20 tips from an organised person with two kids and a small biz

Some days you just have to 'ride the beast' that is a day with two small children...

Some days you just have to ‘ride the beast’ that is a day with two small children…

I often get asked, ‘How do you find the time?’

Honestly? I don’t know. But here are some tips I have used recently to get some things done.
I have two babies and a small business called Outie making knocker frocks, illustrations and more.  My children are small – one is nearly three and the other is one (and they are both still in nappies… )
1) Make more coffee than you need in the morning and keep it in a thermos for later in the day.
2) Use a reusable travel mug in case your kids dictate that you won’t get time to sit down at home. Coffee in the car can actually be more relaxing.
3) Keep a similar routine so that your kids know what to expect each day and you can ‘hopefully’ avoid tantrums by surprising them with an errand and having to force them into the car.
4) Do house chores while they are awake so that nap times can be all business.
5) Always take a picnic lunch/snack pack out with you (we just went to the beach this morning and I took a lunch box of goodies. We had some in the car, I used some as bribery to put seat belts on and then food was all ready to munch when we got home!)
6) Set up safe multitasking zones. 
Right now my daughter is in her high chair on my left (strapped in) and my son is in a small tub inside the bath with his whales on my right and I am sitting between them in the doorway of the bathroom with my pre-prepared coffee writing this. Winning! (Nb I wrote notes at bath time and filled it out later once they were both in bed). Using a decent phone also means that you are not tied to needing a computer to achieve things too…
7) Use help when you can and ask for it. I struggle to be adventurous safely with two babies so small on my own.  So a childless friend met us at the beach so that my toddler could run off safely and she could chase him. (Ever tried wearing a one year old in soft sand and chasing a toddler…?!) I put my hand up and said I wasn’t coping on my own but I love going to the beach – so now we have a help system and everyone wins.
8) Wear them while you can. Sometimes my day naps don’t go according to plan so I wear my baby to still tick off a few small jobs. I have a home made neon woven wrap that is my new best friend.
9) Run them like dogs/tucker them out to make them sleep. Most days we go bush walking and I do brain training with my toddler making him learn new words, play number games or remember picture books by heart. His brain gets tired and he sleeps better later. Today we watched the surfing Nationals at the beach and he sprinted around and climbed rocks and splashed in the stream. I don’t foresee a nap issue today…
10) Organise quiet play opportunities. Sometimes I just have a couple more things that need to be finished and if I can bust out a bag of blocks at my feet, some fabric scraps in a tissue box, some special word cards, or a bin of rice… I might just be winning. I also make my two year old play quietly in his room after lunch even if he doesn’t want to sleep because I need some quiet time too!
11) Write lists. It’s hard to keep everything in your head. Just write it down so you can leave your head clear for fun hunting with your kids and you know where to start on biz related stuff when you do get some time.
12) Read your babies. It’s ok to abandon ship some days if the little people just need a rest day. C’est la vie.
13) Don’t pretend you don’t have kids. I’m a work at home mum. I tell everyone that my business stuff happens in nap times. Most people are understanding if there is a delay and I give myself realistic lead times so that no one has to have a stressed out grumpy mummy or a longer than expected wait time for something I am making for them.
14) Plan errands in a circuit. This is a bit of an economy thing as well as a green thing that I like to do. Later on today I have to pick up fabric, drop off splat mats and go to the post office. I have it planned out to be a neat circle for less time in the car and less environmental impact of silly back and forth errands AND less stress on my kids being in and out of the car.
15) Get a car phone. One of the hardest things I find is trying to find time to call people when my kids are quiet. Strangely they are happy and often quiet in the car. My man bought me a Bluetooth stereo phone thing for Christmas. It’s been amazing and is a real time saver and is actually the best thing ever.
16) Let it go. Last night I found myself stressing because I hadn’t managed to sew four dresses and today I have to sew four more dresses and… Gah. It’s better for everyone if I take my time and do things nicely and prevent myself from rushing. Rushing makes mistakes. One more day won’t hurt but stressing about it will.
17) Make hay while the sun shines. My man is a fire fighter and he is often on long (seemingly endless) shifts. This means I also have long stints of solo parenting. When he is home, I can grab some more time to catch up on things and I have to remind myself that it will even out in the end. I am a mum first and a business owner second after all. I plan my weeks around his work to make things work for me too (and sometimes I take over the whole house when he is gone for a while and I spread out in ways he would hate provided the kids have gone to bed nicely).
18) Get a snow plough. Sometimes I can’t start work because my house is a tip and it stresses me out. So I use a shovel like a snow plough and do a mega scoop up of everything and dump toys back in the crates.  Two seconds down and time to get stuck into the studio.
19) Process your work in batches if possible. I find that I am much more efficient if I do all my cutting one day, all my overlocking and construction together, all my finishing together and then sit down to wrap a batch of parcels. It also saves time because I can do colours together rather than changing threads for each job etc.
20) Keep your work space inspiring. When I get a second during the day I like to nip into my studio to put things away so that it’s a nice space to start work in. I also get creative about where I do things to work in with my kids if I can’t get into my special room. I find a cutting board on our double bed is a great place to cut out a few dresses if I need to and I am still within sight of my one year old. I can sing her to sleep while I work. So do whatever works.
There you go! And this is live so that means the kids are napping and THAT means all my planning for the day has worked!
Maybe there’s something there that is helpful for you?
Leave a comment and let me know and don’t forget to click ‘follow’ before you go. X

The Wait

We are on high alert

He sits astride an ocean

Head down, expectant.

Quiet, focussed.

The world halts.

Suspended in time

our lives hang in the breeze

our breaths break like waves

we are the moon and the tide

waiting

but nothing on the horizon.

And then…

A ship.

The tide is out.

He beams.

We whoop.

The world relaxes and turns once more.

-KW, 19/10/2014

There is poetry in potty training. Really, there is.

There is poetry in potty training. Really, there is.

DIY Toy Storage – Toy Tree Nursery Canvas

Toy Tree Storage Canvas Diy

Here is an easy Outie idea for storing your baby’s toys.

Cover a canvas with tree fabric (or paint a tree).

Lay toys out on top where you would like the toys to ‘sit’.

Add loops of elastic around the toys and tie them off on the back. You can use a large needle to punch through the fabric in two places for each toy. Thread the elastic through and knot firmly on the back side.

My son loves choosing his toys and putting them back in their imaginary nests by looping them back through their own little elastic loop.

Easy peasy and pretty cute!

Love from Outie.co.nz (We make fun stuff for fun parents)

Houseproud House Cleaning Tips With A Toddler

I often pine for the delicious state my house used to be in pre-children – but I do get little windows of clean house that I like to enjoy alone before it all gets messed up again.

 

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The best advice I have for new mummies – is to do your chores with your babies so that you can rest when they do. I never did this with my son and raced around making myself miserable while he slept doing all my chores and never got a break!

I have only found the time to write this today because I have managed to get my cleaning done with both my babies awake. Now that they are both sleeping, I get to have some down time.

Here are some of my cleaning tips: (I also like to clean just before nap time so that all the activity wears my toddler out nicely. Hee hee hee he doesn’t know I am on to him…)

BABY

First make sure that the baby is changed and fed and safe from toddler terrorism. I like to wear my baby while I vacuum but I can’t really wear her when I want to clean the toilet or bend down for something. I use a baby bouncinette or I set her up with a play gym for the duration of my super-quick house clean. If she is not ready for a sleep, she just comes along from room to room with us.

 GEAR

This is my cleaning kit:

Bottle of white vinegar in a spray bottle

Bottle of 50/50 bleach and water spray

Spray bottle of water

Three cloths

An old tee shirt

Newspaper

Eco-store cream cleaning solution (like jiff)

 QUICK CLEAN UP

Involve toddler in a series of slam dunking ‘pick up’ activities to clear floor ready for vacuuming.

Use brush and shovel for fun ‘digger’ activity if you have lots of smaller toys.

SWEEP

Give toddler brush and shovel or broom to help.

VACUUM

Give toddler pile of books to sit and read in a special sitting spot. Wear baby to zen her out ready for nap.

Put baby down to nap and move on to other chores.

Sometimes I like to give my toddler some baking soda with a sieve to sieve baking soda over the carpet as a home-made deodoriser (he has fun and afterwards I get to ‘see’ how clean my house is).

BATHROOM/S

Occupy toddler in dry bath with bath crayons or give toddler bottle of water to spray around bathroom to ‘help’.

Spray toilet with bleach solution and leave.

Spray counters and mirrors with vinegar solution and leave.

Squirt jiff around toilet and quickly scrub bowl.

Run shower and swap toddler’s water spray bottle for vinegar spray bottle.

Scrub shower while in shower with toddler. (this is my shower) ‘Rub out’ drawings as part of cleaning method – get them to help by spraying vinegar.

Leave plug in shower for toddler to splash in bottom (if it’s a bath one like our one) while quickly wiping vanity down.

Use newspaper to polish mirror.

Polish taps with dry t-shirt.

Wipe down all surfaces. Finally wipe toilet and throw first cloth away/in wash.

Take wet toddler with you to do bedrooms.

BEDROOM

Dress wet toddler and chuck wet towel in laundry.

Strip beds and make tent with dry laundry for toddler to play in. (roll up and make a round ‘nest’ or hang over couch cushions to make a hut)

Add teacups for tea party.

Play ‘red rag to a bull’ or ‘whoosh’ toddler with sheets.

Put toddler on bed to jump and ‘help’ tuck in sheets.

Put toddler in duvet cover and carry around for a while like a mad santa.

Put duvet cover on duvet.

Finish making bed/s.

Use second cloth to dust surfaces in bedrooms and move to kitchen.

 KITCHEN

Set toddler up in high chair with pre-nap snacks.

While they eat, spray counters of kitchen with vinegar.

Boil kettle for coffee.

Empty dish washer while kettle boils.

Wipe all surfaces and load dish washer. Turn it on.

Polish taps with dry tee-shirt.

Make coffee.

Clean up toddler, wipe high chair and put to bed.

 

Relax with coffee and enjoy your down time.

 

OK. So I didn’t wash the floors yet. But that one has to be done when the toddler is out or asleep otherwise the slippery floor is dangerous…

And this way I get to have some me time in my lovely clean house. Even if it is only clean for me to see.

 

And finally, four small confessions:

Sometimes I scrub the toilet and leave the soapy stuff in the bottom so that my work can be ‘seen’. This is my ‘thank you prompt’.

Sometimes I fold the toilet paper and pretend I am in a hotel.

Sometimes I skate on the floor with wet towels soaked in detergent when no-one is around as a more fun way to mop.

I pay myself to clean the house instead of paying a cleaner so that I feel more valued and do a better job. (So I keep the money that I would otherwise pay a cleaner – that’s paying myself!)

 

How do you manage your chores with children?

Love Outie.

I’m not ready

I’m not ready.

We crossed a significant line today and cut some apron strings – or at least lengthened them a little. It was our son’s first day at preschool.

It probably shouldn’t be a big deal, but I felt apprehensive and a little sick. I had butterflies in my tummy like it was my first day at school (and he was pretty much oblivious and just keen to start playing).

My butterflies caused me to over-plan everything. I packed him an extra drink bottle (why?) and double-labelled his lunch box and I even stuffed in a puffy vest at the last minute ‘in case he gets cold’.

 

The worrying voice in my head was yelling at me:

‘He isn’t ready!’

‘He’s too young!’

‘Keep him at home!’

‘You’re doing the wrong thing!’

 

But another gentler voice was also whispering:

‘He needs to be extended’

‘More play with other kids will do him good’

‘He is ready’

‘Two days a week will be great for all of you’

 

(DISCLAIMER: I don’t ‘actually’ hear voices for the record)

 

But even when I ignored both voices, there was still a little squeak inside me saying something else entirely.

It was saying ‘you are not ready’.

So this problem is entirely my own.

 

Because at the other end of the day I have a happy kid who had lots of fun and still gave me delicious kisses before bedtime. I have a happy kid who is sleeping now and looking forward to another play-filled day tomorrow. I have a happy kid that is thankfully oblivious to the turmoil that he has put his mummy through.

 

And when I reflect on my lack of readiness the feeling is really familiar.

 

I haven’t been ‘ready’ for any of this stuff.

I wasn’t ready to get pregnant.

I wasn’t ready to become a mum.

I wasn’t ready to leave my job.

I wasn’t ready to give birth.

I wasn’t ready to wean him.

I wasn’t ready to put him in his big bed.

I wasn’t ready to tackle this big parenting ‘thing’.

– I have never been ready for any of it.

 

So what’s the moral of this little end-of-day tale?

 

We  are never ready for anything. Whatever will be, will be. And maybe it’s best to just go with the flow.

Be like water.

Be like the ping pong.*

Be like the kettle.

Whistle when you are done.**

 

 

* Be the Ping Pong  -a philosophical post on parenting

* *the hotter it gets, the more we should try to whistle a happy tune.

 

Love Outie.

kawakawa leaf

 

 

 

 

12 Memorable Parenting Disaster Moments

12 Memorable Parenting Disaster Moments

I probably haven’t told anyone about all of these yet they deserve to be remembered and ‘treasured’ in a ‘whoa, that was a steep learning curve’ kind of way. This ‘real life baby’ memory trip is in response to the ugly volvo’s blog about what a baby book should ‘really’ record in terms of Baby Milestones.

Here are a dozen moments that didn’t make it to my son’s baby book.

(In no particular order, this is an ode to the little mister who is now two).

 

 

  1. The time you nearly fell out of my pouch sling when I bent down in the bush to pick up an interesting leaf.
  2. The time I cried more than you when you got your first shots.
  3. The time I smooshed your newborn face into the handle of the baby carrier accidentally in front of the doctor because I didn’t know that the handle could be put down.
  4. The time you made a ‘brown crayon’ and drew with it in the bath.
  5. The time you choked on a dried apricot that had somehow been left in your car seat.
  6. The time I swore with some very snaggly child-unfriendly words in front of you because your teeth were embedded in my arm.
  7. The time(s) we both cried and cried because I couldn’t console you.
  8. The night terrors.
  9. The time I bit my own lip (literally) because you bit my finger while I was applying teething jelly (and I didn’t want to repeat the swearing incident).
  10. The time you had a vomit avalanche I couldn’t contain and I stupidly spread it all over the house by pacing in a panic around the house.
  11. The time the air pressure changed in the car and I worked out that you had opened the rear passenger car door while I was driving on the highway.
  12. Your first public tantrum that sent my glasses flying and made your sister cry because you kicked us both in your rage.

 

 

Ah babies. We do love them so.
Love Outie.

 

Outie: We do messy parenting good.

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Butter Chickpeas – An Outie family favourite and nursing-friendly curry

I seem to get a lot done in a day and yet I still experience ‘mum fail’ at dinner time most days because I have been too wrapped up in creative projects to remember to get the dinner ready.
The kids always eat – but the adults often get forgotten in our house. (I know it’s bad – I am working on this!)
 
So here is a quick and easy Outie family favourite that takes next to no time to prepare. You can make the butter chicken variety if you like and all you do is add browned chicken to the curry and let it simmer together to soak up the flavours.
 
This recipe is great for kids as it is not too spicy and it is also a nice way to introduce chickpeas as a meal idea. I have also found that this one is breastfeeding friendly because it doesn’t have too much onion or spices. So everyone is happy!
 
Butter Chickpeas
 
1 medium onion (chopped finely)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
300 g condensed tomato soup
1 can coconut cream (or half – add it until you think the colour is right for your family’s taste buds)
300 g chickpeas
200 g boiled baby potatoes, cubed
Spinach (optional – I like to add pureed spinach to turn into a Saag and smuggle some more veges in…)
1 -2 tablespoon chopped coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
 

Fry the onion and garlic in the spices until they are aromatic but not too dry. (This is when you add the chicken if you want a meaty option).

Add the soup, coconut cream, chick peas and potatoes and leave to simmer.

Add the chopped coriander and salt to taste just before serving.

Serve over ‘rice castles’ or as a moat around a rice island (rice pressed into little bowls and turned out onto the plate).

 

YUM! Enjoy!

(Adapted from Alison Holst’s Meals without Meat).

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(Check out my well-used recipe book… always a sign of a favourite – the stickier the pages, the better!)

 

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