Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Why I don't mind paying my electricity bill

Have you ever answered a question, and shut down a discussion? Whenever that old chestnut "how much is your electricity bill?" pops up, I try really hard not to answer the question. But quite often I get caught up in the moment of sharing with friends, and blurt it out. End of discussion.

Because my bill is high. And has been high for over ten years.

And while costs have gone up (and my bill has remained steadily the same for those same ten years) when I tell you the number, it will stop all discussion.

Once others get over the shock, the probing questions start.

"Has an electrician checked your wires?" yes, thanks

"Do you have a clothes dryer?" yes, and I love it.

"My bill is only $300, why is yours so high?" well, aside from the fact that you work outside the home, see above.

And as much as it irks Steve endlessly to be paying so much money to the electricity company, he lasts about five minutes in his turn all the power points off tirades.

Because I do love my clothes dryer, it runs every day.

And as a big family, the washing machine runs at least once every day (although today I've done 3 loads)

And while it's winter at the moment, come summer, we'll be running two air conditioners; one of those 24 hours a day if Steve is still on night shift.

So, while my electricity bill seems excessive to you, I'm happy to pay it.

{Yes, I use my clothes line. Yes, I know all about climate change. Yes, I have solar hot water.}

Linking with Essentially Jess
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Monday, 20 June 2016

Hello Monday

hello green grass after all the rain we've had in the last two weeks, we'll have green grass for the first time in months within the next week, I'm hoping

hello school holidays it's been a long term this time, I'm having to drag everyone out of bed in the mornings. Looking forward to a couple of weeks of slowing down.

hello one car family When my car died back in February, we bought another car the same just a couple of weeks later. Steve spent a lot of time taking working parts from my car and replacing them on the other, to end up with one working vehicle. But as time has gone on, we realised that the extra weight of a gas tank took away from our main purpose for buying the vehicle, to tow our camper trailer. So we've sold it. Way quicker than we expected, so we're a car down for the foreseeable future. Good thing Steve's doing nights at the moment!

hello bullet journal This is my third year using a bullet journal. As I pulled out my first journal over the weekend to look up something for Steve, I realised that I haven't been quite as good at writing in it this year, so I'm on a mission to revamp it and use it more over the next month, and hopefully remember the habit of using it regularly.

hello Monday, a new start every week

linking up with My Home Truths and One Mother Hen
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

What happened when we got rid of toys

We have quite a big house, compared to current building standards. Approximately 200m² under-roof space, the downstairs area consisting of rumpus room, garage-converted-to-storage, laundry and toilet and upstairs with bedrooms, kitchen, lounge, bathroom and toilet. There's plenty of space for kids to spread out in the rumpus room, or backyard (but not so much in the bedrooms)

So why is it then that there are so. many. toys. in the lounge room space?

About a month ago, I finally got fed up with promising myself that I would sort the toys out tomorrow, and finally got stuck in to it. Unfortunately, a lot of the toys were broken, so they quickly headed out to the bin, and others weren't age appropriate any more. But as I sorted through the boxful of rubbish (why don't kids just put it in the bin?) and broken bits, and decided what to keep out and what to stash away, Sophie started to  play.

Now that might not seem mind blowing to most people, after all, that's what toys are for. But for the last 18 months, Sophie hasn't been interested in any sort of play activities, unless I'm part of it. Which has been hugely frustrating to me. And even in the last 6 months since she started daycare, she hasn't really wanted to move very far from me over the course of the day.

So what changed?

{safe to say it does not look this neat today, especially since adding a dog to the household}

I think that getting rid of broken toys, thinning out the choices, and her being able to see into the bottom of boxes meant she wasn't overwhelmed by the choices. She could see that I was busy, and close by, and she had lots of new things to play with.

She continued playing all afternoon until the kids got home from school...

When did you last sort out the toy boxes?

linking up with Essentially Jess
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Monday, 13 June 2016

Hello Monday

hello Daisy If you follow my facebook page, you've probably heard that we got a dog. It was all rather unplanned - Steve sent me a text message while I was out on Saturday morning, saying he was going to look at a dog, I said ok, not thinking he would make any decision without a discussion, and later that day he went to look at her, and brought her home. She's from a broken home, and has lost her sister-companion, and is way more active than this house is used to, but after the initial night of pacing, she slept all night last night, and will miss the kids while they're at school today.

hello dog training As you'd expect, our house is full of dog - from chewing on stuffed toys, to running all day with the kids, Daisy is everywhere at the moment. [She's probably going to have a name change - our neighbour has a Maisy dog, and Sophie is very confused.] But she needs some training, she doesn't even come when called, let alone follow any basic commands.

hello sewing After craft retreat last week, I planned to finish my quilting and binding on Tuesday. I started, and then ran out of thread, so raced off to purchase more when I picked Sophie up from daycare. But I somehow managed to pick up midnight blue instead of black, and while I used the blue in my bobbin for sewing the blocks together, it just wouldn't work for the quilting. But I haven't made it back to the shops yet.

hello craft room rearranging After 9 years in this house, with nothing ever being rearranged, because the house is so odd that there's really only one way for everything to go, I'm thinking about moving my personal computer out of the lounge room and into the craft room. My thinking is that it would give me the quiet that I crave to actually write, but I'm not sure if the reality would be the same. It's still something I'm pondering on, but to make it work I need to start with tidying the craft room and moving some furniture.

hello Monday, a new start every week.

linking with My Home Truths and One Mother Hen
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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

5 things I learnt on my weekend away

If you don't follow my instagram or facebook page (why not?), you might not be aware I went away last weekend. From 8.30am Friday, until 4pm Sunday I was child free.

It wasn't the first time I've gone away without kids (hello ProBlogger) but it was a whole new bunch of people (although Caitlin, Anne, Tonya and a friend from my old craft group were faces I knew) and a chance to sew all weekend.

Friday started out drizzly and wet. I picked Amy up from the airport the night before, and being the foodie that she is, she wanted to start the day off with breakfast. My little part of the suburbs has a complete lack of cafes and coffee shops, but after a little bit of facebook sleuthing, I found a coffee shop that wasn't too far from home. Only problem was, it had terrible reviews! Amy did a bit of instagram sleuthing, and found nothing but praise, so we decided to take the chance. And it was good!

Lesson 1 - don't always believe the reviews, try it out for yourself
It was a rainy wet weekend. If you know South East Queensland geography, we were at the top of the hill, on the edge of the Darling Downs, one of the wettest, and coldest, areas of Queensland. While we completely bypassed autumn in Queensland, winter is well and truly upon us, and I was grateful I remembered my rain coat and an extra blanket.

Lesson 2 - you will always need fuzzy socks, and slippers
I really wasn't sure if I would actually get any sewing done. When Amy first mentioned the retreat weekend almost a year ago I had a dream about creating a quilt from fabric I purchased about five years ago. But as the date grew closer and closer I wasn't even sure if I was actually going, let alone knew what projects to take. At the last minute, I shoved in a couple of unfinished projects just in case. And I'm really glad I did, because once the meet-everyone-and-chat-about-everyhing stage was over, I decided to just get stuck in and start sewing.

Lesson 3 - just start. Find an unfinished project, and just start.
I heard several women say over the weekend that it "felt weird to walk away from the dishes left on the table" which sounded weird to me, because I don't clear the table or wash dishes. As often happens when women get together, people share their stories - from stories of illness, mothers-in-law, teenagers and toddlers, everyone had a story to share, and in the privacy of a weekend away, they were happy to share.

Lesson 4 - you don't know someone's story until they tell you
One of the best things about getting together with a wide variety of women was all the different knowledge available. My first crafting love is scrapbooking, but I was determined to work on my quilt, so I packed a few different photos and papers, but wasn't really feeling he urge to scrap. Ronelle, from Cute&Sweet Designs, is a papercrafter, and she powered through layouts one after another. Caitlin made stuffed toys after finishing her dress, Amy made bags, Tonya and Jodie crocheted. And everyone was happy to answer questions about their crafting or help others out with issues.

Lesson 5 - everyone knows more than they think they do, and wants to share their knowledge with others.

bonus lesson - it's always wonderful to get home, thaw out, and hug the kids.

What lessons did you learn from going away?

linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT
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