My Family Notices

Dear FlyLady,
I never thought I would write a testimonial, but as I was doing your weekly home blessing hour (listening to you coach me through it) today, I didn’t have any trash to take care of, so I decided to attack a hot spot on the computer desk and trash some of it.  I had to laugh because I found the late library books we couldn’t find anywhere!  I was thinking that this week I just needed to go to the library and ask how much the books cost and pay for them because we had looked for a month without success.  So thanks for saving me a heap of money!  You are awesome and have been such a blessing in many ways.I’ve been fluttering for a few months, certainly not keeping up with everything, but what I do keep up with has helped tremendously.  My family notices and likes how the house looks.  I have even inspired my husband to get going on some of his own projects without saying anything except when he compliments me on the house.  I tell him some of your quotes like “Even housework done imperfectly blesses our family” and “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”   He likes them because he is a terrible perfectionist and tells me he often doesn’t start things because of it.  Thank you so much for helping me bless my family, not to mention finding those library books!Fluttering in VA
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Don’t Get in our Way

Dear Friends,Hand with two fingers up in the peace or victory symbol. Also th

Our homes, yards, desks and cars are just a symptoms of what goes on in our head. I want to help you stop the stinking thinking that has you living in not only Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome but can’t have anyone ride in your car, walk in your yard or find anything on your desk syndrome.

When we are so overwhelmed we do nothing. Things continue to pile up and the CHAOS just gets worse. As the piles literally get higher the effects of the procrastination cause an avalanche and the walls come tumbling down around us.

Everyone who joins us says where do I start and what do I do! We tell them to go shine their sink but they can’t seem to get their hands and feet moving toward the kitchen because in their head they don’t think that shining their sink is going to make a dent in the cleanup of the avalanche; so they continue to do nothing but get our emails and complain that how can they be expected to read and do all of those reminders. After a few days they unsubscribe all because the avalanche wasn’t really in the house it is in their head. Please just think of the emails as yellow sticky notes all over your house. You just want the mess cleaned up and you think that everything will be better. The mess is just the result of thoughts that are ricocheting through your mind and scattered sidetrack way we attack anything that we have to do.

Just this morning I got an email from a lady who received a letter from her city requesting that she get her yard cleaned up because the weeds were five feet tall and tools were everywhere. All summer her focus had been on making a lovely garden with roses and perennials. “Don’t get in our way when we want to play!” She has planned and played but her efforts were not done as a project but a full out obsession and as a result she had not done her routines in her home or her yard. The grass and weeds had gotten so high in the back that her dog could not go in the back yard.

Now look at what has happened because she did not do her homework first before going out to play. She has paths in her home because of the piles of stuff on her hot spots and paths in her yard so the dog can go out and do his business. She has not picked up after herself and left tools to rust and all the project trash everywhere. Now she has set herself up to feel like a failure. This is all because she just wanted to do was go out and play.

First things first! And I know this is so hard for us because all we really want to do is go out and play! I will never forget when we were planning a remodel of our home. I had my routines in place for two years and I was scared to death that my routines were going to go away. I had refused to do the remodel when we first got married because I felt that even as chaotic as our home was at the time that I would become so overwhelmed by the remodel that I would loose my sweet darling in the process. It was not until I felt that I could keep the house in order through the construction that I would even consider it.

Big projects like this are hard on you anyway and when we throw our routines out the door because all we want to do is play; the project takes on a life of its own and before we know it we are living in the worst chaos ever. All because we wanted to play and we didn’t think first and pick up after ourselves during the process.

I learned a lot from watching our carpenters, day in and day out. They had a get started routine to their day, a quitting routine and a time to stop work and cleanup. At 3:30 every afternoon they would start cleaning up the debris from the day’s work. They would throw away the trash, put away the tools and sweep up or vacuum up the saw dust. They didn’t wait till the job was finished. They didn’t say, “Well I have to use that tomorrow; I’ll just leave that right where it is so I can get to it easily.” They actually picked up after themselves and made their work area a safe place. Even with this it was still hard to live and work in this situation.

I had one rule; our bedroom had to stay clean and shiny. I didn’t have a kitchen sink; so our bathroom sink became the focus of my routines. I did my routines every single day and I had to get dressed to shoes because of the construction. My bed was made and I felt good about the only room in our home that was not being dismantled by the crew. It was only toward the end of the remodel project while we were on vacation that they put down the hardwood floor in our bedroom. I was blessed to have a responsible crew doing our remodel. I learned a lot from them.

We get so excited about a new project that we are chomping at the bit to do it. In our enthusiasm we jump in with both feet and but on blinders when it comes to anything that may try to pull us away from what we really want; All we really want is to PLAY!

So how can we keep our homes and our yard from interfering in our playtime? I can make this very simple for you! Do your routine in the morning before you can go out and play! Set up a routine for your play and determine when you are going to stop playing and adhere to the time you set and then include clean up time and put away time in the process. This goes for not only yard work but scrapbooking, reading, sewing projects, art projects with the children and homeschooling.

We are so good at getting everything out that all we see is an on going project. If our husbands left a carburetor on the kitchen table for weeks on end; we would pitch a hissy fit. We need to see our creative projects in the same light as we would our husband’s car project. Our biggest problem is that we don’t pick up after ourselves and we just want to go play all the time. Play time is reward time. Get the homework out of the way, so you can have fun playing instead of having the avalanche of procrastination pile guilt on top of you!

You can do this if you will establish your routines one babystep at a time! Do you have a Control Journal to help guide you through this process? Each time you hear yourself say, “I don’t have time!” Just do 2 minutes. This will bring peace into your life.

FlyLady

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Help Me Organize My Bills

Office in a BagDear FlyLady,

I am sure the Office in a Bag is useful in many other ways, but what about the FlyBabies that pay their bills online? For me, I would have loved to use the Office in a Bag when I used to write checks to pay my bills, but now that I pay via my computer, I can’t really use it. I put all my bills next to my computer, then all I have to do it start up my computer and pay the bills, then file them away.

Thanks for all that you are doing for us FlyBabies!

Flying in TO

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Dear Flying in TO,

You are so blessed to have a place to put your bills. Just make sure you don’t cover them up with more papers; that may end up becoming a Hot Spot. We have one place to put our bills and nothing else goes there.

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It doesn’t matter if it is about paying bills or mailing a card. When we keep everything in a place that we can easily find, things get done with little effort.

Now, with the iPhone and other phones we can pay bills while we are waiting for soccer practice to end or on our lunch hour. But, if you don’t have your bills all in one place, like in your Office in a Bag, you can’t use these priceless moments to get something done. We have learned the hard way never to put our bills in our bottomless pit of a purse.

The other good thing about an Office in a Bag is that your desk is portable. You can write a thank you note, address a birthday card, or send a real letter to an old friend. You don’t have to procrastinate because everything is in one place. I use my Office in a Bag for my greeting cards. I can always find a card because I have them in sheet protectors per category: Birthday, anniversary, graduation, condolence, and thank you cards. Everything is there that I would need to get a card ready to mail.

So many times we allow Parkinson’s Law to kick in without even thinking. As Professor C. Northcote Parkinson says, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Do not allow yourself to get caught up in this inefficient way of thinking. He uses the example of a lady wanting to send a card to her niece. She has to look for the right card, find her glasses, then, after she has toiled with writing the perfect words on the card, she has to try to find the address then to find a stamp. Then, it is raining outside and she can’t find her umbrella so she can walk down the street and put it in the mailbox. All of this over a little card that could take many of us just three minutes to write, address, stamp, and mail. Why did she take so long to accomplish this simple task?

It was because she didn’t have a system for efficiently using her time. Busy people keep every thing they need for paying bills and sending cards in one spot, or do they? Do you procrastinate about sending cards, letters and Thank You notes because of Parkinson’s Law? Do you have to hunt for your bills in your mail hotspot, a pen, stamps or, better yet, you can’t pay bills because you do not know how much money you have in the bank and you need to balance six months of bank statements or spend hours bringing down your balance in your checkbook. Or do you just write the checks and pray that you won’t be overdrawn!!

You don’t have to live this way another day!

In the FlyShop, we have the Office in a Bag in four different colors: Blue, Black, Purple and Red. We love different colors; that is why I wanted to add other color Rags in a Bag. Check out the Bronze Rags. They don’t show dirt. LOL because they are already the color of dirt.

FlyLady

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Stop The Summer Slide

It’s summertime, school is out, and it’s time to relax and enjoy life a little bit.  But in the backs of our minds we’re wondering: How can I make sure my kids don’t lose academic skills over the summer break?  What is this Summer Slide I hear so much about?

The truth is that all kids lose some academic proficiency during the summer months. Most kids lose math skills – about two months’ worth!  Kids don’t generally lose many reading skills unless they have learning problems or don’t have good learning opportunities during the summer – so we have to make sure we are providing those learning opportunities.

So what’s a parent to do?  Here are some general ideas:

  • Keep it fun, low-key, and child-directed.  Learning should not be a chore and it shouldn’t be a failure experience!  Summer is no time for drills and worksheets.
  • Use real-life experiences to reinforce academic concepts and skills.  Cooking, shopping, family travel, gardening, board and card games, lemonade stands – all these activities are opportunities to use reading, math, and writing skills in natural settings.
  • Provide learning opportunities based on your child’s interests and abilities.  Summer is a great time to go to museums, state and national parks, plays and concerts, and historical sites.

Next week we’ll talk about specific ideas for summer math activities.  Stay tuned!

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Do They Work on Ceramic Tile?

Dear FlyLady,

Do the Rubba Scrubba and Rags in a Bag work on a ceramic tile shower too? I have been swishing and swiping my toilet and sink but I have to admit my shower has gotten nasty!! I have soap film and mold all over. (I can’t believe I just admitted that to everyone!) But I have never found products that help me keep it clean or that can clean it very well. I’m always afraid of the toxicity of it since we don’t have a bathroom window. Any ideas would be appreciated so I can add my shower to my daily Swish and Swipe routine!

Summer

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Dear Summer,

A little elbow grease is never toxic. What we recommend for your shower is while you are taking your shower, clean just a little of it each day. Eventually it will be as shiny as your sink. The soap I recommend is the same soap you use on your body. That is the soap scum that is on the walls anyway. Soap is soap!

swish_swipe_2003To keep the shower door or curtain open so that it will dry. Once the shower dries then you can close the curtain. Run a little fan to keep the air moving. It is the daily routine of swishing and swiping your shower that keeps the soap and mold away.

Yes the Rubba Scrubba and the Rags in a Bag do work well in your tub and shower. I keep one in my tub for exfoliating dry skin on my legs and arms.

FlyLady

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Saving Money, I Can Help You

Dear Friends,
Everyone is feeling the pinch of the economy. Did you know that when you are FLYing you are saving money? I want to discuss some of these money saving habits we can help you establish.Decluttering 15 minutes a day! How can this save you money; I know you are thinking this? The act of decluttering makes you more particular about what you buy and bring into your home. This amazing thing happens because you begin to love yourself and the way your home looks. You have to really need something to buy it! Shopping becomes something you do because you don’t need a diversion from being at home feeling guilty about your clutter and all the stuff you buy because it is on sale. If you did not spend $20 a week on more clutter then you would have saved $1040 a year.Picking out your clothes as part of your before bed routine! This simple action will give you more time in the morning so you can fix your breakfast and a cup of coffee before you head off to work. No more stopping for expensive drive thru breakfasts and designer coffees. You have to pleasure of a peaceful morning with your life under control along with your finances. If you spend $5 a day on a drive thru breakfast and a coffee then you could have saved $1300 in a year.Planning your menus for next week and preparing a grocery list before you go shopping can help too. This keeps you from going to the grocery store multiple times each week. This alone can save you $50 a week. There is hardly anyway to keep from spending less than that each time you go to the store. If you are cooking then you are saving more money by not getting takeout from restaurants. This will keep you from throwing good food into the trash. Each Wednesday we clean out our refrigerators and plan meals around what we have on hand. That alone could save you another $25 a week. This amounts to $3900 for a year. Leanne has some great tools to help you menu plan on her website, www.SavingDinner.com.

Wearing good shoes for your feet will help in lots of ways! Good shoes gives you more energy and keeps you from breaking toes and cutting your precious feet. More energy helps you to exercise more and take better care of yourself; this saves on doctor bills. One co-pay for an office visit could save you $20 a month. A broken foot could set you back $1500 for an emergency room visit. Shoes save you more than you would ever think about. $1740 is amazing when a good pair of shoes could runs around $50. What an investment! This doesn’t even count the money you save because of the energy you have to keep your home in order.

Next let’s look at how much you save by paying your bills on time and not running up your credit cards. One late charge a month or an over draft fee is could run into $100 dollars a month. If there is one there are usually many. You are having to rob Peter to pay Paul. Stay on top of your bills and paying things on time is a major way to save money while FLYing! $1200 is a small amount to save when we examine what we really spend in those fees and interest rates. I haven’t even figured the cost of the fuel for all those extra trips to the grocery store, to pay a bill before the power gets turned off, doctor visits and fast food trips.

So you see with these five simple habits you can save lots of money! FLYing makes good financial sense!!. We have been stealing from ourselves for a very long time with our SHEness.

Are you ready to FLY and save money too?

FlyLady

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Young@Heart: There’s A Perfectly Good Reason

I was talking to a good friend of mine who is definitely a BO, and I asked her, “Have you ever not written a thank you note for a gift or having a meal at someone’s house and such?” She answered immediately, “Oh no! Never! Energy drain!” She’s a massage therapist and has studied a great deal in the holistic health field. She went on, “If I didn’t take care of a thank you as soon as possible, I wouldn’t be able to get my mind off the person. Why would someone not take care of it right away?”

Well, Miss BO, we have a legitimate reason! We’re creative. Our creativity gets in the way of getting a quicky thank you (it takes less than five minutes to write a thank you note, address an envelope and put a stamp on it) off in the mail.

Years ago, when my sister’s neighbor was killed in a freak accident (he got caught between two boxcars) we were all devastated. His poor wife was left with three small children and our hearts were broken for the family.

My sister spent an hour at the Hallmark store looking for just the right sympathy card, but none seemed to fit the situation. She went home and called me saying she’d like to write her own sentiment and could I help her. Of course I was moved to be part of a thoughtful note to convey our sympathy. I told her to write something and I would make it rhyme.

With the thought of a poetic epistle, she got the idea to apply her pen and ink techniques she’d learned in an art class she’d taken.

By the time she wrote the message and I made it rhyme, and she brushed up on her calligraphy skills and found just the right parchment paper and the right frame for her masterpiece, her friend had remarried!

She never got a single word from my sister or me! And the guilt we both carried caused us to hide behind cereal displays at the grocery store when we saw her and look the other way when passing in our cars. Once we got organized we decided, when you care enough to send the very best, let Hallmark do it!

I was talking with my daughter Peggy today and I told her about the woman who felt guilty because she hadn’t sent out thank you notes for her wedding gifts. (Her wedding was 43 years ago and she’d been divorced for 39 years.) Peggy laughed and said, “Oh mom, I’ve never told you this before because I’ve been too embarrassed, but I never sent out thank you notes for the baby shower for Jacob.” (Jacob turned 20 this year.)

She continued, “I know what happened. I was eight and a half months pregnant at the shower and I decided that when the baby was born I’d dress him in each outfit, take a picture of him and put the picture in each thank you note. Then, well you know what happened. Papa died, Jake had to have open-heart surgery and I was a basket case for a long time.”

I said, “You know you could send each person a baby shower thank you note now (you remember everyone who was there) and slip a little note in it that says, ‘Thank you so much for the outfit you gave me for Jacob. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit him now, and if I could exchange it for his size I don’t think he’d wear it as he’s an intern with Microsoft and finishing up his second year at the University.”

Can you imagine getting a thank you note like that? I would love it! Do you have a story to share with me? I’d love to know what kind of thank you cards you owe and what came between you and the mailbox.  Just email me at pam@pamyoung.org.

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You Have Shaped My Thinking

Change Starts WithinDear FlyLady and Friends,

It has been a long time since I’ve sent an email to you. I just had to tell you how you have shaped my thinking.

I noticed an estate sale going on in my neighborhood and went to investigate. I don’t usually do the yard sale/garage sale thing, but occasionally, I’ll look at estate sales since some of those items are not just cast offs, but real items the family doesn’t need. I don’t know who’s estate this was, but I can tell you one thing about the lady that used to live in this very fine home. She “collected” things. There were at least five complete sets of china (not counting the ones that were sold the five hours before I entered the home myself).  There was every kitchen gadget you had ever seen advertised on TV there. In the living room and dining room stacked on multiple tables and shelves were enough special collection Christmas villages and other Christmas ornaments and decorations to generously decorate 10 homes for Christmas (remember, this is what was left by the time I got there). I saw approximately 75-100 cookbooks and dozens of diet books. There were enough giant plastic tubs of “beanie babies” – remember them? – to supply a huge Children’s hospital for about six-eight months of give-a-way toys. There were unopened sets of sheets, curtains, quilts and spreads. There were four large racks of clothes, most of them with their price tags still attached. The basement had enough yard decorations for several homes. Also, there were at least four sets of golf clubs and numerous other adult toys. I can’t even imagine how much stuff there was those first few hours!

I purchased some of the sheets, curtains, and a huge tablecloth for our sewing ministry at church for just a few dollars. They appear expensive and unused and will be used to make walker bags, migrant bags and bible carriers.

All I could think of as I was driving home was how much junk this family was having to deal with. I’m sure there were a few priceless things they have taken possession of for themselves, but most of it was just stuff to them that needed to be dealt with. Thanks to you, my family won’t have to have an estate sale. I’ve never collected for the sake of collecting. I saw what that did to my Mom’s home. But I don’t have boxes of stored stuff either. If I’m not using it, it no longer belongs here.

I’ve been learning from you for over 2 1/2 years. Because of my back and other physical issues, I’m not allowed to do the heavy housework, but thanks to you, my home is always neat and clean. When the maid comes to do the heavy stuff, I have to convince her that the floors really do need to be vacuumed and mopped. The bathrooms really do need to be washed down. The kitchen really does require wiping down all surfaces and mopping and that the furniture really needs to be dusted. My swish and swipe of each room helps make it all look just fine in between her deeper cleanings. I love our home now. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing us the joy of living in decluttered homes we keep clean and neat just for us! I feel spoiled.

May God bless you all for the gifts of love you share with us,

Brenda in Alabama

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Save Your Saturdays for Fun

Dear Friends,

Our whole lives we have played “Catch Up on the Weekends”! This put a sense of dread into our daily life. We no longer looked forward to a wonderful weekend filled with fun with our friends and family. This all started when we were children. It is how our mothers did it! We would have to spend all day Saturday cleaning house or we were banished to our rooms for the evening. I truly believe this is why we despise cleaning house. It has always been a punishment for us. I want you to have a reward for your Home Blessing Efforts! A Saturday to play is a great gift for you!

The solution to saving your Saturdays is very simple. Let’s think about how many hours you spend frantically cleaning to catch up from a whole week tossing your routines out into the street! Between our piling and procrastination our homes look like a bomb went off. You can look at a room and see evidence of the things that were done this week. You know the package that had to be wrapped for a birthday party or the whole week’s worth of mail piled on the kitchen counter that is about to fall into the floor.

On Saturday you don’t wake up excited about cleaning all day. You sleep in a bit; drag around in your pajamas for a couple of hours with a pot of coffee to get you moving in the right direction. By the time you get started it is already noon! The next six hours are spent cleaning like a banshee so that you don’t feel terrible. All the while you are yelling out orders for everyone in the family to get in gear! I get sick just thinking about what we have done us and our family; all because we lie to ourselves with these words; I DON’T HAVE TIME!

The truth is; what you don’t have is ROUTINES! You have the time, you just choose not to do anything because you don’t think you have six hours to do it right! Well you don’t have six hours to clean like a banshee but you do have seven minutes.

Implementing just seven minutes in the morning, when you come home from work and before bed will give you back your Saturdays. Maybe we can call this our 7 Minute Saturday Rescue.

The secret is to pick up after yourself and get the family to do it right along with you! It can become a fun game. Set your timer three times a day, morning, when you get home from work or school and just before bed. Everyone has to put away the things that belong to them. It is up to you to remember to do it. When you forget you only make it harder to do the next time.

This does not mean you can leave the dishes in the sink and on the table. This is part of cleaning up after dinner and shining your sink. If you do this all week long then on Saturday you can do your Weekly Home Blessing Hour! With your piles put away and hot spots extinguished, your Weekly Home Blessing Hour is a Breeze! Then you are off to have some fun.

FlyLady

When you get them done; then rest for 11 minutes.

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Food For Thought: Make Your Own Pizza For Dinner


 
Hello Friends,

If you’ve adopted a healthy new lifestyle for you and your family, you might be starting to miss some of your favorite meals to sit down to. Meals like pizza, for instance.

Announcing that it’s Pizza Night is an easy way to get the family together around the table, but a lot of the chain pizza joints serve greasy, cheesy junk.

Luckily, homemade pizza is just as convenient as takeout (if you know how to do homemade pizza right) and there’s no contest that it’s healthier for you.

How can you make homemade pizza convenient?

There are several ways!

Prep ahead of time! If you’re planning on making Friday pizza night, keep that in mind through the week. When you’re chopping veggies for a stir-fry on Wednesday, set aside some extra for your pizzas. Same goes for meat. If you’re cooking ground beef and bacon for a separate dish, set some aside in a container for Friday’s pizza.

On Friday morning, before work, grate some cheese while you’re making breakfast, and set it aside in the fridge for later.

When you get home from work, make your favorite crust, get the sauce going and simply put your toppings on and bake! Or, involve the kids and let everyone make his or her own favorite pizza.

Freeze it, baby! Another thing you might want to consider, is making your own batch of frozen pizzas!

Make your favorite crust recipe and your favorite sauce. When the crust is ready for the pan, bake it for about 7 minutes. After the crust is out of the oven, allow it to cool and then top with sauce (the sauce MUST be completely cooled), cheese and meats/veggies of your choosing. Freeze for 3 to 5 hours. Then, wrap in plastic wrap, label and date. Voila! Next Friday, you can just take a pie out of the freezer, heat your oven to 375 and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the pizza is nice and golden and bubbly.

I would recommend making a few of these at a time while you’re going to the trouble, so you can have a stack in the freezer ready when you need them.

When you serve your pizza, whether it’s Paleo, gluten-free or a traditional variety, put as many veggies and lean, local meats on there as you can and go easy on the cheese. Always serve with a great big green salad.

Also try thinking outside the pizza box a bit with your combos. Top your pizza with fresh basil, figs and goat cheese. Or make it Thai and top with peanut sauce, chicken and bean sprouts! Why not?

Get inspired!

Love,
Leanne

PS–FlyBabies, click here to get a FR*EE Trial of Premium Menu-Mailer, our exciting new menu planning program!

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