Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wardrobe sort

The weather is definitely changing and I am digging out some of my favourites from the wardrobe to keep warm. In doing so I found a few not so favourites and thought it was time I had another look at my wardrobe to see what needs to move on and what I do have to wear. I am definitely an advocate for feeling better when you look your best. While I don't have much chances to dress up and love being comfortable, dressing casually doesn't mean you can't look good I have always been a fan of Trinny and Susannah and other shows like Gok. What I love about their shows is that they deal with the real you. Loving the skin you're in so to speak. No surgery or major dieting required. Having stumbled across a book called Colour me Confident on special about dressing to suit your style and colours I put what I had seen to the test and sorted my wardrobe. Sure you can pay loads to have your own personal consultant but it gave me a start. Now I love to shop as I know what suits me. I know what I have and buy things to add to what I've got. Which is great for when there are sales. Which is exactly what I found the last couple of days. I happened to be at the right place at the right time. 30% off one top that I had seen and liked elsewhere and 25% at another store. Now if I could just find the right pair of black shoes to replace the ones the puppy chewed I will be happy. The pain about having such big feet!

If you are feeling like you don't have anything to wear maybe its time you had a look at what you've got. It starts with accepting what you look like and making something of it. Sometimes adding a few simple things to your wardrobe can make all the difference. And the next time you see someone looking good in something don't be jealous, get inspired. You might not be able to wear what they wear (you're not them) but what was it that caught your eye? The colour, the way they put their outfit together, the accessories. It certainly has made a difference to me. And others have noticed to. Accentuate your assets and they don't see the flaws (and yes we all have them). And remember that your biggest asset is not what you look like but what is on the inside. But that is another story I will get to another time.

I would love to hear your story. Leave a comment or email me at the address to the right.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Update on Tokens

After yesterday I was beginning to wonder just how effective our token system is. See here to read more. I thought that they would realise that its pretty great to be able to do what you want to do. You just need to get a few things done first. But it takes more than a bit of coaxing and reminding, they have to want to do something first. And of course particularly in the morning have had a reasonable sleep. I have really been noticing just how grumpy I have been with them and it sets us up for a bad day. I really don't want to send them off with a negative outlook. So this morning I made a conscious effort to think before I act and speak. Hurrying and growling just make them more frustrating. It becomes a game of who can be the most stubborn. And we did it. The boys got ready and had a bit of time to get out the lego again. Taking time with them made such a difference. The biggest thing I noticed was at the end of the day. Such an attitude change. There will always be something else to do. But what is more important? If you aren't ready to listen to the small stuff (and believe me it is a hard thing when you have all four wanting you at once) and are quick to brush them off they are less likely to want to tell you their most important things.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Life has been somewhat crazy of late. I have so many things that I am wanting to do and have just been managing to keep up with the day to day things like cooking, dishes, washing, cleaning and the like. Each day seems to blur into the next feeling like you are on autopilot. It was about time that I had a chance to stop and reflect on what I have been up to and what I want to be doing.

What I came to realise is that I have been slowly adding things to my life that seemed like a good idea at the time. After all they were just small things I could fit into what I was already doing. E 100 series, a conference at church, helping a friend, offering to write a devotion for a mums night, starting this blog. But small things on mass turn into pretty big things. Its not usually until it starts to take its toll physically that you realise just how much you have been doing. Sure these are great things that I really wanted to do and I was good at. However they all been extras that have meant that I haven't done a number of things that were already on my to do list. I can't do it all.

So I am in the process of completing what I started. Getting myself organised. I won't feel like I have got somewhere until the pile on the floor in my bedroom is gone. It has meant pushing myself to get things done and saying no to things that I would like to do. Sometimes you have to keep going up the mountain to get to the other side. One thing at a time.

One of the biggest things on my to do list is revisiting my goals and dreams and reviewing my mission statement. It helps to keep a balance of what is important. I recently read this article about how our dreams can sometimes be on hold. It got me thinking about how much I want to have things happen now but maybe I just have to wait and remember that God has it all under control. While I may not think that what I am doing is relevant it all fits in his plan. I was reminded of this again when our family pastor shared this Sunday about her travels to conference . Family ministry starts at home at our place. I can have all the greatest ideas and dreams but what I am doing here at home counts for far more.

Everyday Life

Who would have thought that this would happen at our place. These photos were captured of the boys getting into their lego on a school morning! Yes thats right on a school morning. Our usual routine involves mad dashes around the house and lots of coaxing, bribing, grumping and more to get four boys out the door to do school and kindy drop offs.
So how did I they do it you might well ask. The simple answer tokens. I have had the token system set up for a while but decided to have a revamp and get it going a bit more. It all started as a way to get the boys more involved in helping out. As much as it is easier to do things yourself sometimes when you are doing everything thats all you get to do. So it was a way of encouraging them to help out so they got to do what they wanted and so did I. Up on our wall is a list of things that the boys can earn tokens for like setting the table, putting their bags away, getting ready in the morning and some things worth two tokens like emptying the dishwasher. When they have ten tokens they get to cash them in for a prize. These include having a friend over, going for a bike ride or swim, staying up late etc.

So on this morning they were up and ready to go in no time earned themselves tokens and then had time to play. It would be fab to say that it lasted and mornings are great but you have to take joy in the moments when they do. Hence why I had to capture it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Filling the pantry

This week was grocery week again. The cupboards seem to get emptier each time I think. I thought I would share a little about how I get set up for shopping and cooking that saves time and money in the process. These notes come from a session that I took at a mums group.

I have always enjoyed cooking. My mother was a good cook and eating around the family table brings back fond memories. Having children of my own I am in awe of how she did it and have set out to retain the joys for myself as well as provide healthy and yummy meals for my family. How do I do it? The secret lies in the planning. While I enjoy spending time in the kitchen it just isn't practical with 4 children. So I am big on time savers and just love those one pan dinners.

The first step to getting organised is working out a meal list that you and your family enjoy. As you experiment with different things you will begin to add to and adapt it. Build on your basics. There are a lot of different sources for ideas. Once you have the list sit down and work out what you will eat for the week or fortnight. Plan around events that occur in the week such as sports evenings entertaining or easy Friday night food. Keep the list on your fridge or write it on the calendar.

You are now set to make up your grocery list for the week or as I do fortnight. I have made up a standard list of all the things that I routinely buy. I go through each of the meals that I am going to make and check off the ingredients to make sure I have the things on hand. I then work through the things that I have written on my fridge list and any other items that I need to get. Because the list is in the order of the supermarket I shop at it makes shopping even faster (especially with little ones). Be sure to include items for extra events or entertaining. The key here is home cooked always goes down a treat and will have your guests impressed. Try pizza add hot chips and a salad or hamburgers. Guests can make their own how they like it. For deserts pancakes or a fruit crumble are always enjoyed.

It does take a while to get into the process of doing it, but is well worth the effort. In the end you don't have to worry about what you are having for the week. You can also do preparation the night before by taking out the meat for the following day and/or getting ingredients ready.

The key to preparing great meals is being set up for success. I have a little pantry space and kitchen that is really on its last legs, but I have set it up so that I can prepare meals easily even when my littlies want to join in and help. I have the tools and ingredients that I use on a regular basis at hand. I also make good use of those must have kitchen appliances (Kitchen whiz, bread maker, stick whiz) Other regular use items such as breakfast ingredients and baking ingredients are stored on trays that can be pulled out used and put back without too much fuss.

When it comes to getting a meal ready I start by getting out all the ingredients and tools that I need so I don't have to go looking for them in the middle of cooking. Do as much of the preparation as you can before you start cooking eg: peeling, chopping, grating. If you have the bench space sometimes this can be easier to do earlier in the day.

Thats kind of it in a nutshell. You really have to see the process in action.It sounds really organised and I guess it is. But I live by Stephen Covey's idea that it is a habit of highly effective people. In life you have to be intentional about what you want in order to make time for the things that you really want to do. Leave a comment or email me at if you have any questions or want to know more. I would love to pass on what I have found useful. I would also love to know how you organise your shopping as I am always looking for ideas. I will be posting more later about recipes I use and how to get your kids eating more of the things you would like them to. There isn't much our boys won't eat.
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