Monday, August 18, 2014

Feeling good

I'm feeling good today.

The past three months have passed in a blur of end-of-financial-year stuff (plus quarterly BAS, superannuation payments etc), staffing changes, school holidays and winter illness (it caught everyone in the family). There's been good stuff too! Lots of playground trips, my newest nephew being born, fun work functions, date nights, family gatherings, girls nights. But good or bad, frankly the pace has left me feeling wiped out.

A few months ago we implemented a change at work which means I don't have to work Monday nights anymore. Monday is the night that the girls have their dancing classes (different sessions) and while dancing is something we couldn't even consider while I was working in the city and the girls were in after school care, it was still no picnic trying to get the first part of my work finished before we had to leave for dancing and then finishing the rest (mainly phonecalls) in a noisy rec centre cafe while keeping the other child entertained.



Now Monday evenings are something that I look forward to. No matter how hectic the rest of my week might get, I know that I have two hours to do almost nothing. We practise spelling, read books, I can have a coffee, browse Pinterest, read blogs, and write in my blog. Guilt free!

Tonight as we crossed the rec centre carpark a torrential downpour started. We ran but it was too late, we were already soaked! We still had ten minutes until the first class started so we spent some time in the bathroom, drying off under the hand dryers. 



I'm not saying it was something that made my day, but it made me laugh! And that's something that I always want to have time for!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Storing old planner pages


Like I've mentioned, I've had a pretty busy start to the year so I'm behind on the things that I wanted to blog about. Like how I store my old Filofax pages. Now, I realise people use their planner in different ways so it might seem like a bizarre task to some people but there are an increasing number of us planner addicts who also scrapbook, do ProjectLife or make photobooks and who find it useful to be able to refer back to their old planner pages. I know that I do and so I not only plan things out in my planner, I also jot down notes about what we did (ie if we spontaneously end up at a waterpark on Jan 24th then I will write that in, even though we're already there and I don't need to schedule it or plan for it). I also sometimes include funny quotes or moments and even flicking back through the pages is often enough to bring back strong memories.

Plus I like taking in all the prettiness. Shoot me.


So my solution has been to use these little rings. I already have a tonne of them around the house as we use them for scrapbooking, holding flashcards together and archiving work documents. They are known by various names but usually 'hinged rings'. You can buy them in scrapbooking stores, at Jacksons Drawing Supplies and at Officeworks


Once the pages are held together (you can use two rings, top and bottom if you prefer) I like to store them somewhere out of the way. I had been storing them in one of these Ikea Kasset boxes which works perfectly fine but I also use the boxes for WIP for my sewing business and I realised that I would be better off storing my FF pages in this little suitcase which I use as a market stall prop and to pretty up my craftroom. That way I have more storage for WIP and less chance of the pages getting lost amongst the WIP. Plus it creates a practical purpose for this suitcase. Win-win! 


As you can see, there's lots of room (and bad lighting). Once I put all of my old pages in here, I popped it up on  a high shelf as I don't need to refer to it very often. At this stage I don't need to label my pages as I just have one per year and it's pretty easy to see which year is which by flicking open one page. However if you have lots of sets, you could create a coverpage or circle the year on the calendar on the front or wrap a label sticker around the ring and back onto itself. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

Toilet training tip

Okay, so in addition to my last post another thing that has been going on around here is night-time toilet training. We've been using some cheap plastic sheet protectors from Big W to protect the mattress and my best tip for night time toilet training (besides 'wait til they're ready' and 'get ready to lose sleep- and possibly your cool') is to double-make the bed. If that didn't make sense- here are some pics.

Here is the bed with the plastic protector underneath. 

But look- underneath the protector is another sheet!

And under that sheet- another protector!

This is really the best way to make the bed. If a night-time accident occurs I can rip the top sheet+protector layer off and the bed is instantly made underneath. And the fewer beds I have to make at 3am, the better, I always say! 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mt little absence

I've neglected the blog lately but with good cause. On Sunday January 12th a devastating bushfire tore through my home town. Although I don't live there anymore a lot of people I know still do. My whole family was very connected to that community through decades of volunteering and involvement. 

When I realised there was no one group to collect all the offers coming through on Facebook I created a group myself and then stayed up until about 2am directing donations (of goods) and keeping in contact with the nearest evacuation point as well as doing some research on related organisations. 


The next morning I got the trucks off, the girls dressed, bundled up all of my stuff and headed down to the evacuation centre. I'll be honest, I really wasn't sure what pics to include here. It's a bit of an odd situation. On one hand, I don't want to seem like I'm encouraging voyeurism but on the other hand, these pics make my heart swell with love for the generous and compassionate people of Perth. In the end I have chosen a few pics (not that I took that many anyway) to show what the evacuation centre is like and have made sure the only people in the pics are volunteers not evacuees and they are back-of-head shots or blurry- not clearly identifiable.  It's also a long post so I'm going to put in one of those "read more" cuts....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Popsicle Memory Game from EatDrinkChic

It's funny how sometimes the cheapest things are the ones that keep us the most entertained. You only need to look at Pinterest to see how grown women go ga-ga over a good free printable and with good reason when it keeps the kids amused like this one from Eat Drink Chic

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This is the third summer we've played with the memory game and it has held up so well. Not only do we use it for Memory, we use it for playing shops, for playing chefs and for playing babies (apparently babies must be taken on endless train trips and fed endless icy treats). 


I made it hurriedly out of craftsticks we already had at home and some stickytape. I made it a little differently than Amy suggests- I taped the craftsticks to the inside of one side of the popstick and then folded it over and sealed the side opening with a small piece of stickytape. They fit inside a regular sized sandwich bag for storage although they seem to be out of the bag more than they are in it! 

It would also be really fun to have the children make and decorate a set out of scrapbook paper and that's exactly what I plan to do once these ones finally bite the dust. It could be a while yet though...... 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to make vacuuming less of a chore

My father-in-law owns a tile shop/tiling company and so of course when we built our house we ended up with a lot of tile. Like, a LOT. Like, floor to ceiling tile in the laundry, toilets and bathrooms; tiled front patio, tiled back patio and all of the floors inside the house except three of the four bedrooms (I put my foot down on that one).

So the long and the short of it is that I have a large space to vacuum and mop and therefore have developed a pretty good routine.

1. Vacuum regularly
I vacuum and mop every day. EVERY day. Some people think I'm crazy but if I were to tackle it just once a week or once a month, it would be such a huge job that it would make me miserable. Plus all the 'bits' that find their way into the carpet and rugs that we have would break down, get trampled and get nestled into the fibres of the carpets. By vacuuming regularly, all that is required each time is a quick pass with the vacuum. I like to vacuum at the start of the day but some people prefer to do it in the evening- whatever works, I say!

2. Buy an extension cord for your vacuum cleaner
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 Seriously. It's $5 for a 5m cord or $10 for a 10m cord which allows you to plug your vacuum in once and then work your way around pretty much the entire house without stopping. This one tip has saved me sooooo much time, I don't know why I didn't start doing it earlier. I leave the cord attached to the vacuum cleaner and just wind it up.

3. Pick up everything before you vacuum 

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It really doesn't need to be a massive tidy up. Many people get distracted by sorting and decluttering and organising as they go but vacuuming should be a quick couple-of-minutes chore. If you find yourself getting sidetracked just remember- cleaning should take priority over organising. It's far more important to remove the dead skin and food crumbs from your house than it is to make your magazine collection look pretty. 

If you get the urge to organise something, leave it alone but write it down on your Master Task List or your Quick Chore List in your planner or household binder. It will wait for you, I promise!

In the meantime, pick up everything that could be in your way and chuck it in a laundry basket (or pretty basket or shopping bag etc ) so that the floors and couches are free to vacuum. Once I've vacuumed and mopped I like to get the kids to unpack the contents as it's usually their stuff but if I'm alone or the kids are napping it's no drama to pick up the basket and carry it around with me from room to room to put things where they belong. 

If your house is particularly cluttered (post-Christmas bombsite, anyone?) then buy a few baskets (they're only $2.80 each!) and have one for each room. The important thing is to EMPTY them after you've cleaned! But a fresh and clean house usually inspires people to keep it that way and not re-clutter it. 

The end result is that in less than 20mins your house is 'picked up', the floors are vacuumed and mopped and you have a list of less urgent projects to work on. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

My week 52/52

I fell behind on this project for a little bit, but here are my final few of weeks of 2013. There are no pretty pages, no washi, no stickers, no coloured pens- just one Frixion pen that I kept forgetting was eraseable =o\

It was an incredibly busy time and these pages don't even include things like my work 6 evenings a week which usually takes 2 or 3 hours per day (sometimes longer). Or the millions of emails, calls and faxes I sent/received, the filing I did, my shopping lists, problems that were solved, crises that were averted etc. Although I have included a little screenshot of my phone at the bottom that I think sums up my working day pretty well- at any given minute there might be THREE different people wanting my attention (not including little people).

 This week was a bit of a disaster! We were supposed to go out for lunch for our wedding anniversary but due to some things that came up, Matt had to work and we missed Ashley's daycare Christmas party. I also managed to miss Bella's class christmas party because of work and it just generally felt like there weren't enough hours in the day and everything was falling apart.

Oh and I was on tv on the Friday evening. =o) For a Chrisco segment on A Current Affair. I never get pimples, one of the few perks of hypothyroidism (the trade-off is super dry skin) but of course, I had one that day. And it bled for some unknown reason, right before a guy with a camera come up to me and instructs me to wave and say 'Merry Christmas'. Luckily (and unsurprisingly) that bit never made it in!! But we got a box full of goodies for our efforts.

 Boxing day was good- no plans!!! (We had plans but moved them). We slept in, watched dvds, played outside with the waterslide and paddling pool. It was fantastic! Received two faxes but no work calls!

 I stopped at December 31st because 2014 is in a different set of planner pages. I'll share more in another post.


Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy or I must just be hopeless for not being able to get through my "to do" list but then images like the one above remind me that sometimes my days are incredibly busy and demanding and it's okay to not have it all together all the time. Those kind of thoughts don't get the dishes or laundry done, unfortunately, but they help me feel better about my efforts.

Next week I'll post about my 2014 set-up and my start to the year.

Laura xx

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday School. Lesson 1


My girls are growing up too quickly. I'd love to be able to freeze this moment in time and revisit it whenever I like, especially when they're teenagers and causing me to tear my hair out! I could revisit this day and marvel at their chubby cheeks, gap-toothed smile, the way they fit into my lap for a cuddle. 

But even now, even today, my girls are growing up. They're bigger, bolder, taller than they were yesterday. Or the day before that. They're becoming more independent, more quick to help around the home. This, of course, is a kind of blessing and a kind of curse. 

Gradually, over the last few months, the girls have taken over more and more of the breakfast routine, which on school days it's usually toast. Initially, I would take the hot toast out of the toaster and Bella would just put the spreads on, cut it, plate it and serve it. Now, though, I simply plug the toaster in and Bella does the rest, with Ashley usually doing her own spreads. 

I thought I was so smart. 

I thought I was saving precious time as well as teaching valuable skills when I let them make breakfast while I got dressed. Now I've realised that cutting corners makes more work for me later. Like, for example, when Ashley made (untoasted) toast. On the floor. And I had to throw the butter out because it had so much jam and vegemite and peanut butter inside it that it was only 15% butter anyway. 


So, lesson learned: choose your shortcuts wisely. The girls are too young to do much on their own, it will only need fixing up afterwards. Which is fine, it's a part of parenting and growing up- but don't count on it to save you time, these things should be an investment of your time.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 starts with a bang

I know it's a cliche but... wow, 2014 already! We had a really good Christmas and New Year. The period leading up to it was a nightmare, mind you, I thought I was going to lose my mind from stress but then Christmas turned up and the stress seemed to fade away. We saw all of the family on both sides, spent Christmas at my sister's house and hosted New Years at our house. The kids had a blast (below pic is of one of my two and two of my friend's three).


I'm not one for big New Years resolutions- if there's something that I want to change or focus on, I don't need to wait for a clock to strike midnight first. However, I love the way that a new year makes you stop and think about whether there's anything you want to address. If not, fine! But if there is and you've just been too caught up with life to stop and think up until now, well then that's fantastic.

I particularly love to work through Susannah Conway's workbooks at this time of year. This year is my third year of doing "unravelling the year ahead" (free download) and I can't get enough of it. The questions are gentle yet probing, they really get you thinking... and then dreaming... and then most importantly thinking (planning) again, otherwise how would anything eventuate? In fact, last year's workbook played a key role in my decision to leave my dayjob and work for our business fulltime. I already knew the answers to all of the questions that the situation threw at me because I had answered them in the workbook.

I've also started a journal for this year. A pen and paper journal. I already blog and do Project Life but this is a journal for me, for writing down the day to day and personal and for my children to perhaps look back over one day. For them to fill the blanks in their own stories. I looked at so many beautiful journals and I wanted them all but I finally settled on a boring, cheap exercise book where I won't be put off writing by 'ruining' the book.


So, as you can see, those are my resolutions for the blog this year. Prettttttty generic but accurate none-the-less. With regards to #4 and #5, do you have any suggestions for blogs to read? Perhaps your own or one you enjoy reading yourself? Leave me a link in the comments and I'll check them out! 

Happy New Year,
Laura x

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My week- mega picdump

November was a mega-busy month around here and on the rare occasion that I wasn't trying to do forty things at once, I didn't feel like writing or posting. I've been spending any down time relaxing or playing with the girls. I knew the blog would still be here when I was ready to write again. And here it is. As am I.

So to kick things back off, I have about six weeks of planner pages to share for the Paper Love Story "my week" roundup. These pages are generally nothing fancy, in keeping with the minimal amount of free time I had. Oh and I've moved into my Kikki-K planner now, which I got with some birthday money. I know, I know, I can hardly believe I'm 22. Again. Eleventh year running.









Now, knowing my luck, these are probably all out of order, ha! Also, these pages might not look like the pages of a busy month but a lot of what keeps me busy is constant phonecalls and problem-solving which never makes it onto my pages. Plus on really busy days, I keep a running list in an A4 notebook so I can keep tabs on the constant demands and make copious notes on what has been decided or needs doing.

"Clean the desk" obviously doesn't make that list very often. =o/

Laura xx

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Five Free Weightloss apps


Following on from my post last week about my weightloss binder, today I'm sharing five of my favourite free apps. I'm a pen+paper kind of girl but sometimes technology really is the way to go! 

MyFitnessPal (MFP)
I use this great app to log my food, log my exercise and interact with other members. I usually pre-enter my foods for the day and then edit if anything changes. That way I can see how many calories I'll be eating and how many I need to expend and whether or not I can have that slice of birthday cake. It is incredibly easy to use, you can use the barcode scanner to add foods quickly and easily. The other thing I really love is that it also tracks things like water intake, protein, sugars etc. As a vegetarian this is extremely useful. The only problem is that sometimes foods entered by users only include the calories not the other nutritional information like sugar and protein. You can also use MyFitnessPal from your computer and access the great forums and start a diary. 

RunKeeper
There are a lot of GPS-based running/walking apps but this is the one that I use. Basically you hit start, start to run or walk and it will tell you how far and how fast you went, and how many calories you have burned. It allows you to select a playlist to listen to (although I tend to listen to podcasts instead), and you can also access the website from a computer to set your own route. It also offers goal setting, training plans and a bunch of other stuff I never use. It also (once youve set it up) automatically sends your exercise data over to MFP. 

SlimKicker
This app offers food and exercise logging but I prefer to use MFP for that because I find MFP more user-friendly and detailed in that regard. But the thing that SlimKicker absolutely ROCKS at is keeping you engaged and challenged. Basically, SlimKicker is like a game with challenges and then badges and  points to earn to go up to the next level. There are loads of challenges to choose from or you can create your own. The challenges are divided into categories: Nutrition, Emotional, Willpower, Fitness, Giveaways (actual prizes), User-Created. Some examples of challenges- The replace soda challenge, 10 wall squats a day, a salad a day, jog during commercials, electronics curfew. Best of all, you can add your friends and compete against them! 

C25k
This is the app version of a running program that has been around for years (I remember it from before I had my eldest child). It's really easy and convenient and helps give a bit of focus to your usual jog. 

Skimble Workouts
This is a huge database of workouts- some free, some paid and some created by members. You need to use your discretion with the user-created workouts and the forums can be a bit of a meatmarket but the actual workouts are great with visual instructions and timers. Skimble also lets you find workout buddies nearby. 




Friday, October 25, 2013

My weightloss binder



Summer is fast approaching here in Australia. You can tell because flies have started to reappear, as have all of the weightloss ads on tv. I started my (self-devised) weightloss program about eight months ago and while there have been ups and downs, it's mostly working. I'm not going to share my weightloss program with you today as that is something specific to me and my health needs (in particular the challenges of losing weight while having Hashimoto's Disease) but I thought I'd show you my weightloss binder. It keeps me organised and inspired, both of which are important for long-term weightloss.

The binder itself is just a regular A4 2-ring insert binder which I have prettied-up with scrapbooking paper. In the front and back pockets I have an outline of the program and shopping lists (current and old) and also a sheet with my measurements and markers (how fast I can run 1km, how many pushups I can do, heartrate, how long I'm out of breath etc). The first section of my binder is a bunch of blank weekly plans. I plan out my meals and exercise in these. Old ones go to the back of the pile.



Then I have five dividers labelled Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner; Snacks/Desserts; Fitness/Exercise. These contain ideas, inspiration, printouts etc that I use to create my weekly plan.


Some of the meal ideas I have used: iVillageweightlossresources.co.uk, Lite'n'easy


Some of the exercise information I have included comes from: Coles SimplyLess, Shape Magazine, C25k, Hundred Pushups, and I also have a list of youtube videos that I like. I have pages and pages of info on stretches!! 

I track my weight on the wiifit and log food/exercise on MyFitnessPal