Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Bullet Journaling

Hello hello!

Long time no see.... I miss blogging. I miss having TIME for blogging. This full-time-mum-part-time-teacher gig is a lot of work. And part time teaching is only part time at school... there is still plenty to be done at home on your "days off". And three kids. One with allergies. All the things.
Buuut... I wouldn't change it. I do love it, and it's the closest I think I'll get to finding that elusive work/life balance.

And it's school holidays! And I'm giving myself a whole week of looking at nothing to do with school, so; hello blogging!

Actually, I wanted to check in to share something really cool that I've started recently. A couple of weeks ago I was waiting to board my flight back to Qld (oooh travelling! Fun!! More on that later!!) I was flicking through pinterest, and stumbled across an article about Bullet Journalling. This lead to more searching on pinterest, and googling, and youtube, and before I knew it I had fallen into a giant bullet journalling rabbit hole. And I'm so glad I did!

So what is this bullet journaling you ask? Well; if you want the purist definition, there's no better place to check than this website. This is the official home of bullet journalling, by its creator Ryder Carroll. But the cool thing about bullet journalling is that you can make it whatever you want it to be for you. It's flexible like that. Have a look at this blog if you want to see what got me really intrigued by the whole thing.  Kara from Boho Berry is a crazy-creative bullet journalist, and her blog and youtube videos really got me inspired to give the whole thing a good go.

My spin on bullet journalling (or Bujo, as the cool kids say) is that it's kind of like one beautiful notebook that you use to organise, write lists, make notes, journal, and generally be creative. Does that sound like my cup of tea or what? I love journaling and writing lists; I have dozens of pieces of paper floating around my house with random scraps of thought, and notebooks and stationery are somewhat of an addiction of mine.  I loved the idea of having it all in one place, with a plan to keep it organised, and even better, to hopefully keep LIFE organised. In the end it was a no-brainer for me really.

It's like an organiser, but you get to set it up the way you like it, and you can do it differently every week or day if you really want to. And lists! I love lists. It's like my BRAIN in a book and it's so good to get some of it out!

Anyway, I'm not here to gab on, bullet journaling is much more interesting if you actually look at it instead of just reading it. I've had a lot of fun setting mine up. I used a notebook that I had at home (from Aldi), that wasn't really used, and has lovely thick good quality paper. I gathered up my collection of Staedtler triplus fineliners (my favourite pens), and I got to it!

I"m not going to show you my first few pages.... they were a bit scraggly until I found my rhythm, figured out what I wanted to include and the look I wanted. I'm in a good bujo mojo now.

So here's what this week's spread looks like. A weekly spread is basically just like a snapshot of the week. There's also a monthly spread, which is where you do longer term planning. This was my second weekly spread, and it is HUGELY different to my first one. In it you can see what I"m planning to make for dinner each night, and what the weather is meant to be doing. I've put in birthdays and special occasions, and started planning out the week.

This is how I've designed next week's spread. I LOVE that I can try new things every week. No chance for boredom here! Next week I've added a journal card into the schedule. On the back side is a space for each day of the week, and my idea is to write at least one thing I'm grateful for each day. This is something we used to do every day as a family, and it is a good practise to be in. All in one book is going to help me to keep much more on top of little things like this!

Then you move into your dailies. This is where you get into the nitty-gritty of your days. I list specific tasks/goals for the day, take notes of things that have happened, and do a touch of journaling. That's what that card I've taped in is for. You don't plan ahead for your dailies (that's what the weekly spread is for). It's an as-you-go kind of deal, which is fabulous because you can't run out of space! Some days might only take two lines, and sometimes you want a whole page. I've decided to stick with this journaling card bizzo for when I want to write specific memories or feelings and journaly type things.  Lists work so well for me. It's so much more motivating if I have things in writing in front of me than if I am just filing them away in my ahead. That filing system is not great. And crossing things off a list gives me SUCH satisfaction. 

Then there are the lists. I believe the official word is "collections". There are no rules for these and you can use them however and for whatever you want. They're super handy and the family has enjoyed being involved in brainstorming with me. Although Pete did have a good laugh at the title of this list! A list for lists! Maybe I do have a problem, Ha! Here are some of my favourites.

The kids LOVED making this list with me. It's obviously a verrrrry long term list of dreams! And yay, I'll get to cross something off my blogging list! I'm hoping keeping a list of things I want to blog about will help me to pop in here more often... rather than just those fleeting "Oh I should blog about...." thoughts that fly out of my head as soon as they land there. Time will tell.

The school holidays list is a bit  more populated now than it was when I took that pic! And we have marked off a few things every day. The kids love having a look each morning and deciding which thing they'd like to do. And the yarn projects page is to keep track of what I'm working on. There are definitely more WIP's floating round my house that need to be tacked onto that list.

The 'next visit' page is for when you think "Oh, next time we go to x store we really must get some...." Because I don't know about you but I'll always end up at x store and think, "What was that thing I said I wanted to get again??" No more!! The Chore Score page is probably my new favourite invention.  The kids work on this together. Each time they do one of their 'jobs' (without any grumbling or complaining) we colour in a square. It's a teamwork thing; they need to get all the way to the centre, and when they do we get to go on a family date! It's been very motivating for them.

The kids also had a lot of input into this list. The idea is to collect the meals that we all really love, so when it comes to menu planning each week, we can easily get ideas. The Food For Reuben page is for my facebook page.

This is another of my favourites. It tracks my steps each day, weight loss, my sugar-free days (we've gone a bit lax and I'm working hard to get back on track), and my cycle.

 I've always kept lists of the books I've been reading, but it's funner when it's pretty! And yes, I"m re-reading my Anne books. I've also got a page in my journal of my favourite quotes from them too <3 p="">
Anyway, that's just a small taste of my little foray into bullet journaling so far... I hope you enjoyed it! I know I sure am. So much so that I was motivated enough to tidy up the dumping ground that was formerly known as my desk!

 It's kinda wonderful to have a creative space again. I'm determined to make this stick!!

So what do you think? Yay or Nay. Does bullet journaling float your boat?? Would you give it a go?

Talk soon!

Zoey x

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

As you may or may not know... I'm back teaching! Like, for real. I'm working part time-- a five day fortnight, sharing a year 1/2 composite class with my sister! How cool is that! Seriously it's a dream come true and I'm loving everything about it. 

Possibly the only bummer to being back teaching is report cards, and we are in the thick of that fantastic season right now. Working at school.... looking after my three crazy and wonderful children.... making sure Reuben has the food he needs.... and then reports. You won't fully understand the craziness of writing report cards unless you've been there yourself, but I can be sure that any teachers reading this are nodding their heads... report card season is ROUGH!

I've been pulling out the old slow cooker a bit recently, but even that requires a bit of forethought. You have to be organised enough in the mornings to get the meal ready to go. My mornings are somewhat manic; getting three kids dressed and fed and prepared for school is certainly rarely a smooth progress and it's enough getting us out the door most days! 

Enter dump bags!

I know, that sounds gross, but they're a thing- I promise! Seriously google it right now if you don't believe me. They're not at all gross in reality. 

The idea is that you put together all of the ingredients for your slow cooker meal in a ziplock bag, and chuck it in the freezer. All you need to do is remember to take the bag out of the freezer and defrost it the night before you want to use it, and dump it into the slowcooker before you walk out of the door. 

Easy peasy!

I made up four dinners in about 45 minutes last week, and haven't had to cook dinner at all this week. Now a quick disclaimer; I'm not the kind of person who pre-browns my meat before putting it in the slowcooker - ain't nobody got time for that. If that's something you like to do, I can't see why you couldn't do that before you froze it. 

Anyway, I got a lot of interest when I posted the following picture on social media, and a lot of people asked for the recipes. So here I am, deep in the throes of report procrastination, bringing my dusty old blog out of hibernation, giving you not three but four dump bag recipes that will make your week awesome. Trust me.

Yes, I know there are only three bags there, but I promised four recipes and four you shall get. Lucky for you, I ended up throwing one more together after I took this photo. So here goes. Now remember, these recipes don't need a method, because all you do is literally dump the ingredients in the bag, and then dump the whole lot in the slowcooker when you want to use it. 

1: Apricot Chicken
  • 2 chicken breasts, whole
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely (we love garlic, you can use less if you like)
  • about 1 inch of ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp of veggie stock paste (if you're a thermomixer, if not, use whichever stock you like)
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • a can of apricot nectar (or do what I did and puree a tin of apricots)
  • frozen peas
  • Whatever extra herbs you like. Lots of people like to use french onion soup, but the one I looked at at the shops, Reuben couldn't have, so I used YIAH Baharat spice blend and Herb & Garlic spice mix. 
  • A dozen or so dried apriocts, chopped roughly.
I put it on low for the day, and when I got home from work, I pulled the chicken breasts apart with a fork and stirred it all through. Serve with rice.

2: Bolognaise Sauce
  • 500g minced beef
  • vegetables (use whatever you like. I always chop mine in the thermomix on about speed 6 for 4-5 seconds. This time I used an onion, a few garlic cloves, carrots, capsicum, zucchini, spinach, and olives)
  • 1 jar of pasata
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • about 1/2 cup of red wine
  • whatever herbs you like
Make sure you break the mince up when you put it into the slowcooker so you don't end up with a hunk of stuck together clumpy mince. Serve with pasta!

3: Quinoa Enchiladas

I have a link for this one! Check it out.  I used all of the same ingredients, but I didn't brown the mince first. I won't put cheese on until we eat it... because Reuben.

And your bonus recipe....

4: Butter Chicken
Now usually I don't go past the absolutely incredible Skinnymixers recipe, because it is AMAZING. But, it's reasonably time consuming, and I mentioned it's report card season, right? So I based this one on a version we invented when we went camping recently, except we cooked it over the fire in a dutch oven. It's a total cheat's version, and has nothing on the real deal, but perfect for what it is. Here's what you need:
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 inches of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 jar of pasata
  • 1-2tbsp garam masala (I also used some YIAH tandoori spice blend for some extra kick)
  • 2-3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can of coconut cream (you can use regular cream if you're not catering for dairy free)
  • 100g coconut oil (you can use butter if you're not catering for dairy free)

So there you go guys.... give it a go! And if my recipes aren't your cup of tea, get googling. There really are zillions of ideas for these things out there on the interwebs. 

Alright.... back to the grindstone for me!


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Christmas Star Pattern Freebie!

Hello friends! I have something to share with you.

I created this pattern a few years ago, and it's super cute and super simple.

You can make them as individual stars and add a loop of chains to turn them into ornaments for your tree (they look so cute on a tree!), or even make a whole bunch of them an string them together on a chain to make a garland or starry bunting.

They work up really quickly. I prefer to use a cotton yarn for these, but I'm sure they'd look great in any type of yarn! My favourite cotton ever is the Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton, and I buy 8 ply. I see that they are currently on special; $11 for a 200g ball is an awesome bargain if you ask me! You'd be able to make hundreds of stars with that much.... and all the pretty colours...... Ok so I'm going to try my very best not to put in an order right now!

Anyway, without any further ado, here goes: My Christmas Star Pattern

And because I love you, I've even made a video tutorial of this pattern for you, in case you aren't familiar with any of the stitches :) Check it out here!

8ply cotton (or preferred yarn)
4mm hook (or larger hook for a larger star... experiment!)

Stitches (I use US terms):
ch=chain, sc=single crochet, dc=double crochet, hdc=half double crochet, slst=slip stitch

Special Stitches:
Bobble stitch - (yarn over, insert hook into ring, pull up loop)- do this twice. Then yarn over, pull through all five loops on your hook.

Begin with magic ring, chain 1.

ROUND ONE: Into the magic ring, work bobble stitch, ch2. Repeat 4 times (5 bobbles with ch2 between each), then join with slst in top of first bobble.

ROUND TWO: ch3 (acts as first dc), dc into same stitch. Ch2, work 2 more dc into same stitch. Work 2dc, ch2, 2dc into top of each remaining bobble, then join with slst into top of begch3

ROUND THREE: ch1, sc into the space between the two lots of dc that's behind your hook. Work the following around: Into ch2 space, work 1sc, 1hdc, 1dc, ch2, slst into second chain (called a picot, makes the points of the stars), 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc. Sc into the space between the next two sets of dc.
Repeat around, slst into first sc.

OPTIONAL: To make a loop for hanging, ch25, slst into the slst that ended the previous round. Finish off and weave in ends.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Christmas Crafting.

Hi again everyone! I'm not sure if anyone reads here anymore, and my blogging has become sporadic at best. Life gets crazy, huh? However, I love this little corner of the internet. It has so much of little family's history on it, and I come back here a lot to help jog my memory on things and to show the kids special moments from the past. So, even if it's not as frequent as it used to be, I'm going to keep popping back in and posting when I get the time.

Today, I wanted to share my most recent crafting adventure.

About a week ago, my mum shared an attic24 link on my facebook timeline. It was a picture of this gorgeous wreath...

Isn't it lovely? I replied to my mum that I have followed the Attic24 blog for years, and that I'm sure Lucy had made a whole bunch of wreaths for different seasons or occasions. Which of course then led to me falling down an Attic24 rabbit hole (man that girl is talented!!), and eventually landing on her Christmas wreath.

By that time I was totally itching to make one of my own. As beautiful as these wreaths are, they weren't exactly the kind of thing that I wanted to make myself though. So I did the only logical thing and headed on over to pinterest for some more inspiration.

By that evening, I had begun a little collection of christmasy crocheted creations (how's that for alliteration!) with which to embellish my wreath. (The colours came up SO WEIRD in this photo)

On the weekend I went on a wreath hunt, and found a styrofoam wreath at Spotlight for about $8.00. I had found this tutorial while browsing pinterest, and decided to use it instead of doing the stripey wreath cover from the Attic24 post. I just thought it was super cute! I chose an awesome bright pink fluffy yarn, and got to work. It really didn't take me too long. It was a little bit to get my head around at first; you have to kind of loop the yarn around with your left hand instead of picking up loops with your hook. Once I got the hang of it, it was easy peasy. I single crocheted around the whole thing, and then did a shell stitch to make the super cute scalloped border.

The lighting in these photos is completely awful, I do apologise. I was working at night, and you know, no light an all... 

I started playing with placement of my bits and pieces and quickly decided that I was going to keep to flat embellishments (ie, none of those little red balls or curls I had made, and no pompoms). 
I used the leaf pattern from here, the heart pattern from here, the mini wreath pattern from here (with little silver rings that I had stashed from my jewellery-making days), angel pattern from here (minus the tassel), and flower patterns from here and here. I only used cotton yarn, and only used what I already had at home. My husband was very proud, haha. Oh, and I also used a star pattern that I made up a few years ago, but I haven't got a link for it, I'll have to do that at some point! 

I actually ended up just pinning the pieces. I did this for a few reasons; firstly it was easier and quicker, and what's not to love about that! Also, it means that I can change them easily if I want to go for a different colour scheme or something another year. I made some simple little white single-crocheted strips to turn into curly swirls for my finishing touches. Annnnd..... voila!

I chained a loop which I pinned to the back for hanging, and today, I hung it! Yes, we have already decorated our house for christmas. Because, we are awesome like that, and we LOOOOOVE CHRISTMAS! I'll share some more photos of that sometime soon.

So here it is, my beautiful new Christmas wreath; in situ:

Go on, get crocheting! You know you want to!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

When Reuben Turned THREE!

This absolutely gorgeous boy turned three back in April! Three! Can you believe it? He is growing into such a beautiful little fella. He still owns the cheekiest smile ever, with a contagious laugh to match. He is just so much fun to be around. He has a great sense of humour and the biggest heart. He's loud and loves all the boy things. Dinosaurs, trucks, trains, planes, cars, superheroes. All the boy stuff.

So Reuben asked for a Superhero party for his birthday, and boy did Mama deliver.

I decided to make it a party where the kids could do stuff, so we turned the party into a Superhero training boot camp!

Each guest got one of these checklists, and each party game fulfilled one "competency". (***see the end of this post for a link to the prints!!***) When they had completed the whole list, they were presented with a certificate of completion. And yeah, I may have laminated stuff. I'm so a teacher.

First up they had to look the part... they came up with names, decorated capes (really simple ones I made with pieces of white cotton with a hem sewn at one end with elastic threaded through it), and had their faces painted.

They pinned the star on the SHIELD...

Single-handedly demolished "brick walls"...

Rescued a baby from a burning building... (and yeah, my husband does own a smoke machine)

Made their way through a laser maze...

And for their final challenge, they had to work together to defeat the evil villains (played by my brother and his BFF who turned up on motorbikes just at the right moment). The kids went to town on them with silly string and foam swords and karate chops.

The food was all allergy free, and I made little labels for each thing stating which superhero power it helps to build... like 'builds muscles', 'every blast', 'increases elasticity', 'boosts invisibility' and so on.

It was so much fun. The kids had a fabulous time, and I really enjoyed putting it on.

I also took allergy free cupcakes to kindy for him to share with his friends later that week...

All in all Reuben had a VERY happy birthday.

And now he's THREE!!! My beautiful big boy.

***If you're interested in the printable I made for Reuben's party VISIT THIS LINK. You will find the training checklist, the food labels, and the certificates. Enjoy!!


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