Category Archives: Lists

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Back in January I talked about my goals to reduce our household waste. So I thought I would do a little recap and see where we are at.

We have been doing okay with this in general, though there are some areas we could improve in:

  • We have not been as good on plastic bags as I would like, but we are recycling them instead of throwing them out as we used to do. It’s mostly an issue because I ensure I go for a walk at lunchtimes and often do some household shopping then and I don’t always remember to go to my car to get the eco bag first. Definitely something I need to work on habit wise.
    Eco Bags
  • Meal planning has also gone out the window for us for the most part just due to different crazy life things going on. I try to do it in my head a bit, obviously this is nowhere near as good as if I were doing it properly though so I really need to make an effort with this. Not only is it better for reducing waste, but it is also kinder on our wallets and better for our health because when I plan we end up with healthy well rounded meals.

Things we have done include:

  • I have done research into some of the things we buy and try to only buy items that have recyclable packaging (harder than you might think – though the redcycle program at Coles has helped a lot).
  • When it comes to items like egg cartons which are recyclable I will also look for opportunities for reuse. For instance our library storytime sometimes uses egg cartons for craft. In fact I found a flower craft recently for Mother’s Day that I sent through as a suggestion that uses egg cartons. This will mean that all staff’s egg cartons will be donated for the next few weeks to be used to create Mother’s Day gifts rather than being thrown out or recycled.
    Image result for egg carton flowers
    There are so many fun crafts you can do with egg cartons that I am actually going to save that for another post I think πŸ™‚
  • Though we do not want junk mail it seems to keep magically appearing so I use the elastic bands from them on my frozen veggie bags once open to reduce the chance of freezer burn and recycle the junk mail. It’s only a little thing I know, but I also feel that that thought and little effort if magnified by many certainly counts.
    I also found out that my girlfriend who lives 30 minutes further bush than me doesn’t get junk mail at all so I now keep them for her and she recycles them after use.
  • When we next needed rice I bought a 5kg bag. Every one that sees it thinks I am crazy and it does take up a lot of room, but I used to buy the 500gram packet so I am literally saving 10 plastic packages and it saved me a BUNCH of money!
    We may not have sugar in our house, but if you need a cup of rice I am definitely your girl
    Image result for cup of rice cartoon
  • At work I have noticed that I have naturally become a lot more conscious of recycling and providing opportunities for people to learn more sustainable habits. No matter how small the scraps are now (from cutting out or whatever) I will put them in the paper recycling bin. I have also gotten into the habit of checking the staff paper recycling next to the internal printer for scrap paper as this is always in high demand at the library.
    Our Council has business card sized laminated signs with a cute cartoon of a light bulb reminding people to turn off switches. I have ordered some of these to place above the switches in our study areas as people often leave these on. I have also convinced Council to add recycling bins into all the libraries and centres (gyms and pools) which is amazing!!!
    I also had a chat with the guy from Council who runs eco programs like creating sustainable gardens, building terrariums and composting at home. It started with me offering to promote his programs in the library particularly on our social media sites. He was super excited about this and we are now talking about him possibly running some programs at the libraries which is amazing because we get a whole new slew of programs whilst our resource output would be minimal and we would be collaborating and networking with a whole new area of Council so I am pretty excited about this possibility πŸ™‚

It was great for me to discover that I was able to make a difference at work as well as at home.

What changes have you made or do you suggest I make?


Reducing waste

For the last few months I have been thinking on possible ways that I could reduce waste in general personally, at work and for our household. I have done quite a bit of research on this, because you know… librarian. Whilst I am dedicated to reducing our waste in a number of ways I wanted it to be something (at least to start) that does not require massive sacrifices every day.

This has been an ongoing project for me. We started with our home. Whilst we still have all the creature comforts we could ever need we did consider a lot when building. For starters the house was supposed to have a fancy architectural void from upstairs to down which not only wasted power as far as aircon went, it also wasted usable space and the extra windows meant extra cleaning as well. So it had to go. Our toilets and two of our outdoor taps run off recycled water which I am so pleased about (even though it costs more and often doesn’t work for hours at a time) and our mailbox out the front is built from leftover bricks we have from our home. As far as air conditioning goes we have ducted air con in our house that is separated into zones, so on hot (or cold) days we can set the air con to only be on in the areas we are using which is awesome!

Image result for literary eco bags

I have been using eco bags for shopping for awhile, but I have been getting pretty slack with them to be honest. I have been recycling the plastic bags at the Coles supermarket REDcycling point though when we do our grocery shopping so that is something. For my Australian readers that are not aware Coles have a REDcycle program. You can drop off empty bread, cereal and frozen food bags, plastic shopping bags and other flexible plastic packaging and it is sent off and used to build outdoor furniture for Aussie primary schools and pre-schools. I have been making a much better effort with the eco bags though. They now always go straight back into the boot when we unpack the shopping. My aim is to stop using plastic shopping bags altogether.

One of the other big changes we have made is to stop buying store bought toilet paper. We now have a subscription to “Who gives a crap”. They send a massive box of forest friendly world helping toilet paper every 16 weeks to our door. The toilet paper is great and we feel good about the fact that 50% of the profits go towards building toilets for people who have access to none. Find out more about them here. Just now looking at their site I have realised that they now do tissues and paper towels too!

who-gives-a

Food wise to minimise waste I have for the past 2 weeks written a food plan for the week and stuck to it. This means I do not buy more than I will need which minimises the amount of food wastage in the house. The last two weeks the food wastage in our household has been almost nothing. Such an awesome outcome. Is it a bit of effort? Definitely, but I think it is worth it too. The flow on effect is monetary savings and rubbish savings because we are not buying all the extra junk we do not need.

Hubby and I have switched to paperless billing and statements wherever we have been able to. We have been using prescription services like STAN and NETFLIX and borrowing movies from the library instead of purchasing DVDs which has saved a LOT of money and as cheap as this sounds it means we can have a wine and popcorn night at home instead of going to the cinema which costs like $80 at Event these days! We are also planning to swap to rechargeable batteries for all of our remotes etc. We don’t have many items that require AA and AAA batteries anymore, but it would be nice to be able to reduce the waste these create.

 

Future plans:

I would like to have a veggie and herb garden up the side of our house as well as a passionfruit vine and a lemon and lime tree, but those will have to wait for a little bit. I am also considering a compost bin as this would help reduce the grass cuttings from our massive lawn. Currently we are not able to mow our front and back lawn in the same fortnight as the cuttings will not all fit in our council bin 😦

I plan to buy items like basmati rice and vegetable oil and cleaning products in bigger packaging so there is not as much waste.

Image result for carrying bulk rice bag

Well maybe not this big, but you get the idea. Buying in bulk reduces the packaging waste.

I have purchased a reusable BPA free water bottle. This encourages me to up my intake of water as well as not waste plastic bottles or drink as much soft drink or juice because I always have water on hand.

Cleaning wise I plan to do some research (AKA hit the library books) to look at some more cost and environmentally friendly options. Already I have swapped to microfiber cloth which often means that many marks on the walls etc. come off with just some hot water and elbow grease which is grand!

I would love to hear any suggestions that you have. I am pleased that so far my efforts have in general saved us money because we have some very good uses for that πŸ™‚

 


2016 in review

hindsight20

Well the new year is here. I had high hopes for 2016. In truth many wonderful things happened and were achieved in 2016.I feel that the good things are often overshadowed by the fact that I failed to get the thing I wanted the most, a baby. 2 failed transfers, much heartache and being filled with hormones which rival a sorority house whose cycles have synced on the day before AF hits left me a little jaded. I have decided to remind myself of some of the good things that happened in 2016 to get some perspective.

  • Hubby and I finally achieved our goal of our own home, whilst getting there was a long road (3 years since purchasing the land long and 9 years of saving long) it is totally worth it because we are both totally in LOVE with our home (I’ll post more on the house another day with pics).
  • My youngest nephew Coda was born.
  • Hubby and I have gotten even better with our communication. It’s the kind of open and honest relationship I have always dreamed of having. Whilst he is generally the suffer in silence type, he is opening up a lot more now which I love.
  • I celebrated 1 year in my role as Reference & Information Services Librarian in January (it will be 2 years tomorrow). Honestly I can’t believe I have only been here that long. It feels like forever and I have done so much in this role.
  • I was asked to act up in the Branch & Customer Services Coordinator role for the last quarter of the year. It was so challenging and I loved it. I really enjoyed all the work with the programming and promotions. If they ever develop a role for that here I will totally apply πŸ™‚
  • I have developed a close group of friends at work. I am not someone who makes close friends easily and I decided last year to put myself out there more and got great results. The result is a group of friends I can count on, sound off ideas on, have lunch and sometimes dinner with, go for walks after work and to the gym with, go to the movies with, we even went bowling. This awesome group of people has made a huge difference to my work and home life and I have such a great time with them!
    I feel very fortunate to have met people like this in my workplace.
  • Hubby and I have learned a lot about DIY (seriously LOVE YouTube!!!). We have done basically all of our landscaping ourselves (Hubby much more than me), we have installed our own washing line and even learned how to lay bricks and built our own brick mailbox. The mailbox isn’t the most professional job, but it is the mailbox that love built and was a great bonding experience and we did much better than Homer did with that BBQ.
    bbq
  • I quit smoking! Something I have been wanting to do for the longest time. FebruaryΒ  15, 2017 will mark one year since I have quit. Sometimes (rarely now) in times of stress or emotional upset (like 2 failed IVF transfers) I kind of want to reach for a smoke, but I have been so good. VERY proud of this accomplishment. I did put on weight after quitting because instead of smoking I would eat. To be honest I let myself do this because I truly feel that was the right choice for me. Now that I have been successful in quitting smoking I have turned my attention back to my food. I have yet to conquer emotional eating, I am SO bad for this!

 

So there is a lot of really good things that happened this year. Often it is hard to think about them when something that is so all consuming is constantly at the forefront of your mind. I could choose to give in to it, or I could combat it another way. Yes IVF transfers failed for us twice one of which was a PGS tested perfect lil man embryo, Yes I REALLY got my hopes up on the lil man transfer, Yes my FS doesn’t seem to be the most open and communicative. So Hubby and I have done a tonne of research over the past couple of months and put some things into action which I will talk about in another post coming soon πŸ™‚


Inspiration boards – Front lounge

So awhile ago I started to put together images or rather inspiration boards for the different rooms in our home (OMG I have a HOME!). As you may guess I am pretty flipping excited about owning our first home. You may think that doing inspiration boards is a bit over the top especially because we are going to be pretty poor after the next few months. It will be so weird to see so little money in our accounts when we have been saving like crazy and had very healthy accounts.

Anyway I thought I would share with you my inspiration for our front lounge room. I have never had a proper lounge room before that was a separate area of the house. Here we go…

2 seater lounge

I’d like this in a 2.5 to 3 seater. I LOVE this fabric. The lines are great and the style is Ruby which is one of my favourite animated characters.

armchair

I love the armchairs too. Would love two for either side of the lounge either in a matching colour or something completely different like a turquoise.

bookshelves

We actually already have these bookshelves so this will cost us nothing. Have always loved these and can’t wait for them to be a feature in our home.

light

I love the look of this light and would love it for the corner of the room. It is a little expensive for my budget now so will wait for a sale or maybe birthday or Christmas.

rug

LOVE this rug and the tri knot pattern matches the pattern on my engagement ring and our wedding rings. Would be a great piece to really stamp our personalities on the room.

Because our place was built we had a lot of pallets hanging around and a few were really good quality wood. The plan was that I would use these to build us a coffee table as part of my “Try Something New” resolution. Unfortunately someone came into our backyard and took them. I still plan to do this project, but the plan now is to go for walks in our new neighbourhood and wait for someone to put a good one out for cleanup πŸ™‚

coffee table

This is what I hope to end up with from the pallet. The larger pieces of wood I have already scored from offcuts from our build.

I plan to be quite industrious. There are a lot of off cuts around our neighbourhood currently due to everyone building. I am hoping I can save us quite a bit by knocking together some of our own pieces and you can get bottles of “trial” varnishes and/or paint for a couple of dollars so in all a coffee table like this might cost me $5 haha.


52 Books in 52 Weeks – Harry Potter cont…

Fair warning… it’s all about Harry Potter πŸ™‚

41. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets

I won’t lie, the movie of this book is my least favourite in the series. Having now read the book I think the movie cheated it. There was so much more depth in a variety of characters that was erased from the film.

I really enjoyed this second book. Loved that Dobby threw Lucius down some stairs at the end and that the flying car was an actual character that was self-aware and had feelings and went wild in the forest. I also liked that nearly headless Nick was a much bigger character in the book than I expected having seen the film first.

I do love the relationships in this book and if I were in need of a family I would wish with all my heart that the Weasley’s were real and looking to adopt!

Great book, can’t wait for the next one πŸ™‚

42. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

Harry-Potter-And-The-Prisoner-Of-Azkaban_novelI am loving how my appreciation of this series is getting deeper as I go on. At this point I am pretty much tearing through these books.

I love Ron attempting to use the phone and very much wish that was in the movie. I also found the character of Crookshanks very interesting, in the film he is just a cat, but in the books he is so much more.

Sirius and Lupin were some of my favourite characters from the films and Lupin was definitely my favourite Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, so I am glad that my love for them was only made bigger by reading the actual book πŸ™‚

43. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_FireOh Cedric, Cedric. He was such a good and wonderful person. Sorry, it’s all just so much more real when you are reading the book, you feel like you really got to know him and then… well… all the feels.

I love the Weasley’s rocking up through the fireplace and the Dursley’s just not know knowing what to do about it hahaha.

I did feel like a lot of the descriptions of Krum were quite negative, maybe it is just me, but that’s how I was left feeling about him which I think was unfair because there is nothing wrong with him.

There was more Dobby in this book, I was kind of surprised by that because Dobby didn’t show up at all really between the Chamber of Secrets and Deathly Hallows. Poor Dobby. I actually really liked him as a character in the book. Hermione trying to save all the house elves that don’t want to be saved gave me a giggle too.

44. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-coverI have so many evilish feelings and thoughts about Umbridge. She really is the Antichrist! What a truly evil woman.

I have noticed (maybe because I know what is coming from the movies) that Rowling has little hints in earlier books of things to come which is pretty awesome. It certainly shows that she had this whole story and world planned out completely.

Fred + George Weasley Forever! Those boys are something else and I just love it!

I feel like A LOT was missed out from the book to the film and that makes me sad. For starters in the film didn’t Bellatrix “kill” Neville’s parents rather than just drive them batty? Why? St Mungo’s isn’t even shown in the films which means we never see loopy Lockhart again. Harry felt a lot of angst around the fact that Hermione and Ron were made prefects and he wasn’t, I thought it was great they were made prefects and interesting that this was not in the film.

45. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling

coverI think this was my favourite book so far. The back story into Voldemort was colourful, clever, well-rounded and very informative without giving too much away.The book is FAR better than the movie and I feel as though I have a much greater understanding of Voldemort now.

The way the characters are developed through this series is very well orchestrated and I can only applaud Rowling’s brain for that. Every character is so well thought out and carefully built and true to their nature in the way that they react and interact within the story.

Every chapter with adventures using the Half-Blood Prince’s potions book was fascinating and Harry’s internal thoughts and emotions whilst the story unravels are fascinating. Definitely my favourite so far!

46. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows

Nooooo….. it can’t be the last one already! I have read these way too fast!

I can certainly understand why they split this into 2 films, there is an immense amount that occurs in this book. In the final book of this wondrous and now quite beloved (for me anyway) series Rowling brilliantly and tear-jerkingly ties up all the little fragments she has planted over the years throughout the books. This final volume is an absolute triumph and this along with the Half-Blood Prince are absolutely 2 of the best junior fiction novels I have EVER read.

I laughed and shed tears reading this book. A favourite part was hearing Fred and George Weasley on the radio station ‘Pottermore’ hosted by Lee Jordan, I literally laughed out loud during this part of the book. I can’t for the life of me imagine why they wouldn’t have included this part in the first Deathly Hallows film instead of just watching them camp for the majority of it.

I adore how intricately interwoven this series is, the story of which spans literally two generations (more if you include the Dumbledore back story). I know I have mentioned my adoration of the effort that has gone into the characters, but honestly I don’t feel I can state enough how impressed I was with the development of the characters. Harry and Ginny’s relationship was so well done in the books, I really feel it suffered in the films (emotion fueled teenage looks non-withstanding).

Also the end fight scene in this was SO much better than the film. I always liked the film’s final fight, but the book’s was amazing!

I do truly wish I could have experienced the series without having seen the movies, but let’s face it there are so many spoilers around it wouldn’t have mattered. What does matter is that I have finally read them and loved them and now I won’t cause shock by saying “I haven’t actually read Harry Potter”

 

I couldn’t believe it when I was reading these books and the last book almost coincided with the passing of Alan Rickman. I was so very sad to hear of his passing, he was a spectacularly talented man and I am a big fan of his work

What are you guys reading???


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Harry Potter

2016

I have been a very, very naughty blogger. I have neglected you and I am sorry. Why have I abandoned you? Quite simply the crazy season was crazy and every minute I wasn’t committed to cooking, cleaning, celebrating, catching up or other such activities I was reading the Harry Potter series. I managed to finish the last book before the New Year.

I also realise I seriously owe you some 52 Books in 52 Weeks posts. I will get them done. Basically I am behind because I was reading too much and seriously surpassed my goal.

Let’s talk about resolutions… did you make any? I have done some over the past few years which were more like goals rather than resolutions and I will be keeping some of the ones from last year. So here are my goals for 2016…

  • 52 Books in 52 Weeks – yup, here we go again. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this, but I need to get better with my planning and posting. I was doing well last year until about half way through and then it all fell to pieces LOL.
  • Try new things – I have really enjoyed this and haven’t done as much of it in 2015 as I should have so I am bringing this back with a vengeance. I do often tie this in to trying new foods (particularly healthy foods) which is a great thing, but I want to get some more activity things in there too in 2016.
  • Healthy lifestyle – This is something that one constantly works towards I think. It is a choice you make each day. Hubby was good enough to gift me the Garmin tracker I asked for so my first goal for 2016 health wise is to keep my steps up each day. I have also been chatting to a friend at work and may have talked her into joining the work gym and being my gym buddy… we’ll see what happens there. Sadly I gym better when my commitment has been made to someone else rather than myself. I am also going to explore more foods, ways of cooking and preparing and organising my meals better.
  • Get knocked up – This is probably my biggest goal for 2016. Someway, somehow I want to be knocked up by years end. I don’t think this is too much to ask really is it? This means more to me than pretty much everything apart from my family. Please let this be my year. Fingers crossed.

What goals have you set yourself this year?


Netflix

So I am feeling a lot better and went back to work today. Still a bit tender in the sinus area and the area has heat coming out of it, but I am much better than I was that is for sure!

Over this period of illness I have learnt some things. I have learnt that I like to be left completely alone most of the time I am sick and I have learnt that my personality changes when I am sick and apparently my sick personality has weaknesses when it comes to addiction…

Here’s how my Netflix experience went over the course of my sickness…

Step 1: Thursday morning:

penny step one
Step 2: Thursday afternoon:

step 2

Step 3: Friday…

Penny addiction

Step 4: Saturday…

big_bang_theory_season2_screen03

Netflix is a wonderful and dangerous invention… beware πŸ™‚ The funny thing was that I wasn’t even that interested in the show, infact there were times it annoyed the hell out of me, but every time an episode ended the next one just automatically began. IT JUST BEGAN argh!! It was interesting to see actors I knew (including some Aussie ones) pop up during some episodes. Who knew that Stephen AmellΒ (AKA Oliver Queen in The Arrow series) was once a wannabe alpha wolf named Brady? I think I am making excuses now. Sigh… it’s trying to suck me back in.

One thing I will say I have been loving Netflix for is the ability to turn on what you want for the kiddies. My nieces and nephews drop over all the time with their parents and it is nice to be able to flick it on and find a movie or TV show within minutes that you are happy for them to watch and click play. Seriously it’s a lifesaver sometimes πŸ™‚

Tell me of your worst Netflix binge πŸ™‚