Monday, May 28, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk 21 ~ The Office

June is a great month to tackle the home office. It's coming up tax time, so lets get everything together and set up a system to make next year easier.

Firstly we are going to be looking at filing. What to keep, what not, how you store etc. Of course everyones needs will be different, so this is about finding something that works for you.

Your missions this week:
~ Set up a filing system that works for you
~ File all your paperwork
~ If you have a system set up, now is the time to purge what isn't needed

This is our home office. It's in a very central area of the home. I love that I can sit here and blog and still be with the kids and cooking if need at the same time.
As you can see we have a three drawer filing cabinet. Only the top drawer is for files though. The other two drawers are for our stationery stash and computer bits n pieces.

We have two inboxes on the shelf where the keyboard is meant to be.
The one on the left is for my bits pieces. Order books, print outs etc etc.

The one of the right is our mail inbox.
All mail is sorted straight away. If for some reason it can't it is placed on the keyboard so it is dealt with asap.
Most mail we receive needs some sort of action. Whether it's a form that needs filling in, note from school or an account to be paid.
Accounts are immediately added to our budget spreadsheet and then placed back in the inbox until they are paid. Then they are filed or torn up and thrown out as required.

It's a good idea to set aside time each week to make sure all you filing is up to date. It doesn't take long for it to build up. Half hour a week is all you really need. Maybe think about adding that time to your menu planning time? I run the erands at the same time as I do my grocery shopping, so if you are the same filing while menu planning might work for you.

This is our filing system as it stands now. I haven't done our yearly cull yet. Each June Brian and I go through our filing system. We place anything that we don't need to keep into a box. Brian then burns it down the back yard. You could also shred your sensitive papers if you wish.
The rest of the system gets a tidy up. Delete files that aren't needed, rename some etc etc.

I'd love to see your filling systems if you're game. Link up below or on the BDB Facebook Wall.

Take Care

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Menu Plan 24th May ~ 6th June

Thought I'd take a bit of a wander back through some of my old menu plans for some inspiration this fortnight. Will hopefully have a few new recipe up over this next fortnight too.

Thurs ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise Bake and Garlic Bread {can cook this before I got shopping and leave instructions to heat up in the oven ready for when I get home}
Sat ~ Chicken, Veg and Noodle soup
Sun ~ Corned Beef and veg with onion sauce
Mon ~ Teriyaki and Chicken Rice
Tues ~ Chop Casserole
Wed ~ Homemade Pizzas

Thurs ~ Homemade KFC Drumsticks and veg
Fri ~ Parmy meatloaf and veg
Sat ~ Pumpkin soup and bread
Sun ~ Roast Chicken and veg
Mon ~ Fried Rice and Chicken Wings
Tues ~ Special Baked Beans
Wed ~ Boscaiola style pasta and garlic bread

~ Homemade Devon
~ Choc Poke Cake
~ Choc Syrup
~ Jelly cups
~ Fake Packet Cookie mixes
~ Milo biscuits

Do you menu plan? Would love to see it! Link up below if you blog of feel free to add it to our Facebook Wall.

Take Care

Monday, May 21, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk20 ~ Deep Clean

Our final week in the laundry! How have we all gone so far???

This weeks mission:
~ Pull everything out and give a good deep clean

For our final week we are going to give everything a deep clean. Pull cupboards out (if they aren't fixed), the washing machine too, and anything else and clean behind it.
Wash walls where needed, scrub tiles, clean windows and mirrors.

Next week we are onto a different room. This one will be quite daunting for many of you. Something most of us struggle with.

Would love to see your finished laundry's. Please link up below or post up on the Beccis Domestic Bliss wall.

Take Care

Friday, May 18, 2012

What's in my basket?

Still slowly plodding away on the blanket.
We have Randalls first game of hockey tomorrow, so thought I'd pop a couple of multi colour balls in, can you guess what I'll be making??

What craftiness are you up to this weekend?

Take Care

New Furniture!

Our boys have been sharing the same room and furniture for a while now. Including one tallboy between the two of them. Now that they are getting bigger, so are their clothes, which means they aren't fitting very well in the one tallboy.
So we made the decision to keep a look out for a nice second hand solid wood tallboy and then each child will have their own. I've been looking for a couple of months, but nothing suitable or within budget has been available locally. Until yesterday.

There was one nice looking one with a vanity mirror (which didn't really matter to us) for $180 (was $200 but we knocked it down again to $170), so we picked it up last night. Got that sorted, jumped on Facey and was chatting to a friend about it. While searching to see if it was still listed I found another one almost identical for $155 (we knocked it down to $140)! So we arranged to pick it up this morning!

This is what the boys did have:

and now:

Ethans Tallboy.
This is the one we got for $170.
It's nice solid wood. The drawers are on runners and the bottoms of the drawers are tongue and groove.
These normally retail at about $700

Eli's Tallboy.
Bought for $140, retail for at least $400.
This is still quite solid but not as fancy as the other one. Still much better than the melamine one.

I'm so excited about finding these pieces. They will last us so much longer than the other one.

Take Care

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lucas' Welcome Present

An old friend of Brians had her first baby a few weeks back, a gorgeous baby boy, Lucas Andy.

I had been awaiting his arrival for so long. Really wanted to make a special blanket for him, but mum and dad wanted a surprise so I didn't know if he was pink or blue. I didn't want to make a gender neutral blanket now something babyish as they just don't use them as long.

After his birth I pondered over a few patterns, but eventually decided that I liked this blanket that I have pinned. You can find the orginial pattern here (you will have to register but it's free).

I love these colours. Navy, teal, lime and white.

I try to make my blankets nice and big. Big enough that they tuck in on a cot and big enough for a toddler bed and for a lap rug on the lounge when they are older.
the texture of the stitch for the squares is so lush. I crocheted this blanket using Magnum 8ply yarn, but the stitch makes it feel so much thicker.

I made a matching beanie using this pattern that I purchased off etsy.

Some matching (as close as I could get colour wise) in 100% cotton.

I just couldn't get around to making a card so my gorgeous friend Barb Jackson whipped this one up for me the other morning.
Isn't it cute!

I bought this little elephant at one of our local markets from Miss Pickle before Lucas was born.

I thoroughly enjoyed hooking up this blanket. I am actually thinking of making one of the boys blankets in the same pattern, but it will be single bed size and different colours. Easy peasy pattern I can completely recommend.

Take Care

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk19 ~ Linen Press

Yep the dreaded Linen Press. The linen press was the first thing I blogged about when I started this little blog a bit over a year ago. You can read about it here.

This weeks missions:
~ Sort and declutter your linen

You may not have a linen press but we all have a place where we store it. Sort through, work out how many of each item you have, declutter and organised.
For us we try to stick to having just 2 sets of everything. One for use and one for the wash/cupboard.

Since my original post things have change a bit. The boys are no longer in toddler beds so I have removed all of their baby linen and have bought new single bed linen. So it was reorganised again back in September to accomodate that. Now I have just bought new flannel sheets for the boys too, which take up lots of room. So it's time to do it all again. Plus things have just been getting shoved in there of late too.

My hallway is very dark, so please excuse the quality of the photos.

Here is the horrible before pic:

And the afters:
Shelf 1:
This shelf houses all the miscellaneous bits n pieces
Lambs wools, big bags, less used pillowcases, heat pack covers, christmas stockings etc

Shelf 2:
Back of the second shelf:
This shelf is for the boys linen
L-R: Cotton sheets, spare bottom sheets, quilt covers
Did you notice our lovely wallpaper lined shelves. I don't mind vintage but it's starting to fall apart in many places.
We have the same throughout the kitchen shelves too.

Front of second shelf.
L-R: Spare flannel sheets, pillowcases, second set of flannel sheets

The flannel sheets are to the front of the shelf at the moment as it's cold here.
When the weather warms up and we start to use the cotton sheets, then the flannel ones will go to the back and the cotton to the front.

Shelf 3:
At the back are spare towels and swimming towels.
At the front:
L-R: bath mats with hand towels and face washers on top, Our spare set of towels.

Shelf 4:
On the left are our paper products - toilet paper, a couple of rolls of paper towel and tissues.
On the right are our cleaning rags.At the back the whole towels and in the front smaller pieces.

Bottom Shelf:
On the left is a spare quilt and mattress protector.
On the right, blankets at the back, our spare sheets at the front.

And now for the whole thing!

I'm so happy with how my linen press looks now! Can't stop opening the cupboard doors and taking a peek.

Would love to see your linen press once it's done. Linky tool is below of post up on the Beccis Domestic Bliss Facebook Wall.

Take Care

Friday, May 11, 2012

What's in my Basket?

Part of this weekends hooky project

What are you crafting this weekend??

Take Care

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Menu Plan 10 ~ 23rd May

{Homemade Pumpkin Soup and Bread}

Ooo the nice cool weather has settled in now. Lovely time for lots of soups and casseroles.
A favourite soup for us is Pumpkin Soup. I tend to make it each fortnight when pumpkins are a good price.
I also love to make veg based soups with or without meat. This fortnight I am finally going to get around to making a lamb shank and veg soup. Mmmmm

It's Mothers Day this fortnight too. Brian is working the afternoon shift so we'll probably just have leftover soup for dinner. But I'll be putting in my order for a nice bacon and egg breakfast!

This fortnights menu:
Thurs ~ Potato Bake and meat (will find something cheap when I shop)
Fri ~ Lamb Shank and Veg Soup with Homemade bread
Sat ~ Spaghetti and Meatballs
Sun ~ Leftover soup
Mon ~ Roast Chicken and veg
Tues ~ Pork Chops and veg
Wed ~ Fried Rice and Chicken Wings

Thurs ~ Sausage Casserole and veg (double batch for Brians lunches)
Fri ~ Hot Dogs
Sat ~ Pumpkin Soup and Homemade bread
Sun ~ Roast Pork and veg
Mon ~ Crumbed Lamb Chops and veg
Tues ~ Steak Sandwiches
Wed ~ Savoury mince and rice

Milo Cake {new recipe}
Honey Cookies {new recipe}
Pumpkin scones
Poke Cake

Would love to see your menu plans for the next week or fortnight. Feel free to link up below if you blog or to post them on the Beccis Domestic Bliss Facebook Wall.

Take Care

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Soup

Mmm I love a nice big bowl of thick Pumpkin Soup when the weather cools down.
Right now pumpkins are so cheap too so it makes sense to make the most of them and whip up a batch of yummy soup.
I really like to use Kent/Jap pumpkun as I find it has the richest flavour and colour of all the pumpkins that I can get readily.
My recipe is pretty easy and makes heaps!!!

What you need:
2 onions, chopped
200g bacon, diced
1 whole Kent/Jap pumpkin
1Ltr chicken stock

In a big stock pot cook off the onion and bacon until the onion is partly cooked, try not to let it brown too much.
Peel, deseed and dice the whole pumpkin into cubes about 2inches square. Don't be fussy, it's only going to get pureed later.
Add stock. I use stock powder and water but if you have a nice homemade stock that would be lovely.
Allow to come to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook until the pumpkin mashes easily.
Take a stick blender and puree until nice and smooth. Season to taste.
I like my soup quite thick. If you like yours thinner then add some more chicken stock until you reach your desired consistency.

Serve with a dollop of light sour cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Hope you like!

Take Care

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homemade Washing Powder Tutorial

I love to make my own washing powder. I was a little sceptical at first. I didn't think it would clean our cloths well, or that it would be much cheaper. But I was proven wrong.

I chose Rhondas Heavy Duty Washing Powder to use first. It was brilliant. After chatting with some folks I decided to switch the borax for bicarb though as there are some apparent nasties in borax. I did this in the same quantities and it worked just as good.

So here goes the tutorial

What you will need:
2 cups soap flakes (1 bar of laundry soap will yield 2 cups)
2 cups Bicarb 
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Napisan

Laundry Soap - You can buy Lux flakes if you like. I never have luck with Lux so I use laundry soap and grate it. I am currently using my own homemade soap for this but I used to use the homebrand laundry soap. Around $1.70 for 4 bars.

Bicarb - easy enough to find in the baking isle of the supermarket

Washing Soda - make sure it's the granulated stuff (looks a bit like Napisan) and not the stuff that looks like rock salt. I find Lectric Washing Soda in Woolworths here.

Napisan - my boys are grots so I need to add this in. I buy the cheapest homebrand stuff I can find. You can alternatively buy a bar of Sard soap and grate it if you wish.
You can leave out the Napisan if you don't need it, or even not put as much in if you'd like. I plan to reduce the amount that I use in there as the boys grow and become less messy too.
I have found that since adding the Napisan into the powder I don't have to soak the kids clothes any where near as much anymore. I always have a bucket with clothes soaking before, and now I'm lucky to have to soak something once a month.

Now I tend to make a double batch as I find a single batch uses half a packet of each of these items (except the soap) so by making a double batch it saves having half packets lying around, plus I need to make the powder less often for really only about an extra minute or twos work.

A close up of the ingredients.
Because I am using unscented soap I also add in some fragrance oil as I prefer that. For a double batch I'd use about 20-25mls.

First up in a large bowl (or I use two bowls making a double batch) add your soap flakes, or grate your soap.

Add your washing soda, bicarb and napisan.
This is a pic of the washing soda, this is what you want, not the rock salt looking stuff.

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined.

Now you may leave your washing powder like this if you like. However, some people have trouble with the soap dissolving properly. It was recommended to me to run my batch through a food processor to break up the soap more. I have done this since I first started and haven't had any issues.
I also add a few mills of fragrance oil before I blitz the powder so that it even distributes. for my machine I add 3mls per batch in the food processor or about 20-25mls all up for a double batch.

And this is what it will look like when it's all blitzed up. Just like normal washing powder.

A double batch yields about 3.2kgs of washing powder. I use only about 1 tablespoon (or about half a concentrate powders scoop) per wash. I use a cold wash for most of my washing and it works perfectly. This mix is also low suds so perfect for front loaders (which I have) and apparently it is also safe for MCN's.
A double batch probably lasts us a good couple of months and only takes about 30 mins to make.

I roughly worked out the pricing a while back, but will get new prices this week and post up. It is MUCH cheaper than buying it. Plus if you don't use the napisan in it, it's perfectly safe to use the greywater on your garden.

I really hope you give this a go. If you do please let me know

Take Care

Monday, May 7, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk18 ~ Laundry Cupboards

How'd we all go with our washing machines last week?

This week we are going to tackle our Laundry Cupboards.

This weeks missions:
~ Declutter your laundry cupboards
~ Dispose of unwanted items safely
~ Make a list of what items you need to replentish or are running low
~ Wipe down and cobweb your clothesline 
~ Throw out any broken pegs and decide if you need to buy some new ones, add them to your shopping list NOW if you do.

I have three Laundry Cupboards. Don't stress they aren't all big ones.
Firstly is the one under the basin, I only house buckets here.
Secondly, the previous owners thought it a good idea to place a bathroom cabinet on the wall above the washing machine. The iron sits on top. Inside are laundry bags, some old soap holders I used to use and my washing machine manual. Much handier to have it here than having to find it in the filing cabinet when an error message occurs.
Lastly is my big double door cupboard. Top shelf has bits n pieces and less often used cleaners like turps, metho, cloudy ammonia and the like.
Next shelf is my washing powder and soap making supplies.
The rest of the shelves are for stockpiling.
I need to give this a minor clean up and write a list of what else I would like to stock pile.

Would love to see some pics of your laundry cupboards! Feel free to link up below.

I'll be back later in the week with my Homemade Washing Powder.

Take Care

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Room of Shame Progress Days 2 & 3

I was hoping that this room would be completely done by now, but you know, life happened.

You can see my orginal Shame post here.

I actually did Day 2 last week, or maybe the week before? But forgot to post about it so here is Day 2 &3 :)

Day 2 I decided to tackle the cube shelf unit. I've done all of it now except the bottom shelf. But that won't take long.

Here it is before:

and after:

I had to go buy more boxes, and unbelieveably I still need more.
I sorted out my papers into Manufacturer (will show you that another time). My OTP stuff is spilling out of the basket! Need to start doing some I think.

Now for todays effort.
I thought I'd start with my round table and then hopefully get the bench done too.

Thought I had taken close up pic of the desk areas, ooops, but you can get the general idea form this pic.

 This isn't as clear as it should be, but I'm using this desk to sort out on

When I get some more storage boxes the rest of the stuff on the bench can go

I'm pretty happy with what I managed to do in just over an hour. Must get those boxes in the next couple of days, then I can move onto the last bench!

Take Care