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Our Home: Christmas 2017


Welcome to the second day of our '12 Days of Christmas - Kiwi Mummy Blogger Blog Collaboration'. (More details are at the bottom of this post).

Yesterday, my blogging gal-pal Claire from My Other Name is Mum, shared how she made her hubby a DIY Beer Advent Calendar. Now that is one Advent Calendar that my partner would be more than happy to partake in. If you haven't seen Claire's post, be sure to pop over, have a read and share the blog love. Tomorrow Caitlyn from Life With Lochlan is chatting to us about co-parenting during the holiday period. Be sure to pop over after midday and have a read.

Today I am excited about sharing 'Our Home - Christmas 2017' and as a bonus, I'm also sharing a few tips of how I keep organised during the festive season. So grab a cup of hot chocolate (or tea/coffee) and I'm going to get let the photos do (most of) the talking. Enjoy!

It's starting to look and feel a lot like Christmas!




OUR CHRISTMAS THEME

One of my favourite family traditions when it comes to Christmas is decorating our Christmas tree and home on the 1st of December. For many years, we had a Silver & Purple theme, then when we moved into our new home, when we chose MERRY & BRIGHT. This year I felt I wanted a more simplified look (especially after completing the KonMari method, and when I saw the 'Icy Blue/Mint' range at KMart, I was sold. That being said, it wasn't until the afternoon, that we actually made the final decision about what colours we were going to use - I was torn, but now I am really glad I chose the Mint, Silver and White combination (with a splash of traditional red). I love it because it matches our home decor, so there were some items that I could still have on display because it matches our Christmas theme perfectly. 

I set up the tree for the kids and then let them 'go for it'. The kids love the freedom of decorating the tree, thankfully there was a bit of guidance from my 12 year old daughter, otherwise we would have had a bottom-heavy tree. While they decorated the tree, I decorated our home, adding little bits of Christmas, mainly in our living area. The last thing that is put on the tree is our star. My kids were very proud of their achievements and I think our tree looks great. Would you agree? 




OUR CHRISTMAS WREATH

We recently moved our tv to the centre of our mantle, this meant that our big family photo frame looked out of place, so I took it down, which left a blank space on our wall.  I changed all of the baubles on our wreath to match our new theme and hung it on the wall. I really like it there, however I still want a wreath on our front door (hmm).





OUR DINING AREA



FAMILY TRADITION: OUR BOOK ADVENT CALENDAR

 I wrap 12 Christmas themed books for the kids to open every day leading up to Christmas Day - on Christmas Eve the kids get a new book.


Have you decorated your Christmas tree? 
What colour theme do you have in your home this year? 

TIPS FOR GETTING ORGANISED THIS CHRISTMAS

1. Print your Advent Calendar Bundle {Free Printable}. Includes: Calendar, 40 Activity Cards (plus 10 blank cards) & Numbers. Two colour options available (Brights & Traditional).
Grab yours today! (it's not too late)






 2. Create and organise a Gift Wrapping Station using an under-the-bed storage container. This year I have chosen to stick with the theme - Mint, Silver and White.
(Guest Post on The Organised Housewife)







3. Create a Christmas Craft Box for your kids - all your craft supplies in one place.




What do you do to keep organised this Christmas? 


From my family to yours, Merry Christmas
& thanks for stopping by, 
Charlene


********

12 Days of Christmas Blog Collaboration 


I am delighted to be joining 11 amazing Kiwi Mummy Bloggers, in the "12 Days of Christmas - A Blog Collaboration". I must say, you are in for a real treat because these ladies (and their blogs) are fantastic. Each day for the next twelve days, each blogger will be sharing a Christmas themed post e.g. Craft, DIY, Inspiration, Recipe or Family tradition, at 12PM (New Zealand Daylight Time). I have included a full list of all the bloggers taking part in the blog collaboration below, so you can see who is blogging on what day. Seriously, you don't want to miss a post! I am really excited about seeing what each blogger is going to share. 

Finally, if you are looking for more Christmas inspiration, don't forget to hop around and visit each of the bloggers in this list (list will be updated daily)  or find us on Facebook and Instagram - simply search #KMB12DaysofChristmas.

Tomorrow we are visiting Caitlyn from Life With Lochlan who is going to be chatting to us about co-parenting during the holiday period. Be sure to pop over after midday and have a read.



Day 1 (1st December) 
 My Other Name is Mum - Beer Advent Calendar
<---- YOU ARE HERE ----> 
Day 2 (2nd December) 
Teacher by trade, Mother by nature  - Our Home: Christmas 2017
Day 3 (3rd December) 
Life With Lochlan 
Day 4 (4th December) 
Misses Mac
Day 5 (5th December)
Eva - The Living One / Eva - The Living One (FB)
Day 6 (6th December) 
Caroline Larnach
Day 7 (7th December) 
Day 8 (8th December) 
Day 9 (9th December) 
Day 10 (10th December) Hey Little Sweet Thing
Day 11 (11th December)
Day 12 (12th December) 



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Taking Stock - November 2017


Hi there! Can you believe it's been three months since I last wrote a blog post and six months since I wrote one for Taking Stock? That's insane...I've taken 'breaks' before but not this long, and I have missed it so much. I've missed connecting with YOU...my readers.

Welcome to the second to last 'Taking Stock' post for 2017. If you are new to Teacher by trade, Mother by nature (WELCOME) you can read all of my 'Taking Stock' posts HERE. Pip from Meet Me At Mike is the mastermind behind this series, so be sure to check out her blog. This is something I have been doing since I started blogging and will continue to do this year (well some of the year oops) - I love looking back at previous months. In a nutshell, it's simply taking a step back and 'taking stock' of what's currently happening in your life.

Here's what's been happening in the month of NOVEMBER...
Making: memories with my family, including getting our family photos taken by Simply Beached Photography.
Cooking: a family favourite - Mediterranean Meatballs. So good.
Drinking: lots of water! The weather is starting to warm up so my intake of water is increasing every day.
Reading: catalogues/current mailers for Christmas present ideas.
Wanting: this year to pause...just for a moment.
Looking: forward to seeing the rest of our family photos. I am obsessed with the sneak peek.
Playing: rugby, soccer and cricket out the backyard with the kids.
Deciding: what colour decor / decorations to use this year...stay tuned...all will be revealed soon!
Enjoying: listening to music on my Bluetooth speaker I got for my birthday...currently listening to P!nk's new album - Beautiful Trauma.
Pondering: how to spend our Summer holidays - I feel like a family road trip is on the cards again.



Celebrating: my birthday on Tuesday (28th November), I had a fantastic day - I had my school sing my happy birthday in English and Maori, followed by our family photos being taken and a yummy dinner and Pavlova for dessert.
Watching: Sisters on Netflix. Such a funny movie. 
Hoping: to finish my Project Life albums...I've been a bit slack lately. I must get back into it.
Needing: new clothes for Summer, my current clothes are not sparking any joy! Time to go shopping. Out with the old...in with the new.
Questioning: why my daughter ended up in hospital twice this year with Asthma. We were doing so well. #asthmasucks
Smelling: my new Fox & Ivy French Pear room spray - it's so good. I ordered a French Pear car diffuser from SoyDelightsNZ too. Can you tell I love French Pear? (I have an Ecoya French Pear candle too)
Wearing: pyjama pants - I bought a few new ones this month.
Buying: Christmas presents - we are keeping it simple this year - WANT/NEED/WEAR and READ.



Following: Sarah at Keeping Up With Joneses  (I recently gave Sarah's blog a makeover and new logo). I have just started following Beth at OrganisingWithB  - her LBD planner is #plannergoals
Noticing: it's hard to get back into blogging after having such a long break...fingers crossed I get my mojo back! I have missed connecting with you all.
Thinking: about my nephew and his family who have lost someone very special xx Fly High xx
Admiring: Leanne from Organising The Four of Us & Leanne Baker Daily. She is Ah-Mazing! 
Sorting: decades of my parents photos...from the 50's to now. It was a massive job, but oh-so rewarding.



Loving: my 2018 Leanne Baker Daily Planner. I chose Flourish and it is absolutely gorgeous.
Feeling: excited about going to P!nk's Beautiful Trauma Concert Tour next year! eek! I can't believe it's been 10 years since she last came to New Zealand.
Getting: ready for our 12 Days of Christmas - Kiwi Mummy Blogger - Blog Collaboration...it starts Friday 1st December over on my blogging gal-pal Claire's blog - My Other Name is Mum. Would love for you to join us! #KMB12DaysofChristmas


If you're not already following me on Social Media...you can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can see all my photos from the past several months and catch up on what I've been up to!



*********
Now it's YOUR turn...

I'd love for you to tell me, what's been happening in YOUR world? How was November for you?
Choose three (or more) words from the list and 'take stock' in the comments below.


Read previous Sunday Share: Currently & Taking Stock posts


Have a wonderful week

Charlene



KonMari With Kids: Sentimental - Photos



Welcome to my new series: 'KonMari With Kids'. 
If you have just joined me - WELCOME - I completed the KonMari method with my OWN belongings last year,  you can read 'My KonMari Journey' to see how I did. Now, it's time to get stuck into my kid's stuff - I have two children: Miss B, 12 years old and Master M, 3 years old.

Previously on the blog, I shared how I KonMari'd my kids clothes (Baby, Toddler and Tween), their books, Paper - including Art Work and School Memorabilia, TOYS, DVDs, Crafts, Stationery & Bedroom decor, Sentimental Keepsakes, and now it's time for the last sub-category: PHOTOS.

Marie suggests children as young as three years old can decide what gives them joy and the key principle is that each person should be making the decisions for themselves. Before you tackle your kids items, she does recommend you KonMari your own belongings first.

I am going to follow the principles she (Marie Kondo) suggested for tidying Sentimental...
  1. Gather all items in that category in one place. 
  2. Choose only those that spark joy 
  3. Store by category.

*******

Today I am sharing: Sentimental Photos

I am so happy to be finally sharing with you, the final subcategory of Sentimental. It's been a full on couple of months, and I haven't had a chance to blog until now! A few weeks ago I pulled out the 60L container of Kids photo albums and printed photos into the lounge and got stuck in. Note: I completed this task over two days, simply because it was huge task, there were A LOT of photos to get through. Here's what happened.

DAY ONE

BEFORE
In this container, I had albums, printed photos, photos in frames, scrapbooks and a few other random photos. During my 'KonMari With Kids' series, if I found any photos, I would put them in this container. It filled up pretty quickly. 


I took everything out and started to corral like things together and separated piles for each of my children (aged 12 and 3).  This didn't take long at all.

What happened next was the most time consuming part...

Marie mentions in her book, Spark Joy, "the basic rule is to remove all photos from their albums...but you don't need to do this for any albums that spark joy as a whole" - unfortunately for me, none of the albums sparked joy, they were old, torn (well-loved) and sun-faded. So I started removing ALL the photos from the albums, and I even found a few old school Kodak photo envelopes with photos in. 

I noticed I must have printed almost every single photo of my daughter when she was born, as I had two x 200 leaf albums FULL of just her first 2 months! and one album from 3 months to a year, then there were random printed photos from throughout the years. My son doesn't have many printed photos, so his photos didn't take as long.





Frames and albums emptied and ready to be donated.



DURING

Once I had removed ALL the photos from the albums, I was left with hundreds, possibly thousands of printed photos...now it was time to start the purging process - only selecting photos that spark joy. 

At this stage, I had to stop...I was so overwhelmed with the amount of photos, I decided to stop and start the purging process another day...looking back, I am really glad I did, because I wasn't 100% ready, and that is totally understandable.

I believe it is really important for you to be ready and committed when tackling such a huge task/category. You need to be in the right head space, and for me, I wasn't. Take the time to re-evaluate your KonMari goals and what your vision is. This really helped me! 


*******

DAY TWO 

After a couple of days, I returned to the photos. I had them temporarily stored in these small rattan baskets. The black box/folder is in fact an album with Photo CDs...I will be doing these separately, as it's a part of my next project, I have yet to decide if I will blog about it...watch this space. 

The rattan basket on the left are photos of my daughter (12 years old) and the one of the right are photos of my son (3 years old) - half of those are actually photos of my daughter EEK! The photos in the white basket (top right) are the kids 10th birthday and 1st birthday Photo bunting...these will be put in their keepsake boxes. The pile of photos behind them are our family photos and have been moved to my Photo box.


I started going through my daughters photos, corralling like photos together, and found in amongst them were family photos, my personal photos (e.g. friends weddings that we both attended etc) and a few of my son, which were added to his pile. I was happy to find all of my daughter's school photos - now I can add these to her School Memorabilia folders. 


AFTER
Now it may not look like much of a difference but I did purge over a third of my daughter's photos (remember she had a basket and a half worth of photos). I think when I start putting them into albums, I will probably find myself purging some more, and that is all part of reaching the 'click point' of what sparks joy and what I am happy with. I can't wait to get started. 



My daughter's photos on the left and my son's on the right


DISCARD PILE

Photos & albums that no longer spark joy were discarded straight away. 

FINAL WORDS

This is my temporary storage solution for my kids photos...each child has a rattan basket with their printed photos, their birthday bunting will go into their keepsake boxes, as well as my daughter's scrapbook. The photos in the zip lock back (pictured bottom left) are larger family photos and these will be stored with the rest of our family photos (See My KonMari Journey - Photos). 

It is such a relief to have all the kids photos in ONE PLACE and not in random albums that don't spark joy. Now they are ready to be organised and displayed. 


NEXT STEPS... MOVING FORWARD

Now that I have completed the 'purging/discarding' part of Sentimental Kids Photos, I have been thinking about how I want to organise and store them, so that everyone gets to view the joy sparking photos. 

Before I began this sub-category, I asked my daughter (in regards to photos of her)..."In 10 years time, what would prefer to look at...printed photos (in albums) or a photo book?" and she replied "printed photos"...this made me so happy because I do love printed photos and in 10 years time, who knows, the way things are evolving, there might not be printed photos, so we will treasure them until that happens. 

"My goal is to put all the printed photos I currently have into
 'joy sparking' albums and add to them as my kids grow older"

My next goal, well an ongoing goal, is to get photos of the kids printed and put into their albums and get them up to date...SnapFish currently offer FREE 50 x 6x4 prints each month, so I am going to take advantage of that, and when I can I will print more photos. It's an investment for my children, and I know they will appreciate looking back at all these photos in years to come. I will also do the same for my personal photos and my partners, so we will all have 1-2 albums each. 

I think for our family photos - I will create 'Yearly photo books' dating back to 2014, when we became a family of four. I already have 2013 printed, so that's a start, right? There are so many options out there at the moment, and it can be quite overwhelming, however, now I have a vision of what I want for my family, I am determined to get my photos off my devices and into books (whether they are printed albums or photo books. 

I am excited about my next project,  it's a big one, one that won't happen overnight so watch this space.

******

And that my friends, brings us to the end of my 'KonMari With Kids' series...I hope you have enjoyed reading about our journey, and that it has inspired you to give the Konmari method a go for yourself. 
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me, I am more than happy to help. 

Thanks for reading, 
Charlene


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KONMARI WITH KIDS: SENTIMENTAL - KEEPSAKES


Welcome to my new series: 'KonMari With Kids'. 
If you have just joined me - WELCOME - I recently completed the KonMari method with my OWN belongings, read 'My KonMari Journey' to see how I did. Now, it's time to get stuck into my kid's stuff - I have two children: Miss B, 12 years old and Master M, 3 years old.

Previously on the blog, I shared how I KonMari'd my kids clothes (Baby, Toddler and Tween), their books., Paper - including Art Work and School Memorabilia, TOYS, DVDs, Crafts, Stationery & Bedroom decor, and now it's time for Sentimental.

Marie suggests children as young as three years old can decide what gives them joy and the key principle is that each person should be making the decisions for themselves. Before you tackle your kids items, she does recommend you KonMari your own belongings first.

For Sentimental, I am going to follow the principles she (Marie Kondo) suggested for tidying Komono:
  1. Gather all items in that category in one place. 
  2. Choose only those that spark joy 
  3. Store by category.

*******

Today I am sharing: Sentimental Keepsakes

I have shared in my previous KonMari posts that I am a sentimental hoarder. My partner tells me I always make connections to something - which is true. When I see or touch items from my past I am instantly taken back to that moment in time. So when it came to going through my kids sentimental keepsakes, I knew it was going to be a big job, mentally and emotionally. I had to think about the end result - How much stuff am I willing to keep and part with? Is it going to fit in the containers I have? 

Recently, I decided that this was it. I was mentally and emotionally prepared to go through the kids sentimental keepsakes. So I pulled the containers into the lounge and started going through it all. Here is my journey...

BEFORE 

These containers have been staring at me for weeks and it was finally time to pull them all out and go through it all, once and for all. 

Over the years I have been purging items from Miss B's keepsake containers, however I haven't touched Master M's so I'm not entirely sure what I have actually put in there. Eep! (Note: I will be doing Photos in a separate post).

TIP: If you have a lot of sentimental keepsakes: make sub-categories e.g cards, decor, sentimental toys, pregnancy etc. Breaking it into smaller categories will make it less daunting. This way you get to see what you have in that sub-category, making the purging process a bit easier. 



DURING

At this point you couldn't see the floor of my lounge. There were piles of stuff everywhere. I was slowly making head way with the kids sentimental keepsakes and some of the items I had stored away for safe keeping, didn't actually spark joy so I added them to my 'donate pile'. 

Choosing items that truly spark joy has become easier over time, and I am grateful for the KonMari method - I don't think I would be able to pare down as much as I have, if I hadn't used the method. 

Special items of clothing were also added to the kids keepsake boxes - these are the items that remind me of when they were newborn or frequently wore - these are the all time favourite pieces - they bring a lot of joy. 


Blankets, sheets, wraps etc - there were a lot! So I kept a couple of our favourites and have donated the rest. 


 AFTER 

A few years ago I set up a 27L keepsake box for each of the kids - it was filled with items from their First Year, including their baby books. However as they have grown older, I wanted to add special mementos to the box, but the boxes became too small. So I upgraded to a 60L container each (I just used what I had) and now EVERYTHING can be found in one place. 

 



Before I put the 'First Year' keepsakes into the 60L container, I took a photo of what I actually decided to keep for each child.

Master M's includes special towel from Great Nana, booties, a few giraffe items (that was his theme), footprint art, teddy, pregnancy journal and cards from his birthdays etc.


Miss B's keepsake box includes: pregnancy journal, capsule of special items from the day she was born, art from a close friend, pillow she made, and a few soft teddies from her childhood. (see below for what's in the box).


In the Paris box, Miss B has her special treasures. These treasures are also special to me too, as they remind me of the first seven years that it was just us. (If you didn't know, I was a single mum before meeting my partner (and Master M's Dad).


GREETING CARDS
My son loves all of his cards, based on the covers, so I can't argue with that joy, so I have decided to keep all the kids cards and I am okay with that, so are they.

At the moment I have all the cards organised by year and wrapped in a rubber band. I have thought about turning the cards into a book, using binder rings, however I'm not 100% sure. When I decide, I will definitely let you know. For now, this system works for me (I have done the same with my own cards).
*** TIP ***
If you ARE purging any cards, cut the fronts off and donate them to your local PlayCentre, Childcare centre or hospital (Kids Ward) as they are can be repurposed for crafts.

DONATE PILE

I was amazed at how quickly my donate bin filled up. Some of the items I am going to try and sell, and the rest will be donated. 


*******

It's a great feeling going from three 'overflowing' containers each child to ONE. I am very proud of my efforts, and there is still room in the containers to add more special keepsakes over the years, as my children grow. When I look at the contents in boxes, I see a snapshot of my children's lives (12 years and 3 years) and that SPARKS so much JOY for me. Now I can put them back in the wardrobe and not have to worry about containers falling on me when I open the door.

Each of my children have: 
1 x A3 & 1 x A4 Art Folder
1 x 40L School Memorabilia
1 x 60L Sentimental Keepsakes 
and that is what they will be given when they leave home (but that's not for ages!!). 

Next step: to find containers matching their School Memorabilia colours (purple and green), I did find the perfect container online, however when I contacted the company, they no longer sell them and shouldn't be on the website. I was bummed. Fingers crossed I find something suitable, in the meantime, the containers I have will have to do.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, please feel free to PIN and/or SHARE with your friends and family.

Thanks for reading, 
Charlene

Coming Up Next: KonMari With Kids: Sentimental - Photos 
Saving the best (and hardest) till last - {PHOTOS}. Join me as I tackle the (lack of) printed photos I have of my children, and make a new plan moving forward. 

I am super excited about this new series 'KonMari With Kids' and would love for you to follow along in this process, better yet, join me - Subscribe to my Blog, so you don't miss a post and together we CAN 'KonMari With Kids'. I will also be sharing my journey on my Facebook page, and Instagram, so be sure to follow me there too.


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