After seeing a post today by Be A Fun Mum and a recent post about washing by Barbara Good from The New Good Life, I thought I’d share how I tackle the never ending piles.
Pictured, is my indoor washing line. It doesn’t matter what season it is here in Victoria, there’s pretty much always a chance of rain. My dirty little boys can go through two to three changes of clothes a day easily, so with all those ‘little people clothes’ I often run out of pegs outside on the washing line. Thus, the overflow goes on here, a sturdy, tidy clothes rack with ample room, that doesn’t collapse like some of the other crappy wire/metal ones you can buy.
In addition to this, sometimes it can be 11pm before I get a chance to hang washing out so this way it’s easy to hang inside before I go to bed and is often dry by morning. It was originally one large playpen which was awesome for about 6 months but quickly out grown. This has given it another life – sideways. The beauty of this system is that I have room for a basket for each family member beneath so I can sort and fold straight into the baskets (with their names written on them!) That way, even if I haven’t put it away yet they know exactly where to find their clothes without having to rake through a big pile. In the photo, they are in the dining room-come playroom, but they are very light weight so I move them around the house to wherever I feel they are most out of the way at the time. The other thing that I love about my indoor washing line is that through winter we are running the heater anyway, so we might as well take advantage of this, killing two birds with one stone (awful expression!) instead of running the clothes dryer as well.
Another system I have which I think helps a lot is that I wash our clothes separately so they are easy to sort. The kids have a dirty clothes basket so I wash theirs together, my husband has two – one for his filthy work clothes and one for his casual clothes and I do mine separately. There is another basket in the bathroom for towels and linen. If I’m honest I pretty much always dry these in the clothes dryer. I don’t really use it for much else as its so expensive but towels come off the line like cardboard otherwise. (I’m not into chemical softeners.)
Finally, I don’t iron. Not one thing. I don’t even have an ironing board. I think there is an iron in a cupboard somewhere that a guest once bought to iron her shirt for a job interview. Honestly, life is too short and I am too busy. I spent my childhood watching my mother loathe her piles of ironing and while granted, thanks to her hard work, we always looked immaculate, I don’t want to spend 1/4 of my life ironing. Im not going to get to my death bed and think “gee, I wish I’d ironed that shirt in 2005.” Maybe when the kids start school next year I might do school uniforms but even then, with boys pants and polo shirts, I think I could get away with drying them on hangers. A lot of fabrics these days don’t crease badly anyway unless you’re wearing 100% cotton.
So there you go. That’s how I tackle the endless, thankless chore of washing! Well, me and a gigantic 10kg washing top loading machine.
Feel free to comment with your tips!
Most surprising are those moments in mothering,
When you’ve done nothing but shout all day
and you’ve wished yourself far away,
To somewhere quiet, somewhere clean,
Somewhere where white linen is more than a silly idea.
When being a mother is swallowing you like a prescription pill,
and you’re breathless with quiet rage.
Frozen in the face of anxiety and expectation,
And guilt and judgement
When the tedium of washing and cleaning
and questions and cooking and washing and feeding
is equal to the weight you now carry on your stay at home mum belly…
And everybody is asking you “what’s for dinner?”
There will be a sparkling little moment,
A tiny shiny jewel,
Worth far more than the ring that brought you here.
Perhaps more precious and bewildering
than even conception itself.
Your little boy with his enormous heart,
And eyes like your own,
will for no reason other
than the fact that you are his mother,
Say to his brother, “let’s go and pick mum some flowers!”
And his brother will say “yes, good idea!
But not too many.
Because flowers are nature
and without nature,
we can’t breathe.”
In those most surprising moments,
I’m so thankful I am here.
And I smile at my babies
Who noticed the pretty daisies
Long before their mother.
I realise for many of you, snow is nothing new. But for us here in central Victoria, Australia, it’s a real rarity.
Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold, really cold. Frost covered lawns, hail, rain and crazy winds. Even snow occasionally, but rarely does it fall so heavily and settle on the ground so thick.
Today was just magical for us. Our boys now 5 and almost 3, have never seen snow and I haven’t had many opportunities in my life either to have a snowball fight or build a snowman. Limbs and leaves clothed in sparkling white, it was truly a sight to behold.
We live in a country-ish town at the foot of Mount Macedon and this afternoon we bundled the kids into the car in their warmest woollies and headed up the mountain. Snow began hitting the windscreen as we drove higher and was met with squeals of delight… By all of us!
Honestly, it was like driving into Narnia.
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I was just having a read of Barbara’s blog over at the new good life and she was talking about de-cluttering and the never ending battle against kids toys taking over our living areas.
Thought I’d post a few pics of some of my storage solutions.
That unit pictured with the shelving and wire drawers is brilliant for toys. I originally purchased it for the laundry but found the drawers weren’t big enough to be very practical for sorting our mountains of washing. For toys however, it’s ideal. It tucks away neatly in a corner. I can categorise types of toys in each drawer eg: cars in one, musical instruments in another, action figures in a third, puzzles in the fourth. And because the baskets are wire and the shelves open, the kids can easily see what they’re looking for without tearing 5 million toys apart as they do when they are all in a toy box.
Lego is a whole new world for us since my son’s 5th birthday a few weeks ago so at the moment we are working from an upturned kids’ play table. It keeps it contained and I can easily move it from the floor to the dining room table depending on where the kids are playing but long term I’m working on a better solution. Stay tuned!
And of course, every little boy needs a weapons chest yes?? Sigh… I quickly came to the realisation that boys will turn anything they can get their hands on into a gun or a sword so I’d rather it be something made of plastic than – my curtain rods for example. Or my now ruined rolls of wrapping paper. Or their father’s guitar, an attachment for the pram, a hobby horse, a broom… You get the idea.
The formula tins pictured contain sorted small toys like army men, smurfs, animals, marbles and other bits and pieces. The empty baby wipes box holds about 50,000 matchbox cars. The shelf of books is the spillover from another matching bookcase full of children’s books.
I’d like to say this is where their toys begin and end but there is still a big plastic bucket tucked under the coffee table and 3 tubs of craft supplies in a cupboard. Plus other things like board games hiding away in any nook and cranny I can find!
How do you store your kids toys? Are you winning the war?
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Tonight, the winter holidays and our family break comes to an end and we will be back to a frosty reality tomorrow morning. Hubby has had three weeks off work and being cold and wintery, we haven’t done a lot, but rather simply enjoyed spending time at home together. We celebrated our little one’s 5th birthday and caught up with my sisters’ family, down from Sydney for the school holidays and spent a weekend with C’s family. Other than that though, we’ve just relaxed and enjoyed slowing down a bit. The kids stuck to their father like glue which was in some ways a bit sad for me. My babies are now little boys learning how to be men and not very interested in hanging out with mum when dad’s around. (Especially as he was a bit of a novelty I suppose.) On the other hand, it was so lovely to get a break, sleeping in and spending some time on my own for a change.
Tomorrow morning however, the madness of getting the kids fed, dressed and out the door for an 8.30am kinder start, begins again.
In fact, term three starts for most kids tomorrow so I thought I would share my secret weapon: our “Action Station.” (Pictured above)
Each family member has a box on the top row for their bag, hat, and scarf and below it, a box for their shoes. My DIY key hooks mean never doing the mad key hunt and the silver bowl holds bits and pieces like phones, wallets and sunglasses. Having everything in one central spot is an easy way for me to pack everyones’ bags and lunches and the kids know exactly wear to find their boots and hats etc… To get themselves organized quickly.
The storage cubes were just cheap from Aldi, the frames for the keys were from target, and the hooks and wooden letters were from Bunnings.
I also lay the kids clothes out on the couch, make lunches the night before and put breakfast stuff out on the bench so everything is ready to go without requiring too much thinking.
And that’s how I make our mornings manageable, how about you? Would love to hear your tips and tricks!
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My great big five year old celebrated his birthday last weekend and requested a spider man cake. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a convincing additive- free version but the Hoppers natural food colours that I bought from Healthy Angels were really vibrant and looked great. I added a little yellow to the red to brighten it and used an entire bottle of blue! Piping the dark chocolate for the spider web was tricky for a decorating novice as it set quickly making it quite unforgiving but I was pleased with the overall outcome. I used this simple chocolate cake recipe and bought the Spider-Man chocolate moulds off eBay. J5 loved it and it seemed to impress the 18 little boys and 2 little girls that filled our house wall to wall! They were so well behaved though – simple foods make a huge difference – sausages, plain chips, fairy bread with real butter and natural sprinkles, yummy earth natural lollipops, honey joys etc…
There was no shortage of sugar but a noticeable absence of artificial foods, rashes and emotional melt downs!
The kids engaged in some fun party activities – decorating their own superhero masks, (I bought plain cardboard ones from a local cheap shop) playing “pin the Spider-Man on the web,” and of course, pass the parcel. The weather was cold, windy, rainy – everything you wouldn’t wish for, but kids being kids they still happily rugged up and played outside on the trampoline and in the cubby.
In all, it was an exhausting but really wonderful day making memories.
*WARNING! THIS STORY CONTAINS IMAGES THAT MAY BE CONFRONTING OR UPSETTING TO SOME PEOPLE.
I had the whole afternoon planned to the last minute.
Little R2 was having a nap. J4 was due at kindergarten at 2pm. After drop off, I’d head to Aldi and buy the little red trike on sale today for R2. My little one is becoming a big boy it seems, mastering the pedal and peeing in the toilet in the one week!
Ten minutes ’til 2, snacks were made, shoes were laced, hat on head and kinder bag packed. Ready!
But the universe had other plans…
The phone rang. It was C. No time for that, I’d call him back. I cancelled the call and gently opened little R2’s door to get him up.
But instead of finding my baby, I found “Dexter”… Or so it seemed.
My poor little man had had a nose bleed during his nap and was covered in blood. I got such a fright! I gathered him up and raced him into the kitchen to assess the damage and clean his dear little face. The phone rang again. It was C, again. I answered impatiently, “I’ve got 5 minutes to get out the door and get J4 to kinder! I’ll have to call you back!”
“Okay,” he said. “Call me back… I’m okay, but I’ve just had a really bad car accident.”
Sometimes as a mother, a wife, a woman, you have to just take hold of information, quickly filter what matters, put what can wait in a box in your head, and leave it to process later on.
The phone in one hand, the other hand mopping up R2’s bloody nose with a tissue, “I… I have to go. It’s 2 o’clock. I’ll call you back in a minute. In 5 minutes. But you’re ok?”
“Yeah, I’m okay,” he said.
“Okay, love you.”
It’s quite impressive, just how pear shaped one’s world can turn in mere minutes. Seconds even.
I did the kinder drop off. I spoke to C. He was okay, the car was not. I went to Aldi. The little red trike was not on sale today at all. We have to wait until Saturday.
The problem with Saturday, is that it doesn’t exist yet. And might not exist at all.
The future isn’t real. The only reality is right now. So breathe, look around and hold on tightly to the things that matter, right now. Be grateful, let go. Enjoy.