Sunday, July 19, 2015

Clothing our Kids Part 1

In my opinion, one of the most expensive things about having kids , is clothing them. I am sure I am not on my own in saying that kids generally grow like weeds! I know mine do (some more than others), and its only taken me 7 and a half years of being a Mum to finally realise some important things and make some decisions on our kids clothing. 

We now live in the Pilbara, a part of Western Australia that suffers brutal summers but glorious warm winters. We are also a lot more isolated from varieties of stores to buy apparel from. These factors have made me reassess our clothing, what we really do need, and when and where to buy them all.

With 2 boys and 2 girls, you would think I would be able to pass most of the kids clothing down. Unfortunately this isn't the case, as our boys are in the same size clothes and shoes and will probably be for the rest of their lives. Even with 18 months age difference, one is a big boy and one is a slight build. Luckily I can pass Stella's clothing down to Lacey pretty much as soon as she has grown out of  it , and we don't have to store it in-between.

I thought I would cover the topic of our Kids Clothing in a few different posts seeing as though I receive quite a number of emails and messages asking questions about this, and because we have a large family with both boys and girls. 
I will be covering topics like; 
- Where we buy our kids clothing from (favourite websites, brands etc)
- How we keep track of what we do and don't have
- the method I use to purchase items (i.e: big shop every size or season or purchase gradually)
And in this post - Selling items once you have finished with them 
If you have any questions or would like me to cover anything in particular please just flick me an email or message on my Facebook page and I'll try and cover those bases too!

Down to business;

As mentioned above, clothing kids is not a cheap task. They sometimes grow quickly and aren't in a particular size very long , or they may be in a certain size for a long period of time and you need to constantly top up their items because they wear out. 

I like to think that our kids go easy on their clothes, but I know that some don't. I often have friends mentioning that their son/daughter is 'hard on their clothes' so I guess I am just really lucky in that way. 
In their wardrobes I have a tub for "Too Small" items, so that when they go to put them on and they are too small, they don't go back into the clothing cycle. We simply pop the shorts or whatever it is , in the tub and when I have a decent amount in each tub , I then make plans to re-home them.

Some things that are bought from the chain stores are bundled up (as shown below) and I list them on our local Facebook Selling site. I try and get around $20-$30 for a large bundle. Its not a huge amount  but they are all in good condition and every little bit does help to then reinvest in bigger clothes. The items that are worn or marked are either chucked, given to friends or donated to an Op Shop (sometimes all they need is a good soak and wash with an Industrial Machine).


Name brand items that are still in good condition (I firmly believe that if you spend more on something, you get better quality and they wear better in the long run), are photographed and either sold on Ebay (super easy to do using the phone app) or Facebook . If our small town ran Baby and Kids markets,you can bet that I would be a regular for stalls there too! So these are always great places to pick up some good quality items at great prices.

On eBay - You simply need to take a few pictures of each piece, up close and be honest when listing them. Describe the condition, photograph any marks or blemishes in the pieces and sell at a good price. I often think that its better for something to be sold a little too cheaply and know that it will sell after all of your hard work preparing to do so, than it be a bit too expensive for some people and it still be cluttering up your house weeks or months later. I also offer combined postage, so its a good idea to list a few items at the same time, with similar finishing times on the auctions so that its more inviting to buy more of your items and this then means less trips to the Post Office for you!



Now that I have covered how I like to re-home our clothes, the next post in this series will show you how I like to keep track of what the kids do and don't have, and how I record when I purchase clothing a few sizes in advance.

Like I said, I'm happy to answer any questions or please feel free to comment with your hint and tips, we are all in this parenting thing together!



Monday, June 15, 2015

Going Bananas

Happy Monday to you!
So it is the start of another week, and I have a busy one ahead including a rent inspection (and lots of cleaning and fussing to do), a day of work and parent /teacher interviews and then I've squeezed a trip to the city into the mix for the weekend! Phew
But seeing as though we are talking about busy , I thought I would share just how I store our bananas when I pop them in the freezer. Quick and easy, just my style!
Surprisingly only 2 out of our four kids like Bananas. The twins don't, funny little things they are. Regardless they never seem to last long in our fruit bowl - with our weather up here (always hot) and the struggle to get fresh produce that hasn't been frozen or in a truck for days , our bananas life span is rather variable. (Such an in depth conversation about a fruit, hehe)

Anyhoooooo, like a lot of people, when things go on special, I buy them in bulk , even if they are to be popped in the freezer to be used at a later date. When I score bananas on sale, or if they are nearing the end of their little lives , I peel them and pop them in a shallow square container (just like the ones to store pastry sheets etc) . They are the perfect depth, I can still take out one banana at a time or multiple and I even add smaller pieces to put in our fruit smoothies etc. The container also doesn't take up a lot of space and is great for stacking items in our upright freezer with drawers.

We also store our mangoes like this during the season (as we get close to 300 mangoes all within a few weeks) and often grapes also. 


Then when I have a baking session , I always have bananas on hand and can take them out of the freezer as needed. 


Then all that is left to do is enjoy your efforts and sit down for a cuppa ! 



Monday, June 8, 2015

Berry Banana Loaf - Recipe


I love to bake, but I love to bake simple things. Simple, yummy and freezable are my main requirements in a recipe and this one fits the brief perfectly!! Banana bread is a big favourite for our kids , and when I found some frozen raspberry's in the freezer ( they are safe , I promise!) that our house sitter left  behind , I knew exactly what I was going to make !

I've had this recipe for years and love it. It was from an amazing blog I used to read religiously and now, through fate and a whole lot of laughs , I now call Jade a wonderful friend. Jade has a Facebook Page called Project Happiness  where she shares lots of crafts, home decor and organising tips! 

You can add whatever berries you have to this recipe, originally it was with Blueberries but I have used Raspberries and the kids love it with some strawberries too! The berries keep it light and moist and its perfect served with a scrape of butter. Yummy 









Ingredients 
1 1/4 cups Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
20g Butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg beaten lightly
1/4 cup milk
1 banana - mashed
1/3 cup berries ( Raspberry, blue berry , strawberry etc)

Method

1)  Sift flour and Cinnamon into large bowl and then rub in butter
2)  Stir in sugar , egg, milk, berry's and banana. Do not over mix the batter , it should be lumpy
3)  Spoon into a prepared pan and bake in hot oven for about 30 mins 

NB- I used my Thermomix for this recipe as I do for most,  and still did step one separately on speed 4 for about 10 seconds. Then added everything else in Step 2 , on reverse and speed 4 for about 15 seconds. 


Delicious served warm and perfect for school lunch boxes! 




Friday, June 5, 2015

A Seven year old Room

Within the blink of an eye, your baby is SEVEN! It incomprehensible , but somehow so very true!
Not only is she 7, she is also growing up. Watching and observing. Asking and listening. Maturing and changing. Somewhere, along the way I realised that Stella needed a space of her own (she used to share with Lacey , 5) and a space that was a little more on the 'grown up' side. 
Don't get me wrong, I still look at her as a little girl. She has so many years ahead of her to be a 'tween' or 'teen' but for now, seven is still young. Still pretty and girly  and still a time for playing and being a kid. Well that's my opinion anyway.

Stella still asks me to pick her clothes for the day ( I am holding onto this for as long as possible), she still likes to play with her siblings, she still likes to play with Hilda her bunny in a role play Mummy situation and she still likes a soft cuddle toy at night. Hallelujah! 

When we decided to give Stella her own space ( and me stop working from home) , she moved into the smallest  and oddest shaped room in the house. Regardless, she was stoked!!  A space to call her own. And a space to kick her siblings out of when she was sick of them! We wanted something pretty but inspiring, a little area for her to write and draw (her favourite things to do) and some storage and display for her 'precious items'. All while being rental friendly! 

Now, seeing as though we live in the desert ( Ok, not quite the desert but it sure can feel like it at times!) we only have one shop, being Kmart. Its a pretty good shop to have at the moment, as they are busting out some awesome homewares but it still makes of limited shopping, especially when you are looking for something in particular. So sourcing bits and pieces we wanted for her room was the not the easiest task. 
Plus budget. Always back to the budget! We are a single income family (or were until this week when I returned to work) and therefore everything needs to be budget friendly.
I can't say I have ever set out to decorate a room. I have never said - Right Liz, lets make over this room from top to bottom. And gone out and bought everything that I have needed/wanted. Our budget has never allowed it. Our rooms have just evolved over time. 

Stella's room


I think with any bedroom space, whether it be for a child or adult, its nice to have some different bedding options. By simply changing your quilt cover or throw cushions with each linen change, you are essentially creating a new look and giving the room a fresh feel. Stella has the above quilt cover and also a reversible Coverlet which we change up every time I change her sheets. This gives her 3 different looks for her room. 



Cute love heart battery operated lights (bought on sale after Valentines Day from Woolworths for $5) add some fun and a soft glow when she is having trouble getting to sleep at night.

An older photo before we sourced new drawers and painted them . 
I had the floor mat made by a local lady who used fabric I had in storage . I love that it is machine washable - a must while living in the Pilbara.


The bookcase was given to us by a friend , Stella stores all her precious and keepsake items in it, as well as her books and craft supplies. 




Her desk area is a funny little alcove in her room and the desk is repurposed from my old work area.  It fits perfectly into the space and a lot of gorgeous drawings have been produced here. 


Bits and pieces and 'pretties' are a must for any girls room!! Free printables I found on Pinterest stuck on the wall with washi tape, brighten the space nicely.


A room is never complete without a wall collage! 

The watermelon print Stella drew and painted herself and the Ice-cream print is just scrapbooking paper with a sticker of an ice-cream added. Wall art doesn't have to be expensive!
The Live the Life print is actually the front of a Typo notebook that I cut off and framed.



There you have a look inside of Stella's girly space. She loves pictures and colours, watermelons and crafting. She likes to leave her shoes on the floor and is a bower bird for anything shiny she can find. Typical 7 year old really ;)


And because I know the questions and emails will come, details of pieces in her room; 

The quilt cover was bought for $20 on sale at the Adairs Outlet store. Its reversible as well.


Her newer drawers were bought for $20 off our local Facebook Buy and Sell site and I sanded, painted and added glass knobs to them. She just needed a few more drawers for things like knickers, socks, bathers etc. 


Stella name banner- Pretty Paper Label 
Pillowcases - Adairs and Cotton On Kids
Watermelon cushion - Cotton On Kids 
Face cushion - Adairs on sale for $15
Love Canvas- Adairs for $9
S letter- made with letter from Spotlight and scrap booking paper
Your are My Sunshine Hoop- Ollie Rose
Coverlet- Gifted to us by a friend but from Kmart a while ago

If there is anything else you would like to know please feel free to ask!


And despite Stella loving her own space, she also loves the other kids visiting her, and they love hanging out in there too!! Angus can always be found laying on her bed , watching her draw or taking her a book to read to him! 


Monday, June 1, 2015

Paint and Customise a Dipped Basket


Dipped furniture and baskets are very  'on trend' at the moment , however its not always practical and can be costly to buy new items when you already have them at home. By painting your own items, you are able to customise the colours and patterns to suit your tastes and decor , and add any personal touches that wish.

Once I had seen the painted dipped baskets in Kmart (even though they are only about $10) , I instantly thought of the basket that I already had at home , that wasn't being used. To be honest, I didn't even purchase it myself - I bought some wooden toys off a Buy and Sell site on Facebook and they came in the basket. Win!

Plus I had some paint left over from my Kids Kitchen Makeover , so this little project came in at $0 is  outlay. Just the type of project I like ;)

Fancy having a go at something similar yourself? It was so easy, I have been on the hunt of more things around the house to dip paint!! Try it!




Any Basket will do, but something with more of a closed weave is more effective and easier to paint. 


I used a normal ruler and a chalk pen to measure and mark a like around your basket to act as a guide. This really is a test of a steady hand and good eye , but if you are accurate with this step, you are more likely to have an even effect.


Start by painting your line around the top , then just paint everything below that (or above, depending on the look you are after).  My basket needed 2 coats.


And that is it!! Seriously! Finished!!
Despite a groady and aged rental bathroom, the basket adds the perfect pop of colour and is a great size for this bathroom. We are using it for a dirty clothes basket, as I wash regularly and don't need anything bigger. By painting the basket in my favourite colour, it ties in so many other little bits and pieces I have around the home. 

This project didn't cost anything for me, as I already had the basket and paints, and if you had to go out and buy those items, then it would definately make more sense just to buy the Kmart versions. However, by painting your own, you can choose any colour you like and match it to your home decor. 

Next time I might try a pattern , or I would love to do some polkadots! Yes, Polkadots! 



Saturday, May 23, 2015

2015 Catch Up

Its a long time between posts around here. Its also a long time between February and May!! Its amazing what you can fit in just a few months , and we have done our absolute best to fill our time completely. 

Time flies when you are having fun, but I have also had to farewell my beloved Canon camera (and it hasn't been replaced yet, I have to keep growing my money tree) and the ever important MacBook needed a trip to the doctors. These all contribute to not posting . But then again, so does trips away ( Coral Bay, Point Samson, Pardoo etc) , concerts in the big smoke (Stella and I flew to Perth with friends for the One Direction concert) and lots and lots of sporting and school commitments. 


The kids all helping Stella make her Poster for the concert


Stella  and I before the One Direction concert


Stella's favourite band member, Harry in the flesh (well on the big screen!!)
We all had THE BEST time in Coral Bay in April. We met my family there and enjoyed a sunny , glorious week at the best beach ever! 
Our caravan set up at Pardoo Station. Such a relaxing place, the kids are always asking to go back!
Playing tourist in Wickham
 Our new DOME cafe opened earlier this year!! What a treat and so exciting for us all! Now somewhere large enough to meet friends for meals/coffees, great for kids and convenient. Perfect !

Our girls enjoying a Dome breakfast!

I have added President of the school P & C to my repertoire and that has kept me well and truly busy. Lots of functions and fundraising events to organise and manage. 
The kids have taken up soccer and Auskick , as well as the usual dancing sessions. 
I've started a market stall business with a lovely girlfriend. We make a variety of jewellery (clay and wood ) and other home wares items. That has been a ton of fun, creating and playing!! 

My husband is still working a shift roster. Which seems to be working for us. The weekends he works aren't the best but the down time is amazing!

We survived another Pilbara summer!! Yay!! And our beautiful winter is upon us. These days are the ones we live for and make the terrible summer worth it!!  Lots of camping (glamping in our caravan more like it) to be done at this time of year. 

We have celebrated 4 out of our 6 family members birthdays already!! I turned 30 (oh dear) in March, Stella 7 at the start of April (while we were away) and Max and Lacey at the end of April (and they had a party this year , so a post on that is to come).

Heading out for a lovely meal and 30th Birthday celebration with my beautiful girlfriends, I like a bit of matchy matchy!


We have holidays planned for later in the year and hopefully family visiting soon enough so lots of things to look forward to! 

With lots of posts in mind, I have been taking snaps and trying to plan a few cool things for the blog, so lets see if I can make it all happen. Fingers crossed!! 
But for now, a catch up post and a ton of photos. Next up , a little DIY with instructions. Just cos ......

And just because they are cute! And I am loving being a proper 'soccer Mum'. Its so awesome seeing them run around, trying hard and enjoying themselves! 

Poor Max has been left for dust in the height department by his twin Lacey!  



Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 - Nourish

Oh dear, I had grand intentions of being organised, consistent and post regularly this year. It seems I am a little late with my first post (nearly 2 whole months) but better late than never, right?! Lets hope it improves from here on out!

I have so many posts I am in the middle of writing. A heap on the "To- Do list" and even more floating around in my head, so I hope I can come through with the goods this year. 

I have been on a DIY rampage lately. Nothing is safe from paint, nothing is safe from being cut up, glued or re-purposed so expect a heap of those sort of posts. 
I have been on an exercise and weight loss mission for a while now - So expect some workout shots (or at least of my funky runners hehe) and maybe a healthy recipe or 2 thrown in there.
I have also been on a 'Need it or Chuck it' journey. So much stuff, so many labels needed , so many cupboards need sorting and resorting. 

But most of all, for this year of 2015, instead of setting New Years Resolutions , I am picking a word again (last years was 'Appreciate' , see post HERE).
A word to help define my days, to strive to always adapt to my everyday life. A word to believe in. 
My word for 2015 is NOURISH.


Nourish can mean and relate to so many different aspects of life, and that is why I have chosen it.

I want to continue to Nourish my body with yummy, wholesome and healthy food. Food that is fuel for my body. Food that will help me fulfil my busy and demanding days. Food that will also help me shed some lumps and bumps .

I want to start to Nourish my soul this year. Focus more on myself than I ever have before.
 I, like so many others out there (especially the Mums), put everyone else's needs and wants before my own.  I am determined to start looking after myself more. Have my first facial. Go and get a pedicure every now and then. Perhaps even take off for a solo coffee and mag read in a coffee shop. Small things that mean big things for your mental and emotional health. Nourishing your soul in the best way.

Nourishing my family, providing emotional and physical support to no end. Lots of cuddles, lots of kisses and lots of quality time spent with my kids and husband. 

I want to read more, study a little, cook a lot and love more than anything. 

I have a good feeling about 2015, do you?

Have you picked a word? Or set a New Years resolution? 
Care to Share? Lets do it, together!