Week 6 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 6 ~ The City you live in.

This week is all about being grateful for the town you live in. This one is easy for me as the town I currently live in, is the town I’ve lived in my whole life. Many people have heard of Bundaberg even if they have never lived in Australia purely because of the things we are famous for.

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Week 5 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 5 ~ Something someone gave you.

This week is certainly a hard one to conquer (which is why it’s a day late) and to be honest, until I sat down and started to write, I’m wasn’t sure I had a clear winning answer for this, but what came immediately to mind was that for me, it’s not a physical item (even though I do love my Fitbit Blaze šŸ˜‰ )time

I’ve come to the conclusion that the thing that I am most grateful for that someone has given me doesn’t come from a store, it wasn’t ever wrapped in pretty paper, it doesn’t add to the clutter that I’m currently trying to minimise from my house. What is this amazing gift? It is time. Time is such a precious resource, we all have the same amount, but we all spend it in different ways. Sometimes people are so busy that they just don’t have time to give, which is sad, but it is what it is.

Last year, I was that busy person, I had so much on my plate I couldn’t fit it all in, I was neglecting friends and family and not giving my full attention to anyone or anything because I was always thinking about the next thing on my never-ending to-do list.

Over the Christmas school holidays, I took a break from it all, no Facebook, no games on my phone, very limited distractions, and you know what I realised, time is so precious and I was wasting it – every single day.

So this week, I’m thankful to all of those people, who have given me their undivided attention and their time. The time to book me into their own schedules and have a coffee, a catch up, a walk. The time to connect or re-connect. Thank you!

In my effort to be more Intentional this year, I make a promise, to give a gift of time wherever possible. Because at the end of the day, the time you give or have received will last much longer then anything they can unwrap.

Christine xx

To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1Ā ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2Ā ~ Spouse/Significant Other
  • Week 3Ā ~ Family
  • Week 4 ~ A Family Member
  • Week 5 ~ Something someone gave you (This one)

Week 4 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

Week 4 ~ A Family Member

This one is an easy one. I’ve written about my hubby & my amazing kids. So for this week, I have picked another member of my family. My nan.

10209761761180479My nan is an absolute inspiration. She turned 90 last year, she still lives on her own, drives her car, and gardens. She cooks amazing things like Jam Roll-Poly’s (dessert), Syrup Dumplings, Lemon Sago, and a variety of Jam’s and Chutney’s.

She still takes an active role in my children’s lives and will often take one of them for a few hours or my daughter has a sleep over at her house.

Her garden is her pride and joy, even if it is starting to get a bit big for her. She grows pumpkins, watermelons, guava’s, oranges and has a beautiful array of flowers out the front.

I’m so glad that I have my nan, she’s always around if we need her and I make sure I show my appreciation as much as possible, whether it’s a trip to Bunnings, a Caramel Latte at the Coffee Club or just taking around something for her dinner or lunch.

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Celebrating her 90th Birthday Surprise Party.

Nan is inspirational and if I’m half the woman she is when I’m her age, well,
I’ll be pretty damn lucky.

Christine xx

To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1 ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse/Significant Other
  • Week 3 ~ Family
  • Week 4 ~ A Family Member (This one)

 

Week 3 ~ 52 Weeks of Gratitude

family 1.png

This one is an easy one to write about. Around this time 8 years ago I had not long ago had an Ectopic Pregnancy which resulted in the loss of 1 tube, this was from our first and only “successful” IVF round. I had previously lost a baby at 18 weeks many, many years before. Hubby and I weren’t far off coming to terms with the fact we wouldn’t have kids of our own and considered/startedĀ researching adoption.

We started to plan a working holiday in Canada while we were young and thought we would just spend some time seeing the world. 6 months later, 2 blue lines appeared, much to our joy!!
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After we welcomed our little girl into the world,Ā imagine our joy when almost 2 years later we were so, so lucky to welcome a little man into the world, even though both deliveries were accompanied by drama and my husband missed the birth of both our children. We have our pigeon pair. They truly are the loves of our lives.

As for extended family, I am so lucky to still have my nan around (she celebrated her 90th birthday last year), and she takes an active role in our kids lives. Unfortunately both mine and hubby’s parents live a few hours drive away, they are supportive and the kids adore them, not to mention our many other members of our extended family (Miss S is the only girl grandchild on both sides). We truly feel blessed and overall very lucky, they are easy to be grateful for.

Christine xx
family-4To see previous posts from the Gratitude Challenge, click the links below:

  • Week 1Ā ~ Why start this challenge?
  • Week 2 ~ Spouse / Significant Other.

8 Easy Tips to Reduce Your Grocery Bill

In light of my recent post aboutĀ Grocery Budget BustingĀ and trying to use up what’s in my pantry & freezer in an effort to save money, I’ve decided to share some tips on how to reduce your own grocery bill.

Yesterday, on my first grocery shop on my self-imposed grocery shopping ban, I noticed a few things

  • Those half-price (or sometimes better) deals are seriously there to draw you in. I was walking past and noticed one and immediately I was like ohhhhhh and made a direct beeline for that product (I can’t even remember what that was and it was only 24 hours ago, so obviously I won’t die without it)
  • I started to question if previously I have just been spending $180/week on groceries because “that’s my budget”. Regardless of if I had to purchase meat or not, I always managed to spend AT LEAST that amount of money.

So here are some tips to help reduce your own Grocery Bill:

  1. Before you go, have something to eat. Take a bottle of water with you and chew gum if you have to. This way you are shopping on a full stomach.
  2. Join rewards programs if the shop offers it. Here in Australia, we unfortunately don’t have access to Coupons (I wish we did!!!). These programs are free (Woolworths Rewards and Flybuys are 2 that I know of and Flybuys I useĀ all the time),Ā they give you money back, just for shopping. I’m always surprised when someone doesn’t have a rewards card. IT’S FREE MONEY PEOPLE!!! (sorry for shouting, I just don’t understand it hehe) I usually try to save my Flybuys dollars up for Christmas. But I have been known to cash in some money when I have been a bit short before. Also, with Flybuys, you can connect your activity tracker and receive 10 points every day you reach 10,000 steps. There are other programs you can link to your card, and you can use Flybuys at Coles, Coles Service Stations (when you get your fuel), Target, Kmart, Liquorland and First Choice. Every 2000 points = $10. This all adds up for doing what you do usually.
  3. Menu/Meal Plan. Yes, it can be long and sometimes painful, but this is the only way you will know what you need to buy! When the catalogues arrive, look at the specials and compare, then choose where you will shop and what goes on your menu. Ask the kids what they would like for dinner. If the answer is Chicken nuggets and chips, put potato’s and chicken on the list. (my kids love it when I cutĀ the potato’s using the peeler and put them in the oven. They taste and look like potato chips and they think it’s a real treat!) Some of our family favourites that go a fair way or can be stretched are: Shepherds Pie, Lasagne, Taco’s, Sausages and Veggies, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Chicken (it’s so versatile you can use it for anything really), Casseroles/Stew/Slow-Cooker Meals (especially in Winter). I love adding Dumplings to my casseroles as that makes the meal stretch quite significantly especially when teamed with pasta or rice and it’s full of veggies.
  4. Make a list. Write out everything you need, but be sure to STICK TO IT!! Again, it’s easy to be sucked in to the ohhhhh specials!! Those tags are designed to be eye catching!!!!
  5. Check what’s in your pantry/freezer and use that first, also, cross reference your list you’ve just made and cross it off if you own it. Sometimes (like me) you may be able to get away with a small shop because you have no room in your freezer or pantry. Do you actually know what’s in there? What’s lurking in the back? Or that top shelf? Are you doubling or tripling up on some things? Shop at home first at least once a month to use up what you can and have a “top up shop” only. Imagine only doing a top up shop once a month and only spending $50 instead of $180 – that’s a savings of over $1,500 per year!! Fun Fact: That’s almost enough to fly a family of 4 from Brisbane to New Zealand and back šŸ˜‰ Holiday anyone??
  6. Look at the price. Now this one seems obvious, but with packages being all different shapes and sizes, sometimes what first seems the best deal really isn’t. Look at the 100g/100ml price and compare. Don’t be brand loyal. I have started trying Coles brand products and 9 times out of 10 I don’t know the difference and a lot of the times, when looking at the nutritional label, there IS no difference. I’m a bit of a snob with my coffee, so I do spend a little more but when I’m only having 1 per day generally, I figure, life is too short to drink terrible coffee. Oh and toilet paper, I like the brand I like, so I won’t compromise. But milk, flour, sugar, etc are absolutely fine being the home brand and work just as well. Also, compare prices in the Deli per kg to the pre-packaged. I can generally buy Chicken cheaper from the deli then the meat section and sometimes Chicken Drumsticks are on sale for $2-$3/kg – When this happens, I stock up and buy a few kg’s worth. It makes for an easy dinner and you can use them a few different ways. (as of right now, Chicken Drumsticks are $3.50 per kilo at Woolworths, 2kg would easily make 3-4 meals for our family depending what I make with it, that’s around $2 per meal or 50c per person)
  7. Use leftovers. I love leftovers. It means I often don’t need to do anything except heat and serve. It makes for easy dinners on those days when you’re running late or you just can’t be bothered. You can purchase Chinese containers for $10 for 25 at Coles or Woolworths (same price at both) if you would prefer to freeze and have a stockpile of ready to go meals, but don’t forget to use them!!!!
  8. Stick to your Menu/Meal Plan. If you make a meal plan, stick to it as much as possible. Sometimes, you will unexpectedly end up with extras, or you get a random invitation to a BBQ (it is Summer in Australia after all), so some weeks you won’t end up making every meal on the plan. Therefore, when this happens, make sure these meals are the first thing to be added to next weeks meal plan. You already have all the ingredients after all.

So this is my list and 8 easy tips to save yourself some money. My top hint is definitely taking advantage of Rewards Programs and taking the time to discover what other things you can link to it. Get the most you possibly can out of these free programs that can end up giving you $100+ (depending on your general shop) come Christmas time. I have used Flybuys to purchase Christmas Presents and Christmas lunch for the extended family and I haven’t had to dig into my budget for this.

I hope this has helped, and I plan on sharing some of my family’s favorite recipes over the coming weeks while I use up what I discover in my freezer and pantry! On the menu tonight is Spaghetti Marinara.

Christine xx

 

31 Days of Blogging Challenge.

Another Challenge I will be participating in is31-day-challenge inspired by The Caffine Gal (what can I say, her blog name just calls to my coffee-loving heart). However, I am choosing to do this challenge a little differently, as I don’t want to over-commit or limit myself and only post about this for 31 days straight.

I’ve decided to spread this post out a bit and keep the variety of my posts going (because there will be days where I just want to write about cake! haha) and so I will continue to write when inspiration hits.

I’ve also chosen to skip day 1 as I have done an Introduction post when I first started blogging, so straight onto day 2: 20 facts about me.

  1. I have brown hair & brown eyes.
  2. I have curly hair which I really dislike most days, but then there are other days when I simply love it, especially when I need a nice up-do quite quickly.
  3. I was married at 23.
  4. I had my first born (Miss S) on my 27th Birthday. Yes, I delivered my first child on my birthday.
  5. Mr L was born almost 2 years later, but I was only 28.
  6. I’ve had 2 c-sections, both emergency, one under general and one under spinal block.
  7. My husband has missed both births of our children.
  8. My husband and I have been married for 10 yearsĀ this year (2017)
  9. I endured 2.5 years of IVF.
  10. But both children were conceived naturally without outside help.
  11. I have 4 nephews, but no neices.
  12. I have a handmade sewing business (Little Cherry Owl) that focus’ on Girls Clothing, but I also do embroidery and make all types of things from embroidered t-shirts, hooded towels, felt masks, finger puppets, keyrings, personalised items (e.g.: library bags, chair bags etc). I’ve been sewing for over 5 years as a business, but Little Cherry Owl is only 2 years old with this year being my make or break year!
  13. I really enjoy going to Gymnastics, even though I’m not fantastic at it, I still love it.
  14. I have only ever left the country once, which was for our honeymoon on a cruise.
  15. The first time I ever got on a plane was the day after we got married to go on our cruise.
  16. I have only ever visited Queensland and New South Wales. I haven’t been to any other state in Australia. (but hoping that will change in coming years)
  17. My favourite movie is Dirty Dancing.Ā I have seen Dirty Dancing on stage twice, the first time was for my 21st birthday, the second was more recent. I much preferred the first one.
  18. I’ve seen Bon Jovi in concert – and LOVED every second of it. (I’ve also seen Roxette)
  19. I’ve always said I was born in the wrong era, I love older movies (think Dirty Dancing, Grease, Labyrinth etc) and older songs (Queen, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams)
  20. My brother-in-law sung our first dance song at our wedding. She’s The One, Robbie Williams version. He is so talented and it was such an emotional moment.

Well there you go, 20 facts about me. It was easier then I thought!!

Christine xx

 

1 Minute to a Tidier House

I have spoken previously how 10 minutes twice a day can make a huge difference to your house, well now I want to touch on something that is kind of silly once you think about it properly.

Did you know it takes an average of 4 minutes to boil 1L of water? Some kettles can do it faster, and you may not always boil a full litre, but after you have filled the kettle, switched it on and put you coffee/tea in the cup, what do you do? Generally stand there waiting. Which is where I found myself last night.

I’d looked at that same ice brick at least 5 times during the last 2 days thinking I really must put that in the freezer. Did I do it those past 5 times. No. Then it clicked, you idiot! It will only take you literally 30 seconds to walk to the freezer and put that in. So I did it. And guess what, I rolled my eyes and thought you have spent more time thinking “I should do that” then it took to actually do the job. How annoying.

And then I started unpacking the dishwasher. 2 jobs done in almost the time it took to boil the kettle for a night time cuppa (hubby put the dishwasher on a little earlier last night, so it was dry by the time I was sitting down at 9:30pm to have my cuppa).

So I made a decision. If I catch myself thinking I should do xxx and it takes 1 minute or less, I MUST do it – straight away. If it is more of a “project” or will take 10+ minutes – e.g.: I need to file those recipes in my folder (true story), put it on my to-do list.

This morning I put this decision into full effect. Last night the kids had popcorn while watching a movie and spilt some kernels on the floor, I walked on them last night and groaned, then again this morning. I was waiting on the kettle as well as my eggs to boil and so I grabbed the broom and swept.

If you take little opportunities to complete those items that really don’t take very long, just as you are walking past or when you are waiting for dinner to cook. Those awkward pause moments that aren’t long enough to do anything “significant”, imagine the difference that could make to your house over the course of 1 day, 1 week or even 1 month.

Next time you catch yourself thinking “I should really do that”, try just doing that thing straight away. Don’t let it occupy your brain for longer then it would take to do the job.

Have you had an eye-roll moment after you’ve completed something really simple?

Christine xx

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

With a little over 2 hours left of 2016 I thought it was the perfect time to write this post.

Well, what a year this has been. So many ups and downs, tears and stressful times but also times of joy and utter happiness. 

This year saw:

  • My biggest baby start and complete Prep.
  • I became President of her schools P&C Committee.
  • I started studying (and doing Relief work) to become a Teachers Aide 
  • I was on the committee of the local Family Daycare Scheme (which I no longer am on).
  • I started this Blog (Yay!!).
  • Continued with my sewing hobby/business.
  • Adult Gymnastics classes started – and stuck to them!!! šŸ¤øā€ā™‚ļø 
  • Not to mention working on me – Walking, eating healthier and embarking on a journey of more intentional living. 
  • I discovered Bullet Journalling, Podcasts and the Minimalists. 

I bit the bullet and purchased Your Best Year 2017 and have been really mindful about this read and filling in the activity sheets, reflecting on 2016 and even starting with what goals (NOT New Years Resolutions) I have for 2017. It’s been a real eye opener for me to sit and look back on the year that was and really start working out the direction for the new year.

A few goals I have set myself (some still need fine tuning)

  1. Have one on one time with hubby and each kiddie at least once a month.
  2. Be more present when with family and friends.
  3. Go on our first family overseas holiday.
  4. Attend a Masters competition for Adults Gymnastics.
  5. Complete my Teachers Aide Certificate.
  6. Work hard on my hobby to turn it into a business that will enable me to stay at home.
  7. Reach 500 blog followers.
  8. Social Media/Internet/Smart Phone free weekends. (Needs more fine tuning).

For now, that’s it. It’s a huge list and some pretty big goals, but with my new mindset, my current Facebook hiatus (which surprisingly I’m not really missing in the slightest) and a positive outlook for 2017 I’m sure I can achieve so much. 


My all time favorite saying!

Happy New Year ~ I’m looking forward to a beautiful 2017 full of love, laughter and adventure!

Have you set your sky high goals yet? If not, what are you waiting for? 

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 largeĀ 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.Ā 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

Merry ChristmasĀ 

What a wonderfully relaxing day today has been so far. Kids slept in until 7am! I could hardly believe it! 

It’s a raining drizzly summer Christmas here today, so the new swimmers and pool noodles have been flung to the side in favour of Pie Face and Roller Skates (and me playing with my new Fitbit Blaze). 

We’ve eaten way too much (as you do) prawns, baked ham, crackling and salads – YUM! Pavlova in the fridge for afternoon tea before heading next door for Christmas dinner tonight. 

Santa sent our kids a text message (not one of those paid ones, I sent a text to myself, saved the number and made the picture as Santa Claus) telling them that there is a present waiting to be put together in the shed at home with a picture of their joint Swing Set. They were so excited and can’t wait to get home šŸ™‚ Last night for the first time we took the kids to Christmas Eve Church service. It was beautiful and the kids loved the carols, the video they showed with kids telling their version of Christmas and Jesus’ birth, but the supper afterwards was their favorite part (luckily it wasn’t midnight mass, just an early evening short service). 

I hope whatever you are doing today it is filled with love, family and friends and brings you great joy. 

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. Much love,

Christine xx