May’s Mountains

June. Yikes- this year is flying by. I had an amazing holiday with my family in South Africa, and I don’t think that I managed any of the mountains. Which I was fine with. Let’s be honest- spending quality time with family and friends is far more valuable than ticking off a list.

Getting back on track has proven to be quite a challenge. But as I head towards the summer, hopefully I will be able to attain some more mountains.

Mountain 1: Physical Mountain
This month:

No mountain climbed. Not even Table Mountain. No-one in my family was keen and when I did find someone, I had run out of holiday time. 
Sigh!

Mountain 2: Mountain of Weight
This month:
The mountain has grown.
Sigh!

Next month:
I don’t actually know, if I’m truly honest. I’m worried I’m developing a mental hang up, and my 10 year old daughter is getting concerned about her weight. So I’m trying to work out how I can serve healthier meals, and lose weight while not give her a hang up about dieting and her body size (which is normal I might add, but living in a country where people are naturally petite and her friends are petite, I can understand where the thoughts can stem from.)

I am getting help from a trainer to build my fitness and strength, something that’s come about as my body aches and pains have returned!  I am also starting to use my FitBit to help me get moving regularly again. 

To that end, I think I will focus on getting my strength and fitness back and try and move towards a more plant based form of eating. 

Mountain 3: Mountain of Paperwork
This month:
I have managed some paperwork, but not as much as I had hoped.
Sigh!

Next month:
Complete my scout training. This is a huge mountain in my life and it just needs me to take the time and tackle it. I have given myself a deadline and have been in touch with my training advisor to that end. 

Mountain 4: Mountains of Photographs
This month:
Nothing done.
Sigh!

Next month:
Small steps: I’ll work through 10 other folders of photographs. Something that should be perfectly doable while I’m watching tv. 

Mountain 6: Mountains of Creative Projects
This month:
I have managed to complete a few tasks that have been sitting in my sewing box. My top that I have been knitting for the last 18 months has finally got one side complete. 

Next month:
I think I will aim small as this last month of the school year is manic and my diary for June is already very full. So I shall:

:Scrap 1 double page
: Knitted 10cm of the second side of my jumper.
: Sew all badges onto the camp blankets. (I might get my girls to do their own. Actually what am I saying, all 3 of mine can sew their badges on. It doesn’t matter if J’s aren’t super neat!) 

Mountain 1: Mountains of Books
This month:
Reading is beginning to feature again!
Yay!
I read After You by Jojo Moyesand I’m currently reading Desert God by Wilbur Smith. I am also enjoying a book about improving habits called Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Next month:
Finish Desert God and Better than Before, listen to one on Audible and start another book. 
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This has definitely been the Month of Sighs! 

Still looking at the positive, I have managed somethings. And to quote a U.K. superstore’s slogan- “Every Little Bit Helps”

This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 
Thank you for your support. 
C

Previous posts in the series:

Mountains of Goals…

January’s Mountains

February’s Mountain

March’s Mountains
Resources that have helped me:

March’s Mountains

It is quite something to think that we are already a quarter of the way through 2017. This year having these monthly mountainous challenges has definitely kept me focussed. Surprisingly, March has been good. My cousin came over from South Africa for 10 days for a visit, so I didn’t expect to achieve nearly as much as I did.

Mountain 1: Physical Mountain

This month:

In the build up to Cuz’ visit, I had to cancelled my planned hike as I had too much to do beforehand. But together Cuz and I climbed Mt Takao. At the start, we received a few disapproving requests to put the dog onto a leash, but we soon managed to out walk those folk and enjoy the freedoms of being in open space and in a forest. 

Again, I became aware of how unfit I am, and so I plan to improve my cardiovascular fitness! Whether my feet are well enough to run, I don’t know. But stairs and hills would work too!

April has me in Cape Town visiting family. (Am so excited!!) and I’m truly hoping to get up Table Mountain. If I do get up by foot, it will be quite a feat. If I have someone hiking with me, it will be a even greater feat!

Mountain 2: Mountain of Weight
This month:
I’ve stayed the same. So much for losing 4kg! 
Next month:
Inevitable any home visit results in a weight gain as we tend to enjoy eating being able to eat out and savour other treats (nice wine, chocolates, biscuits etc) that we struggle to find in Japan. I will be satisfied if I remain the same, over the moon if I lose anything!

I plan to use my FitBit to help me stay on track. Hopefully if I keep moving regularly, and hit my daily targets, then I will be able to achieve the mountain for this month. 

Mountain 3: Mountain of Paperwork
This month:
I have managed some paperwork, but not as much as I had hoped. With Cuz’ visit, teaching and the school allotment visits, my time has been tight. However in the build up to my SA visit, I have managed to tackle a few. What has been interesting to note, is that my new filing system, thanks to the inspiration gleaned  The Sunday Basket by Lisa Woodruff, has made my admin time flow with more ease and fluidity!

Next month:
As I’m visiting my family for 3 weeks, I plan to do little with regards to my admin. 
My goal of completing my scout training has yet again not been achieved. I would love to complete my Scout training and get that done and I’m hoping with less balls being juggled while I’m in South Africa, that I can complete the training. 

Mountain 4: Mountains of Photographs
This month:
I managed to complete sorting through my Vietnam photographs folder. Finally. I am so excited. (Yes it’s sad, I know!) Cuz is a keen photographer and IT savvy, so I asked him whether he used an app to help him with his photo organisation. He uses FastStone Photo resizer – a free app that has two features –  1: To resize the photographs and 2: To rename the photographs. 
Option 2 is just brilliant! I move the photographs that I want renamed into a box, type in the name and hit go. Just like that they’re all named and numbered.  
Brilliant! That has saved me huge amounts of time.
So thanks to the app, I have managed to sort the photographs and have managed to reduce the collection down to 620 photographs. 
Next month:
Work through 10 other folders of photographs. Something that should be perfectly doable while I’m watching tv or even on the 22 hours I will have sitting on an aeroplane when I head back to Tokyo.

Mountain 6: Mountains of Creative Projects
This month:
I finished the Vietnam photo book! Major tick!
 I am very pleased with it- it is beautiful and well worth the hours I’ve put in to it!


Next month:
I managed to do 8 scrapbook pages in my photo book, so I’m taking the month off those creative projects. 

I am, however, going to make the most of my Mum’s sewing machine to finish my children’s camp blankets.

Mountain 1: Mountains of Books
This month:
Still no novel read.  I listened to In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar through Audible, which I thoroughly enjoyed and managed to get a few rooms decluttered in the process!
Next month:
I’m on holiday. Reading a book or 3 should be perfectly doable. Shouldn’t it?!?
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Now that I’ve written down everything that I have achieved, I’m truly impressed. I’ve managed more than I realised. 

Breaking the goals down into individual mountains has definitely helped me to stay on focus. How are your goals going?

This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 
Thank you for your support. 
C

Previous posts in the series:

Mountains of Goals…

January’s Mountains

February’s Mountain

February’s Mountains

February proved to be a very productive month. Whether it was because ‘A’ was away for a week on business or blogging my goals last month was the incentive I needed, something worked!

Mountain 1: Physical Mountain
This month:

Tick!
I headed out of Tokyo with a friend at the start of the month. We didn’t manage to find the initial mountain that we had planned, but we stumbled across another hike. The view of Mt Fuji from the top was spectacular and well worth the fact that we climbed over 300m in the first km! The hike did prove that I desperately need to improve my fitness!
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Mountain 2: Mountain of Weight
This month:
3kg lost. Yay! I think the hiking may have helped!
Next month:
Keep going- aiming for 4kg this month, so I need to increase my exercise levels even more.

I bought a FitBit last month and have been challenging my friends who have the app to various competitions. The competitive factor has definitely helped in the weightloss! I use the Fitbit Zip as I’ve found that the watches irritate my skin.

Mountain 3: Mountain of Paperwork
This month:
I managed found an organisation system that works for me inspired by The Sunday Basket by Lisa Woodruff, and now all my paperwork is in colour coded folders. I am so excited at the prospect, and all it took was a chick flick, a glass of wine and a Friday evening with hubby on another continent!

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Next month:
With all the paperwork filed, this month I would like to get all the admin tasks (at various stages of urgency) done and out of the way. I would also like to complete my Scout training.

Mountain 4: Mountains of Photographs
This month:
This is mountain range is huge! I haven’t managed as much as I would like with regards to sorting my Vietnam photos, probably because I have been too busy sorting my paperwork! I will keep going, slowly but surely.
Next month:
Same as last month- complete sorting the Vietnam photos, reducing the numbers to at the most 200 750! (200 became impossible when I struggled to get Day 2 to below 150 photographs!)

Mountain 6: Mountains of Creative Projects
This month:
I’ve had to buy another 2 weeks credit, as I didn’t manage to finish the Vietnam album. I did manage to scrap another page for the album, so I’ve managed 3/48 so far this year. CLG- how are you doing?


Next month:
Have to, have to, have to complete the photobook as I need to get my parents copy out to them. It was after all their Christmas present. For 2016!

Mountain 1: Mountains of Books
This month:
Major fail! I did manage to listen to Girl on a Train through Audible, but actual reading? I suppose I did manage to read a couple of Non Fiction books on organisation and decluttering, but still no novel!
Next month:
At least start one of these two books?
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I am very chuffed that last month has resulted in some ticks and got me started on the path I would like to go down. Especially on the weight loss front. The challenge now is perservering. I have felt a bit flat this last week, probably due to me developing a roaring cold at the start of the children’s mid term break 10 days ago and now hubby and ‘K’ are fighting it.

But, I’ll keep going and let you know next month. How are your goals going?

This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 
Thank you for your support. 
C

Previous posts in the series:

Mountains of Goals…

January’s Mountains

January’s Mountains

I shared how I have given myself the challenge of ‘A mountain a month’ and so I thought I’d share, how I was doing….

Mountain 1: Physical Mountain
This month:IMG_0571.JPG

Well, I managed the physical mountain. That was great fun, as a group of 13 of us headed out to Chiba prefecture and headed up a mountain. We also found a quintessential little shrine, carved into the rock face of the mountain. So kawaii! (Cute in Japanese)

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Next month:
Hike up Mt Sengenrei.

Mountain 2: Mountain of Weight
This month:
Some progress has been made, but this might take a while.
Next month:
Keep going, try and increase my exercise levels.

Mountain 3: Mountain of Paperwork
This month:
I managed to submit my tax return on time, but it was a challenge to find the necessary documents for it.
Next month:
Find an organisation system that works for me and then start sorting through the papers and filing them.

Mountain 4: Mountains of Photographs
This month:
This is more like a mountain range than just one mounain! I had a super holiday in Vietnam last year, so at the moment I am trying to reduce their number, put the date onto the name. I will keep going, slowly but surely.
Next month:
Complete sorting the Vietnam photos, reducing the numbers to at the most 200! Given we had 2000, that is quite a tall order!

Mountain 6: Mountains of Creative Projects
This month:
A friend and I have given ourselvesthe challenge of Scrapbooking 2 pages a month. This month, I am creating pages of our Vietnam trip, as I am creating a photobook of the trip for ourselves and my parents who travelled with us. I have managed to Scrap the pages, but the photobook has not made much progress.
Next month:
Complete the photobook, so I don’t have to buy another month’s credit.  

Mountain 1: Mountains of Books
This month:
Reading…. hmmm what’s that? 
Next month:
I have given the my Cubs and Beaver pack a readathon challenge for the month of February to raise money for Room to Read. In light of my wonderful recent reading record (I haven’t read a novel since the summer!), I am giving myself the challenge of reading at least 2 fiction books during February.IMG_0813.JPG

Ok- I’m not going to conquer the mountains, if I tackle them at this rate. Granted, small steps- but I need to actually take some steps to make progress! 

February- a fresh start!

Holiday Journals: A series on reading part five.

K is sitting down on the sofa and reading. No big deal there you might say, but she is reading her own creations. Not a creation made on those lovely websites at the moment where one can create their own stories, no her book is different.
The book that she is reading is written and illustrated by her, and lovingly ‘published’ by Mummy.

Her holiday journals.

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I wrote a series on reading back in 2012, and I’ve always wanted to write this post as a follow on. As I am gearing up to go on holiday for the Christmas break, I thought I would share with you about how we record our holiday. Especially after a comment that I received in part four.

Before we head off on holiday, I usually print off a series of pages that I have created in Word. They all have the same basic layout- date, weather, who we were with and some other features- one of the pages just has a space to draw a picture, some have lines to write with varying amounts of lines and space to draw.

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Each morning or evening depending on what works best- I get the children to write what they have done and draw a picture. When they are too little to write- I scribe for them and annotate their artwork so we know what is being conveyed. (For that reason, I also annotate their writing if they are just learning to write)

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As the back of the page is blank, they can use it for sticking any tickets or postcards from the day that they wish to add.

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When we get home, I take some of the pages that they have left blank and print photographs from the trip. I then take the pages to a stationery shop and get them spiral bound.

This system is a lot of work and I could just use a book that I have bought from the store. I have done that in the past- but somehow these look better and we actually complete them. I’ve never been good at journalling everyday and tend to fall behind. As I am the driving force behind the children’s journals, it is inevitable then that we don’t do it everyday while on holiday and so we need catch up sessions. Trying to work out how many pages to leave for catch up can be tricky and so the task seems over whelming. If we don’t manage to catch up- there are no blank pages reminding us! So for us- writing on printed paper is better.

The journals are a lovely reminder of our holidays and at the moment K is the main reader of them. But I know that one day all three of them, will  enjoy rereading about the various trips that we have been fortunate enough to take.

To read the previous posts on the Reading view here:

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four

Children and Reading: A series on reading part four.

I mentioned in part twothat I am not modelling to my children the importance of reading. I seldom listen to them read aloud and I seldom read to them. That’s been a role that Daddy has enjoyed, but recently he has been working silly hours and I’ve not stepped up to the mark.

Things need to change. Reading opens up some many amazing places in the imagination and lets not even start about the development of creativity, language skills and understanding.

So how can I get my children reading more?

Here are My 5 Tips for getting children to read more.

  1. Get them reading at bed time. Turn off all electrical items and let them have some down time reading.
  2. Get them to a library. Take the time to help them choose some books that are within their reading level and the attracts their attention and interest. (A huge challenge for boys)
  3. Discuss the books that they are reading. What do you think happened next? Why? Why do you think the author wrote that? Which story have you enjoyed the most/ least? Why? Getting children to answer what/ where/ how/ why questions gets them thinking.
  4. Think outside the box– magazines, recipes, blogs, ebooks, non-fiction, facts at museums and zoos etc still require reading skills.

And the biggy…

5.   Read aloud to them. This is the one that I personally find the hardest- but it is a great opportunity to introduce books and authors that the children might not necessarily read.

So, I am going to change the reading situation in our household. I am going to start reading more myself (but I will keep the more gripping novels for the holidays or flights back to the UK!) and I am going to implement My 5 Tips for getting children to read more!

To start, I will bring back bedtime reading both quietly and aloud, and as we are currently enjoying our summer holidys, I will introduce a reading challenge to the family. I will also introduce the girls to Laura Ingles Wilder. I loved her Little House books and I think they will appeal to my girls sense of adventure.

I will post an update on how everyone’s reading is going!

Please feel free to share how you get yourself and your family reading.