Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Switching to more natural products

I have been reading a lot about using more natural products. There is so much information out there about the dangers of various chemicals in food, cosmetics, cleaning products etc... Also the environmental effects of some products such as palm oil can be quite alarming. Some is grown and used sustainably, but how do you know what companies are using sustainable and environmentally friendly products?

I find all the information out there overwhelming. A lot of it concerns me as I do not want to destroy the world anymore than it already is for my kids. My mother died from cancer, so I have concerns there about the products I use.

We all want to do what’s best, but how do you know what is best?

I have been looking at the products I use and have been slowly implementing things that I think are more environmentally friendly or healthy.

For cleaning I pretty much just use bi-carb and vinegar now.
I have been using up the body moisturisers I keep getting given and once I ran out of facial moisturiser I switched to organic coconut oil.
I have been researching meat and have found the organic butcher I will be buying from. Not only do they not use any hormones etc... in their beef, the cattle have lots of space to roam and they do not use any chemicals on the property, so the cows are eating just grass. No chemicals.
I am slowly switching to all locally grown and organic where possible fruit and vegetables.
I am about to embark on making more of my own beauty products. I really need a new lip balm. My lips get very dry and crack during the change of seasons. I don’t want to be putting 50 chemicals I can’t pronounce on my lips. I am also going to be experimenting with some more natural deodorants I have found. People that know me, you’ll have to tell me if I stink and be 100% HONEST! Don’t be scared! Lol.
I already make my own soy candles to use as air freshener instead of those plug in ones or aerosols.

There is one thing I am going to struggle with I think. I like to change my hair colour every now and then and I have a brand I prefer. I have worked in the industry for years, used lots of different products and have my favourites. I really don’t know how I’d go using a more natural approach, but I am open minded. Next time I do it I will be trying a more natural product, but I will be nervous.

So, what more natural things are you switching to? Anything you can recommend to me?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

101 update

So, probably not a real positive post this one, but it’s honest and realistic. I have only been doing my 101 things for a few months, but so much of my life has changed that many things on my list are no longer applicable to me or I have already failed them.

To start with, here’s the ones I failed at.
3.) Do a manicure and pedicure every month
7.) Go for a walk at least 3 times a week
13.) Keep a gratitude diary and write in it weekly
21.) Write in my journal weekly
29.) Read a book to my daughters every day
31.) Have a fortnightly date with my husband
32.) Have a weekly family activity
38-43.) Things with my Sydney house are no longer needed
55.) Have a dinner guest every month
81.) Make lounge covers – I did, but half the lounge was broken, so only half got done and I just want a new lounge.

Now here’s what I am no longer interested in doing
2.) Have a full day at a health spa or retreat. I’ve had various treatments at day spas and honestly, none of them have been that great and often I see so many OH&S issues I am not comfortable.
4 &5.) Be able to do 100 push-ups and crunches in 1 go. I really don’t need to do that. I just want to be healthy.
46.) Eat at Centrepoint Tower. I have been a bit disappointed with various restaurants of late and don’t want to shell out $100 to eat and be disappointed here. Whilst the view is great, there’s no other reason to spend that much on dinner. I’d prefer to get fish and chips and sit on the beach.
78.) Learn to knit and knit a scarf. You know what? I have no interest in this, so will be scrapping it.
79 and 80.) Do my daughters scrapbooks. There’s no time and I have really lost interest in scrapbooking. I’d rather put the photos in an album and leave it at that.
86 and 89.) Learn enough Tongan to converse with my husband’s family and learn 3 Polynesian dances don’t interest me anymore since we are separated.
100.) Do 1 thing every month that pushes me out of my comfort zone I think was a bit too airy fairy and not a definite, so I will be scrapping it.

So that’s 24 things that haven’t or won’t be achieved from my list. I have already donated the money to charity as per #20.

On a more positive note, I have completed some more things from my list.
Numbers 8, 14, 16, 19, 62, 66, 67, 70, 93 were already marked as done.
99.) A new fridge/freezer was purchased the other day. Brand new from the shop! Long story, I won’t go into details about it, but it’s done.
So that’s 10 done and I have quite a few in the process of being done soon.
98.) Will be done on Monday.
76.) I am up to 14/50 new recipes
75.) The fridge has been cleaned out, I just need to maintain that!
68 and 69.) Completely de-clutter and finish the toy box will be done next week. Though, the de-clutter needs to be kept up for the rest of the 1001 days.
18.) Until the 31st of May, I will be doing haircuts and things to raise funds for a charity, so I should accrue a few more hours there. I have done 2 hours of the 101 so far, so only 99 to go!
11.) I am part way through The Bible.

There are others in there that I have part done or started and have to restart, so I think I am doing OK and I think its better that I am honest about what won’t happen now, rather than leave it on the list. How’s everyone else doing?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Giant Zucchini

Check out this gigantic zucchini! My friend got it last night from her in laws! That is an A4 book next to it to give you some idea of its size. The picture’s not great because it is at night on my lounge.

Personally I have never seen one this big, but seeing that last night made me think about what I would make if I did get one. There are so many possibilities.

Zucchini slice, risotto with zucchini, zucchini on pizza, zucchini cake, which is like carrot cake, really good especially with cream cheese icing, grate it to use in rissoles, lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise or any other meat dish, chop it up for stir fry, the list just goes on.

See, this is a perfect reason why we should try and grow our own vegies. If you got them this size, they’d last you ages!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stupid lounge recovering!

Since I had no kids today I figured I finally recover my lounge. It’s a 5 seater modular and was looking very worse for wear. I converted the base to be storage on one of them and finished recovering it this morning.

Then I got started on the other 2 seater part of the lounge. I have pulled off the cushion covers and cut them out then I got started on the main part of the lounge. I pulled the fabric off the bottom, then the sides and then discovered something I did not want to find.

A HUGE crack in the frame work! I am so frustrated. I have spent all this time planning and doing this lounge only to discover the bones aren’t good!

I will admit that crack could’ve been there for quite some time and has not affect the usage yet. That’s fine. It may work well for a while longer, but I do not want to recover a lounge only to have to buy a new one in 6 months.

This is very disappointing. I do not want a new lounge yet and have now stripped this one bare. I am thinking I will toss the part that is cracked and keep the other part until I do want a new lounge. It will mean I have more space.

Oh, well, these things happen. Now I just have to clean up my giant mess and work out how to get rid of that part of the lounge.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spotless vs trashed

Why is it that when my house is spotless no one comes but when it looks like a bomb has gone off I get lots of visitors? Wait, I know. It’s because my house is only spotless for about 10 mins before my darling children trash it beyond recognition.

I have a plan up my sleeve though. It’s not one I think they’d like if they were older and knew what I was doing, but since they are under 3, I can do it and they won’t know the difference.

I have worked out the main problems.
1.) Little toys. They have lots of little toys, like tea sets, Duplo, wooden blocks, puzzles etc... Now all these things are great, but they aren’t getting played with, they are getting thrown around, left on the floor etc...
2.) Eating whilst walking. I have been trying to stop this because I end up with crumbs from one end of the unit to the other and HATE the crunchy carpet and the fact that I can sweep the floorboards 5 times a day, but the second it has been swept, I may as well not have bothered.
3.) The clothes. I fold them and put them away. As I take one pile to put them away they throw the other piles around the room or later they pull all the clothes out of the drawers or wardrobe.
4.) There is just not enough room here for everything to have a place.

So my plan is
1.) Get rid of or pack away all those little toys into storage.
2.) Sort the rest of the toys into boxes and place them under the bed so only 1 box at a time is out.
3.) No eating anywhere but the table.
4.) When i bring the clothes in they will be kept in the clothes basket and I will pull 1 thing out at a time and put it away. It will take longer than folding, but considering half the time I have to fold the clothes 3 or 4 times, it will work out to be quicker.
5.) Continue to get rid of more things. I have 1 box and some baby things by my door and more to come.
I have a kid free day on Friday, but there is SO much I want to do that day I don’t know if I will be able to get it all done. I’ll let you know how I go.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Managing Time

A lot of focus is often placed on saving money, but what about time? I am not talking about doing things to save money vs the time it takes to do it. I am talking about all those little things we do that waste our time.

Do you realise if you watched 1 less hour of TV a week that is 52 hours or just over 2 DAYS! Can you believe it? If you cut 1 hour TV time every day it just over 2 WEEKS! How scary is that. We waste so much time.

I have been identifying different things that waste my time and am trying to cut them back. TV is not a huge issue for me anymore, since I did a TV free month, I realised I don’t really care what’s on most of the time and there is not 1 single show I would go “Oh, I HAVE to watch that, I LOVE it.”

I do like watching it sometimes to switch off, but in the last few weeks I have noticed I have been doing it too much.

Another one is Face book. I started playing the games coz lots of my family play and since I am competitive by nature I wanted to beat a few of them on there. Well, I have done that now and I look back at how much time I have wasted playing (yes it’s fun, but there are so many other things I can never “find” the time to do.) It’s scary and I need to cutback drastically.

There’s other things like mindlessly surfing the net, window shopping when I need nothing etc... Yes, I like doing these things, which is ok in moderation, but lately all I seem to be doing is wasting my time.

Another HUGE time waster for many is being disorganised. I am not a highly organised person, I don’t think. I could be if I applied myself more, but I have just never been really bothered. There are quite a few things I would like to do when I own a house which will help me be more organised. In a 1 bedroom it is quite hard because there is just not enough space.

There are little things you can do to help save time in an organisational sense.
Always put your things in the same spot, so you’re not constantly looking for your keys.
Plan ahead what you are going to eat so you don’t need to duck down to the shops, wasting both time and money.
Keep a filing system so all your bills, insurance, important papers are all in one spot, so you don’t spend time looking for them.
Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place.
Instead of putting things down put them away. We often put things down on the bench to put away later but instead we should just put it away. Why would you go to the bench to put it down, only to have to come back later and put it away? It only takes a few seconds more to put it away instead of down.

This week I will be keeping track of everything that wastes my time so I will be able to work on managing my time better.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why I left a site

I left a forum recently. I had been an active member on there for quite some time. I have just found out that there are questions as to why I left, so I thought I would address it here, so the moderators of that particular site don’t go into a spin and removed all threads.

Basically it got to the point where everything I said was being construed as advertising. For example on one thread someone was talking about self-publishing and I offered some advice and gave my email if they had any questions. That is apparently “trying to advertise my book in and underhand manner offsite”. Um, if you went further up the thread you will see she had already purchased my books, so how could me trying to help be advertising? I was asked to remove my post.

I had a thread of mine pulled with no email or explanation as to why. I ask staff specifically what I can and can’t talk about but got no reply.

Also, it turns out they only act when something is pointed out to them, and I have a fair idea of who was “pointing” everything out to them.

I was feeling quite harassed by this person, so I chose to ask for a refund and left the site relatively quietly. I posted one comment on my fav thread and left it at that. I didn’t explain why coz I was pretty sure it would get the thread pulled.

I realised too that the site was no longer useful to me. I loved the thread I mentioned above and “talking” to the ppl on there, but unfortunately the feeling of being harassed was getting to be too much, so I got a refund on my membership.

There is a heck of a lot of advertising on that site and I felt like I was being unfairly targeted when I was not trying to advertise. I felt I could not make any comments without it being misconstrued.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Under the lounge storage

This is my gorgeous lounge! Can you see why it needs to be recovered? It usually has some throw rugs on it, which totally cover the rips and hideousness.

Thsi is under the lounge. I removed the fabric that was there to leave a gaping hole.

Then it was just a matter of nailing the wood to the bottom to create my box.
I turned it up the right way and before putting the cushions back on I cut the fabric off to expose the box underneath. (it's a bit of a battle trying to get a picture because my daughters love it) but I will get a picture for you later, when I have finally finished recovering the whole thing.
Meanwhile, I have some tinned food stored in my box which has made the space next to my fridge so much tidier.