Help! I’m Clutter-Brained!

ID-100236677Nope, not scatter-brained, although the two could be closely related, but clutter-brained. I call myself clutter-brained when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed; I forget big important things like doing my taxes (yikes) or small things like dressing my two year old in the morning; I start one project or chore and get distracted by another and I never make my way back to the first. And the cause of all this lack of focus, I believe, in my opinion, is the CLUTTER that usually has piled up around my desk and the bookshelves.

This is my main space so I spend a lot of time in or near this area (it also happens to be the space on the side of our dining room). When it is clear and organized I feel great. I have one To Do list from which I work and things get crossed off with ease. When it is cluttered I am trying to work around all the PAPER and STUFF and I find that there are often two or three lists of Things To Do floating around. Ugh.

I really don’t know how it appears. I clear off everything and everything has its place. But mysteriously the clutter reappears as if by magic. Crazy, I know. Some might say “Kim, you have two little kids. There’s going to be messes.” Others could say “you just have to make sure that you put everything away before getting out something new.” Maybe you’ve heard this one: “you just need to put it back where you found it.” Right… Where did I find it? Remember I’m clutter-brained at this point, I don’t really remember anything. I am laughing at that but it’s not really funny. My hubby and I kid around saying that he tells me the same joke over and over because it’s like hearing it for the first time. But, seriously, I need to remember to take my vitamins – that should help.

Anyway, enough is enough.  It’s time for a decluttering project! Now, I am the kind of gal who likes to take everything out of a space, clean the space, (and slowly and meticulously go through everything) and put back what is supposed to belong in a neat and orderly fashion. Let’s hope the kids don’t want to “help” too much.

Here is my “before” picture of the bookshelves. The shelf unit on the left holds the kid’s art supplies, small learning/building toys, and the floppy books (Curious George, Berenstain Bears, Little Critter, etc.). The shelves on the right are more for mom stuff: books, binders, resource/learning books, homeschool books. Not a pretty sight.

I ended up throwing away about half a garbage bag of papers and used stickers. A few things have not made it back to the shelves and will find a home in my closet or in the kid’s room. I decided that the files will find a home in my closet because I don’t use them everyday and they are a little on the personal side to have displayed in this common area of the house.

wpid-20150226_081318.jpgHere is the “after” picture. I changed out the tops of the plastic shoeboxes to all white. I added two black canvas cube drawers. These small changes help to make the area a little more pulled together. I have to say I love the plastic shoeboxes! They have worked really well to keep like items together and easy to find. Here, on these shelves, the boxes hold Play-Doh, magnetic letters, stencils, stamps, paints, Tinker Toys, Legos, puzzle blocks, and math manipulatives. In the kid’s room the boxes hold things like cars, Barbies, My Little Pony, little figures, play tools, etc. In my closet I keep glues, flash cards, thank you cards, the “good” markers, and “special” art supplies in the boxes. I use them everywhere; I told, you I LOVE them!

Next step is to work on decluttering my desk. I’m sure I have papers that should have been filed away or tended to in some way from months ago.

But such is life. Take one day at a time. Play with the kids. Spend time with the hubby. Talk to God. Then worry about cleaning the house.

What decluttering projects or redecorating projects do you have on your radar?


First Image: courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How I Began My Homeschool Research

ID-100305236Dear Reader,

Congratulations! You have made the decision to homeschool (or maybe you are looking for that little push in the right direction). So now what?

It wasn’t too long ago that I made it my mission to figure out this whole homeschooling thing. Two years ago my attitude was a little bit apprehensive. I really wasn’t sure if I could stay home all day with my kids. Would they really be able to focus and learn from me? As I scoured the web I learned more and more about what other moms out there were doing. I learned that there were different methods and that some were not going to fit our family, while other methods made sense. I learned what our state required. I found out that there were families I knew who wanted to homeschool. My confidence was growing.

A little while later I was invited to join a couple of moms who got their kids together to do crafts and activities. Our little group still meets and we have evolved what we do to teaching small lessons, doing physical education, and going on field trips together. The kids are now great friends and we moms have become really close.

Then, it was about a year ago when my hubby and I went to a homeschool convention. I was so inspired, so encouraged, and now I know there is no other option but to homeschool my children. I have faith that this is what I am supposed to be doing. This is one area of my life in which I have complete confidence. Yes, I have questions about which curriculum will work best or if I am teaching the “right” stuff. I have tough days and I know there will be even tougher days ahead. But I know that if something isn’t working then we can try something different. I know that I can customize my children’s education to suit their learning style. I know that it’s more important to me that my children learn to love learning than it is to learn facts x, y, z. And I know that at home my kids can learn to seek, know, and love God.

My advice to any new homeschooler is to research everything you can, ask questions, and always remember your why. Why did you ultimately decide to homeschool? Knowing your why will keep you focused amidst all of the information and opinions you receive, which can be overwhelming. But when you focus on why you want to homeschool, all the information and opinions will go from being overwhelming to empowering.

Go forth and enjoy the adventure!

-K

Image courtesy of pannawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday’s Top Five Finds from the Library

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Mama-Llama-Deborah-Guarino/dp/0590259385/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424440695&sr=1-1&keywords=is+your+mama+a+llamado unto ottersStranger in the WoodsA Quiet Placehttp://www.amazon.com/LMNO-Peas-Classic-Board-Books/dp/1442489782

In no particular order these are the Top 5 Finds from the Library that we discovered this week.

Is Your Mama a Llama? – Great rhyming. The Llama goes to each of his animal friends asking if it’s mama is a llama. This is fun to ask the kiddos if they know what kind of animal is shown.

Do Unto Otters – I honestly wasn’t sure I would like this one just by looking at the pictures. It was a funny way to show how to have good manners. The rabbit noticed new neighbors, the Otters, were moving in next door. He wondered if they would get along. He thought about how he would want to be treated. I have seen some manners books just say to do this or that to have good manners but this approach where he had to think about how he wanted to be treated was refreshing.

Stranger in the Woods – Very cute. I enjoyed that Elle was trying to guess who this stranger was. The kids also liked seeing the pictures of real animals.

A Quiet Place – Different imagined places could be your quiet place. Great jumping start to talk about different places. And to talk about how reading books can take you to those different places.

LMNO Peas – An alphabet book showing the different jobs that the peas do. A cool way to introduce jobs and what people do for a living. Super cute and fun.

How Did You Get Your Job?

4460629019_6c760a18a5“How did you get your job?” was quite the interesting question posed by my daughter. It came out of the blue and I have been a stay at home mom for the last two years.

I began asking her what she meant and she wanted to know about the job that I had at the restaurant. I explained that I needed a job to pay for where I was living, to pay for food, clothes, and other things that I needed and wanted. Then I told her that I applied for jobs and that I was interviewed and they liked me, so they hired me. “Does that answer your question?” I was still wondering why she wanted to know.

She seemed satisfied with my answer and proceeded to tell me that when she gets older she’s going to “get a job in a place where they fix animals.” “Oh, you’re going to work as a veterinarian?” “Yes!”

It all made sense. We had just come from the store where she saw a toy vet set that came with an interactive dog you help to get better. She really wants that toy. Maybe I allow the perusal of the toy aisle too often, maybe she’s just five and wants everything she sees. Either way this will be a great learning opportunity in responsibility, earning and saving money to buy what she wants.

Two things that are now on my to do list: help Elle set money goals to earn what she wants and find books about being a veterinarian. This was not the first time I saw this veterinarian interest. I’m wondering what is to come.

How do you encourage your child’s curiosities?

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