January 15, 2014 Edition 

Lets Get Organized!     

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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,

Take a moment to stop and pray. Slow down a minute OK? You have lots to do today and the important stuff will get done. The house may not be perfect, but really, is that the most important thing? I know you'd like to have things organized and running more smoothly, but there are times when leaning on your Heavenly Father to get you through the day is more important than the best organizational system.

Did you know your Heavenly Father watches you all day long? He gazes at you during sleep as well. He is the ultimate parent. You are a reflection, an imperfect (cracked?) mirror, but that's ok because where you lack, He is right there. He is strong when you are weak. He succeeds where you fail. He catches you (and your children) when you are slipping and falling.

So slow down. Breathe. Wait on Him for your next step and to help you get organized. Did you forget that He directs your day? He ordained it all, and He is not worried, so you stop fretting, Mama. Go make some lunch and play with those kids He gave you. Gaze on them the way He gazes on you.


~ gena


P.S. Check out these articles from the magazine for tips for getting organized:

"Using the Electronic Tools of the Trade" - Malia Russell

"Get Organized for Homeschooling" - Stephanie Green  

"The Organized Car" - Malia Russell 

"Paperwork for the Homeschooling Family" - Malia Russell


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The Familyman 

Organization ... man, I love it. Well, not really, but I love having a wife who is organized. She is in her element when she's toe to toe with a pile of ... of ... whatever.


Just yesterday, we helped move a family that we knew very little about, except that their house was condemned, they were cold, and they had found a new place. My wife offered our services and when we showed up, the stench, the trash, and the volume were overwhelming.


My kids were troopers, and we hauled bags of filthy laundry, mixed with open boxes of food, books, and toys into our trailer and then over to the "new house" that was almost as bad as the old one.


Now, I'm not saying that everyone has to live in a spotless, beautifully decorated, designer home, but I will say that part of training your children and loving your family is by providing a home that is "safe, comfortable, and clean."


The house we were in was none of those. As we drove home in stunned silence, we asked the question, "How does it get like that?" And although there might be a lot of different reasons ... there are no excuses.


I know the family we helped is not abnormal. In fact, your house might be like theirs. Would you allow me to shake you by the shoulders and say, "It's time to clean up."


Here's what we discussed could be a plan of attack:

  1. Start small. Pick one area ... like the kitchen sink and do all the dishes. Then clean off the counter, put away all the food items (throwing the ones away that don't look so good or have been sitting out for months) and wipe off the counter and table.
  2. Gather all the laundry off the floor, under the beds, and anywhere else and wash and fold it. Don't stop until you're done, and it's all put away. If you have more clothes than space then take everything that doesn't fit or isn't used to Goodwill or throw it away (you might be tempted to try to re-sell it ... but save yourself time by donating it).
  3. Make your bed.
  4. Clean one entire room. Put things away or throw them out. Vacuum the floor.

Dad, here's your part: If there is something that is broken, fix it. Fix the cabinet door that is hanging by a thread, fix the rotting floor by the toilet, and get the knobs working on the sink. If you can't fix things, then swallow your pride and ask someone to help you.


I don't mean to be harsh, but there is no excuse for allowing your family to live in heaps, filth, and trash.

Just being real.


I've got to go clean my office ... it's bad.





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Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


Being really organized is often overrated, but there are times when it can be really helpful. And January is one of those times.


It is so easy to develop a good case of the mid-Winter blahs as we enter a new year. All the gorgeous lights and pretty presents are gone, and the ground is brown/white/drab with sleeping trees. Looking out the window this month is not nearly as much fun as it usually is ...

Diana's window


So, what do we do while we wait for green??


Well, for me, one of the best antidotes to mid-Winter blahs is to organize something that has been messy for months. It could be as small as the catch-all drawer (which caught more than it can hold!) or as big as an office (which is what I did at the first of the year!).


There are more books and programs telling you how to get organized than you can shake a stick at, so if you need inspiration, visit your library for some free (and returnable--non-cluttering) materials. For me, it is so liberating to finally roll up my sleeves and dive into the mess. Good music helps . . . as does a large garbage can. Throwing away endless bits of this and that, things I just didn't take the time to deal with before, begins to lighten the space and brighten the mind. It feels GOOD to get rid of that nagging sense of unfinished chores--and enjoy a deep sense of satisfaction--when the world outside your door seems so seasonally dreary.


Rather than feel guilty, why not just do ONE little bit of organization, and see if it helps to defeat the mid-Winter blahs!!


Remember, stay relational.




Looking for ways to refresh your homeschool or need a quick start to begin homeschooling? Check out the New Beginnings Directory in the January/February issue of TOS magazine. Check out our other directories here to find freebies, toys, travel, online learning, educational apps, special needs support, and more!

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For the month of January, 2014     


Learning to Sew for Kids, Level 1 from Pixie Candy's Projects


Do your little ones want to learn to sew? I have a little girl who has just been begging for sewing lessons all year long. I had the wonderful privilege to review the DVD Pixie Candy's Projects: Learn How to Sew for Kids, Level 1, by Kids Sewing. It has five beginning projects for kids learning to sew with a sewing machine, ages five and up. It is taught by designer, Katrina Marie and sells for $39.95.


This DVD is set up to teach beginners how to sew. Since it is on a DVD it can be used in a home or school setting. The projects are fun, simple, and things that your little ones will enjoy making. Each project teaches you how to make a pattern first, then gives simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through making it. You'll learn everything from making your pattern templates to marking, cutting, pinning, sewing, turning, clipping, ironing, stuffing, hand sewing, and finishing. The materials needed are outlined from the beginning, so you will be sure to be prepared ahead of time. Projects included on this DVD are: a Hair Bow, Neck Roll, Plush Pillow, Kitchen Apron and a Pretty Purse. The projects are meant to prepare your kids for the next level which includes five more fun projects.


We have made several of the projects on the DVD already. My kids' favorite was the neck roll pillow. Even my son wanted to be a part of this project and enjoyed making it along with his sister. It was simple enough that my kids really could do most of it on their own. They didn't have any experience with sewing before beginning this DVD, so I had to help them with a lot of the actual sewing to help familiarize them with it. They loved choosing their fabric, measuring, marking and cutting their fabric on their own. (Read the rest of the review...) 


 You can WIN this DVD!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Learning to Sew" for a chance to win* this amazing homeschool resource for your family!

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Molly Green

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