Thursday, 26 January 2017

Australia Day Fun Part 2


Happy Australia Day everyone!

This morning we did two themed crafts, inspired by ideas I'd found on Pinterest.

We made a koala out of a paper plate, and did a dot painting on a kangaroo outline.

For the koala, Miss M painted a paper plate grey.



After it had dried, we glued on eyes, a nose and stapled ears to finish our koala off!


Then we did some dot painting. I drew an outline of a kangaroo, and mixed up some paint on a paper plate - black, brown, orange, red and yellow. We used cotton buds to paint dots on the outline.



All done!


This is an emu Miss M made at daycare on Tuesday. It uses half a paper plate, covered in glue and brown bits of paper, then uses a brown pipe cleaner for the neck and legs which has been stapled on, a brown triangle for the nose and a goggly eye. It's so cute!


We also found lots of Australian books to read today. Miss M loves books, and these are all such good stories!


I hope you enjoyed your day too!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Organise & Declutter Part 17 - The Garage


When I started this blog, my initial aim was to document cleaning out, organising and decluttering each room in my house. I began the 'Organise & Declutter' series In July 2015 which you can read here:


Our house has changed a little bit since I began the series, and you can see updated photos here.

I always intended to organise and declutter our garage in that series, and time/kids/motivation just meant that it continued to be put to the bottom of the to-do list!

Last year, my husband Brendan built shelves into the garage so that we could organise the garage and keep our tubs and boxes off the floor. The shelves helped, but we really needed half a day to pull everything out, sort through it, donate what we could, chuck the rest and organise and put only what we needed back.

Last Friday happened to work for me, my mum (who looked after the girls) and Brendan as he had the day off work.

Here are the before photos... brace yourself!

Our garage has a spot for one car, and then quite a large area for storage beside it. Everything we didn't want in the house is stored under here. It got to the stage where I almost didn't have enough space to park my car, and it was difficult to get the pram and Brendan's bike out, which we use all the time. Junk was piled high as you can see!



Progress photos: As we pulled everything out, we chucked anything that was damaged and broken or that couldn't be donated. We took photos of things we could sell on our local buy, swap and sell pages on Facebook. We sorted things into categories - Brendan's cycling gear, our school resources, kids clothes, maternity clothes, party items, Christmas items, music gear, tools etc. All boxes went into the recycling, and everything went into plastic tubs and onto the shelves.





After... So much space for my car to park! We have to have our dryer in our shed as we don't have enough room in our laundry, and Brendan has his spin bike set-up for training. The items under the table at the end are to be delivered to people we sold or gave things away to.



Here are all my labelled tubs on the shelves Brendan built, and all the space in the middle! Everything is easy to access and find - it looks even better in real life too!



I have girls and boys clothes labelled in the tubs across the top (I collected a few boys items when we didn't know what sex Miss O was), then party items in the grey tubs, my maternity clothes in the green tub, my Christmas items in the green and red tubs and our Christmas tree in the red Christmas tree bag, and along the bottom: our school resources, DVD's, cycling items, music gear and tools in the clear tubs.

4 hours, 2 sulo bins and a ute full of rubbish to take to the tip, and we were done! After almost 4 years living in our house, I don't think the garage has ever been this clean or organised! A great feeling!




Thursday, 19 January 2017

Australia Day Fun

As Miss M gets older, I am really enjoying doing more theme activities with her, and celebrating anything and everything! We made Christmas cookies just last month with a friend of hers, which they loved, and today we made some Australia Day themed biscuits and jelly.

Organising the Four of Us posted this pic on Instagram last year, but the idea is also from 'A little delightful,'  Confetti Mumma and My Lovely Little Nest. They are koala biscuits and koalas in a pool/lake.  


We assembled our ingredients: marshmallows, Marie biscuits, eyes, black food colouring, icing sugar, plastic cups, blue jelly, caramello koalas, pineapple lumps and mini flags. In the pic above, black jelly beans (or maybe choc peanuts/sultanas) have been used for the koala noses (or you can use clinkers) but pineapple lumps happened to be on special when I purchased everything else.


Simply make an icing mixture, ensuring you do not add too much black icing (I didn't realise just how strong the black food colouring was!) so that you mix together a nice grey. Spread it over the biscuits and add marshmallows for the ears.


Then add your eyes, and your nose.


Miss M and her friend had a great time assembling their koala biscuits!





Next time, I'll use much less black colouring, and a smaller nose!



To make the koalas in a pool, mix up the blue jelly according to the packets instructions and pour into plastic cups. Let it set for a little while in the fridge, and before it's fully set, add your caramello koala and your flag. Once it's fully set, eat and enjoy!



Such a cute activity, and the kids certainly had fun! I can't wait for Valentine's Day now to do more themed activities!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

January House Update 2017

A new tradition I started on the blog last year is to post pictures of our home each January, to help document the changes that might happen throughout the year. I posted our home update in 2016 here. This idea is from Leanne at Organising the Four of Us, and you can read her January Update from 2015 here.

Master bedroom





The Girls Room (Miss M: 2 years old; Miss O: 3 mths old)
This has been the biggest change: this room used to be the guest room (read about it here). Now it is our girls room (although Miss O won't move in until she is out of the bassinet which is currently in our new guest room).




Guest Bedroom



Ensuite



Main bathroom 



Lounge Area




Kitchen




Sunroom



Laundry




Front



Back
New cubby!!






Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Welcome and 2017 Resolutions!


Welcome (or welcome back) to my blog!

I started this blog 18 months ago, and have been absolutely blown away with over 24,000 views on my blog posts, and over 1400 likers on my Facebook page! This time last year I had roughly 8,000 views and 800 likers - thank you to all of you for making this experience a positive one - I really enjoy writing blog posts, and finding interesting things to post on Facebook. 

I thought I would re-introduce myself for those who might be new. I'm Sarah, I'm 28 years old (29 in April) and am married to Brendan, who is almost 32. We have two beautiful daughters, Miss M, who was born in December 2014, and who has just turned 2, and Miss O, who was born in October 2016, and who is only just 3 months old. We got married in April 2013, and then bought a house - we live in Northern NSW. We have completely changed the outside of the house, both front and back, as well as some of the inside. My hubby is the talented one on the tools, and I like to try my hand at decorating on a budget! He also works as a direct care worker with teenagers, a primary school casual teacher and is also a super-dad!

I am currently on maternity leave from high school teaching. I trained as a secondary PDHPE Teacher, however I've spent 3 of my 5 years teaching Maths.  

Last year I shared our family's goals for 2016, so I thought it would be good to revisit these and see what we achieved!

2016 Goals

House
 - fix the lights in the bathrooms
 - attach a new smoke alarm
 - remove out-of-date security boxes
 - replace powerpoints in guest room (they are still old fashioned brown ones)
 - finish painting new doors in Miss M's room and the guest room
 - finish painting picket fences
 - establish the gardens
 - finish the railing on the porch
 - my ultimate aim for decluttering and organising is to have not even one junk drawer!

Money
 - focus on paying a certain amount off the house

Personal
 - Brendan is aiming to finish uni this year (he is a semester away from being a primary teacher!)
 - Brendan is also training for a competitive cycling race in May
 - Maintain my pre-pregnancy weight [I fell pregnant again instead!]
 - Exercise 6 times per week 
 - Implement a new way of meal planning
 - Healthier meals/create more freezer meals

Purchases
 - New computer: we desperately need one, both our laptops have almost died!
 - New TV unit: we are still using a cheap purchase off a local buy, swap and sell site

Travel
A few places on our list include:
 - Newcastle
 - Tamworth
 - Forster
 - Sydney
 - Gold Coast
 - Port Macquarie
 - Albury
 - Wagga

It feels great to be able to cross off so many things from our list last year! Here are our goals for 2017:

2017 Goals

House
 - finish painting new doors in the girl's room and the guest room
 - finish painting picket fences
 - finish the railing on the porch
 - install ceiling fans in the master room and living room

Money
 - focus on paying a certain amount off the house
 - create a new budget

Personal/Health
 - Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight
 - Exercise 3-4 times per week
 - Brendan wants to do more cycling and racing this year 

Purchases
 - IKEA trip (for fun!) 

Travel
 - Port Macquarie
 - Albury
 - Newcastle
 - Yamba
 - Byron Bay

Ultimately I want to find our new normal as a family of 4, and with the 2 girls. I can't wait for another year to watch both girls grow and change and learn new things. It's exciting to be able to (at this point) stay at home with them, and to make more memories this year!


Happy New Year everyone!!

[Top image from: advancehappynewyear2017.com]