Monday, January 28, 2013

Glad That One's Over

It’s been a tough week.
Realised I need a new laptop.  I had vaguely thought I should look at updating it soon, but the screen had a spaz recently that it hasn’t fully recovered from.  This means I now get a headache and nausea if I spend more than a few minutes staring at it.  Not helpful when you are an online student with ALL your workload online (they aren’t even sending out course work this year except by request – I will be requesting!).
Dentist visit.  Munchkin had a wonderful time playing with a friend.  I had a painless visit.  That was okay.  Being told I need to find $350 and an hour without my son in the next little while was not so okay.  I’m wondering if my calcium reserves got sucked into oblivion by my delightful boy while he was kicking around inside me.
Thrush.  Ugh.  I’m so over it.
Still have an upset stomach since taking antibiotics just after Christmas for a rather nasty cold.  My husband told me yesterday that I smelt like a dead hedgehog.  Why am I telling you this?  It made me laugh (and I needed to laugh).  I thought maybe it might give you a chuckle too.
Not that the antibiotics made me well.  Better, yes.  Well, no.  Still have lingering issues with sore ears and raspy throat.  Grr.
Big gnarly decisions.  Very tired brain.  Not that the tired brain part is unusual, but feeling it very keenly at present.
Some things that have really disappointed me, left me feeling very hurt.  But I am feeling God’s faithfulness and working my way back to the surface.
I am increasingly grateful to have Boyo walking beside me.  He has not told me what I did wrong, or that I should just ‘get over it.’  He’s let me have my (many) emotional moments, my questions, doubts, rants and raves.  He knows that I take ages to process things, that my brain just has to gnaw away at every angle before laying it to rest and he has let me do that.  I am very blessed to have him in my life.

Even in this somewhat gnarly week, there were some good highlights.

Final two skirts finished (okay, so the orange one still needs some overlocking but the overlocker is inaccessible till next week so I cheated and took a photo now so I don’t have to later!).

Stroller wheels fixed.  No charge to us (after some ah, persuasion on my part that it was indeed a manufacturing fault).
Alphabet cards made.  Just capitals for now as they are easier to recognise.  Once Munchkin is ready, I will do some lowercase.  For now, we are just going to look at them when he is interested, or after seeing a letter on an outing.  He’s only two and a half, it’s not like he needs to read next week.  I’m simply following his interest and seeing where it leads.  Thus far, the interest is leading to many new letter discoveries and interesting conversations!

Stones inside the house.  Equals lots and lots of occupation for Munchkin which means hassle-free dinner preparation for Mummy.  Totally worth having to watch very carefully so I don’t roll my ankle on an unsuspecting stone!

Visits with friends and family.  I remembered recently that we can have people around for dinner from time to time, so we did!
Trips to the beach and the airport.

Wall planner up and mostly filled in.  Well, my stuff at least.  Boyo’s still waiting on some of his timetable.  I’m still waiting on my assignment dates but have holidays and exams already up there.  I think we managed to find somewhere for the planner that doesn’t make it feel like it takes over our whole living space?  After all, this baby is a metre wide by 800mm high.  Not exactly discreet.  I thought about a smaller size, but how on earth would we fit everything on it??!

One scholarship application done.  One still to go…waiting on some more information for it.
Started the process of updating our life insurance.  Emphasis on started.  (I emailed asking someone to contact us!).
Waiting for blueberry season.  It starts next week.  Yay!  I have money saved.  Double YAY!
Waiting for study to start.  I can’t believe I just said that.  But the time has come.  Counting down, and feeling excited.  Which is a very good thing after a year of freedom from exams, assignments, and weekly study requirements.

How has your week been?

Linking in with Elizabeth's Sunday Snippets.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Out and About with Munchkin - Snippets from our Week







Stones thrown in the stream.

Door locks on public toilets.

Everything is interesting.
Especially building sites.

And of course, sushi always tastes great too.

But of course, because everything is interesting, Munchkin is usually to be found half a block behind, looking at something.  Mummy nearly has a crick in the neck, from spending so much time looking over her  shoulder.  She's about given up on trying to hurry him along, unless we have somewhere we have to be (which is probably still far too often).

We went to the mechanics.

Visited the library (this week’s favourites – I’m Dirty, The Flying Diggers, and Salty’s Secret – a Thomas book).
Pretended to be crabs (this is the sideways crab walk, very difficult to capture on camera).

Put petrol in the car.

Put socks on by himself.  First time ever!  Usually he would have given up as it took a long time, but he persevered.  Wahoo!

I’ve been trying out my brand new camera this week.  Putting it through it’s paces and seeing what it can do.
Cannon, A4000 IS Powershot.  Red.  See?

This is not a frivolous purchase.  Honest.  It’s for study.  I need something compact for practicums (teaching experiences).  Something that I can pop in a back pocket and use discretely.  Something that Boyo isn’t too attached to.  We had vouchers from a dud camera purchase early last year, so used those.  Got my camera and a new mouse for Boyo. I must be honest and admit that being so small, it might get occasional use out and about in between pracs too!

We’ve spent a lot of time this week looking at letters and numbers.
Roadworks signs.
“S for Suzz”

“A for Angel”

Water connection covers.
“E for Elizabeth

We've also seen: "L for Lydia, N for Noah, R for Roo, D for Daddy" and had our first discussions about number names.  You just never know when you might find a letter or number!

This is my life, following the interests and rambling detours of my son.  It’s a good life.  This week we went on walks, played with friends, did some errands, and generally had a quiet and happy time.

Amy - linking into Elizabeth's Sunday Snippets.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Doing What I Can

I was talking to a friend recently, explaining how we got to where we are (and just what where we are means now – in particular, being married for nine years and having no house deposit). Her comment? “So I guess you’re back at zero really.” Yup. That’s about it.

Several factors combined to create this position in our lives. Lack of financial sense (our fault for being cocky and silly), getting caught out by recession (both in selling a house and in finding work – still issues with the work front nearly four years on), and even before all those that I had fatigue for four years (didn’t earn a full-time wage, spent a heck of a lot on getting/keeping well, and didn’t even consider having kids till we’d been married six years and even then it was a bit of a shock to discover we were expecting Munchkin!).

But my friend’s next comment was just as interesting. Something along the lines of, “That’s not so bad.” Yup again. She’s so right, and sometimes I really need to be reminded. Zero is WAY better than in the red. We did not go bankrupt. We are not trying to pay off nasty creditors. We are not eating baked beans every night (or eating nothing at all which at least one in six people around the world are faced with on a regular basis!). Zero really isn’t that bad. And it’s a wiser zero than the one we had nine years ago when we first got married. We will do things differently the second time round. And hopefully be nicer people to be around for all our mistakes, have a bit more understanding of others, and be more determined to enjoy and make the best of whatever situation we are in.
So all this leads me to the thought that:
Sometimes, we can’t do what we really want to.
I’d love to live on a few acres with an orchard and a few dozen chickens.
But I can’t.
At least not right now.
But my parents do let me keep chooks at their place. It improves their garden soil, and I get eggs. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort when it is sweltering hot and we have to walk up to feed them, or one of my girls goes clucky (again!) and has to go into solitary confinement. But overall, it’s a good deal. I get chooks. From this I gather to myself a layer of contentment, wrapping it snugly around me. I remind myself that many people only ever dream of owning their own chickens or growing their own food. It’s not exactly my ideal. But it’s still a good second choice and I can live with that.
It’s a bit like that renting. We’d much rather own. But right now, renting has its purposes. We didn’t pay for the new kitchen tap, for instance. Our landlords did. I can’t really choose what plants go in the garden, because it doesn’t belong to me. But I can choose to pick what is there, and display it on my dining table. So I do.
I’m doing what I can.
Are you doing what you can?
It’s very easy to get caught up in a, “when I get to such and such” mentality. You know, where you’re waiting for that magical moment. The one where your kids leave home, you get a good job, or buy that house you want. We all have them, those points of critical mass where our lives will be forever transformed. Well, we hope so at any rate!
But real life isn’t usually that clear cut. And I’m finding that often we simply can’t have what we want. Or at least not all of it, not now. Being a major planner I can find it incredibly frustrating when it feels like day after day, month after month, year after year, we are not really making any progress (particularly in our finances, that one really bugs me).
I’m trying to change my focus. Instead of worrying over whether we will get to the owning house, owning land, etc point, I am instead trying to focus on what I can do NOW. On being grateful for what we have now. Because it could be a lot worse. A lot, lot worse, and sometimes I forget that. I’m trying to do what I can with what we have. The skills I possess, the resources at our disposal. I really don’t want to get to the end of my life and discover I’ve wasted it in wishing for a different one when I could have been enjoying the one I’ve been given. So I’m focusing on what I CAN do something about, rather than what I cannot.

I can’t do anything about the dark brown lino in our toilet room. But I can put flowers on the windowsill.

I can’t plant fruit trees (a major reason I want a home of our own!). But I can gratefully accept the plums from my neighbour’s amazing tree.

I don’t have time to get to Tiny Boppers (movement for preschoolers and carers) any more each week or help out with their dancing (something I LOVE< LOVE
I can’t do much about earning extra income this year. I need to study. We all need to survive me studying! But I have a few scholarships to apply for. And I’ll do what I can around the study…growing food, buying specials, avoiding the shops! But only what I can. Sometimes I have to remember that I can’t do everything. So some weeks, we WILL buy hot chips for dinner. And I will try not to berate myself over how unhealthy they are for both our bodies and our budget. Munchkin already knows exactly how to eat hot chips, he thinks they are great, so you can tell this is our quick and easy meal of choice. I will try to remember that sometimes ‘doing what I can’ involves looking after other priorities – such as finishing an assignment or having a rest instead of making something homemade and fabulous for dinner!

I’d really like to live in a three bedroom house so we could have visitors stay overnight. But our two bedroom unit is actually just right for us. We couldn’t afford to pay more rent than we do, we live in an amazing location, and this place suits us so well. I’m learning to lower my expectations, to discover what I really need or really want to live and what is actually surplus to that. We can’t have people stay over. But we do still have my in-laws visit for the day and I’ve had a wonderful friend spend a few nights living in our garage so she could visit with us! It isn’t worth the financial pressure for us to live anywhere else. And even if we had a house deposit and could raise a mortgage right now, it’s not the right thing for our circumstances. And really, despite what the media tells me every day, there’s nothing wrong with waiting. As long as you’re not sitting on your hands. I plan on waiting with expectation, preparing, doing what I can with where we are at now so that when the next opportunity comes, we will be ready for it.

I can’t do anything while we are students about not having a house deposit. But I can keep chugging away with our finances, saving a little bit here and there (after all, little bits do eventually add up to bigger bits and I imagine that often it is our small habits that direct our big financial achievements in the end!).

Often we can’t do anything about the big stuff. But we can do something about the small. I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll find looking back that the smaller things actually count for a whole lot more than we realise. My parents read to me every night as a child. That probably seemed like a small (and frequently boring for them!) routine to follow, but that formed the foundation for my high literacy level and interest in the written word. It had big results. They also prayed with me every night. I still do every single night before bed. Even when I’m almost falling asleep over the words. I always have my little conversation with God. It usually starts, “Thank you for today…” Now I’m teaching Munchkin the same. I’m hoping that this small routine thing we do will provide him with a safe haven and strong foundation as he grows, a place to pin his hopes and aspirations, release his day, and prepare for sleep.

We save $5 or $10 a month on our washing powder. That’s not much when you have goals requiring $200,000-300,000 in capital (I want to own an Early Childhood Centre one day and that’s about the deposit we’ll need!!!). But over ten years, we will save $600-1,200 just by doing that one small thing. Combine it with other small things and we might be surprised at how big a deposit we actually can save. If we can be bothered. If we realise how significant the small things can be and don’t discount them as trivial or insignificant.

Sometimes, doing what we can takes every ounce of will power we possess. When we’re tired and really don’t want to be bothered, when it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference, when really we just want to be magically whisked a million miles to reach our dream in one gigantic leap, painlessly and quickly. That’s when doing what you can is hardest. But what if that really happened? What if the big stuff we wanted just happened without our having to do anything about it? Would we really appreciate it? Would we value it? Just wondering. I think that doing what we can is easiest when it’s routine, when it’s a whole bunch of little things simply built into our daily lives. That’s how I find it, at any rate. You don’t have to think about it. You just do it. That $10 a week automatically gets transferred into your (untouchable!) savings. You use a smaller scoop for your laundry powder. You automatically go to choose the bedtime story on your way to the bedroom. That’s when doing what you can becomes easier. Not always easy, but easier. And worth it. Surely, it will be worth it, helping us reach these big dreams we have. Or even if it doesn’t, helping us enjoy the life we now live regardless of where we end up.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mmmmm Yum

The air is filled with the smell of spices!

(I am making plum sauce.)


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Things We Do

Have you ever thought about how many things we do for our kids because we loved, or hated something ourselves as a child?

My mum let us have a lot of pets. She was never allowed them you see. We had guinea pigs, snails, fish, mice, cockatiels, canaries, dogs, and more.

I now own a drill.  My dad taught me how to use one.  He is a fix-it man.  I am now the fix-it woman in my household, though not nearly as skilled as my dad!

A friend of mine bought her son a playhouse. She always wanted one as a child.

Another friend loves giving her child soft toys. She had many as a child.

My son has snails because I did (and loved them).

He now has monarch caterpillars too. Rescued from a small bush that managed to grow in the concrete in front of our garage door. Five caterpillars. Now we have to find regular food for them, either swan plant leaves from an unsuspecting bush, or some pieces of pumpkin if leaves are not forthcoming. I loved watching our caterpillars turn into chrysalis as a child (*caterpillars were supplied leaves from over our fence – bravely picked by Boyo standing on a chair, and we have since seen four of them become butterflies – the first chrysalis we suspect was too small and didn’t make it).

Munchkin has a small wooden table because my best friend had one, and we loved getting to have our ‘special dinner’ at our own table when we visited, while the grown ups sat at the big table (probably also enjoying their special dinner away from the kids!).

When I go to the beach, I expect (most of the time) to be there for hours.  Because that is what you DO at the beach, people!  From my earliest memories, we'd spend hours and hours at the beach.  Exploring rockpools, digging in sand, swimming, sitting with a good book, eating (somewhat sandy) sandwiches, going for long walks and collecting shells (the annoyance of my husband's beach life these days as once I put my head down and start shell-hunting I am very hard to disuade!).

My son has stripy sheets.

Two sets. I bought them on sale. I thought they looked cool, they’d match his duvet covers ok, and they were good value. It wasn’t until later, once they were washed and on his bed, that I remembered that I’d had striped sheets as a kid. There were two sets. One was blue, white and red striped I think. The other might have had blue spots on white? My brother and I fought over them, I seem to recall. I was disappointed when I had to have plain sheets because the striped ones were in the wash. It was sad when they were worn out and we were considered old enough to have outgrown the need for striped sheets. Without even realising it, I bought my son the kind of sheets I loved as a child, and I do so hope he will love them the way I did!

Isn’t it funny how our likes and dislikes as parents play such a big role in the lives our children lead? And how often that is so unconsciously done?

What have you deliberately gone and done for your kids because you liked it as a child?


2013 Goals

After reading Elizabeth’s post about her ‘Little Things’ goals for this year, I realised I’ve not really put my 2013 goals on paper. I usually have a huge list of goals before I start each year – often rolled over from the preceding one (grin) but this year they have been somewhat incomplete. I am inspired by Elizabeth though, so here are my goals in brief…

Goals for 2013

The Big Issues:

Maintain existing friendships with current four closest friends locally, one official and one unofficial mentor. Same for relationships with family and two closest friends out of town (including Boyo and Munchkin).

Survive study – that means pass, and do so in a sane mind without sacrificing the rest of my life for it!
To help:

Play piano (once a week?)

Cuddle guinea pigs (once a day)

Have a “Sabbath” once every week – that means NO STUDY one day a week (this is much harder than it might sound when trying to study around a young child).

Do cover up blanket including some crocheted strips (to learn to do more crochet in the hopes of one day completing a whole crochet blanket – I’ve had the wool for it for about 7 years!!!)

Finish Munchkin’s cardigan and maybe knit another (to embed the skills, though I’m wondering why I want to when pearl knitting makes my hand rather sore)

Things I’m really hoping for (but not expecting – most require more income than we are expecting, but hey, I might be surprised!):

Boyo having a good job in Civil and our income stay at the level it is (rather than dropping)

Being able to go to Waikane for a week’s holiday and also visit my two out-of-town childhood friends

Go camping overnight two times this year as a family (local, doesn’t cost much at all, it is more finding the time)

Visit family in Tokoroa and Auckland (and stay a few days for both)

Take Munchkin on his first annual trip to the snow (Boyo LOVES snow and wants to go every year but we haven’t managed recently)

Do another overnight tramp with my dad (loved the one we did last year!)

Do some public speaking

Host a few events (birthday party, fundraiser, etc)

The little things:

A clear dining table (preferably with flowers on it – but without spending much money at all on them)

A clean house (vacuum and bathroom every week, keep on top of mould and dust – hahaha)

Keep eating from our vege garden continue improving our diet

Write to our sponsored kids regularly (at least every three months!)

Regularly have down-time with God (still got to work out when – I need a set time each day for this to work well for me, but it can be as little as ten minutes)

Finish family photo frames off (extended family, half done, some more frames and photos needed)

Get a basket for toilet rolls in our loo room (been trying to find what I want for a few months already)

Have some long sleeved, light tops made for me before next summer so I can keep my arms out of the sun

Get Munchkin some letter/number somethings (magnets, poster, or make some letter cards?) as he’s just started recognising a few letters (much to our great delight and surprise as we haven’t really been exposing him to much

The immediate things (before study if at all possible):

Update all our life insurance

Apply for two scholarships

Finish sewing projects (2 skirts and some mending of dresses in particular)

Set goals for Share, the ministry I’ve launched at my church (to do this I first have to contact participants to get feedback)

Get Munchkin’s WINZ childcare subsidy finalised (but I have to wait on the preschool he’s attending to get their licensing number before WINZ will process it as they are still

busily building the preschool – praying they do open on Feb4 as that is my first day of study!).

Finalise my student loan contract (I am on scholarship but still have to do a loan each year which my scholarship then pays off)

File all our child sponsor letters in their own files (recently purchased for the task when I realised we have at least three years worth of letters sitting loose in our filing tray!).

Make plum sauce with the free plums from our neighbour’s tree (which I climbed yesterday to pick while Munchkin watched on)

Get our stroller FIXED

And I think I shall stop there before I work myself into a ‘got to get it done’ frenzy. It is time for a rest. I need one. We’ve been out getting our car’s Warrant of Fitness done which means a morning spent walking round town doing errands and visiting the library before we could pick up the car from the mechanics. Incidentally, Munchkin loved going to the mechanics. And the library. And having sushi. And seeing several cherry pickers on a building site and two fire engines with sirens blaring. Mummy is just glad to be home!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Snippets

Hi folks,
I hope you have all had a pleasant week.
Our week has been a nice one.  Lots of small things accomplished, many more still on the go. 
We were very happy this past week to return to some 'normal' routines.  Well, Munchkin and Mummy were at any rate.  Daddy wasn't so keen on going back to 55hr working weeks, although he's coped fine.  Grin.

This week:

I loaded Google Chrome onto my computer.  Just have to get it set up on my desktop so I don't keep using Internet Explorer and wondering why I still can't upload photos in Blogger!  Duh. (Just had to save and change internet browsers now!).

Munchkin did some jumping!  He loves jumping, and is allowed to take the couch swabs off to use as ramps for his cars, or in this case, cushioning for lots of jumping.  Boyo caught the moment on camera!

Watched our chrysallis' become butterflies.  Well, we missed them hatching out, but did see a couple as they warmed themselves up for their first flight.  Beautiful.  I just love how they change colour inside and you can see the butterfly patterns.

I made Munchkin some new rice.  His old coloured rice has been very well-used and broken so I decided it was time for some new stuff.  I make it by adding food colouring to basic rice,  mixing it in, then drying the rice out in the oven (around 100degrees for an hour).  We pop it into an old baking tray on a plastic mat, and Munchkin has hours and hours of entertainment.  It comes from a Montesori idea related to pouring and measuring, but Munchkin currently uses it mostly for cars, trucks and digging.  Fine by me!  It gets stored in a jar in the cupboard when not in use.  And vacuumed up every week (yup, it does always seem to manage to escape the plastic mat, even though he's really very good at trying to keep it in the tray!).

Munchkin and I went to Tiny Boppers at the Mount Park on Wednesday.  We used to go every week when he was little, but haven't managed to lately (it's usually at Chipmunks).  We still sing a lot of the songs and do the actions at home, but he doesn't actually like the noise and large group of people so I haven't worried about it lately, seeing as we are often seeing good friends then instead.  But this time we went, and Mummy tried to dance while Munchy did the 'I'm a monkey clinging to my mummy's legs' act.  Then we played at the park and ate under the trees.

Went to Te Puna Quarry Park with some friends on Thursday. Munchkin (and the other two kids) loved the slide! We wandered around, saw lots of pretty flowers and mosaics, and had our lunch under a nice shady tree (it was a HOT day here). Munchkin climbed some rocks, dawdled behind everyone else (inspecting bugs and stones, etc) and generally had a good time. I really like hanging out with these two antenatal friends so it certainly wasn't a trial for me!

Collected eggs and fed chickens every day.  In the heat of the afternoon.  Ugh.  Had the car a fair bit which was much appreciated.  Definitely got too much sun, even though I slapped that sunscreen on and tried to keep out of the heat this week.  I'm very glad that I am back to doing the chooks just a few times next week.  I picked three babaco for us and two for my parents (top left) and there's heaps more on their trees.  Now I just need to get around to peeling, cutting and cooking before they get too ripe (which will probably be tomorrow!).
I started my first kombucha and milk kefir.  Both fermented foods, kombucha is a very healthy drink seen here starting it's several week brew...I made a quick cover with beads and cheesecloth (top right).
We got Munchkin a paddling pool.  Munchkin and I did a major errand running day on Tuesday.  This was one of the errands (among many!).  I blew it up on Friday.  It took ages.  I do not appreciate paddling pools with tricky valves!
I've done a lot more knitting of Munchkin's cardigan.  Just trying to finish the sleeves.  Seen here with the tent we made in the background, and Honey Bear half undressed before Munchkin decided he'd go off and do something else.

Munchkin and I went swimming at the beach.  I have no proof though, other than coming home with wet togs.  This is the first time I've swam in the ocean in AGES.  Like, years and years.  In Townsville I feel I really did have very valid reason (several in fact: tiger sharks, crocodiles, box jellyfish, and more!!!).  But here, it's more a slight personal phobia regarding things touching my toes.  I couldn't find my 'beach' shoes either (I might have thrown them out - bother!) so I was VERY brave and got into the water at Pilot Bay in bare feet.  Munchkin and I had a lovely time.  Boyo was home sleeping (we arrived at the beach just before 9am Saturday morning, having already been up three hours - and the carparks were already filling up - I'm so glad we didn't go later as I'd have got way too hot and sunburnt!).  We played in the sand, then jumped and splashed and kicked around in the water.  We will have to do that again soon.  The weather is warm enough at the moment, for even this cold freak to enjoy it!

I finished two of my skirts!  Finally!  A major accomplishment, and I am very proud of myself.  It took a lot longer to do the elastic than I'd thought, but I finished last night and am proudly wearing one today.  The photo collage was our somewhat unsuccessful attempt at me posing for the camera!  You can also see my two new sunhats, bought yesterday.  I've been going without a lot this summer as my sunhat is too tight and I'm prone to some nasty headaches, so I finally got to a good hat shop and scooped these two kids ones up for $10 each. Yay, now I even have a spare!  They are both quite large on top, but have a tie just over the ears built into the hat so I can tighten in wind if needed.  A great solution. 

Back to the skirts, I just have to show them to you again!  Grin.  They are really comfortable to wear and look nice and 'girly' without me having to worry too much about looking after them.  Very happy to finally have something that works well for me after countless clothing purchases that don't.  And pleased to have made something that really is 'one-of-a-kind.'

So that was our week in brief.  What have you been up to?

Linking to Sunday Snippets.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Three Weeks

I just realised I have a little over three weeks left before I start study!


If my blog posts become one-liners, you will understand, won't you?

I've got this list of things to get done.  Most of which, I suspect, are going to remain un-done.  But hopefully I will at least feel ready.  Hmm.  Maybe ready-ish is a more realistic hope?

I bought a nice, big wall planner today.  One of those laminated year-long calendars that you can use a whiteboard marker to write important (assignment) dates on.  Now to figure out where to put it.  Do I want my lounge to be a study zone?  Or shall I go for something a little less intrusive?  I nearly bought a smaller one, but I figured there wasn't enough room to write stuff on it for me, let alone if Boyo studies this year too.  I never worried about a wall planner in previous years, relying instead on my Outlook calendar, diary and a lined refill with a week to each page instead.  But this year, I figure I might try the wall calendar option.  Being a planner, I will probably like (and hate) having a visual overview of my whole year.  Oh, and I just realised I can also put other major events on it (like my nephew's first birthday, or my ministry big events and newsletter dates).  Could be interesting.

Better go and gather some skirt fabric or I might never wear them!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Getting Ahead of Myself?

You all know I am a planner.  You didn't know that?  Ah, well.  You should.

I am a major planner.  Planning is how I survive.  I am good at it.  It helps me feel calmer.  So I plan.

But sometimes, I go overboard.  Like trying to make the birthday cards for the next six months.  That might be a bit much, Amy.  But then again, I've done it before.  The main issue is when I forget that I made someone a card, so I go and make them another one then later find the original.  Duh!  This has happened before.  At least twice.  But both times it was a September birthday.  So I'm learning from my past mistakes and am only doing till June.  Mid-year break.  I figure I can make some more then.  I have a little stash started, but of course I keep adding to my 'to do' list as I remember more cards I want for the year ahead!

Various birthday and thank you cards.  The top right is thanking my  dad for helping fix paint on our car  (I painted the car, Munchkin coloured), and the bottom left for friends lending us their amazing train set (another combined creation by Mummy and Munchy).
It does suit me, doing cards this way.  I get in the 'groove' of card creation and can churn out a dozen or so before I've had enough (we just hope that dinner wasn't due before then!).  Then when I need a card, I don't have to haul out my (slightly disorganised, crammed into a shelf of the cupboard) stash of materials to make a single card while trying to stop Munchkin getting into anything.

Cards are not the only thing I have been planning ahead lately.

I've been busily working on our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for next year.  This because I am not only a planner, but a budgeter (it's just another form of planning really, isn't it?).   And  I know that I can get WAY better prices for many things just now than I will ever be able to score later in the year.  Like flannels (facecloths for the non-Kiwis!) at $1 or $1.50 each (Briscoes, half price), toothbrushes at $1 each (PakNSave on special), and the soaps I got a month or so ago (really, really early!  New World I think, 50c each).  And then yesterday, I happened to see some little plastic soap boxes for just 20c each at Payless Plastics!  SCORE!  The kids that receive these shoeboxes often own no other personal items, and live in a home without any form of storage.  So having little containers or bags for their belongings could be just as precious to them as the gift it contains.  I must admit, I didn't actually see the big box full of soap containers.  Munchkin did.  He thought they looked cool.  Mummy decided he was right!

Then there's my stationery stash.  Some for shoeboxes.  Some for us.  For us: a pair of sizzors, rolls of sellotape, and two drawing books for Munchkin, plus study material for Boyo and I.  Nothing flash, but necessary none the less.  I need to go back and get a few ring binders.  Forgot those, ugh.

So if you need any stationery for the year ahead, now is the time.  BIG, BIG, BIG savings at Warehouse Stationery.  Like, 10c notebooks, 29c writing books, 33c pencils...this stash (8 rulers, 8 erasers, 8 metal pencil sharpeners, 8 maths lined books, 8 writing books, 8 notebooks, 24 pencils) cost me just shy of $30.  I saved that same amount again.  They are sitting here in front of two of our shoeboxes.  We actually forgot to wrap on Christmas Day!  Blame me having a cold and family visiting for the day...we did it later in the week.

What plans do you have underfoot for this year?  Are you a planner by nature or necessity?


All Wrapped Up

Well, Christmas is well and truly done and dusted.
The Christmas decorations have been carefully bubble wrapped and packed away in their box in the garage to wait for next time.
The piano has returned to it's usual state (the normal ornaments and photos had to move while Christmas took our attention).

All we are left with are the memories.

Haha, I do sound a little corny.  But still, it's true.  I often find myself taking photos for the memories.  Photos in many ways ARE my memories. 

So here are some memories for you of our Christmas season past:
Like my Christmas Tree decoration?  A tea strainer (gift from my brother's wedding).  I think it makes such a beautiful decoration, and I think of them whenever I see it.
This is a bangle.  I just love the colours!  I don't wear bangles.  They just fall off, so a decoration is a great alternative!

Munchkin: "Star goes up here!"  Then everything else is supposed to hang on the star, don't you know?!
The piano was taken over by Christmas as the only reasonably high, available surface.  Munchkin decorated his own tree down on the floor.  Sometimes with his baubles, sometimes with his cars!
Thought we would get in early on the Operation Christmas Child shoe-box wrapper training.  Well, actually this was a spare and he needed something to do so the glue, paper and stickers came out!.
My copycat (bottom) of my brother and sister-in-law's idea (top).

CAKE!  Full of fruit and chocolate.  Mmmmmmm.  Super duper easy to make.  Only ever made at  Christmas because it is pricey and rather rich, what a delicious treat.

Christmas stockings.  My family tradition is mostly small  food treats - a drink, dried fruit  and lollies, maybe a small toy  or a magazine for those past toys.  We just did the nibbles this year.  My childhood stocking (made by Mum) on the right,  one given to us that has now become Boyo's in the middle, and Munchkin's new stocking on the left.
Yummy!  We used to get these mushrooms in our stockings, so how could I resist getting them for Munchkin?

I hope you made many happy memories this Christmas season.