Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Fresh Approach to New Years Resolutions (Guest Post)

You know, Bootcampers, one of my favorite secular Christmas tunes is John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)". But although the tune is catchy, the lyrics leave me feeling a little sad.

"And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over,
And a new one just begun."

Gee, John, what have I done? I'm sure I made some New Years Resolutions last year, but for the life of me, I can't remember what they were. And that means I certainly didn't reach those goals, did I?

Today I'm honored to be sharing a guest post on this very subject, written by Simplify101's Aby Garvey.
This holiday season I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a Simplify101 online workshop called "Get Organized for the Holidays." It has been entertaining, inspirational, and very instructional. I really thought there weren't too many more organizing tricks for this old dog to learn -- boy, was I wrong! The wealth of information was broad and deep, and my family has been reaping the benefits this season - which happens to be our busiest one in years. The teaching is clear, the worksheets are amazing, and the site is so easy to use. Beyond that, I've made some wonderful online friends from around the country and the world -- What a blessing!

It's too late for you to take the course THIS year, but it's not too late to be inspired in the new year! Simplify101's groundbreaking basic course, "Organizing 101: Learn How to Get Organized" is enrolling now! In fact, tomorrow is the last day to save 20% on the online workshop that makes it simple and fun to get organized and stay organized.

From Simplify101:
"If you’ve tried countless times to get organized, only to find yourself disillusioned with the process, Organizing 101 will help. Whether you find yourself panic stricken in the middle of an organizing project (because you've made a bigger mess than you started with,) you aren't sure where to begin in the first place, or you’re simply looking for some fresh ideas to build on your existing organizing systems, Organizing 101 shows you how to create an organized, functional and relaxing home. You’ll learn a straightforward organizing process you can use to organize any space, and build a customized organizing plan and prioritize your organizing projects. Plus, during the seven weeks this workshop is open, you’ll be motivated and inspired to take action and create change in your home. You’ll get prompt answers to your organizing questions from a professional organizer, Monday through Friday while the workshop is in session, and you’ll have the chance to share your organizing victories with the simplify 101 online community.

With the support, ideas and motivation from Organizing 101, you’ll start the New Year with a doable plan to get organized and stay organized."

The January session of the Organizing 101 begins January 25, 2011, but the early bird sale ends tomorrow! Sign up today to get organized for less!

Now on to some winter inspiration from Simplify101!

A Fresh Approach to New Years Resolutions 
 by Aby Garvey

Are you tired of making New Years resolutions that, by the end of January, are all but a fleeting memory? This year try a new approach. With four simple steps and four sheets of paper, you'll be on your way to making real change in your life.

Review Your Successes

Photo courtesy of
List your accomplishments on the first piece of paper. Write down those things you like about yourself or things you've done that make you proud. Do you have a great sense of humor? Are you a dedicated employee, a supportive spouse, or a loving parent? Dig deep and give yourself the credit you deserve.

Dare to Dream

On the second piece of paper, write down changes you'd like to make in your life. Would you like to improve your health? Change careers? Get organized? Spend more time with loved ones? Find more time for leisure or hobbies? Quit smoking? Start a new business? Write down the first five to ten things that come to mind.

Magic Wand Experiment

Now, with your list in hand, imagine you're handed a magic wand, guaranteed to make one of your resolutions come true. Which one would you pick? Write this down on your third piece of paper as a goal, using the following guidelines:

Make it personal: your resolution must be about you and only you. Use I and me to state the goal.

Be present: write the goal in present tense, as if you have already accomplished it.

Be descriptive: use adjectives that describe the benefits of achieving this goal.

Set a deadline: decide when you will achieve your goal. For example, "I peacefully and calmly live in an organized home by March 15, 2007."

Get started
On the fourth piece of paper, write down three actions you can take today to get started on your goal. These three items don't have to be monumental, just three simple steps that can move you in the direction of your goal.

Complete and repeat

Once you've completed the three things on your list, pull out your goal again and write down the next three tasks that will move you forward. Continue this process until your goal is achieved.

By focusing on just one resolution, and breaking it down into three simple steps at a time, you'll be well on your way to achieving success. Now, at the end of January, you'll be seeing real progress toward your goal, instead of a fleeting memory of what could have been.

Read the original article  at the Simplify101 site; Re-printed with express permission. If you'd like organizing tips delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for the Simplify101 newsletter


Thanks, Aby! I love your last line....real progress!
Go sign up for the newsletter or the course, and be inspired Bootcampers!
And then get to work!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

On the First Day of Christmas....

Art courtesy of

Save 10% when you buy Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers
now through Dec. 31st.

Just enter the promo code PEARTREE  at checkout!
This code is good on any format, including coil-bound paperback and ePad versions.

Merry Christmas, Bootcampers!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Sale!

Plus, 25% off all editions of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers - In coil-bound print, perfect-bound print, digital download and Epad for Readers editions - Friday, Nov. 26, only.
Save Today!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Thank you to those that have served...and continue to do so.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Book Giveaway Winner!

Bootcamp Blogger Shawnicy from Following His Path of Blessings is the winner of the Fall Book Giveaway! Congratulations, Shawnicy! E-mail me at bootcampforlousyhousekeepers (at) with your preferred e-mail address to receive your free copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Create Space Before the Holidays Hit! (Guest Post)

I'm excited to announce that I will now be sharing material written by Simplify 101's Aby Garvey. Simplify 101 is a wonderful business which offers books, online workshops, and articles (and even more!) to teach and inspire you to get your home...and your life organized.
Thanks to the Garveys for allowing me to share their inspiration with my Bootcampers!

Create Space…Before the Holidays Hit! by Aby Garvey of Simplify 101

Do you plan to do any shopping for the members of your household over this upcoming holiday season? I’d be willing to bet that’s a big y-e-s! If you’re planning to bring some new items into your home as part of the holiday festivities, now is a terrific time for some of your older items to make their exit. In a nutshell, now is a terrific time to create space for the holidays and all the clutter that it brings, and a great place to start is your kids’ closet! Even though going through your child’s closet or play room in November may not be the first thing that jumps to mind, it makes sense on so many fronts.

Let’s start by remembering some basic physics, specifically the principal that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. So, if your child’s play room, toy box, or closet is filled to the brim with toys, clothes and books…something has to go to make room for what’s coming. So why not create that space now?

Pull your child into the process and go through the toys together. Find out which toys he is no longer playing with and which ones are his favorites. Having this conversation and going through this process together before heading out to shop, won’t just help you create space, it will also help you strategically plan holiday purchases.

As you go through things together, take note of what type of toys your child has plenty of and keep those items off the shopping list. Also take note of new interests your child has developed over the past year or since the last gift-buying event. Add these items to your shopping list. Keep a piece of paper, a pen and a clipboard handy as you go through your child’s closet so you can capture these gift ideas and interests.

Going through your child’s things now also gives you some perspective on how much stuff he or she really has. This is important info to capture in your mind and take with you when you go shopping. As you go through your child’s things, think about what he really needs. Based on how much he already has, how many gifts make sense? Capture this reality-check on your clipboard, too.

Letting go of some of your child’s clothes, books and toys before the holidays gives you the opportunity to send your items to a happy home. Plan to donate the toys, clothes and books your child no longer uses to a charity that will make these items available to less fortunate families during the holiday season. Share your plans with your child and let him know that not everyone is as fortunate as him. This may make letting go of things just a notch easier for both of you when you know your items will be going to an especially good cause.

Last but not least, don’t forget the Santa factor: If Santa sees that your child’s closet or toy room is already loaded to the brim he’ll know your child doesn’t really need many new things. And let’s face it…Santa is probably onto something. If there isn’t much breathing room in the closet or playroom, and you can’t find much to get rid of…do you really need anything new? This can add even more motivation to your child when it comes to letting things go, and even perspective for you when you’re out shopping.

Take advantage of the calm before the holiday storm and create some space now.

(Read the original article at the Simplify 101 site; Re-printed with express permission. If you'd like organizing tips delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for the Simplify 101 newsletter and be inspired every week!)


Love what you just read? (I know I do!) You may be very interested in signing up for a risk free trial of Simplify 101's Get Organized for the Holidays online workshop. Go HERE for all the details, but hurry! You must complete the sign-up steps before Monday, November 1, 2010 at 9:00PM US CST. This workshop looks so helpful and like a lot of fun, too! Time's running out, so sign up soon. See you there, Bootcampers!


A Coupon for the Weekend


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Friendly Reminder

Greetings Bootcampers!
Just a reminder that you have only four days left to blog and grab your chance at a free copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers!

It's so easy to enter!

1. Write about any homekeeping issue on your blog and share ONE IDEA for a blog topic you'd love to see me blog about, Bootcamp-style.

2. Within your blog post, share a direct link back this giveaway.

3. Leave a comment on this post with a direct link to your blog post.

That's it! I will choose three winners out of the qualified bloggers on Oct. 30, 2010, and announce those winners through this blog. I'll also do my best to write many bloglets covering the topics the entrants suggest over the next months.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Book Giveway!

Autumn greetings, Bootcampers!
If it seems a little quiet in here lately, I apologize. Getting all settled in to our new farm has melted in to preparing for our first full winter in the woods, and my blog has often been set aside for more pressing tasks inside and out. Plus, holiday preparations are in full swing. (Read more about that here.) But I want to make it up to you by giving away a free digital copy of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers to THREE of my blogging readers!
Here's how it works, in three easy steps:

1. Write about any homekeeping issue on your blog. You could share a time-saving tip, an area you struggle with, or just dish on how you wash your dishes! You also need to share ONE IDEA for a blog topic you'd love to see me write about, Bootcamp-style.

2. Within your blog post, share a direct link back this giveaway.

3. Leave a comment on this post with a direct link to your blog post.

That's it! I will choose three winners out of the qualified bloggers on Oct. 30, 2010, and announce those winners through this blog. I'll also do my best to write many bloglets covering the topics the entrants suggest over the next months.

So get to writing, linking, and telling your readers all about it!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Coupon!

"Harvest" by Catherine G. McElroy

Need help tackling your Fall Cleaning? Now through Oct. 31st, use the promo code "HARVEST" when you purchase Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers at, and receive 10% off your purchase price! 

(The fine print: Discount cannot be used to pay for,nor shall be applied to, applicable taxes or shipping and handling
charges.  Maximum amount that may be applied to discount is $10.00per account. Promotional codes cannot be applied to any previous orders, no exchanges or substitutions allowed, and only one valid promotional code may be used per order.)

Happy Fall, Bootcampers!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Foliage, Cider, Pumpkins...and Christmas Planning?

I will admit to you, Bootcampers, that even though it is officially fall, and well into October, it is still a smidge too early for my taste to be seeing Halloween decorations up in the yards in our village. I'm a person that really likes to take one season and holiday at a time - and at the right time! So imagine my shock last weekend when I walked into the Christmas section at our local Ikea store. Christmas? Already?

And then it hit me -- It's OCTOBER! As much as the thought of Christmas planning now may shock me, it's already time to begin!

A Bootcamper recently asked me if I could print up a schedule of "what-and-when" items to accomplish in preparation for the holiday season, but the VERY best advice I could give her was to point her to an e-book that's been in print for a long time! I don't think I could add anything to it (and that's saying a lot, because I'm always feeling the need to "add"!)

I shared in my book that I have used Sheri Graham's The 12-Week Holiday Planner for the Christian Family for a while now, and this year, she released a wonderful new 2nd-edition of the e-book, co-authored by Urban Homemaker's Marilyn Moll. The book now even has its own website! On the site, Sheri asks, "Do your holidays seem to always become stressful and full of "wait to the last minute" to do items? If so, then this eBook is for you! Begin October 1st planning and organizing for the holidays."

 It's a few days past October 1st, but it's NOT TOO LATE TO START planning for the holidays using this wonderful resource. It is chock full of wisdom and printable forms to help you plan your holiday shopping, meals, and decorations all while keeping your heart and mind on the heart of the holiday season. It's even got yummy recipes for you and coloring pages for your littles! This one, inexpensive e-book will guide you from your Thanksgiving feast through your New Year's bash.
And if I do say so myself (and I do!), it's a wonderful companion resource to Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers - which of course will help you get your home sparkling clean for those holiday events and running smoothly every day - not just holidays!

You may think you're an organized holiday-planner, but you simply don't know organized until you use this holiday planner!  It's been a wonderful blessing to me and my family, and I hope it will be a blessing to yours.

So go download a copy of the planner and get a head start on your holidays today!
Now get to work!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Chance Sale!

Bootcampers, remember that today is the FINAL DAY to use the promo code REMARKABLE305 at checkout to receive 15% off your purchase of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers, in print or digital form.
Don't miss out!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You're Remarkable!

Greetings Bootcampers!
I hope that wherever you are, beautiful fall weather has found you! I know that here on the very edge of Appalachian Ohio, the rain is finally falling, the trees are turning, the temperatures are dropping, and I'm feeling a new burst of energy to get things done around the farm!

Are you in need of a little help getting things done around your home?

Today (Tuesday, September 28th) through Thursday, Sept. 30th, you can use the promo code REMARKABLE305 at checkout to receive 15% off your purchase of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers, in print or digital form! It's my way of saying "Happy Autumn! And thanks for being a loyal Bootcamper!"



Monday, August 16, 2010


Photo courtesy of Lisa Thompson
While I'm moving boxes, I'm encouraging you to move my inventory!

For one week only (today through August 23rd,) ALL printed editions of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers are on sale for just $20 -a savings of more than 15%! I've kept it just above the qualifying amount for Free Summer Shipping at Lulu,  which gives you even greater savings!
 In addition, all digital editions of the book are on sale for only $9 - over 30% savings (and of course, downloads always "ship" FREE!)
  Enjoy the savings while you can and get the new school year off to a clean
and organized start!


Friday, August 13, 2010

FREE Summer Shipping almost over!

Don't forget....

Here's the fine print:
To qualify for Lulu FREE Summer Shipping, your cart has to total at least $19.95 in printed book merchandise, but that total excludes taxes. So basically, make sure your books, photo books and calendars add up to $19.95 or more. What is eligible for FREE Summer Shipping? Pretty much anything that’s printed. (That includes Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers!)  Since the US Postal Service will deliver your order, we can only offer FREE Summer Shipping to valid US delivery addresses. We can also ship to APO/FPO addresses, but just make sure you use a valid US zip code with your order. Unfortunately, FREE Summer Shipping can’t be combined with any other promotional codes at this time. Just a heads up—canceling items, changing your shipping address, or shipping method might affect your order’s eligibility for Lulu FREE Summer Shipping. If you cancel an item, and your new order total falls below $19.95, the order won’t be eligible for Lulu FREE Summer Shipping. While we don’t have any plans, desires, intentions or wishes to do so, we can change or discontinue Lulu FREE Summer Shipping at anytime. Maximum discount of $19.95.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Break!

Happy Dog Days of summer, Bootcampers!

Just writing a quick note to let you know I'm going on a summer blogging break until after our move at the end of August. Feel free to e-mail me or leave a message on Facebook....and please keep Bootcamping!
Don't forget to tell your friends about the free shipping sale going on at right now!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
John 8:36
Praying for a safe and joyful Independence Day weekend for you all, Bootcampers!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

FEMA, part 2: Specificities

As I mentioned in the first post of this FEMA series, your Family Emergency Management Assessment plan needs to be prepared when your days are running smoothly. It does not benefit your family for you to wait until a crisis has occurred for you to try and create your plan – especially if the situation has YOU, the home manager, absent from the daily grind.
 Your plan also needs to be very specific.
When you fill out Yellow Day or a Red Day worksheets, the plan might look simple and solid to you. (And any plan is better than no plan at all!) But I encourage you to step back and look at each task and each block of your day from the perspective of a friend, a grandparent or a neighbor – folks who may be called in to help you during a hard time – who are not familiar with the inner workings of your home. Perhaps you have written “Do laundry” on a Yellow Day worksheet for a Monday. It may be wise to write out a very brief summary of what “Do laundry” entails at your home. For example, where is the dirty laundry kept? How do you sort it? Are there special instructions for certain items? Do you use the dryer, or line dry? Where is the laundry soap kept? Do you bleach your whites?
Sometimes the most kind and loving gesture by someone who is not familiar with our household can add an extra burden on us because they do not run our home the way we’d prefer. And though we ought to be kind and grateful to these friends no matter how the laundry is washed (or home is cleaned, or children are fed), taking the time to write out the details can ease their mind and yours.
These instructions can go on a separate paper and be on permanent file in your Bootcamp Binder*. You can list your children’s favorite meals, their bedtime routines, what movies or TV shows are allowed, where you keep the extra diapers, special instructions for a pet….just about anything! It may seem much too prolix now, and prayerfully, you’ll never need to use it. But only the Lord knows our futures, and we are wise to prepare as best we can for whatever may come from His Hand.
After rotating shifts with my husband while our daughter was hospitalized last month, and seeing my children eat more than their fair share of pizza and PBJ, I realized that I need to keep staples on hand at all times for simple, nutritious meals that my husband,  friend, or older child could easily prepare when I am unexpectedly absent. But beyond that, I need to have a list of these meals with the recipes or cookbook page number, so I can say, “Look at the Meals page of my Bootcamp Binder and you’ll find everything you need to feed my family while I’m away.” And one step further, I need to ACTUALLY HAVE these staples on hand….so I must add those ingredients to my monthly shopping list. What a blessing that kind of forethought and organization would be to both my children and their caretakers!

Next post: Be realistic! See you in a few days!

*What’s a Bootcamp Binder? This timesaving, sanity-saving tool is used to run your home efficiently, and can be digital (a group of folders on the computer) or in a notebook, plain or fancy. Details on creating your Bootcamp Binder are spelled out in Chapter 14 of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers, or you can google “home binder” and search lots of lovely blogs with seemingly unlimited ideas for setting up and keeping up with your binder.
But I simply must direct you to one link first. My friend Rachel sent me the MOST BEAUTIFUL BINDER cover – red gingham, red flowers, red cherries – (to quote the literary Eloise, I love, love, love red!) and it’s so lovely I enjoy just having it sitting out on my table, instead of hidden away like my plain old plastic white one. As a result, I find I use it more, which is really the point, isn’t it? (Oh, I wish I had a photo but my camera is very cranky tonight.)
You can read Rachel’s bloglet about it and visit her Etsy shop, where she sells beautiful patchy binder covers and other cloth-based organizational tools (as well as clothes and more!) She appears to be on vacation for a few weeks, but please bookmark her store…you’ll be inspired to set up or re-vamp your Bootcamp Binder today!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FEMA, Revisited

Sure, I can talk the talk. But can I walk the walk when it comes to managing my home in times of crisis?

The Lord sure has given me plenty of opportunities to test my management abilities in the last month!

From troubles with our rental house that have required building crews in and out all day, house-hunting for a permanent place, and two of our children requiring two hospital stays in as many weeks, the last month has been one upheaval after another. (I’m sure you have all have times of extraordinary business or family upset, and so you’ll forgive me for my recent blog-battical!)

I wanted to share, over the next week or two, four of the specific lessons I’ve learned about  FEMA; Or, how to apply your Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers Family Emergency Management Assessment to real life.


Be Prepared!

Prepare your plan. As covered in Chapter Eleven of Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers, and previously blogged here, preparing a good FEMA plan is something that must be done BEFORE you get into a desperate situation. When your life is simple, your days are running on schedule, and your family is happy and healthy, you may be tempted to skip over the FEMA chapter and move on to more fun and seemingly “necessary” tasks. However, only the Lord knows when your smooth days will turn bumpy. If you’ve waited until you’re on the way to the hospital with your sick child, it’s already too late to think calmly through your FEMA plan! It may seem tedious, but your husband, family and friends will appreciate the effort you’ve put into setting a plan in place for your home when you’re unavailable to run it yourself.

Prepare your home. Preparing yourself for a potential Yellow or Red Day around the corner also means that your home must be maintained to Green Day status every day! The point of FEMA is to ensure your home runs smoothly in your absence or illness so that you don’t have to worry about it and are able to focus on the trial at hand. If you have let your Daily Focus Block tasks fall by the wayside on your simple, stable days, there is no way your family will be able to function at a maintenance level on the Yellow or Red ones. What does that mean? If you’ve fallen off the Bootcamp wagon, hop back on today and get your house back up to whatever standard you have set for yourself. Remember, maintenance comes AFTER you’ve de-cluttered, organized and deep cleaned. In the midst of trials, you don’t want your family to struggle to put together simple meals or find clean laundry. 

He took Summer Break too literally!
Prepare your helpers. If you have children at home who are able to complete independent tasks, you must train them to competency in these tasks now! Are there jobs you wish your children could accomplish, but you just haven’t gotten around to it? Make a list and plan on adding 15-minute training sessions to chore time each morning. Have older children teach their younger siblings to do their chores (according to their ability). Tasks like running a load of laundry or preparing sandwiches for siblings can go a long way in easing a mom’s burden when she’s sick or on bed rest. But don’t wait until you are on bed rest to teach them how! There are plenty of details on setting up chore schedules and how to train them in these chores in Chapter Twelve of Bootcamp.

It was such a blessing to this momma’s heart to be able to take the chore cards out of my oldest son’s chore packet last weekend and divide them (by ability) between his two next-younger siblings. My eldest had already trained them in his tasks, and with minimal supervision from me, they seamlessly took over his work. His siblings are happy to complete his daily tasks until his broken leg is healed, and I’m not overwhelmed with extra chores in addition to caring for my hurting son.

Next post in this series: Be Specific.

Now, go re-read Chapter Eleven, work on your plan, and be prepared!

Get to work!