Category: Family

Facing Homeschool Fears While Schooling from Home

Facing Homeschool Fears While Schooling from Home

Homeschool fears are not new to me. We homeschooled for 17 years – starting when my oldest was only around 4 or 5 and ending when my middle son graduated from high school.

Each year, after reaching middle school age, we sat down to talk about the next year. We went over what they wanted to do and whether or not they were interested in traditional school. The older two never were. The youngest was all about it!

So, after 17 years of homeschool activities, I was free.

NOT!

Traditional education has just as many hoops to jump through – can we say CAR LINE! And don’t even get me started with all of the fundraisers.

Calming homeschool fears with some creative breaks

But as of Monday, we were back to homeschooling with the added bonus of having my husband at home with us.

Controlling Homeschool Fears

Despite how it might seem, this really isn’t homeschooling. It is schooling from home, but the two are vastly different. When we homeschooled, we were always doing something with another group at least once a week – field trips, play days, co-ops.

My son logs into the school’s online classroom and does his work I only have the privilege of looking over what he’s doing when he beckons me from the other room.

But these moments of schooling at home are rekindling the old homeschool fears (not that they ever truly go away). I am remembering the constant struggles we encountered while we homeschooled – not in educating our sons or even in keeping them socially engaged. Nope, the struggle was in the “what if we mess up” syndrome that every naysayer, well-meaning relative, or “education guru” causes because of words they issue forth.

My oldest son has received his Associates Degree and is pursuing his Bachelor’s (with his brother on a similar path), they both received their Eagle ranks, and they work. But despite all of this, I still get tangled in the “what if we mess up” syndrome and stumble over those homeschool fears

I tell you this because some of you will be worried that you are going to mess up over these next few weeks.

You will. You can rest easy now.

Despite the fact that you will mess up, it will not be the end of everything. Love your kids. Invest in engagement. Find ways to grow.

It is that simple to homeschool, and it is even more simple to school from home.

What are your biggest struggles with schooling from home or homeschooling? Be sure to share in the comments!

The Mom

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Pantry Cooking Challenge

Skillet Chicken Enchiladas

1 can enchilada sauce

1 cup cooked chicken

10 uncooked corn tortillas (sliced thin like noodles).

1 cup shredded cheese

Turn the eye on the stove on high. Place the skillet on the hot eye and add the chicken to the skillet. When it begins to warm, add the can of sauce. Use a half a can of water to get swish out all the remainder of sauce in the can and pour that in the skillet as well.

Sprinkle the tortillas on top of the chicken. Use a spoon or spatula to press down the tortilla “noodles” into the sauce. Cover and simmer on low.

It will take about 10 minutes for the tortillas to cook. Once they are cooked (softened) cover in shredded cheese, cover the skillet, and set off the heat to allow the cheese to melt.

What’s in your pantry?

Weaving Through the School at Home Maze

Weaving Through the School at Home Maze

How do you homeschool when you didn’t plan on schooling from home?

At the end of the day on Friday, the whole world seemed to flip upside down. Instead of worrying about carline, you now had to worry about getting school done, feeding the kids all day (because let’s not kid ourselves, it’s never just three meals a day), and still do all you need to do to keep the plates spinning.

That would have been bad enough, but the normal release during normal breaks are being discouraged. DON’T go to the bowling alley. DON’T go to the museums. DON’T have play days.

What do you do when everything you thought last week is suddenly different today?

Tips for School at Home

  • 1. Relax. If things are too crazy to get anything done then don’t try to get anything done. If they miss a day or two of schooling, so be it.
  • 2. Focus on things you can get done. Do what you can do or what absolutely must be done. Let the rest wait.
  • 3. Prioritize your list. Last week you may have planned to spring clean this week, but under the circumstances, you may need to rearrange the plan. What MUST be done needs to go to the top of the list?
  • 4. Think outside the box. Let learning come from a different angle. Feed the birds (and identify your visitors). Have the kids help out around the house or teach them to cook dinner. Make your life the classroom for the moment.
  • 5. Get outside. Sunlight is good for the heart, the mind, and the immune system. Try to get outside at least 30 minutes every day.
  • 6. Listen to your school directions. Some schools are moving classes online. Some aren’t. Follow the guidelines provided and you will be okay.
  • 7. Learn together. Take an online class together, try out a new hobby, or dare to tackle a new skill (it’s the perfect time to create a container garden).

Ultimately, the key is to not get caught up in the chaos no matter how much the chaos is determined to disrupt your life. Do what you can do. Accept that you can’t do it all. And above all else, find a way to enjoy the journey.

It doesn’t have to be all fun and games, but it should be all smiles and adventures.

How are you finding your way through the schooling at home maze? I would love for you to share your tips and ideas in the comments below.

The Mom

For the record, we homeschooled for 17 years before the two oldest graduated and went to college and the youngest decided to go to traditional school. I have been involved in just about every form of homeschooling imaginable. But despite being home school veterans, I was caught off guard. Don’t feel like you are alone if things are a little wonky.

Are you interested in getting daily tips on dealing with schooling from home? Like and follow the Facebook page and look for updates there or drop your questions on the site (or in the comments below).

Learning to Trust When It Comes to Health

Learning to Trust When It Comes to Health

Enough already.

I didn’t scream it, but I wanted to.

The doctor had been lecturing my son and myself about what had to be done – and so far he hadn’t run any tests. He had asked the basic question, “what brings you here today,” and then gone into his monologue.

My son turned to look at me and rolled his eyes.

My internal rant when on as long as the doctor’s monologue.

Look, I get that you went to school to learn, but I can guarantee that you didn’t learn about everything and everyone.

I get that you went through training, but I guarantee this is the first “me” you’ve dealt with.

I get that your time is valuable and that you have lots of important things to do, but I guarantee we are all valuable and important.

When he finally finished, I spoke for my son – since eye-rolling is sometimes his strongest response. “I appreciate what you are saying, but I’m not sure we agree. We’ll talk it over and let you know.”

We did talk it over and we ended up looking for a different doctor. It was important to find someone that would treat my son, not follow the same path that the symptoms normally led.

It wasn’t my first time dealing with doctors that knew it all without knowing the person.

Several years ago, I had an encounter with a doctor that left me with a taste of distrust. Maybe distrust isn’t the best word to describe it, but I came away with a leery look at people that try to tell me about me without knowing me.

At that time, I trusted the doctor over my own instincts and cues from my body. It didn’t end well, but I learned through that painful experience to trust myself and listen to what my body had to say – and to look for someone who would be willing to listen as well.

When my son became sick, we talked, we researched, we questioned.

Finally, we contacted the doctor to see if he could help. It was not normal for my son to go to the doctor, except for the yearly physical for scouts.

We explained the issues. We connected the dots of this event to a prior accident. I shared some the research we had done.

Despite all that we had to say, he offered his trained opinion and expected us to accept it and go on.

We didn’t. We questioned, so the doctor ran some tests before sending us home. The office called the next morning and said they were concerned about the results. Further tests were needed.

Again, we talked and researched and then went to the follow-up tests.

The process went on – each time we would talk and research and always I tried to defer to my son (because I didn’t want to be the one telling him what he needed for him). He appreciated my being there and my willingness to go either direction with him. It gave him the courage to speak up for himself.

Doctors are a huge benefit for healing and health – but they can only work with what you give them. Be determined to stand up for your uniqueness.

  1. Listen to your body. If something feels wrong, uncomfortable, or out of the normal for you then speak up. If you don’t share it with the doctor then the doctor will never know and the doctor can’t work with you the best way possible.
  2. Write it down. Keep a record of all you experience leading you up to the visit with the doctor and also what occurs when you follow the orders. It will give you something to follow up on when you have a return visit.
  3. Take someone with you. We are stronger together, and when you are dealing with health and wellbeing – or when you aren’t feeling your best – having the backup can be all the difference in the world. Plus, someone else will be able to help you remember what you need to share and also be there to hear what the doctor shares.
  4. Be okay with walking away. Not all doctors are suited to all patients. It is important to find the medical care person that you feel comfortable working with – because it is a team challenge.

You know more about you than anyone else. Listen to your body. Be honest with yourself first, and then be open to sharing with your medical care professional about it all. You only get back what you are willing to invest in your health.

To Home School or Not to Home School – the Struggle is Real

To Home School or Not to Home School – the Struggle is Real

“You can’t have a bb gun because you’ll shoot your eye out.” The sentiment might have been from a movie, but I often thought about it when I contemplated homeschooling. People told me I would regret it. People told me I’d ruin my children. People told me I’d hinder them from pursuing higher education.

After all, I was not a teacher (and I didn’t even play one on television). Who was I to educate my children?

The struggle was real – and even now the struggle continues. Despite having graduated two sons already (both of which made the rank of Eagle Scout and are maintaining A averages in college), I still doubt having made the right choice.

I also doubt having made the choice not to finish out the school journey with my youngest son and letting him choose to attend a local Christian school. Even though we offered every year to allow the boys the choice once they reached middle school and he was the first to request the change. I doubt having made the right choice.

Homeschooling is no better (or worse) for education than any other path. It comes down to what you choose to put into the journey and what you instill in your child to put in. In the end, there will always be what-ifs and if-onlys that will make you doubt your choice.

Home Schooling Basics

Pros:

  • Flexibility – for timing, for topics, and for focus
  • Community – the homeschooling community is vast and widespread. No matter where you go, there will be homeschooling gatherings nearby.
  • Connection – you invest more time with your children and that created more opportunity to engage, connect, and grow together.
When you homeschool you can make costume design part of your school day.

Cons:

  • Funding – it’s all out of pocket.
  • Responsibility – the buck stops here because it’s up to you and with you.
  • Naysayers – there will be plenty of people explaining to you how your choice is wrong and you will find that you doubt your decision on multiple occasions (no matter how good things may be going).

Truth:

We homeschooled for 17 years with a variety of systems, methods, and schedules. Our two oldest graduated as homeschoolers – the oldest received an Associate in Business and will be attending JSU on a Presidential Scholarship in the fall. The middle maintains a 4.0 in college. The youngest chose to shift to traditional school last year. Along the way, there were lots of bumps and plenty of bruises (on me) but the boys learned to learn and have taken that into the world.

Myths:

Homeschoolers are the smartest or not as bright – there are as many different levels of homeschoolers as there are in any educational organization.

Homeschoolers lack socialization – there are opportunities to be around kids all day, every day. The only limits are your willingness to attend events (or host if you so choose).

Homeschoolers are shielded from society – most people choose to home school to direct the educational journey not to isolate the child.

Homeschoolers only spend time with people like them – my first week of homeschooling many years ago, I encountered unschoolers (that don’t have a set schedule or even set curriculum) and restrictive homeschoolers (that followed a traditional school schedule and procedure – just at home) and the variety hasn’t stopped. Even attending co-ops I found different lifestyles, interests, family dynamics, and personalities.

Making the Choice Right

No matter which way you move, you can make the choice the right choice by making the investment to make it work.

  • Set aside time to work with your child. No matter where school happens, be up to date and invested with your child in the school work. Designated times for review will keep you from having negative surprises in the results.
  • Listen to your child. Each person has unique learning tilts – although the ideal learning environment implements ALL learning paths. Let your child show you the preferred path for his (or her) success and don’t try to force her (or him) into yours.
  • Listen to the teacher. No matter who is teaching your child, you need to take time to listen to what they are experiencing. If it’s you, then keep a journal of what is working and where there is a struggle. If it is another, keep in contact to see how you can help with the process (and don’t just wait for there to be a problem).

In the end, homeschooling will be what you make of it and what your child makes of it.

Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts for or against homeschooling?

The Mom

Throw the Kids out of the House

Throw the Kids out of the House

According to a report on Fox & Friends on March 29, 2019, kids are having more surgeries for sports injuries than professionally athletes.

Why – because we aren’t throwing them out of the house.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t what they said. But it was close.

Kids aren’t free playing anymore. The aggressive sports players do get out and practice, but that’s not the same. Attending exercise classes or working out at the gym is not the same. Free play gets the kids out of the house and into their imagination, their group engagement, and activities that don’t happen any other way.

My sons have always been free-ranged. It’s a little easier for us, because we live in the back corner of 40 acres and neighbors don’t see the free-ranging for the most part. Living in town, neighbors that don’t know you, complete strangers that have never met you, and even family members that just don’t like you want to get into your business are all watching and waiting to pounce on your lack of parenting skills.

But we live in the woods, so in the woods they go.

One day, the older boys (probably 8 and 10 at the time) came in and told me there was nothing to do. I encouraged them to go dig a hole. Later that day, they came in and asked if they could dig a tunnel from the shed to the creek.

“Absolutely,” I replied without hesitation. Not because I wanted a tunnel from the shed to the creek, although it might be cool. I was quick to respond because I understanding of how much would have to go into a tunnel.

To their credit, they did manage to dig a hole about five feet deep and four feet wide. Years later my youngest son would continue their efforts, but the giant rock that stopped his brothers also put a damper on his tunnel plans.

Did I tell them they were exercising? Nope. Did I mention they were working their joints? Of course not. Did I explain to them the value of getting the natural D from the sun? I bet you know that answer by now.

It’s not as easy with my youngest. His brothers are off at college or work. They don’t have time for playing or hanging out with their brother. I’ve started encouraging him to get out with me to build, to dig in the garden, or to burn (boys LOVE to burn).

Together, we dug a fire pit in the back yard, so now I’m more comfortable with him going out to build a fire without supervision. He’s a Boy Scout and has his firem’n chit (which means he’s supposed to be responsible), so that’s another reason to let him go.

Over the last several days, I have been pushing him more and more to get out. It’s spring break, the sun has been shining, and he needs to have less screen time. So do I. And in encouraging my son to free play and enjoy all that is around us, I have been encouraging me as well to get out and do more.

So encourage your children to free play more, even if they are involved in structured sports. And try to make some time to join them. Free play – it’ll do your heart good (and don’t forget your own rubber boots)!

The Mom

Girl, Stop Washing Your Hair

Girl, Stop Washing Your Hair

Confession time!

I gave up shampoo three years ago and haven’t looked back.

I used to tell people that I quit washing my hair, but it made my husband uncomfortable. “You DO wash your hair,” he kept insisting.

It’s true. I wash my hair, just not with anything you might expect.

It all started with a pool.

After the tornados, we installed an above ground pool. I went to the pool store to get the things I needed to keep the pool healthy and almost passed out. It was going to cost more to upkeep the pool than it had to install it.

My research instincts kicked in and I went searching for a better way. The research led me to the BBB Method on Pool Solutions.

It worked and it got me thinking. If there is a better way to maintain a pool, what about other tasks?

My research uncovered an ant killer solution that was simple, safe, and quick.

My research uncovered a homemade alternative to quick fix rolls.

My research uncovered a shampoo replacement.

And that is when I quit washing my hair.

It’s simple. Every week or so, I mix a small bottle of baking soda and water. I use this paste to scrub my scalp. After I’ve rinsed out the past completely, it’s time for the second round. I mix a larger bottle of ½ water and ½ Apple Cider Vinegar. I then coat my hair and make sure it gets over every bit of my scalp.

All that is left is rinsing well and letting my hair dry.

My hair is naturally curly, and always been more than a bit unruly. The more humidity the bigger it would get. It is also tight curls, which has always made brushing and styling a challenge. If I wanted it to be soft curls, I had to wait until it got “dirty” or I had to apply lots of product. I then had to take the time to curl it with hot rollers or with a hot iron. I spent a lot of time with my hair in a ponytail.

My hair is VERY think, which means my scalp had always stayed dry making it impossible to wear anything dark (especially if there was a chance of a black light making an appearance).

My scalp had always broken out once a month. It would itch so bad I had been known to pour Sea Breeze (original formula, of course) right on to my scalp. Yes, it would hurt, but it would also stop itching.

Now, it’s all changed.

I can brush my hair as soon as it dries and it doesn’t frizze up at all. It falls into a soft curl. I haven’t used product of any type in the last three years. The only time I use any styling tools is when I want to direct my bangs – although they still revert to their own thing when they choose.

Hair – on the road and on a rainy, humid day!

In the last three months, I have had dozens of people tell me how nice my hair looks. My reflection amazes me almost every morning. I haven’t had to “treat” my scalp for itching and I can wear any color I want. Most importantly, I don’t have to put my hair up to control it.

All in all, not washing my hair has changed my life.

The Mom

What secret natural tips do you have that you’ve implemented for drastic change?

It’s Okay to Do Things a Little Different

It’s Okay to Do Things a Little Different

I give you permission to do things a little different – a little different from the way you do them, a little different from the way others do them, or a little different from the directions. When you dare to try new things, you never know what you might discover.

While cleaning out some of the final boxes of items from storage, I found my mom’s spiced tea infuser – at least that’s what I remember her using it for when I was growing up. It was always exciting for me to see the container come out because I knew the treat that would be around the corner.

I love sipping on warm drinks while I write. Coffee is great for the early mornings, but when my husband gets up and the pot is empty then he begins to worry. I don’t worry . . . although I do hit a speed of going that often ends up in a collision.

Coffee all day will make me nauseous no matter how good the coffee.

An alternative became a necessity if I was going to work beyond lunch (and it turns out I’m supposed to do that).

Brewing one cup of tea at a time was not an option. I want to take a break, walk into the kitchen, and refresh my cup without an hassle. I tried brewing a pot of hot tea after the coffee ran out, but I forgot to tell my husband. It turns out if you are expecting coffee and get tea, it’s a shock to the system.

We received a second coffee maker from a family member. It was white. It was perfect. I know could brew tea to my heart’s content.

I then found my mom’s infuser and everything changed. The tea bags I had were quickly put to work and it was time to find a better way to brew the tea.

Did you know they make loose leaf teas? I didn’t. I found a new world of flavors when I discovered these wonderful delights.

Recently, I ordered two blends from Tiesta (through Amazon) and the Blueberry Wild Child Blueberry Hibiscus Fruit Tea – which is a lot of words for WOW!

The first time I brewed a pot, I used about a half a cup of blend. I put the infuser in the pot and then ran the water through the coffee maker and let the hot water steep with the tea. The result was a dark purple – almost black – liquid with magical properties. I drank a few cups, added some more water to the pot and brewed some more.

It was still thick and when I finished the pot I left the infuser to brew a second pot the next day.

Today I used only ¼ of a cup and it was the perfect amount.

How I Do It Different

  • Add a little hot tea to the sweet tea for a tasty blend.
  • Add a little cayenne pepper when you are feeling rough. It’s a great healer.
  • Change it up. Follow the directions the first time (if you must) but be willing to change it up until you find the perfect level of flavor for you.
  • Mix it up. You can blend blends with blends to blend the perfect blend for you need. You can also add spices to existing blends.

If you have been trying to find a good alternative to coffee then I recommend checking out the different flavors from Tiesta.

The Mom

How to Change a Habit of Being Messy

How to Change a Habit of Being Messy

Messy is a habit formed by consistent practice the same as clean or organized are habits. It is the day to day practice that will create the difference.

break messy habits
The squirrel scampered up the tree with a dead limb three times its size. I watched it as it went up the tree knowing it was in the process of building a nest and curious where it had decided to create its home.

We have some very tall trees, and I’m always amazed when the squirrels perch so high that it seems like sheer will holds the nests in place.

This squirrel did not go very high. It stopped on a limb and went to work, right next to a limb that already had a nest built.

I thought it was odd the squirrel would build so close to another squirrel. “Maybe it’s starting a squirrely neighborhood.” I was raised in a rather squirrely neighborhood myself so I understood the appeal.

The actions of the squirrel drove me to do some research. Did you know when a squirrel’s nest becomes too messy the squirrel abandons the nest and builds another one?

I guess that is one way to deal with a habit of being messy, but it’s probably not the most cost-effective – especially for us human parents of boys!

Messy habits are learned behaviors. If I want to avoid having to abandon the house for a new abode then I need to develop the actions and behaviors to change my messy habits (as well as those of my children if I don’t want to be cleaning up after them for the rest of my life).

control the squirrels

Change a Habit of Messy

  1. Keep the table cleaned off. Over the years I’ve discovered any location near the door becomes a dropping place for random stuff. There are two ways you can avoid letting tables becomes storage locations. One, clear the table every meal. That is not only a way to get the table cleared but also a way to encourage family mealtime. Two, remove the temptation. If you don’t need the table then get rid of it.
  2. Put clothes away when you change. It is an easy habit to drop your pajamas in the floor because you know you are going to put them back on later. Instead, create a home for your rewearables. Have a space in your bathroom drawer or a hanger in your closet that holds your rewearables until it is time for them to be reworn.
  3. Put clothes away when they come out of the dryer. I have to remind myself that “in your room” is not put away. The clothes need to go into their home before that task can be marked off.

  4. Put the dishes away when they are clean. The longer you wait to put away the plastic drying in the rack or the dishes in the dishwasher, the more likely you are to create a backlog in the sink. Once dishes start piling up in the sink they magically multiply. The last thing you want is to wake up in the morning to have to face down a sink full of dirty dishes. Put the dishes away and you have space to clean as you go.
  5. Take out the trash when you get out of the car. If the small trash bag if full, take the whole thing. If there is one piece in it, then just take out that one piece. Again, this is the “clean as you” process that makes changing a habit of messy easier.
  6. Get rid of the boxes. Stacks of boxes might look better than piles of stuff, but you need to conquer the stuff instead of hiding it away. Take one large empty box and set it next to the door. Once a week, go through one of the boxes you have stacked up and determine if you want to keep, repurpose, or release what has been hiding in there. The key is you have to find a permanent home for anything you keep. Put all release items in the box by the door. When it is full take it to a thrift store or charity.

Messy is a habit. If you want to change the habit of messy then you have to make the choice to do things different. Don’t invest the time and energy you have into putting things off (which allows things to pile up). Clean as you go. Take one step at a time. And just keep going. You will get to the place where messy is no more.

What are your habit changing tips? Share your ideas in the comments below.



Need some help finding your change?

Time to Focus

Choose from the best option for your and then begin the procuses of gaining ground on making the messy habits.
Click HERE to Learn More

The Insanity of Daylight Saving Time

The Insanity of Daylight Saving Time

I live in North Alabama in a rural community. My ruralness increases because we built our house in the woods, back away from the road and neighbors. It gets dark at night.

I am an early riser . . . not by choice but by necessity. Home schooling three boys and writing in a full-time career required me to make quiet time to walk. Mornings became that quite time. I could get up, do my study time, get in some exercise just as dawn would break, and still have time to get work completed before the chaos ensued.

Until . . .

Winter brings on the longer periods of darkness, made even longer for me by the government’s determination to steal my morning. I spend the winter months longing for the burst of green that the Spring will bring, and the early mornings that will creep up along the way.

I used to anyway. At some point, the government must have discovered my new found morning routine and set about to steal the light of my morning.

I suspect the conversation went something like this.

“We need more daylight.” Politician One said.

The politicians had gathered from all around to correct the light problem.

“I concur the we need more daylight.” Politician Two concurred. He had made his mark concurring.

The politicians huddled around for days, talking some and sharing meals. The cries of yes announced that the answer had been discovered.

“We will set all the clocks forward one hour and then we will have more daylight.” Head Politician declared the measure.

The vote was unanimous. They all patted each other on the back and smiled for pictures. They had fixed the the problem

I HATE Daylight Saving Time

No matter what the clocks declare, the amount of daylight remains the same. Instead of driving home in the dusk or dark, commuters make that drive on the way to work. Instead of being able to start the day at sunrise, farmers start their day in the dark.

Now, we just have the added core of resetting all electronics and clocks to the “right” time, which is the wrong time, until the fall colors sprinkle the ground (and then we have to reverse the process).

Stop the Insanity

You will never make a blanket longer by cutting off the bottom and sewing it to the top. All you do is increase your work and make the blanket a little less effective.

Daylight Saving Time never worked and will never work. It is time to leave time alone!

Signed,

the Mom

What do you think? Do you love DST or do you hate DST? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Organizing the Home (or How to Keep the Dining Room Table Clear)

Organizing the Home (or How to Keep the Dining Room Table Clear)

There is a misconception that some people are born organized and others are not. If that were true, I would fall into the latter category. My room was always a mess, I never planned things out, and spontaneity was always my style of order.

Now I’m a mom – and one that is working at home and homeschooling the kids. Organization is no longer a choice or a trait; it is the only way to survive. The “organized” people of the world have been kind enough to put out books and books about becoming decluttered in life and spirit, and I’m reading as many as I can find time to read. None of them are perfect, but they all have a bit of wisdom that I’m applying to my life.

Organization Basics

  1. Lists are not a bad thing – especially if you follow them. You just can’t spend all day on making the list. I keep a To Do list on my desk. If I think about something I CAN’T do right then (make a phone call or run an errand) then I jot it down on my list. Otherwise, I try to do it then. Also, I have a list of things that I need to do daily that I print out. It helps me to know what I have to accomplish throughout the day.
  2. Sit down at the table to eat all meals. Eating in front of the television is not just bad for the waistline, but it steals quality time from your family. The greatest benefit to eating at the table is that it can’t become a clutter catcher. I noticed that our table was covered after just one day of not sitting down for meals.
  3. Consistency is the key to a peaceful life. I started washing clothes on every Thursday. Now I PLAN for laundry on Thursday, the kids expect to get up and sort clothes on Thursday, and my husband expects an easy supper on Thursdays. By doing the same thing at the same time everybody is ready and prepared for what is to come.
  4. Make a list of chores cards and then have a drawing game every month to see who gets the privilege of doing what chores. The younger kids can draw fewer cards or be assigned a buddy to help them out. Do it at the supper table when everyone is present (maybe dad will volunteer to join the “game”).
  5. When in doubt, call in re-enforcements. I have a friend that will volunteer some time to help me if I get overwhelmed (although I try to always pay her something). If I have to go away for a couple of days or if things get too hectic because of one emergency or another (say there is an invasion of hundreds of red wasps in the attic coming in the house through the baby’s room) then she is there to get things in somewhat of an order for me.

Organization is not always easy for me. Finding the time to organize as well as the determination to follow through has come from much trial and error (and is still being perfected). The more I do, the more I know how to do, and the more I want to get done. Maybe one of these days, I will be the organized wife my husband dreams about at night.