Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mr 7 Months

Our little man is now 7 months and we are still very much in love with him. :)
He is the most happy and content baby and we still can't quite believe our luck! As a mum I am big on routines and although I know this doesn't suit everyone, it really works for our family.
We are not clock watchers and I would describe our routine as flexible, but without it I don't know how I would get anything done around the house or take care of our other two kids!
Elliot has his longest sleep in the morning and during that time I scramble to fit in all my jobs and tasks around the house. Although I am an at home mum, I have still kept up my habit of creating 'To Do' lists each day. I have found this really helpful and it ensures I make the time to fit in all the things I need to each day.
I am loving being a mum at home and am cherishing each moment in a way I never did with Rosie and Harry. Perhaps this is because I now know that this precious time is so I find myself snuggling with Elliot just that little bit longer each day. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Operation Basement Begins...

This poor area of our house has been neglected and in a state of limbo for almost two years. Throughout this time it has mainly been used as a dumping ground storage area for pretty much everything that we couldn't fit upstairs.
Carpet scraps down on the bare concrete...oh dear.
This included everything from unused furniture, building supplies, exercise equipment, out of season clothing, excess bedding, craft supplies, my fabric stash, toys, Christmas decorations and so much more.
This was a built in sink in this "hobby room".
Although it was fantastic having such a large area for storage, we knew that eventually we wanted to make it into a useable space with a spare room and possibly an office area...but there was a problem.
It even had real hot water...until we got the plumber to remove it.
A. Big. Problem.
Not that long after we moved in, we suffered a small leak downstairs which caused a damp patch to the carpet in one of the rooms. Fast forward a few months and there were more leaks and finally, a huge flood throughout the entire downstairs area! The flood occured after my DIY husband decided to "fix" some spouting outside.
Goodbye built in sink and cupboard.
To be fair, what he did "should" have worked theoretically, however something happened and all the rainwater was directed to a place it shouldn't have gone (don't ask me where as I don't know!). Right then and there we decided to rip up all the carpet and there began the long process of identifying the source of the problem and putting in measures to fix it.
Hello study nook in Rosie's new room. Here she is measuring up for a desk.
The first thing we did was get new drainage laid around the outside of the house, to ensure all the water was draining away where it should be. This was a long but essential process and unfortunately our front yard was pretty much destroyed during the process.
One of the only pictures we have of the ivy before it was taken out.
As you can see from all the trees in the foreground, this was taken during a tree felling exercise. :)
 Saddest of all, all the decorative ivy which was growing on the lower level of the house for decades, had to be cut away to access the sides of the house. I was gutted as it was a feature I really loved, and what little street appeal our 1970's house had, was lost. :(
The good news is that the drainage seems to be doing it's job and in the 12 months+ we have had it, no more floods! You would think that would be the end of it...but no.
The previous ower clearly loved nails. Look how many he used!
This downstairs area was converted into two extra bedrooms, a study and bathroom over 25 years ago and although it was done properly, some of the waterproofing measures were nearing the end of their life. This meant that occasionally we had small areas of damp forming in the concrete. Ironically, this always seemed to happen in the summer after heavy rain! We knew that we would have to address this before even thinking of moving on with any projects down here.
This is the largest room downstairs...hopefully a spare room for visitors.
So a few weeks ago we cleared the whole area out (you can't move in our garage at the moment) and Operation Basement was moving forward! Yay! Some of the skirtings were ripped up, ugly built in units were ripped out and the builder has been in to build a false wall for us and repair some of the holes in our roof where we had all our plumbing replaced. Yes, it turns out our house was from the era of faulty Dux Quest Piping.
Rosie is planning to move to her new room down here.
We really had no choice but to replace the piping in the house as there was no point going to the effort of finishing this downstairs area and furnishing it, only to have leaking pipes destroy everything. So as you can see, this has not been an easy and straight forward process and we have certainly learnt a lot during this time about older houses and the hidden costs that can come up when you buy a house of this era and type.
Study or craft area maybe?
We only had a very small renovation budget and most of it has been sucked dry with boring but essential things like drains, pipes and waterproofing. It is so much more exciting to spend renovation $ on great carpet or furnishings, it is painful to spend it on things that can't even be seen, but we will get there in the end. It just means we will have to be a bit more creative in making this space our own and just quietly, I am actually pretty excited about the prospect. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Green Fingers

Green fingers, I totally don't have them!
One of the downsides of an older property is that there is lots of exisiting planting to try and manage. You inherit other people's plants and tree choices and being a minimalist in the garden, my instinct is to clear the lot.

For the most part though, I don't clear the lot...I leave it to grow wild! I would almost rather do anything at all than weed the garden. Yep, not my favourite thing to do, as you can quite plainly see from the photos. :)
Recently I decided to try and tackle some of the weeding in our front yard, so I bought some cute gloves for the kids and I in the hope it would create a bit of of enthusiasm for us all. It worked...for about an hour. After that the kids dropped away and I was left for the next few hours to go it alone.
I'll be honest, it wasn't fun...but a plain dirt garden bed does look a lot better than an overgrown one. I still have so much to do to and am far from being finished with the weeding, but know that I need to keep plodding on or we will never get to the fun part of finishing the garden in the low maintenence look we like. Next time we buy a house we might go for a half site with no gardens! :)

Mr 5 Months

Our little guy has now hit the 5 month mark and is becoming more and more fun as each day passes. We have been super lucky in that he is the most relaxed baby ever and rarely cries.
He is a great little sleeper and is still happily sleeping in his bassinet. We are also still wrapping him for sleep and although he settles really well when wrapped, he has now got to the stage where he won't sleep unless wrapped. When we are out, a very precise set of conditions are called for in order for him to sleep. This means we don't go out too often! Still, it is a small trade off for how settled he is at home. :)
He loves playing now and his exersaucer is a real favourite. He jumps away in there very happily and loves batting the toys and trying to chew them. He is at the stage where everything is going in his mouth...including his fingers and thumb.
Every day with him is a real joy and I am soaking up every minute of being at home with him, that I can. I love being a mum and little Elliot has reminded me how fleeting this baby stage is and how much I need to savour and appreciate it. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tea Towel Cushions

Now that little Elliot has moved himself to a 4 hourly feeding routine, I am getting a bit more time to work on a few projects around the house, which I am really enjoying!
This week I found these two great cotton tea towels from Bed, Bath and Table. I loved the bright colours on the plain white background and I thought they would be great to add a bit of colour to Rosie's bed.
Best of all, tea towels are MUCH cheaper than buying fabric by the metre and given our limited budget and my passion for updating our cushions more often than needed, this was a great option.
For several years now, I have seen lots of people make cushions out of tea towels in all my favourite home magazines. I always planned to do it myself, but never seemed to have the time to really look around for some that I liked.
I am increasingly finding myself drawn to bright colours lately, but am too scared to commit to anything permanent, like painting walls in bright colours! Instead I am trying to add more 'pops' of colour around the house instead.
If you are planning on making tea towel cushions (or any cushions for that matter), I strongly recommend you prewash the fabric first. This was a tip I learned from my sewing guru, Karen and she was right. The finish is far better when the fabric has been washed as often shrinkage occurs, especially in cotton.
I pulled out my sewing machines on a beautiful sunny afternoon during Elliot's sleep, and whipped these up before the afternoon school pick up. Every time I make something on my machines, I am filled with such a sense of satisfaction at creating something, that I wonder why I don't do it more often.
I made the triangle bunting tea towel into a small rectangular cushion by folding it in half and adding a zip. I wanted a standard square cushion out of the leaf fabric, so had to use some plain linen fabric I already had for the back.
Rosie was thrilled with them when she saw them and I am already on the search for more tea towels... :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kids Responsibilities Charts

It has become apparent in recent weeks that we needed a new system in our household. We have used our after school routine chart for quite a while now and it has been great for focusing the kids on what needs to be done when we get home in the afternoons.
Lately however, it has become obvious that there wasn't enough detail on it and I was getting the same questions every afternoon regarding what needed to be done before they could have their snacks or enjoy some leisure time.
In addition to this, I discovered that Rosie has been getting homework most weeks from school...and not doing it or showing me! I can't believe I fell for the excuse in hindsight. I mean, I am a teacher and know all about the "Nope, no homework this week, Mum" excuse! I guess I just hoped that my daughter wouldn't be the one using that excuse. lol
Anyway, moving was time to get some much clearer expectations in place and I remembered a little chart I had found on Pinterest recently. There is a great blog called Pinch a Little Save a Lot, which is my kind of blog. It is full of clever organising ideas and there are also some fantastic free printables on there.
This little chore chart can be found there in a very cool boy or girl option, but best of all, it is able to be edited and personalised for your own needs! I sat down this week and thought of all the responsibilities I wanted the kids to work on and they each have their own personalised list. I printed the charts on thicker card and then had them laminated, so we can use a whiteboard marker to tick the checklist each day.

They are now on the wall in the kitchen and even after a couple of days, I have noticed a positive change. They love seeing what needs to be done and being able to check it off their lists. If they fulfill their responsibilities on the checklist then we discuss as a family a special reward, such as a family movie night or another treat. Fingers crossed that this works for us...and that the homework is handed in on time from now on! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Growing Fast...

The weeks are flying by and our little guy is growing way too fast!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Getting My Organising Mojo Back!

It has been quite some time since I tackled an organising project, but I am trying hard to get my organising mojo back, so I started with this little project one afternoon this week.
It has been over a year and a half since I last tidied my plastics cupboard, and since then we seem to have acquired quite a lot more plastic! My kids go to a Enviroschool, which means they discourage the use of Glad Wrap and unnecessary packaging in their lunchboxes, amongst other things.
This means we have lots of little storage tubs and containers that we use in their lunchboxes. There was also the issue of a new baby in the house and trying to accommodate all the extra feeding paraphernalia that goes along with that.
I had got tired of the steriliser cluttering up the bench so I now have a dedicated baby shelf in our plastics cupboard to keep everything tidy and off the bench. A project like this is also a great excuse to throw out all the mismatched and poorly fitting containers and lids, as well as items you don't use.
I had several round containers which I never used, not to mention four ice cube trays, which I think were left over from my baby food making days many moons ago. I put the good items into a bag for charity and threw out the rest of the stuff we didn't need.
It was also a good chance to reorganise our cookie cutters into a larger container (how did I get so many of these?) and create new storage boxes for our plastic bag clamps and ice block moulds.
So plastic cupboard reorganisation take two has finished and I hope this is the beginning of more projects to come! :)