Simplify Christmas! and Thursday is Floor Day

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hello, Lovely!

Thursday is Floor Day. Sweep, vacuum, and mop your floors. Give floors in the areas that have been your focus extra attention. Vacuum drapes, furniture, and around, behind, and under furniture in those areas.

Today is the last day of November. Finish up in your bathroom(s)! Tomorrow through next Thursday (1st to the 7th ) The Gathering Areas are your Area of Focus (Living Room, Family Room, Great Room, Den, TV Room)

December is a month of celebration. Pace yourself. Plan ahead. Work from a budget. Keep it simple, low stress, and fun. Faith, family, and friends are priorities. The church I am part of gifted a devotional to the church family and I plan to use it in December.

I am bringing my Christmas decorations—all of them—down a box at a time. I am going through my Christmas boxes and plan to drop off everything I will never use again at my favorite Thrift Store—ReGenesis at the intersection of Jeff Davis and Osborne Road in Chester. Find a favorite place to donate and educate yourself on what they do with your donations and how the funds are used. Donating now may allow my Christmas items to make their way into another home this season.

I have taken Roy’s shirts to a friend and I am having personal items made for family members—door pillows, key fobs, a teddy bear, and different types of bags. I am baking and cooking for friends and neighbors this Christmas. I am also giving experience gifts to people near and dear to me—passes to places like Busch Gardens, and Colonial Williamsburg, and tea at the Jefferson with some granddaughters. Too many top gift items rapidly end up in a closet or drawer or on the floor. I want to give things that will be valued for years to come—mementos and memories. Give thought to what will mean the most to the people receiving them.

After going through Christmas decorations, I will take time off from decluttering—a constant practice with me—to enjoy Christmas.

So here is the Cleaning Checklist for tomorrow for the Gathering Areas.

My Cleaning Checklist for the Gathering Spaces

(Living Room/Family Room/TV Room/Den)

  • Have you cleaned cobwebs? (M)
  • Have you cleaned the light fixtures? (M)
  • Have you cleaned windows? (M)
  • Have you cleaned the window treatments? (EOM)
  • Have you cleaned any marks and fingerprints from walls and woodwork? (M)
  • Have you cleaned decorative items? (M)
  • Have you cleaned out the fireplace? (as needed or seasonally)
  • Have you cleaned out the end tables? (M)
  • Have you straightened the bookcases/entertainment center? (M)
  • Have you dusted the lamp shades? (M)
  • Have you polished the furniture? (M) Have you dusted? (W)
  • Have you culled out dated magazines and catalogs from magazine basket or rack? (M)
  • Have you cleaned the phone(s)? (M)
  • Have you vacuumed the traffic areas? (W)
  • Have you vacuumed under, around and behind furniture and drapes? (M)
  • Have you shampooed the carpets? (S)


Have a joy-filled day and get ready for a joy-filled month!

Love, love, love,







Good Wednesday! Are you ready for another great day? A little about Hanukkah!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hello, Lovely!

Wednesday is Desk Day—Take care of any personal business:

  • Pay bills
  • Review your Current File for any ongoing business that you need to take action on
  • File any papers you will need to refer to in the future in a way you will be able to locate those papers when needed.

Today and tomorrow we are working in our Family Bathroom(s)

Cleaning Checklist for Your Family Bath

  • Wash Area Rug—also toilet seat cover, and shower curtain. (M)
  • Clean sink—Wipe out after each use (D)
  • Polish faucets (D)
  • Clean toilet (every Monday) (W)
  • Clean tub after every use. Clean and wax shower. (Use car polish. DO NOT GET POLISH ON THE SHOWER FLOOR) (M/S)
  • Clean shower door—Lemon juice works. You can even slice a lemon and apply directly to the glass. It will cut soap scum and smell fresh, too. (M)
  • Clean mirror (W)
  • Polish countertop (W)
  • Clean cobwebs (M)
  • Clean window treatments (M or S)
  • Wash windows (M)
  • Vacuum fan grill (S)
  • Clean grout (M or EOM)
  • Wipe down woodwork, cabinets, baseboards, doors, door and window frames (M)
  • Clean blinds (M/S)
  • Clean out medicine cabinet (S)
  • Clean and organize cabinets and drawers (M)
  • Clean brushes and combs (M)
  • Clean scale (M)
  • Wash floors (Every Thursday)
  • Empty trash. (as needed)

Yesterday I shared that my grandson (18 mo. old) has strep and I am taking care of him. For that reason, I worked on paperwork yesterday because that allowed me to stay close to him. So today I will dust. If you know your plan, you can adapt your plan to real life. Plans can be shifted but be faithful to do what needs to be done.

Tomorrow is the last day of the month. Get ready for December. Keep December simple and remember what it is all about—Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

There is no clear record of the date of Jesus’ birth but it was probably in the Spring because there were usually no shepherds in the field in December.

When Constantine was emperor the winter solstice was celebrated in this time frame. Rather than deprive people of a time for celebration he designated it as a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. When my children were growing up we celebrated Hanukkah because in the gospel of John it mentions that Jesus went up to the Temple to celebrate the festival. That would have been Hanukkah. Hanukkah was the holiday that Jesus celebrated this time of year. It is the Festival of Lights and for Christians Jesus is the Light of the World. Our family would look for verses in the Bible on light. We shared small gifts. We lit the menorah each day. I told them the story of Judah Maccabee and how he and his family stood against Antiochus Epiphanes who tried to pull the Jewish people away from their faith. When the Jews prepared to rededicate the Temple they needed an eight day supply of oil for the lamps. The miracle of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days.

Hanukkah begins the evening of December 12th this year and ends at sundown on the 20th.

Love, love, love,


The shower organizer in our bathroom. Note the brass squeegee. Keeping the soap scum from building up in your shower will save time and effort.

Each Monday Start Fresh

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hello, Lovely!

Each Monday we are off to a fresh start

·         Put your home back into order after the weekend

·         Clean your toilets, and while you are in the bathroom

·         Check to see if there are any personal, paper, or cleaning products you need to replace. Do not wait to try to get the last little bit out of the toothpaste tube or you are using Kleenex instead of toilet paper—plan ahead!

The Area of Focus for today and tomorrow is Your Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room. Let’s make all of these rooms, rooms that say welcome. Family first but guests get to enjoy them also.

Wednesday and Thursday the Area of Focus will be your bathroom(s).

December is all about celebrating Jesus’ birth. Let’s make it less stressful by enjoying our family and friends. Simplify instead of stress. Remember what’s important.

Love, love, love,

Roy and grandson Kobe at Christmas. Treasure each Christmas. Treasure each day.


Put Your Home Back into Order for the Weekend. Clean your purse. Clean your car.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Hello, Lovely,

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Friday is Wrap Up Your Week Day.

Make sure your purses and cars are in order and put your home in order for the weekend. Each of these tasks is meant to be done quickly. Don’t make a career of it. Just get it done.

The Areas of Focus until Tuesday are:

D= Daily, W=Weekly, M=Monthly, S=Seasonally, EOM=Every Other Month

Front Porch Cleaning Checklist (21-28)

·         Remove clutter. Put away unneeded items (M)

·         Clean light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. (M)

·         Remove spider webs. (M)

·         Wipe down bannisters and light fixtures. (M)

·         Sweep walkway and porch. (as needed)

·         Get rid of dead plants. (ASAP) Deadhead live plants (D)

·         Do any shrubs need to be pruned back? (S)

·         Do any plants need repotting? (S)

·         Does your doorbell work? Does it need to be replaced or a new battery? (M)

Foyer Cleaning Checklist (21-28)

·         Clean cobwebs. (M)

·         Clean light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. (M)

·         Wipe down window sills and front door.  (M)

·         Remove fingerprints and marks from door, door frames, switch plates, and walls. (M)

·         Clean window treatments and windows. (M)

·         Polish furniture. (M) Dust. (W)

·         Dust baseboards. (M)

·         Declutter, organize, or straighten coat closet. (M)

·         Sweep, vacuum, or mop the floor. (W)

·         What can you do to personalize your entry and make it more functional and welcoming? (M)

Dining Room Cleaning Checklist (21-28)

·         Clean cobwebs. (M)

·         Clean light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. (M)

·         Wipe down window sills and front door.  (M)

·         Remove fingerprints and marks from door, door frames, switch plates, and walls. (M)

·         Clean window treatments and windows. (M)

·         Declutter, organize or straighten china cabinet and buffet. (M)

·         Clear top of dining table. (as needed)

·         Dust chair including bottom and legs. (M)

·         Polish China cabinetfurniture. (M) Dust. (W)

·         Dust baseboards. (M)

·         Declutter, organize, or straighten coat closet. (M)

·         Sweep, vacuum, or mop the floor. (W)

·         What can you do to personalize your dining room? (Centerpiece, table cloth, decorative touches).

Have a day full of love, hugs, and smiles,


The Plan–an Overview

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hello, Lovely!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Can you believe it? I am so grateful to so many things. I have a wonderful family, a special person in my life, wonderful friends, a good life on so many levels, opportunities for ministry, and I am so blessed to be allowed into your life. I thank God for all of that and I thank God for you.

Each Wednesday

  • Take care of any personal/family business. Are there any emails, cards, or notes you need to send? Are there any phone calls you need to make?
  • Pay Bills
  • File

The Areas of Focus from the 22nd to the 28th is Your Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room. Get these areas ready to welcome friends and family. Always have your home ready to welcome your people—your home should be their safe space—a place where they can grow with love and grace.

Here’s an overview, a review of the plan:


Care for yourself, your family, and your home intentionally.

Each Day:

Plan a morning afternoon, and evening routine.

I use my evening routine to start my day the night before—

  • lay out clothes for everyone in the family beginning with yourself,
  • put items near the front door (keys, purse, backpacks) for everyone headed out of the house,
  • set the table for breakfast and put out whatever does not need to be refrigerated,
  • put the house in good general order, including making sure dishes, laundry, and trash are collected and put where they belong.

In the morning:

  • Get up, brush your teeth, clean and moisturize your face, and get dressed.
  • Have your Quiet Time with God.
  • Do your basic home maintenance (daily tasks) and declutter.
  • What’s for dinner? Do you need to get anything out of the freezer to thaw? What can you do to begin to prepare dinner?

In the afternoon—

We get ready to welcome the people home who have been out of the house—healthy snack for children who school outside the home, a pleasant re-entry for dad. Plan some down time for your husband before addressing any concerns. Greet him when he walks in the door. Not just “Oh! Old What’s- His Name is here!” Give him a hug and kiss and ask how his day was. Save unloading until later. In the same way, welcome your children home. Give them some down time before home work and family tasks.

Life can be pleasant.



Each week:

  • Sunday is for worship and planning.
  • Monday is Launch the Week Day—pick up the house after the weekend and clean the toilets. While working in the bathroom—note what paper, cleaning, and personal products are needed and write the items on your shopping list.
  • Tuesday is Duster Dance Day—put on some happy music, grab your duster and go room by room. Take the duster outside and liberate the dust back into the atmosphere.
  • Wednesday is Desk Day—pay bills, review family business and do what you can to bring it up to date (make calls, send an email, write a note), file (filing is simply putting away papers you will need in the future in a way that you can easily find them, if you will never need that piece of paper again, file it in the waste basket)
  • Thursday is Floor Day—sweep, then mop your hard floors. Vacuum the traffic areas of your home. (The other areas—around, behind and under-are done in the week’s focus room)
  • Friday is Wrap up the Week Day—clean out your purse, backpack, computer bag, diaper bag, or whatever you carry with you when you go out the door; clean out your car; and put your home in order for the weekend.
  • Saturday is Family Fun Day—Play or work playfully as a family. If you work, plan a reward for when the work is finished.


Each seven days of the month focus on one area

Days 1-7                                                               The Gathering Spaces )Living Room/Great Room/Den)

Days 8-14                                                             The Kitchen

Days 15-21                                                          The Bedroom, Closet, and En Suite Bath

Days 22-28                                                          The Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room

Day 29 to the End of the Month                                 Family Bath

This work is spread out over the 5-6 days in each area. Sunday IS a day of rest. In each room start high and work downward. First look for cobwebs in the corners and dust the ceiling fan, then make sure the windows, blinds, and curtains are clean and dust free. Next work your way around each room dealing with each area as you come to it. Finally, on Friday you vacuum.

Choose the amount of time you will give to begin at your front door and declutter your way through your home. When you have gone all the way through your home, go back to the front door and start over. The first time may take a year or more. I can basically do it now—after 30 some years of decluttering—in a few days. Do not expect this in the beginning. (5-30 minutes each day: 5 minutes will give you 25 to 30 minutes of decluttering a week, 10 minutes will give you 50-60 minutes a week, 15 minutes will give you 75-90 minutes a week, 30 minutes will give you 2 ½ to 3 hours a week.) Don’t give up. You will get it done!

Love, love, love,

MaryPhoto Nov 27, 11 35 58 AM

Tuesday is Duster Dance Day

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Each Tuesday is Duster Dance Day—if a task is not fun, make it fun. Some of my friends hate dusting. For me it is time to dance—happy music on, fun duster (ostrich feather) in my hands—I am going for it!

Today is the last day with the Kitchen as our Area of Focus. Get your kitchen ready for Thanksgiving or if you are not cooking just put it in good general order.

From the 22nd to the 28th our Area of Focus is our Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room. Let’s make sure that they are all areas that say welcome—to our family as well as our friends. Love your family by giving them a joyful and pleasant place to live.

Well, yesterday I put the upstairs in order and had time to work ahead on my front porch by changing my wreath to my Christmas wreath and changing the floral pillows for fuzzy black and white more wintery pillows.

I have hung my seasonal wreaths on the stairway to the attic so that I can easily find them and change them as the seasons change.

I have reached the point where I can spend a few minutes a day restoring my attic to order. It is overwhelming so I will stay fresh by limiting the amount of time I work there. When you are overwhelmed you tend to make poor decisions. I am promising myself to make only a few at a time. This reduces the pressure. The area was a mess before I realized it was a mess so taking time to put it in order slowly instead of doing a marathon will not harm anyone or anything.

As you work, it is important to maintain what you have already accomplished. When I open a closet or drawer and something is out of place, I simply and quickly put it back where it belongs. If you find something regularly migrates to another place you can either change the place where it is stored or you can buy a duplicate item for that place. Store items close to the place where they are used.

Well, today has its own adventures. I will be brave. I will smile and go on. I will have a good day. I hope you do, too.

Love, love, love,



Love and Respect

As I was looking for a document in my computer, I found this from 2013. Please let me share it with you.

Yesterday morning during my quiet time I saw Jeremiah 1:5:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (NLT)

I turned to my devotional for the day and read:

I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you, and will take care of you.  (Isaiah 46:3-4—New Century Version)

I see a thread of God’s care and intent for me, for each of us in those Scriptures.

He made me.

                marypaitsel-august-29-2016He knows me.

                                He has set me apart.

                                                He has appointed tasks for me.

                                                                He has carried me.

                                                                                He cares for me.

It’s clear to me that I am to be less concerned with what others think of me and more trusting that my God knows me, has a purpose for me, carries and cares for me. If I am authentically His, I can be, will be, more authentically me. I don’t have to worry about the impression I make on others. I only need to focus on Him. His word tells me how to relate to the others in my life and does not change with each new trend that comes down the road. Where should my standard and focus be?

My God has regard for me. He cares for me. Having been shown regard, respect by the God of all there is, should I not then imitate my Abba, my Papa, and show respect for others from those not yet born to those who are old and ill, to those who are disabled physically or mentally?

God’s regard for us models an attitude that is able to transform all of society beginning with our homes. I stand guilty of not modeling this respect to my parents, brothers, and sisters, to my husband, to my children, and yes, even my grandchildren.

It’s all too often so easy to let that smirk cross our face, to roll our eyes, to grumble under our breath, to yell at others instead of going to them, looking in their eyes and agreeing or disagreeing with them with civility and decency.

This lack of respect has penetrated every layer of society. This lack of respect has penetrated every relationship from our relationship with God to the relationship with our civil authorities to our relationships with family, friends, and definitely anyone we disagree with or who disagrees with us.

Our behavior toward other people should be first of all governed by our relationship with God.  His word tells us to pray for our enemies, to submit to one another, to build each other up, to love one another. Our behavior toward others should depend more on our character than on their character. We are all too often reactive—someone yells at us, we yell at them; someone treats us badly, we treat them badly; someone gets in our way, we go over top of them.  Our respect and love should be motivated by our love for God and the standard of His word.

I often use the picture of being a thermostat instead of a thermometer. The thermometer only measures, only responds to the temperature. A thermostat sets the temperature. I can only govern myself in the strength God gives me but I can govern myself in the strength God gives me and you can, too. Let’s hold up and live a godly standard. Let’s make a difference by being different.



Monday–Dump Your Memory

Monday, November 20, 2017

Good Morning, Lovely,

Each Monday we start off our week by:

Cleaning our toilets (Whoopee!)

While we are in the bathroom(s)cleaning our toilet(s), check to see if any personal, paper, or cleaning supplies are needed and add them to your shopping list.

Putting our homes back in order after the weekend.

The Area of Focus today and tomorrow is your Bedroom, Bathroom, and Closet. What can you do in each of these areas to make them

·         Less cluttered

·         More orderly (organized)

·         Cleaner ?

The Area of Focus from Wednesday the 22nd to Tuesday the 28th is your Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room.

Thanksgiving is Thursday so take time each day to prepare instead of running yourself into the ground on Wednesday and Thursday.

I shared a Five Week Plan to prepare for Christmas. Spread the tasks over each week so that you can enjoy Christmas with your family. This is intended to be a time of joy, not stress.

I have goals and plans for each day but as life happens I do not always accomplish what I want to accomplish. Last week I was able to declutter my entry, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and living room in a morning. That is because I have been doing this since 1980. It gets easier and faster each time.

This morning I walked through those areas quickly and found nothing else I wanted to get rid of. I did find a few items for the trash and today is trash day. One Wednesday, my first day with my porch, entry, and dining room as Areas of Focus, I will transition my porch to winter with different pillows and Christmas décor on my table.

When I finish this post in a few minutes, I am going to do a memory dump and again for the umpteenth time I will write down everything I can think of that I feel I should do, must do. Then I will make a decision on whether or not I really need to, want to do them. My next goal is to go through my upstairs in preparation for working in the attic. This weekend I hope to bring all my Christmas décor downstairs to decide what I want to keep. I would like to take what I will not use to the thrift shop so someone else can enjoy them this Christmas.

Every time you declutter it gets faster and easier. The garage and attic are different because other people, who shall remain nameless, have been stashing things and tossing things in those areas. There is also stuff that belonged to Roy that I need to go through. This is a major challenge for me but I will keep working toward it until I get it done.

So now, sweet friends, I am going to plunge in and work in whatever time I have available to me this week. Never quit, never give up. I get discouraged but I will not let discouragement rule my life. Keep at it, until you get it done. When family and life get what you have accomplished undone, keep going. It will get better.

Love, love, love,


Pickled Shrimp

An elegant and tasty appetizer for you to take to holiday gatherings–Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Shrimp is not kosher so do not take to Hanukkah gatherings.

    • Ingredients:
      • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds  fresh or frozen shrimp in shell
      • 1/2 cup celery tops
      • 1/4 cup mixed pickling spices 
      • 1 Tablespoon salt
      • *****************
      • 2 cups red, yellow or white onions (I used red)
      • 7 or 8 bay leaves
      • ****************
    • Pickling Marinade:
      • 1 1/2 cups salad oil
      • 3/4 cup white vinegar
      • 3 Tablespoons capers and juice
      • 2 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
      • 1 1/2 teasooons salt
      • Few drops bottled hot pepper sauce
    • Cover shrimp with boiling water; add celery tops, pickling spices, and salt. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain. Alternate shrimp, onions, and bay leaves in a shallow dish.
    • Combine remaining ingredients for pickling marinade. Mix well. Pour over shrimp. Cover and chill for about 24 hours, spooning marinade over shrimp occasionally. Drain. Remove bay leaves. Serve shrimp and onions slices on a relish tray or however you choose. (Pickled shrimp will keep at least a week in refrigerator.) 6 Servings.