Making It Fun To Clean

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
As moms we have an awesome responsibility in our homes. Our moods and attitudes effect our families. How we look at taking care of our homes spills over to our families. If we approach house cleaning as a Blessing to our families, it trickles down to our children.
If we view house cleaning as a drudgery, they also see and feel this. The change starts with you. You can be positive or negative. You can make it fun or make it work. You can have the teamwork approach or the “poor pitiful me” approach.
Today starts a new week, and it can start a new attitude, too. You do not have to do it all in one day. I don’t recommend that anyway. Break down the things you need to do around the house. Keep it small and manageable. You can do big things if you break it down and take consistent steps.
We are focusing on the Living Room this week. For some of you, this can apply to the Family Room, too. This is the week to make your Living Area peaceful and declutter it. Each day, focus on one thing.
Start your Weekly Home Blessings today. If you make it a point to start your week off strong on Monday, the rest of the week will feel great! Each day is a new beginning. You just start where you are and take small steps. I know you can do it!
Yesterday I posted an article on my blog from my heart: Parenting and Prodigals. It will help you understand a little more about my recent struggles.
Your Zone Mission today is to have a 15 minute Hot Spot drill in the Living Room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is lasagna and a salad.
Have a great day!

 

Parenting and Prodigals

walking-away

 

For years I read the story of the Prodigal Son, and I never could get a handle on why the father celebrated greatly when his son returned. I have always felt I had more in common with the son who stayed home.

Until you are in the position of having a prodigal child, it is hard to relate to how the father felt in this Bible story.

Christians tend to not share when they are struggling or when their kids are struggling. When we need support the most, we withdraw. We put on a happy face. We don’t want to be judged, so we hold it in with a brave face.

If you are in this situation, you are not alone. There are probably parents close to you who are in the same situation, and they are holding it in, too. God is with you, too. He is the constant source of peace and hope for you.

Now that I find myself in the position as a parent of a prodigal, I am understanding the father and his love for his son more. I am understanding God’s love for us more, too. Every one of us does things to hurt God, and yet He loves us anyway. He loves us despite our failures, short-comings, and sins.

Moms of Prodigals

 

What a club to be in if you child is a prodigal.

 

You often do not know where your child is.

Are they safe?

Did they eat?

Are they warm?

Do they have shoes and a coat?

Are they dry?

 

You don’t know what emotional landmines you will hit.

A trip to the grocery store and see their favorite food or snack.

When someone asks how your child is.

When the sight of someone reminds you of them and you strain to see if it is them.

When you talk to people who have seen them recently and are concerned.

When you fold their laundry and clean their room.

You look for pieces of the child you knew and raised.

 

You pray.

You wonder what you could have done differently.

You forget to eat, forget to drink, and don’t sleep soundly.

 

When you lock the door at night and remember they won’t be here.

When you come home and look for their car and realize it won’t be there.

When all that is left is your faith and your prayers.

You do the next thing.

You take the next breath.

You move forward because you have other children who need you.

You cry.

 

Not many people talk about this club.

It’s painful and gut wrenching.

You pray for the next call.

You pray for their safety.

You pray they come back to God and to you.

You pray it never happens to another family, but you know that you can walk beside them if it does.

Even when you know where they are but are separated from you, your heart cries out for them. It longs to be restored with them.

Their place at the table sits empty. A glaring reminder that they are not there.

 

Sometimes you do know where they are, and it is not where you would have wanted them to be. You pray without ceasing for their protection and for restoration.

 

Some of these children will make decisions that you cannot blame yourself or take responsibility. If they are an adult, they have to stand on their own two feet and accept responsibility for their decisions.

 

Have mercy on us each day, Lord.

As I await the return of my prodigal, I have cleaned his room, washed his clothes, prayed for him, and look forward to the day that he comes home.

There will be bumps along the way in his return, but I know he will return. I have prayed for him since he was in my womb. I read Scripture to him from a small child. I have watched him memorize Bible verses. I know it is in him, and he will be back. I have faith. When he comes home, I will be ready with open arms.

I do know where he is today, and I know that he is healing, too. God uses all things for good.

While this is his story, it is also my story. If you find yourself in this situation as a parent or child, reach out to others. Don’t shut people out. Don’t worry about being judged. You might be surprised at the people who have been through this, too.

 

FB Cover - Tami Fox

 

A Change of Seasons

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
It’s Friday! Let’s all cheer together! We are ending another week of school, and it is cooling off outside. I am ready to welcome fall! How about you?
The change of seasons is one thing I love about living in North Carolina. I get to experience all four seasons every year, and some years the temperate weather does not last as long as I want. Some years it goes from blazing hot summer to nice fall temperatures to winter in short order. But I am grateful for it all.
Look for some fun, educational things for your kids to do this fall. A trip to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch is a lot of fun for kids of all ages. A few farms in our area have corn mazes in October.
You can have a bonfire and cook dinner outside if it has not been too dry where you live.
You can do something for a shut-in or widow or visit a nursing home. There are not as many germs this time of year, and that makes it a great time to visit the residents of a nursing home.
You can take a ride to look at the fall leaves as they begin to change and have a picnic.
Any of these would make great family fun day activities, and it really helps motivate your children to do their routines throughout the week, if they know family fun day is coming. They are less motivated if they have a day of cleaning or projects to do on Saturday.
Finish up your Zone Missions in your bedroom today. If you did not do them all, work on the clutter that is in your room for 15 minutes. Either throw it away, give it away, or find a place for it.
Finish up the school week and try not to stress out if you didn’t check off every single thing that you planned for the week. Regroup and try to cut out any busy work or extra things. Focus on the basics (reading, writing, and math) and build from there.
You are doing a great job!
Make plans for Family Fun Day tomorrow and have a wonderful weekend!
Today’s Zone Mission is to clean under your bed.

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!

You are encouraging to me.

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,
How are you doing today? In reading your emails and seeing responses on Facebook, many of you have been encouraging to me as I am going through a difficult time. It is not my story to tell just yet. One day I may be at liberty to share more with you. Thank you for your supportive emails and posts!
The things that are getting me through this difficult time are:
My close family and friends.
My faith and prayer.
Having a routine, so I don’t have to think.
Having a menu plan, so I don’t have to decide on our food each day. (I even had a refrigerator have an issue and lost the meat I had planned for two meals. Plan B and Plan C went into action.)
Having my house decluttered helps me not have to do a lot of cleaning.
Having a system to do laundry means I am not wading in piles of
dirty clothes.
Everything I have learned from The FlyLady over the years about routines and peace in my home from decluttering to blessing my home has helped me so much in the past week. There have been times when I could not think past the thing I was doing at that moment. I was not thinking about the next routine or thing on my list. I was doing one thing, and in most cases, auto-pilot kicked in, and I did the next thing in my routine.

Somethings I have really not wanted to do, and the next thing I know, I have done it.
I have wanted to be as transparent as I can that I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. I have great days, and I have hard days. I am just like you.
On the hardest days, I still look for the blessings. They are there even if they seem hidden. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold for me, but I know I will meet it with joy and happiness. I know that I will get up and make my bed, get dressed down to the shoes, and do my Morning Routine.
We have two days left in our Zone this week. I want you to really focus the next two days on getting rid of the rest of the clutter in your bedroom. I will let you in on a secret. I totally cleared off everything in my room two weeks ago to paint my room. Life changed, and I still have not painted my room. It’s okay. I will get there. In the meantime, I am enjoying completely decluttered flat surfaces.
Today’s Zone Mission is to put away all of your laundry. I hope you made room for it by decluttering this week.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is spaghetti and a salad.
Have a great day!

Blessings In Laundry

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Working on Your Basic Routines

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

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

Read this testimonial from Elizabeth:

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

I go in phases.

BUT routines have saved me during tough times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter in your closet.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!

 

Clearing Off Your Dresser

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

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

You Can Fly Through the Zone Missions

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

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

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

My menu plan for Friday is chicken and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Good Days will Outnumber the Hard Days

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you struggling with today?

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

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

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and a salad.

Have a great day!

What are you thankful for?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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