Saturday, May 29, 2010

June Challenge - Home/Office/Study/Paperwork

I've been inspired by THIS BLOG to join her June challenge.

This month's challenge is to attack your home/office/study/paperwork areas.

Right now I am drowning in these areas. The basics were set up, but because they haven't been maintained they are starting to get out of control.

I'll before and after and update as I go. Today's challenge - to work on Miss E's paperwork/craft area, and to attack our control centre.

Come join us!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wardrobe revamp.

Today I was meant to shop with my mum. But it is so wet I don't feel safe on the roads.

Well - my Gran always said "everything happens for a reason" and today she was right! Again.

Because I hadn't driven to mum's I ducked down at lunch to the little country shopping centre. And there - at the shop I love to shop in - but can't justify the prices I saw a tiny little sign. 50% off everything. Two hours only.

(I actually missed the huge bright bigger than me signs. It was the tiny photocopy that caught my eye!)

Let's say I bought a few things. Things that make me feel great. And smart. And tidy. And maybe even well dressed and attractive.

I think I've been needing this boost. I actually have been thinking about this for several days - taht maybe the first step in loosing weight and exercising is feeling good about myself -so I want to look after me. Well - today the opportunity was there and I am so happy.

So now step two in the wardrobe revamp. To spend this rainy rainy day trying on my whole wardrobe and getting rid of what doesn't suit me, fit or feel good.

I love a rainy day ...

Nothing better than staying home while it pours outside and pottering in my home.

First job today -to tackle Miss E's overwhelmingly full drawers! In my defence- they were done a few months ago - but changes in seasons brings a whole new wardrobe ... + hand me downs are wonderful but they increase the clutter too!



and the smaller sizes to put away *just in case*

Plus a whole garbage bag for lifeline.

What I hadn't realised was how many of her clothes are too short for her. Thank goodness she is in uniform 5 days a week! But I do think I need to get her a couple of tracksuits and a few skivvies to get us through winter!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The AHA List

OK - it didnt't take all day
It took about 3 hours and my house was pretty much ready for guests
Writing it all down was a time consuming - but interesting idea
And actually it was pretty motivating

Would I do it all the time? - NO!

Would I do it occasionally - sure would!!!

The soundtrack from Les Miserable also helped keep me on track - that music could inspire me to do anything!

Mexican Bean and Corn Rice Salad

Two cups 4 bean mix (we soak our own to avoid the salt and processing - you could used canned - just try to get the no added salt)
1 cup corn kernals (again we used no added salt)
1 cup chopped green capsicum
1 red onion finely sliced
2 tomatoes finely diced
2 cups cooked brown rice

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup salsa (we made our own - you could use bottled)

Combine salad ingredients
Whisk together dressing ingredients
Pour dressing over salad - mix gently
cover and chill in refridgerator at least 2 hours


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Gran of Mine

Do you know how much I love this woman?
There is NO way you can understand how much I ... and all my family miss her.

Gran of mine. Today is your birthday. I know you are celebrating with Jesus ... it gives me peace to be confident of that.

I miss you. But oh it gives me joy to be your grand daughter. I am a different wife because of you. I know how much it meant to you to make a home where anyone could pop over for a coffee and a chat. Every day this is what I am aiming for.

I am certainly a different mother because of you. The time you spent with us just listening, loving every moment with us ... oh the memories I have of that time. I try so hard to give that time to my daughter, even if I do need to force myself to stop in the busyness of life.

I treasure our family memories in a different way because of you. To this day I recount stories that you have told me to people I meet. Just last week I was telling someone how you used to cut the first strawberry of the year into 6 pieces so everyone could share. The stories I treasure are those little day to day things that could have been so easily forgotten. That is why I write those little things down. I want to remember - for my grandchildren.

I see my mum and dad differently because of you. My mum speaks of you so kindly and respectfully. She loved you too. And I know you loved her. She helps us keep those memories of you alive.

In dad - because of you - I saw a different side to him. The thoughtful man - who would make sure you had whatever he could get for you to brighten your life. He loved the simple things - like grocery shopping for you! And a man who looked forward every holiday to seeing you. It is with that joy that I make the most of all my visits to MY mum and dad - and am so grateful we are now only an hour away.

Gran of mine - you taught me to look for the good in people. To stop and listen. To give real value to the everyday tasks that are homemaking - and to do them well. We shared so many memories - so many. I am so blessed to have each of them.

I miss you Gran. But although I miss you I do not sit and grieve you (although like you I cry at the drop of a hat and I am crying now! It's in the genes!)

Today I celebrate you! Love you - Gran of mine.

Goodbye todo list ... hello AHA List!

I'm going to blame work. OK - work, and assignments. Oh plus a sick girl. A sick mama and daddy. And um - coffee too - just a little socialising in there. Plus scrapping. Finally - after almost 18mths I am scrapping just a little again!

Anyway - excuses galore - my house is in a scene of complete disarray. Total disaster area.

Tomorrow my inlaws are coming. Plus we have a 5year old birthday party to attend. And I am on nights Saturday and Sunday.

Right now a to do list seems overwhelming to me. But inspired by another friend I am going to get in, get the work done, and do an AHA list. A list of everything I actually GET done today!

Miss E is at school today - I will have 5 hours without her.

Will report back tonight to share how we went!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Organisation ... saves time, money ... and hopefully a few kilos...

This time of year I struggle with lunches.
I know I need to eat well (and lose some weight!)
BUT who can eat salads daily in slipper weather?

Yesterday I decided to get organised and take the excuses away. For my mother's day I had received this beautiful cookbook (by Julie - last year's Masterchef winner) and I am really enjoying it.

So I got busy and got cooking. One large batch of her red lentil dahl. It is SO good for you, filling, high fibre, lots of veges ... and most importantly it is WARM on these cold *almost* winter days. A batch should last Paul and I several days for lunch. And it is very inexpensive to make too.

A little organisation, a little prep time, and lunch takes only moments to prepare for the next few days. Fantastic!

How to organise ... colouring supplies

The question was asked of me yesterday - how do I organise colouring supplies?

The bulk of our supplies are in my craft cupboard away from busy hands. Miss 5 is allowed to access them, but by being packed away I find she tends to only look when she needs something - and I don't end up with supplies from one side of the house to the other!

Until recently I had a basket of supplies in the kitchen. But now Miss E is at school and a BIG girl she loves to do colouring and practise her handwriting skills independantly.

I have set up a small ikea table in our lounge room. Under this is a basket which contains all our current colouring books. On top she has a metal bucket (which is divided into sections) that houses all her pens, pencils, scissors etc. (this was from Spotlight) There is also a small plastic basket with the craft supply of the moment - right now she is into stamping to decorate her work.

None of this cost money - it was all about the house already and has been repurposed.

We have found since she has had her own space, her supplies are tidier and her work much more contained.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I'm certainly no masterchef ...

But I am thrilled with our morning's cooking today!

Home made tortillas courtesy of my husband - and yesterday's trip to Brisbane for ingredients. (Balaclava St people - it is a must visit ... indian foods, continental foods .....)

Gluten free muffins were made ... (apple and blueberry ... and all wholegrains except the arrowroot so these are GOOD for you! With Agave syrup as the sweetener ...

I think the secret may have been beating the eggs well and getting so much AIR into them! (Did I tell you I love my kitchenaid?)

Because Gluten free muffins should not RISE that well! (well - not in this house anyway!)

But my favourite ... mexican corn, bean and rice salad. Makes my tastebuds tingle! It was SOOO good. Should be even better for the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

(Food stylist I am NOT! The colours are even more vibrant in real life!)

Gluten free expo - INSPIRED again!!

My husband is gluten free as he was diagnosed with coeliac disease just before we were married. As a dietitian - he coped well. As a newlywed - I had to learn fast.

Yesterday we went to Brisbane to the Gluten free expo and allergy fair. It was FUN!

Every stand had something safe to eat. All those products we don't normally buy and try. None of us bought food during the day - we had enough samples for the three of us for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

It was fun. But it isn't how we eat. Too much packaged. Too much processed. My tummy is hurting today.

Where it did inspire me was getting to listen to Sue Shepherd talk. She is a dietitian who has a VERY successful business model - and writes a lot for coeliacs. And other food allergies. Watching her make tabouli (from quinoa no less!) and talk about the glory of Chia seeds has me aching to get back into cooking from real, whole ingredients for our family.

Food ? Cooking ? Organising ? Yep - totally fits on an organising blog. Food is one of those things I need to plan and fit into my day to ensure it WILL happen the way I want. The shopping, the meal planning ... and healthy food sometimes needs a bit of planning ...

The other reason I was inspired ... I got to talk to Jo of kitchenaid, and learnt a few new tricks for my beautiful girl - my kitchenaid stand mixer. Plus she has me thinking I could try to make gluten free pasta. I am SO excited by this thought!

Gluten free food is often simple and rustic in my mind, and although the pasta may not be picture perfect due to it's fragileness ... I just can't wait to try fresh pasta again. Fresh pasta. A simple sauce. Salad. Nothing better for dinner in my mind.

I'll blog about our adventures as we go. (of course). Right now, I have a sick girl who needs some loving!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Save time - do it online.

Maybe I am very comfortable with internet payments from years of working in a bank. I love to pay my bills online. I have a dedicated credit card with a very small limit, solely for the purpose of online purchases.

When you work, study, take care of a home (sort of), try to be an involved mum ... and even spend time with your husband, family and friends ... time is precious.

Case in point. Renewing my driver's license. I used to put this off. It would involve a trip to main roads, and without exageration a MINIMUM of one hour in a queue. (yes my US friends - that is how WE spell cue!)

Today my renewal arrived. It took me under five minutes to renew. It was quick, easy and I am DONE!

So far this morning I have checked our acccounts, renewed my licence, transferred some money into savings, looked at accomodation options, and checked out tickets to Mama Mia. (Just need someone to go with me now ... MUM - You interested??!!!!)

Look into online payments. If you don't trust them - share your fears with someone educated about them and see if you can find a way to use them within your comfort zone. The time savings (and money savings - no overdue fees - no buying something cause you are out) are worth it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being organised keeps winter chills at bay ...

It never ceases to amaze me how often I go to a friends house in winter and they have the heater or wood first roaring on a winter's day.

Now - I admit there are times when there is a chill in the air and some heating is needed, but so often our nights are cold and our days are quite nice ...

Your home needs fresh air - even in winter - so unless the wind is roaring let a little air in.

And be organised so you can fight the winter chills without expensive heating that raises your power bills and dries out your skin.

Slippers at the ready, knee rugs for watching tv, heavy curtains on your windows and an extra layer or two (nothing wrong with a nana singlet!) really helps.
My dad used to always tell me if your feet are warm and your head is warm that is half the battle - and he is right.

Now - don't get me wrong - I live in a COLD part of Qld. We DO use our heater - and fire at times. But nothing beats a pair of snuggly slippers to keep your toes warm - and just an extra layer in the day. Get them out and ready - so the family has no excuses to hit that heater button earlier than you need.

Overheard from the naughty spot last night ...

"If you don't let me out I won't let you be my mummy and daddy anymore and I will go to Caleb's house RIGHT NOW and marry him and then I will live with him and be MARRIED. SO let me OUT."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blessed ...

I hope your Mother's Day was a blessed one.
What more can I ask for? Dinner cooked, new cuddly pj's, a new cookbook to drool over ... and more cuddles and love than a mama could ask for.

I don't forget where I have been. But I REJOICE in where I am now!
Blessed to be called Mama. Mummy. Mum. Sweetest name of all.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

This is my Mother's Day Gift that Miss E made at school.
I think her teacher has all us mum's pegged.

I'm working this morning - and blessed to be spending my day serving 40 odd women who are amazing mum's on their special day.

But in the afternoon ... I am so looking forward to some kisses, cuddles and maybe even some "mummy time"

My wish for you all is you get a lot of love and a little time out today.
Being a mum is a tough job. But I love love love it.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I know this is an organising blog ...

and this looks anything BUT organised ...

but for me this is nothing short of a triumph!

This is ME almost done with an assignment ... well over a week before it is due!
(now why couldn't I have leartn this lesson years ago???)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday gifts don't need to be big ... or expensive

One of the favourite gifts we gave Miss E for her birthday was a dressup box. I went op shopping and to the $2 shops and bought a heap of "accessories". Necklaces, fake flowers, beanies, shoes ... just stuff to dress up in.

It has been the best fun! Great entertainment for the girls at her party ... and occupied her over and over again.

And the best thing about it is the outfits she creates! Just like THIS one! Stylish? No??!

Mother's Day ... not always Hallmark Perfect

Sometimes the smallest hands make the biggest imprint

Before I was a mum - I couldn't wait for my first Mother's Day.

And for years - while I ached to be a mum ... Mother's Day pretty much tore me apart.

Now I am blessed with Miss E Mother's Day is a day of amazing joy ... but somehow I still ache too.

On Mother's Day this year - please say a prayer
For those who long to be mother's - and can't.
For those who have baby's in their hearts and in heaven ... but not in their arms.
For those who long to be mother's - but due to circumstance - singleness, death of a spouse, separation, divorce ... can't even try.

For those whose own mother's are in heaven.
For those who ache and hurt because they cannot be with their mothers on Mother's Day.

For those mothers whose children are away
For those whose own mothers were not good mothers

This post makes me ache to write, because in many ways it cuts so close to home.
My journey to motherhood was not easy ... it still isn't. But I have been blessed.
And I know people who I love so much and I will not be able to ease their pain on Sunday.

I love you. I ache for you. I wish I could fix it.
But I can't. All I can do is pray. And be here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Things I love! Aprons!

I loves me a cute apron!

Point one - I am messy - I cannot bake without wiping my hands on my shirt at least twice!

Point two - they are CUTE!

Point three - they have pockets ... or if they don't I can use the apron to carry things as I go room to room

Point four ... I guess I've never grown out of loving dressing up!

And this was a BARGAIN! $9.99 at aldi! and it came with a tea towel and pot holder too. (maybe I should have gotten more than one)

There's a change in the air ...

Autumn is fighting hard ... but winter is starting to win the battle once more.

I love winter. I love the changes it brings. Nothing like snuggling under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate or a glass of port ...

This week I am starting to "wintify" my home. Starting in the kitchen. All this done before breakfast. I am learning to love my early riser ...

a change in fruit and vegetables from the farmer's markets ... goodbye stonefruit ... hello leaks and pumpkin

Pumpkin soup ready for lunches ... done in the slow cooker over night ...

Menu planning and list making

Hearty winter food for dinner tonight

Chicken, pumpkin and lentil curry .. I can't wait!

Bring on winter ... let the fog roll in! I can't wait!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Of course I forgot ...

forgot to take a photo of our super girly birthday dressup tent!

but let's just say sheer curtains and lots of them, blankets, ribbons, flag banners, balloons makes the perfect girly place to escape from all those BOYS!

Miss E turned five today.
I could not be prouder.
She was royally celebrated and had a wonderful day.
And today I got a glimpse into the beautiful young lady she is becoming ... she was a kind, loving and gracious hostess and made me proud.

So - to leave you ... here are a few of the photos I DID remember to take!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's not perfect ....

I'm still learning.

BUT I know a certain little FIVE TOMORROW girl who will love it.

I'm wondering though - does the day come when I get to choose her cake? This thing took close to two hours. Maybe more. And that was JUST to decorate it! Good thing birthdays come but once a year!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Scarf storage.

I blame my mum. She bought me one scarf about a year ago.
Then I discovered how much fun they are and I have grown to LOVE them.

Almost every time I have a cute scarf on I get told how nice I look - so all the more reason to buy them! And since winter is on it's way - I wanted to find an easy way to store them so I could access them all at a glance.

Storage doesn't have to be expensive. This is a cheap trouser hanger from aldi. I think it was less than $5.

But I love how it looks. I love how practical it is. And all my scarves are there at a glance. It hangs on the back of my wardrobe door so it makes use of space that normally doesn't get used at all.


Things I love! My cupcake carrier

On Monday Miss E is FIVE! Since Monday is a public holiday - she celebrated at school on Friday.


Sometimes it is worth investing in items that only have one use. Normally, something large like this cupcake carrier would not stay in my home - especially since it doesn't have multiple uses.

But with school celebrations, and the ease this carrier makes taking cupcakes to school/parties/the park etc it has been an excellent investment! Best thing was it was only $10 at coles/bilo.

And cupcakes are great for school celebrations. No need for a knife, no need for plates and easy for the teacher to serve and distribute.

I have my recipe down pat now. These are a celebration staple around here!