House updates & our feelings on building with GJ Gardner Homes.

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Hey friends,

House update time!! We are down to the final stage now, we are so close to having the keys I am literally dying of excitement… I can tell you now this week is going to drag on so long!
For our latest HOUSE UPDATE VIDEO click HERE <- in that video you can see our lighting and flooring choices as well as the exterior paint.

This week the house had painting touch ups, electricity was turned on, it was cleaned inside and out (it looks amazing!!) and Trent has been busy working on the shed and side fence… Post holes were dug for the front fence as well on Friday… Trent has been working tirelessly for us, he is so wonderful. Today he was there again doing fencing and I even got in and did a bit today! Tomorrow we will be back there cleaning up the block and finishing off the side fence.


We are slowly moving somethings into the shed, we bought some new storage shelves to store our seasonal items (christmas/easter/halloween decor, baby clothes etc) 
Our plan with the house is to be very strict with what comes in… I want to declutter as much as we can, what we don’t need or love is going to be put aside to be sold at a garage sale, which I hope to have in September… I don’t want every cupboard and drawer full of things, I want some empty cupboards, shelves and drawers!
This house is so special and beautiful to us, I only want it full of things we truly love. What we don’t need is going!

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Sneak peek at one of my linen cupboards, this is my walk in one!

So the next week is set to be a big one for us!!

How this week should play out is…
Monday – Security screens and doors get installed I think on this day -or maybe Tuesday… The skip bin is removed & I think our new fridge arrives… I don’t think I’ve told you all about this, but we are getting a new fridge and it is so beautiful – it sparkles!! Trent will be off to Toowoomba to get front fence supplies. (On this day we also have gymnastics, a committee meeting & hopefully I can fit in yoga! This is also our wedding anniversary) 
Tuesday – Front fence will be started and the final inspection is booked. This is where we go through & make sure we are happy with the finished product and check everything works etc.
Wednesday – I guess if any repairs need to be made they are done here… (Kindy day!)
Thursday – HOPEFULLY we get the keys on this day, pending the bank gets everything done in time as they are notorious for holding up handovers! So fingers are crossed this is the day we get our keys… If not I think it maybe Monday, so let’s hope it is Thursday! (On this day we have LuLu’s pre-prep morning class, than a meeting with her new principal!) 
Friday – Hopefully we get to move some stuff in, if not we will be moving stuff to the shed. (On this day LuLu has kindy and I also have another committee meeting in the morning!) 

This feels like a long time coming, but really our build has been done very quickly and that’s a credit to our builders, they are efficient and do things so well. (We started in March and finished end of July, that is incredibly fast!)
I can’t speak highly enough of the entire GJ Gardner Homes Dalby/Chinchilla team, they have made this process so smooth and pleasant. They are knowledgable, friendly, easy to work with & nothing I asked was too hard (or silly in some cases!)
Even when we’ve had minor hiccups, which really only happened towards the end, they were so easy to work with. I know a lot of companies try to spin the blame back to the customer, I have heard so many “bad builder” stories, but GJ have been outstanding, they got to the bottom of the issues and solved them so quickly… (None were the fault of the builders either, just ordering mishaps from suppliers/miscommunications etc) 
So if you are a Dalby/Chinchilla area local I highly recommend GJ Gardner Homes to build with… Chris, Chelsea & Kelsey are so helpful and are just genuinely really wonderful people!

Gosh I am so excited for key handover, it feels like it’s the lead up to Christmas!!
This will be my last blog post/video update on the house now until we show off the finished product. We are so in love with it and can’t wait to be living there!
If you would like to see more updates, please check out my social media as I can’t help but regularly post photos of it on there!

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Thanks for reading!

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Chocolate Eclairs Recipe.

Hi friends,

The other day I posted this photo…

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And I was instantly flooded with requests for the recipe for these eclairs…
A dear friend of mine (who now lives in Kansas) her Mumma makes these, I have eaten them many times since knowing these wonderful friends….
So I asked Shar if I could share her recipe & and she thankfully said I could share it with you all… So here it is…

bake bread

“Shaza’s kiwi chocolate eclairs”

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Whipped cream for filling
  • A block (or 2) of cadbury chocolate for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Place butter and water in saucepan and heat.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil – remove quickly and add flour.
  4. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each egg.
  7. Mix until mixture is glossy.
  8. Using 2 spoons distribute mixture onto lined trays. (Or pipe 7cm strips)
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until eclairs are puffy & golden.
  10. Lower heat to 120 degrees C and bake for another 15 minutes until dry.
  11. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  12. Prepare whipped cream to your liking (I add icing sugar & vanilla)
  13. Melt chocolate using your preferred method. I use my thermomix, but microwave or stovetop also works great. I just use regularly cadbury block chocolate, I used one block for my batch but I feel I should’ve used another 1/2 a block.
  14. Using a sharp knife, cut eclairs in half but leaving top attached.
  15. Fill with whipped cream and then dip top into melted chocolate. (Or spoon melted chocolate over the eclairs)
  16. Set aside for chocolate to set.
  17. Eat & enjoy. (store eclairs in the fridge)

I filmed myself making these for the firs time, in my recent “clean with me” video, you can CLICK HERE to watch that. (They are easy to make, a tiny bit fiddly – but you can see in the video how easy it is!)

If you try this recipe I would love to see/hear how they turn out for you, send me a photo on social media!

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TIPS for saving. {money talk}

Hey friends,

An often requested blog for me to write is about our budget/who handles our finances/how we save etc.
Firstly Trent handles our finances & basically anything to do with money, insurances, accounts etc. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I am not gifted mathematically or in the way of understanding any of that sort of stuff. No matter how hard I try. I feel more comfortable with him being in control of all of it, I can still access and see it all – but honestly it makes little sense to me. I try really hard to understand it but I just struggle with it. He pays all of our bills and organises our budget.
As for our budget, we know what bills we need to pay and have that money set aside and then our grocery money (which can be anywhere from $150-$250 a week… We eat a lot of fresh fruit, enjoy good quality meat, Tommy is still in nappies and that includes pet food/litter) and we also deposit an amount into savings. I won’t share our exact amounts, but we strive to save when and where we can. Any cash that we have at the end of the week or we make by selling items on buy, swap & sells is put into my little savings jar that I deposit into the bank and that goes towards extra things we maybe saving for like holidays, items for the new house, gifts etc. I did a whole post on selling items to make a bit of extra money, you can CLICK HERE to read that. (Oddly enough, that post of all posts went “viral”…)

A few great ways we save money are…

  • I make most of my own cleaners. And use white vinegar & bicarb to clean most things. Occasionally I will splurge and buy some cleaning products (I love Method) but for most things, I make my own. (I do like to buy furniture polish & glass cleaner)
  • I also make my own laundry powder, that recipe can be found HERE.
  • I buy generic brands where it suits us. Now I still buy brand name items for most things, but for a few things I tend to look for cheaper alternatives. It often is a bit of trial & error to find a cheaper brand of something that suits your taste. I buy store brand sugar, flours, pasta, butter for cooking, bleach for cleaning etc… The dishwasher tablets from Aldi are also very cheap & work great. (Our town is getting an Aldi soon, so I think I may try shopping there as well)
  • I bake our treats. I do sometimes buy us something for the week from the store, but 90% of the time I prefer to bake some biscuits or a cake for morning/afternoon teas for the week. I choose what to bake depending on what I have, what I need to use up or just what we feel like and I feel better giving LuLu a sweet treat when I know exactly what is in it.
  • Trent does all of our “jobs” around the house. We don’t need to outsource anything to tradies or the such because he is skilled and knowledgable to do it. I find this so helpful and I feel it saves us a lot of money. He does everything from fix his own work ute, he will be building the fences for the new house, constructing the kids play area and if anything is ever broken or needs to be done he knows how to do it… We are yet to ever need to “call someone”.
  • We don’t eat a lot of take away or drink a lot of alcohol. We do eat out (or have take away) but it is not in excess and both of us do not drink a lot of alcohol.
  • We very rarely buy soft drink. Huge saving in the groceries is cutting that out.
  • Writing a shopping list of exactly what you need and only buying those items is a great way to stay on track with the groceries.
  • Adding up your groceries on your phone calculator as you buy each item is another good way to be aware of what you are spending, that way you know if you are going over budget.
  • Shop around for the best deal and go with what works for you. Do not be afraid of calling around other stores if you are making a big purchase and getting the lowest price possible.
  • Reassess your phone/internet/electricity/health insurance plans if possible. Call up ask for a better deal, rework them to suit your current situation better or call other companies to compare. (We need to do this for our health insurance, because holy that’s an expensive one!)
  • Sell unwanted/unused items on buy, swap & sell sites.
  • Be sensible, that’s a huge one. Do not spend what you don’t have. Live within your means.

And on that note, I have a new HAUL video on YouTube CLICK HERE to watch it. It’s a small haul from a little shopping day the other day. I made a conscious decision to not go over board at the shops. It is easy to do when we go to the big shopping centre in Toowoomba, Dalby only has a small variety of stores and when you are in a big centre you see so many things you want, but staying focused on what you need is important. I did buy a few fun items for the kids to put away as gifts but it was all well within the spending budget for that day. (Trent did tell me to go buy something for myself, but I decided I wanted to save it to go towards something when we finally are in the house.)

I would love to hear your tips for saving money. Please leave them as a comment below or comment on my social media…

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Have a great day.

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Clean with me {video & tips}

Hey friends!
Today I have a ‘clean with me” video for you all. Click HERE to watch it! 

This video was filmed on a busy day for us. I had a few jobs I wanted to get done but also had “life” to just get on with… I find on those days the best way to get my “have to do” jobs done is just that, get them done as soon as I can. Don’t put them off, just tackle them first up.
I wanted to wipe down my kitchen sink and my bathrooms, so I made sure to do that before heading out for the day.
I do often get asked “how do I stay on top of housework?”
I do it every single day, my house is usually fairly clean because I clean it continually. I find procrastinating and delaying getting jobs done is a huge problem, the longer you leave it the more it drags out and then you are totally overwhelmed because a simple task has suddenly become a mammoth job.
My basic daily clean roughly consists of wiping down my kitchen benches & table, making the beds, doing a load of laundry (drying, folding & putting it away as well), picking up around the house, running, unpacking & reloading the dishwasher and a quick vacuum. But those are my bare minimum jobs I have to do daily or I feel like I cannot function. Every other day I normally wipe down the bathrooms, run the duster over, mop and pick up around the house… I find lightly doing these jobs regularly makes “deep cleaning” those areas so much quicker. I will polish the furniture every week – week & a half & beds are washed weekly.
I clean as I go in my kitchen when I am cooking and I find that makes the end clean up so much easier. My shower is wiped down after every use and that helps tremendously with keeping it cleaning.
I hope these few quick insights on how I do things has helped you or given you 1 or 2 ideas to implement in your home. Cleaning doesn’t have to be some huge drawn out task that takes all day.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. If you have any other cleaning related questions  (or just general questions) please comment below or on my social media and I can answer them in a future post.

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New home cabinetry reveal {VIDEO}

Family Camping in Australia. (3)
Hey friends,
Today’s post is another build update, this past week our cabinetry has been installed in our kitchen, butlers pantry, laundry & bathrooms.
I made sure to film it so you all could see! I am absolutely in love with it all, especially my kitchen, laundry and pantry!
So if you would like to watch the video CLICK HERE! 

Our tiles have also started turning up and you can see a sneak peek of some of them in the video, but my exciting ones are yet to arrive! Everything is happening so quickly and it’s all very exciting! I think at the start of next month the tiles go in and the lighting goes in… I believe around the middle of this month painting is due to start, we’ve got our exterior colours sorted and interior trim colour but I’m stuck on the perfect wall colour for us! Hoping that will be decided this week!

Well friends I hope you enjoyed this little house update, I love sharing this journey with you all! I cannot wait to share it when it is fully done…
Have a lovely weekend!
(If you missed my last house update, CLICK HERE)

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House build update & progress video!

Hey friends,
I feel this post is well over due and I keep meaning to write it and then get sidetracked… But let’s talk all things house…
Firstly we are at lock up stage – woo hoo… As I type this (Thursday the 31st of May) I believe our kitchen, bathrooms & laundry should be being installed this week…. I am so darn excited, I know I say that every single time I talk about the house – but I truly am! (Update; today is the 2nd of June and we are doing a walk through this afternoon to view what’s been installed so far of our cabinetry and I’m dying of excitement. I drove past yesterday and saw one of my kitchen cabinets through the window and pretty much cried!!)

Now to answer the biggest question I’ve been asked since we said we were building…
“What plan are we using?”
We are building with GJ Gardner Dalby, (who are amazing!!) so we are using one of their plans but have changed it entirely… The plan we started with is the ‘Fernbank 253’ – but we’ve changed most of it and also made it bigger. Trent worked tirelessly to design a home that is perfect for us. Our custom plan suits us perfectly…
(For privacy & security reasons we will not be sharing our complete plan at this time…)
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On Mother’s Day I did something really meaningful to us for our house… We went there, had a picnic dinner and I wrote scriptures, prayers and little quotes all over the framework. It was on the eve before our house was to be gyrpocked/sheeted. It is something that can’t be seen but we know it is there and it means so much to us…
(Would you like me to share a blog post with the verses & quotes I used for this? Let me know!)

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I have made a video documenting our house journey so far… From when we first got the block to it being at lock up stage! So click HERE to watch it! And here are a few photos…

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Roof going on.
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Sarking/builders wrap on!
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Our big sliding door going in… 
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My butlers pantry window…
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Our mudroom area that Trent is going to build… 

Our journey so far of building has been surprisingly pretty easy. Nearly everyone we spoke to said how stressful and hard it can be, but our tastes are similar and I feel we made good decisions together… Trent is truly my best friend and understands exactly what I like… I have visions but can never draw/get them out – but I can explain what I want and he gets it 110% and can make it come to life! I may have driven him nuts in this process though with struggling to understand plans! Sorry Trex!
We have made some bold choices in some areas of the house and I’ll leave that as a surprise, but I will say our tile choices won’t be for everyone – but they are perfectly us.

So friends, that’s all for today. If you have any questions please reach out to me via comments or my social media… If you love seeing house updates make sure you are following along on insta and facebook as I do post mini updates on there!
Have a great weekend!
VIDEO LINK CLICK HERE!

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KMART Easter Haul. {VIDEO}

Hi friends,

Today’s video is another easter haul. This time it is all Kmart easter stuff, I got some really lovely items!
You can watch it HERE. If you missed my previous easter haul check it out HERE.

Have a great weekend guys, I’ll be back on Monday with a new blog post.

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