Thursday, April 26, 2012

my creative space: school books

Well my big 5 year old is on to day 3 of school today and wow it has been busy! My fantasy of life getting a bit easier with one at school has been completely turned on its head... getting two, sometimes three kids out the door before the 9am drop off and back at 3 has been a real challenge for me so far! Jack's afternoon sleeps have had to completely change and I actually think I am going to have less time not more because of that! School is going great though and she is very happy so that's good and I'm sure once I get used to it all things will settle down a bit (I hope!)
Anyway, on to my creative space- this was something I did last week that was soooo enjoyable- covering school books. Yes I hear you say - how can that be enjoyable but I really did enjoy doing this- probably helped that I set my little space up with a coffee and the sky remote too!
I had been thinking about how to cover Amelie's school books for a while as I love the creative aspect of this (any excuse to get a bit crafty) and the novelty of covering school books for the first time. I was actually going to cover them in fabric after seeing these great posts from Cotton Kiwi and Ruby in the Dust.

But then I saw some book covers on the amazing Facebook page of Fairy Dust Stationery. Toni designed and printed out her own covers for her daughters school books and folders and covered them with clear duraseal.  I thought this was such a great idea as well - duraseal is not very eco-friendly but having seen how school books get treated it does appeal to keep the books in tact and waterproof! (I used to teach kids who had books covered in wallpaper which looked really great but didn't last long- it would end up ripped and tattered really quickly.) And I loved the idea of designing covers with her name and colours and pictures that I knew Amelie would like.

But life got a bit busy and then I had a brainwave- using my stash of scrapbooking and art paper and card that I have been collecting for ever.  I keep everything for my art/card stash- invitations, cards, packaging, magazine pictures, paint sample cards...anything that catches my eye really.

So in the end I chose some of the papers and card that I knew she would like,  cut them to fit the different school books and stuck them on using a glue stick (I only covered the front of the school books). Then I covered the whole book with clear duraseal. I had 6 books to do and all up this only took me less than an hour.  I also added cute stickers to some of the books and the name labels from Stuck On You (thanks for the advice re: school labels on my facebook page) before covering with the duraseal.
For one of the books I had fun doing a bit of 'patchwork'...
and for one I had this collage picture in my stash that I made about 4 years ago and had never framed so on it went!
I couldn't label the books for each subject as I wasn't sure what each book was going to be for so I added a blank label sticker to the top of each book after covering them.  I got the labels from this gorgeous sticker book "Crafty Stickers" from Book Depository. 
Another fun idea would be to use your children's art works or get them to design their own covers for each book if they're a bit older or use photo's- cut them to fit the book and cover with the clear duraseal- they would love that I'm sure. I still love the fabric idea as well so will keep that in mind for other things like having a special writing or drawing book for home maybe.
And I have to share this great tip from my friend Kylie for school- keep a jar with coins in it - because if you are anything like me you will never have cash in your wallet and there is always something your child will need $$ for school- mufti days, shows, trips, fundraisers etc. And they'll tell you just as you're leaving the house in the morning!
And thank you for all the great ideas about meal planning in my last post Organised Home Challenge: Meal Planning. Using the winner of the tea towel set is Number 10- Miriam! Email me your address Miriam and I'll post the tea towels to you :)
For more creative spaces click here
Megan x

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Organised Home Challenge: Meal Planning

It's been a little while since I wrote my last 'organised home challenge' post- just over a year actually! The last one was just before I had Jack and there has not been much organised home stuff going on since then that's for sure. But with Jack now nearly 1 and my eldest starting school I am hoping to make my life a little more organised again. I was inspired to start some meal planning after reading this post on the blog Modern Parents Messy Kids.  I was also reading Annabel Langbein's cook book Free Range in the City and she mentions meal planning and having a weekly plan eg: chicken on tuesdays, slow cooker wed night etc which really appealed to me. The other reasons I want to get into meal planning are
  • we cook the same meals a lot and forget about all the other meals we can also cook
  • it was taking me ages to choose meals for the week when I did the grocery shopping
  • wanting to be more organised so we have all the ingredients we need for dinner and it is at least prepared during the day (if not cooked)
  • want to do more cooking of double meals so every 2nd week we don't have to do actually do a lot of cooking
  • trying new recipes
  • giving the kids a wide variety of meals so they get used to different ingredients and food from different places - I love the idea of having themed dinner nights eg: Mexican night-eat nacho's, listen to mexican music (thank you YouTube!), look on a map to see where Mexico is, have little flags, learn some Spanish words eg: please, thank you, make up a menu etc.
So first off I made a big list of all the meals we already cook or want to cook and sorted them into
Mince, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Pasta, Pizza, Eggs, Salads, Vegetarian and Soups. I used some of our recipe books, my recipe file and searched online for recipes too. 

Then I made up a blank table with a weekly plan (This might not work out every week but at least its a start!)
Mon- Lamb or Pasta
Tues- Mince
Wed- Chicken
Thurs- Beef or soup 
Fri- Fish, Pork or Sausages
Sat- try new recipe or cook a treat meal eg: steak
Sun- easy meal- eggs, soup etc
You can download my (very simple) blank weekly meal plan here- I've also got spaces for trying a new desert each week (really need to learn some more desert recipes as apple crumble is pretty much my only one!)  and baking for the week.

So I thought I'd share my list with you- you could copy and paste it and modify to suit your family if you want.  Some meals in my list have links to a recipe online and as I share/find more recipes I will link to them here. 
I found lots of recipes on the websites below plus a few more like Masterchef, other TV cooking shows and celebrity chef websites too like Jaime Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Annabel Langbein. 

  •  Crumbed or pan fried fish, french fries and peas or salad
  • Homemade Pizza’s
  • Bacon and egg pie
  • Breakfast dinner- eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, breakfast sausages
  • Omelette
  • Boiled/poached/scrambled eggs
  • Cheese, bacon and spaghetti pie
  • Eggie Surprise (poached egg on toast with spaghetti on top)
Easy kids meals
  • Picky-tea- boiled eggs, sausages, cheese, carrot and gherkin sticks, sausage rolls?
  • Sushi

The other thing I've finally done is set up a master list for my grocery shopping- I shop online with Countdown.  I was re-inventing the wheel every week adding the same stuff and the same amounts to my basket so now I can just add all of that straight away and then add any other extras we need plus the ingredients for dinners. Can't wait to see how much quicker it is next week having that done!
Have you been doing any organising lately or have any organising you want to do? Or do you have  a favourite dinner or desert recipe on your blog that you'd like to share? Or just some more ideas for meals or categogories?  Leave a comment and you'll be in to win this cute tea towel set :)
Thanks for reading and happy organising!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Winter Clothes

I love corduroy for kids winter clothes- warm, hardwearing and just a little bit of an old fashioned vibe to it. I went to Spotlight in the weekend when they had their 40% off sale and they had the most gorgeous range of printed corduroy for boys and girls. I bought some of this cream Babushka's cord and made a really quick skirt for my 5 year old for school.

Teamed with a long sleeve top and leggings from JK's in their 25% off sale it's a great little outfit for a small cost really!

I was also lucky last week to find this cute- as brown corduroy Nature Baby dress in Zero To Five (a second hands kids store here in Tauranga and the Mount) for my 3 year old for $9 -score!

Even though it didn't really need it I added a few hearts (inspired by one of my favourite bloggers Clare at Greenvalley Crafts).
This will look so cute with a long sleeve top or merino underneath and some stockings :)
I love sewing....
Megan x
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