WHEN YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH

We all have those moments, something happens, it keeps happening and then, that’s it! We’ve had enough! Something needs to change.

I had one of those moments before Christmas.
But let me start from the beginning.
My monkeysBack in 2009, Mr B and I bought our current home which had 4 bedrooms upstairs. Big Monkey was already with us and we were expecting Chaotic Monkey. As Mr B and I were planning the distribution of the house, we had a few things very clear: our room is the one at the front, we need a double spare room and the kids will share a room.

Both Mr B and I grew up sharing rooms with our siblings and we always loved it (except when you hated it!). The laughs, the fights, the camaraderie…  we wanted that for our children. At this stage we didn’t know the whether Chaotic Monkey would be a boy or a girl, but it was irrelevant. We wanted them to share for as long as possible. So that was the plan.

The Chaotic Monkey was born and it is amazing how siblings can have such different personalities, even at the baby stage. I have to say that I was an extremely lucky mum in that both Monkeys fed and slept well. Big Monkey would feed, you’d change his nappy and put him down on the cot and he’d be sleep in minutes. Chaotic Monkey would also feed well, and after a nappy change he’d settle well in the cot, not problem, but he wouldn’t go to sleep straight away. He’d start talking (making noises…). He wouldn’t cry, he’d be happy, but I would not be able to go to sleep until he was sleep himself. At this point we have to take into consideration that I had an emergency cesarean (with both of them), I was breastfeeding, in a lot of pain, hormonal to the max and exhausted, so no logic applies here. NONE!

After few months, we moved Chaotic Monkey from our room to the nursery and by the time he was 7 months old he was already sharing a room with his brother. Perfect! It worked! Both of them have always been great sleepers, so this worked a treat for many many years. Until it didn’t.
When you've had enough @ OrganisingChaosBlogAs their personalities developed and evolved, some basic things did not change. Big Monkey would go to bed, he’d be happy to have a little chat with his brother and then turn around and go to sleep, Chaotic Monkey would not. He would want the chat to go on for longer and so if Big Monkey wanted to sleep they’d start arguing, or Chaotic Monkey would keep talking (he doesn’t need anyone to answer back!) or start singing at the top of his voice hoping that his brother would give up trying to sleep and join him in his shenanigans.

Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. More often than not, there would be bickering, fights, “he said, no he said”, “he started it…” and so on. They would of course be tired the following day which made the bickering start earlier and earlier as the week progressed. Mr B and I had never walked those stairs more than the last 6 months! Up and down every 5 minutes (or roaring from downstairs if we were too tired) with the “stop arguing”, “stop talking”, “stop singing”, “I don’t care who started it”,”stop talking”, “go to sleep”…

They were threatened with being separated, being sent to different rooms. Despite the fighting, they hated that idea, so I had some leverage there for a little while. Besides, I think they thought it would be too much work and we wouldn’t do it. Until one day, when I had enough.
Breakfast picnic in their bedroomOne normal day, we all woke up, had breakfast, got school lunches, waived everyone goodbye at the door, got my electric screwdriver and went upstairs and started moving furniture around. It was tough but I was determined. I sent some photos to Mr B in the middle of the day with all the beds taken apart and in different rooms and I’m sure he had a little heart attack at work and thought of not coming home that day but he also knew that it was all for the better.

The beds were up that night in different rooms. When the kids came home after school they got a shock. Different rooms? How could I? Chaotic Monkey cried and mourned the loss of his big room. Big Monkey loves having a room to himself although I am sure that he misses hanging out with his brother. Both of them are sleeping much better now although Chaotic Monkey still insists that he needs to share the room with someone for him to sleep better.

As there is an extra mattress in Big Monkey’s room, they are allowed to sleep together at weekends. They love it!  So they get the best of both worlds – they get to sleep earlier on their own on school nights and they still get to hang out at weekends.

Mr B and I are loving the new sleeping arrangement, the kids are getting more sleep and we all are in better form for it.
Adapt or die they say. Well, it’s true.

Do your kids sleep together or separate? How does it work? Share with us!

Chaotic Itzi

DISPLAY YOUR PHOTOS IN A BIG WAY ON A SMALL BUDGET

I love having photos of the family around the house. They are everywhere. In the kitchen, the hall, the bedrooms, the sitting room…

Photos are memories. Of course, we have all those memories stored somewhere at the back of our head but we are often too busy to be able to access them. Photos remind us of those memories, those silly moments, the family moments, different places, the fun we had on holidays, how the kids were so small at one point…  As cheesy as it sounds (and it is going to sound cheesy) photos warm my heart.

For the sitting room, I knew I wanted to make a statement display with loads of photos. I was really inspired by Ashley’s one from TheHandMadeHome  but it had to be smaller as my sitting room is not as big (or bright, or lovely, or have her couch, or…) as hers.
Display your photos with a statement piece on a budget @ OrganisingChaosBlogI knew I didn’t want a permanent fixture on my sitting room so it had to be a frame that could be moved, but where to find a frame so big without having to give up one of my organs at check-out? I had to think outside the box.

One day, I was walking around a furniture shop dreaming of a new kitchen when the light bulb when on!!! I could get a kitchen door glass cabinet as a frame! (like this one, or this one). It is always worth checking out the second-hand kitchen shops for these kind of items. As well as having second-hand kitchen furniture they also tend to buy the remains of stock from big companies or builders so you can get brand new kitchen counters, fab sinks and other bits and pieces for half the price. It is in my local shop that I found my one for only €10!! I think I danced in the shop!!
Display your photos with a statement piece on a budget @ OrganisingChaosBlogDisplay your photos with a statement piece on a budget @ OrganisingChaosBlog
I wanted square photos but not too small so I decided to print the photos in 8×6 and cut them to fit the frame. I then cut a large piece of cardboard to fit in the frame and I attached the photos to it. Once everything is ready, fit it in and secure it at the back with some tape.
Display your photos with a statement piece on a budget @ OrganisingChaosBlogIt is a lovely collage of memories that can be updated as often as you want, although I don’t think I will be updating my one anytime soon. The kids love looking at the photos, trying to remember when they were that small, listening to us telling them stories about the photos or making up their own one. It’s so sweet.

It is very personal, you made it yourself and for little money – that is officially categorized under Win/Win/Win… Totally!!!
Display your photos with a statement piece on a budget @ OrganisingChaosBlogIf you want to go ahead and decorate it also, you can find the tutorials for the paper flowers and the colorful paper garland on the blog.

I hope you are now inspired to look at different ways to display your photos. They make you smile.They are good for the soul.

Chaotic Itzi

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Much appreciated. Thank you!

BUSY, BUSY, EXHAUSTED

Hello lovely people. how are you all keeping? Yes, I am alive and well (despite popular belief!).
Last week was very busy during the day and I was too exhausted at night to write anything. I think my body was fighting a bug or something as I have been very lethargic all weekend, falling sleep in every corner, which is not really like me. But I am back. I feel restored and energetic this morning.

Last week I started painting my outdoor furniture and I am hoping to finish it this week to be able to show you. It is looking really fresh and I am delighted with it. I also bought some material to make some outdoor cushions which I would love to get done this week but I don’t know if it is a realistic expectation as I am going to Spain mid July this year and I am trying to get organised before the boys get their summer holidays next Tuesday.
Skimming stones in Plentzia
You see, the original flights were booked for the 2nd of August and the four of us we were heading to Plentzia (outside Bilbao – Spain) for the whole month. A month’s holidays is a luxury, I know, but It gets better. This summer is exceptional in that I am not working for “a man” but more for myself and as Mr B had to go to Dublin for a week of rehearsals in July, I decided to change my flights and go home with the boys mid July until the end of August (7 weeks!!!) This is probably the longest holiday I have had since college ( a long while ago…) and it might not repeat itself so I decided to make the most out of it.
At the beach
The boys love been in Plentzia. It is a small village by the sea, with the playground, the river (for crab catching or fishing) and the beach all under a 10 minute walk, surrounded by a family that adores them, daily ice-creams and Spanish food – what is not to love! It will also be great for their Spanish to spend 7 weeks in Spain but I bet they haven’t thought about it! i can’t wait to go, to spend quality time with family and friends, to see my adorable nieces (and hopefully steal them for a couple of days), to hopefully get some sunshine and vitamin D, to just be.
At the fairground with my nieces
So I have 7 working days to get the books, uniforms and back packs ready for September; to organize their summer clothes, see what I need to buy, put away their winter clothes that are in good condition and recycle the rest and finish off little projects. Wish me luck!

Ths simple life

What are your summer plans? Are you organized?
Chaotic Itzi

MAKE YOUR OWN ORGANISING TAGS

I am an aspiring organised person, a wannabe. I mean, I love the idea of having things organised but I don’t always get to organise them, either for lack of storage, lack of space,lack of energy and even sometimes pure laziness.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Make your own tags
When I do organise, I like grouping things together, putting them in boxes, jars, baskets and bags and in order to remember what is where, I like tagging them. Tags are great as they come in different sizes and they can be hung from anything.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Make your own tags
The things is, tags don’t necessarily need to be boring and plain, nor they have to expensive to be pretty. All you need to do in order to make a pretty tag is some cardboard, some pretty paper, some glue, some washi paper and your imagination is your limit. There are so many free tag templates around the net these days that you don’t even have to draw your own ones. For this project have chosen few different from RubberStamping and Ihanna.
Make your own tags - Material
Cover some with paper, put some washi tape over others, cover only the edges… whatever pattern or design takes your fancy, whatever you have, whatever suits your house.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Make your own tags
This personalised tags are also great to make any gift feel more special and individual.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Make your own tags
Come on! get organised!

Chaotic Itzi

Organising Chaos

HACKING AND UP-CYCLING

I keep noticing that there is a growing trend to “hack” anything and everything. I am not talking about the “breaking into the CIA computer program” kind of hack. No, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I am talking about transforming something inexpensive and plain into an amazing cheaper version of what you wanted. There are some amazing websites out there that give you some great ideas. My favorite one is Ikea Hackers (get some coffee before you open it as you will spend hours in there!)
OrganisingChaosBlog - Ikeahack
I guess that the idea of hacking has always been around. Up-cycling could be considered hacking, as you are re-purposing an item that was already used for something different. Older generations were masters of up-cycling and hacking. There is nothing like going to my parent’s and grandparents house to see furniture, decorations and general stuff being used in different ways.

I find it extremely interesting that nowadays we would purposely go out and search the second-hand shops to find vintage items to decorate our house and we would go out to buy paint to up-cycle an old piece of furniture, when before it was just the done thing. The only thing has changed is the reasons behind doing this. My parents and grandparents grew up in a time where throwing things out was a luxury. Furniture was better quality, it got passed on from generations to generations. If it got broken, you’d fix it, and you keep using it. Now we want a bit of character, something with personality, something not to middle-of-the-road.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Upcycled Ladder
Attitudes and consumer habits have changed a lot regarding furniture in the last 40 years. Prices and quality have gone down and when something gets broken we simply replace it. Even if we try to fix it first, we often find that it is more expensive to fix it than to replace it as some of the traditional trades are disappearing. When was last time you thought of re-upholstering your couch or armchair rather than replacing it? I know I haven’t.

There are so many shops offering good value for new furniture. Not only that, but we have totally embraced flat-pack into our lives. I love going to Ikea and getting pretty good-value products that I don’t necessarily need – but they are so pretty… and let’s face it, it is easy. It is easy to drive to the one shop, buy everything from serviette to bed linen, at a good price than driving around looking for good quality old products that need some love and time. I often have that debate with myself but I still pop into Ikea at every opportunity I can (and it is over 2 hours away!).

I guess I am trying to find balance. Balance between the old and the new, the easy and the complicated, the clean lines and the broken edges. Balance in general, and it is not an easy task.

Have a wonderful day!
Chaotic Itzi

NO FOOD WASTE PROJECT

A few months ago, I decided to try to implement a No Food Waste policy in our house. We have always been very conscientious about no wasting food but unfortunately there is always something that makes it to the bin. Plus my freezer is always so full that makes it hard to keep control of what I have in there.

This challenge is very easy to implement into anyone’s life. You only need to take 10 minutes out every week to plan ahead and make two lists:
Make a menu for NoFoodWaste Project - OrganisingChaosBlog
First make your WEEKLY MENU. We have our Breakfast Menu set up already, so that is easy. You need to decide what you are having for lunch and dinner that week. Check what you already have in your larder, fridge and freezer to make sure that those things get eaten first. I usually sit down with the boys to plan our weekly menu and they take turns making suggestions.  It is important to get children involved in food conversations, to talk about healthy options and treats, and balanced meals. I find that they also eat better if they feel that they are part of the planning stages, We write our menu in our kitchen blackboard so we all know what the next meal is and we can get organised in advance.
NoFoodWaste Project - OrganisingChaosBlog
Once you have decided on your menu, make the SHOPPING LIST based on what is on the list and only on the list. I know it seems very obvious but it will make you cut down on food waste and on your bill. For example, I used to buy loads of vegetables and fruit on a weekly bases without thinking how much we would realistically eat. The amount of salad leafs, raspberries and strawberries that have ended up in the bin due to lack of planning have broken my heart (and nearly my pocket). Now I only buy what we know we are going to eat that week and it works a treat.

It is very satisfying to see your fridge emptying slowly knowing that everything gets eaten fresh and that nothing will end up in the bin.
It is good for you, for the environment and your pocket.

Have you got a system that works? Share it with us!
Chaotic Itzi

PLANNING 2015

I have always been the kind of person that makes lists. A list to know what I have to bring on holidays, a list for my shopping, a list of what I want to cook for a party… I like writing things down. I have tried putting things on my phone but I have found it doesn’t have the same effect on me. There is something about a pen and paper that helps my brain have some sort of order.

Planning my 2015 - pen and paper

I try to get organise for the following day in the evening. I think about what I have to do the following day, make a list in my head and then I would forget half of them, move them to the following day (and then forget about them), or simply ignore them. For me, having something written down, not only it helps me remember my daily tasks, but it forces me to do them and not move them around, it nearly shames me into getting things done.

I bought myself a 2015 agenda. A small one. One that I can carry around, check what I need to do for the day. I write  everything down, I make my lists and then I tick them as I get them done. It works for me. I have only had it one week and I have already got more things done in this week then previously, just because I remember them.

Planning 2015
Diary 2015
I now feel a little bit less chaotic and a bit more in charge thanks to few pieces of paper put together,
It really is the small things.

What works for you?
(Slightly less) Chaotic Itzi

LOOKING BACK AT MY 2014 GOALS

Happy New Year lovely people! I hope you have had a lovely start to 2015.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I didn’t use to. I always thought that I had to give something up or make a significant change in my life and I never wanted to commit to anything, to put anything in writing.

It was only last year that I realised that New Year resolutions didn’t mean giving up something but rather settings goals for the year. It’s funny how different words have different connotations to everyone. For some reason I am more comfortable with the term “goal setting” and so last year I went for it. I set 4 simple, achievable and relevant goals for me for 2014.
2014 goals
* Cut down on meat. It is not that we ate a huge amount of meat before but I wanted to be more conscious of what we ate and how much meat we consumed as a family. We all love vegetables, pulses and fish at home so I knew this would be an easy and achievable goal for 2014. We try to eat meat just 2 or 3 days a week and it is working great for us.

* Come up with a cleaning schedule and stick to it. I have to put my hand up and say that cleaning is not my thing. I love cooking, I love crafts, I love plants, but cleaning… is not on the top of my agenda. Now, don’t get me wrong, my house is not filthy, I just don’t like cleaning.  I do it, but I don’t like it. I’d much rather paint a room than hoover and mop the floor, that’s just me. I used to do the cleaning once a week, two hours, get everything done in one go. What I found is that sometimes it is hard to have 2 whole free hours in a day which means that the cleaning kept being delayed and not being done. Obviously this system was not working. I have tried different cleaning schedules this year but they just don’t seem to work for me. Maybe it has to do with my attitude rather than with the schedule. This is one of those goals that will need to be carried though to 2015.

* Quality Family Time. We live in a busy society. There is always something to do, something to see, somewhere to be. Although it is great to organise play dates for your kids, bring them to extra curricular activities and all that, we can lose track of spending quality time with them. Just us and them doing something fun, even silly. Last year we introduced Friday night movie. It is obviously a very simple concept: it involves going out and renting a film, making pizza dough all together, designing your own pizza, and having your pizza in the sitting room while watching the film all together. All of that topped with a hot chocolate and marshmallows. Not a bad end to a working week, is it? We also try to have few afternoons of different activities: playing Guess Who, Funny faces, cards, using play dough, making crafts, painting…. anything! it’s lovely. Sometimes the kids stand us up if their friends call at the door, but that is ok. i just don’t want to be the one standing them up.

* Couple Time. 2014 definitely saw an increase on the amount of date nights and nights out that Mr B and I had together. We need to put the date nights in our calendar so they don’t get forgotten. They haven’t been as frequent as both of us would want to but we are working on them.

It is a bit strange for me to look back at the year. I am not one to over analyse anything. I tend to look forward more than backwards, but since 2013, there have been few things holding me back and I guess it has forced me to keep an eye on the rear-view mirror. 2014 has been in many ways a year of resolution for me. I have freed myself from a couple of dark clouds that were hanging over my head. Although my head feels lighter, I know that I am not still back to my normal self but I also know that I am on my way. It hasn’t been a great year, but it has been a good enough year, which I will take. Happily.

I now have to go and decide what my 2015 goals should be, what I want to work on, what my priorities are. I just hope the list is not too long…

Chaotic Itzi