Saturday, 19 August 2017

[Organise My Home] A Kid's Toiletry Bag

Miss 2.5 loves her mini toiletry bag I created for her, so she can be just like mum & dad!

I have used a $3 Kmart zip-up bag which is waterproof on the inside. Miss 2.5 has her toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb & a mini/sample bath wash. These all fit perfectly with room to spare! We keep it in the bathroom drawers always ready to go for when we go away.

[Organise My Home] Storing Medicines

I've used this for a couple of years now, after seeing it in action on Organising the Four of Us' Facebook page. Our medicines used to be sitting in a cupboard and would constantly become messy (which is less than ideal when you need to find something quickly!)

I bought the large drawer and two small drawers from Kmart for $10 each. The top drawer has bandaids and cream, the second drawer has items for colds and headaches and the large drawer is for kids. They are stored up high at the very top of our pantry cupboard in our laundry.

If I ever have too many items, I usually use that dilemma as a good excuse to go through each item in the drawers and get rid of any that are out-of-date or that we don't need or use anymore.

[Organise My Home] Storing Batteries

I've had this little pink container with lid for a couple of years now and it's one system that still works perfectly for us. It was about $3 from a cheap shop, and is the perfect size for storing all the different batteries we need (for kids toys, remotes, my digital kitchen scales etc.) as well as removable hooks, picture hooks, mini screwdrivers, child locks - the possibilities are endless!

I store it with my recipe books in a cupboard in the kitchen (my girls can't open this cupboard, or the container) so it is always accessible.

[Organise My Home] Storing Puzzles

I like to store puzzles in clear A4 document wallets.

We found these at Big W, but I have also spotted them at Kmart, The Reject Shop, supermarkets and office supply places. I think ours were about $5 for a pack of 5.

Miss 2.5 can open and close them herself, and understands that each puzzle needs to stay together and be returned to a document wallet. They stack nicely on a shelf in the built-in in their bedroom, so they are easily accessible too!

The puzzles were all from Big W, Kmart and The Reject Shop for between $3 and $7 each.

My Winter Wardrobe

For winter this year, as I wore an outfit, I took a photo and saved it in my phone. I wouldn't say that I have a capsule wardrobe as such (still working on it) but the 18 outfits here were basically my winter wardrobe! The jeans all look the same in these pics but I have a black pair, a navy pair, a denim pair, a beige pair and a blue pair (and I'm wearing tights in the one with navy & white striped dress).

It worked really well and all I had to do was look at these photos each day to see what I wanted to wear. The rest went to charity and the only things I've kept that aren't shown are shirts/tops/singlets that go underneath jumpers (photo below), my teaching sports day hoodies/jackets and some big jackets for when it gets very cold (these are stored on one side of the built-in's in the girl's room). I'm slowly trying to cull my scarves too (they are my main accessory in winter) - I'm down to approx. 15 from far more than that!

I'd like to do the same for summer too. It's really been a blessing in disguise going from a very big built-in wardrobe at our last place to a small one at the rental we are in now, because it's forced me to re-evaluate the amount of clothing I have.  

This is my side of the built-in, and Brendan's is identical on the other side. Up the top in the white tub are presents I collect throughout the year when they are on special. The pink tub is for spare coat hangers, as I work out how many I'll ultimately need.

On the top shelf are my winter jumpers.
On the next shelf down are two baskets with my underwear and socks.
The next shelf down are my house clothes, and a basket of hot water bottles and wheat bags.
The next shelf down are my tights and track pants, and items like old clothes for painting/hair dying at home etc.
On the bottom shelf are shorts & skirts.

The hanging clothes are cardigans, summer tops/shirts and long pants.
In the removable shelves underneath are my winter, and then summer pyjamas.

In the middle drawer of my bedside table, I have attempted to fold my singlets (for under clothes in winter) using the 'KonMari' method so that I can see everything. The tops of the side are 3/4 length tops for under clothes.

In the bottom drawer, are my long-sleeve shirts for under clothes in winter and my belts.

I am getting better at giving clothes to charity if I don't love them, if they don't fit well or they don't serve a purpose. There are a few ways to get started in culling clothes (ideas from Organising the Four of Us on Facebook):

 - Each week choose 5 things you will donate or chuck (if it's not able to be donated)

 - Choose only 33 items for each season (not including underwear, socks, pj's or activewear)

 - Turn your coat hangers around after you wear something, and after 6 months, whichever coat hangers remain the right way, donate!

 - Use the 4-pile strategy: keep, donate, unsure and chuck. Place the unsure pile into a box, and if you still don't miss the items after 3 months, donate them! This would be my strategy of choice.

I can't wait until I'm 100% happy with how I store my clothes, and what clothes I have. It's definitely an ongoing process!

12 tips for when you are are feeling sick

I've been quite sick this past week, not only vomiting but feeling so dizzy and weak that I can't lift my head off the pillow for very long. It was horrible, but all I could do was lay in bed all day, and get up when I felt ok. I was thankful the worst of it was on the weekend so that hubby was home to look after the girls. 

Meanwhile, the house got really trashed. But there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I think the only thing I did well was to try and keep eating small things occasionally, just so that I didn't feel sicker than I already did. 

I decided to research a few tips of how we can try and maintain the house if we get sick (or if we have to look after a loved one who is sick), and some tips to make us feel a little better (even when nothing seems to work!) 

  • Learn to let it go: This is exactly what I had to do over the weekend. I knew the dizziness and headaches wouldn't last forever, so I just let the house be messy. It will always be there waiting for me when I'm well. Easier said than done, but I didn't have a choice!
  • Enter 'survival mode' for dinners: It's perfectly ok to eat toast and cereal for dinner when you or your kids are sick. If you or your kids get sick often, consider making double batches of meals and freezing them, or cooking up freezer meals for when you can't cook.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help: I'm terrible at asking for help! But sometimes you just have to. I know I never mind doing things for friends when they ask. This could be popping down to the supermarket or the chemist to grab something, looking after their kids while they sleep, or helping out around the house. 
  • Get the kids involved: If you have older kids, get them to help with preparing meals, entertaining any younger kids, or just picking up mess. Even my 2.5 year old knows how to tidy up her toys, and understands when Mummy is sick that she needs to help a little. 
  • Clean up for 5 mins when you feel ok: Try and chuck on a load of washing, and don't worry if you don't feel up to hanging it on the line, just chuck it in the dryer. Clothes don't need to be folded and put away, just clean. Or attempt to wash up and pack the dishwasher and turn it on - this doesn't mean a full kitchen clean, but at least you will have clean dishes to eat from.
  • Keep eating as well as you can (food, water & vitamins): They say to starve a fever and feed a cold, but it honestly depends how you feel. Anything I ate on Saturday, I couldn't keep down. I found plain things like vegemite toast, chicken soup and dry crackers stayed down quite well though and made me feel better. Drink plenty of water and don't forget your multi-vitamins. 
  • Fresh air & sunshine: If you feel up to it, get out in the fresh air and sunshine (vitamin D is so good for you, especially when you are sick!) but if you can't venture outside, open the blinds and the window and let some fresh air in. 
  • Have a shower and put on some fresh pyjamas or clothes: How good does it feel after being stuck in bed all day to have a shower and chuck on some clean clothes? It's ironic wearing pj's all day and then changing into new ones just for bedtime, but it does make you feel better!
  • Fresh bedding: If you feel up to it, change your bedding too. I like to wait until the sickness has passed to change my sheets, but even just a fresh pillowcase can make a world of difference. 
  • Try some essential oils: Diffusing a yummy smelling essential oil might make all the difference to your mood, and lots of essential oils have healing properties too. I love lemon, and lavender. Easy Air (from DoTerra) is supposed to be brilliant if you have the flu. 
  • Head to the doctor: If you are still not well in a certain amount of time, or you are getting worse, it might be a good idea to get a professional opinion and some medication. Keep a note of your symptoms and keep track of when and how much of your medication you are having. 
  • Know that it won't last forever! Hang onto the fact that if you are normally well, then the sickness shouldn't hang around forever, and you will (hopefully!) wake up one day and feel good again! 

Hopefully some of these tips help next time you are unwell! 

[Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or have any qualifications to give medical advice, nor am I trying to. I just collated a few tips that helped when I was sick, and thought I'd share them with you. Always seek medical advice from a professional]. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Making dinner time easier!

How do you simplify dinner time, especially when the afternoon and evening can be such a hectic time for us and our kids? 🍝 

Here's a few tips that work for us: 
🍴 Meal plan: write out all the meals you plan to have for the week, then list all the ingredients and shop from your list. Get your family involved and ask them what meals they would like, or make a list of 31 meals and choose the number meal that corresponds with the date that day (eg. 1 = Spag Bol = 1st of the month)

🍴 Have themed nights each week, eg: - Meatless Monday: eg. quiche
- Taco Tuesday: mexican, eg. Burritos 
- Wordly Wednesday: international dishes, eg. Thai chicken cashew stir fry 
- Try-out Thursday: a new recipe 
- Fun Friday: eg. Pizza, burgers 
- Slow-cooker Saturday: eg. Corned beef 
- Serve-yourself Sunday: get your own meal! 
(For more ideas and different names for each day of the week, check out a blog post I wrote last year click here

🍴 Use your slow-cooker: this can be helpful if you are working all day and have commitments in the afternoon - how nice is it to come home and dinner is ready? 

🍴 Freezer meals: Cook a double-batch of dinner where you can and freeze. Something I always do is make a double lot of rissoles, and then we can use them for burgers the new day. Once a week or once a month set aside a day for a big cook-up of freezer meals, or get some friends involved and each cook a freezer meal and share! 

🍴 If you are bored or stuck for ideas, choose a receipe book and cook your way through it. We are doing this at the moment and it's been fun trying out new meals, and it takes all the guesswork out of what to have for dinner!

🍴 If there is a time during the day that is less hectic for you, prepare as much for dinner as you can, eg. chop the veggies/salad, or if it's something like a lasagna, you could prepare and cook ahead of time. This will save you when 5/6pm rolls around! 

🍴 Save time where you can: buy frozen veggies, pre-cut veggies & salad items, use your microwave & choose to have salad instead of veg if you need to get a meal on the table quickly. If it helps and you can afford it, consider companies who make meals for you and deliver to your door, eg. Lite n Easy. 

🍴 To help with the actual eating part of your evening: keep to a routine so the kids know exactly when they will be eating. Get the kids to set the table (if they are old enough - this will save you some time!) Sit at the table and eat as a family, with no distractions such as TV, and encourage conversation, while role modelling appropriate dinner behaviour. We love our family dinner times! 

More helpful past blog posts: click here and here.

Do you have any extra tips that work well for your family? 🥗