[Organise My House] Storing Wrapping Paper


I love this idea for storing wrapping paper - two IKEA plastic bag holder/dispensers (VARIERA $1.99 each). I have attached it to the inside of my office cupboard with removable hooks though, as the adhesive that came with it doesn’t stick to anything! 


Originally I was storing my wrapping paper in a wire hamper, which works well too, but does take up more space. This was $10 from Kmart. 

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[Organise My House] Storing Board Games

I found a $4 fabric clothes hanger at an op shop the other day and thought I'd trial how it'd go storing our board games, which were originally in a large tub, and were difficult to access and see what we owned. 


The clothes hanger is in our office cupboard, and now the games are both easy to see and access for family board game nights! 




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[Organise My House] A Filing System for School Items

Here's a great idea for storing kids artwork, reports, school photos & important documents!

Charlene at Teacher by Trade Mother by Nature came up with this terrific idea for storing kids documents for each school year and I've just made one each for the girl's.

Using a Sistema filing container (the 40L was recently 50% off at Woolworths and was only $11), Sistema filing clips (which are now only available directly from Sistema), and 15 foolscap suspension files from Kmart (a pack of 20 is $12), I’ve put together a space for us to file & store paper items & photos from each school year (including daycare, playgroup & preschool). Charlene added an A4 display folder to each section so that it is protected as well. It is so easy to file anything away, and just as easy to look through or grab something you need from a specific year. There is space at the bottom of the tub for extra or bulky items too. I’ve created one for each girl and they will live at the bottom of their built-in cupboards in their rooms. I love it!






To purchase the file clips from Sistema, contact this email address: customerhelpdesk@sistemaplastics.com and they will send them directly: $3.25 for a pack of 2 (you’ll need 2 for each tub), and then postage cost me $8.50 (they will calculate depending on where you live), so $15 all up. To create these two tubs it cost about $60, but it’ll last me 15 years for each girl!


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The 2018 LBD is here!




I was so surprised to see that my Leanne Baker Daily planner had arrived today, after only being dispatched from Brisbane yesterday! I knew exactly what it was when I saw the box. I was excited first of all to see the new beautiful custom-made dusty pink & gold box the LBD was packaged in, and then the actual planner inside - wow!!




Such incredible quality, and amazing colours! I chose Take Flight this year (I have used the Pink 2017 one which I love!), and for awhile after I ordered I wondered if I should have picked Emerge (even though originally I was tossing up between Take Flight & Celebrate), but once I saw my planner this afternoon, I was in love all over again!! I absolutely love the purples and the watercolour effect on the feathers. And the name ‘Take Flight’ is just so inspiring! This was the reader's choice this year, and Jess Rankin won with this design - I can see why!!



I cannot speak highly enough about this planner (read my blog post from earlier this year here). It’s the first proper planner I’ve ever used (that isn’t a $2 diary from The Reject Shop), and is my first daily planner too. I don’t have an issue with the price as this is my Christmas present from Brendan (and will be every year!) but because it is $54.95, it’s something you want to be sure you are using (the same way I felt/feel about my Thermomix - it's an investment). I was excited to begin using it at the start of this year, and I was surprised the novelty didn’t wear off like it would in other years (with other diaries/journals). Leanne kept me motivated with her weekly YouTube videos & content posted on her page & group on Facebook. The group is an amazing team of supportive ladies, and you'll find so much inspiration on there! I have found I have been so much more productive and organised this year through using the planner, and I am less stressed, because everything is in the one place and I can do a ‘brain dump’ and write everything that’s in my head down, and know that it will get done because I love the feeling when you’ve ticked off what you need to do.  


The monthly overview is fantastic as I love to see what’s coming up & helps me to know when I’m available later in the month, and this year, a yearly overview has been included. The weekly meal planning pages are perfect for sitting down each Sunday to plan my dinners for the week, again making my upcoming week less stressful and run more smoothly. The list of 3 each day ensures that I know what my top priorities are, and enables me to achieve 21 things each week (that may not normally get done!) The self care section means that I ensure I am a priority each day too! Another addition this year is the sticker sleeve at the back of the planner, and as soon as Leanne revealed this, I knew I had to buy some planner stickers! I didn’t use them this year and used coloured pens, but for 2018 I’m going to use a black pen with colourful stickers. I’ve purchased lots of stickers from Lime and Mortar and Peaceful Mind Designs, and have received some free from Black Wombat. I’ve already had fun putting in dates and stickers for next year! 


I can’t wait to have another productive and organised year next year! If you are keen to buy a planner, they are still available until sold out (or until the end of the year) on Padtastic’s website - and while you’re there, grab some of their fantastic notepads and new notebooks and meal planners which are amazing quality and such fun designs - I bought 8 notepads this year - 2 for me and the rest for Christmas presents!


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A look inside our Christmas tubs

One tradition of ours for Christmas each year is to decorate the Christmas tree and the house on December 1st, which I'll share in another blog post. I thought that today I'd share how we organise & store our Christmas items thoroughout the year. 

I have 3 red & green plastic tubs that I purchased from Kmart a few years ago for $9 each, that were stored underneath our house in the garage before we moved, and in the shed at our current rental. Plastic tubs are just perfect for keeping things organised and away from the weather, water & any bugs or spiders, especially when you have to store things out of the house. I would like some more of these tubs, but unfortunately last year they only had gold Christmas tubs. Hopefully they will bring red and green back one year! 

In the first tub we have all our baubels for the Christmas tree. In previous years I had a purple and silver theme for the tree (we actually used these baubels for our wedding centrepieces in vases - it looked really effective!) but I've decided to just go with a colourful theme from now on. This means I won't be worried about the look of the Christmas tree when the kids bring things they've made home from daycare/preschool/school. Last year in the Boxing Day Sales I picked up lots of different coloured baubels cheaply. I don't feel the need to organise this any further as they aren't expensive, and it's just as easy to decorate the tree by grabbing a bauble out of this tub, as it is if they were organised in their own little section or another way. 




This is the next tub. We have our Elf, a ham bag, some Christmas sippy cups, NOEL wooden blocks, a white wreath, battery operated lights (continued in next pic...)




Reindeer headbands, our Christmas tops & outfits & pyjamas, our countdown to Christmas sign, hessian star decorations, a small tin I plan to use for a present or random act of kindness for someone this year, a small fabric wreath I made about 15-20 years ago (at Girl's Brigade!), more Christmas plastic cups, and in the snaplock bag are little wooden signs that say 'Joy' and 'Love' etc. plus ribbons , some loose Christmas cards and small random items. 




In the bottom of the tub are my two advent calendars (one wooden one, and one made of cardboard boxes that have magnets on the back - I made it at a Stampin' Up party a few years ago), pom pom garlands, the white wreath, bunting, Santa hats and stockings. 




Here's the next tub: 




In this one we have our Christmas plates, chocolate moulds, sticker bunting for the window, stakes to decorate the front lawn, Santa babushka doll, DVDs, tinsel, toys (for Christmas Eve boxes/stockings), napkins & napkin holder, pillow cases and moulds for making gingerbread houses.




And under that is a mini tree, 3 table decorations (vases with baubles), tea towels, tablecloths, Christmas cards and a light bag in the packet that I haven't opened yet. A lot I picked up on clearance after Christmas last year as well so I'm excited to use it this year! Yes it may seem like a lot, but some of the items I have kept from when we used to occasionally host Christmas parties, and it's handy to hang out these items as I assume we'll host more Christmas events in years to come! 




Our Christmas bedding (2 singles and a Queen for us) has been stored in the girl's room/linen cupboard this year but I'd love to have it in another tub. The Christmas pillows/cushions for the lounge (red and silver) are stored in the linen cupboard too. Our wooden nativity set, the 24 books for our advent calendar, and some bon bons are stored in our Christmas tree bag (which I purchased from Bunnings as few years ago), as well as our special baubles that I give the girls each year. I went through it all a few months ago, and it felt great to get rid of lots of items I wasn't ever going to use.

Our special baubels and tree decorations is another tradition I only started last year, and the idea came from Organising the Four of Us (you can follow Leanne's page on Facebook). Each year, you or your kids can choose 1 special decoration or bauble each, which they place on the tree. These are stored separate to the normal Christmas decorations (ours are in a Christmas box from The Reject Shop) and when the kids are ready to move out, say at 18, they will have 18 special decorations to take with them for their own Christmas tree. I'll share our special baubels when I share how we are decorating our tree and house on December 1st! 
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Care packages for Australian troops at Christmas

Did you know you can send a care package to our Australian troops in the Middle East, East Timor, the Solomon Islands or even to the Explosive Detection Dogs in Afghanistan and postage is FREE? 


This is another great way to perform a random act of kindness and practice giving this Christmas season. 


We decided to create our own care package for a soldier in The Solomon Islands!


Firstly you have to purchase a "BM" sized box at the post office, and then we used the list below to fill out box (I took the box with me to the shop to make sure I didn't buy too little or too much). This is what we included:


Instant noodles
Biscuits - Christmas shortbread
Packet of lollies
A packet of rice wheels & a packet of tiny teddies
Gum
Magazine
Socks
A puzzle book
Roll-on deodorant 
Disposable razors 
Tin of spaghetti with a ring pull
Fancy tea bags (in al. foil bag)
Pringles
Muesli Bars
Cup of soup packet
A mini Christmas pudding
Christmas card
Self-addressed envelope (we used a PO box) 



Make sure you weigh your box to check that it is 2kgs or under.



To qualify for free postage, you must adhere to the guidelines set out below. Packages take 4-6 weeks to arrive, so make sure your box is sent about the start of November each year. 

Information from here. 

CARE PACKAGES TO AUSTRALIAN TROOPS

Care packages can be sent free of charge to the Middle East, East Timor and the Solomon Islands so long as they strictly comply with Australia Post guidelines.

Packages can be sent to either male or female personnel or be gender-neutral. 

  In order to qualify for free postage, care packages can weigh no more than 2kg (cubic weight limit) and should be packaged within a “BM” sized box, which are available from Australia Post for approximately two dollars.

You will also be required to fill out some Customs forms and it is suggested that you use a liberal amount of packing tape to ensure that all of the contents arrive at their destination.  

   Address Details:
To send a care package to an Australian soldier, sailor, airman or airwoman in the Middle East, address the package to the following.

If you wish to send a specific package to a female, change the first line to:
‘An Australian Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Airwoman – Female’

An Australian Soldier
Christmas Mail
Middle East Operations
AFPO 60
Australian Defence Force
SYDNEY NSW 2890  

To send a care package to an Australian soldier, sailor, airman or airwoman in East Timor, address the package to the following.

If you wish to send a specific package to a female, change the first line to:
‘An Australian Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Airwoman – Female’

An Australian Soldier
Christmas Mail
East Timor Operations
AFPO 61
Australian Defence Force
SYDNEY NSW 2890    

To send a care package to an Australian soldier, sailor, airman or airwoman in the Solomon Islands, address the package to the following.

If you wish to send a specific package to a female, change the first line to:
‘An Australian Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Airwoman – Female’  

An Australian Soldier
Christmas Mail
Solomon Islands Operations
AFPO 62
Australian Defence Force
SYDNEY NSW 2890  

To send a care package to an Australian Explosive Detection Dog in Afghanistan, address the package to:

                                              An Australian EDD Handler                                                 
                                             Christmas Mail                                                 
                                          Middle East Operations                                                 
                                            AFPO 60                                                 
                                             Australian Defence Force                                                 
SYDNEY  NSW  2890    

What can be included in Care Packages?

Be creative with donations while being mindful of Australia Post’s guidelines for the free delivery of care packages. Some suggestions are listed below, as are the general restrictions.  

Suggestions of what you might like to include:

Toiletries
Deodorant (non aerosol)
Shaving cream (non aerosol)
Small bottle of talcum powder
Disposable razors
Shower Gel
Lip Balm
Perfume samples (non glass)


Food
Instant Noodles
Biscuits
Lollies
Small tinned consumables
Non-perishable foods


Other ideas
Magazines – from Vogue to Men’s or Women's Health
Puzzle books
DVDs
Socks
Letters of support
Stamped, self addressed envelopes – this way soldiers can thank you for the donation

For the explosive detection dogs ƒ 
Box of dog biscuits
Dried beef bones
Toys
Tennis balls
Treats for the handlers

What not to include

• Pornographic material • Alcoholic beverages • Clothing (except socks) • Pork products        • Cigarettes • Chocolate (if sending to warm climates)


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[Organise My House] Storing activewear

I purchased a tie hanger from Woolies recently for $8 as Leanne from Organisaing the Four of Us revealed that she used hers to hang her activewear singlets. I love this idea! I only have 4 belts so I’ve hung these up too. You could also hang ties and scarves as well. It definitely frees up space in my drawers and I can’t see exactly what singlets I have!


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Before kids | 1st child | 2nd child

Being a parent changes everything. But a parent changes with every child too! I thought it’d be fun to document how my attitude before kids has changed after I actually had a baby, and now after having two! (Disclaimer: don't take any of the statements to heart - it's just a bit of fun :p) 



Before kids: "My baby will eat healthy, homemade food and love it"
1st child: "I’ve made some healthy, homemade food in the Thermomix but I can’t seem to get my child to eat it. I’ll keep trying." 
2nd child: "These baby food sachets are on special and they must be good as the label says organic, I'll chuck a few in the trolley, and what do you know, my kid loves it! I should be making homemade food but who has the time?!" 

Before kids: 'My kids will never sleep in our bed no matter what! I can’t believe some parents co-sleep!"
1st child: "I’m getting up 8 times a night, but I’m determined not to let her in our bed"
2nd child: "Oh stuff it, I’m too tired." Our bed becomes her bed. She hasn’t slept in the cot in 6 mths. 

Before kids: "My kids will sleep through the night, you just have to train them!"
1st child: Sleeps through from 6 weeks to 6 mths, and then not again until 20 mths. Tried lots of things to get her to sleep through and was determined to make it happen.
2nd child: Has slept through one night in her entire first year. I don’t try much at night, just shove the dummy in or give her another bottle... in our bed.

Before kids: "My kids will always have day sleeps!"
1st child: Consistently has 2-3 day sleeps until one, and then drops back to 1 sleep a day for 2 hours. I almost died! 
2nd child: Barely has a day sleep and certainly doesn't coordinate it with her sister. 

Before kids: "I’ll breastfeed all my kids until they are at least one."
1st child: Breastfed for 14 mths but had a shocking start and had mastitis twice. "It wasn’t easy but I did it! Will definitely be able to always breastfeed my kids."
2nd child: Fully formula fed. 

Before kids: "I’ll buy modern cloth nappies and never use a disposable. It's so important to look after the environment."
1st child: Tried cloth nappies and failed because I remembered that I HATE WASHING! Swapped to disposables & sold the cloth nappies. 
2nd child: Disposables from the start. 

Before kids: "My kids won’t watch TV until they are well over one year old."
1st child: "I was good for about 6 mths, but turns out she loves TV. Who am I to deny her? Plus it really is quite educational." 
2nd child: "TV is THE best babysitter ever. It is my sanity!" #notevensorry

Before kids: "I’m going to do craft & baking with my kids everyday - hello Pinterest!" 
1st child: "Baking is pretty messy, but I’ll persevere. Craft is fun but pretty messy too." 
2nd child: "Craft at playgroup and daycare is plenty right?!" 

Before kids: "We will have one-on-one time with all our kids, no matter how many we have." 
1st child: "It's so easy to have one-on-one time - during the day with Mum & in the afternoons with Dad."
2nd child: "Who has the time?! Tag along little one!" 

Before kids: "My kids won’t need daycare." 
1st child: At 7 mths old, I was super keen to get back to work, so daycare was needed, and we loved it! 
2nd child: At 6 mths old, it felt so full-on that I needed a day off! "Off to daycare you go!" (She loves it though!) 

Before kids: "I can’t wait to play with my kids all day every day!"
1st child: Has a good mix of parent-directed play & independent play  
2nd child: "Good girl, play with your sister. Mummy’s got to cook dinner!" 




Before kids: "My kids will never have messy faces & won’t eat in the loungeroom." 
1st child: Always had wipes available and I succeeded not having a messy faced kid. Always ate in her highchair. 
2nd child: "I’m finding food everywhere, and she’s not the biggest fan of the highchair." She constantly has a messy face ("Anyone got any wipes?!")

Before kids: "My kids will always be immaculately dressed." 
1st child: Takes time to coordinate outfits and hair ribbons and clips 
2nd child: Wears the eldest sisters hand me downs, which have mostly seen better days. Coordinated only if we are going somewhere special! No hair ribbons, no time for that! 

Before kids: "I won’t be one of those parents that rushes off to the hospital for everything. My child will be healthy anyway." 
1st child: "Oh my goodness, she coughed! Do you think it’s whooping cough? Let me consult Google. I think it’s bad, we better take her to the emergency room!" (Turns out it was just a cold!) 
2nd child: "She’s been coughing for a few weeks, but she’s still eating and drinking fine, I’m sure she’s ok!" (She was ok). 

Before kids: "I’m going to look amazing pregnant, and really take care of myself."
1st child: I couldn’t wait to get into maternity clothes, did not look great and certainly didn’t take care of myself (A block of chocolate everyday and 27kgs weight gain anyone!? 😆) 
2nd child: "I’m going to wait as long as I can to wear maternity clothes. I’m also going to eat less this time" (still 20kgs gained!)
[I’m assuming by the third child, your maternity clothes are pretty much your regular clothes!]

Before kids: "I’m going to lose any pregnancy weight I gain within the first few months after birth." 
1st child: Lost most within 4 mths, and was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 9 mths. 
2nd child: Child turns one... still got 5kgs to go! 

Before kids: "My kids won’t use dummies for very long and I will never let them fall on the ground!" 
1st child: Uses a dummy until she’s 2.5!! Sterilised the dummy until she was 18 mths old. 
2nd child: Only uses a dummy at night but have never sterilised. Always on the ground. 

Before kids: "I’m never going to forget to change my baby’s nappy."
1st child: Changes it every hour whether they need it or not 
2nd child: Changes it when they poo and before naps only (and when others start complaining about the wee smell) 

Before kids: "I’m going to plan a full week of learning activities for my children every week." 
1st child: Goes to library and playgroup 
2nd child: Goes to the supermarket with her sister 

Before kids: "I won’t stress if my children are left with babysitters." 
1st child: Messages every hour to check on her 
2nd child: Turns phone off because, "whatever happens, you’ll be right!" 

Before kids: "I’m going to bath my kids every single day." 
1st child: Is bathed pretty much every day, except when it’s super freezing cold in winter (but I still felt guilty about that!) 
2nd child: "Do I have to bath them today? They aren’t that dirty." 

Before kids: "I’m going to walk everyday with the pram."
1st child: Walks most days 
2nd child: Walks occasionally but it’s a bit of an effort 

Before kids: "Hubby and I will go on a date night every week, even when the kids come along."
1st child: Manages a date night most weeks
2nd child: Haven't been out together since before she was born! 

Before kids: "I can’t imagine how great it’s going to be with kids!"
1st child: So great!! But crazy. 
2nd child: The greatest!! But how much crazier can it get?! (I'm told number 3 is even crazier... one day!)





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Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes filled with gifts and delivers them to children in need around the world. What an amazing opportunity for people to practice giving during the festive season, and to get your kids involved, knowing that your gift will mean so much to a child in another country who may not receive a present at Christmas time. 


You can use any shoebox you like (no larger than an A4 lid), or you can order these pre-printed shoeboxes here. Our church handed these out one Sunday for us. 


Choose whether you'll pack your shoebox for a boy, or a girl, in the following age categories: 2-4 years / 5-9 years / 10-14 years. We chose girl 2-4 years, as this is the same age as Miss M who is almost 3. 

Pack your shoebox following this guide: 
 - something to LOVE
- something to WEAR
- something for SCHOOL
- something to PLAY WITH
- something for PERSONAL HYGIENE
- something SPECIAL

Due to customs regulations, you can't include items that leak, food, used or damaged items, breakable items, items that could scare a child (like a toy gun), gambling-related items or any religious literature. 


We packed our box solely from The Reject Shop! It cost approximately $20 altogether.


We bought a notebook, stickers, pencils, a plastic cup, a little doll, cute hair ties, a ball, a packet of tissues, a soft toy, a girl's t-shirt (size 3), 2 face washers (I wouldn't normally choose white, but there wasn't much choice!) and a toothbrush. We covered all the categories, and it was really easy to find items, as the brochure (see below) gives lots of good examples. It was really fun shopping with Miss M and finding things that we know a child Miss M's age will love when she opens it this Christmas! 


This is the brochure that came with our box, but all the information is on the website here


Once you have collected all your items (I suggest taking your box with you so you can see if it will all fit while you are at the shop!) you have to donate $10 per shoebox for shipping (so altogether it cost $30 for me to do one box). Online donations are preferred (click here) and you'll get a barcoded (so you can track it!) label emailed to you to print and attach to the box. You can also use cash, credit card or cheque to donate, and you just fill out the form on the brochure (above) and attach the label (non-trackable) provided. 

Then find your nearest drop-off point - you can find them here, or many churches will send them off for you. Make sure it's all completed and dropped off by the end of October! 

I plan to do this each year with the girl's to encourage giving - so important at Christmas time! 

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Our Woolgoolga Trip!

We just spent a wonderful week away at Woolgoolga near Coffs Harbour, NSW. The weather was not always sunny, but that didn't stop us having fun! We headed across on Saturday morning, the 30th September, and arrived after lunch. We were staying in a big house a few minutes drive from the beach, with my family - there were 11 of us altogether! It's always fun hanging out together (with a few fights chucked in about who wants to do what activity, and who messed up the kitchen haha!) We enjoyed Miss O's 1st birthday and my Dad's 60th while we were away too (see previous blog posts). We aren't going away for Christmas this year, so this was our big trip for the year! 

Here are some of our pics from the week...

... Holidays are for... 

Family time & selfies!







Beach time...








Cafe treats...



Walks...


Piggy back rides...


Climbing trees...


Walks on the wharf...





Chasing birds... 



Reading books...


Playing cards...


BBQ's...


Cheese platters...


Frozen yoghurt...


Flying kites... 



And of course, trips to Kmart! 



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