you have asked me about keeping the sink shiny after dinner when your children like to snack. Teach them to rinse their dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Generally, our dishwasher is run right after dinner, so someone has to empty it before bedtime for this to work. I will say that I can go to bed at 10:00 at night and wake up to dishes in the sink from the midnight snackers. I do not let this bother me. I just rinse them and move on with my morning. It’s usually only a few dishes, and it is not a sink full.

Your Before Bed Routine is important. It helps you get ready for the next day. It will help your family have more peace in the home.

As you get the hang of doing this routine, you can teach your children to do it by example. If you are asking them to lay out their clothes and not laying yours out, it is sending them a mixed message.

If you are staying up late at night and sleeping late in the morning, you are sending a mixed message to your children. To help them establish routines, they need to see you modeling them.

You will find lots of excuses to not do your Before Bed Routine, and I want you to fight those excuses for two weeks. You can do this.

Today’s Zone Mission is to put away anything that is left in your Living Room that does not belong.

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!