Houselove: Flylady

So if you’ve hung out with me and/or been to my house in the last few weeks, chances are you’ve heard me mention the Flylady. Since a few of you have mentioned you’d like me to share, here goes.

Maybe a month or two ago, a friend posted about the Flylady and I just sort of ignored because she was posting from the perspective of having really fallen behind in her home and being totally swamped. I thought, my house is usually pretty clean. I mean, I keep everything tidy; I usually manage to vacuum once a week; sometimes I even mop (sometimes). I didn’t think about it for a while, but then two weeks ago, out of idle curiosity, I clicked over.

First things first, do not let the website put you off. The UI was, I believe, put together by a gila monster and the graphic design team was a squad of spider monkeys, but despite the ugly graphics and confusing navigation, the methods in here are pure gold.

The basis for the system is increments. Increments and scheduling. The two bases for the system are increments, scheduling, and a knowledge that it doesn’t all have to get done at once. The three bases for the system… ahem. Anyways. Increments. Tasks are never done in big chunks, you don’t spend a whole day turning your house upside to declutter or exhaust yourself trying to deep clean a room all at once, but do everything in short, timed increments: ten minutes of decluttering here, fifteen minutes of detailed cleaning there, two minutes of tidying there.

Since the website has the information scattered all over the place, I spent a day or so conglomerating everything for myself and typed up my own schedule. Here are the pieces of the puzzle for your viewing pleasure:

  • Have a morning and evening routine that includes:
    • Morning: Getting dressed and making your bed
    • Morning: Quickly wiping down your bathroom
    • Morning: Emptying the dishwasher and moving the laundry forward a step
    • Evening: Shining your sink
    • Evening: Setting out your clothes and whatever is needed for tomorrow
    • Evening: Going to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Having a daytime routine that includes:
    • 15 minutes of exercise (I use the 7-Minute Workout App)
    • 15 minutes of decluttering or detail cleaning
    • Drinking water every day (I love that she includes self-care in the home-care routine)
  • Having a weekly routine (I do most of these on days other than what she suggests because it fits my life better) that includes:
  • Having a monthly routine that involves focusing on decluttering/detail cleaning a different area of your home each week:
    • Zone 1: Entrance, front porch, dining room (for me this is entrance, porches, hall office)
    • Zone 2: Kitchen
    • Zone 3: Main bathroom/extra bedroom/kids’ rooms/craft room (for me this is bathroom, hall, and boy’s room)
    • Zone 4: Master bed/bathroom & closet (for me this is master bedroom/closets and office)
    • Zone 5: Living room/den/TV room (for me this is living room & basement)
  • Following Flylady’s daily missions for the week’s Zone in addition to doing that 15 minutes of cleaning/decluttering there.
Finally, if you haven’t been all linked out, here’s a link to the pdf of my schedule based on this. If you need a reason to sift through this rather complicated system, here it is: two weeks, mother of two kids under three, part-time work from home, and I have time to clean out closets and work out and clean parts of my house that have never been cleaned before and get all my regular housework done. I’ve been doing this for two weeks and my house is gleaming like a silver spoon.

English: (Story) Leonard Bernstein’s Peter and the Wolf

I’ve been trying to move away from my default of letting Scout Kid watch a movie (Robin Hood, usually) while I’m busy with something, so this morning I played him a record we have of Leonard Bernstein narrating/directing Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. He was enthralled. For most of the story he sat still(ish) listening, but near the end he grabbed his toy wolf and jump rope and began acting along with the story. As soon as it was done, he requested to listen to it again, and he’s been playing Peter ever since so, I think, success!

Here are the recordings if you want to listen: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Language: Lingu Pinguin App

You see a lot of flak directed at screentime for kids, but there’s one thing screens can do that I can’t do: provide my children with language instruction in a native accent. Whether it’s sign language or French (both of which I am teaching Scout Kid), my clumsy, slow translations can’t measure up to the fluidity and accuracy of a recorded voice.

The Lingu Pinguin app is just an introduction, providing a gateway for us to talk about the different languages people use (we currently have a French intern student working on our farm and Scout Kid was asking me today, “Gus learning to speak French?”, so we talked about how he lived in a country where everyone speaks French, and how his mummy and daddy talked French to him from the time he was a little baby, just like we speak English to Scout Kid.) The app is simple and attractive, and features several different screens with a theme (Animals, Toys, Nature, etc.) The different objects can be touched and respond with a narrator saying their name in French, and a little animation. The game also features a multiple choice quiz to practice. $1.99 for iPad and iPhone.

Science: Tree Identification

On Friday we took a basket and scissors and a field guide to North American trees and tried to identify the trees on our yard. Here’s what we did:
-Used the vocabulary for different parts of trees (needles, cones, leaves, bark, etc) as we went around the yard collecting bits of each different kind of tree. This was as much a lesson in ‘tree literacy’ as in identification.
-Took photos of the bark of each tree so that could help us ID them.
-Sat down with our book to attempt to identify the trees. This purpose was not accomplished as Scout Kid mainly just enthusiastically flipped through exclaiming, “Hey, dat looks right!” But he really did enjoy looking through all the pictures and we talked more about different parts of a tree as we came upon them in the book.
-Gathered some fallen maple leaves and put them in a book to press. When they’re done we’ll glue them in Scout Kid’s Nature Journal.
Sorry for the radio silence, by the way; I’ve been sick and haven’t had the energy for anything more educational than Disney movies.