Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Trying To Make Ends Meet....

It may only be the end of March but already 2015 has thrown a lot of sh*t our way.

We took a three week break at the end of last year and headed up the coast....we knew that the holiday would stretch the budget but there is our mental well being to contend with to and we really needed a break.  We rented the crappy old house with lagoon views in order to keep costs down and once we arrived on holidays all entertainment was provided for free by the sun, sand, surf and the lagoon.  We had family time, we had laughs, we made memories.

Arriving home after the break, feeling as recharged as you possibly can when you have been on a beach holiday with 5 children, hubby and I were ready to tackle the new year.

The minute we arrived home we were welcomed by a flea infestation.  Twelve hours later we discovered that the fridge was not working, that same day the lawn mower died.  And it didn't stop there, in addition the shower head broke, the microwave stopped working, hubby's car broke down, the hot water service sprung a leak.....seriously there are probably a few things that I'm forgetting too!

On top of everything on the home front falling apart hubby's work has been quiet with some of the big companies he does work for making a lot of budget cut backs so he is constantly on the look out for more work.

Any tiny sense of peacefulness that we returned from holidays with has long since been completely annihilated and has been replaced with constant stress.

To be honest I am totally exhausted.  

It feels like my days consist of constantly monitoring bank accounts, taking money from one and putting it in another to cover mortgage or bills, chasing every cent that companies owe us, making payment arrangements for electricity, water, rates, school fees etc...

You cannot be the best mum that you want to be when you are all consumed with all of this financial stuff.  I am tired, I am preoccupied,  I am a little short on patience!

Miss 17 needs new school shoes, desperately. Miss 15's dentist bill is behind in payments for her braces, I owe money for new blazers, jumpers and blouses at school, three of the girls are due for birthday parties this year, the water bill is due...and the electricity bill should arrive any day now.  And that's not even the half of it!  

I seriously cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment so I will just need to keep on juggling, cutting back and surviving as best as we can for the time being.  

This obviously consumes a lot of my energy, it is the last thing I think about at night and the first thing I think about in the mornings.

All I can do for now is to try to find new ways to make money and new ways to save money so that we can work towards making ends meet.  I have decided to make this my focus for 2015 and I will share with you what I learn along the way!  You're welcome to come along for what could be a very bumpy ride!!

Linking up with Jess from Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays  #IBOT

Have you got any good tips for making ends meet.....I'd love to hear them if you do!

Friday, 27 March 2015

'Twas The Night Before The Garage Sale....

'Twas the night before the garage sale and all through the house
Mumma was freakin' like a drugged up mouse.....

All items were priced and laid out with care
for when the pre-dawn bargain hunters would be there.....

The children were all snuggled up in bed
the threats that they'd better wake up early filled their sweet heads.....

Hubby was wondering why he'd ever agreed to that
now he'd surely miss his Saturday arvo nap.....

I prepared for a day full of shoppers and chatter
making some sales is now all that matters.....

When morning comes I'll have to leap up in a flash
breakfast, shower and dress in a dash......

For there'll be last minute setting up you know
making sure all our pre-loved goodies are on show.....

Hopefully plentiful numbers of buyers will appear
and let's hope they don't think our prices are too dear.....

After weeks of planning, prepping and pricing the day will go quick 
and let's hope people buy most of our sh*t.....

When it's all over we'll need a nice cold rosé 
and we can sit down and reflect on our day.....

Hopefully the the profits will be worth all the work
Otherwise I'll fell like a right jerk.....

Well now I must go and turn out the light
and wish you all a wonderous garage sale eve night!!!

So tomorrow is the big day guys....holding my first ever garage sale!  
Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

I am Totally Loving #3

So this year I have raved about how I am loving flowy pants and the Sony Smart Lens....this month I am adding Matt Crump and his candy minimal photography to the list of things I love.

When I was on holidays in January Chantelle Ellem of Fat Mum Slim wrote a post on how to create candy coloured photos which you can read here.  I loved the post, loved the photos that Chantelle 'candy coloured' and subsequently fell in love with Matt's candy minimal photography.

With very little internet access on holidays, and a string of disasters when we returned home (flea infestation, fridge not working, lawn mower died, shower head stuffed, microwave broken, hot water service leaking....you get the idea hey!)  it has taken me a while to sit down and have a little play with the various apps and editing programs to try out some candy minimal of my own.

And here are the results.....

Be warned that this is totally addictive and a whole lot of fun!

You should totally check out Matt Crumps prints for sale....they are breathtaking! Take a look here.....you'll be sure to find one or two or ten that you fall in love with!!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

My Thoughts On The Thermomix Debate

Here's my thoughts on the Thermomix debate that is constantly raging on social media.....

If you want one..............................buy one

If you don't want one......................don't buy one

If you've got nothing nice to say about one..........then say nothing at all..... 
or as my hubby would say "shut the f*ck up!  

Pretty simple really.

Linking with Essentially Jess today for #IBOT...it's my first time so I hope I'm doing it right!!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pink Is The New White....

So you know how purple was the new black a few seasons ago.....is that still true....I am so out of touch with fashion !!  Anyways did you know that apparently pink is the new white??

Yeah well I didn't now about this latest fashion phenomenon until I let hubby take Miss 10 and Miss 6 shopping for new runners last week.

Just as they were about to leave I said to him that the school policy for runners is mostly white so aim for that but a bit of colour won't be a problem.

These are the girls runners from last year when I took them shopping....I'm a bit of a stickler for the rules...

But with the crazy weeks I've been having lately I gladly accepted hubby's offer to take the girls shopping one afternoon....finally they would stop pestering me about their runners not fitting anymore...win/win right!

I told hubby some vague sizes, handed over some cash and sent them on their merry way.  In all honesty I had been expecting a phone call or two during the process but no such phone call came, hubby and the girls returned home all in one piece.....job done.....tick!

So are you ready to see Miss 6 and Miss 10's new runners....you know the ones that should be mostly white but a bit of colour will be okay...yeah those ones....

Are you sure you are ready for this...?

Holy crap!!  I was speechless...lol !!!

So there they are in all of their bright pink glory....all I can hope is that pink is the new white and nobody at school will notice !!  Thankfully they were buy one get a second pair for free because the price of the two pairs was absolutely ridiculous!!

Does your school specify a colour for runners? Do you conform like me or do you think a 'bit' of colour is okay!!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Job Description - Hospital Matron

Makeshift Home Hospital Matron

You will be responsible for providing all patient care and for the efficient running of your home hospital.  On top of this you will have to perform all of your existing motherly and wifely duties.

You will be required to care for everyone in your household who sniffles, coughs or sneezes because these symptoms clearly mean that they are rendered unable to perform any tasks for themselves.

You will be required to administer medications, pass out tissues, make honey and lemon tea, hand out throat lozenges, change the television station, provide refreshments, issue damp flannels, tuck blankets in, fluff pillows, read stories.

You will be required to offer hugs multiple times a day.

Having given birth to these hypochondriacs pretty much qualifies you for this role.

This role requires your full commitment every waking moment, and will often extend into your sleeping moments as well.

Rather than actual monetary reward your tireless efforts will probably be rewarded with the eventual contracting of the symptoms yourself and if this does occur you will find that there is no tea or sympathy forthcoming.

No need to formally apply because the job is yours, there are no other takers! You can pick up your medical kit at the front door and start immediately.  Good luck!!

Has your household been hit by cold and flu with the change of seasons too?  
Any tips to help us through it??

Monday, 16 March 2015

Do you need a few extra hours in your week..?

Believe me, weeks here are totally crazy!!  I always need more time in my days.....there is never enough time to get the things done that I have to do let alone time for other ventures.  And with winter sports about to start that means a lot more time out of the house at both training and games...ugh I need more hours in my week!!!

So it was perhaps fate that led me to an article over at Mouths of Mums a few weeks ago titled "Time Poor?  Like An Extra 10 Hours  A Week"... you can check it out here....with a title like that I totally had to give it a read!

Okay so I'll admit that I was quite sceptical...seriously, how can I find an extra 10 hours a week??

The article pointed out that time is limited...each and every one of us has 24 hours in a day but how we each use those hours is different.  Making the best use of our time will be where we can get an extra 10 hours a week..

The article goes on to list potential time savers...

#1  Social Media
Hands up if you spend a little bit too much time on social media...yep my hands are up...that is totally me...just pop on for 5 minutes and two hours later...whoops!!!
The suggestion here is that if you are susceptible to finding yourself immersed in social media for hours a day then perhaps you need to set yourself some limits like 2 x 15 minute sessions a day.  Based on the assumption that this would save you 30 minutes per day you have just saved yourself 3.5 hours over the week!

#2  Prepare Meals Ahead Of Time
The suggestion here is to cook a few extra meals over the course of a weekend and pop them in the freezer for quick and easy weeknight meals. I love this idea and especially with a thermomix it is easy to have say beef stroganoff or spaghetti bolognaise cooking away while you prepare the evenings dinner in the oven or slow cooker.  But my tip here is to get those spare meals into the freezer asap....or else they won't last long with hungry teens!
If you did this for 3 meals a week you could save yourself 30 minutes on each of those nights, adding up to 1.5 hours over the week!

#3  Cluster Tasks
Rather than jumping from one job to another the idea here is to cluster like jobs together...so sit down for an hour or two and pay all of your bills, do all of your admin type work etc.. Do the same with housework tasks too.  It is easier to perform like tasks all at once rather than jumping from one task to another. This is an area I need to work on with my short attention span lol !!   They estimate that this could save you 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week which is 1 hour over the week!

#4  Menu Planning
We all know the benefits of menu planning but I'll admit that I fall off the menu planning wagon nearly every week!  Menu planning and shopping once a week will save you time thinking of what to cook and making multiple trips to the grocery store...seriously sometimes I feel like I am at our local shops everyday!.  This could save you 30 minutes 3 times a week which is another 1.5 hours across the week!

#5  Write A List
By spending 15 minutes of an evening writing a 'to-do'list for the next day you will give yourself clear direction for that day...this is a good one for me to get into the habit of so that as soon as I get home from dropping the girls to school I can grab my list and start being productive!  By doing this you will save yourself at least 15 minutes trying to get started in the morning.  Saving 15 minutes 5 days a week will save you 1.25 hours across the week!

#6  Get Up Earlier
Okay this might be my least favourite tip...much easier said than done!!  But I will admit that those child free minutes of a morning can be some of the most productive all day! By getting up just 15 minutes earlier each day over 7 days you would save 1.75 hours a week.  

So there you have an extra 10.5 hours in your week from those 6 pretty easy steps.

I definitely think I will have to work to incorporate all of these into my week starting right now!!  I need every minute that I can get!!

Do you have any other great ways to get more time in your week?  
Mine would be to fill my petrol tank to full once a week instead of putting $10 in the tank nearly every other day! 
I've just got to get over handing over so much money for petrol in one hit...but the time I save would be valuable!

Friday, 13 March 2015

PJ's at 4pm...

Yep it is 4pm Friday are my pj's are on!

It's been a full on week and I've been dealing with the flu on top of everything else that's going on!  This week we had hubby's birthday, I did an early morning shift at canteen to help them get through the 190+ sandwiches that they had to make for a special event, I survived a year 5 excursion to Chinatown, my sisters came over one day and we had a huge day of sorting for my upcoming garage sale...and then there was today....

It went a bit like this....

Wake up at 6am with the usual flu symptoms but today they are accompanied by a killer sore throat.

Get all the girls out the door and off to school on time.

Do my year 1 reading group....cheered because there were only three kids on my list today.....cried when I saw how many words there were on every single page of the reader!

Miss 10 was due to run her cross country race at 9.30am.....race started late.

Watch miss 10 do two laps of her cross country race and then grab miss 6 and make a dash to her specialists appointment as a follow up to her day surgery.

Arrive at the hospital parking station with all of 5 minutes til our appointment...car park full....what the??  Have no idea where else to park but come to the realization that as a car leaves a car can enter.  Wait at the boom gate like a stalker til a car leaves, grab my ticket, drive around to find where that one car left from, park, grab miss 6 out of the car and make a speedy dash to our appointment.

Wait approximately 40 minutes to be seen by the doctor.

See the doctor, all is going well at the moment, instructions are to make an appointment for one months time.

Return to the front desk where you need to take a number to wait in the queue to then make your appointment...ain't nobody got time for that!  I'll call them next week!

Grab miss 6, make a dash down stairs, race to the vending machine for the treat I had bribed her with, grab said treat and race to the car park.  Pay for parking, jump in the car and head back to school.

Virtually run into school so that miss 6 does not miss her cross country race....races have been stopped for the moment and lunch break is being had.

Wait for lunch break to be over, eventually see miss 6 run her race...yay!  Miss 6 claims that she wasn't to come home...eek!

Sweetly convince miss 6 to stay at school....another yay!

Rush out of school, drive to local shops to return a few clothing items....plan to spend the money that had just been refunded on more clothing items but nothing leapt out at me.

To the fish shop to buy something for dinner because I like to follow a no meat Friday during lent.  Buy fish and some prawns...with no real idea what I am going to so with them!

Go to supermarket for potatoes and salad stuff...buy heaps more than fits in my basket...why didn't I get a trolley....ugh!!

Back to the car and home to unload the groceries.

Leave home to check our post office box and then drive back to school for the afternoon assembly.

Pick up children, wait for older girls bus, drop miss 17 off to the library and return home to prepare dinner.

So now can you see why I am in my pj's and refusing to budge!!!!  Tonight you will find me on the couch....and if it turns out that I have to drive to pick up miss 17 when she is done I can pretty much guarantee that I will be doing it in my pj's!!

Did you have a crazy busy week too?  What are your Friday night plans?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Can You Guess Where I am Going Today??

Can you guess where I am going today?

Okay so I've got panadol packet, chocolate is a must, a bandaid or two to be prepared, lots of snacks because regular sugar hits will be essential, tissues because at some stage I might cry and my iPhone lens (taking a liberty there coz I might want to sneak a few photos for myself).....and if I could I would have a bottle of coke in there too.....

So can you guess?

Need some more clues?

There will be noisy children (about 80 of them) 

There will be a 50 minute bus trip each way with said 80 noisy children...and there is usually a crazy bus driver involved!!

Pretty sure there will be a headache in there somewhere!!

So have you guessed yet?

Yes I am a parent helper on a school excursion with Miss 10.  

We are off to Chinatown.

I have done this excursion before with the now Miss 14 and Miss 15 when they were each in year 5.

Here's how the day will go...each parent helper will get allocated a group of 6-8 children, we will endure high volume chatter on the bus trip and finally arrive in Chinatown with our clipboards and worksheets and we all split up taking our groups around trying to find the answer to all of the questions on the worksheet.

Hours will seem like days as we walk endlessly around and whilst I try not to lose anybody in my care!!

Eventually it will be time to go to the designated meeting spot to endure another 50 minutes of bus travel with tired feet and an aching head!

Jealous aren't you...I know you are!!

Do tell...do you volunteer to be a helper on your children's excursions?  What would be the best or the worst that you have been on so far?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

10 on 10 Photography Circle - March

So here is my second month of the photography circle....and I am really enjoying it!

Now last month you walked a day in my shoes...a day in the chaos and craziness that is my life!! I  think you were all exhausted by the end of the blog post!  You can check it out here if you dare!

Therefore I decided that this month I would take a break to stop and smell the roses...and the farangipanis...and the daisies....

All photos in this post were taken with the Sony Smart Lens on my iPhone...coz I totally love it...(you can read more about my obsession with it here )  and with minimal editing...because 
a) I had no time and      b) I 'm not really confident with how lol !!

So here are this months photos....

Thank you for stopping by again this month.....I am loving being involved in this photography circle.....loving that it helps me to see photo opportunities in even the simple things around me.

Please check out the other blogs in this photography circle....there's a lot to love in our 
wonderful group....  
I am linking to Lisa over at  The Art Of Joy     
Be sure to check out her great photos for this month
by clicking here

Friday, 6 March 2015

Garage Sale Virgin

So now that I am no longer on the primary school P&;F committee I have all this spare time on my hands.....bahahaha yeah right!!

Anyways first thing on my 'To Do List' is to hold a garage sale! 

Hubby and I have talked about having one for years but like most things it just never happens.....but this time it is so going to happen!  The fact that we have 3 girls having birthday parties this year and a year 10 formal on top of that is quite a driving force!!!

First thing to do....set the date......tick....

Saturday 28th March....date chosen because that is our state election day and we live on a bit of a main road right near a high school that lots of people vote at....so maybe we can grab some of that passing traffic!!  Alternatively it will completely backfire because every school within a 20 mile radius will decide to incorporate a mini fair into their voting day schedule complete with cakes and sausage sandwiches.....oh well I guess we'll see!!

Second thing to do.....start sorting stuff.....tick.... 

I have created a 'garage sale area' in our garage and for the past few weeks I have been adding to it.....it now has heaps of stuff to sell, although Miss 6 is constantly trying to reclaim her possessions!

Third thing to do....start pricing.....tick....

A trip to Officeworks to stock up on sticky labels and little price tags and I have been pricing like crazy...and super cheaply too...seriously I just want the crap gone!!!

Fourth thing to do....enlist the help of family or friends....tick....
Two of my wonderful sisters have kindly agreed to spend one day each week in the lead up to the garage sale helping with the sorting, grouping and pricing...gotta love sisters!!  I will pay them with cookies and cake!!

The girls are keen to help.....except when I actually ask them to do anything lol !!   They are now begging to be allowed to have a lemonade stand at the garage sale....coz yeah you know I will totally have time to make lemonade !!!

So with only three weekends until the big day and sooo much still to be done.....I am doing what you would expect me to be doing.....planning, organizing, making lists....haha nope!!  I am pinning garage sale tips and lemonade stand ideas over at pinterest!!  Yep you can check out my boards here  and here ......it is a totally critical part of the planning you know!!!

So tell me, have you ever had a garage sale?  Or do you love going to garage sales?
Have you got any tips for this garage sale virgin?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Survived the AGM

So last night was our primary school Annual General Meeting.....you know, the one you hesitate about going to because you know it's likely that without even knowing it you are going to come home as president or fundraiser.

I headed off to the meeting with determination.....I was not going to leave that meeting with a position on the committee!!!

As 7.30pm rolled around the room was only filled with the existing committee members and two or three other people....I've been to enough AGM's to know that this was not a good sign!

A decision was made by the principal to go ahead with the meeting even though numbers were low (because the smart people stayed away lol !!!).

From there nominations for the now vacant positions started.   I was nominated for every position from President to Secretary to Treasurer!  Having just completed my three year stint as fundraiser that was about the only position that I was not nominated for....but believe me they even tried!!

But I stuck to my guns and replied with a cordial "No...but thank you!" to every. single. nomination!!!  Yay me!!

Part of me felt bad, felt like I was letting the rest of the team down, part of me felt like I would be missing out, part of me was already missing the social side of the P&F.....but the part of me that spends way too many hours doing all of the behind the scenes work....well that side of me stayed strong.

I have been a part of the Parents and Friends committee at our first primary school since Miss 17 started kindergarten and when we changed schools I joined the new P&F from the first meeting.  

I have cooked 500+ sausages for hungry kids on multiple occasions, I have purchased, ordered, wrapped, sorted and sold more mother's day and father's day gifts than I can remember, I have planned and run school garage sales, I have cooked so many hot dogs that I am permanently turned off ever eating another, I have co-ordinated school market days and fairs, I have planned hot food days involving hideous amounts of pizza, I've drafted note upon note, reminder after reminder!!!!

I have stayed up late counting money, I have been up early setting up.  And up until last year I have always done it with little ones in tow. I have been to P&F executive meetings and P&F general meetings, I have even taken newborns to the meetings with me (okay to be honest that mighta just been to get out of the house!!)

I have to admit that I love being involved in my girls schools, I love being there to see them and they love that I am there.  I have fond memories of my own mum being at canteen or doing the lamington drive (yes back in the day where the parents actually made the lamingtons...yum they were good! ) 

And I like achieving things that will benefit my children and the school, like fundraising for air conditioning and ipads etc.. 

But sometimes in doing things for your children and for the school you in actual fact have less time for your children at home!  As the deadline for pizza day approaches the time for home readers disappears, homework can be overlooked and library books become a lesson is speed reading!

But this is my year...my year to take a break from the P&F committee.  My year to get our house in order...and hopefully my year to get a few things of my own happening (so watch this space!!)

First up on my list of things to do now that I am not on the P&F is a garage sale....the date is set and I have broken the wonderful news to hubby!  We always say we'll do one but never do....this time we will!!!

I know I will still be up at the school for reading groups and wrapping days etc....but a girls gotta have some social life doesn't she...!!

So do you find yourself on the P&F committee more often than not?
What positions have you held?  Have you avoided the AGM just to get out of it lol !!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Today I Am Grateful For....

Today I am grateful for the health of my children.

On Friday Miss 6 was scheduled for day surgery.  Nothing serious, just a standard procedure.  We had to arrive at the hospital at 6.30am, be admitted, taken to our room and then the wait for her turn in surgery began.  We had a visit from the nurse looking after her, the surgeon, the anesthetist....

I had to answer what felt like endless questions about her medical history, her current health issues, right down to her date of birth and name!

The day was physical and mentally exhausting.  It was emotionally draining.  Between the waiting, the constant questions, the worrying and trying to remain upbeat for Miss 6's benefit I was completely worn out.

Keeping Miss 6's mind off surgery with funny pics!

During the course of the day I heard snippets of other people's problems as they discussed them with doctors and nurses.  There was the little girl with an unknown virus, her parents were none the wiser after days in hospital and multiple tests.  There was the young boy having plates and pins put in his broken arm.  There was a baby hooked up to machines and monitors.

It tugged at my heart strings to see so many sick children.  I really felt for the parents of the sick children...the waiting for answers, the not knowing...it must be unbearable for them.  Mums and dads were doing tag team shifts at their childs' bedsides...trying to be with their child while keeping their family running on the outside of the hospital.

In recovery that day I felt so helpless when Miss 6 was in pain...I almost felt bad for letting the procedure happen....there were such mixed emotions. 

Poor Miss 6 in recovery

A dose of pain relief later she was back to her usual self and I felt a  bit better!  But it must be so hard for all of those parent to watch their children feeling sick or in pain.

Jelly and juice back on the ward

9 hours later, a long and tiring 9 hours, we were home.  Hubby had held the fort while we had been gone and all was well.  Miss 6 was seemingly unscathed by the experience and you would have been none the wiser had you not known what she's been through that day.

But the whole experience has made me ever so grateful for the good health of all  my girls. We have had a few broken bones and a few minor procedures....but nothing requiring long stretches in hospital, nothing that has really rocked our world.

I will say a prayer tonight for all those children who are still in hospital and for their parents and families too.....and I wish them all a full and speedy recovery.