Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The ball is rolling

We had our screen door installed today, I'm so excited :) :) I've been wanting to get it done since we removed the old back door and installed the sliding door - back in September 2009.

Here's a pic :)

We got the privacy mesh that's why it's a little dark.

The mud pit in the background is where the darling husband has started the retaining wall. So my grass that has FINALLY started growing from when we excavated is now smothered in more mud. Ahh well at least it will be all finished soon :)

Hubby has also re-measured the retaining wall and has ordered the material which will be delivered on Thursday.

Unfortunately we haven't been able to continue painting the architraves/doors because of the weather. Apparently the rain is set in for the next few days, so I've been considering doing a bit of painting before I go to bed so it has the night to dry. Thankfully it's not fumey paint otherwise I would not consider this.

Hubby is thinking of taking a week or two off work to get it all completed by 25th June. He scared me today by saying
"As of tomorrow I've got 25 days to finish it all."
My gosh, I never even realised that. Time flies... It seems like we'll never get it done by then, but as my husband always says (which most of the time drives me insane lol)

"Nothing's impossible"

I hate to admit it, but he's right. Hopefully he doesn't read this post as he'll use that against me (usually he says nothings impossible when he's talking about buying a Camaro, Motorbike, having a massive 2 story house, be totally debt free and god knows what else by the times he's 28...he's 26 now... Keep dreaming baby :D)

I'll post updates as time goes on. We have a quote for blinds on Thursday, and I'm eager to see how that goes :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Odd Jobs and Renovations

Doing up our home is an important part of our lives along with all the other things we're trying to achieve. We wanted to buy an older style house so we could do it up to our liking and within our means. So far so good :)

My husband and I sat down together on Saturday night and wrote out a list of all the things we want done around the house. A realistic list. If it was up to my husband he'd get a motorcross ramp near the house as he reckons it'll be awesome to jump the house (He loves motorcross and unfortunately is a dare devil lol)... Hence the reason this is a realistic list :).

So many times we've written out lists of what we want done and we've even done budgets to allow us to get it. But we'd never actually made a plan or continued through.

It is so true in what they say, anyone can write out a to do list or a bucket list (or what ever list tickles their fancy), but most of the time it won't happen unless there is a plan in place on how to get there/complete it, especially if it involves money.

Well ours does involve money.

So here's what we've done.

  1. We both wrote down what we wanted to get done. Surprisingly it was exactly the same
  2. Wrote down the estimated/actual costs (we've had quotes done for some things)
  3. Put in number order of what is to be done (has changed order somewhat thanks to my husband, will explain later)
  4. Set a date for it to be done by (not everything, mainly many smaller things) 25th June
  5. Look into the financials to see if date is achievable - it is :)
  6. Got to work.
It was hard to number order some tasks, as some have been started, some ordered and awaiting installation (by professional), will explain in further later.

Here's what is on the list.

(In number order)

  1. Paint architraves/door frames and doors. Started/almost finished.
  2. Screen Door - Ordered, deposit taken.
  3. Skip bin - We weren't going to get one but at the moment our whole yard looks like a building site.
  4. Blinds - Quotes done, couple more to go.
  5. Deck Roof - Started.
  6. Sand and stain deck - will do once roof is completed, will be the same colour stain.
All these things we have some control over as financially we can afford them now and we aren't relying on other people to complete them, apart from the blinds and door, but we're going through reliable and recommended people/companies.

This is the rest of the list which we want done, but it depended on time, money and other people (installers etc.) as to why they didn't make the list above. They are in no particular order.

  • Repaint Hallway
  • Repaint Bathroom
  • Retaining Wall
  • Side Fence
  • Metal Lattice (to cover piers)
  • Front Fence/Sliding gate
  • Roller shutters
  • Re Seal Driveway
  • Side Gate (Driveway)
  • Pool - few years away yet
  • Extensions - few years away yet
So that's what we both agreed to on Saturday night. That's the order in which we'd do things, more or less. If the screen door get's installed before we finish painting, that's a bonus and beyond our control, just shows the screen door company are good lol.

Sunday morning was a whole new ball game. Notice how the retaining wall didn't make the cut on the 'numbered' list? Well in the time it took me in the laundry to sort colours, towels etc and start a load of washing, my husband had started to demolish the old retaining well. I'd left him 10 minutes earlier painting a door, and now found him ripping out bricks... Seriously this guy never stops lol.

I was gob smacked I did not know what to say... All I could manage was
''Are you serious?"
 I Left him to it and went and picked up our daughter from Nanny's and head to Kmart to get her some goggles for swimming. We came home and found he'd ripped out about half of the bricks, marked up where the new wall/steps are going and had started digging. Ohh and pulled out the posts from under the house. Thankfully they're the wrong size as I can guarantee they'd be set in concrete already.

So as you can see, our list has been altered. I told him we couldn't afford that on top of the others to be completed within the month. He said to scrap the skip bin. That's ok as they're costing about the same anyway. So at least now we know what's happening there.

There are a few things on the second list we'd prefer to have done over some on the numbered list such as, the side gate. Two of my brothers are fencers, and waiting for them to do it is like waiting to win lotto (that's extremely hard as I refuse to buy lotto lol), But they both work 6-7 days a week, and as they're doing it as a favour to us, I understand why it's taking so long.

So at the moment, we're planning to have the painting (of the architraves/doors) to be completed by Friday Night so we can start fresh on a new task on the weekend. Knowing my husband that'll be the retaining wall. The screen door will be installed Tuesday or Wednesday. We almost accepted a quote for the blinds, but we've decided to get a quote through a local highly recommended company. They're coming out on Thursday. If I get a chance on Friday, I'll paint the hallway, or at least wash down the walls. I know that isn't on the main list, but it's something I can do without my husband and won't cost anything as we already have the paint and supplies.

So that's the plan so far. Here's hoping it can get done in time :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It pays to check your accounts

We are currently in the process of redoing our mortgage as the fixed rate expires in a week. We have opted to go on a package which gives a discounted rate plus waives any and all fees, including application fees etc. But with a higher yearly fee.

I checked my acct balance today only to notice that my loan was $500 dearer. I was baffled as I knew interest was charged last week so where has the extra charge come from? I checked the history and to our horror the bank had charged us a $500 switch fee!

I rang them up and the guy was really helpful. It was very obvious he was frustrated at the operator who took my call last week and dealt with the loan, as apparently she has made an error in how she's doing the loan. She told me it'll be a 2-3 step process, but he said it should only be one and has emailed her and told her to waive the fee!

I'm happy with how it was handled and will be checking regularly in case this happens again. I'm not happy with being charged the extra interest for their stuff up though.

Let's hope the rest of it goes smoothly!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Small things we're doing to save money

In our household, winter is usually a very expensive season with the extra costs of convenience appliances and comfort food. It usually means heaters, electric blankets, long hot showers, solar water booster (when it doesn't get hot enough we need to switch the booster on) dryers etc.

So I'm writing a post on what we've been doing or going to do to save some money and help out the environment also.

  • Eat red meat 3 nights a week - Surprisingly this was my steak lovin' husbands idea
  • No/limited heater usage - We're putting on extra layers, plus investing in extra blankets. My brother and his fiance were so kind to buy our kids dressing gowns (they all had there own already but were fast outgrowing them). We've had some pretty cold days/nights but haven't had any complaints about anyone being cold as yet. 
  • Close doors by 3pm to keep in the warmth.
  • No/limited dryer usage - Unless it's absolutely necessary, line dry or rack dry does the job
  • Cut down on disposables - we use 4 disposables per day. 1 at nap time and bedtime for each of the boys. The other nappy changes are all cloth. We have just purchased a bulk lot of MCN's, including night nappies, so if they work well for the boys, we will be making the switch to full time cloth use.
  • Avoid hot water booster where possible - If our solar water hasn't heated up enough by my kids bath time, I'll either sponge them down if they've had a clean play day, or boil some water and pour in the bath. Most of the time though, there's enough hot water for the kids bath. Hubby and I have very quick showers.
  • My husband showers at work as much as possible.
  • Combining errands to save on fuel.
  • Bulk cook/stretch meals to save electricity - I'm very new to this as usually if I bulk cook it tends to get eaten straight away, but we're being good now :)
  • Don't over indulge - We have to make it last, otherwise we go without.
  • Switching to fortnightly (eventually monthly) shop - save fuel and wasted groceries.
  • Drink cordial or water - juice and soft drinks (soda's) are a treat in our house.
  • Keep filled drink bottles and snacks on hand.
  • Bake as much as possible.
  • Check out Ebay/Gumtree or op shops first.
  • Using dishwasher after 10pm when it's cheaper.
  • DIY as much as possible - my husband completely renovated our bathroom himself and saved a minimum of $8000.
  • Organise/declutter
  • Plan ahead - this is a goldie

When we were really struggling financially, we HAD to do these things in order to survive, but now I'm finding it fun to cut back as much as possible - it's like a game to me now :)

Update on To Do list

I'm very pleased with the results of my to do list. It just goes to show, if you have a long hard think about what's really important and what really needs to be done, set yourself a date in which to do by and apply yourself, you really can do wonders.

Here's what was on my list -
  • Mr 1's Xray

  • Mr 1's Dr's appt

  • Claim for expenses

  • Register cat

  • Baby Shower invites

  • Actions -
    • Monday night I made a start on my expenses claim. I've been needing to do this for a few months now, with quite a bit to claim, so I knew this would take some time.
    • On Tuesday my Husband took our son to have his Xray while I went across the rd to Aldi to do some grocery shopping. We then went to the Council to register the cat, then went back home. Later that day I wrote out the rest of the invitations and addressed them all. I also finished and checked the rough draft of the claim.
    • Today I typed up the claim and emailed it to the Case Manager, the invitations have been posted and Hubby took bub to the Dr's but he was overbooked (even though he doesn't take bookings, just an overload of patients today), so he will take him back tomorrow morning.
    I cannot even begin to explain the weight that has been lifted off my shoulders :)

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    To do list

    This is my 'important' to do list that I mentioned in my last post. They are in order of importance. I'm aiming to have these done by Saturday.
    • Mr 1's Xray - asap
    • Mr 1's Dr's appt - Wednesday once we've received Xray results
    • Claim for expenses - asap
    • Register cat -  have to do by the start of June, so sometime this week
    • Baby Shower invites - it's in a month, so asap
    They're the things that have to get done this week, and I know if I don't focus on these, they won't get done, apart from the medical ones of course.

    My Plan

    Xray -
    Either my husband or I will take our son for the Xray first thing today.

    Dr's appt -
    My husband will take our son on Wednesday, as he needs his 2nd shot and he's a strong boy, I can't hold him down.

    Claim for expenses -
    I have started the expenses claim, so hopefully I'll have that finished and sent off by Wednesday (even earlier would be good)

    Register Cat -
    I have received the letter saying to register her by early June, so sometime this week, maybe after I take bub for his Xray.

    Baby Shower invites -
    Have already given some out, but will write some more up and send them out. I was putting this off, as I always put so much time and effort into making my own invitations, but my sister gave me a pad of invites she had leftover from her baby shower 6 yrs ago. As much as I wanted to make my own, I was so appreciative of the offer, as I really don't have time to make them like I usually do, and also I'm using something that would have otherwise been wasted. So it's a win win :)

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Rocks in a Jar analogy

    During the month of May, I chose to learn about and put into practice, Time Management. A lot of which is common sense, but one thing that really stood out was the Rock in a Jar analogy.

    Basically it's regarding the things on your to do list. Most people tend to put off the bigger or more time consuming task for many reasons/excuses (I am one of those people). Whether it's because there's so many other things on the list that 'need' to be done, or you go to start the big task and the phone rings or some one pops over, or what ever other 'interruption' happens to come your way.

    Which brings me to the rocks.

    In a middle of a seminar, a professor pulled out a jar and filled it with rocks, to which he asked his class if it was full. They replied yes.

    He pulled out some gravel and poured it into the jar. Again he asked his class if it was full. By now they'd caught on and replied probably not.

    He then pulled out some sand and poured it in the jar. Is it full? They replied no.

    He then poured water into the jar until it reached the top.

    There is method in his madness.

    If the Jar is filled with all the little bits first, like the gravel, the sand and the water, there is no way you'd be able to fit the big rocks in.

    The rocks represent the important things in our lives. If you keep trying to do the not so important tasks and putting off the bigger ones, they'll never get done.

    This theory really hit home yesterday when I was playing in the dirt with the kids. I had one of the kids buckets and was picking out the clay rocks in the dirt and placed them in the bucket. I knew I could fit more in and started filling the gaps with smaller clumps and dirt. I had a flash back to the article I read.

    I saw first hand how everything fit nicely when the bigger rocks were placed first. I pictured my to do list, with each rock representing the more important tasks, and all the little rocks representing all other things. It got me thinking about how I really need to take a good long look at my to do list and start focusing on the things I 'never have time for' such as my expenses claim I've been needing to do since July last year. I don't know if I'm still able to claim it, or if it's too late, but I've made a start on it and we'll see what happens. If it gets declined then that'll really change my thinking, because as a result of me putting this task off, I would've lost money which is rightfully mine. So here's hoping it gets accepted lol :)

    I will be posting a to do list focusing on things that NEED to get done, such as my sons Xray, Registering the cat etc, and not focusing on housework.

    Once these tasks are done, I know I will feel like a load has been taken off, as I think about that claim EVERY day.

    You can read the full article here

    Getting things done - Without really realising it

    As you know, I've posted a list of things I want to get done before baby arrives, which you can read here. One thing that we've meaning to do for a while is painting the doors and architraves.

    We made a start on the painting on Thursday and each day we've been doing a little bit more. I gave up on the painting after a while, as the constant bending was starting to get to me, so I decided to spend my weekend outside with the kids.

    I did the basic stuff around the house, washing, dishes etc. and the rest I spent with the kids. After a while I found myself getting fidgety and eager to do something, so I started weeding. This was something that desperately needed doing, and as the ground was soft, it's something I could do sitting down and with little effort (I posted about my pregnancy scare last week, you can read it here). There's still a bit of weeding to be done but it's looking so much better now.

    After a while the kids wanted to go out the front/Driveway where Daddy was painting the doors, so off we all went. But again I started getting fidgety. Since I've been on this organising mission I can't just sit there and relax. I'm constantly looking around at what needs to be done and what I could be doing. So I told the kids to grab the buckets and spades and help mummy shift some dirt (We have 2 piles of dirt out the front from when we excavated the backyard that we're using to level out the front)

    I grabbed a couple of buckets and we all started filling them up. This was perfect. We were spending time and interacting with each other, the kids were having a blast, and we were doing something that needs to be done.

    The kids loved filling up the buckets and spreading the dirt where it needed to be put. Hubby wouldn't let me pick mine up so he carried them for me which was sweet.

    We didn't get much done, probably about 7 big bucket loads (The piles are about 3m long 1.5 m high and about 1-1.5m wide each), but the way I look at it, one bucket load is one less we need to do.

    We were all so tired as we've had a busy week, even hubby was tired and he's a battler who never gives up lol, so we went inside for lunch and crashed on the lounge with a DVD :)

    So for a weekend where I was meant to be relaxing and taking it easy, I got a whole lot done while I was sitting down. The added bonus - I spent the whole time with the kids :)

    It was so good to come back inside to a tidy house, esp. seeing as though we'd only done the bare basics inside. It just goes to show how organising/decluterring really improves ones life :)

     - I haven't been able to get on the computer as much recently, so I haven't been able to update as often, but I'm hoping to get a couple more posts done today and throughout the week.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Pregnancy update

    I've had a little scare this week, as the other day I had some spotting (sorry for TMI) and some contractions. They weren't regular, but enough to make me uncomfortable. I decided to keep an eye on it.

    The same thing happened the next day, more spotting and contractions. I also felt really strange. I rang the hospital, more so for advice. I knew bub was OK cause I could feel him moving around, plus I have a Fetal Heart Monitor (Doppler) so if I get worried, I check his heart beat. Because of my history of prem labour and birth, they wanted me to go in. Unfortunately this wasn't possible as my husband was still at work and no one was available to look after the kids. I went to bed.

    I havn't had anymore bleeding, but I'm still having fairly strong contractions (not regular). I'm keeping an eye on it, and if it worsens, becomes regular, or I start bleeding again I will go straight to the hospital. Otherwise I will let my Dr know at my next appt.

    I'm worried for obvious reasons, esp. seeing as though I'm only 24 weeks (25 tomorrow) but I'm thankful that I've made it past 24 weeks, cause if something does happen (god forbid), I know there is a chance then if I was 23 weeks or less.

    We have been so busy with appts, general living, and trying to get as much done around the house before baby arrives (such as painting), plus trying to keep up with my decluttering and organising, so today while the kids are at pre school I went to a nice lunch at the pub with my parents, my sister and my little feller, and now I'm taking it easy before I pick the older kidlets up.

    I'm sure it's my body's way of telling me to slow down.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Total Chaos Recovery

    In my last post I mentioned my Total Chaos Recovery (TCR). I was having one of those days where I felt like sitting in front of the TV eating chocolate, or lazying about in the warm sun...hmm nice to dream but I had to get back to reality. My house was a mess!

    I looked around at the mess that had accrued over the past 3 days and just wished I could close my eyes and it'll disappear... unfortunately that didn't work lol.

    So this is what I did:

    Had a drink - Yep I had a drink. This freshened me up a bit and gave me a bit of energy for the daunting task.

    Put a load of washing on - I usually do a load or two a day to keep the pile down, but it's amazing when you miss a day or two how it seems to EXPLODE.

    Went around and picked up any/all rubbish.

    Straightened up all the obvious messes - Such as folding up my lovely big tiger blanket which seems to take up the whole lounge (DH hates it lol) :) putting kids table and chairs back where they belong. Folded and put away clothes.

    Quick vac with handheld.

    Spent a few minutes tidying smaller messes - Such as kids toys/books etc

    All up this only took 30-40 minutes. I didn't spend time decluttering or deep cleaning, I was focused on getting the house back to a state of order, and I did :) I was so happy with it I decided to give it a name lol.

    So on days when I feel like I don't want to do anything, or don't know where to begin, I'll follow these simple steps and my house will be better in no time :)

    There's plenty of blogs/organising sites out there with similar systems to tackle mess, but I hadn't found one which suited my house, my family and my clutter spots. Every house is different. For me it's the lounge room which seems to get the messiest, I know with my mum's house it's her bathroom, my besty's house, it's the back room/entertainment room.

    Feel free to follow my TCR whenever you may need it. You may need to tweak it to better suit yourself, but either way it should help get your house back to some sort of order :)

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Slipping back into old habits

    We've been so busy since Saturday, that all new routines that had been put into place flew straight out the window.

    Last Friday, I set myself a To Do List.

    I'm pretty happy with what I was able to get done in the time I had, as I completely forgot about Grocery Shopping, and having to walk to pick up the kids (DH had the car), so I lost almost 2 hrs of precious cleaning time (I added Grocery Shopping to the list later in the day).
    I've been really wanting to get in there and give the bathroom a good scrub, so I promised myself I'd get it done over the weekend.

    Saturday came, My Husband got called into work, and head off at 6am (I'm used to having him here in the mornings and off to work in the afternoon) People popped in and a very disobedient almost 3 yr old made it impossible to complete the task.

    Sunday came, we had a birthday party to go to which was smack bang in the middle of the day, so apart from getting up, doing the bare basics and getting everyone ready, there wasn't much time to do it in the morning. So I thought I'd do it when we got back. Well, we stayed at the party 2 hrs longer then planned (we wanted to stay for an hr but the kids were having a ball and it was a fantastic party). We got home and all had some hot chocolate and I was all ready to tackle the bathroom and my brother and his fiance showed up. They had a lot of things they wanted to sort out and seeked our thoughts and opinions (They're wanting to buy a house and get married in the next couple of years). So they were here for a few hrs. Once they left I pretty much had time to get dinner, bath the kids, shower and head off to bed.

    Monday and Tuesday (today) were the same - Swimming lessons, Antenatal appts, Top up Grocery shop (hubby decided he wanted to stretch Fridays big shop over 2 weeks, but in order to do that we needed some things. Numerous phone calls to finalise things... amongst all the chaos I didn't really get my daily must do's done.

    My kids have been really clingy the past 2 days (Probably cause we've been so busy), so yesterday I took them outside for a play and they helped me weed the garden and transfer some plants. I know I could've easily got the bathroom done in that time and caught up on my daily must do's but I also need to spend time with my kids and give them plenty of options to know they're 'helping' and spending time with mummy.

    Today however, I did get more done then I expected, as along with having a busy morning, I really felt like doing nothing as I was annoyed and overwhelmed by all the mess and by how I was slipping back into old ways. This is where I came up with my 'Total Chaos Recovery' (Will add details in another post). I followed the steps in my TCR and within an hr, I was satisfied with my house.

    As that had got me in the mood, I ended up scrubbing the bath, vanity and over toilet storage, and now all I have left to do in the bathroom, is to clean the mirror, shower screen, vac and mop the floor. HOPEFULLY I can do that tomorrow :)

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    To do list - Friday 13th May 2011

    Tomorrow the older kidlets will be at school, the hubby starts work a little earlier, so it'll just be me and the bub.

    I like to have Friday as my deep cleaning day, but as it's my only day with the one bub I like to go visit family or friends, or like the last couple of weeks, go op shopping.

    But last night got me thinking. If I do go into labour early again like the hospital have warned me they are expecting me to, then there's 12 weeks until he's here. I personally think I'll have a full term pregnancy, but I was caught off guard last year, I didn't even have a cot (1 broke the other is still being used, both were 2nd hand), his room wasn't prepared, clothes weren't soaked... So this time I want to be as prepared as can be.

    Which leads me to my to do list for tomorrow. I know if I don't have something to keep me on track, I'll end up not doing the house work. So here it is: (I'll add a thing or two out of my before baby to do list)

    • Wash boys sheets
    • Make beds
    • Load of washing
    • General tidy
    • Vac'n all but main bedroom
    • Mopping
    • Deep clean bathroom - scrubbed shower and wall tiles so far
    • Continue with 21 Day challenge - Filing (been doing a bit each day so I'm not overwhelmed)
    • Finish dusting walls and roof in main bedroom.
    • Dust and clean fan in main bedroom 
    • Take time out for myself and bub
    • Vac laundry
    • Separate meat into meal portions and freeze done what I could, ran out of room in the freezer lol
    • Fold any/all loads of washing
    • Put away washing
    • Cook dinner
    • Kmart to pay layby - postponed, too tired
    • Sweep back porch
    • Grocery Shopping
    I could add 1000 more things to the list but I best leave it at that and I'll add more if I have time to do more, but I highly doubt it.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Quick Tidy - Utensils Drawer

    I'd often open my utensil drawer and wonder what on earth I was going to do in there... I really wanted one of those drawer organisers but wasn't going to pay the price.

    I tidied it a few times and it would always end up a mess again. It was driving me bonkers. I really needed a system in there... Then I remembered my old dish rack and cutlery holder that I had put away for the garage sale. I grabbed them out, checked to see if they'd fit and to my delight they did :)

    I washed the dish rack and cutlery holder in hot soapy water and let them dry.

    I pulled everything out of the drawer and sorted through it all. I vac'd up all the crumbs with my handheld and gave it a good wipe over.

    I placed the organisers in there and arranged the utensils nicely in them.

    Here's the pics:

    I love it even more because I've reused something I already had instead of buying something new :)

    My nice, organised drawer was short lived as Mr 1 decided he'd go in there and pull out all my wooden spoons and play drums... lol... I don't mind, it kept him out of other mischief :)

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Organising Journey Recap

    When I first started this Blog back in March, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the state of our finances, overwhelmed by the state of the house and overwhelmed by my kids.

    I had recently quit my job, which for so long I used as an 'escape' from my crazy household. It was an escape from the mess, an escape from the kids and an escape from any responsibility I was to be faced with at home.

    When we made the decision for me to stay home, it was like I was thrown in the deep end. I could no longer 'escape'. I had to learn to deal with it. But I was more then happy to learn.

    I signed up to countless organising sites, newsletters and blogs. All of which inspired me to start my own blog to keep an online 'journal' of my organising journey.

    Looking back to before I started this Blog, the area in which I've noticed the best improvement is with our finances. Thanks to a payout, selling the second car and being smarter with our money, we've paid off over $10000 in debt this year, and I'm hoping to double that amount by the end of the year. We've tried budgeting, but have always blown them. For the past couple of weeks, we're finally starting to stick to one.
    I can't wait to get a set budget in place after we refinance our mortgage next month. The money we save from that will be paid into the car loan, which we're aiming to pay off next year.

    The next area would be the house. I've been following a few organising challenges, plus also doing a few of my own along the way. I've taken countless bags of stuff to the Op Shop, with many more in the garage, and two more I filled today to be donated. I can't believe where we stored it all before. I remember my husband and I discussing getting built in wardrobes for the kids rooms because the cupboards were overflowing. Well thanks to the decluttering, we've saved ourselves at least $1500 simply by decluttering.

    I've definitely noticed an improvement with the family. I've got time to spend with the kids, not only to play, make, do etc but also to do 'home work'. I stocked up on sticker work books when they were half price at Big W. Adding, subtracting and some others. My daughter loves to do these. She'd do them all day if she could. I don't know where she got her love of maths from, certainly not me lol. My kids are so much more happier and healthier, as now I have the time to make nutritious meals, and make sure they eat them.

    I didn't do much at all in terms of housework today, apart from the 'must do's'. I spent it with the kids. Miss 4, Mr almost 3 (In July :)) and myself did some baking. We made Choc banana loaf (was supposed to be muffins but they wanted it in the loaf pan :)), Chocolate cup cakes and Chocolate muffins. They were so happy especially Mr 3. I could spend all day with my kids. I love seeing them bring their imaginations to life. They fascinate me.

    My husband and I have always had a great relationship, but things weren't the best while we were both working. We'd only see each other in passing. I'd get up at 5am. He'd head off to work at 3pm. I'd finish at 4pm. We'd see each other on days off or if we woke up during the night. That was pretty much it. We have so much more time for each other now. We make time once the kids have gone to bed, to have a couple of movie nights throughout the week. It feels so good to know we can now set aside time to spend with each other.

    I'm happy with how far we've come since starting this journey and can't wait to see if/how things improve in the future.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    I Love Op Shops

    I'm fast becoming addicted to Op Shopping (Thrift Stores). I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing... lol

    Normally I might go Op Shopping 3-4 times a year, sometimes if that. Not because I'm opposed to it, but mainly because I never thought of it when I was working outside the home. If I needed to get something I just got it while I was out.

    This year though, I've probably been about 5-6 times, maybe even more. The past 2 Fridays, I've dropped the older kidlets at preschool, went grocery shopping (this week I spent $24.57 woohoo), Went back home, did some house work, dropped Hubby down mums (he borrows my dads car for work on Fridays), then Mum, Mr 1 and myself go up the 2nd Hand Store.

    Last week I thought I did good with the amount I got for the $10 I spent (best buy was a pair on industrie pants for myself for .50c).

    This week I did even better. I did spend more then last week, total being $18, but I got quite a bit:
    • Barbie Quilt Cover set - $3
    • Flannelette Car print Sheet set - $3 (barely used, and the pillow case looks brand new)
    • Rain Coat sz 5
    • Baby Blanket - $1 (I have many baby blankets, but this one's nice and big and perfect for the cot)
    • Girls pants sz 5
    • Hi 5 Girls 3/4 pants sz 5
    • Girls Target shorts sz 5
    • Girls MK mini shorts sz 5
    • Target Dora skirt sz 5
    • Girls long sleeve shirt sz 5
    • Girls Tweety jumper looks around a sz 6-7
    • Girls Cotton Long sleeve/pants PJ set sz 6
    • Girls 2pc Lizzie Mcguire skirt ad singlet set sz 10 (looks about an 8 though)
    • Mango Girl Denim shorts sz 10
    • Supre denim shorts xxs
    • Boys Urban Culture long sleeve top sz 5
    • Boys World Industries Top sz 7
    • Crossroads top not sure what sz maybe a 10-12
    • Nice Blue/Aqua material Place mat which I'll use to store my centrepiece on the kitchen table :)
    Most things being 50c.

    Apart from a couple of going out clothes for my daughter for winter next year, I am done with next years winter stuff for the family :) Who knows, maybe she'll still fit into this years stuff.

    I spent almost $300 at Target on Miss 4's winter stuff for last yr (and this yr as I buy clothes a sz bigger to get more wear), and to be honest I didn't bring much home for that price.

    I get the majority of the boys stuff off my sister, as her son is a couple of years older then my boys, and my sister goes crazy buying kids clothes so most of the stuff is in perfect, barely worn condition. I don't mind, I'm getting almost new/new stuff for a fraction of the price hehehe :)

    I do still buy some new stuff for them, as it's always nice to have some new stuff, plus I can't resist when I see motor bike, dinosaurs or pirates when it comes to my son. He LOVES them lol :)

    Anyways, here's a couple of pics of my purchase today.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011


    I have been tracking my daily routine, and jotting it down every hour, for the last few days. I've already noticed where the "Time Wasters" are, and each day have noticed I slight change (for the better) in my routine, not only because it's a new day, but because I'm aware of my actions, and where I wan't to improve things.

    The main areas in which need improving are as follows:
    • Go to bed earlier and/or get up earlier - I'm trying, I really really am :)
    • Watch less TV - Done! As long as I watch Home and Away I'm happy lol
    • Cut down Computer time - This is hard, but I have limited my computer time.
    • Leave the Mobile alone - Done! My bill was $16 higher then expected, so this ones easy to do.
    • Priotitise - Still Learning.
    • Lower my standards - I noticed a lot of my time was spent constantly cleaning/tidying, even though I'd already done a before bed tidy, plus a morning tidy.
    • Baking - I love it, but it was hard to find time, and/or I made excuses, so now I whip up something while dinners cooking. I get double the result, and less time wasted.
    There's a few other issues, like washing, weeding etc, but I figure this all comes down to getting up earlier. As with today I got up at 7.30 (early for me) and I was able to do 3 loads, 2 dried, 1 was still a little damp because it was hung out later, and I got a fair bit of weeding done too. Made a nice Potato Bake for dinner, plus some biscuits and a carrot cake, which to my horror I ran out of butter and coudn't make the icing :( lol

    (Sorry if this is a bit over the place, I'm doing some Maths with Miss 4)

     I've even had time to spend with the kids properly, and do some work with Miss 4, like Maths or Reading.

    I am very happy with how things are turning out, and I already feel so much more at ease, and definitely do not feel so overwhelmed like I did before.

    21 Day Challenge - Day 16 The Fridge

    Day 16 of A Bowl full of Lemon's 21 Day Challenge, is the Fridge.

    WARNING: These before pics are horrid, and I almost wasn't going to post them, but I need to, to keep myself accountable...

    Everything was removed. I purged everything that was out of date or just gross (like the lettuce yuck).
    I pulled it all apart and scrubbed everything with hot soapy water.
    Everything was returned neatly, and here's the end result :)

                            It makes me smile every time I open the door :)


    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    21 Day Challenge - Day 15 Medicine/Vitamin Storage

    Day 15 of A Bowl full of Lemon's 21 Day Challenge is the Medicine/Vitamin Storage.

    Both the meds and vitamins are stored in the medicine cupboard which was done recently, so I decided to do the last of the bathroom drawers which needed some love.

    This was a very quick job as the drawer is tiny, but it has definitely made a difference.

    Here's the before pic:

    Some store had a sale on toothbrushes for a dollar so I stocked up :)

    I took everything out, gave it a good clean, relocated my breast pads to my bedroom, Through out old razors and all other rubbish, Removed things that definitely weren't meant to be in there, such as
    • a paint scraper
    • an Alan key
    • a screw
    • and some other weird thing
    The husband tends to leaves his stuff EVERYWHERE.

    Everything was returned neatly and here's how it looks now:

    I'm starting to really feel the difference in our house now :)

    21 Day Challenge - Day 14 Under Bathroom Sink

    Day 14 of A Bowl full of Lemon's 21 Day Challenge is under the bathroom sink.

    This also was done not long ago, and even though it's messy, I'm surprised it's not worse lol.

    Here's the before pic:

    I pulled everything out, gave it a good wipe over. and sorted through everything.

    Anything not being used, out of date, empty or broken was chucked.

    (I don't really use those 3 bottles filled with red stuff, but I've had them for years and I can't bear to part with them or use them :) )

    Everything was put back neatly.

    Here's the after pic:

    I unfortunately didn't get a purge pic, but at least it looks better :)

    21 Day Challenge - Day 13 Medicine Cupboard

    Day 13 of A Bowl full of Lemon's 21 Day Challenge is the Medicine Cupboard.

    I did this cupboard not that long ago, but it's no surprise it's a mess again.

    Here's the before pic:

    Last time I organised it, I placed all cotton balls, band aids and bandages in an old wipes boxes. This has worked extremely well.

    I pulled everything out, and purged anything out of date, ripped up old forgotten about prescriptions, left out sunblocks and repellents (will be transferring to the laundry cupboard) and sorted through the many medicine cups.

    Everything was wiped over and returned neatly.

    Here's the after pic:

    And here's whats not going back in there...

    To the left is being relocated to the laundry and to the right is rubbish.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    21 Day Challenge - Day 12 Spice Cabinet

    Day 12 of A Bowl full of Lemon's 21 Day Challenge is the Spice Cabinet.

    I don't really have a spice cabinet, I have more of a spice tray so I decided to do the whole cupboard :)

    Here's the before pic:

    And the after pic:

    Wow!! I can't believe my eyes. I think out of all the challenges I've done, personally, this would have to be the best outcome. I don't know why, maybe because this cupboard always seemed hard to organise because of its mostly non related contents.

    The steriliser is out of it's box, which is top shelf up the back, as that is holding all newborn size bottles.

    Anyway enough rambling :) Here's my purge pile:

    The pile consists of:

    • Old falling apart potato box
    • Bottle steriliser (I have two, plus the dishwasher, and personally we prefer the microwave one)
    • The Steriliser box
    • 2 bottle lids (Not sure if the other one is in the pic)
    • A bag of all girlie coloured bottles
    • A small round tin which now houses my elastic bands
    • A snack oven - I think I've used this 4 times in the 6.5 yrs we've had it.