Sunday, November 28, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #4

Tip #4
Make more margins.
Stop tail gating... you know when you see that crazy car on the road and you give it a whole lot more space.... well life is like that crazy car - out of control... so accept it, get over it and make some space!

  • Put the clocks in the house forward a permanent 6 minutes - and don't tell anyone, if you can get away with it!
  • When going somewhere, work out how long you need to get ready so you can work out your departure time... and add in an extra 20%ish for life that will get in the way - a nappy that needs changing, misplacing your keys, looking up the address or whatever it may be. It can almost be guaranteed THERE WILL BE SOMETHING.
  • Do first things first... make your list for the day and note the things that are MUST DO's on that day, and start with them. Do the optional items later - because they are the ones that don't matter so much if not done!
  • Budget every dollar, including about 10% 'oops'... BEFORE the money arrives. Then don't spend it any other way until the next time around.
  • Work out dinner the night before so that a) anything needed is defrosted and b) you're not gazing in the fridge at 5pm wondering what to cook or having a takeaway AGAIN!!
  • Have a complete back up meal or two in the house - even if it's just a bag of pasta and a jar of pasta sauce.

That's the first bunch of ideas that come to mind, to help us have more 'margin' in life... I'd love to hear what you do to create 'margin' in your life and thus avoid what I call 'headless chook syndrome'.
(and for non-Aussies, a chook is a hen)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Look What I Won!!

Okay, so I won it a couple of weeks ago now... but have been good and not opened it till now. In fact as I type, it's still wrapped up... so this is about as live a blog post as you can get from me!

All wrapped up

60 seconds later - Cute hey?

I won this from Cassie at Cassie's Cuddles - I love seeing what her and her family are up to and it is Cassie that has inspired me to start sewing... I have a LONG way to go but thanks to Cassie and now this book - I have lots of inspiration

After a quick flick, I think this is the project I will work on first - I need one!

Thanks Cassie!! xxx

PS... not too many posts to go till my giveaway... I'd better get to them as I want to give these currently mystery goodies away before Christmas! And in case you're wondering... it is international... so it doesn't matter where you live, you still have a chance :o)


Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #3

Tip #3
Have a back up plan - before you have the main plan

I'll explain Tip #3 in a minute.... but before I go there I have to say... Tip #3 is a PRACTICAL tip.
Unlike Tip #1 and Tip #2, this one is practical.

If you've read the first two tips and are saying 'At last! Practical is what I need! I was wondering if we'd ever get to the practical!'... or anything else that sounds even remotely like that... then my educated guess is that YOU need to go back and immerse yourself in both tips one and two. Pray that God will open your heart and eyes to anything that you can learn from them.

Without having a handle on both the first tips, then you will go jumping from one practical tip to the next, from a variety of sources... and nothing will ever come together. I know. I've been there, done that and bought the T-shirt (well, the organising books actually!)

So - back to Tip #3
Have a back up plan - before you have the main plan

or as I call it 'My Out of Routine Recovery Plan'

I use it every time that life is upside down. Be it returning from an emergency trip interstate, or at the end of a week like last week when there was too much to do in too little time or just when I've had a backwards day or two and I don't know which way is up. Maybe it's after coming back from a family holiday or camping trip... I use it at the point where once I might instead start searching (probably online) for some 'new' organising help, information and ideas.

Step 1 - Get the children occupied... be it sleeping, TV, outside - whatever... at this point it doesn't matter. Just get them out of your head for an hour or two. If this is not possible and they'll be clinging on... then I just say 'Tough, get over it and make it work'... if you use that as your excuse, you haven't done your homework on Tip's #1 & 2 and you don't have my sympathy! If you work better with some cheerful music or essential oil burning - now is the time to get that happening now. I like Andre Rieu if I have the headspace for the extra noise and as for essential oils, something citrus is always nice and energising. Now is not the time for vanilla! Down a glass of water and move on to step #2

Step 2 - Figure out the next couple of meals. Yes, even if it's 7pm and the next meal is breakfast... ot it's 8am and lunch is hours away... get the next 2-3 meals SORTED. Again at this point, don't worry about health so much as full tummies. This is not about your usual standards and the ideal way you would like to live. It's about finding short term sanity so you can start to move forward to that ideal. 2 min noodles with tuna, a bowl of wheat biscuits and milk, baked beans on toast, a bag of frozen potato gems... WHATEVER... just know what the next few meals are and write them down. (one day, down the track, not to far away from now - you will actually have a spare casserole or two in the freezer for days like this.... so keep the faith but just don't aim for it now unless you already have something like that in the freezer okay?). If the next meal happens to be NOW or when you are working through this list, that's fine - make it happen when it needs to and be thankful you're now on top of it... and then just move onto the next step.

Step 3 - Spend no more than 30min and get the 3 wet areas looking/working better. Note: looking better... not 'up to scratch'. Put the dishwasher on or run a sink of dishwater and load it with dirty dishes - or both.... put a load of washing in the washing machine and turn it on - for me, this used to be a rewash of the load I had left in there and had now gone smelly (oops!) (to fix this, add your usual detergent (again!), make it a warm wash and add a teaspoon or cap full of eucalyptus oil... this should get rid of any musty smell from the wash).... now get back to those soaking dishes if you have any and wash a few, dump another load of crusty dishes into the sink.... now to the 3rd wet area... the bathroom basin(s). Quickly put things away off the surface (no, don't straighten the cupboard now, just get the bench surface clear(er) ) and use a wet cloth to give the basin and bench a decent wipe over and then the dry cloth in your other hand to dry both. 2 minutes TOPS at the basin, okay?
Now, of the suggested '30min tops' I suggest for these 3 wet areas, you are probably only halfway through that... so finish up the dishes if you can... if there's no time left, no worry... you'll get faster as you practice this. Half the hassle of being organised is knowing what to do next!

Step 4 - Spend a couple of minutes clearing what you can off your dining table and give it a quick wipe down and dry. However much you do, it's going to look better than it did right - don't aim for perfect, just improve it!

Step 5 - Set the timer for 10minutes and GO! Spend the time doing a 'quick pick up' of your main living areas... the lounge/kitchen/dining table floors... as much in the bin as possible... as much in the right place as possible... the rest, just move it off the floor.

 Step 6 - Vacuum the middles of the areas you just cleared. Again, just make it better - not perfect

Step 7 - If you were feeling 'sticky' as you were moving around doing all these, grap the mop and mop the middles - 2 minutes okay?!

Step 8 - Grab a glass of water (dehydration is one of the top causes of lack of energy!!) and sit down. Breathe.  Take a moment and look at what you HAVE done... not what is still to do. Feel good about it!

and in about an hour, the house is starting to come together, though sometimes it's crazy enough that I work through half the list again right away. Either way, a lot of stress has been reduced and I can focus again on long term things.

The important thing is to make a list like this that is yours - one that works for you. Also, make sure you don't get hung up on what's on the list. It's designed to cover 'all possibilities'... so if you're working through it and 'hey presto' there's no washing to put on.... then it's just 'Yippee' and you move on to the next thing... or maybe the table doesn't need clearing, or whatever... as time passes, the portion of the list that doesn't need working on grows - go with the flow, skip over it and pat yourself on the back instead. Still don't shorten the list though... because the day will come when it ALL needs doing, for one reason or another and it's great to not have to think about it.

PS: A lot of disorganised people I've met or know online will procrastinate by convincing themselves (all too easy to do) that they first need to sit and relax before tackling the house. I promise you it doesn't work. Jumping in on a list like this will  have you feeling so much better, so much sooner than half an hour or so on the computer or watching TV ever could... stop fooling yourself and just DO IT!!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Week in Review

 The days go by so fast - but this week especially so! It's not usual or even desirable, for us to be this busy on a regular basis but it all just fell into this week for a variety of reasons.

We started off with the 'perfect' day of schooling on Monday... (that should have given me a clue about the end of the week LOL) and in the afternoon we went visiting and spent a delightful couple of hours with some dear friends who live about 45min away... coming home in time to pick up Pete from work and then to drop Melinda at Girl's Brigade.

Tuesday another busy day - we didn't get through as much bookwork as I would have liked... everyone needed a nap which does tend to get in the way of productivity. We need to learn to manage this a bit better. Again in the afternoon we spent a couple of hours at a friend's home - this one lives only about 15min away... and I had a lovely cuddle of their 10 week old baby - a boy after 2 girls and a baby that was soooo longed for. God is good!

Wednesday the children and I went to my sisters house for 2/3 of the day and looked after her boys... we did our bible session together which is a start, but no other work than that.

See, very social this week!!!

THURSDAY... a few errands in the morning (I'm thinking I should have deferred this??) and then my sister arrived with her boys... Pete had today off work, so he looked after all 5 children while I took my sister out for a long leisurely lunch at the Pancake Parlour for her birthday. We've both voted it to be an annual event from now on. An absolutely WONDERFUL day!
Schooling on Thursday - Ha!!

Friday started at 2am with gastro... ugh. Thankfully Pete dealt with most of it... Nj first, me by 5am and then Pete by the end of Friday. So far Melinda and Timothy seem to have escaped it. I pray it stays so!

So this made Friday a waste of a day... as Nj said to me 'Mum, you've been on the couch ALL DAY!!'. Pete did take the car to get the air conditioning fixed and re-gassed, so that is one thing that was good.
Schooling on Friday? Ha!

So sad to say, with the arrival of gastro... we needed to cancel our big 'almost summer BBQ' that was to be happening this afternoon from 3pm.... I certainly couldn't be here blogging if it was happening. We had about 24 adults and 46 children of all ages coming and God even gave us perfect weather for it! Much fun was planned - bubbles, slippery mat, face painting, paper planes and more... oh yes - a 5 metre long ice cream sundae!! Yes, we will be rescheduling in the new year!!!!!!!!!!

2010 will be remembered as 'the year my life was cancelled' for sure!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #2

Tip #2
Quit cursing yourself.
Change your words - remember that there is life and death in the tongue!!

Take a moment to sit in a chair and think about your second most dreaded task.... save the worst for the next exercise okay?
Think about it... how big it is, how awful it is, how it never goes away, how tired you are, how you just don't have the focus for it, can't be bothered, unappreciated by others when you do do it.

Do you feel like doing it now?

Now sit and ponder the WORST one you came up with before. For me, that's probably the ironing.
Close your eyes and think again... choose to think to yourself how good it feels when finally done, how great it is to not have it hanging on the to do list anymore, how energised you feel, imagine yourself getting up and getting stuck into it, admiring the finished task and feeling the weight lift off as you see the final result.

I bet you feel a lot more like doing this task now than the first one you thought of right?

If you now need/want to go and get it done NOW - then GO!
You can always come back to read the rest later, right?

**So, remember to choose your thoughts, and choose good ones**

What about how you sound when talking to other people?
"I'm too disorganised for that"
"It's never ending"
"Kids make it so much harder"
"I'm too tired"
"I'm too sick"
"He's the messy one"
"If only the kids didn't make so much mess"

Your brain is lazy... when you say or think these things, it hears them as an instruction; as a truth and struggles to operate in any other way.

Change your words and help yourself
"I love a tidy loungeroom"
"It feels so good to declutter"
"I'm working with the children to teach them to tidy up their own things"
"It'll only take a few minutes, I'll do it now"

Go on, go do it now ~ we're at the end of Tip #2.... it'll only take a few minutes


Monday, November 15, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #1

No, I am not a BO 'born organised' but I'm working on becoming more organised. Some do mistake the progress I've made, and am making, as me actually being a BO... but trust me - I'm not!

Tip #1
Have a purpose.
Know why you want to be more organised.
God wired us to work with a purpose.
It's much easier to walk 30min to catch a train daily than it is to just get out and go for a 30min walk every day.
So know your WHY... the 'why you want to be more organised'

For me...

it was coming to a better understanding of God Himself.
I serve a God of order and excellence. One doesn't need to spend much time reading God's word to understand that. We are made in His image, a likeness of Him. We operate better when organised, even if we struggle with learning to be organised.
By knowing this, and the way children and husbands operate... I know my family does better when we're organised.

Titus 2: 4-5 tells us that when we are not 'keepers of the home' that we blaspheme the Word of God.
Yet another very good reason to manage my home well!

Also, what does my home say about me and my God?
Do I want to encourage the world to think that 'homeschoolers are messy/dirty/disorganised/too busy'?
Do I want to encourage the world to think that 'families with 3 or more children are messy/dirty/disorganised/too busy'?
Do I want to encourage the world to think that 'Christians are messy/dirty/disorganised/too busy'?

More reasons to work on being more organised and make it a natural part of life, don't you think!

Motivate yourself by writing out the Titus 2 verse above, or something like Proverbs 10v4 and put them where you can easily see them throughout the day - I have them next to my kitchen sink... a biblical kick in the pants if you will :o)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Easy Smoked Salmon & Pea Risotto - and almost healthy!

 Rice isn't great for you, but if you must have it (and I must, from time to time) then here's a recipe I made up and used today for our family lunch. It served a family of 5 (2 Adults, 2 children and a toddler).
I wouldn't like to serve this for a dinner, even on a carb night as the carb content is a little high for our health preferences - but it would do in a pinch if I had to!

3tbsp Healthy Fat - I used 50/50 Coconut Oil and Butter. You could also use Cold-pressed Sesame Oil or Lard.
1c Diced Onion
1c Arborio Rice
1/2 c White Wine
1 Massel Chicken Stock Cube
1lt Hot Homemade Long-cooked Chicken Bone Broth
200g Smoked Salmon, diced
1c Frozen Peas
1/3c Shredded Parmesan Cheese
For seasoning: Celtic Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Extra Parmesan Cheese

1. Heat the oil
2. Gently fry the onion till translucent
3. Add the rice and heat while stirring, till translucent. From here on, you just keep on stirring most of the time, okay!
4. Add the wine and sizzle it off
5. Add a cup of broth and the stock cube (yes, stir!)
6. As it thickens, add some more stock - say 200ml at a time. Keep doing this till rice is cooked but still has a firmness to it.
7. After the 3rd addition of stock, add the frozen peas
8. Once the rice is cooked, add in the diced salmon and stir in for a minute to allow it to cook
9. Stir in the Parmesan cheese
10. Season with salt and pepper
11. Allow to sit a couple of minutes before serving
12. Serve with a little more Parmesan cheese on top


'Cooking Salmon' is the cheapest smoked salmon to buy. It's a bunch of end and side pieces and about $10/kg less than the neat slices. Just dice in on the display card and scrape it straight into the risotto

Monday, November 8, 2010

I've joked about having an ironing fairy

and the Lord has given me an ironing angel!! 

At the end of Sunday's service (Pete's baptism and Timothy's dedication), many people approached us and one lovely lady gave me a note with her phone number, saying she would like to help us with house cleaning &/or ironing!! Pete had mentioned my MS diagnosis in his testimony and this lady tells me she does house cleaning and ironing, free of charge, for those that might need a hand.
I jokingly asked her if she'd seen my ironing pile!! (it's more of a mountain at the moment, than a pile)

So today, I am going to phone her and graciously accept her offer and the Lord's provision.

With MS, I struggle mostly with fatigue and 'head space'... heaps worse than the usual lack of head space one might complain about. The children can ask me something and I need to repeat it back to them a time or two just to process it and figure out what they're asking! Sometimes I sit doing nothing, because I can't even get thought's straight enough to think about what to do next!!! Of all the things I need to manage, ironing is always at the end of the list even though I have a huge awareness that it needs doing. The person at most disadvantage because of this is Pete, so as much as this will be a blessing to me, it will also be to Pete.

God is good!

ETA a PS: I've noticed my 150th post ever, is coming up soon and I've been toying with having a give away as many of my blog friends have done... so keep an eye out... it will be in the 150th post... it's something I love to use daily and is related to cooking, gardening and babies!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

A new way of cooking

After much much reading from researchers who do not have an 'invested interest' other then truth and genuine good health, we are pressing forward with the changes to our diet that we began a year ago.

A few things we've already done
-removed over processed salt from cooking. It's now for playdough only! We now use Celtic Sea Salt. It has 75+ minerals versus the 2 that are left in standard salt. 'Sea salt' sold at the supermarket is just dodgy marketing and is still nutrient deficient.
-We've been drinking raw milk. Milk that has not been pasteurised. Milk from healthy cows. Organic cows. Milk that has not been homogenised. Cows that don't get injected with antibiotics etc. If the milk from the supermarket was unpasteurised you'd still never get me to drink you know they strain it to remove puss that is in the milk from sick cows with mastitis? Why are the cows sick? because they're not cared for and kept healthy... they're pushed to create heaps more milk than a cow was ever meant to produce in a day. Raw milk is an entirely different product. It's the milk God intended us to drink and when you know about raw milk, 'a land flowing with milk and honey' being a good thing makes so much more sense. It helps you avoid tooth decay, it helps keep the stomach bacteria balanced. It prevents crohn's disease and can even heal it.
-Honey, we use raw honey. Honey that has not been heated - supermarket honey has been. Raw honey is healthy.... processed honey has had all the good enzymes killed off. So it's just a sugar, not a health product.
-We use rapadura, not sugar. Rapadura is still a sugar. It's just barely processed. It's dehydrated sugar cane juice and again, retains the vitamins etc that the over processing removes. If you must use sugar in something, this is the best way to go.
-We soak our porridge overnight for 12 hours before cooking it. This releases nutrients and stops nutrients being removed from our body by the eating of grains that have not been prepared properly.
-We make our own bread.... yeast, celtic sea salt, rapadura, wholemeal flour, water.
-We eat much more fat. Yep - the healthy stuff. Butter, lard, coconut oil etc. A good book on this is Eat Fat, Lose Fat - amazing info in there that you'll never hear from any vegetable oil or margarine company. Basically those foods (veg oil, marge etc) are a huge part of the cause of rising heart disease and a whole pile of other health issues. In the last year I've changed fats in the house to the REAL healthy ones and more than doubled fat intake. I've not put on weight... I've lost 2kgs.
-Bone broth added to as many meals as possible. This aids digestion and helps you absorb more nutrients.

So, what now?
Having learned that the so called 'healthy diet pyramid' is actually the 'dodgy diet pyramid' and is the cause of my excess weight, we are now making more changes.
Carbs at dinner 2 x a week... Tuesday and Friday's are carb nights... potatoes or rice is the preference, especially until I can make properly prepared home made pasta - by properly prepared, I mean from soaked grain.
Protein and fat at every meal, especially breakfast.
The majority of our diet is now meat, fat, vegetables.
I'm even being good and not touching the fresh baked bread as it comes out of the oven - so delish with melted butter - unless it's baked in the morning and can be had with a decent serve of protein as well.
We are ordering bulk organic grains and will soak, dehydrate and mill our own flour (from this I could make a healthy pasta)
Breakfast now might look like:
-small serve of soaked porridge with currants in it along with a couple of slices of roast beef retaining all the fat
-Egg, sausage and toast
-Beans on buttered toast
-Home made full fat yoghurt, egg, fried potatoes
and other combination's of that sort of thing.
Lunches are pretty similar to what they have been, I'm just making a much more conscious effort to include good sized servings of meat, cheese etc.
Dinner is interesting!
I've looked at the recipes I usually use and have modified them to increase meat and remove pasta, rice and potatoes. So Kye See Mein has no noodles or rice but increased cabbage and minced beef. Busy day casserole we tried for the first time this week with no pasta... instead I increased the meat and added in a bunch of fried diced pumpkin - very popular even with our most fussy eater.

It is sooo good to eat and feel full so much earlier, so much less food! It is great to have no desire to snack in the evenings. The extra energy is WONDERFUL!

Yes, it's more time in the kitchen for both cooking and dishes. Yes, it's a smidge more expensive.
but so what. It's health. That makes it very cheap!!

We can see the extra energy and health.... and health is a multi-generational thing... in the Western world, it's getting worse with each generation. Our babies start of with the deteriorated health we have and then it gets worse being on the western diet and then their babies start with an even more deteriorated health... and so on.
It's time to stop this.

Further reading on sugar....

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.

  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.

  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year. 

  • on  raw milk

  • on much of the above
    and for the easiest reading on oh so much of this... the book Nourishing Traditions is a must.... borrow one from a library for just a week and you'll want your own.


    Thursday, November 4, 2010


    After 2.5 years and multiple attempts, Timothy will be dedicated at church on Sunday. Without family and friends joining us. Pete is also finally being baptised as an adult. Without family and friends joining us.
    Yes, a bit of an ouch.
    And in this, I must learn to be content.

    A reminder to myself as I move past this...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

    That's what I need to fill my day with.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

    After waiting months and  months to see this film, it is finally in Australia and we have a copy
    I highly recommend you getting one too!

    What I liked most
    It was heartwarming and drew you in... expect to shed a few tears
    The wonderful examples of forgiveness
    The encouragement to share the gospel
    The healthy relationship portrayed between young and old
    The promotion of living God's way being great and something we all really do want versus being restrictive
    ...and last but not least,
    The inspiration it has given my children - I won't tell you what about, as that gives away too much... you might be able to guess after you see the movie :o)

    What I liked least
    Initially I was quite uncomfortable with the emphasis on 'liking a girl' and 'dating' as I hold quite strong convictions about a more deliberate 'courting' way of finding one's marriage partner.
    I love how it was dealt with in the end... but if I told you how that was, it'd give away such a good part of the movie, so I'll just say it was directed back to who God wants us to marry, not so much how we 'feel' about someone in a moment of life.
    All up I think it can be used well and lead to some good discussions with our children about not looking for a marriage partner till one is mature enough to be married, seeking God's will in relationships and honouring God above all else.

    To see the movie trailer click here
    To buy it in Australia, try 
    (I'd add a link but it's seems to be having rare loading issues at the moment)
    Word does not yet have it in stock

    NB: I have not been asked to review this, nor have I been given any goods or cash to do so. It is a personal review of my choosing.