Sunday, February 17, 2019

Around here

Around her I am managing to keep our veggies alive and I've planted some corn hoping that it's not too late in the season for it to grow.  Sienna went on Music Camp for four days down to NSW and had a great time.  I'm so over this heat and we have another week of 30 something degrees this week which is crazy.

We also bought some wool to crochet a beanie for winter as I wanted to get crafty and while the pattern seemed basic I had to pull out my 2nd row 3 times however I've now got it sorted and am on my way.  I have never done any crochet into the back of the stitch before so this is new for me and not all that easy to be honest however, I'm past those first few rows so now have something to hang on to when crocheting.  Here's a few pics for you. sourdough starter...a non event..back to the drawing board on that one.

Off to Music Camp for four days.

These kids of mine are growing fast.

Pancakes for breakfast, yum yum..

Our beautiful little bird Ricky who says "Ricky who's a good boy"

My sisters bird who comes and stays when she is travelling.

My flower pots.

This plant was nearly dead just before Christmas and I brought it back to life.

Finally managed to get some of this as Bunnings do not sell this particular one.  It was recommended by Stay Home Instead.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Around here

Around here it's back to school week with one starting today in Grade 10 and the other staring in Grade 8 tomorrow.  I remember the first day of school last year and couldn't believe my youngest was starting High School and my oldest was going into his 3rd year of High School.

On the tidying up front, I spent a morning sorting out our linen cupboard and was so happy with the end result.  These things seem to get forgotten and one year they are tidy and the next they are a mess.  So happy with the result of my mornings effort.  How are you going with your Marie Kondo method of decluttering your house.  It's an ongoing process and I tackle it in waves of what feels more urgent than something else.

The veggie garden is going well and I have been watering it every morning and making it part of my morning routine with coffee in hand.  Some days I water in the afternoon as well with this Brisbane heat.  Next will be weeding the 2nd veggie bed so we can put the new veggie box on top.  As it's in the sun the best time to do this is after 4 pm in the afternoon as it's in the shade and cooler then.

I just found out today that Paul West of River Cottage Australia fame has a new show on the ABC starting tonight on Catalyst about families learning to have bee hives. Some in the city and some in the country I'm going to love this.

One of my goals his year is to really focus on learning how to make Sourdough Bread.  I've had a couple of goes at it but not that successful.  I follow Celia from Fig Tree & Lime Cordial blog as she has all the Sourdough tips and tricks including photos and some videos.  I have some of her dried starter which is called Priscilla which is 10 years old and I am bringing it back to life.  Just take a look at her recipe list under "Bread" and you'll see what I mean.  I am finally getting to read this book which Celia recommended.  In fact, Celia had sent Emilie some dried "Priscilla" starter and that's how Emilie got into Sourdough Bread reading Celia's blog and got so good at it she wrote a book to share her knowledge.  The book is designed for the home baker so basically you and I.  The book has great instructions, pictures and lots of different recipes sweet and savory.  I can highly recommend it.

Currently I am bringing "Priscilla" back to life and then we will rename our starter.  It took us long enough to agree on a name for our new budgie so not sure how we will go with a name for our starter.  Still, I really want to persist with making Sourdough Bread this year and love it as much as a store bought one that you pay $6 for [Aldi has them for $3.50] but an Artisan loaf I'm talking about will set you back $6-$8.  I have my enamel bake roasting pan that Celia suggests and I have a Banneton proving dish  [you don't rally need this however I bought it a little while ago as a treat] so I'm ready to go.  This is Celia's instructions on making Sourdough.

So here's some pics of what's been happening with us.

Sienna and her homemade scones she baked for morning tea.

Sienna sewed a new pencil case for school which had sausage dogs on it.

We love this burrito bowl for dinner.

Bringing the sourdough starter called "Priscilla"back to life from Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.

Evening sunset in our backyard.

Keeping this beautiful plant watered and it is thriving.

Our lettuces are starting to grow.

Breakfast smoothie bowl.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Around Here

Around here we have been enjoying the school holidays, lazy days where you don't get out of your pj's until lunch time, watching movies and hanging out at home.  We also went on a BBQ and bush walk in the Rainforest which was lovely on a hot day as it was cooler up the mountain.

I'm still going strong on my decluttering the house bit by bit and yesterday tackled the linen cupboard.  It was overflowing and disorganized so I got stuck into that and it looks and feels amazing.  It is so true that when you look at an organized space you feel calm and when you look at a disorganized space you feel stress.

We also go into the garden to replace our broken veggie boxes with new colourbond ones from Bunnings.  The wooden boxes have been in the garden for 7.5 years and have fallen apart so it was time to upgrade and get this sorted.  I bought the "Birdies" brand and the one I got is called "6 in 1" for $89.  It wasn't listed on their website however it was in the store.  It is extremely well packaged and comes in a relatively small compact box compared to some of the others.  You can make 6 different shapes with this so it's very versatile.  My original wooden boxes which I also got from Bunnings were 1200 x 1200 and they still sell these. 

The new boxes are 1200 x 900 so I had to do a bit of maneuvering with the dirt on one side so I could place it back on top of the original spot. I need to weed and get rid of the 2nd wooden box now.  Sienna did a great job putting these together which comes with all the screws, nuts and a little spanner to tighten them up.  I'm  determined to get my veggies growing this year as it's such a feel good thing and the food is amazing straight from the garden so I'm very excited about sorting this out.  Here's lots of photos of what's been happening around here.

New veggie garden box planted with oregano, butterhead lettuce, spring onions and iceberg lettuce.

Fish Tacos on the BBQ.

Under my kitchen sink aka Marie Kondo style.

Making Gingerbread men for morning tea using this recipe.

Sunday morning we rode our bikes to the local cafe for our end of school holiday breakfast.

My breakfast.

James had the big breaky.

Sienna had the hotcakes.

Amazing food and enjoyed listening to the birds while we ate breakfast.

Breakfast with my could he be 15 already.

We love using BBQ's that use wood.

I love light and shadow pics.

The kids in the middle of the Rain Forest.

Fallen logs.

Finished the bush walk which took about 50 minutes.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Around Here

In my last post I talked about Marie Kondo and what I was doing to declutter my house.  I don't know about you however every second person is talking about this at the moment even complete strangers.  One person I follow on Instagram had taken some things to a local charity shop and there was a Brisbane City Council person outside with a clipboard doing a survey asking if they were decluttering as a result of Marie Kondo.

Maybe because it's school holidays when there is more time combined with a fresh new year however the charity shops in Brisbane I believe are being inundated with items as a result of Marie Kondo.  It certainly has me going though my belongings however it all started out with my sister's move and packing up her house.

The next job I tackled was the books in the house.  I have a big bookcase and also had books in my bedroom, some cookbooks above the fridge and some in a little table in the lounge room.  Thankfully a couple of months ago I tackled the little table in the lounge room sorting out books, throwing out magazines that were years old so that was already done.

I started by gathering all the books from all locations and put them on the hallway floor.  In hindsight I wouldn't put them on the floor because my back was so sore from bending over so I would recommend using the dining table which is a better height and bring all the books from all over your house and put them on the table.  Go through them one by one and then put them in a keep pile or a donate pile.  As I was keeping the books I was putting them into rough categories so when I put them back in the book shelf they were all organized.  I had money/investment books, mindful positive books, gardening and simple living and health/home cleaning etc.

I cleaned the shelves of the bookcase, moved some of the shelves up a few notches, cleaned the glass and on top of the bookshelf which required getting up on a chair, hello dust.  Once that was all clean I put the books back and it feels amazing to have it sorted and neatly back in the bookcase.

I have donated some amazing books like a 400 page hardcover Neil Perry Cookbook however as much as I love to keep it, I just don't use it or cook from it so it was into the charity box.  If there is a cookbook that I like a couple of recipes I just photocopy those recipes and send the book on it's way.  

I threw a lot of old gardening magazines out that were 7-8 years old and I could have donated those too however they were very old.  I did donate some more current ones.  We had 4 boxes of books which were dropped off on Friday and happy that they are now out of my house.  It feels so good to only have those books that I want to keep.  How is your decluttering going at your house.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Around here

In my last post I mentioned that my sister was moving house and it feels so overwhelming with just how much stuff can be packed into our units or houses particularly when you live in the one place for a long time.  I'm always trying to declutter by selling items I don't need, throwing things out and donating things to charity. It's an ongoing process and each year you need to go back to the beginning. The linen cupboard had a big declutter about a year or more ago however I'm ready to tackle that again.  [I've added some photos from my last house move in 2011] and that was huge.

Packing up my sisters belongings has made me more motivated to go through everything in our house and I have way more stuff than she does.   The kids went through their rooms a couple of weeks ago and got rid of clothes that don't fit, and other things they no longer need.  I'm much better at letting things go now than I was 5 years ago and each year it seems to get easier but it's an ongoing process.

Some ants got into our pantry last week and found some sugary sprinkles and then the next minute they were all over the pantry.  I've sprayed and each day there were a few more ants and then I sprayed again.  On the weekend I'm pulling everything out again and reorganizing it and I've bought some new containers to store smaller items in the pantry.  I had some larger Sistema biscuit containers however they take up a lot of room and can be half empty so I need more smaller containers so I'm doing a big revamp.  These containers were half price at Woollies this week so I stocked up.  They aren't cheap but very functional.  Kmart has heaps of great pantry stuff as well so go check them out.  This 6 piece Tupperware look a like is only $12.

I was already motivated to declutter and then my friend told me about Maria Kondo a Japanese Consultant who has a TV show on Netflix.  I've seen her name mentioned 3-4 times in the last couple of days on the internet and Instagram and then my friend mentioned her as well so I checked her out.  She has written two books The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy.  I've heard of the first book over the past twelve months but it didn't sound interesting enough for me to look into it any further.  Yesterday I watched the first episode on Netflix of the Friend Family [Friend being their surname].  A typical family with 2 young kids and a husband that works long hours and a Mother who is exhausted.  It was amazing to watch and how their relationship changed over the month of the process and that everything has a place and stuff they no longer use or wear has gone to charity.  I then watched the 2nd show while I was cleaning out 3 of my kitchen cupboards.   Maria also has a special way to fold clothes  so you can see them in the drawer and they stand up by themselves.  This method looks great too.

She has a 5 step process which is different from tackling one room at a time which makes so much sense.  She does everything by category for the whole house as follow:-

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono [miscellaneous}
  5. Mementos

I can highly recommend you watch this series.  Being the New Year it always feels good to start fresh and clearing your house of things that no longer bring you joy is what Maria Kondo is all about.

In Australia we have Peter Walsh who is a well known decluttering and organizing expert who has appeared on Oprah and The Living Room TV show on a Friday night. He has written several books as and the biggest thing he comes across when helping families declutter is important memories and treasures in the garage ie mementos.  It could be photos or a special item from their parents who have passed on and they can't part with it.  He says these things deserved to be treated with respect and on display in the house and not in a box in the garage.

So if you have some free time watch the first show of Maria Kondo on Netflix which runs for an hour you'll be up and motivated in no time. Can't wait to watch more.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Around Here

It's the last day of 2018 and another New Year is about to begin.  In 2017 I worked on my health by exercising and eating well and in 2018 I undid what I achieved as I just didn't have the right head space.  2019 my big focus will be to reset this and do it all over again to get my health in check.  I love chocolate and it's my go to for any occasion.  Bored, happy, sad, cranky, any occasion really, so I need to give up the store bought stuff and just make my own healthy version to have over the weekends and not every day.  On the 1st October 2017 I gave up diet coke for good and haven't had any since.  As I don't drink alcohol and drink lots of water during the day [I also gave up diet cordial at the beginning of 2017] so having a cold diet coke was something different for me and I loved it too.  On the weekends my daughter and I would walk to the shop and back to get the paper which took about 50 minutes so I'll have to get back to that as well.  We loved our girl time and getting out for our morning walk.

In 2019 I will be focusing on decluttering again and my garage is the biggest place I have to start.  Last week the kids did a spring clean in their rooms by washing their walls down with sugar soap, getting rid of clothes that don't fit and any toys or books they no longer want was donated to charity.  They also cleaned their blinds which were full of dust so that required sugar soap water as well.  They did this over a few days so 1-2 hours a day on a job and they got through it and listened to their favourite music while they worked.  They are both used to the 3 bucket system - sell, donate and throw away as we have been using this system for a few years now so they don't find decluttering difficult.  I get the final say on the buckets at the end to make sure what is getting thrown away is really for the bin.

My sister is moving house so I have spent three 8-10 hour days with her packing and decluttering and cracking the whip....the charity shops will be overflowing with what we donated.  Beautiful pottery and painted plates, bowls cups etc. that we loved years ago but now we just use white dinner ware etc. and they are too good to throw away so you hang onto them in the garage for years until the time comes like now ie a move that you really need to get serious.  Lots of stuff heading to the charity shop and a dump run and the rest is being moved.  Every time you move you under estimate how much stuff you have and how long it will take to pack everything so I was glad to help her out because when I moved 7.5 years ago she was there helping me.  Admittedly I had two small kids on my own and had to pack an entire 2 story house and a shed up however she has been in her unit for 8 years so has lots of stuff too.  

We had a lovely Christmas Day lunch with 12 people and we got the table tennis table out of the garage and put that in the back yard and also played bocce.  It's fun to have a few activities around when you have a lot of people.  The weather was lovely and not too hot like some Christmas Days. We had cold ham, prawns, Asian Noodle Salad and my Shell Pasta Salad [did anyone try the recipe for Christmas?]  My sister made Home plum pudding and custard and our Christmas Slices that myself and 2 of my sisters make each year.  I got a JBL portable speaker so we had that in the backyard playing Christmas music and everyone left about 6.30 pm. I packed up the extra camping tables, put the linen table cloths in the laundry, put the extended table back to normal, vacuumed and put the dishwasher on and was in bed by 7.30 pm watching TV after a long day.

So for 2019 my focus will be eating better and getting back to a healthy weight and decluttering the house.  The way I like to think about decluttering is to pretend I'm moving house....would I want to pack this and cart it to a new house.  How can I downsize my belonging.  If it takes me one year to do this, then one day [when I win lotto and move to acreage] packing will be easier.  Moving house is stressful and decluttering and packing takes a long time.  It's better to get stuff out of your house now when there is time and no pressure so that one day in the the event of a's easier.  Besides that I know we have too much stuff and things we don't use or need.  About 3 years ago I sold heaps of stuff on FB buy and sell and it was running hot and I paid lots of my bills with the money.  These days it's a little harder to sell stuff since everything is so much cheaper with places like Kmart where you can buy a beautiful new cushion for $8 vs my $39 cushions from Myers.  The more you can get rid of stuff the better you feel.  Doing it when you have time is really the best time.

Here's some recent photos for you to enjoy.  Happy New Year to you and your families and thank you for popping in and reading my blog posts and leaving your lovely comments.  See you next year.