Wednesday, 20 September 2017

[Organise My House] A makeshift recipe holder

If you don't have a cookbook stand or holder, or you need a recipe at eye level, use a pants hanger attached to your recipe book and hung on the handle of an overhead cabinet in the kitchen. Works a treat! 

[Clean My House] Fluffy Towels

To make your towels nice and fluffy, add half a cup of white vinegar to a towel wash in your washing machine! This also helps to remove any odours!

[Organise My House] Filing Paperwork

Most of our bills and paperwork are now sent via email, which has helped us not have as much paper clutter (especially as we don't have a designated office). I do like to have a few things in hard copy form (birth certificates and other important documents for example). We have a very simple filing system - 3 A4 folders, one for 'Home' documents (for the houses we own), one for 'Personal' and one for 'Work.' They live on one shelf of our desk in the living area, and work well (when I remember to file any new paperwork we receive!) 

If I didn't organise paperwork this way (or if I had more storage space), I'd grab one of those Sistema containers (which can be purchased at Woolworths) with the blue plastic tabs on the end so that you can sit drop files into them. I plan to use these to organise the girl's artwork and school documents in the future. I believe Officeworks and Kmart have similar containers as well (and you can buy the drop files from here as well). 

[Image from Google]

Friday, 15 September 2017

Mummy Guilt

I absolutely love the quote above and can absolutely identify with the author Joslyn Gray, after exclusively breastfeeding Miss M for 14 months, and after exclusively formula-feeding Miss O.

The other morning I was preparing breakfast for the girl's and looked over, and my little wild-child Miss O who is now 11 months old (and zooms around like she was 18 months) and she was eating something that resembled a tomato. Now I know no-one had given her a tomato this morning, and I know we didn't have tomatoes last night for dinner, so I wasn't quite sure where she'd found that (or even if it was a tomato!) If that was my first child Miss M, I'd have grabbed it out of her mouth and practically washed her mouth out (and then scrubbed the floor because 'I can't believe we are living in this mess!') Things change of course with subsequent children (I'm constantly told to 'wait for number 3!') so I sort of shrugged it off, and was happy she was eating a tomato and not a chocolate biscuit!

I could have felt absolutely overrun with 'mummy guilt' for the fact that my 11 month old was devouring with gusto a piece of rouge tomato, but why? Kids are going to eat random things off the floor, and I would rather tell myself that it helps her immune system, rather than stressing about how filthy my house must be (or worrying that it would hurt her). Yes, sometimes it is very unwise to eat things off the floor of places (possibly not a squished grape at your local supermarket!) but since when did we start feeling terrible about every little decision and thing we do as mother's?

I think it may almost be in-built, that when your bundle of joy arrives, that we feel an overwhelming urge to protect our child, and to give them the best. And that's a great attitude and great way to be! But I also think social media has taken our mummy guilt to a whole new level!

We see photos of kids dressed in amazing designer outfits (while my kids are in Kmart tights and a t-shirt everyday)... we see photos of kids attending Pinterest-worthy birthday parties (while other kids enjoy a Woolies cake)... we see kids participating in amazing arts and crafts (while other kids are happy to just colour in a colouring book)... we see kids going on incredible adventures to the zoo and the aquarium (while our kids have to venture outside for an adventure)... we see kids with adorable personalised lunchboxes with incredibly healthy and nutritious lunches (while our kids have a peanut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit)... we see kids in photos all smiling and loving each other (while we're flat out trying to get a good photo out of the hundred-odd we've taken on our iPhone).

Is this real life? You know what, it absolutely can be! Good mums are any mums who want the best for their kids, no matter how that looks! The mum who dresses her kids in designer outfits, creates amazing birthday parties, sets-up incredible arts and crafts for their kids, taking their kids on amazing adventures, packs their kids nutritious lunchboxes and manages to take a photo with everyone smiling - that is one good mum! We should be building her up and encouraging her on social media and in real life. But we certainly don't need to shame her, and feel guilt because the life we see on social media doesn't match how we perceive our lives with our kids.

The mum who dresses their kids in Kmart clothes (me!), quickly grabs a Woolies cake (which by the way taste amazing!) on the way home from work for birthdays, hands her kids a colouring-book and pencils for them to do art and craft, goes on an adventure out the back with her kids, packs a sandwich and fruit for lunch, and has plenty of fun, silly photos of their kids on their phones with no-one looking is a good mum too! What I actually see when I read back over that paragraph is a mum who has dressed her kids, feeds her kids and provides fun for her kids! There's no handbook for being a mum, and we are all trying to do the best we can, in a myriad of different situations and circumstances. Some days have to purely be survival days, because we are tired, or the kids are sick, and on those days, there's no way any of us can have, what we sometimes think, to be Instagrammable or Facebook-worthy photos of our days.

I love the movement happening on social media, often seen with the hashtag #keepingitreal, where parents post the real-life pics of their days: the mess, the tantrums, the pizza for dinner. Weren't these when memories were made for us as kids? I don't particularly remember every meat and 3-veg meal Mum would make us, but I certainly remember when we got Chinese delivered! It wasn't very often, but we really enjoyed it.

I for one have struggled with mummy guilt for awhile, so this post is almost a letter to myself as well. It's a gentle reminder to all of us that no matter how my babies were born, no matter how I fed them, no matter how I dressed them, no matter what kind of party or art and craft I created, or adventure we went on, or what stuff they have, or whether I stayed at home, or worked - I am a good mum!

And at the end of the day, even if we did feed them a nutritious meal that we felt was Facebook-worthy.... they'll be eating it off the floor for breakfast in 2 days time!

[I could not get the girl's to look at the camera when I took this, but I love this photo!]

[Organise My House] Use a pool noodle as a bed rail

Use a $3 pool noodle (I purchased ours from Kmart) placed under the fitted sheet on a bed to create a bed rail, so that kids can't fall out!

Thanks to my friend for this great idea! So much cheaper and it means you can still make the bed neatly.

[Organise My House] Keep up-to-date with baby books

Are you struggling to keep up-to-date with things like your kids baby books?

Things that need our constant attention and need constant up-dating tend to fall by the way-side due to time constraints and just not being the most important thing in our daily lives.

I like to add tasks like these to my list of three in my planner (or add to your calendar or phone notifications) about once a month. This gives me a little reminder to check that I am up-to-date. Force yourself to do it when this notification pops up and you will thank yourself once it's done!

If you have purchased baby books but not ever written in them, don't worry, it's not too late! Grab the books out and set aside 10-15 mins each evening (or morning if you are a morning person) to start filling them in. I am currently doing this to catch up on organising my photos into monthly folders (I have about a year to catch up on!)

There's no better day than starting TODAY!

[Clean My House] Cleaning Drinkbottles

Clean out your drinkbottles using a denture tablet!

I rinse out my drinkbottles each day, and at least every week, I like to give them a good soak and scrub in hot soapy water.

Then I like to fill with water and drop half a denture tablet into each bottle, and let it sit for 10 minutes before giving it a final scrub and rinsing it out (it may leave a minty flavour to the water but just keep rinsing a few times).

The tablets will dislodge any mineral buildup or mildew. These tablets are about $3 for a pack of 48 from Woolworths, and I use a bottle brush and mini spare mascara brush to clean out the bottle and lid.

[Clean My House] Cleaning and uses for your sandwich press

Cleaning & uses for your sandwich press!

Cleaning your sandwich press is as easy as spraying with vinegar (I used my homemade all purpose spray which is vinegar, lemon rind, lemon oil & a squirt of dishwashing liquid), and then cover with a sprinkle of bicarb soda, and leave it for 10-15 mins. Then wipe clean with a cloth or paper towel. The difference was amazing!

How do you use your sandwich press? Just for toasted sandwiches? We use ours for:
- pancakes & pikelets
- grilled cheese on toast
- cooking rissoles & salmon/tuna patties
- cooking sausages
- cooking bacon
- cooking hash browns
- frying eggs
- reheating/grilling leftover pizza
- grilling quesadillas
- grilling veggies
- grilling haloumi
- cooking steak
- cooking fish

The possibilities are endless! How do you use yours?

[Organise My House] Repurposing a towel rack for a dress-up station

Repurpose an old towel rack as a kids dressing up station!

Awhile ago I started acquiring dress-ups for Miss M and had no idea how to store them so that she could easily access them. I had a towel rack I wasn't using, and wondered if this could be a solution - it has now worked well for close to a year!

I removed one of the side rails, but that was all that needed to be done to make it useable. I used to use a basket for all the accessories but found they weren't being used as Miss M couldn't see them. So I grabbed some A4 snaplock bags and attached a pant/skirt hanger to the top, and now they are being used all the time! The hat rack holds her bags and hats, and was $16 from Kmart.

We have mostly been given her dress-ups, or I have found them at Vinnies. We purchased two this year from The Reject Shop for $10 each (an Elsa costume & a Little Red Riding Hood costume). This set-up would be perfect for a toy room but is currently in the girl's room. It doesn't really get messy, as Miss M will usually only take one item off at a time, but if it doesn't get messy, it is very easy to tidy again!

[Organise My House] Storing Lightbox Letters

Storing Lightbox Letters!

Do you have a Lightbox?

I purchased ours from Kmart a few years ago now.

They are fun for parties or just daily messages to keep you inspired!

I bought extra letters for mine, and then realised I needed to be able to store them so they were easy to see and access.

I found a $3 business card wallet from Kmart, and it is the perfect size to store every letter, number and symbol - no more sifting through every letter to find the one you need!

[Clean My House] Cleaning your pedestal fan

As the weather warms up, you might be getting your fans out of storage, and like ours, they may need a bit of a clean up! ☀️

I like to remove the front cover and wash it with water (outside or in the laundry sink), then give the rest of the fan a dust with a brush, and then a wipe down with baby wipes.

[Organise My House] Labelling Freezer Meals

I often make a double-batch of our dinners, and freeze the leftovers. I've found it works really well using washi tape and a permanent marker to label the contents and the date I froze it. The washi tape came in a pack of 4 for $2 at Kmart, and I keep it in a snaplock bag on my fridge (and the texta in a little bucket on my fridge along with other pens & stationery items).

[Clean My House] Cleaning your shower head

How to clean your shower head and remove a build-up of soap scum! 💦

1. You'll need vinegar, bicarb, a medium-sized snaplock bag, a hair tie or rubber band, an old toothbrush, and a cup/container.

2. Half fill the snap lock bag with vinegar and a sprinkle of bicarb. Attach the bag using the hair tie/rubber band to your shower head and leave for 10 mins.

3. Remove the bag, and using another sprinkle of bicarb, scrub the shower head with the old toothbrush.

4. Pour some hot water over the shower head to remove vinegar/bi carb. All done!

[Clean My House] Cleaning the washing machine

Just like the dishwasher, washing machines need our attention every now and then as well!

Here's how to clean your washing machine:

- When empty, add a cup of white vinegar to the barrel (of both a top and front loader, and to the powder drawer in a front loader)

- Run on the hottest temperature for one cycle

- Sprinkle bi carb in the barrel and run on the hottest temperature for another cycle

- Using multipurpose cleaner and gumption, scrub/wipe over the door and powder drawer in a front loader and the barrel and top/outside on a top loader

[Clean My House] Cleaning the Dishwasher

Even dishwashers that do our washing-up need a clean about once a month!

- Clear any dishes and excess food out of the dishwasher

- Wipe down the inside with a multipurpose spray and gumption

- Fill a Pyrex jug (or any dishwasher safe container) with white vinegar

- Run the dishwasher through a cycle on the hottest temperature

- Sprinkle bi carb inside and run through another cycle

- Wipe over the front of the dishwasher

- Repeat as often as you need to and depending on how often the dishwasher is used!

[Clean My House] Cleaning your kettle

How to clean your electric kettle/jug:

- Half fill your kettle with water

- Cut up a lemon and add to your kettle

- Bottle continuously for 10 minutes or so

- Remove lemons and thoroughly rinse out

- Reboil a few times until the water doesn't taste like lemon anymore

[Clean My House] Cleaning Bath Toys

There are 3 ways you can clean bath toys:

1. Place all toys in a washing bag/net bag and throw in the washing machine and wash on the hottest cycle. Leave to thoroughly dry (you can leave them in the sun but be careful that they do not fade and become brittle)

2. Place all small toys on the top shelf of the dishwasher and larger toys on the bottom and run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle using either a dishwasher tablet or just bi carb and vinegar. The dishwasher will dry for you.

3. Place in a sink filled with hot water and dishwashing liquid and leave to soak for a few hours. Dry thoroughly.

To avoid mould in bath toys:

- make sure toys are drained of water after a bath

- wash toys down with hot water after a bath to remove soap

- drill a larger hole in toys (or a hole if there isn't one at all) to allow water to drain easily

- store in a bag or basket with holes to allow any excess water to drain

- or don't buy bath toys that can grow mould!

[Clean My House] Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Sink

How to clean your stainless steel sink:

- Wipe down sink.

- Sprinkle bi carb over sink, leave for 10 mins, then use a scrubbing brush or toothpaste to give the sink a good scrub. Use gumption to remove harsher food stains.

- Rinse the sink/wipe over to remove bi carb and any gunk.

- Line sink with paper towels soaked with vinegar and leave for 20 mins.

[Organise My House] Have a Charity Bag On-The-Go

Have a charity bag or box always ready / on the go!

I keep a garbage bag in my laundry at all time for anything I find that can be donated. Once it's full, I drop it off at a local charity.

This means that I'm not keeping unnecessary items because I can't be bothered taking one thing to charity, and it also means that it's out of sight, out of mind but if I change my mind, I can still grab it out of the bag.

[Organise My House] Storing Cut Tomatoes

Storing cut tomatoes! 🍅

Did you know the best way to store cut tomatoes is face down on a plate or in a ramekin? You don't need cling wrap, foil or a fancy tomato storer. It will stay fresh like this in the fridge for a couple of days. My Nana taught me this and I will never forget it!

[Organise My House] Organising photos

📷 Create monthly sub-folders for your photos for each year, and make a point of uploading the photos on your phone or camera to your computer each month, and then back-up to an external hardrive (add it to your list of 3 once a month!)

[Organise My House] Labelling cords

Label cords (especially when you have a power board) with washi tape so that you know exactly what cord belongs to what appliance or electrical items!

I've also seen the tags off loaves of bread used too!

(I normally only have computer & phone cords plugged into this powerboard and not the heater as shown in the pic - they recommend heaters be plugged straight into the wall as they can become too hot and have burnt powerboards before!)

Friday, 25 August 2017

[Organise My House] A nappy change system for the car

Create your own nappy change system for the car!

Using a Huggies wipe dispenser (which I bought from Coles for $5 on special, and comes with 80 wipes which I used before creating this system), attach a half-full packet of wipes to the lid using a hair band or rubber band, and poke the first wipe through.

Underneath I have nappy bags, sanitiser, a change of clothes for both girls (a t-shirt for Miss M and an old Bonds wondersuit for Miss O), a spare dummy and 2 nappies (I took the photo before placing the nappies on top).

This set up is perfect if you've forgotten the nappy bag, and just want to duck to the shops quickly without your nappy bag.

For those without kids in nappies, you can easily store just a change of clothes in here, and wipes in the top (because as we know, wipes always come in handy for kids of any age!)

[Clean My House] Two Strategies for Tidying Up

Is tidying up each morning or evening something you dread?

Here are two tips that work well for us!

1. Set your timer for 15 minutes of a morning or evening to tidy up. 15 minutes does not seem overwhelming, and by setting the timer you are keeping the commitment of 'just' 15 minutes with yourself. It is actually incredible what you can achieve in 15 minutes. Make it a game and get your kids and family involved (the idea of just 15 minutes is from Leanne at Organising the Four of Us).

2. When you are tidying your lounge room for example, which may have items the kids have dragged in from every other room in the house, use a washing basket to chuck everything in that needs relocating to another room. Rather than running back and forth between rooms, you can carry the basket to each room, and put the items away. It works a treat!

[Organise My House] Organising My Pantry

Use medium to large size tubs or baskets to organise your pantry.

I have -

Up the top:
- An oils & sauces tub
- Two 'extras' tubs (used for any extra items needed to replace pantry items, eg. extra tea bags)

On the bottom: 
- A weekly meals tub (for any items that will be used in my weekly meal plan)

The idea for the oils, extras and weekly meals tubs came from Leanne at Organising the Four of Us.

The tubs I've used were about $6 from IKEA.

I've used Kmart 'tupperware,' which were $9 for a pack of 4 (in various shapes and sizes) to organise my pantry items. I've had these containers for a few years now and they are still in good condition, and keep everything fresh!

[Clean My House] A Cleaning Caddy

Purchase (or repurpose) something you can use for a cleaning caddy. Organise it so that all of the cleaning products you need are in the one place. This is super handy for cleaning the bathroom for example - I have toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, homemade all purpose cleaner, shower cleaner, paper towel, a Norwex dusting glove, a scrubbing brush, a toothbrush (for cleaning), gumption and spare bags for the bathroom bin. I just grab my caddy and head to the bathroom, and everything I need to clean is there, making cleaning a lot more efficient. I keep my caddy in my cleaning cupboard in the laundry.

[Clean My House] Cleaning Your Thermomix

I created this image based on Thermofun's method of deep cleaning your Thermomix bowl. If your bowl is dull, marked, or has leftover residue, the high levels of citric acid in the lemons will remove this and leave your bowl sparkling - and your kitchen smelling amazing!

You will only need 1 lemon, and 350g of water.

Place your lemon into the Thermomix bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 10.

Then add the water and cook for 10 minutes on Varoma, speed 2.

Once completed, wipe your bowl out with a clean cloth.

[Organise My House] Storing Tea Bags

Store tea bags in a tea box! This really sparks joy for me. I bought this from eBay a few years ago for about $15, and I have seen them at many homewares shops. I love that they are displayed in a colourful, neat and accessible way.

[Organise My House] Storing Scarves

I store my scarves on a ladder, which is displayed in our Master Bedroom. I purchased this bamboo ladder on clearance from Myer for $40 about 8 years ago for this specific purpose. Kmart have a similar version (which is thinner) for $25.

I love displaying my scarves like this as it's easy to choose one each day in winter, and they just look so pretty - it definitely is something that sparks joy for me! 

[Organise My House] Storing Wrapping Paper

Store wrapping paper in a wire hamper. This was $10 from Kmart, and I just love the aqua colour! I love to have wrapping paper for all sorts of occasions, ready to go when I need to wrap a present! This is kept in our guest room. I have seen this particular hamper used for soft toys as well. If I wasn't using this hamper for wrapping paper (and we weren't in a rental), I'd use an IKEA plastic bag holder.

[Organise My House] Storing Craft Paper

I was storing my coloured and patterned paper for craft in an A4 snap lock bag, but I've transferred, organised and labelled (who else just loves their label maker?!) them into a paper tray (that was originally from Big W for about $15, and that I've used over the years for teaching). It just makes so much more sense now - I can easily see and access what I need!

[Organise My House] Hair Items

Our systems for storing hair items for the girls is very simple but has worked well for 2.5 years now. 

I keep all hair clips and ribbons on a canvas board with ribbon I made (about 10 years ago now!) - buy a cheap canvas and using a staple gun attach material for the background, and then I used 4 pieces of ribbon which run vertically, and which I can attach clips and ribbons to. 

Using a little IKEA tin, I store dummy clips, combs, brushes and hair bands, as well as a little purple container of random mini clips. A pill box holds our hair bands.

I created my own nit-prevention/hair spray from adding some conditioner, water and a couple of drops of tea-tree oil to a spray bottle from Woolies. 

Each morning after I change the girls, they sit on the change table and I do their hair - I just grab the tin, and then we choose a hair clip. Easy!