I’m going to cheat a little. I got my camera out and with the last light of day, and a minimal amount of battery I managed to take a few shots. I’m just about to upload a couple to show I did manage to get some taken but I don’t think they’ll be up before midnight :)
I kinda started this NaBloPoMo on a whim, and by Day 3 it’s fairly obvious to me that I’m rather out of touch with how I used to organise and prepare my posts. Blogging in generally isn’t like journalling, where for me I just leap onto my computer and knock out my thoughts.
Blogging in my mind requires drafting, a bit of preparation and planning. And despite the past quality of posts, there was more planning and preparation than I’m currently putting in. Heck – last night I leapt out of bed to get a blogpost out the door before midnight because I forgot!
Also, it’s fairly apparent to me that the blog itself needs some time spent on it. Some of the plugins aren’t working as expected any more, for instance.
So bear with me while I try to organise my thoughts, plan and draft out a few posts and generally get back into the swing of things.
Today I’m going to quickly share three sites I find useful or like:
The first is Rainy Cafe. It’s a great option when you need some ambient noise to listen to while getting some work done and I can testify that it blocks out the noise of an idling wide bore exhaust!
The second is Copy Youtube Playlists which does exactly what the title suggests. You paste the link to a youtube playlist you like and it’ll save it to a playlist in your own account. Great for using when you’d otherwise be trawling through youtube to get to the playlist or if you’re using youtube on a device or, the how I mainly utilise it, an app on my tv.
And finally, a guilty pleasure, and one which I’ll admit I’m not particularly skilled at, Entanglement. This is a game that I’m really struggling to describe but the aim is to place tiles to make the longest path you can whilst also being able to place as many tiles as you can before that path leads off the edge off the board or into the centre tile.
It’s been a long time and there’s a reason for that. A lot has happened – the main happenings being that I’ve moved to suburbia in the “city” and I’m now the sole adult in the house. Things are going great and it’s been an interesting and rewarding adventure.
I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging for some time and I finally realised that there was never going to be a great time to get back into it – and even when I was “into it” I was a fairly spotty blogger.
One of the things I’ve missed by not blogging is that photography became something I do on my phone and mainly to capture either information or daughter-related moments. I’m not particularly happy with the quality I’m producing using the phone – which I know is more about my technique than the tools I’m using – and I’d like to become more comfortable working with my actual camera again.
Also, I haven’t found a tool that I’m loving for capturing interesting articles, videos and images. I know many people use Pinterest for this and while I use it, it’s not the right tool for me for this. I also use Evernote for both notes (and I’m currently doing my daily, weekly, and monthly reviews in it too) and for capturing information for mainly work. So I’d like to see whether blogging is what will work for me.
So at the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to do 750words.com for a month, which is about journalling more than 750 words daily. I achieved this and made an attempt at achieving it again in February but found that it was more stressful than I was comfortable with. So I switched to using Evernote and concentrated on recapping and planning each day using a Daily Review format which is still evolving.
So I now know I can commit to something for 30 days if I want to, and seeing as it’s the 1st August I am committing to having a go at blogging. I’m signing up for the August NaBloPoMo which is now run by Blogher.com. The aim of NaBloPoMo is simply to blog daily for a month. There’s a theme set each month and prompts provided to assist with sticking to it, though there is no requirement to follow the theme.
Hopefully, this will be a rewarding experience and something that I will want to continue doing.
The title pretty much explains this blogpost; a selection of random links I’ve viewed in the past few days.
This is a really beautiful animation of Auckland’s Public Transport Network operating over a day, created by Chris McDowall (I’ve linked to his Vimeo profile because he’s done other great data visualisations!). If you’re interested in all the details as to how the video was created (from a data perspective) then it’s well worth your while clicking through to the Vimeo video page but I’ve embedded it anyway in case you’re just after a taster.
Inflatable Wind Turbines – Looks like a really interesting idea, though I question how durable they’d be under New Zealand’s wind conditions. They’ve got two consumer options and are working on a commercial version which is pretty impressive. Anyway, here’s a graphic simulation of the commercial version in operation. (via Treehugger.com)
This article about a trip to check on the condition of the habitat of the vulnerable Hochsetters Frog, had a sad finding and what I felt was a rather sinister sidestory. Definitely worth a quick read though. And to read more about these unique native frogs here but if you can’t wait a few cool things about them:
Thanks for dropping by!
As you can see there’s precious little about our homeschooling endeavours at the moment and I haven’t even put up an update blogpost updating our recent forays into budgeting and meal-planning!
Please do leave a comment and say Hi! I love to converse with people and especially love answering questions and queries and of course I also make the effort to visit your website and return the favour.
Have fun having a poke around and hopefully you will find something of interest :)
Well this is our first week working from a Menu Plan. We actually started on Saturday due to it coinciding with a planned visit to an out of town supermarket.
My aim for the week was to use up some of the food from our inside freezer and the fresh produce left over from previous purchases, and to supplement these with a smallish grocery shop.
An additional requirement I set was that the meals aren’t particularly exciting, as it’s been a while since I’ve been responsible making dinner most nights, let alone a whole week stretch *gasp*.
So far we’ve had …
Saturday: Spaghetti Bolognaise
This involved last minute substitutions as I was unaware we were out of my bolognaise go-to, pasta sauce! Instead I added cans of chopped tomatoes, mushrooms in sauce and half a can of kidney beans to the onion, garlic and mince, and later green beans for a bit more flavour. Served with cooked leftover fresh fettuchini and topped with olives and a sprinkling of grated cheese.
Sunday: Chicken Rice Porridge
My favourite one-pot-wonder. I tend to like plain dominant flavours with interesting hints. Cook rice in a rice cooker and adding additional liquid when it starts looking cooked in the form of chicken stock. When it’s back to bubbling away add diced chicken, spring onions, and when all the liquid has made the rice porridge-y turn it off and stir in chopped fresh coriander.
And the next five days in no particular order:
We’re going through a change in circumstances and so we’ve been busy brainstorming ways to reduce our expenses. So I thought I’d share a run down of most of them with you.
Investigate and make a decision on what to do with my credit card and store card
Create a budget based on our past expenses trimming where we can
We’ve also identified that we drink a lot of milk and go through a lot of eggs (especially when baking) and bread.
Ideally to make the most from the garden we need to get the garden shed tidied (it’s currently an absolute shambles) and get the rest of the garden tidy (we have piles of wood and junk lying around). I’ve read that winter is the time to rejuvenate and repair your garden tools and ours could definitely do with this also.
All in all this looks like a lot of work and I’d like to summarise the tasks I’ve outlined:
- Kill store card by transferring balance or paying in full.
- Investigate alternatives to current credit card including, debit card or balance transfer.
- Get the accounts up to date in Gnucash.
- Keep accounts up to date in Gnucash.
- Create mealplans and shop and work from them.
- Me making the meals and planning/doing the shopping.
- Do a full inventory of our fridge, freezer, deep freeze, laundry and bathroom.
- Come up with alternatives to luxury items.
- Investigate feasibility of making our own cleaning products and bathroom supplies.
- Bake bread.
- Price up and test out refridgerated bagged milk and look into other options.
- Design coop/chicken tractor plan and price up the construction costs and factor that into the total operating costs.
- Compare prices from our local grocery stores to out of town cheaper supermarkets, bulk alternative stores, market gardens and butchers.
- Do more baking.
- Investigate and do some food processing (such as preserves and dehydrating).
- Attempt a $21 Challenge.
- Get vegetable garden productive.
- Plant fruiting trees and vines and prune grape vine.
- Get the garden shed tidied.
- Get the rest of the garden tidy (we have piles of wood and junk lying around).
- Rejuvenate and repair our garden tools.
- Look for software for entering itemised grocery bills, inventories and shopping lists.
- Enter in the recipes I use into Gourmet.
- Purchase a mileage log and start using.
- We also need to sell other vehicle, put that money against our debts and cancel insurance.
- Sell stuff already earmarked on trademe or sella.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/826187
Because I use Ubuntu, I wanted to use the tools I had on hand. I used Inkscape to do the design minus the serial numbers, duplicating the one ticket onto an A4 page to make 4 tickets on one page. Then I used the Export Bitmap menu item to save it as a png file.
Then I moved to OpenOffice, using the Word Processor. I added the png to the background of the page and put a 5×5 table over the top. Then I resized the table to fit the shape of the ticket number boxes and inserted into those cells fields (you want the Set Variable field that’s found in the Other menu-option) that calculated the ticket number (one variable name for the stub, and one for the ticket itself). The formula is easy stub=stub+1 and ticket=ticket+1. Then once one A4 page/4 tickets was complete, I copied and pasted this so I ended up with a document of 100 tickets number sequentially from 0001 to 0100. Then I added 2 hidden fields (one for the stub and the other for the ticket) which had the number to start from (so 0 for the first document, 100 for the next, and so forth), using the same kind of field but this time simply stub=0 and ticket=0. With the variable fields, I chose Other Format for the format so I could add leading zeros to get that serial number look.
The problem I found with OpenOffice was that the background keep trying to jump above the fields on the page and that took some time to a) figure out and b) double check all the ticket numbers would print. I kept pushing the png image behind the other objects and eventually I won!
Then came the tedious part, scoring 1000 tickets. Luckily, I remembered my guillotine had a perforation blade and by perforating 3-4 A4 sheets at a time it wasn’t long til this part was done.
After that was cutting the A4 sheets into individual tickets. This took about the same time and before long I had 4 piles of tickets laid face down on my desk ready to flip over and compile into booklets of 10 tickets. This definitely took a bit of time but it was quite satisfying realising we were on the home stretch. To protect the ticket stubs and thinking about the possibilty of people wanting to make notes on their ticket book I added at the last minute an A5 sheet folded almost in half longways. This meant when I stapled the booklet and back-half of the coverpage together, the front of the coverpage laid flat and completely covered the front of the tickets.
And voila, two evenings later I had 1000 tickets compiled into 100 books sitting on my desk!
This process has been simplified because I did take a lot of detours while trying to work out the optimum approach :) I skipped all the teeth knashing and the “But WHY will this not do what I want?!”
By the way, if you’re thinking of running a Raffle in New Zealand, the Internal Affairs website has all the information you need to run one legally – and that’s not as scary as it sounds :)