Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Found the Photos!

Out of the blue, in a random occurrence, I finally relocated the missing photos sent in by Aynsley to Turn on the Tap!  Yay!  Thanks, Aynsley, for joining in!

Here they are:

Has anyone else managed to take photos of taps around their place to raise $2 towards safe drinking water for others?  It is still on my to-do list: I'm thinking of taking photos of my parents taps next!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The List Update and Five Sevenths of a Blanket

I thought that I had better be honest and tell you all how I've gotten on with The List (yes, I did think about just pretending I'd forgotten all about it!).  I study for exams this week you see, so The List will have to go on the backburner.  Of course I have not accomplished nearly what I hoped to.  But I have taken my son to the beach a few times, made some meals for friends in need, and had a few afternoon naps (but sadly only a few!).  I'm okay with the lower progress.  I did make progress, which is important for me so I feel like I've at least accomplished something even if not everything (like I EVER get everything on my list done!).

Dining Chairs
Check.  Done.  Finito!  Horray!  In use and still in one piece.  Should last us ages now.  Pats on the backs all round.

Chook Cage
Frame is nearly finished.  Taking a lot longer than anticipated.  This is a MUCH larger project than I realised.  Got the last wood yesterday but too wet to saw so have to wait (ugh, I hate waiting! The upside of the waiting though is that I am here instead!).  After framing, I will need to paint it all.  Then put on the wire.  Then the ply.  Then organise feeders.  Then get the chooks.  Oh, after moving it to The Big Garden on the trailer of course.

Munchkin's Birthday
Over.  Went well.  Took photos for posterity's sake.  Ate party food for the next few days.  Still have decorations and balloons on our ceiling (Munchkin really likes them).  Suppose we should take them down soonish.  Sigh.

Emergency Kit
Moved bottles and refilled.  Have found container, and am slowly adding one or two things to it each month.  Batteries are on next month's list.  And kerosene for the little camping gas burner.

Selling stuff on Trademe (ebay)
Currently listed.  Still have a couple more things to add though, and of course all the work of posting things, etc once they sell.  Trying to keep Munchkin out of the box of sale stuff.

Crocheting Blanket
DONE!  I wanted to do half a blanket.  I've done MORE than that.  Five Sevenths to be exact.  I now have eight squares left, then have to crochet the final 16 onto the blanket.  Should be do-able before September.  I was so pleased with myself, I just had to take photos.  Doesn't it look so happy?!

Zipped money bags
Delayed.  What else can I say?  They are on the priority list, but have to wait for the chook cage as I need chookies in there in spring.  Maybe by my October holidays???

Tidy Garden
Nothing new here since I wrote The List.  Except it looks like all my carefully transplanted strawberry plants have died.  No idea why.  Unless it was the compost, but it was mixed into the soil and the plants started out with nice new leaves.  Grrrrr.  Yet another job for me to do (try seeing if there are any runners at the Big Garden I can have).  No potato cage yet either.  I forgot.  I do have a few months before needing to use it at least.  Have asked our landlord if they can see about trimming driveway (it is not actually our unit but the other one that has the overhanging plants as I did ours last year).  Decided I don't have time and actually, it is not really my job anyway.

So there you have it.  The List is still very much in progress.  I now also need to organise new bootees and pj pants for the Munchy in the next month or so (before his feet go through the current ones), and hopefully new sleep suits too (because his feet ARE going though those)...difficult because he is now taller than the average store-bought sleep suit.  Grin. 

Any special projects on the go at your place this month?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who's Cheating?

I watched a DVD sermon by Andy Stanley this week that has given me much food for thought. He was talking about one of the biggest decisions he ever made: to cheat the church instead of cheating his family (his words, not mine!). Let me explain. He was saying that when we find ourselves in the position of having not enough time to get everything in our lives done (hmm, this sounds somehow familiar!?!), we have a tendency to lean towards the things which we can measure. Work. Ministry. Not family. Not home. Somehow it is so much easier to call home and say we’ll be late, than it is to call work and say the same thing. Andy decided when his family and ministry were both young and requiring a lot of his time and attention, that if someone were to ask he didn’t want his family saying they felt cheated by him. He prioritised his family by leaving work at the same time every day, regardless of whether things were finished or not. It was messy. People were upset and often didn’t understand. But in the long term, he now has a great relationship with his family, and a healthy, thriving organisation. He decided to do it this way because he felt that God hasn’t called us to love the church or build the church. He tells us very specifically to love our family. (1 Timothy 5:8 actually goes so far to say that anyone who does not provide for his immediate family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Pretty strong stuff). So the idea is that it is not okay to leave our family hanging while we head off into the big wide world to do God’s work. God’s work includes home. God’s work starts with those who are closest to us. On the other hand, God doesn’t really tell us to build the church. He does tell us to make disciples. But what Jesus did say was that HE would build his church, and nothing would stop that. So we get this amazing opportunity to build it with him, while loving our family. That seems to be the order he meant it to be in.

So, why am I talking about all this? Well, I need to decide who I will ‘cheat.’ There’s just no way I can do everything I want to do, or need to do. Something has to give.

I was reading Notes From the Frugal Trenches earlier in the week. And she was talking about internet use. And how much time it takes up. And whether it should perhaps take up quite so much time? Made me stop and think. I spend WAY more time blogging and/or reading other people’s blogs each week than I do praying and reading my Bible combined. I hop on and off my computer all day long. Even though I don’t generally write posts when Munchkin is up, I still check emails, read blogs, look at my calendar, think about birthday ideas, check which row of blanket squares to crochet next, check the budget…you get the idea. I’m a bit worried that Munchkin’s going to end up feeling cheated. That he will think the computer is more important to Mummy than he is. And I’m concerned about starting habits now that will result in me wasting precious time. Precious time that could be spent rolling a ball around the kitchen floor with my baby, folding yet another load of washing so it isn’t sitting on the couch bothering me, calling a friend, making a card, hugging my man, or actually noticing that it is a sunny day and feeling how nice that soft warmth is on my face. There are so many other things I could be doing. So many other things I most likely SHOULD be doing.

I have decided to cheat you. I’m sorry, I don’t really want to do it. But it is you or my husband and son. And they are more important. More important than any number of blog posts, encouraging comments, or things I ‘just have to share.’ I just have to keep remembering that when the internet is calling. It is so easy to think that I’ll just spend a couple of minutes. Yeah, right Amy. Sure. You know it doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there, and suddenly you’ve spent an hour fluffing around online. So here’s what I’ve decided. Wednesdays and Sundays are blogging days. This includes looking at other people’s blogs, writing my own posts, and anything other blog related. I can take photos and write a single line idea on other days. I am not turning on my computer in the mornings while Munchkin is up. Between assignments and everything else we use our computers for, he has to see either myself or Boyo on a computer far too much as it is.

You might find that there are no posts next week. I have exams. I don’t know how this is all going to work out in the long run. There might not be many posts at all (I’m trying to stop putting lots and lots of little bitty posts just for the sake of sharing something, and actually write more meaningfully – so hard to resist!). Be assured though, I am still here. I still want to blog. And I will be working on something, it might just take longer to get to you.

I’d be interested in hearing how you manage your internet time. Any tips and tricks? Do you have any restrictions, or times you do/don’t like to be online?


Monday, June 6, 2011

8 More to Go

Yes, more peggy squares!  I now have only eight more to do before I will have a finished blanket.  Not that it will be finished, but the squares will be!  It's so exciting to get to this point!  These four have been on the go since early May...I've been spending a fair bit of time in the garage building a certain chook cage this month so less knitting has been taking place.  Small boy has also learnt he can launch himself off his potty if his mummy is not watching closely, so that knitting time has also gone!


Friday, June 3, 2011


I love the "Things I'm Loving" idea by Paisley Jade!  It is so great to be reminded on a weekly basis that I have something to be thankful for.  No matter what life is like, there is always a gem somewhere, a moment, a thought, an action that I can stop and thank God for.  No matter how busy, I can always take a moment to take a deep breath, look at a sunrise, or listen to a bird call.

So today, things I'm loving:

A husband who does dishes.  PILES of dishes.  Okay, I must admit to being a bit of a dish-using-freak.  I happen to like cooked breakfasts and lunches. And morning teas?!  And despite trying very hard to minimise dishes and rinse and reuse, there's invariably a huge pile up...which Boyo has just tackled yet again!  Boyo ROCKS. 

A clean handbasin.  I just couldn't handle it any longer.  I do so love the clean shiny whiteness of a just-cleaned handbasin.  I will gaze at it again tonight when I clean my teeth and sigh a deep sigh of contentment.

A son who likes helping with the washing.  Okay, so at a tender one year old, Munchkin is not really much 'help' just yet.  But I just love how much he is learning by watching and being involved.  There's so much to find out and discover through real life experiences, and I love being able to spend time with him while working on something as routine as the daily washing.  He already knows how to tip pegs out of containers.  Easy, Mum!  Piece of cake.  A bit more tricky?  How about putting pegs into containers.  Here's his recent contribution to tidying up:

Then there's learning how to take things off the line.  We use racks a lot  because they are easy to put up inside with the baby, haul in and out and in and out and in and out in variable weather, or move around the yard for winter sun.  This means Munchkin has rather easy access to the washing.  He can take the pegs off already.  But what really made me laugh, and proud as proud a parent as I could be, was watching him take some nappy inserts out of the basket the other day, and drape them over the rack.  Just like that.  He hung out the washing!  He then proceeded to take all the bibs and clothes off that I'd just put on.  Ah well, I guess I shouldn't expect too much in one day!

And one last thing I'm currently loving.  New slippers!  Remember how I was feeling miserable 'cause my old ones died and I'd had so much trouble getting replacements?  Well, I was walking past a shop and went in just in case, and there they were!  New slippers.  Sheepskin, made in New Zealand, size 5, an almost perfect fit!  And oh, so snuggly warm!  Loving it.


Free Rice - May

Here is my monthly Free Rice update for May.  This month I had 4,650 grains donated, which means I correctly answered 465 English vocabulary questions.  2,000 of that was part of my Uganda action plan.  This has been my highest month in ages and ages.  Which does leave me wondering what other things I was doing instead, as it doesn't feel like I've really spent much time at all on Free Rice this month.

Have you been on and answered some questions lately?  I am always surprised at the interesting words I come across.  I've also discovered recently that they have maths and geography options instead of vocabulary.  Could be interesting...I'm hoping Boyo might give the Maths a go, seeing as that is more 'up his alley' than English.  Grin.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Uganda Meal

You may recall that I was compelled into action last week after reading World Vision's news regarding famine in Uganda.  On my list of things to do were Free Rice, and a simplified meal so that we could give a little more money toward the appeal.  I managed to get 2,000 grains of rice donated that day, which I am very pleased with.  Last night we had our 'Uganda Meal.'  It ended up being scrambled eggs on toast, because I had milk that needed to be used or risk it going off today (I have been trying hard to reduce the amount of food we waste!).  Munchkin had some veges from the freezer, and some blueberries I found in the back of the fridge.

After our meal last night I must admit to feeling a little virtuous about my 'help the people of the world' endeavours.  Then I put the remainder of the groceries away - a huge cabbage, decent cauli, and a celery.  ALL THIS was leftovers...bits of stem and such that I didn't feel were good enough to eat. 

I looked at that big bag of waste food and felt a little less glamorous than before.  I'm sure that for many people, they would never even consider throwing out celery stems and leaves.  Every single bit of edible, or even semi-edible food would be used.  The thing is that I don't know what to do with it.  I mean, we are a 2.5 person household.  We just don't need all the little bits on the top of a celery, or the stem on the broccoli.  I did think about freezing them, but where in our little freezer do I put them and that still doesn't solve the issue of what to actually DO with them.  At least I do get the slight relief of knowing that my food scraps from last night are going to help us in some way, even if we haven't eaten them.  They went to the worms.  So at least they are being put to some useful purpose, rather than putrefying in landfill.  But I still felt a bit, well, blah about how much we waste and take for granted.  At least we were able to do something though, to help others.  And in all honesty, eggs on toast is not really a hardship!