Holiday Chore Charts

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts 6Well, the summer holidays are here at last and I’ve been notably absent ever since! The first week of our break was very chilled out and it was just what we needed. We spent a couple of days away with family and since coming home, apart from a meet up or two with friends, we have just stayed at home catching up on things we had been meaning to do for weeks. We can now officially see what colour our bedroom carpet is again! Hurrah!

I love having the children home from school during the holidays and always feel really sad to see them go back but, like every other family in the world, we have moments when I’m absolutely sure my children are competing to see who can be first to make my head explode! In the interests of avoiding any mess this would incur, I have drawn up ‘chore charts’ for the kids this year. Nothing serious, just a bit of a hand here and there to avoid aforementioned explosion.

I’ve told the children that if they can keep up with these chores, at the end of every week there will be a ‘chore check.’ If I’m satisfied that everything is done, there will be a monetary reward. (We are putting the ‘Mum Bucks’ system to one side for the holidays, I felt like we needed something fresh to get everyone motivated! And yes, I am shamelessly bribing my children #don’tjudgeme)

Here are their chore charts:

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts

Download a free blank version for your own use here

I’ve tried to keep it to the basic things I would expect from them (but the ones they seem to ‘forget’) as well as a few daily and weekly tasks to take the pressure off me a bit. I think they are more than capable of doing everything on their lists (they are now 12 and 9) and these are the small things that make a big difference to the overall state of the home. I don’t want to spoil their holidays by overloading them but they do need to understand that in order for me to have time to take them for days out and do the things they want us to do together at home, they need to pitch in and free up some of my time for the fun stuff.

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts

I printed off a chart for each of the children, gave each one a coloured background and laminated them so that each chore can be ‘checked off’ with a dry wipe pen. We have put a copy of each chart on the fridge along with a whiteboard pen so that the kiddo’s can mark each item off as they go and I will wipe clean the ‘daily’ section each morning so they can start again. I have to say, perhaps I’ve passed down the love of all things ‘organised’ but both of my children are incredibly excited to get going with their chart! Let’s see how long the novelty lasts! ;-)

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts

So, here we are, all set for a summer of harmony and un-exploded heads! I am really hoping for some better weather in the next few weeks. The start of the summer holidays has been a bit of a disappointment to say the least – I had envisaged ‘days in the garden by the paddling pool’ but it’s been more like ‘days snuggled under a blanket on the sofa’ so far. We are ‘stay-cationing’ this year so my fingers are very much crossed for an improvement.

Please forgive the lighter posting schedule over the summer, I will pop in here and there with an update or two but I am so aware that my children are growing fast and every minute they want to spend with me now is precious!

Has anyone else got any top tips for getting the children to help out around the home during the holidays (or any other time!)? I would love to hear about them in the comments.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

P.S. Linking up at The Twinkle Diaries ‘Home Etc.’ Blog hop.

Home Etc

 

 

How to make the easiest cake ever!

Home Heart Harmony Easy Cake How-to

We’ve had a fabulous weekend celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday. It was a gorgeous day on Saturday and we all went to a very lovely local hotel where we had a beautiful meal and some bubbly.

As I have mentioned before, I am the least capable person in the world when it comes to anything vaguely related to cooking or baking but with Mum and Dad being away on holiday until the day before the big day, I was put in charge of the cake. WHY? Argh!

By the time I found out about this, it was too late to get anyone else to make one so I had to bite the bullet and make my best effort. It turned out pretty well and my sister was delighted with it so I thought I would share with you all how I went about it just incase you are similarly domestically challenged and ever find yourself having to provide a cake for any occasion!

My sister doesn’t like butter icing but I was reliably informed that she did like this Betty Crocker Cream Cheese style icing.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

I decided that I would use this as a basis for the cake and thought about how I could make it look like anything other than a mess! One of my friends is a cake-making pro over at Minky Kitten Cakes and I remembered that she had recently shared a picture of a fruit-topped cake which I thought my sister would like (as she loves fruit). Using her picture as my inspiration, I proceeded to make the easiest (and most impressive!) cake I have ever made!! I surprised myself!

You will need:

  • A cake! (I wouldn’t dare to suggest that I know how to make a good cake but, for the sake of disclosure, I made a large-ish cake as there were around 20 people attending. I used 2 x 28cm diameter cake tins and made a victoria sponge mixture using 10 eggs, 500g flour, 500g caster sugar and 500g butter. I split the mixture between the 2 tins and cooked at 180 degrees for around 30 minutes. I spread jam and icing between the two and stacked one on top of the other.)
  • A tub of Betty Crocker cream cheese style icing
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • 1 pun net blueberries
  • 4 packets white chocolate biscuit fingers (I needed just over 3 but this will obviously depend on the size of your cake)
  • Ribbon
  • Some pretty flowers
  • Icing sugar to dust top

You know how they say that a picture can speak a thousand words? Well, I think this picture says everything that ever needs to be said about my cake-baking skills:

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

Moving on…Note how the cake is lop-sided and the icing haphazard to say the least? Well, the best thing about this cake is that none of that matters! It is all about to be covered up by loveliness!

When you have baked and covered your cake in icing, you simply prop your chocolate fingers against the side of the cake all the way around and then tie your ribbon around them to hold them in place. As it happened, I was buying flowers for a friend at the florist this week so I asked them to make a bow to tie on my cake at the same time. They were very helpful and gave me some extra ribbon as well as leaving the ends of the bow long enough to tie around the cake. I secured the bottom layer of ribbon with icing at the join and then tied the bow around as a second layer, which worked well because it was thinner.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

I bought some flowers at the supermarket four days before I would need them. They were still closed when I bought them and I purchased them early to allow time for them to open out. I bought a mix of pink peonies and roses but you could use any flowers you like.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

When I had finished tying the chocolate fingers, I left the cake overnight and then, on the morning of the day we would be eating it, topped it with the fruit (which I also purchased on the morning for freshness). After washing and drying the fruit with kitchen towel, I sliced the tops off the strawberries and placed them fairly randomly around, pointing sky-ward. I then literally ‘sprinkled’ the raspberries and blueberries in the gaps. It was as easy as that!

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

 

I cut the flowers off at about 3 inches, dried the ends off and just stuck them down in the gaps between the fruit. There was no rhyme or reason to this, I just kept popping them in until I thought it looked ok.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

 

Finally, I dusted the top (including the flowers!) with a light layer of icing sugar.

And voila! The easiest cake ever. If I can make it, literally anyone can! And it received some fantastic compliments! Apparently, the kitchen staff were even taking photos of it! Who would have thought it?

Anyone have any other tips for fantastically easy makes that an imbecile could manage? Those are the ones I need to hear about!! ;-)

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. I’m sharing this post over at The Happy Housie, Thrifty Decor Chick and The Twinkle Diaries.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

Home Etc

Weekly Organising Challenge – Organised Paperwork

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Organised Paperwork

Well, I’m a little ashamed to admit that my paperwork has got somewhat out of control. Our Command Centre has been a god-send in terms of keeping the paper clutter under control but eventually there comes a time when you have to make room for the new paper coming in and do something with what’s already in those lovely files. This has been my downfall. Initially, I was keeping on top of things and filing everything away around once a month but after a while I got a bit lazy about that (since the system was working so well, why struggle to do it once a month if it didn’t need doing?!) I now have a situation where nothing has been filed….all….year!! Oooops! The problem was, I hadn’t set up a new folder for 2015 so I just kept putting it off and putting it off. Well, enough of that. I have now purchased this delightful folder and some dividers so I thought I would get on and sort things out.

Floral folder from Tesco

Floral folder from Tesco

When I file my paperwork, I have always found that there are 5 or 6 main categories under which pretty much everything can be filed away. For us, these are as follows but I’m sure everyone has slightly different filing needs so maybe yours would be different:

  • Invoices
  • Insurances/Licences/Certificates
  • Finances/Taxes
  • School
  • Health

We then have a final section entitled ‘General’ for everything else.

I use one lever arch file for each year and section things off using dividers. I haven’t been able to find any really nice dividers so I decided to take matters into my own hands and create some pretty ones using some wrapping papers I recently found at Tesco along with some cheap dividers. If there is one thing sure to keep me using an organising system regularly, it’s having something pretty to look at! Always motivational!

The process

The process

I used the same technique to glue the paper to the dividers that I used for my pen pot and drawer update projects. Once the glue on the paper was dry, I laminated the finished item for extra durability (or just because I love to laminate!)

Well hello gorgeous!

Well hello gorgeous!

Now my paperwork is all organised in its new home and the command centre is once again on duty stemming the tide of paperwork flowing into our home!

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Organised Paperwork

Has anyone else been organising paperwork this week? I feel so good that some of these weekly projects are really making a difference to our home and we are facing the summer break in a much better, and more organised, frame of mind than we otherwise would have been. I just hope they can hold out against the onslaught of summertime chaos!

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. I’m sharing this post over at the iHeart Organizing Four Week ‘Wait No More’ Challenge.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

 

10 Top Teacher Gift Ideas

Teacher Gifts

It’s that time of year again. We are nearing the end of another school year and life has gone a liiiiittle bit crazy. It’s almost like the run up to Christmas except with different activities! Either way – exhausting! We have a major family celebration season going on at this time of year too with my husband, sister and daughter all having birthdays within a few days of each other as well as our wedding anniversary and all the end of term events. Lots of celebrating and too many late nights! I need to get my head in the game and get sorted with presents, cards, cakes, outfits etc. We also have the added stress of getting our daughter ready for a week away with school which takes her away over her birthday this year. It will be the first time I have ever not been with her on her big day so I’m feeling a bit emotional about that!

In the spirit of getting myself organised, I have been looking for inspiration for teacher gifts. I found some lovely ideas online and thought that they would be worth sharing just on the off chance you are also looking for ideas. We tend to try and keep our gifts low key and useful wherever possible and while I am not a teacher, I do work in a primary school so I get a flavour of the gifts that go down well and those that are not so well received!! So here goes, ten teacher gift ideas which might come in handy (with links to the original post for how-to’s etc)….

1. Pretty Clipboards 

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Echoes of Laughter

2. Beach Kit

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Sprinkle it with Fabulous’

3. Sharpies in a Cup

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

 

From ‘Slice of Heaven’

4. Pot Plant 

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Tiny Oranges’

5. Smart Cookies

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Crazy Little Projects’

6. Paperclip Jar

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Lil’ Luna’

7. Nail Varnish

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Gone Like Rainbows’

8. Paper Flowers

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Skip to my Lou’

9. Highlighter Jar

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Love the Day’

10. Teacher Survival Kit 

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Serenity Now’

That should give us all some food for thought! Most of these are fairly easy to put together and I’m sure the thought that goes into these gifts would be truly appreciated. If all else fails, gift cards are usually well received and there is always the option to club together with a group of other parents to buy a more substantial amount of gift vouchers which would really be useful to the recipient.

Does anyone have any great ideas for teacher gifts? I would love to hear about them in the comments. I hope you all enjoy the last couple of weeks of the school year, it’s such a precious time.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

 

Weekly Organising Challenge – Organised Linen Cupboard

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Linen CupboardI should have called this post ‘Organised Ironing Piles’ because that’s essentially what goes on in here! I have tried and failed more times than I care to remember to keep on top of my ironing. There are just never enough hours in the day and I have come to accept that there is never going to be a time when everything we own is neatly ironed and put away. Am I the only one? Perhaps we have too many clothes?

Instead of beating myself up over piles of un-ironed washing all over the house, I have designated our linen cupboard as the place to hide it all!! Now I just have a big ironing session on a Sunday evening and a couple of smaller sessions through the week (usually at 6.30 in the morning when I realise the kids didn’t hang up their uniform the previous night or I don’t have anything left to wear to work!)

Before

Before

I have organised this space in the not too distant past but as you can see, things have spiralled out of control, yet again! I’m going to blame the change in seasons for this one (just as I did with my last challenge!) The top shelf is home to our towels. I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture of this bit prior to emptying it out part way but it was just a mess of towels teetering up out of my reach and falling over into the back of the shelf never to be seen again! The two bags at the bottom here contain all the children’s ‘out-of-season’ clothes and as yet (due to the fact that we didn’t really stop wearing our winter clothes until a couple of weeks ago) I hadn’t got around to switching things around.

After

After – Ignore the mess of wires, they are an unchangeable feature!

Last week, I made the children try on all the summer clothes that had been packed away in these bags and washed pretty much every item of clothing we own! I then packed away all the winter clothes that still fit, gathered up anything that didn’t fit to be passed on to smaller family members and ironed and put away all their summer clothes (all while trying to pack for a weekend away – it looked like a Chinese laundry around here!) The children have an ironing basket of their own which lives in their wardrobe but I try to stay on top of their ironing a bit better so they don’t have too much sitting around un-worn before they grow out of it.

The two baskets on the higher shelves were supposed to be one for me and one for hubby but things have got a bit messed up as time has gone on and there was some confusion! (Yes, really. Can you tell?)

Some of the clothes in the bottom of those baskets have been lost for a while now and I certainly don’t have the patience to lift everything out each time I’m searching for one particular item so they just got forgotten about.

All ready to be pulled out and ironed when the mood strikes! (So, never then.)

All ready to be pulled out and ironed when the mood strikes! (So, never then.)

In order to avoid a reoccurrence, here are the things I have done differently this time:

  • Labelled the baskets so my things don’t get mixed up with hubby’s again.
  • Folded our clothes differently so that everything can be seen at a glance.
  • Thrown out any clothes we no longer wear.
  • Packed away all our ‘out-of-season’ clothes in the same way I do for the children.
  • Limited the clothes we kept to the amount the basket will hold – one in, one out from now on. No more hoarding old clothes with holes in thinking I will patch them up. It just isn’t going to happen!
  • Rolled all our towels rather than folding. It makes it much easier to reach them as they take up less space and the stack doesn’t reach such great heights any more!
  • Continued using the bags at the foot of the cupboard for the children’s ‘out-of-season’ clothes as this was working well.

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Linen Cupboard

From now on, as I take things out to iron, I’m sure they will be replaced with clean items coming out of the wash. To add new items, I just tip the basket up on one end and insert the new ones at the top. I suppose at some point, the basket may become less full and things might fall around a bit but, let’s face it, that’s very unlikely!! Here’s a quick final before and after…

Home Heart Harmony Before and After Linen Cupboard

Does anyone have any super-star tips for staying on top of the ironing pile? I would absolutely love to hear them. Please share in the comments. I wish there was a magic spell I could cast to get everything freshly pressed and hanging in the correct wardrobe whenever I desire! In the meantime, I’ll just have to stick with hiding it all away!! (Shhh!)

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. I’m sharing this post over at the iHeart Organizing Four Week ‘Wait No More’ Challenge.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

Painted Chest of Drawers

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest Update

Well, progress has been slow in our son’s bedroom as we spent the weekend moving furniture out, which had a knock on effect everywhere! We knew we were going to need some extra storage space in the garage to get this project completed so we ordered a new shed (which we’ve been meaning to do for ages) to house some of the things currently stored in the garage. Of course, we had to wait for the shed to be delivered and then it needed to be assembled so what with that and the painting project I’m about to talk about, the week has run away from us once again!

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

This chest of drawers which I mentioned in this post was one we had made for us a good few years ago. It was originally untreated pine but it went to live with my niece for a few years and my sister had it painted white. I liked the white but after years of use by both my niece and then us again, it was in urgent need of a new coat of paint.

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

The unit will now be in our son’s new bedroom and as such, I decided white paint wasn’t the way to go. His furniture is all from IKEA and the shade of the wood is called grey/brown. I definitely didn’t want to paint this chest brown so I thought it would be best to pick out the grey tones of his existing furniture and paint this one a dark grey. This colour is called ‘Grey Steele’ and it’s from the ‘Colours’ range at B&Q. It’s a water-based Satin finish. I really wanted to update the drawer pulls as well so I took off the old ones and replaced them with these antique brass effect ones. I think the antique brass looks great on grey and I’m so pleased with how the unit has turned out.

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

For those that are interested in the process, I sanded the unit first using a palm sander and then used two coats of a primer/undercoat to make sure all the imperfections were well and truly a thing of the past. I finished up using two further coats of the grey but for the top coat, I used a mini micro-fibre roller to get a better finish. Each coat didn’t take that long but I did allow plenty of drying time between each one so it’s taken a few days (probably a week actually by the time I finished it). I have to say, the micro-fibre roller was a game changer. I had intended to use one from the start but I didn’t get around to ordering it until I was half way through the process. The roller made the job so much quicker and easier and the finish was better too. I wish I’d had it earlier in the process!

This chest will give our son additional storage (as he will be losing a full height fitted cupboard in the move) and will also provide an extra surface for all his gadgets which will mean his desk can remain much clearer for homework and drawing (he is a keen little artist). He has desperately needed an extra surface for some time so he will be delighted with this, I’m sure.

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

When I showed him the finished chest today, he was really excited about it, he loves the colour and the drawer pulls were his favourite part. I can’t wait to get the room done now. I think it’s going to be a slow project though. We have SUCH a busy few weeks coming up with big family birthdays, weekends away and the end of the school year. We are just going to take it a bit at a time and not put pressure on ourselves.

Why don’t we just finish with a quick before and after?

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest Before and After

Has anyone else been updating furniture lately? I do love it when a piece of furniture can be given a whole new life with just a lick of paint.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S – I’m sharing this post over at The Happy Housie, Thrifty Decor Chick and The Twinkle Diaries.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

Home Etc

 

 

Are we losing our children to technology?

Home Heart Harmony - Are we losing our children to technology

It’s been a while since I talked ‘family.’ Our kiddo’s are growing waaaay to fast and, as we approach the end of yet another school year, it is scary to think about how much has changed around here, even in just the last 12 months! As many of you will know, we had a power cut last week which knocked out our wi-fi router. As I mentioned, it was a long week but in lots of ways, it was soooo good to have my children back for a few days! That sounds so awful doesn’t it? I’m aware of how bad it sounds. The way in which we spent the week really brought to the forefront of my mind an issue which has been troubling me for quite some time now so I thought I would ‘share’ with you all. They say a problem shared is a problem halved don’t they?

Our daughter is 11 and our son is 9 and they both have access to iPads and laptops. When we decided that they would be allowed to use these devices, it was largely as a result of their insistence that they ‘needed’ them. All of their school homework was posted online and they often needed to use a computer to complete it. They assured us that they were the ONLY children left in the entire universe that didn’t have a device of their own! Hmmm, I’m not quite sure that was the case (in fact, I think the truth was being seriously stretched).

However, having given the issue significant consideration (and having got sick and tired of the constant arguing over my laptop) we decided to take the plunge and invest in some technology for the children. This was both the best and worst decision we have ever made! Don’t get me wrong, these devices and the ways in which they can be used are incredible! (Let’s remember that I am not exactly whiter than white when it comes to the issue of technology over-use! I have both a personal and blog Facebook and InstaGram account, I write a blog and share it with the world electronically. I know that there are two very strong sides to this argument!) If I’m honest, in situations where children are required to sit still and quiet for a extended period of time, these devices are an absolute gift from heaven! However, the trouble really starts when you need to get them away from the screen and back into the real world.

I have spoken to many friends and acquaintances who are parents and they all seem to be struggling with the same issue. Whether it be the family PC, a smart phone, a tablet, an Xbox or Playstation or even the Wii which was purchased with a dream of ‘family game nights,’ everyone seems to be facing the same dilemma. We all want our children to be accepted by their peers, we don’t want them isolated socially because they can’t take part in group messages, oovoo chats, FaceTime or IG direct messages, but at the same time, we want them to be a part of the family, we would quite like to spend some time with them every now and then and ideally, we’d like them to just put the sodding thing down once in a while! Speak to parents of older teenagers, and you hear a much more serious story. Hushed conversations reveal real concerns about burgeoning gaming addiction, unlimited access to pornography, cyber-bullying and young lives wasting away in front of a computer screen.

I do sometimes feel like the situation is spiralling out of our control and we often discuss ways in which we can act now in order to prevent more serious problems from developing further down the line. I really do feel strongly that we need to get a handle on this issue A.S.A.P! As a solution-driven person, I am always looking for ways to resolve a problem and I would love (seriously, really, please tell me) to hear how you are all dealing with this situation in your own homes (or if it’s even an issue). I really feel like I need advice on this! It seems like such a simple problem to solve but in reality, we don’t want our children to be the only ones whose parents are coming down hard on them. We don’t want to be fighting a constant battle. We want them to be happy, to be able to communicate and socialise with their friends, we don’t want them isolated or targeted for torment. But, our priority is our family, our time together and the health and well-being of our children. With that in mind, for what it’s worth, here are a few ways we have tackled, are tackling and are planning to tackle this issue with our own kids (with varying degrees of success and failure!) Please, share yours with me in the comments:

  • Limiting the time spent on devices to a set period each day
  • Only using devices at the weekend
  • Confiscating devices one (or more) hour(s) before bed
  • “Earning” device time with good behaviour and/or chores
  • Turning off the Wi-fi at certain times of the day or week
  • Not allowing the children to know the password to download new apps
  • Linking all the children’s devices to our own Apple ID so that we share photo streams, apps, internet favourites and accounts.
  • Setting parental controls with PIN codes known only to us.
  • Talking regularly with our children about ‘self-monitoring’ and the need for time away from the screens.
  • Encouraging them to participate in regular clubs and activities outside of the home.
  • Not taking their devices everywhere with them.
  • Discussing cyber-bullying and things which could harm themselves and others if shared online.
  • Getting out of the house together regularly to enjoy time as a family

I realise that these are not always realistic and I know how hard it can be to encourage the children to spend their free time doing things other than the one thing they want most. It does feel a bit like we are quietly fighting a never-ending battle but it’s one we are determined to win! Don’t forget to share your tips for tackling this problem in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

Weekly Organising Challenge – Under-stair Cupboard

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge Understairs Cupboard

Oh my!! It’s been a long week around here. We had a power cut last Monday evening which knocked out our wi-fi router and we had to wait aaaalllllll week for a new one to arrive. I know, it’s been rough! I feel like this post was never meant to be! I’ve battled the wi-fi break down, then when we got a new router, I couldn’t get the printer to connect to it to make my labels, then when I finally managed to connect, I had to clear half the files off my computer to make room for the new printer drivers I needed to download, then the laminator ate my labels and I had to start again, then I ran out of ink, then my tripod broke whilst I was trying to take photos!!

Anyway, enough of the problems, I have finally made it!  This week’s organising challenge was a biggie. I can honestly say that there has not been a single day in at least the last six months that I haven’t thought about tackling this area. And that whole time, it has been gradually getting worse and worse and worse until we reached this point…

Duh Duh Duuuh!

Duh Duh Duuuh!

Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you…the cupboard under the stairs! It makes quite an impressive statement doesn’t it?! I cannot believe or understand how we have allowed this situation to escalate to this degree! WHERE does all this stuff come from?! I wish I had counted as I was working how many coats, bags, hats, scarves and pairs of gloves there were in here. I can’t imagine why we have so many.

You may (just!) be able to see from the before photo that, unbelievably, I have tackled this nook in the past. I even separated things out into drawers and labelled them as well as some of the hooks. Clearly, that didn’t work out too well.

I think the change of seasons is where we fall down with this cupboard. What we need to do is put away our ‘out-of-season’ coats until we need them again leaving just the ones were are currently using. But alas, I have been a bit slack about this.

The other problem with this space is the shape. As with most under stairs cupboards, it is smaller in the back and not easy to get to so it really needs to be saved for storing things we rarely need. Trouble is, I forget what’s in there! So, even if we do need the things back there, I don’t ever remember they are there anyway!

Apart from throwing out all of the rubbish and donating anything we no longer needed to charity, here are the things I’ve changed in an attempt to make this area work harder for us in the future:

  • I designated areas for separate belongings – coats, bags, sports kit and the pup’s stuff.
  • I put away all of our ‘out-of-season’ gear in vacuum bags to be kept elsewhere and be swapped out when the Autumn arrives.
  • I made a ‘wipe-clean’ inventory of what’s tucked away in the back of the cupboard using a laminated print-out and whiteboard pen so that it can be easily changed/updated as necessary and stuck it at the front of the cupboard.
  • I re-labelled the drawers and hooks to encourage everyone to use them correctly.

It’s tricky to make this space look pretty for photos but here are a few of the dramatically improved ‘after’ shots to give you an idea of what’s changed! (Though now I’m thinking it needs a serious re-paint!):

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

 

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

 

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

 

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

The 'Before and After'

The ‘Before and After’

Have you been joining in with the weekly organising challenge? I must admit, it’s harder than I thought it would be to tackle a space each week (especially with a hundred technical hold-ups!!) Maybe I should re-name this the fortnightly organising challenge?! I suppose at least, it is keeping me on track and slowly but surely, we are improving things around here. I’m off to paint a chest of drawers. Don’t forget to send me your ‘before and after’ if you’ve joined in with the challenge this week!

To check out my previous ‘organising challenge’ posts, click on the links below:

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S – I’m sharing this post over at iHeart Organizing’s ‘Wait-no-more Organizing Challenge’

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

 

 

 

Boy Bedroom Update (Part One)

I thought I would give you all a little progress update today on our son’s bedroom (not that there’s much to tell!) I am planning to do update posts as we go so I thought I had better start somewhere and tell you what needs to be done (purely so that I have the satisfaction of crossing things off the list as we go!)

Last weekend we took ourselves off to find a carpet for this room (as well as a bed for ours, but more on that another day!) We decided (for the first time ever) to go with a deeper pile carpet. We usually go for something with a shallow pile because of the fact that deeper pile carpets always settle and go a bit flat anyway but this room is not going to get a great deal of traffic and our son was really keen to have something extra soft underfoot so we thought ‘why not?’

We picked a neutral shade which will go with anything we decide to put in the room going forward so hopefully it will last a while. So, here is the list of what needs to be done from now…

  • Order Carpet
  • Order / Buy Paint
  • Order wood for panelling
  • Order trim for panelling
  • Sell wardrobe and chest of drawers
  • Paint remaining chest of drawers
  • Sell guest bed and mattress
  • Move desk, bedside cabinets and bookcase into new guest room
  • Remove curtains and curtain pole
  • Remove picture hooks
  • Fill holes from hooks and curtain pole
  • Fit ‘faux’ panelling
  • Paint walls
  • Paint panelling
  • Paint door and skirting
  • Order new curtains, rug and accessories
  • Hang curtain pole and new curtains
  • Have carpet fitted
  • Move bed, desk and bookcases from our son’s current bedroom to the new one
  • Swap contents of wardrobe and storage cupboards between old and new bedroom
  • Hang pictures

That’s a big list. One step at a time. Deep breaths! I think the next step is to choose a paint colour. As I explained before, we are planning to ‘faux panel’ the bottom half of the room and paint it white. We love the look of panelling as I shared in a previous post and our son is keen to try it out in his room.

I am having a bit of a quandary over the paint colour for the top half of the room. I wanted to go with a pale bluish grey but I couldn’t see anything I liked in any of the ranges we felt were good value for money. My next resort was the Dulux colour-match service and as I said in my last post, I was leaning towards two particular shades of grey (they were ‘Mineral Haze 3 and Grey Steel 3’). However, when we reached the DIY store on Sunday, after spending waahaaay more than we had intended on the new bed and being unpleasantly surprised by the cost of the carpet, hubby was looking a little strained and I could see that the cost of a large tin of Dulux colour-matched paint was making the veins in his forehead bulge. I suggested a quick tour of all the other brands to see if we could find something similar. We were, afterall, at a different and much larger DIY store than we had been when we got our original paint colour charts.

To cut to the chase, we picked 3 shades of regular, un-colour-matched paint, bought testers and (after spending much more time searching for the children than the paint) retreated to the checkout. All supplies of both good behaviour and patience had clearly expired for the day. It was time to call it quits.

Home Heart Harmony Boy Bedroom UpdateHere are the testers on the wall of the room in question. They are all much more blue (bluer than they look in this picture) and less grey than they appear to be on the front of the tester pots. However, before I run off to spend more money on testers, I think I will see what our son thinks. I think either of the bottom two might actually be o.k. (Since he has been hankering after blue from the beginning and they do both have a tinge of grey which might make them a good compromise.)

In the meantime, Hubby has measured ordered MDF to be cut to size for the panelling. (We looked at real wood planks at the weekend but they were expensive and I’m slightly concerned that the knots will show through the paint so MDF might be both cheaper and better.) We have already bought white paint for this part.

Home Heart Harmony Boy Bedroom UpdateI’m planning to paint this chest of drawers this weekend (as you can see, the last paint job has seen better days.)

Home Heart Harmony Boy Bedroom UpdateI’m going with a darkish grey so I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out. I’ve never painted anything in a dark colour!! (The last picture also gives a good idea of the carpet colour we have at present. I’m hoping the more neutral carpet will lighten the room considerably.)

Home Heart Harmony Boy Bedroom UpdateThe wardrobe and larger chest shown here are on eBay as we speak so they will both be gone very soon. (Feeling very sad about saying goodbye to them, they were the first nursery furniture we bought when we had our first baby.)

I think that’s it for this week. I’m sure the list will grow and change as I remember what else needs to be done.

You can check out the inspiration for this room here and hear more about the plans.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

Weekly Organising Challenge – Living Room Cabinet

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Living Room Cabinet

Hey! Hope you are all having a great week. It’s been half term so the children and I have been busy enjoying some lovely days out and also some lazy days at home. I wasn’t going to post this week but I have been doing a little bit of organising around here so I thought I may as well share it with you. The fact that I am making an effort to do this even in half term is what is making me so happy that I decided to challenge myself in this way. There is just so much to be done and if I don’t focus and get on with it, things only fall further and further behind. Don’t forget to send me your before and after photos if you are joining in with me.

The Horrendous mess that was 'before'

The Horrendous mess that was ‘before’

This week, I tackled the side-board cupboard which lives underneath our TV. It was a mess of games, cameras, wires and random magazines and paperwork which hadn’t been looked at in years. So, most of the action here was just slinging things straight into the recycling or dustbin!

The baskets hide all the clutter and make things easier to access

The baskets hide all the clutter and make things easier to access

When I looked through what was left, I separated it into categories and added a couple of baskets I had cleared during my clear-out in the guest room. I made some labels with the lovely paper I used in this post using the same method I used here. One of the baskets provided a new home for some of our games and our old VCR which my husband wanted to hold on to. The other houses all of our camcorder gear – cables, cameras and old tapes full of memories.

Nothing like a pretty label to add the finishing touch

Nothing like a pretty label to add the finishing touch

(I’m not enjoying the ‘distressed’ paint finish we seem to have created on this cabinet! I can feel a paint job coming on!) When everything was organised, I had lots of space left over so I decided to use a couple of IKEA ‘Kassett’ boxes to store our Wii games and controllers which were previously over-filling one of the drawers above.

Let’s have a final ‘before and after’ shall we?

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Living Room Cabinet

I love the fact that this challenge is leading to better organised areas all around our home. I have soooo many spaces left to sort out so this could go on and on!!

I’m going to take a ‘half-term’ break from the Friday Five this week (since I have the kiddo’s home and we want to make the most of our last day). I’ll be back next week with more projects. I’m off on the DIY trail this weekend looking for materials to get started in our son’s new bedroom. Wish me luck!

Don’t forget to hop over to my Instagram page and follow me there. I’ve been stepping up my Instagram presence of late and sharing a bit more of what goes on around here in the day to day.

As always, you can still sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.