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What with a weekend of camping and pile of washing to catch up on, a head cold and couple of days in bed and a number of looming deadlines — I am officially in the land of chaos! A friend wrote to me recently asking what is my secret for juggling everything I do — family, laundry, books, website, making etc… and really I had no answer. Because all I want to do today is make a cup of tea and go back to bed and read my book. Instead I am catching up on emails, still in my pj’s, the house is a mess and the washing is in a huge pile on the laundry floor!

I wish I could say I was organised, but actually I seem to lurch chaotically from one deadline to the next trying to make time for family in between. Actually that is not entirely true – I am organised in my mind — even though I am constantly missing appointments and forget about dinner sometimes, I do have a few key moments in my day where I stop to make time for the important things — moments of work, rest, rushing and creativity – it is all a balance isn’t it?!:

  • 1. Breakfast is important — we eat a hot breakfast together — we have a cup of tea and do our chores and get ready for the day. We don’t linger — but that five minutes eating breakfast together is important to connect us and still us ready for the busy day ahead.
  • 2. I nearly always do a 30 min rush around the house, quick tidy here and there, load of washing on, make the bed, clear the kitchen … just enough to quell the rising tide of chaos that continues to threaten.
  • 3. Morning is for emails, website, writing – while my mind is fresh I can get my thoughts on paper. And clearing my inbox is actually cathartic – just like clearing the laundry pile – feels like I can move on to the creative and fun part.
  • 4. I pause for a cup of tea, a few rows of crochet, a few pages of my book, update my twitter. I check the mail, flick through a new magazine, put another load of washing on. Such is the benefit of working from home — not all the chores are left to the weekend or to my day off. I can squeeze a little bit of organisation in here and there.
  • 5. Sometimes I go to the gym or to pilates or meet a friend for tea and craft.
  • 6. But mostly I get onto my big projects – my major deadlines. Sewing, designing, making – and in between I try to keep my studio in a user friendly state. Sometimes I need a whole day to get it back to rights. I seem to create a lot of mess when I am in a creative tunnel.
  • 7. Kids home from school – I stop again. Afternoon tea, we sit and chat about our day, I do a little baking, get dinner on, the kids do their music practice or go to a friends house or have soccer practice or simply read a book or maybe it is their turn to cook dinner! I put another load of washing on.
  • 8. I have an hour of quiet while the kids are doing their own thing to finish up what I was doing. Or maybe to put my mess away, or maybe just to sit and read a book too!
  • 9. We eat dinner together — always! And then we clean up – get ready for bed, the kids sometimes clean the kitchen! we do some chores, get organised for the morrow. We put the radio on and get dancing while we clean – it helps!
  • 10. Family novel time only if we managed an early enough dinner – we make a snack platter of fruit, cheese and chocolate, a pot of tea too! And we read a few chapters of our family novel. The kids then go to bed – there is squabbling and arguing over the bathroom and the usual bedtime drama.
  • 11. Finally a moment alone with my hubs – we can sit and catch our breath. A moment of respite – a glass of wine – an uninterrupted conversation!

How do you organise your day? Do you have key moments of work, rest, rushing and creativity?

Whipup this week: I hope you had a lovely Easter :: Last weeks newsletter was quilting focussed :: A post on advanced crochet toy making :: Guest posts by Thumbtack press and Handmade Olympics.

Cooking this week: Greek lemon oregano chicken :: Tonkatsu – Japanese pork :: Pot roast :: Wholewheat pizza

Reading this week: Three fun craft books from (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2012):: Noah’s Knits by Fiona Goble :: Criminal Crafts by Shawn Bowman :: Zodiac Felties by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate . I love this publisher – they do some really cool and unusual craft books. Criminal crafts is a stand out for me because it is really quite unique. Tongue in cheek.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending me books to review, I don't get paid to post reviews but I am an amazon affiliate] (Australians can purchase craft books online through can do books or booktopia or else browse booko for the best prices.)

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If you already have a few crochet basics down and you want to get onto making some fun stuff – try these toys …

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One of the biggest pleasures for me during holidays is the food – the cooking, the smells and tastes, and the family pushing and shoving — uhm gathering around to appreciate all that you do for them. Food = love = family = togetherness.

This long weekend I am camping with my family. We go to our favourite spot on the coast with a few friends and their kids and their bikes and the fishing gear, and we swim, we light the fire, we cook slow foods (and hopefully some freshly caught fish too), we bring home baked goods to share, there is usually an Easter egg hunt for the kiddos who want to participate (uhm all of them) and we have a really lovely time with really special friends.

A few weeks ago my family and I put together the Action Pack Magazine for kids – the Easter Edition – only $4, so you too can share some lovely family time. It is filled with some easy and some more challenging recipes, crafts and (edible) science that kids can do — meanwhile you can put your feet up and enjoy the fact that your kids are independent and creative and congratulate yourself on your marvellous parenting skills by trusting them in the kitchen and giving them the freedom to grow!

If like me you are planning on a little camping adventure then you might want to grab our Great Outdoors Action Pack Magazine which is a big book full of fun outdoor science, adventure, games, cooking and art.

I have put together a few special recipes from around the web so you too can get into the holiday spirit. Decorate some eggs, bake some delicious foods, and have a lovely special holiday weekend.

Dyed Easter crafts

Foodie Easter Craft Recipes

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Yarny Easter Crafts

Sewn, felted, glued Easter crafts

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Crochet is the perfect medium for making toys — here are some easy beginner patterns to get your started …

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