Friday, 26 October 2012

Shabby Chic jars... eating a frog and the curious case of tortilla addiction.

OK so it's a weird post title, but I have a lot to talk about today and the varied subjects mean my post title has to be, well, varied.

In my last post I mentioned blackboard stickers - well, they are my latest love. Yes I said that, sad but true, they just make our cupboards look so much better. Rather than packs of things lopsided full of overspilling things, we can use jars that may not look the same, but having the stickers on there and the text the same can combine it all and make it look as if you did it all on purpose (rather than just reusing mix and match jars to ssave some cash).
I happened to see some great jars in the £0.99p store, so spent £6, plus bought chalkboard sticker sheet on ebay (A4 size, you can cut your own that way). I also got some cute chalk PENS, who knew you could get those? SO much better than normal chalk and very pretty colours. Anyway, for £10 I now have lots of labels, pretty storage and could even use the chalk stickers for menu planning, gifts at Christmas, in the nursery for toy boxes and much more, so well worth the purchase. As to the storage jars, what do you think of the finished project below?

As to eating a frog? Well I have been reading the very popular blog e-book called One Bite At a Time, highly recommend it as it's really helped me work through productivity areas - buy it here.
Anyway, one example is that it mentions that on your daily to do list you would have the Frog (your most hated to do item) on the list first. Eat that first and your day can only improve. It has made me look at my to do list differently - just get the thing out of the way first thing and the weight is off your shoulders, great idea. Plus the other 51 ideas in the book are great too, some stuff you will do already but other stuff it will just inspire you no end.

Ok so my last mention has to be my newfound use for tortilla wraps. I mean, they are sooo versatile. I heated a saucepan, put a wrap in, spread cream cheese on half, graded apple and sprinkled cinnamon on with some banana slices, folded it over, toasted the other side and hey presto, a great deliciously melted sweet snack that has no added sugar! My son loved it and I did too. We then did a savoury version filled with some left over omelette and grated courgette and spices - not the best pic but you get the idea!

Experimenting gives great results - grated cheese, ham and sliced cooked egg could be a 'breakfast wrap', plus grated pear, cream cheese and cinnamon worked well too. They last well in the fridge and if you use cheese inside it tends to act as 'glue' to keep the contents inside. My son loves slices of the tortilla that he can hold and eat himself - victory all round!
They're great in freezer bags in the fridge, sliced in half to grab and go.

Have a great weekend and please do comment and share ideas!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Evernote for mums - how I use it!

As you all know I recently started using this free software, it links your phone, pc etc all in the cloud and means your data is always available, plus you get to be more paperless. Now, I'm a stationery lover - love my moleskine and throught Evernote wouldn't be for me.
It so is and I had it on my phone for ages and ignored it.

Anyway as a mum here are some of the main ways I use it:

To keep hold of all the bills in one place. If I want to overpay the mortgage when my son is having his 16 minute or less may-wake-up-anytime nap (!), all I do is type 'mortgage' into Evernote, up comes the account number, number and balance - I then just need to make the call.

To keen an Important Stuff file. Yes the one that family would need if anything happened to us. Birth certificates, wills, passports, drivers licences are all in there. We then just share the folder with key members of the family and relax, knowing they have what is needed if the worst were to happen. By the way this idea was from the 52 bites ebook I mentioned recently, already that $5 has paid for itself.

To write blog ideas and save links to sites etc - all in one spot, no more cluttered bookmark list because I can have a 'blog' notebook and simply search for things and they come up in seconds.

My FAVE use for this is definitely the Shopping List. How many times either of us has forgotten what we needed even with a list, or tried to call the other person from the shop but had no signal. Now we have the list on there and both log into it to add anything we need. Sorted!

I also love it for a reading list, as well as music or movies I want to add to my LoveFilm rental list. I have an Entertainment note for all these 3 items to keep them in one place.

Christmas is a great one, already I have a present list and several recipes in my Christmas notebook, then transferred some of the recipe items to my shopping list note. Nigella kept harping on about Pedro Ximenez sherry for dessert making, so I finally got some last week and OMG seriously she's right - it's nothing like sherry I have ever had, it won't last til Christmas! Were it not for my Evernote shopping list I wouldn't have gotten round to buying it I am sure.

The most used daily thing I use it for is my To Do List and my Baby events list - I simply tag events by day of the week (baby swimming would be tagged Monday, weds and Friday for example, Toddler Group Friday etc), so if I have some time on a Monday and don't know what's on that day, all I need to to is click the Monday tag and I will see several local events that recurr on Mondays and I can choose what we'll do that way. Combined with Google calendar to remind me of things this works a treat.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Shabby Chic Kitchen progresses... slowly!

OK, many of you may remember we got a pretty nasty kitchen when we moved in - I mean, it had blood red walls, dark dark units, and horrible CARPETED floor. Some older people had lived here and Eugh, carpeted floor, it still gets me. It had to change. So we did some basic work - I painted the units cream, replaced the handles, we changed the floor to a lighter colour and we painted it a sage green colour.

Apparently green enhances the appetite so I thought it would be ideal to have th the kitchen. Plus as a north facing room, it needs all the light it can get (blood red people, seriously??! Retirement has a lot to answer for).

Anyway with the baby we've had little chance to move forward on it any further, so I thought hey, let me do it one tiny thing at a time. So, my next few blogs I hope will inspire you to do small things, even if you haven't got a lot of time.

I focused on one drawer in the kitchen, in terms of how messy it looks inside, and making it more glam...

This is the before image:

And here is the after - not the best image but you get the idea (ie: it's clean, tidy and prettier!):
I do have more than one teaspoon by the way... You may not notice but the pattern on the oilcloth is of some cutlery, which I thought would be really cute for a kitchen drawer. The background colour is sage green which is perfect. I got this oilcloth from a shop called Dunhelm Mill, they have a lovely selection of them and this one was perfect, half a metre will do all my drawers plus I plan to use the excess to make some envelopes to use with the Dave Ramsey Cash Envelope System, but more on that later.
Anyway as you can see from the before and after, I decluttered, got rid of the ugly cutlery tray holder thingy and found this one at a local charity shop for £0.50p. So all in all I think for around £1.50 I did this one drawer make-over. A small start you may think, but it made me feel great, and inspires me to do more.
My next project is some stick on blackboard stickers, which I am using for storage jars with fab results and will show you how easy it is to organise the kitchen with those in my next blog. Definitely adds to the shabby chic look and the bonus is I can wipe off the text any time I like!
Hope you are all having lovely weekends, enjoy the sunshine out there - we went for a lovely early morning walk and the fresh air was amazing.