10 Steps to Decluttering


I have to admit that this blog is written as a reminder for ME as I sit here at my desk suffocating under three large piles of papers that I have let accumulate since school began. I would have to admit that is about 7 months of papers, so it sounds better to say it the other way around! I have been at this for several hours and thought this would be a great time to give myself a pep talk and write this post. Perhaps you might be in the same situation as me and I can give us both ideas to power through and get things done.

  1. Do not beat yourself up! You may have a cluttered mess, but life happens and many days it is a victory to have made it through school and getting dinner on the table. Have today (or this week) be the time you get things decluttered so you can have a clean slate. No condemnation or guilt; it does not help!
  2. Break the task into smaller tasks. I am just going to tackle putting all of the papers in one pile away before I tackle the other two piles. I think by filing papers where they belong I will see some progress and it will encourage me to continue. If you are not working on papers, but clutter throughout your house, start with one area of your home.
  3. Set a goal. This morning I want to get the largest stack of papers put away and I plan on coming back this afternoon and filing the other two piles. What is your goal? To see the kitchen sink again? That is a great goal! Put the dishes in the washer or wash them while having some of your favorite music playing.
  4. Set the timer. I am setting the timer for one hour and see how much I can finish in 60 minutes. I am going to reward myself by taking a 10-minute break before I go back to tackle the clutter.
  5. Find a place to put things. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” is a great adage. Since I am working on papers I am putting things in binders- particularly two subjects that I teach. I told Dale that I have probably been responsible for the harvesting of a small forest with all of the papers I have for my classes. Think of a system that will work for you and stick with it.
  6. Throw away, give away. If you are decluttering, ask yourself, “When is the last time I used this?” If you really haven’t used it within the last few months consider giving it away or throwing it away. I have one trash bag next to my desk for the papers that I will put in the recycling bin when I am finished. I feel better knowing that they will be recycled instead of wasting them and throwing them away.
  7. Put away. Discipline yourself to put away whatever it was you got out. Is your family contributing to the clutter? Set the timer for 15 minutes at the end of the school day and have everyone assigned to an area. Play lively music and have everyone clean up for that amount of time. By making it short and lively everyone can pitch in and help make your house clutter-free or less cluttered.
  8. Celebrate your success and admire your work. I admit, I NEED this because I want to feel like I didn’t just work here for several hours (or days) and not take the time to look around and savor the moments of a clutter-free area.
  9. Treat yourself! If that is calling a friend and sharing the good news of your accomplishment or sitting in the area that you just cleaned up- Do It. It will help you…
  10. Choose another area to declutter and start the process all over again!

I must get back to work while I am motivated. 🙂 PS- The above picture is not my desk, but it is close to what it looks like!

Have a great week! Lisa



The Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

No, I am not talking about the hygiene of your children. Each year, Environmental Working Group that specializes in research in the areas of toxic chemicals and other environmental issues releases a list of fruits and vegetables. These lists inform you as to which have the highest amounts of pesticides and toxins. Did you know on the 2017 list that strawberries are #1 in harmful chemicals?

I know firsthand that buying organic foods can be expensive, but I look at it this way, I would rather pay more to eat healthier than be sick and pay a doctor’s bill. I appreciate that there is a small printout that I keep in my purse and pull out when I am shopping. I can avoid paying extra for food that is fine to eat and buy organic fruit and produce that is otherwise high in pesticides.



May you have a healthy new year!

~ Lisa ~

Breakfast Ideas for Your School Day

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With all of the details of homeschooling, it’s easy to throw something in the microwave and call it a meal. But, by carving out some time and a little bit of planning, you can have some pretty tasty meals for you and your family. I thought I’d start out by offering some breakfast ideas and recipes that can either be made the night before or are quick to put on the table for when your scholar arrives at the table, ready to eat.

Smoothies are my breakfast staple since a variety of veggies can be hidden within the drink and it still tastes good. The expert in our house in creating delicious smoothies is my husband, so here is one that he is currently serving. It is loaded with lots of vitamins and sweetness so even your picky eaters will enjoy it. Add a piece of whole grain toast or fruit bread to compliment this creation.

Dale’s Sweet Kale Smoothie

Servings: 2

1 handful of kale (torn bite sized pieces)

1/2 c. berries

1 carrot

1/2 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 avocado or banana

3 Medjool dates (or 2 Tbs. honey or sweetener of your choice)

1 c. milk (cow, almond, hemp, or cashew)

Optional: Superfoods such as white mulberries, hemp seed, chia seed, or flax seed may be added, but not necessary.

Blend well and then add 10 ice cubes to give thickness to your shake. Divide drink among two cups.

Of course, you may take out the kale and add an apple or peach instead to your smoothies. Your daughter may turn up her nose at the color since it will have a slightly green tint. 🙂

Healthy Baked Oatmeal 

Even if your son usually bulks at oatmeal, this tasty breakfast oatmeal recipe will be sure to hit the spot! Serves 12

  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 2eggs (beaten)
  • 14 c. oil
  • 1 c. milk (your choice of type of milk)
  • 14 c.  brown sugar
  • 12 c. applesauce (or 1 mashed banana)
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • 1tsp. baking powder
  • 1tsp. vanilla extract


    1. Mix together oil, sugar, and eggs.
    2. Add rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix together.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes in a greased glass 9 x 12 pan
    4. Serve warm and it is delicious topped with milk and bananas or with yogurt, berries, and other fruit.                 Source:

Breakfast Pops

Here’s a great way to use those popsicle molds you have buried in the pantry. 🙂 yields 10


  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. strawberry jam
  • 1/2 c. blueberry jam
  • 1/2 c. chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 c. blueberries
  • 2 c. Honey Nut Cheerios or granola
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, milk, honey, and vanilla until fully combined.
  2. Fill pop molds, alternating yogurt mixture with jam, fresh fruit and cereal, about 1/4 cup of each at a time.
  3. Freeze for 6 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Remove pops from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Remove from molds and serve.                                      Recipe and picture source:









Starting School


When thinking about the first week of school, consider easing into routines and subjects. Sometimes setting a new routine can be one of the most difficult things to do after you have had a break from school.

Consider starting school midweek. As far as setting a routine for school, I always began school on Wednesday.  That way we had three days of school instead of a full week. It was an easier transition for the children AND for me.  We could get used to the routine in a more gentle way than hitting the school year full force.

Get a good night’s sleep. The day will be much better if you allow time for everyone (including you, Teacher) to get a full night’s rest. Going on little sleep makes it difficult to concentrate and focus. I know from personal experience! 🙂

Start every day at the same time. Whether you plan on starting at 8:00 or 9:00 (or later), have everyone ready to begin school and stay consistent. The first week may be begun an hour later since you are easing into things, but I actually found that when I did that, my sons were not happy with me when they had to get up early the following week. Instead, I shortened the day that we finished school, and I made sure that emphasized that. lol

Eat breakfast. For years I would skip breakfast and then have to listen to my stomach gurgle, keep my mind on my work,  while always wishing it was lunchtime. That was not that smart and now I have my husband to thank because every morning he makes us a delicious, nutritious smoothie that he either puts on my desk or hands to me as I am flying out the door to teach. Breakfast breaks your fast and sets you on the road to teaching and learning.

Go over your schedule. I think it is good to preview the day with your daughter or son, even if you just say, “This morning we are going to be learning our numbers and practicing our ABC’s.”  Your child knows what is going to be happening and you have said it, providing some accountability to yourself as well.

Begin with a few subjects. As far as subjects are concerned for the first week, I just concentrated upon reading and math. I found a good read aloud book to begin our day. With everyone beginning the school day on a pleasant note, we then went into math. Reviewing formerly learned concepts and providing successful experiences will set a positive tone for the year.

Celebrate the beginning of your new school year. You can end the day with a fun activity, a special dinner, or a board game your son or daughter likes to play.  Relax before going to bed so that you are ready to begin again.

You are a remarkable teacher and mother. You are going to have a great year!










Planning Your School Schedule


Books: check!

Planner: check!

Calendar: check!

Something to write with: check!

You are off to a great start. Now, it’s time to begin planning your school schedule. Without warning, you come to a sudden and violent screeching halt. Your brain turns into a blob and no thoughts of how to even begin this process are coming to you. Does this sound familiar? Well, don’t worry, this post is to help you overcome being stuck and getting you back on the right track. I will give you some ideas on how I organize my week and please take what you can use and use it for your own schooling situation.

Look at your calendar Check to see when you are going to start and when you are going to finish. Ohio schools are in session for 180 days, so this will help to keep that in mind when you are planning.  A rule of thumb for many homeschool families is to generally follow the local school district’s calendar, but you are not required to do that. Consider times you will want to off time for holidays such as Thanksgiving, or anything that you know is going to happen that you will not be schooling, such as the arrival of a baby. 🙂

Take a big task and break it up into smaller tasks. My suggestion is that once you have looked at your academic calendar and have the beginning and ending dates set, that you only plan for a week or two at a time and write it in pencil. Plans change, and the unexpected happens. Great opportunities arise, or your student buzzes through one topic and gets stuck in another area, someone gets sick,  and you need to rearrange things, that’s OKAY! If you have only have one or two weeks planned you can rearrange your schedule easily.

Look at your curriculum Perusing through one subject at a time, how many chapters, units, pages, are there for your child to complete the subject being studied? For the sake of keeping this simple, let’s say the math book has 360 pages, 2 pages of work will be completed each day to finish the book. (360 pages divided by 180 days). Do that for all your subjects and write each of those subjects in your planner.

Plan for co-ops and extra-curricular activities. If you know you are going to be gone to a co-op all day and no one is going to do any work before or after, don’t plan anything academic for that day.  You can plan a four day school week, just keep in mind your student will need to double up on the work somewhere. So, instead of 2 pages of math per day, you add 2.5 pages on lighter school days.

Plan your time Consider what time you are going to begin your day and approximately how long it will take you to finish. At the beginning of the year things move slowly because everything is new.  But, as you get into the routine and repeat topics and routines, the time will decrease. The alphabet song that took 10 minutes to sing?  Later it will only take 2 minutes as your daughter learns the letters.

Okay, that’s enough planning for today! Take a break and enjoy the fact that you have just completed planning your school week. Way to go!