Hamptons Style Kitchen Inspiration

hamptons-kitchen

Well to say it has been a long time between posts is understatement.  It is all down to one thing…..The Lakehouse.

After spending months (6-7) talking to the one builder and architect (see the last post)  and having all our hopes in them, we were forced to pull the pin.  It just wasn’t working out the way we had planned and we needed to cut our losses while we still could.  The upside is we are now with a new builder!  Well actually not that new at all as they built our last house!!!!

Plans are done and we are now at the stage of making our final inclusions before we get the all important quote back.  Which leads me to this post!  As a project builder they have their own “Interior Designer” who helps us with our selections.  They were needing some inspiration from us about what our take on”Hamptons” style is.  Turns out it means lots of different things to everyone!

FARMHOUSE SINK

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We LOVE the Ikea DOMSJO Farmhouse sink with GLITTRAN tapware.  A great price and perfectly fits with the style of the kitchen.

SHAKER CABINETS

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The sophisticated and simple design of shaker cabinets.  Shaker cabinets are simply ” characterized by five-piece door with a recessed center panel.”   Of course our colour selection is WHITE on WHITE!

STONE BENCHES

Our builder includes 40mm Stone Benches in their standard inclusions.

Of course our selection again will be white, well close to it!  We love these…

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SUBWAY TILES

This has been a hard one!  Who knew that one type of white tile could come in so many different finishes and sizes!

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For us the decision is…..

Small

Gloss

White Grout

For a seamless, shimmery look.

PENDANT LIGHTS

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This is the layout of our kitchen.  I am hoping to add 2 pendant lights over the breakfast bar.  This is probably a part of the build we will organise ourselves.  We did this last time with our builder so fingers crossed we can again!  We sourced and supplied the lights and they installed them!

I have found lots of inspiration but sourcing them in Australia is a whole other story!

Temple and Webster

Temple and Webster

Lightworks Online

Lightworks Online

 

Interiors Online

Interiors Online

 These are the current front runners but the Temple and Webster light is almost a given!  Except would it match the rest of our chrome?

So that is where we are at with Kitchen Inspiration!

We would love your feedback about any of our choices, items you have seen that we might love or kitchen purchases you have regretted!

Stay tuned for some facade drawings very soon!!!

The Building of The Lake House –

Once upon a time a young newly married couple scoured South East Queensland looking for a good place to settle.  As fate would have it after only a few weeks in Brisbane they both scored jobs in the same suburb!  It was a rapidly growing estate.  It was small and bushy but held great promise.  They bought a block of land as big and as close to the lake as they could afford.

Over the years as every time they walked along the lake, they said to themselves.  “How good is this!  We can never live anywhere else!” The community grew, a shopping centre, parks, public transport, schools.  Now they had everything they needed and no need to ever move.  But as they walked each afternoon they dreamed of a block of land on the other side of the lake.  A little island surrounded by two lakes, that would one day be developed and connected by a road.

Life happened and the couple had three children.  The family grew but alas the yard didn’t.  The house was more than adequate but the title family dreamed of a pool and a bigger kitchen and of course that land over on the island.

They would drop in to the land office occasionally, to enquire on timeframes of the island being developed. 1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 10 years passed and then…….

August 2015

“Dear Prospective Buyer,  We are excited to announce that premium land within the “Island” estate is set to be released this month”

We were completely unprepared.  I wasn’t working, we had a house to sell, we had so much to do but we knew these things happen quickly and this land would go quickly if we didn’t jump on it.

September 2015

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The never ending list making of jobs to be done in preparation to sell.

A major decluttering and cleaning of the house.  We decide to prepare the house for the inevitable.  Selling.  For the first time ever (we have prepared the house for market before) I am not sad but excited.  We have real and tangible plans in place, making the lake house a possibility.  Its amazing that it took the sale of the house to finally finish some projects that we had intended to do for the last 10 years!

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Finally finished painting Master O’s bedroom!

 2nd October 2015

Crunch time.  We need to sell our beloved house.  We are worried about a shortfall and want to be realistic on what size land we can afford.  We interview  and choose the real estate agents.

9th  October 2015

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Preparing for the real estate photos

Photos of the house taken and spiel written, signs prepared.

 12th October 2015

We put out much loved first family home on the market.  We had been tempted to do this so many times over the last few weeks but this land was the perfect temptation.  We went with a local agent that we had known for years.  Open homes are scheduled and the pictures hit the internet and now we wait!!!!

Week 10 – 17th October 2015

The land is RELEASED! Yep 10 weeks after the initial panicked email! As we were buying in a new development it wasn’t as easy as looking for a block and buying it.  The process would be complicated but we had been through all of it 11 years earlier.  An email is sent showing all the prospective lots, their size, location and price.  That is it!  You can’t see the land or drive past it, nothing!  Luckily we had already been given a bit of a heads up from the developer.  We have to submit 3 preferences and even then you are not guaranteed your block.  Land is in high demand and it depends on what conditions you place on your contract and how long you have been on the waiting list as to wether you will secure the block you want. We chose with these priorities in mind;

  1. Price
  2. Bigger than what we have
  3. As close to the lake as possible
  4. Flat as possible
  5. Corner (for side access) is a bonus

Week 11 – 26th October

The land is ours!  We only had one preference and we got it.  We had a feeling we would as the odds were in our favour after being on the waiting list for 10 years! Its slightly bigger than our old block, flat, on a corner and ON THE LAKE.  Absolute Lakefront.  The catch.  It wa over budget.  We decided it didn’t matter and went for it.

November

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Making the most of the Cubby while they can!

Nothing but dreaming, planning and living in the never ending hell of selling a house whilst you have 3 children.  Did I say hell?  ABSOLUTE HELL.  I don’t think I could ever do it again. Lots of interest but no one with a serious price.

December

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Our last Christmas in the house.

Contracts start.  The Land contract is finalised with a registration date of April, and the contracts and negotiations start on our house.  Literally up to the end of 2015.

31st December 2015

Unconditional contract on the house signed.  We celebrated and commiserated. This is it, no going back.

January

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This little guy greeted us as we moved into the rental.

Now that the house is sold a new kind of hell begins.  Packing up a house you have lived in for 10 years, whilst returning to full time work for the first time in 9 years and getting prepared for back to school and of course how can I forget….finding a rental.   Not wanting to spend a lot of money but wanting to stay in the same suburb proved quite difficult.  We ended up renting a house that I had never seen! It has 4 bedrooms and 2 living areas but everything is small and cheap.  Most definitely built to be a rental, corners have been cut everywhere.

My husband had it in his head that we could move by ourselves but after a day of it we realised that was not going to happen. My amazing in laws came to the rescue and we moved the weekend after school started. This also happened to be the hottest weekend of the year!

February

I have quietly had a builder in mind the whole time so we organised a meeting with them.  We know that with this particular block and to get our dream home, we will require a custom builder.  We looked for someone with knowledge of Queenslanders in the hope they would “get” our design ideas.  We are wanting a hamptons/coastal/modern queenslander home.  Think white weatherboard and a sprawling front porch.  We met with the builder and his wife in their divine old Queenslander.  It was truly a blessing to find someone who was not only so easy to communicate our ideas to but who was realistic and honest.  They are willing to take on the job and we leave absolutely ecstatic.

March

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Lake House dreaming.

With a folder full of ideas we meet with both the builder and Architect. The Architect operates separately form the builder but also works with him to ensure we all create a design that matches our budget.  The Architect is also a mother and at this meeting she is a few weeks off giving birth to her third baby! I am hoping Mother’s practicality and commonsense will influence her designs.

April

 We are still waiting for the land to be registered. As expected their are delays with the developer.  We eagerly drive by on the other side of the lake trying to make out our blocks boundaries between the trees. Our street has also now been given name.  Can you see how desperate we are for any updates!

May

The block is registered!  Finance is approved.   On the 17th of May 2016 we FINALLY got to drive on our block.  I say drive as we had to be escorted by the construction manager as it is still a construction zone.  Our feet didn’t get to walk on our block but it was oh so good to see it with our own eyes!

June

New satellite images of our block are released and we get a clearer picture of where it sits in relation to everything.  The contract is finalised, the block is settled and finally ours and we have the mortgage to prove it! Most excitingly we could visit the block with the builder and the architect !  This turned out to be a debacle of a day and again we were only allowed restricted access and had to remain in the vehicle.  Our block has been turfed around the edges, roads are done, we have gutters and a footpath is busily being laid.   Now that the Architect has physically seen the block she can start drafting plans!

and that is where we are at……the architect is drawing, the developer still won’t give us full access and we are waiting, waiting, waiting and trying to not kill each other living in this rental.

Now that I am all caught up I hope to update you all more frequently especially as this is where things are now going to start getting really interesting!  For all of our house inspiration check out our Lake House Pinterest Boards and #thelakehouse on Instagram.

 

To Buy or Build? – The Essential List for Homeowners

 Deciding to become a homeowner is a big and very exciting decision.  Followed very quickly by another big question.  To Buy or Build?

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Each comes with its own unique sets of challenges and rewards.  As homeowners we have experienced both.  Our first home we bought an established property and our second home we built. 

TO BUY.

The Rewards.  

Lets start with the good news.  

Buying a property, is generally low risk.  You are purchasing a product you can see and touch. This also makes it easier to get a gut feeling about a property. To an extent you know exactly what you are getting.   With a bit of hunting around and a great pest and building inspection you do have a sense of security knowing al the details about what you have purchased.

Properties in all locations are more readily available than land.  Your ideal suburb is more likely to have established homes for sale than land.  Often land sales are limited to locations that are a little further from the “centre of town”  The area will also have established facilities including roads, parks, shops, schools and public transport. 

You can get an established property at a great price if you happen to find a motivated vendor.  People who have already built a home, can’t make repayments or a change in fmaily circumstances leaves some people desperate to make a quick sale at a low price. 

The Challenges.  

You may not get your perfect personalised home. You are actually buying someone elses design,  and it may be expensive to make any alterations, especially to the layout or size of the property.  Any renovations could uncover some unknown costs including electrical or plumbing problems.  It is very easy for renovation budgets to get blown out  leaving many homeowners wondering if they should have just built in the first place.   Renovating can also come with its own stresses especially if you are time poor or trying to renovate whilst living in the property.  

It is also hard to match up the perfect house and the perfect location.  You may find your perfect home but in a less than desirable street or the perfect street, with all homes out of your budget.  

Age.  An established property comes with “lived in” conditions.  It may need minor repairs, or at least it will sooner rather than later.  

Price.    If you don’t find a motivated seller, there is not much room for negotiation. What you see is what you get.  You may be able to get a great deal in a troubled market but their is not much room for negotiating.  You cant ask for the home you like but in a smaller layout, or tailor the home to suit your budget.  The home has generally already accrued equity and the owners are keen to get that back.  It is also harder to negotiate with owners who are selling their personal much loved property than it is to negotiate with a builder or large development company!  

TO BUILD 

Garth Chapman – Display Home – Stockland North Shore – Interiors by my lovely friend Anna at Ethos Interiors!

The Rewards.  

The biggest reward?  The one that had me at hello? You are getting the exact home you want.  You have the flexibility to create your own home layout and size to suit your families lifestyle.  Need 3 toilets, add it to the plan, don’t need a media room, take it off.  North facing, lets find a block like that.  You can make the most of the space and the environment. The colour pallets, floor coverings and even light fittings are all items you have chosen yourself essentially guaranteering you will love it all!  As you know we are already counting down to our next build!  We love building!

Location.  Ok for some this may have come as a negative.  As mentioned new land is generally released a little further away from the “centre of town”.  The benefit of this is that the developers can create “communities” and plan suburbs specifically around their target audience.  Their were many times we wondered if we had gone too far away from the city, but we have two playgrounds, bbq areas, a lake, a shopping centre and schools literally metres from our house.  The area is full of young families, creating not just a new suburb but neighbourhoods. We have loved growing with our suburb.

Price.  We got an amazing deal on our “built” home.  We could make the most of every dollar spent by doing some of the work ourselves (landscaping, mailbox, driveway) sourcing our own fixtures, and adapting the floor plan so that every space was usable. To get the finished product as an established home we would have at least paid an extra $50K. Because we got a new home at a great price the equity in our home has accrued very quickly! 

The Challenges.

Finding land, a house plan and a builder takes time.  You need to do your homework.  It also takes time to have plans passed through council and for building to actually begin.  Ask for specific build timeframes and get the builder to sign on them.

So we have watched the building horror stories on A Current Affair.  Building does have its risks. But remember for every dodgy builder there are a thousand great ones.  Ask around, word of mouth is the best way to find a reputable builder.  Visit display centres, meet with builders and trust your gut and a google search.  

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Want a new house but don’t want to go through the building process?  All developments offer house and land packages.  These plans have been approved by the council and many are already in the process of being built or are completed homes.  This saves huge amounts of time!!!!! If you are really lucky you can buy whilst it’s still being constructed and even have a say in the colour pallette and fixtures.  Most builders will have these homes “on display”.   Display centres offer you the opportunity to walk through an example of the builders work. An already built property will give you a feel of the layout and size.  You are also getting a finished, new home for one price with no hidden costs. Because the builder has made a deal with the developer for the land you can also get some great deals.  Have I mentioned I have a thing for wandering display homes!  We have been to nearly every display village in Brisbane!  I love to see the latest and greatest home designs, decor and fixtures at work and well….. dream! 

To buy or build?  Nobody has the perfect answer besides you!  You need to find the best option for your situation.  Weigh up the pros and cons, do your homework, look at your budget and then……go house hunting! 

 This is a sponsored post. You know how much I LOVE all things houses, well Stockland asked me to write about my opinion on buying or building.  This post is just that!  I was compensated for my time but not for my opinion!  If you would love to cruise a Stockland display centre click HERE and take some pics to show me!

Love that living room and kitchen?  That is the work of the amazing Anna from Ethos Interiors, remember she helped me with my living room?  Isn’t she talented?!

A Family Update

Hello Strangers…..

It has been a long 6 months since I updated this blog.  The longest time it has sat quiet in 5 years!

There is so much to catch you up on I am not quite sure to begin, so lets start at January……

I was all out of leave.  You name it I had used it!  Unpaid leave, long service leave, maternity leave, extended maternity leave, all gone. So it was either return to work or forfeit my permanent position.  With bills mounting and future dreams scheming returning to work seems the most sensible decision.  The hunt for a job share partner started and ended quickly as I had the perfect person already in mind, with one catch.  I had to return in Term 1 and her Maternity leave didn’t finish until the start of Term 2.  So I sucked it up and went back full time for Term 1.  For the first time in 10 years I was placed not in Prep and instead tried a new adventure in Year 3.  To add to the craziness I also took on a one day a week role as a “Visible Learning Impact Coach”.  To say I have loved it is an understatement.  By far the best teaching year I have ever had.  A beautiful class, wonderful teaching team and I could just about go full time forever!  (I am now on 4 days, 3 in class, 1 in Visible Learning)

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The one catch is that this means our little Hurricane (who is now 2.3) had to start Day Care.  Bonus is it’s only 3 days a week and located at my work so super handy.  He cries every morning, but when I pick him up he has had a great day.  His language has EXPLODED and he talks more than any of my kids have!  He is an exceptional eater but a horrific sleeper.  Can’t win them all.

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Little Miss A is in Grade 1 and has been blessed to have the same teacher she had for Prep who has now just left for the rest of the year on long service.  Poor little girl is heartbroken!  We have upped the anti with dancing this year and are throwing all our time (and all our money) into her favourite thing to do.  She is now in 6 classes a week!  She would go every day if we let her.  She spends every waking moment watching dancing, playing dancing or practicing dancing.  She has her first Violin solo coming up and her first dancing eisteddfod!  She thrives at school and has a particular penchant for numbers.  Her obsessive personality sure comes into it’s own in Maths.  She fills pieces of paper with equations, just for fun.

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Master O is now in Grade 4 and filling his days with Choir and Drama lessons.  Still intent on a job on Television he will do anything to be on a stage.  His confidence still amazes me.  He completed a NIDA Drama workshop and at then end stood in front of a crowd of parents (strangers) and presented his line flawlessly and without the slightest hint of nerves.  Not only that but he simply loves it.  He is desperate to go to a film workshop but thats where the big bucks (so far the cheapest has been $500!) come in so we are shopping around for one in Brisbane that is good and affordable!

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Perhaps the biggest change in our lives is THE LAKE HOUSE.  After years of dreaming and scheming and planning we finally did it.  We sold our much loved first family home, bought a block of land, moved into a rental and started planning our new build, by the lake.  It’s our dream location and our dream home, but dreams sure don’t happen quickly!  This process is a whole blog post in itself!

So that where we are at.  Building, working, schooling, multiple drop offs, hours in dance and drama waiting rooms and living life!

 

Favourite 2015 Product – DYSON REVIEW

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If you don’t want to read about someone swooning over and falling in love with a vacuum cleaner, stop reading here.

We have lived in our house for ten years.  For ten years I have been searching for the perfect vacuum cleaner.  The problem being we have a big house (must have a long cord) stairs (easy to cart up and down) and multiple floor types (must be able to suck crumbs off the rug and hair out of the carpet and cereal off the tiles.)

The other problem we have had in the past is weight.  Not mine but the vacuums!   I am an absolute weakling and carting the big vacuum up the stairs meant I would rarely do it.  The large vacuum was also cumbersome to drag out when you just want to do a quick tidy after the kids have eaten.

I have need owned or even tried a stick vacuum as I assumed it just wouldn’t be powerful enough for the amount of mess and size of our house.  Boy was I wrong.

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After testing out the Dyson V6 Absolute Stick Vacuum at the Good Food and Wine Show, I was obsessed!  It was so light that even little Miss A could use it!

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It sucked up cereal, confetti, everything quickly AND quietly!

It’s manoeuvrability was excellent, the swivel head meant it was easy to get into corners and under the couch.  Literally hours after I got it home, this happened…..

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I wish I could say it was a first, but for some reason smashing the glass salt and pepper shakers seems to be a regular occurrence in this house!

What we are loving….

Run-time: This machine will run for 20 minutes, 16 with the motorized cleaner head and for 6 minutes on boost mode.  This enough to do the entire floor of one level of our house.

Dyson digital motor V6: The latest Dyson digital motor gives V6 Absolute the most powerful suction of any cordless vacuum. This thing has sucked up everything!  The clear barrel lets you see how much (and what!) has been sucked up and its incredible.  The scary thing is how much it got out of our apparently clean rug and carpet.

2 Tier Radial™ Cyclone Technology: Flings dust out of the air and into the bin, separating out even the most microscopic particles.

Handheld conversion:  Hands down (no pun intended!) I am an absolute stick vacuum convert.  The ease of being able to vacuum the stairs or grab it out for a quick run around with no cord to plug in is amazing.

Extra tools:  I don’t know what they are all called but all the tools that come with it are great. My window tracks have never been so clean love the little nozzle pack and love using “short” version (just remove the wand) of the vacuum for cleaning the car. The wand can be easily removed and tools attached directly to the cyclone pack for cleaning stairs, couches, mattress and car interiors.

Quiet:  This Vacuum doesn’t scare our little hurricane boy like the last, most probably due to the fact that it is noticeably quieter.

Cords Free:  With a house full of stairs and lots of quick cleans required the convenience of no cords is a winner.

The Dyson V6 Absolute has a RRP of $899 and is worth every cent.  This is by far the best item we got in 2015 and has literally changed the way we clean!

To find your own local stockist click HERE

 

 

Organising The Family Finances

Yesterday I posted some pictures of the Cash Envelope system I have used in the past, to help keep on top of the Family Finance Budget.  This is just one small part of what we do to manage our finances and stay on budget.  It’s actually one of the very last parts! For those new to the blog or need a refresher here is where and how we started……..

1.DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Doing your homework. Getting your head around the finances. The aim here is to work out

How much you spend
What you spend it on
When you spend it (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly)
STEP 1. Make a list of ALL of the household expenses. At this stage this could just be off the top of the head. Every family has different expenses but some possibilities are;

  • Mortgage/Rent
  • Rates
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Home Telephone
  • Mobile phones
  • Pay Tv
  • Home Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Car registration
  • Car Maintenance
  • Petrol
  • School/Childcare Fees
  • School Expenses (uniforms, books, excursions, levies)
  • Extra Curicular Activities (sporting teams, clubs, hobbies)
  • Other Loans/Regular Credit Card payments
  • Groceries
  • Entertainment/Going Out
  • Holidays

If possible write them directly into a budget spreadsheet. You can create your own using Excel or Even a table in Word. Or browse the web their are so many to choose from.

STEP 2. Gather or PRINT OFF YOUR BANK STATEMENTS. At least 6 Months worth.

STEP 3. HIGHLIGHT – You will need at least 4 different colour highlighters. Use a different colour to highlight each of the expenses on your bank statement accordingly, as per the list below.

I am going to use colour examples just to help make the example clearer.

GREEN – Set Payments Mortage/Rent/Phone/Rates/Insurances/Registration/School Fees – These are the amounts that do not regularly change or if they do it is by a few dollars. These items are classed as essential and are not negotiable. When you come accross these items write the AMOUNT and FREQUENCY of the bill onto your template.
ORANGE – Regular Payments – Electricity, Gas – These payments are due regularly, are essential. but can fluctuate in their amount. Write these AMOUNTS and FREQUENCY onto your budget template in pencil only as you will have a lot of amounts!
PINK – Unavoidable Expenses – Groceries, Petrol, Gifts – These payments can fluctuate in how often they occur and how much they cost. They are essential but negotiable and open to finding some big savings. DO NOT WRITE THESE IN YOUR BUDGET JUST YET.
YELLOW Avoidable Expenses – This is the other category – These are one off non essential items – like entertainment (hiring dvd’s,parties, clothes, hair cuts, eating out, holidays, days out, buying coffee etc) This is the category with the most chance of savings. DO NOT WRITE THESE IN YOUR BUDGET JUST YET
These 3 easy steps will now have your head around what is being spent!
For me this was the hardest part of all. It was hard to be honest about how much we were spending or should I say wasting! You are now off to a great financial start and ready to FINALISE A FAMILY BUDGET!

2. START A SYSTEM

So here is our Family Finance System…

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1. Mail In. This can be either the paper variety or most often electronically. As soon as the bill comes in it is opened. NO MAIL REMAINS UNOPENED FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS. Yes sometimes you dread opening bills. But delayed bill paying adds to paper clutter, increases the chance you will misplace it, pay it late and have to pay more in late payment fees. Collecting and opening the mail is a shared task and part of our everyday routine. As we enter the house, after the school pick up, Master O collects the mail. He loves this job! Whilst the kids are having afternoon tea, I go through the mail (and all the notes in the school bag!)

  • Junk mail straight to recycling bin
  • School notes to School File it Folder
  • Invitations and Notices onto The Family Noticeboard
  • Art Work into Art work folders
  • and of course THE BILLS!!!

What about the bills???

2. Bills Board. The bills go straight onto the Bills Board. This is simply a clipboard where we keep all bills until they are paid. By having them in one location, we both know what needs to be paid. I briefly check:

  • When is the bill due? This is recorded in iCal (a software calendar program for Macs) This allows me to get electronic reminders for when bills are due.
  • Is it how much I had budgeted for? We rarely get surprises! In general we have calculated how much each bill should be and put that money aside each fortnight. My HOT TIP IS. When creating a family budget slightly over calculate each bills. That way you are never left short! Even if the bill is less than you had expected, PAY WHAT YOU HAD BUDGETED FOR! It will mean you are always a little ahead and give you a cushion, should you find yourself struggling one month.
  • Is it accurate? I always check our bills for inaccuracies. Especially if it doesn’t seem to match previous bills or is more than I expected. This way I can judge wether it is time to change suppliers or switch to a better plan or deal.

3. Family Finance Folder. Once the bill is paid it is stored in the relevant section of the Family Finance Folder. I ALWAYS record the receipt number and the date paid, on the bill, before storing it away. At the end of the financial year all of these records will be used for tax purposes.

3. ORGANISED AND STORED

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As mentioned above I store all of our financial paper work in a “Family Finance Folder” I have chosen this style of filing system after the great success of our

School File It Folder

To create this “Family Finance Folder” you will need;

1. An A4 Ring Binder Folder with a clear insert on the front.

2. A packet of A4 Plastic pockets

3. A packet (or two!) of EXTRA WIDE tabbed folder dividers! They must be EXTRA WIDE if you want to be able to see the tabs when the folder is closed.

4. OPTIONAL – A clear plastic envelope made for ring binders.

5. OPTIONAL – Scrapbook Paper for the Front and labelmaker for the tabs.

To really make the system work you will also need a clipboard! I have two kinds a plain one that I decorated with scrapbook paper and a groovy one found in the office section of Big W!

This folder is customised for your families needs so sit down with your paper work, sort it into piles and figure out which categories you will need in your folder. Grab your supplies (all can be found at BIG W or Officeworks!) and get ready to conquer the paper clutter!

Why a system and a folder.  This ensures that important paper work, notices, bills are not discarded with the junk mail or lost under a pile of school work.  Having the bills on the one clipboard ensures that when they are due you know where they are and how much needs to be paid.

 

Later this week I will share how we budget bills and set up bills accounts.  This may seem like a lot of work but as you can see from some of the pictures I set up this system 4 years ago and have not had to touch it since!!!  It works that well!!!! When it comes to living stress free their is oohing more important then being on top of and managing your finances!!

 

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I LOVE this time of year.  So full of new hope, fresh starts, blank slates.  I am not one for new years resolutions and instead prescribe to the new “word” of the year.

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For me to Hustle is to set goals and then busily and enthusiastically set yourself to achieving them, to strive for more, give it your all, negotiate, dream, believe.  This year is going to be hectic.  But in the best possible way.  2016 is the start of a new chapter in my life.  The years of babies are over.  The last 10 years have been costumed with trying to fall pregnant, being pregnant and having babies.  Those days are now over and we now have time to think about ourselves a little more.  Our goals and dreams are slowly shifting.  after 3 years on leave and countless years prior to that working only part time in 2016 I am returning to work. I haven’t felt this excited by teaching since being a graduate teacher!  Add to that a few new job opportunities, smashing some study, the Hurricane starting Daycare, new extra curricular activities for the kids and our biggest family project ever (more on that later) we are going to be BUSY!

 

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After years of dreams, this is the year for those dreams to become plans and to bring them life.

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I choose to live a life full of abundance.  I truly believe it is a choice.  Day by day we are designing our life’s journey, why not create one you love!  I am not sure there is a better way to start the year than with a head full of dreams, a heart full of excitement at the possibilities ahead and a belief that this year is going to be truly amazing.

How To Make Your Home Entertainment Friendly

The festive season has well and truly begun in this house and we currently have a home full of visitors.  With Ballet concerts, speech nights, christmas parties this certainly is a busy time of year, but one I love to share with friends and family.

We love to entertain and designed many elements of our home to reflect this.  With a kitchen at the centre of the house, open plan living and bi fold doors that create a seamless inside to outside entertaining space, we have plenty of room to entertain both little and big guests.

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Regardless of your homes layout, there are many ways you can prepare your home for entertaining, the right space and atmosphere can have a big impact on your get-together. It pays to prepare your home for successful entertaining before you start inviting friends over. Here are a couple of ways to make your home more entertainment friendly.

Enhance Your Outdoor Area

If your property has the room to spare, a deck or patio is the perfect entertaining space. Adding value as well as style, decks provide an informal space perfect for relaxed dinners, casual lunches and more. When you are ready to add a patio or verandah to your home, choose a skilled builder that specialises in outdoor spaces, such as Additions Building. A knowledgeable builder can help make the process much easier.

Choose Beautiful Lighting

Lighting helps to set a mood, so choose your lighting carefully. Pendant lighting over an indoor dining table is a pretty way to add soft lighting. For outdoors, you may choose tea lights or fairy lights to provide some illumination without attracting swarms of bugs. Changing up your lighting is one of the most affordable ways to make your home more inviting for guests.

Don’t Go Overboard Decorating

No one feels completely at ease in a home that isn’t their own. While you are disappearing to prep food, your guests may be wondering where they can set their drinks without upsetting the carefully laid table. When meal time rolls around, the more room for plate passing, the better. Don’t block the flow of conversation with tall centrepieces you never get a chance to use. Instead, keep the table informal and let your guests relax while they dine. This is particularly important for outdoor entertaining.

Offer Guests Somewhere to Relax

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Ever been to a dinner party where you had to squish in next to someone you didn’t know? It can be really uncomfortable, particularly for introverts. Make sure you have plenty of seats for your guests to stake out, as well as room for them to move around. Extra seating (away from the dining area) also allows guests to stretch their legs and an opportunity to chat with other people.

Create a Killer Playlist

There is a reason bars and restaurants often play background music. It helps to dictate the mood of the venue or function. You may choose a playlist that matches the theme of your gathering. For example, a birthday party could feature songs from the year the guest of honour was born. To save time, use a music streaming service with pre-selected playlists. Most streaming sites also have a method of matching similar songs to save you combing through thousands of tracks to find the right sound.

All of these suggestions can help make your home feel more inviting when entertaining. You don’t have to spend a stack of money to make significant changes to the entertainment value of your home. Of course, the most important part of an enjoyable night is spending it with the people you love!

 Do you have any suggestions for how to turn your home into the perfect get-together location?

Working 9-5

The time has come.  In 2016, after 3 years of leave from my permanent teaching position, I will be back in the classroom.  The enthusiasm and excitement can only be compared to what I felt when I took on that very first teaching position many moons ago, fresh out of uni.  I have found the most perfect job share partner, with the only catch being she is on leave until Term 2!  So I will be working Full Time for Term 1 and then 3 days a week for the rest of the year.

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So many changes in stall, as this also means our Baby Hurricane will also be off to Day Care for the first time.  Our last experience with Day care was Master O going for 1 day a week just before he started Kindy so this will be a whole new experience for everyone.

We are going to have to be more organised then ever before, with now 4 different sets of school dates and events plays the one million activities these kids seem to have already signed up for in 2016.

Over the next few months I will be sure to share;

  • How we get organised (and stay that way)
  • Keep up to date with different schedules and dates
  • Prepare for Day Care
  • Set up Our Classroom
  • Organise a Teachers Desk
  • My Teacher Planner
  • Tips and Tricks for the First Day of School (For kids, parents and teachers!)

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but first we have the 2-3 busiest weeks of the year including the fact that I am going to be working!

  • 2 x Dance Concerts
  • 3 x Dress Rehearsals
  • 2 x Photo Days (with multiple costume changes!)
  • 2 x School Speech Nights
  • 2 x Dance Break ups
  • 2 x Dance Awards Nights
  • A swimming Carnival
  • Christmas break up parties
  • a cute angel in the nativity play to watch

and thats just the kids activities!  Through in work and christmas parties and end of year drinks and it will be fun, fun, fun!

Oh and visitors who are arriving to watch it all! Sleep who needs, sleep!

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I wouldn’t have it any other way and know that it is only going to get crazier when we have 3 kids at school and activities.

Now to get that calendar out and get organised!

 

 

 

Starting THE ELF ON THE SHELF – Everything You Need to Know

Every year I am bombarded with questions on how to “do” the Elf on The Shelf.  It is such a hard question to answer as their is no “right” way to enjoy the Elf On The Shelf.  But to get you  started and get your own ideas in motion everything you need to know is right here! In ONE post!  Follow these 6 Steps to begin your ELf On The Shelf memory making!

1. WHAT IS THE ELF ON THE SHELF

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What is this crazy thing I keep hearing about? A Joyful Christmas Tradition

2. WHERE TO BUY AN ELF ON THE SHELF?

Our favourite place is The Book Depository.  Mainly because they almost always have stock and quick and affordable shipping.

3. WHAT DOES HE DO?

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Get some inspiration and see how other people use the Elf on The Shelf. The Elf On The Shelf in Our House, The Elf on The Shelf In Real Homes

4. GET ORGANISED!  

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Be organised! It’s a busy 25 days!  Plan ahead using a FREE PRINTABLE Elf Antic Planner

5. WELCOME YOUR ELF!

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 So now you are ready to start, how ill the Elf Arrive?  Some ideas on introducing him to your children and a free printable letter from Santa to help you on your way. IDEAS on How to Introduce The Elf, FREE PRINTABLE Letter of Introduction From Santa

6. LET THE GAMES BEGIN

 Use the Search Bar >>>> to search Elf On The Shelf and My Christmas Elf

and uncover photos, FREE printables, educational activities, clue cards and

LET THE MEMORIES BEGIN!