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Housework and how we keep on top of it!

The laundry basket was never empty, the ironing basket overflowed and the kitchen looked like a disaster area. I was drowning in a sea of housework, had miserable kids who kept getting nagged at because they weren’t doing the chores they’d been given and something needed to be done to make this home clean and happy again.

My solution?

Lists, and lots of them.
Not all for me you understand. I mean come on, I’m only one person out of the five who live here so there’s no way I’m going to do it all myself!

I turned to my trusty Microsoft Excel and created a weekly schedule for each member of the household; well all except for Daddy because he has enough work to do, at work!

Ella’s job list 🙂

Our schedule maps out the things we need to accomplish each day, including personal care like cleaning teeth, activity time and going to school as well emptying bins, loading the washer and doing the ironing. When a chore has been completed we cross it off and at the end of the day, if we’ve crossed them all off, we get a sticker. I’m happy to say, even Mummy gets one, usually picked by one of the girls 🙂
We also get to choose a special trip or activity to do together on the weekends when the kids stay home (they’re away at Aiden’s dads every 2 out of 3 weekends).

We’ve been working to the new schedules for a month now and the house has never been so clean and tidy!

KayCee likes to doodle on hers!

Sticking to the schedule and sharing the chores between the family means that we have more time to spend together; we try and do an activity each night once the kitchen has been cleaned after dinner. It’s lovely to be fully focused on the children, not rushing round trying to get everything done before the bedtime routine starts.

Of course, not everyone is as happy with the lists as I am, for example, Ella (4) had a mini rant the other day, that went something like this:

Ella: While loading the washer with a grumpy look on her face….Why do I have to fill the washer? They’re not all my clothes and if everyone stopped getting them dirty I wouldn’t have to wash them.
And if nobody got anything out, I wouldn’t have to pick up and put away so why don’t we all just stop getting our clothes dirty and stop getting things out then I won’t have to do jobs, ok?

KayCee, Aiden and I were laughing too much to answer her!

This post was written using a blogging prompt from Tots 100 and Morphy Richards

Entryway Makeover

I keep seeing lovely entryways on Pinterest or when browsing Better Homes & Gardens. For a while now I’ve wanted somewhere more organised for the girls to store their coats/shoes/bags/helmets/hats/scarves etc

We had a set of drawers and a bookcase in the hall before I decorated the bedrooms and the girls had a small space at the side of the bookcase to hang their coats. It wasn’t big enough for school bags as well, in fact it was barely big enough for their school and play coats!

I put the set of drawers into the girls room when I decorated it and moved the bookcase to the space left by the drawers. This gave me a full wall to make a place for the girls to store all their outer wear.

I’d have loved to create something like this


Image Credit – Better Homes & Gardens

but this would cost significantly more (especially seeing as we’d have to start by buying a bigger house!) than I wanted to spend so I set my sights lower!

This is the hall before the makeover:

and here’s how it looks now:

I started by painting the original coat rack white then went to B&M and bought a couple of new coat racks for £2.99 each and a set of 3 baskets for £9.99.
I already had the shelf in the shed. It used to be in the girls room before we decorated and it was from the B&Q value range, a bargain at only £3.98.

When they come home from school, they put their school coats on the middle coat rack so that in the morning, the radiator warms them up!

The nice, neat shoe box belongs to KayCee and the messy one belongs to Ella. I was going to straighten Ella’s shoes in her basket to make it look good for the photo but I figure it shows their different personalities and needed to stay 🙂

The pictures of the girls would have had to be moved slightly higher to fit the basket on the shelf so I decided to move them to another wall and I plan on getting the kids to make a nice big piece of art to fill the space.
For the time being, we’ve got the photos they had taken with various characters from our Butlins holiday last year (hiding the holes until I get round to filling them and repainting the wall!) and I just used Blue Tac to put them up seeing as I still haven’t gotten around to framing them yet.

So (including the shelf) the total cost of the makeover was £19.95 and I’m really very pleased with it 🙂

Girl’s Room – Makeover

The girl’s room is finished, finally 🙂
I can’t believe how long it took and I’m absolutely shattered but it was all worth it. The girl’s love it.

Here are the before photos…


After 🙂







Time to get organised

New Year always brings with it a deep seated need in me to rearrange and reorganise the house.
I know Ant will now have a sinking feeling in his stomach after reading that because he dreads those words but it has to be done I’m afraid!
I’ve ordered Aiden a new wardrobe and I’ve also ordered two DVD shelf units from Very to accommodate our growing DVD collection. The bookcases we are using at the moment are most likely going to go into Aiden’s room as the white bookcase he has in there is broken. As you can see, the new DVDs the kids had for Christmas are piled on top of the shelves because we’ve run out of room.

I’m sending Aiden’s canvas Spongebob wardrobe to my sister’s for one of her boys. It was fine when Aiden was younger and all his clothes were small but now he’s getting bigger, it’s useless. His clothes won’t all fit in the hanging shelves and it’s been used as a place to store all his board games for the last couple of years. His clothes have been on the bottom two shelves of his bookcase, which isn’t a very good place for them either so I decided I’d had enough and he was having a proper wardrobe.
I want to give his room a new coat of paint to freshen it up and I’m looking at getting him a throw for his bed because he just can’t seem to keep duvet covers on the duvet! He asked if it could be painted because he said he’s too old for Spongebob now!

The girls are going to have new bunk beds and a wardrobe each and I also want to repaint their room. It’s been about 3 years since we last decorated it and it’s looking a bit grubby now. They currently each have their clothes in a 3 tier toy storage unit that we bought from Argos but they’re getting a bit small now.
I’m going to use these for their toys, along with the other unit they have that’s similar and hopefully that will provide enough toy storage for everything they got for Christmas.
I’m not doing a themed room when I decorate this time because it costs a fortune. We’re just having pink walls and maybe some butterfly stickers or something.
I’m going to get new tab top curtains and a curtain pole because I’m sick of the curtain hooks coming off and them looking messy all the time. I’ve also decided to get them pink canvas furniture for their room. They’ll love it more than a wooden wardrobe and as it’s cheaper I’ll be able to afford other units so they’ll have more storage.
I’ve just seen a half price offer in Argos for a pink canvas wardrobe set but obviously it’s out of stock everywhere! I hope it comes back in stock before the offer finishes but knowing my luck it won’t!
So the plan of action for today is to dismantle Aiden’s Spongebob wardrobe, empty his bookcase and sort all his stuff out.
I’m also going to take the princess tent down in the girl’s room and sort their clothes out. I need to get the toys put away so I might put the girl’s clothes in our room until we get the new furniture.
Granddad’s taking me to B&M so I can price up the curtains, pole and paint for each room and hopefully I’ll find out from Very when the new DVD shelves are going to be delivered. They arrived at the Lincoln depot on the 31st Dec so hopefully I won’t have to wait too much longer.
I’m eager to get started so I’m off to have breakfast and a coffee (Yummmmm Tassimo coffee!!), get the kids off to school and Ant off to work so I can get cracking 🙂

34 Days till Christmas

I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday watching Christmas movies upstairs and wrapping presents. Before wrapping could commence though, I had to do a stock check! It took me a couple of hours to gather all the gifts together, make a list of every item then update my excel sheet.
I feel so much better now it’s all organised again. It was worth doing because I discovered gifts for a niece that I’d forgotten I’d already bought and I’d got more on order for delivery on Wednesday.
That saved me some money!

The day started off Christmassy… I watched 2 movies in the morning, one was at 5am because I couldn’t sleep. It was called Twice upon a Christmas

and was a follow on from the movie I watched yesterday, called, unsurprisingly, Once upon a Christmas!

I watched A Christmas Kiss before Ant and I had lunch then I went upstairs while he went into work.

I took my laptop upstairs and used it to watch Christmas movies that we have stored on the server. I watched Kelsey Grammer in the musical version of A Christmas Carol. Well, I say watched, I mainly listened seeing as I was knee deep in presents/wrap/ribbon/tape etc!

After that, I watched A Christmas Romance starring Olivia Newton-John…..

followed by (and the last one for the day!) The 12 days of Christmas Eve.

I wrapped just under 50 gifts and still have more to wrap today. The good news is, I only need to buy about another 10 presents and I’ll be done…..before December even starts!
I do like this wonderful feeling of being totally organised as opposed to the brain scribbling incident I went through the other day.
I do need to crack on with making my Christmas cards though. I still have about 40 to make so that’ll be my task for Monday when the kids are at school.

I must admit to feeling very Christmassy and in a really good mood tonight! Mind you, after all those movies, it would be hard not to feel Christmassy!

I’ve just remembered that I should have made a fruit cake for Granddad’s birthday so the girls could decorate it when they get home. I’m going to have to make it first thing in the morning so it has time to cool.
I’m also going to make 2 more fruit cakes, one for Aiden’s scouts Christmas fair and one for the girls school Christmas fair.
I’ve ordered some decorations from Asda. They’re being delivered Wednesday which gives me plenty of time to decorate it before Saturday.
We haven’t had the date for the school Christmas fair yet but when we do, we’ve decided to make some ‘I’m melting, melting….‘ cookies as well as the Christmas cake 🙂

Now I’d best get some sleep in case I’m awake at 5am again!

Brain ache!

My brain is aching, my eyes are sore and I’m still not done buying Christmas presents.
I’ve been online all day trying to find gifts for everyone and I think someone is now inside my head scribbling on my brain!

I took a break and made a new background and header for my blog (I get bored with site designs easily!) but while immersing myself in something creative usually gets me focused on the task at hand, all I could think was that I need to get my excel sheet in order so my mind can rest.

This weekend, when the kids are away at Aiden’s dads, I’m going to list everything I’ve bought, everything that’s been ordered but not delivered and find the list that I made of all the presents I wrapped the other day so I can get my excel sheet up to date.
I’m then going to list all the gifts I still need to buy and get it all ordered next week so I can relax and look forward to Nanny and Jack’s Christmas party.

They have a party every year around the second week of December so that all the family can get together (we all live quite far apart from each other) and exchange gifts so I have to have my gifts for Ant’s side of the family done and wrapped by then.

I really can’t wait to feel organised again. I’m usually very strict about updating my sheet whenever I buy/order/wrap gifts so I’m not sure how I got so behind but I can safely say, I won’t let it be happening again….I don’t like my brain being scribbled on!

Dear So & So – The poorly foot edition

Dear foot,
please hurry up and get better. I feel like an old woman, hobbling everywhere.
These arch supports are doing a fantastic job; they help keep the pain to a minimum but my poor skin is starting to feel it now. Being wrapped up all day and all night long is making the skin dry and sore.
I really would appreciate it if you could stop now and get better.
Thanks in advance, her in pain.

Dear great big huge *bleeping* printer,
you made me cry and shout and swear….a lot yesterday. You made my big toe nail go instantly blue and you did it on the already poorly foot. (For anyone confused, I was sorting out the cupboard under the stairs and we have a huge heavy printer on the floor in the cupboard. I tried to move it by myself, which didn’t work out very well) I feel sure there’s a conspiracy against me but ‘they’ whoever they are will not win!
Yours, the one who is disgruntled and not at all happy with you.

Dear husband,
thank you for putting up with my cleaning/sorting/organising session over the last few days. Thank you for getting the new shelves. I love being able to walk in the cupboard and have everything to hand without having to pull loads of boxes out first 🙂
You’ll be pleased to know the living room no longer looks like a bomb has hit it but I can’t say the same about the kitchen yet, sorry *kiss*

Or the hall…sorry *kiss kiss*

Or our bedroom….sorry *kiss kiss kiss*

Good job you love me, isn’t it darling? :oD

Dear So and So...

Today’s plan of action

I’m in the mood to sort/re-organise/de-clutter (bet Ant’s heart sank into his stomach reading that!!) and get this house ready to celebrate Christmas. I have lots to do and not much time left.

Ant really dislikes it when I get in these moods and I know that he sometimes checks the bin to see what I’ve chucked out. He probably rescues things as well but I’m happier not knowing any of that!

Yesterday, I spent most of the morning re-organising the small storage area that is next to the front door. Ant uses it to store decorating/plumbing/tiling equipment as well as left over pieces of wood, pipe, well lets just say he saves everything and has a huge amount of ‘stuff’.
I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture but let me try and explain what it looked like when I first opened the door….the shelves were facing the left. They had large plastic storage boxes on the shelves as well as paint cans, an old rusty lamp (which is quite lovely and would be really nice if it were taken back to it’s original condition) along with tools, rags and various other bits and pieces.
You couldn’t actually get to most of the stuff on the shelves though because stacked up in front of them was an old computer monitor, a gas canister, loads of pieces of wood, pipe, curtain track, a blue pirates chest full of jigsaws and a box of things taken out of the old car when it got written off.

I emptied it all onto the garden, sorted it out and re-organised the shelves, after turning them round to face the front rather than the the left. This gave me free space to fit another set of shelves and I’m quite excited about having some extra storage space! I’m quite easily pleased, obviously!
Here’s a couple of pictures of yesterday’s work…


I only threw away the actual rubbish and put all his ‘stuff’ back on the shelves in a more organised manner. All the wood/plastic/metal ‘stuff’ is being put in the garden shed for now. I’m sure we’ll have to deal with it again when it comes time to sort that shed out next spring ready for the new season but for now, I’m happy not to have to deal with it!

Later, after Ant’s visited his mum, he’s going to pick up a new shelving unit from B&Q so we can utilise the space better and I’m going to empty the cupboard under the stairs and move the majority of it into the front shed. Emptying the cupboard is a mammoth job, one which I’ve done countless times and one which isn’t that much fun but needs must, as they say.
Ant wants to get the server into the cupboard under the stairs so hopefully after tomorrow, he’ll have space to do that when he gets time.

I also need to re-organise the kitchen cupboards because they’re getting messy again and I have to say, I dread this chore. It is actually worse than emptying the cupboard under the stairs because most of the cupboards are on the floor and it hurts my back and knees having to get down there. I do admit to feeling so much better when the kitchen is done though so I’ll grit my teeth and get it done. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, very soon!
Ideally, I’d like to move the kids pc out of the kitchen but I’m struggling to find another space for it. I’ll keep thinking about it because sooner or later the answer will come and I’ll wonder why I didn’t think about it straight away.

So those are my plans for the day. How about you….doing anything fun? I’ll need to read about nice happy things once I’ve tackled that lot so please, do share!

Countdown to Christmas

Time to start a Christmas card list and as usual, mine is on a page in my Excel spreadsheet.
However, no matter how hard I try, I always forget to post the cards to family and friends who I won’t be seeing over Christmas. I end up relying on other family and friends to pass them on if they happen to see them!

So this year, I’m stocking up on stamps, I’m phoning my mum to get everyone’s address and I’m getting all my cards made, written and ready to go by the beginning of December 🙂

I bought a Forever Friends card making kit from Argos for £19.99. Obviously, it’s not as cheap as buying cards and to be honest, I do have loads of packs of cards in the Christmas stash in the loft but I really wanted to send nice, handmade cards this year 🙂

If you have any posts with handmade Christmas card designs on, I’d love to see them….I need some inspiration!

Check out 101 Days till Christmas for daily tips on how to get organized for Christmas.

I’m going to be joining in ‘Festive Friday’ with the lovely Chris at Thinly Spread. Click the picture if you want to check out everyone’s Christmassey posts and/or add your own 🙂

68 Days to Christmas

Blimey….68 days already? (Well, nearly 67 now because I started this post this morning and haven’t been able to get it finished till just now…which is bedtime for me!)
Feels like I only did my ‘100 days to Christmas’ post a few days ago!

I haven’t been doing a post every day but I have been checking the daily tips and using them to help organise our celebrations this year.
I’ve bought some gifts, a big tin of Cadbury’s Roses and one of Mars Celebrations, some Shloer that was on a buy one get one free offer and some cheese footballs. Ant loves cheese footballs and every time I order them from Tesco or Asda in December, they’ve always sold out. When I saw them on offer in Tesco I snapped them up!
I got the kid’s advent calendars and some Santa and snowmen serving bowls.
I’m getting excited with each new purchase!

Today, the tip is to make a start on Autumn deep cleaning.
I did this last year, splitting each section to do on a different day so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
It really helped to make a list and to tick off each job when it was done.

Click to find out more about Autumn deep cleaning

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