The more you read, the more you know

Did you know that this year is the National Year of Reading?  Well now you have no excuse.  I have been on my soapbox a lot this past year about just how important reading is for children.  It is not just about reading TO your children.  Let your child explore books from the moment their born, in their own way.  Upside down, back to front, touching, eating, enjoying books! You may not realise but they are always learning.  This is how I often find Little Miss A….

In her cubby with a book!

Melts my heart EVERY time!

Ok so that wasn’t really wordless! 

My Little Drummer Boys

Lunchbox Plans

We are only on Week Two of lunches and I am already running out of ideas!  Especially when it comes to calcium!  I would love your suggestions for calcium filled lunch box ideas that are not yoghurt!!!

Here is this weeks plan

You can download it HERE 

So what have you got?  Want to trade lunches?

Project Life – ‘Pin’spiration

As the end of January approaches it is time for me to get started on our 2012 “Project Life” album.  That’s right it is only January and I am already behind!  This rainy weather definitely helps with the motivation to get started!  So today my “Pinspiration” is all about “Project Life”!!!

 A goregous yellow layout to get me started!  Love the fabric swatches!

Some colourful “positive” quotes to print off and have ready for a rainy day!

I had no idea that there were so many journaling cards on the web that you can print at home!

Words can not express how much I LOVE this idea!  Storing random receipts so one day we can look back and put the current ridiculous price of groceries in perspective!  Could meat really get any more expensive?

These word cut outs are such a great idea and really motivating me to literally get outside my little white box this year and add some embellishments to our album!

Ok so that one’s not from Pinterest!  It’s our Great Wall of IKEA!  But can you spy our Project Life albums?  Can you guess what colour we went with?

So are you a “Project Lifer”?

Or do you have no idea what I am talking about?

In the coming weeks I hope to explain it all to the newbies!

Linking up with my Sunday FAVOURITES! 

Tina Gray {dot} Me

 and

 

January Organising Challenge ~ Part 2 ~ Inspiration

 During the week I wrote about IDENTIFYING a space in your home that needed some organisation and love.  In particular that little place that your sheets and towels call home! That my friends is the easy part!  Now, with your brave hat on, have a really good look at the area and….. IDENTIFY what is the problem? That’s right I forgot to tell you that Step 1 has 2 parts to it!

Does it just need tidying?  

Is it over full and you are in need of more space?

 Is it a disaster zone that hasn’t been touched in years that needs sorting, culling AND reorganising?

For me my linen and towel cupboards  have three problems;

1.  It just looks generally messy as nothing has been folded properly or organised into piles. (FOLDING/SORTING)

2. It starts off looking ok but quickly disolves into a mess as I am never sure which size sheets are which (LABELLING)

3. The kids towels get a bit crazy as they get into them and just grab from the too high pile spilling the rest of them all over the floor! (SORTING and SYSTEMS)

Now that I have IDENTIFIED the problems, I can start thinking about some possible solutions.  The most common problems are;

Space. Do you really NEED everything that is in the cupboard?  Could some towels and sheets be relegated to the bin pile?  Does everything have to be in this cupboard?  Maybe there are some items that could find a home elsewhere?

Folding/Sorting. If you only do one thing, sort.  Well actually sort and fold.  Put like items together.  Fold them so they are a similar shape and size so they look neat and tidy.  This little tidy makes all the difference to your space.

Storage.  Although folding and sorting helps sometimes there is just soo much stuff that you need the assistance of baskets, dividers or containers to keep everything in it’s place.  Storage could also mean storing rarely used items like winter bedding into containers and moving them to another location like an attic, ceiling cavity or garage.

Labelling.  If your cupboard starts off tidy but never lasts that way maybe you need labels.  Label the shleves, baskets anything to help your sheets return to their right space and find that items you are looking for without going through everything!

Systems.  There is no method to the madness!  You need to establish some systems when it comes to the space.  For me it is separating the towels so that adults and children’s towels are in different places.  I am also going to move the children’s towels and washers to a lower space where they can grab them easily without rummaging through the whole pile!

Now that I have thought about all of that I need some INSPIRATION!  My favourite part!

Step 2. Inspiration.

I use Pinterest to search for solutions to my organising problems.  I simply type in problem in the search engine and reveal a wealth of images that may help solve my problem!

Labels.  I love that these labels look so much nicer than the ones I make with the labelmaker!  Oh and how neat are those dividers between the towels!

How to fold towels so that they are neat and tidy!  This is just too clever!

You have to check out this easy way to fold fitted sheets so that they are neat and tidy!

This is a brilliant way to store sheets so they all stay grouped together!

For these and many more clever organising ideas check out my PINTEREST boards.

With the problem identified and some inpsirational solutions on hand….it’s time to get to work!

What are your problems with sheets and towels?

Tina Gray {dot} Me

 and

 

Organising Challenge ~ Straighten the sheets and Tidy the towels

It is with much excitiement that I introduce the

“My Pigeon Pair” Organising Challenge!

 Towards the end of last year, I decided that this year, would be the year we created a HOME.  We have a beautiful house but it is lacking warmth, decor and ORGANISATION!  So I set myself a challenge.  Room by room, month by month I WILL MAKE OUR HOUSE A HOME.  

Unfortunatly even the best laid plans get sidetracked and it is practically the end of January and not much progress has been made!  But now with such overwhelming support of the “My Pigeon Pair” flock it is time to start!  It was so nice to know (via our Facebook Page) how many other poeple are hoping to organise their lives too! We are all in this together! So here it is……

The Challenge for January –

“Straighten the Sheets and Tidy the Towels”  

This challenge is completely personal!  You take it on to whatever degree you want!  A little tidy up or a whole cull, organise and style!  Think about…..

  • The Linen Cupboard
  • Tablecloths and Placemats
  • Bath and Beach Towels
  • Tea Towels
  • Sheets
So like all challenges and projects I have taken on it’s all about the steps.  You can’t do it all at once. So……
 
STEP 1. Identify.  What needs to be changed?  Are one of these areas bugging you? Identify what you are going to tackle.  Now take a before pic to use as motivation!  Even better take a pic and post it on the “My Pigeon Pair” Facebook Page.  There is nothing like putting it all out there for everyone to see to make sure you start the job AND finish it!  
 
To ensure you get the job done you need to set a time limit.  So Step 1 needs to be done by Saturday.  That’s right two days to start the process!  Schedule some time in your diary for the weekend to start on the hard part! 
 
STEP 2. ……Well I can’t tell you all the steps now or that would spoil the fun (and overwhelm you!)  That part will be here on Saturday!
So will you join me on this room by room journey?

Lunch Box Love

 Due to popular demand (I have always wanted to write that!) here are the download links for the lunchbox plans!  

The first link is for a blank lunch box plan.  It includes the four columns to help you create a balanced lunch box.  

Weekly Lunch Box Plan – BLANK 

Just CLICK, DOWNLOAD AND PRINT!  

If you wanted to save on printing…..laminate the blank plan and write on it each week with a whiteboard marker!

The second link is for a weekly plan is one that I have filled in.  

Weekly Lunch Box Plan – With MENU

Once again just, Just CLICK (the link above), DOWNLOAD AND PRINT!

These are my tips for planning healthy and easy lunches for school or Kindy.

1. Think about using leftovers in the lunchbox!

2. Think outside the box!  Ham, cheese, fruit and vegetables can all be cut into shapes using cookie cutters or put on food picks to make it more exciting!

3. Less is more!  Kids do not need a lunch box that is overflowing!  You will just be disapointed with what comes back home.  Think realistically about how much they eat at home and pack a similar amount!

 4. Variety is the key!  If you have children who are creatures of habit (like mine) it is hard to change their lunch!  But just add one new thing each week and you might just find their palate increasing!

5. Do not pack foods that require heating, cutting or are overly messy to eat.  It is important that the food is suitable to the age of your child and that they can eat it by themselves!

There are so many great resources out in the blogosphere providing many ideas and inspirational recipes.  I warn you now this Bento Browsing is addictive!

For ideas and Bento supplies – www.lunchboxeswithlove.com/ 

The one blog YOU CAN NOT MISS – http://www.bentolunch.net/

Gorgeous Kids Bento – http://happylittlebento.blogspot.com

For peanut free Bento – http://keeleymcguire.blogspot.com

Ok so now I have a lot of Bento links!- http://lunchinabox.net/

General Lunch box Recipes – www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/lunch+box+ideas

School Lunches. The Good, The Bad and The Plan!

It feels like I am always on the hunt for something!  This weekend I was swooping on some clever Bento lunch ideas.  Boy did I find a treasure trove of ideas!  Amongst them was a guide as to what consists of a healthy lunch.  

- Insert soap box here! – If you don’t want to read my rant feel free to turn away now!

As a teacher I have directly been involved in the consequences of a child not eating a healthy lunch (or breakfast).  They can become hyperactive on a sugar high only to crash and be irritable, tired and struggling to concentrate.  But it’s not just about sugar.  It’s preservatives, additives, colours, flavours  and all those numbers!  It is easy to fill a lunch box with a handful of prepackaged  snacks and a sandwich with spread.  But easy for who?  Not easy for your child’s body and brain, not easy for their teacher, not easy for the environment and not easy for your finances!

I am not a health freak, my kids have eaten McDonald’s on way too many occasions, have had everything that comes in a chocolate variety and eaten more than their fair share of sweets.  But I draw the line at sending a lunch box full of prepackaged food to school.  

So with that in mind this year I am going to try something new when thinking about school lunches.  

  • Where possible I am going to make Bento style lunch boxes (minus the creativity!)
  • I will plan to have a variety of grains, protein, calcium and fruit and veggies in every lunchbox
  • Once a week a sweet treat
  • Once a week a juice or milk drink
  • I will not use glad wrap!
  • I will buy in bulk and separate in to my own smaller containers instead of buying little packets of things.
  • I will be organised!
With all that in mind I have made a new lunchbox planner to go with my meal plan!
 

Here is a peek  

 In the right hand column I am going to write the date and any other information such as special day at school, events, anything to take into consideration.  The rest of the form is then divided into 4 columns for each type of food group.  This way I am sure that I don’t leave anything out!  This year will be the first time I have 5 days of child lunches to plan and 2 days of adult lunches! It is great being able to see all the lunches for the week!

What do you think?  

Have you planned lunch boxes before?  Would you like a downloadable blank plan to fill out? 

Share the love, leave me a comment! 

Linking up with

The Organised Housewife

Bringing Back The Bento

No glad wrap, nut free, packaging free, no junk food.  The Kindy Lunch box rules were strict and enforced, with this naughty Mummy getting a note sent home in the first week of Kindy for not following the rules (I sent a home made muffin that broke the no sweets rule!)  At first it drove me crazy but I  now admit (very quietly) that a year of preparing healthy, environmentally friendly lunches has set up great habits for Master O and Mummy!  We went a whole year without using a single piece of glad wrap, alfoil or snap lock bag.  A year without a pre packaged biscuit, muesli bar or chip.  A year without peanut butter, jam or Nutella on a sandwich.  How?  It’s all about the Bento.  

Traditionally Bento is a Japanese cuisine that refers to food packed in a box of “Convenience”  More recently in the world of Mummy made lunch boxes Bento is snack sized food arranged in a box cut, pushed and drawn on to make clever little novelty lunches!  Our lunches were no where near as creative these Mummy’s lunches!

The novelty of Bento is a great way of getting fussy eaters to eat healthy food!  So here’s to another year of healthy, environmentally friendly lunches, the Bento way!

Check out these and many more clever ideas on my Pinterest boards.

Linking up with 

Tina Gray {dot} Me

 and

 

Love it? Label it or Loose it!

Boy could I go on and on about my never ending search for the perfect labels!  Even before I had children I was a label addict and purchased my own name labels for all my books!  Teachers beware nothing was going missing from my stash!

Ok so here is where I admit that as soon as Master O was born, and that I knew he was a boy and he had been given a name I ordered his own name labels!!!

More about label companies next week, today I want to show you how easy it is to make your very own book labels!!!

Step 1. Search pinterest, google, or even desing your own using clip art and text boxes in word.

Step 2. Print them onto A4 sized label paper.  You can buy this from office works for about $25 a box.  You can usually fit up to 8 lables a page!

Label your books!  It really is that easy!  Flash back time!  This time last year (before anybody read this blog!) I wrote about book labels!  So for all the newby followers here it is!  

I LOVE BOOKS.  Especially children’s books.  I love receiving them, I love giving them. I love sharing them with my kids and them sharing them with me!  So now that it’s the weekend thats what I intend to do!  Fingers crossed it will be a rainy Saturday,  the house will be immaculate, the kids will both have a daytime sleep at the same time and I will be able to enjoy a good book and a HOT cup of coffee.  I would even settle for a magazine and a warm cup of coffee…A girl can dream can’t she…. 
Well incase my dreams don’t come true this weekend, I have a back up plan.  We have a zillion books.  Okay maybe a slight overestimation, but we have a lot!  Being a teacher I had many children’s books, before I even had children.  Since having children our collection has exploded! Now they have taken over our playroom, study, bedrooms and under the stairs.  I am not a fan of clutter but books are truly one of those things I can not bare to part with!  So I would love to sort them out a bit and….add some book plates!  I just love reading to the kids and being able to tell them who bought them the story and why.  There truly is a book in our house for every occasion!  Baptisms, Birthday’s, Starting Kindy, Getting a new sister, Breaking a leg (I did say EVERY occasion!)  In the chaos of life I sometimes forget to write inside the cover.  To make life easier (and more stylish) I am hoping to use some of these gorgeous FREE Printables!
They would be great for making a start on the Back to School books?
Or you could just add them to your own home library to make sure, that favourite book finds it way home! 
What a great way to personalise a gift!
Simply click, download and print these gorgeous designs onto a sticker sheet!  
Or glue them on the front or inside cover of your children’s books for some vintage style!
 

So if you love it, label it and it will always find it’s way home!

 

In the middle

It was a too long drive home after Christmas.  Two days in a too small car.  Two children who were too tired to have patience.  Two parents who were too exhausted from all the festivities.  But amidst the tears and tantrums when all sanity seems lost, I turn around and see this….

In the middle of the chaos two little hands reach out for each other.  Their hands are in the middle of this crazy experience together, separated only by a jumble of teddy dogs and colouring in books.  In the middle of counting kilometres and working out where the next toilet stop will be, for a brief moment we think about something else.  We stop, breathe and smile about what we find in the middle of it all.

Linking up with 

My Little Drummer Boys