Monthly Archives: January 2013

Taming Loyalty Cards in Your Wallet

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It seems like just about every store these days has a loyalty card.  You know what I am talking about….those credit card like annoyances that take up every slot in your wallet.  My wallet was so chock-a-block full of them that I rarely found the one I wanted, which meant I missed out on the points, offers or discounts they provided.

A little while back I showed you how I tamed my coffee loyalty cards in a plastic sleeve.  You can read about that here.

Taming Coffee Loyalty Cards

This has served me well with the mostly cardboard cards,  but I had not thought it suitable to apply to plastic cards.  I wanted something  that was robust, easy to flip through and access whilst I completed my transaction at the checkout but had yet to come up with a solution.

It was an amused sales clerk, watching me go through dozens of card slots looking for a particular card, that suggested I put the cards on a key ring .  What a simple, yet brilliant idea!

This morning I gave my wallet a good clean out and gathered up all my loyalty cards.  There was a lot, and that was after a massive cull!

Taming Store Loyalty Cards

I grabbed the electric drill and a small drill bit and began drilling holes through all the cards.  I leant on a piece of wood to ensure a cleanly drilled hole.  The whole process took only a few minutes. If you have a quality hole punch, it would probably do the trick too.

I threaded the cards onto a key ring that was lying around unused.  It is probably a little small, but it will do until I find a larger one.

Taming Store Loyalty Cards

Taming Store Loyalty Cards

I know this will work a treat.  No more hissy fits for me at the checkout! Nothing will slow down this little shopping buff!

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Valentine’s Day Art Gift

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Our part of the world here in Brisbane, Australia has been hit in the last few days by the wildest weather.  Luckily we escaped any major issues.  For some they have lost everything with the resulting floods, and my heart goes out to them.

Thankfully the weather fell over a long weekend to celebrate Australia Day.  It meant people could cancel non-urgent travel and spend it out of the path of the cyclonic weather.  We stayed indoors, watched movies  and thankfully completed some long-standing projects.

I was able to get very organised and complete my Valentine’s Day present for the hubby.  Today, I thought I would share it with you as it such a simple and effective Valentine’s Day project, that you too might want to make one for your other half for V-Day.

So firstly, I thought I would show you the inspiration for my artwork:

Nine Heart Vintage Map by Not on the High Street

I fell in love with this bespoke artwork by Not on the High Street.  It so beautifully records those places of significance in your relationship.  I really wanted one but because the concept was so simple, I thought I would save myself the $400 price tag and make my own.

I already had a great large square frame and hanging spot that was yet to fulfill its true destiny.  I had bought the frame from Ikea to help lighten our entrance (you can read about that post here), but I hadn’t found the right artwork to frame inside it.  Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

Really, could this project have got any easier to start?!

After some googling and some cropping, I printed 9 maps on photo paper.  Some of the places I chose for my artwork included: where we met, got married, honeymooned, traveled, bought our first home and where our children were born.

I cut these out using a heart template I printed off the net.

Valentine's Day Art

I stuck the hearts using double-sided tape to a piece of blue scrapbooking paper.  I chose this colour as it ties in nicely with the colour of the feature wall in our hallway.

Valentine's Day Art

I mounted this in the frame and voila it was ready to hang.

Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

It looks great and I really don’t want to take it down until Valentine’s Day.  I think it might just have to be an early present.

 

Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer

Organising Breakfast

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Earlier this month I wrote about my New Year’s Resolution to make my days run more smoothly.  One aspect of my day that could be chaotic was breakfast.  Unlike everyone else in the house, I am not into the whole cereal and toast caper, a pain because they are about as easy and as quick to prepare as breakfasts come.  As I am a little fussier,  it was not unusual for me to miss breakfast, eat late or to end up scoffing my breakfast while completing some overdue task.

I decided that this year I really needed to sort the whole breakfast situation out for myself.  I needed to come up with quick, easy and healthy breakfasts.  After some consideration, here are some of my favourites:

Smoothies

A little while ago I thought it might be beneficial to try a smoothie for breakfast.  I like that it is something that can be taken with me if I am running late.  It is easy to carry around the house while I complete ‘must do’ tasks and is relatively quick to make.

To make the smoothie creation process faster, I went to the farmer’s market and stocked up on lovely fresh fruit.  I got this great box of mangoes for a steal…yum!

Mango Smoothies

After cutting it all up, I popped 1/2 cup portions into little zip lock bags to pop in the freezer.  This way I always have fruit on hand, even out of season, and the frozen fruit makes my smoothies deliciously thick and cold.

Organising Breakfast: Smoothies

I often add some LSA or 1/2 a Weetbix into the blender to help bulk it up and keep me full for longer.

Fruit Salad & Greek Yoghurt

It is not uncommon for us to put together a large fruit salad on the weekend and to pick at it over the course of the next two days . It is a great weekend breakfast, especially if you plan to eat out later in the day, as  it doesn’t keep you feeling as full as other breakfast choices.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Organic Yoghurt & Homemade Muesli

Boiled eggs

On a Sunday evening I boil a bunch of eggs to keep in the fridge. If the shells aren’t cracked, they are safe to be stored 2-3 weeks. If I find I am really hungry in the morning, cutting one or two of these up and eating it on toast is a sure hunger-buster.

Keeping boiled eggs on hand is great idea.  They are a terrific snack on their own and a fantastic sandwich filler at lunchtime.  If your evening salad is looking a little ho-hum, pop some egg on top.

Pancakes

These aren’t the healthiest breakfast choice but sometimes they are just what you feel like.  There is no weekday morning when whipping up a batch of pancakes is possible for me.  So, when I make pancakes as an after dinner treat or weekend morning tea, I increase the mix and cook a few extra to freeze.  More often than not, they get consumed by the kids as a quick morning tea option, but they have proved once or twice to be a great ‘grab and go’ breakfast option for me.

To freeze your own pancakes, I suggest letting them cool completely before layering baking paper between each pancake.  I freeze these in individual potions in ziplock bags.

A little while back I found a fool-proof, easy to remember pancake recipe with just 3 ingredients.  It doesn’t add sugar and always yields amazingly fluffy pancakes.  I will share it with you soon.

Organising Breakfasts: Pancakes

So there are some quick and easy breakfast ideas that are really helping streamline my morning routine.  I’d love to hear your favourite breakfast ideas, tips, ticks and recipes.

 

 

 

 

Easy (and Tasty) Muesli Slice

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With the school year about to start Downunder, I had to share this easy and delicious muesli slice recipe a friend passed on to me last week.  It is ‘no bake’ and can be easily altered to nut-free.

Muesli Slice

  • 1 cup  desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts 
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup sesame seeds

Toast these either on a tray in a 200 degree celsius oven, or in a pan over a medium heat.  Stir frequently.

  • 125 g butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Melt these ingredients in a saucepan or in the microwave.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together.  Press into a slice tin. Refrigerate, then slice.  Store in fridge.

Easy Muesli Slice

To make this slice suitable for my son to take to his nut-free childcare centre, I replaced the peanuts with sultanas.  You could replace the nuts with any mixture of dried fruit you wish, or up the quantities of seeds.  I have used rice malt syrup instead of honey to good effect too.

I hope you give this ago. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Shared with The Organised Housewife

Creating a Smoother Day – Morning Routine

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Previously, I had written about my New Year’s Resolution to make my days run smoother.  I realised the key to success would be my morning and evening routine.  Last week I listed some of the tasks that I included in my evening routine to ensure my following day started off on the right foot.  Today, I thought I would share with you my morning tasks that ensure that the rest of the day runs smoothly for me.

  • Go for a walk – This is the first thing I do every morning.  I find I feel a lot more energised and ready to face the day after a walk

  • Drink a glass of warm lemon water – this gets the fluid intake going early in the day and the lemon aids all sorts of things such as digestion and the immune system

  • Unpack the dishwasher – as the dishwasher was run while I was sleeping, the dishes are dry and washer is then ready for dishes used throughout the day
  • Do any last lunch box preparation and packing
  • Unload the washing machine – the cycle, set on timer the night before,  finishes just as I am returning from my morning walk.  While I am happy to wash clothes, I loathe hanging them out and bringing them in.  This is hubby’s task.  Until he reliably remembers that each morning there is washing to hang up, I unload the washing machine and place the full clothes basket in the hall so he can’t miss it.

  • Make the beds

There are also things on the ‘not to do’ list as well.

  • Turn on the television 
  • Hop on the computer to check emails, Facebook etcetera
  • Be side tracked by non-urgent tasks (usually cleaning tasks).  They can wait till later.

By completing this small list of tasks, I immeasurably improve the running of the rest of  my day.  I have still left ample time in the mornings to have a play with the kids, eat breakfast, shower and dress for the day in a very civilised fashion.

Between the morning and evening tasks, things are running relatively smoothly in the Crooked Household.  Far less flying by the seat of our pants moments!

Creating a Smoother Day – Evening Routine

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Last week I wrote about my desire for my days to run a little more smoothly in 2013.

In the past, I found my days rushed or thrown into disarray because of a lack of preparation for the coming day in the previous evening’s routine.  Obviously, I needed to listen to the advice I often give my husband – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

I decided there was a few things that I needed to have ticked off the ‘to do’ list before my head hit the pillow each night.  I don’t have a set time that these things get done, as some can be started or completed if I get a spare minute or two during the day.  Most of them get completed after dinner or just before I head to bed. Take a look…

  • Wipe down & sanitise the dining room table, children’s table & children’s high chairs.  Nothing is more annoying than finding you forgot to clean up last night’s spaghetti from the high chair as your 1-year-old is desperate for breakfast.
  • Tidy kitchen – pack dishwasher, pack away appliances and wipe benches. Who wants to be greeted with a messy kitchen in the morning?
  • Fill the family’s water bottles and refrigerate.  Place lunch boxes on the bench ready to pack in the morning. Too often I would find myself running late after spending precious time trying to locate the family’s lunch boxes and drink bottles
  • Put the kids’  breakfast cereal in their bowls ready for the morning.  I found these great lidded bowls, with matching cutlery, that are perfect for breakfast cereals. I appreciate not having to wrestle with the cereal boxes early in the morning while a 4-year-old exclaims, “I’m soooo hungry!” Evening Routine
  • Pack away any stray children’s toys.  I enjoy how uncluttered the house feels when the living areas are toy-free.
  • Choose an outfit for myself  to wear tomorrow.  Iron it if needed.  Generally the kids’ clothes are ready to go for the week.  You can read about my kids’ clothes hangers here.025
  • Consult my organiser and meal planner as a ‘heads up’  for the next day’s happenings and meals Meal Planner
  • Defrost any items needed for tomorrow’s meals
  • Load the washing machine and program the cycle to start in the early morning.
  • Put the dishwasher on just before bed

I choose to run the dishwasher late at night and the washing machine early in the morning as these are energy off-peak times.  It makes them so much more economical to run.

I have made a concerted effort to incorporate these tasks into my evening routine and I am seeing a real benefit.  I am going to bed feeling less cluttered.  The house and my mind are just not as messy.  As my AM is now freed from some of these tasks, the mornings are less hurried and chaos doesn’t descend. YES!

Prolonging the Life of Cut Flowers

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Who doesn’t like cut flowers? I find great joy in picking out a bunch of beautiful flowers and bringing them home to pretty up the house.  However, flowers can be a bit of a luxury item.  Depending on the time of year and where you buy them, they can be expensive.

Prolonging the Life of Cut Flowers

I generally buy my flowers from farmer’s markets as they are significantly cheaper than store-bought bouquets.  The flowers are also cut only hours before I buy them, so I know that I am going to get maximum life out of my arrangement.

To prolong the life of my bouquets, I follow some advice my florist gave me many years ago……

Feed and prevent bacteria in the arrangement by using a simple preservative mix.  To a clean vase filled with luke warm water add, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of bleach.

Before adding the flowers, trim the stems on an angle and remove any foliage from the lower end of the stem (no leaves should sit in the water).  Endeavour to change the water every other day, trimming the stems again before returning the flowers to the water.

Keep the arrangement away from hot or sunny positions.

This advice has always worked for me and I am often amazed at how long my arrangements hang in there.  I hope it works for you too.