Happy New Year—Let’s Get Organized

The Epoch Times

How about that moment when you come out on the other side of the holidays, take that first sip of warm goodness in the morning, look around your house, and wonder what on earth just happened here?!

January is a uniquely apropos time to slow things down and give a little love to the inside of your warm, cozy home.

Of course, for many, the clutter may be so overwhelming, the urge to ignore it completely and check the newsfeed for the tenth time that day prevails.

Don’t let it! Push on through the resistance and one step at a time, turn chaos into order and clutter into peace of mind that you can enjoy for the rest of the year.

Set Teeny, Tiny Goals

A ginormous goal might read, “Have the entire house perfectly organized and sparkling by Friday.” That’s enough to send anyone straight back to bed, covers pulled tightly over the head.

A teeny, tiny goal might be, “Spend 5 minutes a day for the next month tidying,” or “Put away or get rid of (donate, recycle, regift) three items per day for the next month,” or “Add one item to the donation bin every day for the next month.”

Teeny, tiny goals are totally doable, not overwhelming, and develop a habit of consistency. Starting can be the hardest part. Don’t be surprised if sometimes you feel like you’re on a roll and you overshoot your goal significantly. The beauty is, though, if you simply meet your teeny, tiny goal each day you still feel great and motivated.

New Rule: Leave Every Space Better Than You Found It

Make this a house rule that everyone must follow and things will really start shaping up. Like any habit, you may need to be reminded. Perhaps you’d like to pin up a sign with the rule on it. Even if you simply remove one out-of-place item or straighten a pillow in the room before you leave, you’re leaving it better than you found it. Soon, better will be the norm.

When Motivation Strikes, Take Massive Action

At some point, teeny, tiny progress will pile up and that light at the end of the tunnel will become brighter. You’ll find yourself with a free chunk of time, some energy, and a wide look in your eyes. That’s when you want to tackle something bigger.

Empty a drawer, a closet, a room, and go to town. Relentlessly rid the space of anything that doesn’t bring you great joy or use, clean the space from top to bottom, and put back those items you love in the most organized way you can manage. Make it beautiful. Stand back and admire your great work there. Let the motivation spur you on.

Find Clutter in Unexpected Places

Clutter doesn’t only show up in material form. How’s your calendar? Your email inbox? Your mind? Dig in, clean up, make space, and breathe.

The well-being that comes from a tidy space may almost seem unreasonable. However, for those that have managed to make it a reality, the proof is in the pudding. Utilize this post-holiday, wintry, inside season to clean up your space and enjoy more breathing room than you thought possible.

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Quoting Christmas: Words to Put You in the Christmas Spirit

The Epoch Times

The commercialization of Christmas can be a bit much. Coming off of the Black Friday push, how about a moment to take a step back with a warm cup of cocoa and, perhaps, some fuzzy socks by the fire, to reflect on the true spirit of Christmas. It may be just what you need to reignite the magic of the season.

Here are 14 quotes that will help to renew your appreciation for the true spirit of Christmas.

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Holiday Family Fun—The Basics

The Epoch Times

This time of year offers so many opportunities for old-fashioned family fun. The key to enjoying the season without getting overwhelmed by it all is to keep it simple.

Here’s a list of the very basics of holiday family fun.

Deck the Halls

Make decorating your home a family affair. Enjoy the trip down memory lane together as you unbox ornaments and listen to your favorite Christmas playlist.

Bake Holiday Treats

Baking is a fun and creative activity to share with your family. Dust off your family’s favorite recipes and soon your home will smell like holiday magic.

Pictures With Santa

With so many activities around town, it’s hard not to bump into the Big Guy this time of year. Be ready to snap those yearly photos when the opportunity arises.

Holiday Movie Classics

When snuggling in for the night sounds like the most fun you’ve ever had, pop the popcorn, prepare the hot cocoa, curl up in your Christmas pajamas and enjoy a holiday classic like “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Polar Express,” “White Christmas,” or “A Christmas Carol.”

Gather With Loved Ones

Holidays mean the most when they’re shared with those we love. Connect with family and friends as much as possible over the holiday season, sharing, perhaps, the tasty treats you baked.

See the Sights

Whether you live in a small town or a big city, there are bound to be fun events like a tree lighting, perhaps a pancake breakfast with Santa, or even a holiday show. Bring your family into town and enjoy what your local area has to offer.

Christmas Caroling

Gather your friends, pour the hot cocoa into to-go mugs, and spread cheer throughout the neighborhood with an evening of Christmas caroling.

Tour the Lights

Pile into the car for a drive around town to take in the Christmas lights. Play Christmas music and enjoy a simple nighttime drive.

Write Letters To Santa

Pull out the craft supplies and have you children write their annual letters to Santa. Be sure to make a copy or click a picture before sending them off.

Read Your Favorite Christmas Stories

Even older kids can be persuaded to snuggle up for a holiday bedtime story. Dive into Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” if your kids are ready. Scatter all of your favorites throughout the season and don’t forget “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve.


Wrap up gifts for a toy drive. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Donate to a food pantry. Give coats to a homeless shelter. Let the spirit of the season encourage your family’s sense of compassion and generosity.

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3 Easy Ways to Supplement Your Child’s Math Education

The Epoch Times

Ah, math. Chances are your child either loves it or hates it. Both scenarios pose a challenge for the average school environment.

Teachers today are mandated to cover very specific material within very specific timeframes. Within a classroom of 15 or more children, it can be easy to miss the child that doesn’t completely understand a given concept and even easier not to notice the child that’s whizzing through the material and is eager to learn more.

Left unchecked for too long, the former child winds up lost (and demoralized) as the rest of the class moves on to more complicated concepts that rely on having understood what was taught earlier. The latter child begins to lose that spark of curiosity, that genuine interest, and feels bored and disenchanted.

Now more than ever, it’s important for parents to play an active role in their child’s education. Thank goodness, it’s also easier than ever to do so.

One way to help a child who’s struggling with math or excite a child who has the potential to excel in math is to supplement their curriculum at home. Here are three specific tools you can use to do just that.

Khan Academy

Khanacademy.org is a free, online learning environment for students of all ages. Subjects covered range from science and programming to history and economics. It is its math resources that are, perhaps, the strongest.

Parents can track students’ progress as they work their way from kindergarten mathematics through calculus, enjoying digital rewards along the way. The video instructions are done extremely well and specific topics can be easily searched.

A few minutes a day or small engagements each week with Khan Academy can hone in on challenge areas, boost confidence, and allow high achievers to shoot for the stars.


Popular among homeschool families, Math U See is a full math curriculum, beginning with basically counting concepts and working up and through calculus. It combines video instruction, colorful manipulatives, and student workbooks. Students can work through the material at their own pace, which uniquely encourages the mastery of fundamental concepts before moving onto more complex operations.

Math-U-See is a great option for parents wishing to supplement their child’s education because the lessons are very short and the material self-paced. It’s especially good for children who learn best when concepts are presented visually.

Practical Math

The simplest idea of all is recognizing that math is everywhere; challenge your children to engage with it more frequently in everyday life. Put them in charge of the grocery budget for the week. Tell them to double the recipe the next time you’re baking something. Have them map out and calculate how long it’ll take to get to Grandma’s house (without asking Siri).

The more enjoyable it is for your children to engage with math, the more you’ll help take the mystery out of it. You’ll allow them to see the many ways math is useful to learn and understand, and with the extra practice, they will naturally grow in their ease with it or enlighten to more creative ways to use it themselves.

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