Choose to be happy

kikki k happiness book

My friend The Wellness Mummy recently wrote a blog post about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. I couldn’t have agreed with her more, it’s such an awesome thing to do as part of your bedtime routine – to sit and think about all the good things that happened that day so you can write down what you’re grateful for. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for over a year now. I actually found a five year journal where each date (i.e. 18th of March) has five entries for five years of thoughts. I’ve now crossed over into my second year and reading what I was grateful for a year ago really puts it into perspective! A year ago I was thankful for my toddler sleeping better and here I am with a newborn!

The point of this post however is to let fellow readers know of an awesome little thing I spotted at Kikki.K today – the Happiness Journal, which I believe ties in with Gretchen Ruben’s “The Happiness Project“. Along with other gratitude style journals, the Happiness Journal focuses more on, well, keeping you happy! Kikki.K are actually running in-store workshops on how to use the Happiness Journal. How great is that? It would be such a fun project to do with a friend or take a ‘not so happy’ friend along to. I had a browse through the book and it uses each month to focus on things you’re going to do or change to make yourself happy.

If you don’t think you need to work on your happiness as such, keeping a daily gratitude journal is another awesome way to leave the day on a good note. This is the five year journal I used, but there are a few more out there!

five year journal

I love all the projects becoming dedicated to happiness. Personally, I am a big believer that we can choose to be happy. It’s the ‘glass half full’ idea. It’s not just me that thinks it – apparently it’s a scientific fact - read this article about it!

So what are you grateful or happy about today?

 

Life Lately

I’ve still been quiet on the blog. I don’t feel like I’ve had anything big and special enough to share, though I do find myself using Instagram in a sort of ‘microblogging’ way – showing quick and cute things I’ve done without the need to write an elaborate post. But I still feel connected to this blog and feel I owe it some loving, so the least I could do is put a few of my Instagram photos up and offer a bit more of a detailed explanation!

1. My new Sinchies collection. They’re reusable food pouches where you suck the liquid from the spout on the side. I’ve noticed how much toddlers love those pouches but I couldn’t handle the waste! By having my own reusable pouches means I can fill it with all sorts of delicious and healthy recipes without all the added nasties. So far we’ve made smoothies, our own yogurt and healthy chocolate custard! You can also freeze them so you always have food on the go! Need I say more?

Sinchies reusable food pouch green smoothies for toddler

2. Also on the subject of food (toddler’s lives seem to revolve around food!) I bought these awesome Re-Play divided plates from Dandelion. How cute are they? I’ve found toddlers really like to think they have a choice in what they eat, and providing them with little sections of different food seems to make it more exciting. For me, I like being forced to provide a range (of at least three) different options for him to eat – I have actually found myself being ‘forced’ to steam veges to go along with a meal because I didn’t have enough to fill each section. Not a bad thing! BUT the exciting part is these plates are made from recycled milk bottles – how cool is that!

Dandelion Replay sectional plates toddler food

3. With Christmas approaching I’ve found myself really struggling with that blind urge to just buy my kid every cool toy I see. I mean spoiling a kid just feels so good doesn’t it? BUT spending a fortune on new toys is just ridiculous, spoiling him with something new and exciting all the time is not – especially when it’s free! Take this for example – I set this up to stop him from balancing on some dangerously stacked wooden planks we had stored ready for his future cubbyhouse (made out of scrap wood ofcourse!). He was so excited about something so simple and it took me all of a few minutes to put together.

Make your own toys a walking plank for balancing

4. Speaking of Christmas, I’ve been getting ready in the past few weeks. The first step was making a few gift tags out of paper (you can use recycled Christmas paper!) glued to the coloured side of food packaging cardboard (cereal boxes etc). So easy and didn’t cost me a thing!

DIY Christmas tags using cereal boxes and Christmas paper

5. And here’s one of the gift tags in use! This awkwardly wrapped present is a Bilibo. What’s a bilibo? Check out this awesome video. It’s basically an ‘elementary shell’ and it’s left to the child’s imagination as to what it can do. I can’t wait to see what my son might do with it!!

Bilibo wrapping for Christmas

6. Well this was just for fun. Bike browsing at Captain Walker’s Bicycles in Fremantle. We kind of stumbled across the shop and practically drooled on the floor. I gave up bike riding when I first fell pregnant two years ago. I was about to get back on the bike, even started researching baby seats when I found out I was pregnant again! We have big plans to make bike riding an important family activity so I reckon give it a year and we’ll be back here picking up our new bikes!

Bike window shopping

7. If you live in Perth then you have to check out MYRE in Fremantle. Using the old abandoned Myer building in Fremantle, MYRE have transformed the space into a hub for awesome West Australian bespoke retailers. There are huge plans for this space (currently only occupying the ground floor of a four storey building) with a rooftop garden currently in the works! Love it!

MYRE in Fremantle

8. And to show you what kind of things you can buy in MYRE, this is something I just HAD to have. A crochet cactus from Kate + Abel. How adorable is it? I’m all up for real plants, but I killed the last cactus I bought (I know, I know – how do you possibly kill a cactus?) so this is going to live very safely in my kitchen. Mkaes me smile every time I see it!

Crochet cactus from Kate + Abel

Now it’s time to get back to my Christmas decorating. I’m planning on decorating my alternative Christmas tree a bit different this year!

Follow me on Instagram at @kat_wray

Life lately (according to Instagram)

One thing I missed from my blogging hiatus was feeling motivated to inspire. Let’s make up for lost time. Here are a few things I’ve been up to lately to bring you up to speed. You may notice most of these pics are from Instagram – feel free to follow me there! (@kat_wray)

salt lampgrans watch new watchbookshelf

1. A salt lamp I installed into my son’s room. Did you know salt lamps can neutralise the electro magnetic fields caused by the many electrical devices we have in our homes? They purify the air promoting negative ions. But best of all they have a pretty soft glow perfect for a baby/kids room.

2. My grandmother’s watch that she gave to me before passing away recently. She was a big part of my life and one of her dying wishes was for me to get my health in order (as I have been recently suffering from recurring ill health). Talk about pressure! But I’m taking it very seriously.

3. My new watch. A birthday present, I asked for a waterproof easy to maintain watch that would stop me relying on my iPhone or laptop for the time so I can be more present in my son’s life. I find if the iPhone is close by I end up wasting too much precious time on it.

4. Our latest project. Which I can thank Pinterest for – using Ikea spice racks as bookshelves to hold children’s books in my son’s room. Not only are they a great display for his books, but it’s so much easier for him to remove and replace books with this system.

 

 

Liberated

i quit facebook

Today I found out one of my friends deactivated their Facebook accounts. Temporarily at least. “HOW LIBERATING” was the first thing I thought. I’m oddly addicted to Facebook, especially since having Everett. It felt like a way to escape the daily grind and find out what other people were doing – but soon enough you spend too much time checking Facebook and not enough time actually LIVING. I found myself checking Facebook on my iPhone instead of playing with my son! So, without a second thought, I deactivated my account. Temporarily at least.

One thing that almost stopped me was that I use it as a social marketing tool for this blog. But then I’d rather lose a few potential readers for my own good. And if people really want to read my blog, they’ll come and read it right? And do I even care how many readers I have? No. I can’t write this blog worrying about how many readers I have. It’s a hobby, a virtual diary of my sustainable living and ideas and if I can inspire someone along the way, even one person, then I feel a sense of achievement.

So here’s to getting a few extra minutes (or many, many more) back in my day because I don’t have Facebook to distract me. Here’s to reconnecting with my family and friends the good old fashioned way – in person, over the phone, heck even by email or SMS. It’s better than checking someone’s status updates occasionally and feeling like you’re involved in their lives – because you’re not really. It’s like following a celebrity on Twitter and feeling like you’re friends. Friends call each other. Friends ask “How was your day?”. Friends hang out. And that’s what matters more right now!

So if you usually rely on Facebook to read my blog posts I can only suggest signing up to receive them by email (check to the right —>) or using something like Bloglovin to check all your blogs in a newsfeed style.

I hope we can still be friends! :)

An eco Easter

eco easter baby bunny ears

Although Baby E won’t be old enough to understand Easter, I really wanted to start some family traditions that he could enjoy for years to come. I’m not religious, so for me Easter was always about spending time with family, a few chocolates and some new pajamas (that was our “thing” growing up).

So for Everett I wanted to give him the same sense of family and fun but with less sugar and unnecessary spending. Here are some ideas so far:

Good Friday: Good Friday we plan to enjoy a family breakfast with our close relatives, particularly enjoying homemade gluten free hot cross buns, something I haven’t yet tried but figure I have years to master. I LOVE hot cross buns but haven’t enjoyed them for years because of my gluten intolerance and laziness in the kitchen. But no more excuses as there are plenty of recipes out there and a great excuse to make the effort! Do you know of a good recipe? Please tell me!!

Easter Saturday: We will spend the day making our own healthy chocolate Easter eggs. In fact the week or so leading up to Easter can be spent on Easter related crafts. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard painting real egg shells can be a fun craft and what a great excuse to make quiche or even a pavlova!

I also thought this might be a great day to clean out the toy box and donate some toys (and clothes) to charity. We have a pretty strong rule on not overdoing it with toys (many of his toys are already secondhand) but I’d like to do something charitable over the Easter weekend and this would be a good place to start.

Easter Sunday: Otherwise known to kids as “Easter egg day”, I would really like to steer clear of tons of bad chocolate and foil wrap and do something different. I’ve noticed on some American blogs these little plastic eggs that can be screwed open and hold all sorts of treats – a great way to give healthy treats, coins, or whatever takes your fancy. Even better, these eggs can be placed in the garden for a good old fashioned Easter egg hunt. And even better yet, the plastic eggs can be reused every year.

blank wood eggs painted

image and eggs from http://www.blankgoods.com.au

I also found these gorgeous wooden eggs, but they are expensive compared to the plastic version. Though it would be something to consider buying only a few each year and working up to a collection.

I’m still not sure where the Easter Bunny fits into this tradition or whether we’ll go along with the farce at all! I have so many questions – Will “he” leave the plastic eggs? Does he do it all stealth like in the night like Santa? Why the heck is a bunny leaving eggs in a garden anyway? I honestly can’t remember the purpose for a chocolate giving bunny anyway, or whether I truly believed in it (unlike Santa who I truly believed was real!).

When I googled the history of the Bunny, and other Easter traditions, I found most of them were conceived as a pagan Spring tradition, with eggs and bunnies being symbolic of new life in Spring. Seeing we’re in the Southern Hemisphere it makes no sense! We’re still wilting with the relentless summer heat and, if anything, I’ve watched my garden die, not spring to life! Either way, I think we have a bit of time on our hands to decide on the Bunny situation and an Easter egg hunt is fun regardless! And seeing it’s Sunday, why not a traditional Sunday roast dinner.

Easter Monday: I haven’t decided what to do on this day but I’m thinking something along the lines of spending it out and about with friends. Go on a local adventure and make the most of the public holiday and the (typically) good weather.

What are your traditions? I’d love to hear them!

I heart Hulbert Street… even more!

We visited the annual Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta yesterday and it was just like I remember it: inspirational, educational but most of all fun! It was even bigger than last year (I blogged about it for the first time here) but I saw it with new eyes as a new Mum. I realised how it’s a great family event as a way to introduce sustainability into children’s (and adult’s) lives. Here are some images from the day!

yes, yes you did

this doesn’t even show how busy it was!

Fellow online eco enthusiasts “Olive on Blonde” Em (check out her blog here) and Simone (check out her blog here) with their hearts ready to hang on the Sustainabilitree (in the background)

A kid hanging his wishes onto the Sustainabilitree

VIP bike parking

Me and my good friend Em (Olive on Blonde) and her belly!

Sand sculpting!

Cute kids selling homemade treats

Me and Baby E!

 

 

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta – this weekend!

If you live in Perth you must visit the Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta this weekend in Fremantle! It’s a great demonstration of living sustainably with home opens, stalls, demonstrations, music, food & more! It’s got something for everyone. I really enjoyed last year’s fiesta and I’m looking forward to taking Baby E along this time!

Photo from last year’s fiesta

The Organised Housewife challenge!

I’ve recently discovered The Organised Housewife, a blogger who shares great tips on home organisation. This blog appeals to me because I am a very organised person. I often get told I should be a party planner because I love organising so much! However in the home it’s more “organised chaos” – I know exactly where things are in a messy pile and it drives my very neat partner bonkers. It drives me bonkers too! I started a magnetic task board which has helped, but I still need tips and most of all motivation to really organise our house once and for all!

So…. I’m taking the 20 days to organise and clean your home challenge!

Why is organisation in the home important?

  • Clutter usually means unneccesary ‘stuff’, by de-cluttering you begin to realise how little you really need! I realised this recently when I took my friend’s wardrobe de-clutter challenge.
  • Clutter and disorganisation can often mean a dirty home. You can’t dust properly when you’ve got a bunch of stuff in your way! A clean home means a healthier home.
  • There’s the “messy home, messy mind” theory. Having an organised space does wonders for your clearing your head. Don’t you always feel good when the house has been freshly cleaned?

Heck, what have we got to lose? I figure this challenge should, at the very least, give me some new tricks right? At least the house will get clean!

So…… who’s gonna join me?

Almost there….

I don’t know many people who LOVE renovating. Sure, it sounds like fun and can be in the beginning but ultimately you hit your first snag and you end up despising your renovation – until you’ve finished. I’m almost finished and we’ve hit MANY snags along the way, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Despite the fact that most people ask us “Why didn’t you just knock the house down and build a new one?” we’re happy that we chose to keep and renovate our 1950′s post war cottage. It has heart and charm and the flaws add character.

What I’m most looking forward to about finishing off these renovations is getting back into blogging! Not just blogging, but living the life that makes me want to share my stories via this blog. You definitely didn’t want an entire blog post dedicated to my hate for the floor sanders who left doors open to cover entire furniture filled rooms with red jarrah sawdust. My first blog after this long hiatus will be about my babyshower being held this Sunday. It almost goes without saying there will be lots of DIY to share with you!

But for now I will share with you something that made my day today – finding out that my blog was mentioned beside a West Australian ‘Habitat’ spread titled “10 steps to an eco-friendly home”! This has certainly fueled my motivation to get back to blogging!

1 Million Women can make a change

I don’t know why, but it feels very powerful and motivating when a bunch of women get together for a good cause – so I was pretty keen to join the 1 Million Women campaign which is all about getting 1 million Australian women to pledge to make a sustainable change. Afterall, women make some pretty influential decisions in the family home and we’re raising the future generations!

1 Million Women is pretty simple: Join up and make pledges to save at least 1 tonne of CO2 emissions. Just go through the list and tick whatever boxes you’d like to try. It can be as easy or as challenging as you’d like to make it. You can even attempt one thing at a time.

There are several categories you can choose from (Food, Household, Teens, Shopping, Getting Around & Renewable Energy) – with each item giving you an explanation of how you can make the change.

When I was done I discovered my household would have 15,825kg of CO2 savings a year (that’s almost 16 tonnes!) just by making sustainable choices, most of which I am already doing.

Go on, be an influential woman!

  • Like them on Facebook
  • Join the campaign
  • Tell your friends!