My Top 5 Podcasts 

Podcasts are like blogging – still fairly new to me. I’ve had this app on my iPhone for god knows how long. I remember thinking why do I even have this on here. I never bothered to explore or discover, it was just “one of those apps Apple decided you need”.

Then I saw a question in a decluttering group about how people got inspiration to declutter. It certainly grabbed my attention and I started reading (because let’s face it, sometimes we need a little kick in the bum to stay motivated) and in those comments I came across a mention of podcasts, specifically A Slob Comes Clean & The Minimalists. I listened to these right from the first episode all the way through to the most recent – and I was HOOKED!!!

Right now I’m up-to-date on Intention, A Slob Comes Clean, Straight & Curly & The Minimalists, I’m currently working on Create & Thrive.

  1. A Slob Comes Clean – Dana White originally started her blog as Noni (short for anonymous) and has since moved to podcasting (as well as continuing her blog and has also recently published a book). This was the first Podcast I ever listened to and I generally listened to it while cleaning. She has a unique, honest view on cleaning and about her “Slob Vision” that just spoke directly to me.
  2. The Minimalists – These guys were my first introduction into minimalism. Now, my house is NOWHERE near minimalist. Not by a long shot. But I do love their message and it has encouraged me to keep going with the cleaning and decluttering. They have also made me realise that being a minimalist doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have anything out on display or you have like 30 items per person. There are all different “brands” of minimalism.
  3. Straight & Curly is for self-improvement junkies and was a recommendation in iTunes. They talk about a wide range of things and was the inspiration behind my Facebook hiatus over Christmas. I loved it so much that I think I will do the same thing every school holidays.
  4. Intention – this is only a fairly new podcast and I discovered them through Instagram. What really caught my eye, is that Intentional is my one word for 2017, so I HAD to listen to it. So far, I’m really enjoying it.
  5. The Create & Thrive Podcast – This year I am really concentrating on turning my hobby into a business and I joined Jess’ Thriver Circle. I’m giving my business my all this year and this podcast is full of hints and tips to help me on this journey.

So these are my favourite podcasts right now, I add new podcasts as I finish/get up to date on a previous one. Eg: I’ve just finished Intentional, now I’m moving onto catching up on the Create & Thrive one, then I will need a new one to listen to 😉 But I always pause my binge listening when new episodes come out of ones I’ve already gotten up to date with. So I’m always on the search of my next podcast.

What is your favourite Podcast and where do you listen to it? I’m curious about Serial, as I’ve heard it’s very good. But always open to something new 🙂

Christine xx

Operation: Dream Sewing Room 1

If I make it small, you can’t see as good 😉 

Yep. My sewing room looks like I’ve been robbed. I need to seriously declutter, tidy and organise this room, but it’s soooo easy to put off. Yesterday afternoon – I made a start.

I started by getting organised a Donate section, a take to school section (craft items going to the school chaplains program), a bin bag and finally, I went against everything and I made a “put elsewhere” box and got started.

Of course, Once I’d completed the 1 hour I could dedicate to that task, and the kids had gone to bed, I sat down and tackled Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. Ohhhh a peg board! I want that! I knew I wanted to move my embroidery machine around to make room for my laptop and to set an actual “office space” up, but, I had one cupboard in my future office section, that I’ve been trying to keep clean or sort out ever since I moved my felt in there, off the bench – you know, to make it tidy (hahaha) – but I couldn’t come up with, or find a solution…..

This cupboard has felt sheets, postage stuff, office supplies and god only knows what else in there. I even threw out all my scraps a while ago in an effort to fix the issue. Oh dear. Pinterest and google searches weren’t helping at all. Until I come across a site that mentioned the sheets are “approximately the size of an A4 sheet or slightly smaller”.

There was lots of mentions and suggestions about hanging files and filing cabinets but I thought, they aren’t stiff like cardboard and will easily bend if not full (like some of my paper tends to do) and they will end up piled in the bottom of the folder – that’s no good. Plus my filing cabinet is the other side of the room, I don’t have room to move it, I don’t want to have to keep getting up (lazy much?!) – I need my stuff easily accessible when working. Maybe I could attach something inside the cupboard???

And then it hit me! I had 4-5 large folders with 4 D clips in, that currently holds patterns… I was going to declutter severely down to one or 2 folders (because I have them accessible to me at any time if I REALLY needed them, and most of the time I can’t find the pieces needed or it doesn’t occur to me I already have the pattern printed, so I re-print the pages as I need them anyway).

Inspiration hit – And guess what?? MY FELT SHEETS FIT!! I found a Felt Storage Solution that works for me. I can lay the folders down or stand them up. I can sort by colours, and place a different colour sheet in each individual pocket and they are neat, tidy, accessible and functional! I can even put a label on the edge with all the colours in the folder – easily accessible and I can view at a glance.

See the fluff that gets on the felt sheets usually?

I’m feeling proud I’ve come up with a Felt Storage Solution that works perfectly for me, using what I already have. I still have a looooooooong way to go for this room. But I’ve made a start – and that’s the important thing.

And I still want that pegboard 😉

Christine xx

 

Grocery Budget Busting

Usually tomorrow (Friday) is my grocery day! But this week, tired of the overwhelming mess in my pantry, I’ve decided to challenge myself by not grocery shopping – or at least drastically reducing the amount spent.

The honest mess in my pantry.

The plan: Use as many items in my fridge/freezer and pantry as I can.

Exceptions: I am allowed to purchase Milk, Bread/Wraps, fresh salad ingredients and fresh fruit (lunches and snacks). But ONLY when I’ve run out of the items we already have.

I have plenty of items to bake snacks for school – biscuits/cakes/slices, my freezer has enough meat and misc. items in there, as does my pantry. There were some things I’ve purchased because they were for a recipe that I never made (Tamarind Paste anyone).

My normal grocery budget is $180/week to feed a family of 4 (2x adults, Miss 5 and Mr 4). Overall, I would love to cut that down if possible.

My Goals:

  •  To save as much money as possible from my grocery budget.
  • Stop unnecessary overspending.
  • Get creative with my recipes using food I currently have available.
  • Declutter my freezers (we have one fridge/freezer combo plus an additional freezer).
  • Declutter my pantry.
  • Become more intentional and smarter with my grocery shopping and hopefully get my budget down as much as possible.

What I will report back: Recipes used, actual money spent on purchasing groceries and what I bought, updated pictures of my pantry, a list of anything I’ve thrown out (because of out of date etc) and amazing discoveries (because who knows what’s actually in the freezer & pantry).

CHALLENGE: Look in your pantry and freezer – could it do with a clean out? Instead of throwing out and being wasteful, could you maybe skip a week (or 2) grocery shopping and save yourself some money? What difference would this make to your family?

Let’s bust this grocery budget!!!

Christine xx

What’s in your bag?

When writing the draft for this I had “maybe clean out the bag first, or don’t and be 100% honest that it isn’t neat haha” so guess what I went for??

In the spirit of keeping my blog true to myself and to my readers, I decided to dump my bag and show you what you can find in there on a fairly regularly (let’s be generous and say monthly) basis.whats-in-my-bag-beforeYes, here is the 100% honest version of exactly what’s in my bag. The messy pile items vary day-to-day/week-to-week, but basically I had my sons thongs that were hurting his feet, so purchased new ones and was meaning to take these out when we got to the car. Done groceries and thongs were promptly forgotten, McDonald’s toy from the movie Sing, random receipts & rubbish, an old script, used iTunes voucher and Flybuys vouchers.

So after doing a quick, much-needed clean out, here is actually what SHOULD be in my bag on a daily basis (Note to self: throw out those receipts!!!):whats in my bag after.jpg

  1. My Handbag (obviously) ~ It’s a Chanel that my husband bought back for me from Dubai when he visited with his family, I had to stay at home with the kids as we thought they were too young to travel at the time, luckily we did as he had a 7 hour unexpected wait in Singapore so was travelling for over 24 hours – with 2 kids, yeahhhh NO! lol So I like to think it’s authentic, so we’ll go with that 😉
  2. Kikki K Planner in Large ~ This planner has everything I absolutely need in it. It’s basically my brain. Sometimes I will carry it in my bag with me, other times, it will stay in the car and I’ll take out what I need. I guess it depends on whether I am going to be sitting down (e.g.: going for coffee with friends, watching the kids play at the playground etc) as sometimes something pops up, or we are arranging the next meet-up or inspiration hits. This way it’s right there and I can write it down immediately. I’ll be doing a flip through planner set up post in the near future.
  3. Kindle Paperwhite & Handmade Carrier ~ I’m loving my Kindle. I do take this with me everywhere I go as I can read when I am able to. It saves me carrying around a book or 2 as sometimes I feel like reading a self improvement book, other times I love losing myself in some fiction. The Cinderella Kindle Pouch was made by myself on my embroidery machine. I LOVE it. It’s padded so it protects my kindle when thrown in my bag. Sometimes I just throw my phone and some cash in here and carry the pouch on it’s own.
  4. Laura Jones Wallet ~ I saw this design and fell in love. I umm’d and ahh’d about it because 1. I had a handmade wallet that was ok, but not perfect, but maybe I could make a new one that was and 2. It’s mostly white….. I must say however, that the white has held up remarkably well and I don’t regret the purchase at all. It has PLENTY of space for all my cards, I can put my phone in there and carry it as is if I want and it has a separate section for those not-as-often-used cards.
  5. Keys ~ What can you really say about keys, here’s my roller door button, I drive a Mazda 6 Diesel Sedan/Hatch, it also has my house keys. Ohhhh exciting.
  6. Finally, my iPhone 6 ~ Yes, I’m an Apple girl. I love my iPhone and have been using one since the 3 come out, and last year I upgraded to a MacBook Air for my laptop. I love the connectivity between devices. Unfortunately I no longer have a pretty case on my phone as a result of having this funny habit of dropping my phone and the skill to manage to drop it at just the right angle to smash my screen costing me $$$ 😦 (once I even managed to close my iPhone 5s in the door while it was in my jumper pocket, resulting in a shattered screen and a bent phone, yep, I have skills) So ugly Otterbox case it is.

So, there you have it. My real-life What’s in My Bag? post. The brutally, embarassing showcase of what happens when your a mum. So when you see the other posts that look like a flat-lay for a magazine, and wish your handbag looks like that, don’t be scared, you aren’t alone.

Today’s Challenge: Are you brave enough to take a brutally honest photo of What’s in Your Bag?? (Or am I completely alone in the mess?)

Christine xx

Time Blocking – Setting A Schedule

When you work full time away from the home, you have a rough idea on what you need to concentrate on every day, so why should a stay at home/work from home mum be any different? And with school going back in a few days time, I’m eagerly anticipating getting back into a regular schedule.

So I come across this thing called Time Blocking and I thought, what a great way to have a rough plan of everything I want to accomplish or that which is important to me. Here’s how I’ve worked out my schedule and I’m excited to get started!

  1. List absolutely everything you need to do. This is messy. If there’s a certain day you need to do something, make a note of that next to the item. Eg: 3 days of the week I have 2 school drop-offs, the other 2 is only one drop-off, so less time is required on those days. Things that have a more flexible time frame, just make a note and add this in later (e.g.: As you can see I had every day items as well as items I needed to slot in my week)
  2. Rough draft. I originally drew this out, and then decided I hated how messy it was, so got out old trusty Excel Spreadsheet. The first thing I done in there was allocated my time in half hour increments starting at 1:00am through to midnight.
  3. Start entering/writing it out. First I added in the non-negotiable stuff I have to do on the days I need to do them e.g.: School Drop-off’s & Pick-ups, Extracurricular activities etc.
  4. Then was time to block. Adding in the extra bits and pieces into where I need them. Playing around with the times and then colour coding. I also was able to merge the cells in excel to have that proper block look. So I know Monday & Wednesday I sew 10:30-12, stop for lunch, then sew again from 12:30-2:30 when it’s time to go and pickup kids. Tuesday morning is for studying. I’ve got an hour block for time with hubby and a half hour forward planning/reflection time where I can plan for tomorrow, set up my to-do list, fill out my Sentence A Day Journal and just wind down before bed.

My items are all a bit flexible, but having time blocked out for cleaning, sewing and studying as well as the more mundane admin work means that I have time set out and I can’t make excuses and claim that “I don’t have time to (insert what I always avoid here)”


This is not a set in stone time blocking. I may adjust going forward once I’ve put it into practice, but for now I’m happy. I’ve arranged times for all that’s non-negotiable and important and there is plenty of free time. This may not work, but I’m going to give it a good chance and change accordingly if required. 

Have you ever tried time blocking? Did it work for you? 

Christine xx 

Ps: I will do a follow up post on whether this worked or not at the end of February. 

Decluttering 2017 items in 2017.

I saw a post by Amy on More Time Than Money about this challenge, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was intrigued, her post inspired me, so I headed over to Nourishing Minimalism and signed up!!

IMG_1228.JPGI look around at my mess of a sewing room (At the moment it looks like I’ve been robbed, especially after orders, Christmas, school holidays and general neglect). And I know that I am already going to be able to smash out these 2017 items. I will start here. Items will be sold, given away (Donated) or trashed. They will all count.

I’ve printed out 2 copies of the checklist, one is 2x A4 size pages, the other is 2 to a page so I can add it into my Kikki K journal to keep me on track. I’ve mentioned before how I feel less stressed with less stuff to maintain and I think this challenge will give me the kick up the bum I need to get a start.

 

Motivation is at a high, sewing room, here I come!!!!

Christine xx

Welcoming in the New Year

I have decided my first post of 2017 should be about where I’m at and where I’m hopefully heading for 2017. This will be fantastic to refer to at the end of the year to see exactly how far I have actually come.

Blog:

  • Followers: 27
  • Facebook: 7 (link may not work at the moment due to my Facebook break)
  • Pinterest: 55 (but this is an old/combined account that has seen a few different faces)
  • Instagram: Not on Instagram for Happy Little Housewife yet.
  • Income: $0

Little Cherry Owl:

I wrote briefly about my goals in my Goodbye 2016 post, but wanted to refer back to my Busy posts (Part 1 & Part 2) from when I was really overwhelmed and made a temporary plan. I’m pleased to say that I have taken quite a bit from that time and with the help of my gorgeous new Kikki-K Planner and Lisa Jacobs Your Best Year 2017 I feel I’m really on the right path for this year. (If you don’t want to purchase Your Best Year, Lisa has done an amazing series of Blog posts to help you prepare for the New Year, but I absolutely adored the e-book, I’m so glad I purchased it because it got me into the mindset I personally needed).

2017 is the year I will give it my all. I have set strong goals, I have scheduled in sewing-related promo’s for the year, I have set up a time blocked weekly schedule that will kick off once school heads back, I have had a clear head with this current Facebook break (I actually don’t miss it at all), I have booked a cruise for our first overseas family holiday (departing 10 years to the day that we went on our Honeymoon) and am in a great place mentally. I’m feeling very positive and am excited for this year to come, I want to go into 2018 with absolutely no regrets or feeling that I didn’t try hard enough.

Yesterday I was super excited to receive my new planner cover in the mail – the packaging was adorable and just made it all seem that little bit more special. So now that my planner is set up for 2017, I’ll be sure to do a bit of a post on that soon.

Sending positivity and kick ass vibes out to you all ~ bring on 2017!

Christine xx

Planners Gonna Plan

Last night and today I have spent some time researching and contemplating exactly what I want for my 2017 planner. I have room left in my old Bullet Journal, but something about starting fresh in the New Year just makes sense to me and gets me excited about the new year.

I was lucky enough to receive this Binder Journal from my Mother-in-Law, which is great, just a bit large to fit in my handbag and carry around every day (which is what I LOVE about my current Notebook/Bullet Journal) and doesn’t have room for all the things I ideally want in my journal. So I will be utilising this gift at home, so it’s there for hubby to glance at, in a place where we walk past daily and right next to the home phone (Yes, we still have one of those haha).

I had been considering a Binder for my next journal for a few reasons:

  1. I wouldn’t have to re-do my long term goals or collections every time I started a new book.
  2. I could just remove a page if I didn’t like how it looked and it wouldn’t affect the overall look of my journal or affect the spine of the book from ripped/cut out pages
  3. I could keep everything together – even though I utilise my Index in my current journal, it is easier to see how things have evolved and been kept all together.
  4. I can print out the daily/weekly pages instead of drawing them out every month (again, because I like keeping all of my month together, I was having to find a chunk of time at the start of each month to do this) – Now I understand that the creativity of the journal is what I love love LOVE about it, but towards the end of this year it was more a thrown together chicken scratch look as there was just no time to dedicate to those pages, as a result, I didn’t like the look of them and I barely used them as I had been previous months.
  5. Greater Flexibility.

While on holidays I visited a Kikki-K store and purchased A Sentence A Day 3 year Mini Journal as well as a Gratitude Mini Journal. I absolutely fell in love with them both and these now live next to my bed. I will be starting A Sentence a Day on 1 January but have already done 1 entry in the Gratitude Journal. I did consider purchasing a planner pack while there, but instead purchased some re-fill inserts. I wish I would have held off on these, but they have given me a good idea of exactly what I want and need.

I came across a fantastic resource for FREE printable planner pages and I have now purchased a Kikki-K Planner for the outside cover while Boxing Day Sales are still on. Now to work out what I really NEED to keep me on track this year. So I started a list:

  • Year at a Glance, Birthday/Anniversary page and Monthly Calendar Overview
  • Daily/Weekly Spreads (Trialling these until I find one that suits this new layout, but I like The Weekly Plan, Enjoy Every Moment and It’s a Wonderful Week from Eliza Ellis)
  • Finances – Budget, Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, Shopping Lists – basically all things money
  • Goals – both Short & Long Term as well as Travel Wishlist, Level 10 Life, Fitness etc
  • Hobbies – Sewing/Embroidery & Blog
  • School – Studying, Work, P&C Meetings etc
  • Household – Cleaning Schedules, Wishlist/Long Term To-Do’s/Needs/Wants

I think this encompasses all that I need in a journal from looking at my current Bullet Journal. I do have some collections I would love to move over (my Bookshelf & TV Series tracker mainly) but I may or may not re-do them as I don’t refer to them as often anymore, this may change in the new year. But the beauty of this system is, I can add it in later on or change the tabs, or add another tab in at the back for these.

Over the next week, while I wait for my new cover to arrive in the mail, I’ll be playing around with the layout, working out printing and putting together my new binder. I’ll share the completed project when it’s finished.

I’m excited ~ the possibilities are endless.

Christine xx

We’re all going on a Summer Holiday

Packing for a holiday can be tricky. It is an unavoidable part of taking a trip though. So here’s a little something I utilise for kids clothes that makes mine (and their) lives so much easier. And all it takes is a little planning and several of 1 item – a large Ziplock bag!


This was what I need for Mr L (almost 4). I pack enough clothes for 1 week (we are going longer, but will wash in that time). 

Generally I pack:

  • 7 pairs of jocks
  • 7 shorts
  • 7 shirts
  • 4 spare pairs of jocks 
  • 2 sets of pj’s
  • A set of swimmers
  • Jumper
  • Jeans
  • Set of nice going out clothes and another pair of jocks

Get out a pile of large ziplock bags. 

  • 7 bags – In each bag put in 1 shirt, 1 shorts and 1 jocks – that’s now 7 days of decisions made. All he has to do is grab one bag and his clothes for the day is in there.
  • 1 bag – For pj’s and spare jocks. 
  • 1 bag – Jumper and jeans. 
  • 1 bag – swimmers
  • 1 bag – good clothes and another pair of jocks and socks (because he’ll definitely be wearing shoes with this outfit)


All bagged up and ready to pack.



Both kids (Miss S and Mr L) get the same treatment with packing. They can now easily find what they need because it’s all set in bags. I also threw in extra socks in case they were wearing shoes if we go to theme parks or walking etc. but it all fits much easier doing things this way. The ziplock bags act as a “vacuum pack” of sorts and works really well to fit in more then enough for our holidays. 

Yay for packing hacks.

Christine xx 

Let’s Play a Game….

Let’s play a game. I call it race the timer. I look at my (sometimes overwhelming) to-do list and wonder how I’ll get it all done. So now, I use the timer thingy on my phone. Set it for 5 minutes and walk around the house looking at your list. Estimate how much time it will take. Don’t dwell too long, just look and say 5 minutes for this, or 10 for this.

List done? Timer gone off? Great. Now, get a garbage bag and set your
timer for the first room and GO. Race the timer. Did you finish before the timer did? Were you almost done and reset the timer for just 5 more minutes? I know I do. Sometimes I don’t do absolutely everything in my allocated time (even when I set it for another 5 minutes), but that’s ok, I move onto the next section. I only ever allow myself 5 more minutes.

I have found setting the timer forces me to absolutely 100% focus on the task at hand. I also make a note next to each section with reality. How long it actually took me. For example, this morning before I head down to my sewing room,

I needed to:

Unpack & Repack the dishwasher – 5 minutes 

Clean the Toy Room – 5 minutes

Decorate the Christmas Tree – 30 minutes 

What happened:

Unpack & Repack the dishwasher, put away toaster from breakfast, Put on load of dishes, wash the teflon pans, put away Miss S’ school bag from yesterday – time: 10 minutes

Clean the Toy Room, put away blocks, pencils, lego, and put all stuffed animals back into Mr L’s room – time: 10 minutes.

Decorating the Christmas Tree, plus putting up extra decorations, sorting and decluttering broken, scratched, ugly baubles, ensure the tree looks good from all angles (because you never know when someone will look behind the Christmas tree Durrr lol), wonder where the other 2 stockings have gone, and do a quick pickup – time: 40 minutes.

Are these areas perfect? Not really. BUT my house now looks so much better then it did when I started and all within an hour. The dishes are clean, the tree is decorated (minus the star because that’s the kids job, and even though the kids started decorating the tree yesterday, they can only reach so high and got bored quite quickly), the toy room is tidy. A quick vacuum and these areas will look so much better.

You may only have 5 minutes. You may only want to spend 5 minutes in the kitchen. But play my game, try it once on one item on your list. You may be surprised by how quickly you get things done, or how you just want to spend “5 more minutes” to complete the task at hand.

Previously, if I had a spare hour, I would have probably spent it all in the kitchen or lounge or bathroom and only one area of the house would be clean. But I still would have had the rest to complete and at the end of the day I would be disappointed I didn’t get the rest done. But now, I’ve made an impact in 3 different areas of the house because I was focused on the task at hand.

How much could you get done if you played my game and set a timer?

Christine xx