Monday, February 11, 2013

New Routine - Day 1.

So today was the start of the new routine.  Last night I wrote out a list of things that I would like to achieve.  I didn't pressure myself with a must-do attitude but instead felt relaxed and ready to face the day with a new focus.

The first big thing for me was to not sit down first thing and grab a cuppa whilst reading my emails.  This is a really huge change for me as it had become the norm.  Previously I would let the dog out, check and feed the animals, and then sit in the lounge with laptop on knee whilst drinking the first cuppa of the day.  I used to enjoy the peace and quiet of the house with sleeping children held within it.

Alas, it was all too easy for me to become waylaid and my 5 minute sit down would turn into a 2 hour computer fest.  Oh I'll just follow that link/read that article/chat to that friend/reply to those emails/look at those photos.  Can you resonate?   I'm very weak-willed and the queen of procrastination, not a good combination.

Today was different.

Today I didn't venture into the lounge to sit down until around 6.30pm.

Today I didn't turn on the computer until nearly 7pm.

So what did I do instead?  I had a thoroughly enjoyable day cleaning and tidying - yes really!

The morning started like any other.  I went out to check on the animals.  The absolute first thing to do once up and dressed is to let the dog out, then the next stop is to see to the neighbours chickens - they were let out and checked over. Back at home and it's time to check on the quails, let the rabbit out, unleash the chickens, and open the budgie cage - replenishing food and water stocks where appropriate.

Tiegan had by this time joined me, as had Taisia.  We sat in the kitchen together and ate breakfast. Yes really, I ate breakfast!!  One thing I'm determined to fit into this new routine is daily breakfast. I figure I need to start stocking up on the energy levels first thing in the morning.  I must be one of the very few people in the world who has to put 'Have Breakfast' on my to-do list or else it gets forgotten.  I just don't get hungry.

As soon as breakfast was done and dusted, I set to work.  Today's main task was to clean the kitchen.  I completely rearranged the items on the work surfaces, gave everywhere a good clean, and crawled on my hands and knees to scrub the entire floor.

I don't know if I have shared many (if any) photographs of our kitchen and dining area but I thought I'd put some of the 'after' photos here to remind me that it is possible to have a clean and tidy kitchen, even with a large family and an outdoor loving dog.

I am totally loving a home of which I can be proud of. Our last place never really felt like a home. It always felt like a temporary solution, even though we lived there for 6 years.  From day 1 we knew that the landlord planned on building houses in the garden and we knew we didn't want to live on a very busy main road without a decent sized space for the children and dog to play.  We didn't know how soon it would be before planning permission would be granted so it always felt as if we were a little in limbo really, awaiting the news.  I guess the same could be said for any rented home, it really is out of your hands so often and depends on the landlord and their circumstances.   We do very much love it here and so we are making the most of our time in this beautiful place whilst we have the chance, regardless of the rental status.

I'm enjoying buying all the little things that make a house a home and doing it on as little a budget as possible.   My motto for this year has been to only purchase things that either a) I really NEED, or b) make me smile.

I totally fell for these storage jars when I saw them on the Argos website.  Priced at under £15 for the set of three I just had to have them.  As they make me smile and my previous storage jars got broken, they fitted nicely into both categories of need and smile forming.

and this teapot just felt like a must...

As it was just £3.99 from a local store I didn't have to flinch at the price either.

Next is my new-to-me mixer.  This was a recent purchase from an ebay seller.  At £40 I really couldn't resist, particularly as it was such a lusciously lovely colour...

I really love it and it takes all the work out of baking.  I can just throw in the cake ingredients, turn the switch and have it mix whilst I grease the tins or wash the dishes.  I guess that means it's a time-saver too - definitely worth the money.  They retail at around £100 new but if you check out ebay you can get them much cheaper.  The reviews were a real mixed bag when I read through them (after purchasing as I hadn't seen them beforehand!) and I was almost dreading its arrival.  I am very happy with it though and have experienced none of the issues that seemed to have been causing difficulties for many.  

I'm really pleased with how clean and tidy the kitchen looks after today's efforts and really have high hopes of it staying that way for the foreseeable future - time will tell huh?

Don't you just love turning something you dislike or is broken into something you love?  I have recenty re-purposed a broken mirror.  I fell in love with the frame when I saw it at The Range and bought two, one for each of the 'big' girls.  As we were going to redecorate their rooms (at the old house) I stupidly didn't check inside the boxes when we got home and instead just put them aside.  I was really saddened when I opened one of the boxes and found that the mirror had a large crack in it. I couldn't return it as 6 months or so had passed since the purchase date so I popped it back into the box and hung on to it, always thinking how I could disguise the flaw.

When we moved here I wanted a chalkboard for the kitchen.  I had some old chalkboard paint left over from a previous project and wondered if I could convert the broken mirror into something with a purpose.  It was easily done.  I just painted the backing board of the mirror with the paint, giving it about 4 coats I think.  I love how it has turned out and am so very glad I didn't just get rid.  Rather elegant I think.

This afternoon I attempted to move the injured quail back in with her buddies but it wasn't to be.  I cleaned out the quail house and added the recovered girlie to the mix and all was well for a few moments.  I returned to the house to get a few treats for them and in that very short amount of time (less than 2 minutes), the cut around the quails eye had reopened and was bleeding.  I watched for a few moments to see what had caused it and the poor girlie was being chased and pecked by one of the others.  I immediately scooped her up, cleaned the wound again and popped her back in her solo hutch.  Clearly she needs longer to recuperate and she may never be accepted back with her siblings.  We shall have to seek out other company for her I fear but she does seem pretty happy with her lot.  Certainly she is bright eyed, eating and drinking well, and chirpy.

Once that ordeal was over and peace and harmony reigned once more, Joseph and I took a couple of treats up to the chicken girlies.  Charlie chicken came straight over, chattering away, which alerted the others to our presence.  They were given a few seedless grapes and seemingly had great fun rolling them around their pen and managing to peck through their skins eventually.  The girls have sat threading breakfast cereal hoops onto string to offer as treats for the chickens tomorrow.

The older two girls voluntarily helped me to scrub the floor - well actually, I did the scrubbing whilst they did tea-towel skating.  They played a game of Word Association whilst doing so and it was really interesting to hear the wide-ranging vocabulary used.  Whilst we were floor cleaning, the others were role-playing, reading, and looking through the flash cards.  There is a window that connects the kitchen to the lounge and it was great to be able to hear all the games being played and reading help given.

Later on I set up the egg-incubator to check it was in fully working order and able to reach the temperature required.  We could possibly have a delivery of eggs tomorrow or Wednesday so needed to ensure everything was in ship shape.  It was.  I will put it on again first thing tomorrow morning to enable the recommended half-day settling period.

At around 4.15pm I thought that Kira could do with a decent walk before settling for the night.  Some days we spend so much time outside with her that she doesn't need a separate walk, today has been very much an indoor day so a long walk was needed.  I went and saw to the neighbours chickens again beforehand, then set off on a stroll with Tiegan and Kira.  Lee had returned home by this time so I didn't have to worry about trying to control a dog that doesn't do lead walking and a 2 year old who wants to explore or be carried.   Tiegan and I ended up walking until near darkness fell.  We got home at around 6.15pm and was thankful that we hadn't ventured any further as we hadn't taken a torch with us.   We locked up the animals for the night before heading indoors and eating dinner - I'm so lucky to have a 17 year old willing to cook!

So, day 1 of my new routine feels like a great success.  I didn't manage to cross off everything on my list, but a huge job is out of the way in the form of the kitchen clean and I feel like that is an accomplishment in itself.  Along with playing animal mama and nurse, I don't think I did too bad a job.  There wasn't any non-done job on the list that can't wait until tomorrow and I am happy in the knowledge that I worked hard, all day, with no mindless internet roaming or chatting.  It isn't often that I am happy with how I've managed my time, but today I know that not a smidgen was wasted and it feels great.

I wonder what tomorrow will have in store for Day 2...


  1. were we sepearated at birth? I can easily turn a just checking emails into a tour of the WWW and I dont do brekkie either but insist everyone else does

    the storage jars are gorgeous and I love the chalkboard

    re the quail, quail are notoriously vicious and i had one that pecked another uninjured birds eye out probably so best to wait until the injured bird is completely recovered. reintroduction is always difficult as long as there's plenty of space it shouldn't be to fraught. I loved mine but they can be nasty especially whilst mating i always felt rather sorry for my girls when they went into breeding trios.

  2. sounds like a fab day - don't you love productive days like that - makes you feel on top of the world and all virtuous! Your kitchen is gorgeous, and I love those storage jars

  3. Fab :)
    Must be in the air I think bcs I made some massive changes to my diet today and looking forward to Day 2 also!

  4. Hi Julia,

    just found your blog, what a wonderful new life and adventure you and your family are embarking days of home educating have now come to an end, with my youngest of four about to turn 18 this year and starting A Levels, (his choice), at our local college........ I've enjoyed every minute of it and will miss it greatly.

    Looking forward to reading and seeing you tame your fabulous wild country garden.


  5. Wow your house looks beautiful!!