Saturday, 18 May 2013

do you take time out?

Mother's Day was last weekend. I was lucky- I got spoiled. But since then, I have been wondering about something- mothering is one of the hardest jobs in the world. So why do we only get one day each year?

I have been told by a professional psychologist that everyone needs to take time out for themselves, on a regular basis. But how to nurture yourself, when you are busy putting everyone else first?

After a recent period of extreme stress, I have been trying harder to think of ways to spoil myself. And it doesn't have to take hours, it doesn't have to involve a babysitter, and some of the ways to nurture yourself will actually be good for you.

Exercise Exercise releases endorphins, the 'feel good' hormones. And it can help to improve sleep quality. As well as the other health benefits (which I won't go into here). Apart from a solo workout, sport (individual or team) can be a social event. As someone who doesn't enjoy exercise, I admit that while I do feel good during the event, I feel much better when I stop!

Hobbies I struggle to find time for my hobbies. I do enjoy cooking creatively, as seen from my last blog post. If food nurtures your soul as well as your body, there are so many ways to indulge. It doesn't have to be time consuming, and it doesn't have to be bad for you. 18 microwave mug snacks has some ideas on how to grab a quick bite to eat, which is great when you are short on time. I recently discovered affogato, an amazing dessert if you love coffee. (And it's so simple if you have a decent coffee maker). Even a simple cup of tea or coffee can be transformed to amazing if you make it special- finding a comfy chair, with an amazing view, or a fancy blend of tea/coffee can make a difference.

Another hobby I never get enough time for is reading. The last book I read was Peace, Love and Khaki Socks by Kim Lock. Sitting down and escaping into the written word is a rare treat for me lately, but such an amazing novel was worth staying up 3 hours past my bedtime for.

I also love knitting, crochet and sewing- but my total lack of skills for these crafts mean that I don't feel relaxed afterwards. I end up feeling frustrated and wish I could do more. Maybe one day I will get to learn these properly.

Retail Therapy I'm not gonna lie. Shopping can be a great boost. But lately I have been more focused on browsing instead of shopping, and it's almost as good. I admit that I miss the thrill of getting something new- but knowing that my credit card hasn't been harmed during my moment of indulgence is another boost.

Pampering One of my favourite ways to improve my mood. A long, hot shower, with a gorgeous scented body wash (and ideally, with the door locked- no kids!) is my idea of awesome. After a bit of practice, I have also managed to learn how to do some salon treatments at home- nothing fancy, just nails, eyebrow/eyelash tinting, facials. Setting up a spa at home doesn't need to be expensive or fancy- check out YouTube, eBay and other online stores for ideas and price comparisons. I can do a full shellac manicure and paraffin wax hand bath at home.

Friends Don't underestimate the nurturing effect of being near people who care about you. The day I found some like minded friends was a life changing event for me. Being near people who love you can restore your soul.

Laughter Find something that makes you laugh, and go for it. Being silly with my girls can make me laugh until I have tears rolling down my face.

Sleep In a house full of 'early birds', a sleep in is nigh on impossible. When I feel tired, I go to bed early. I am prone to insomnia when I get stressed, and being tired makes it harder to manage.

This is my quick list. But what recharges your emotional batteries??

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

our first birthday party at home

Miss E turned 7 on Saturday. We (ok, hubby) thought a party at home might not be such a bad thing. How hard could it be??

I found a template online for party invitations. We chose something that was pretty, and it happened to have a rainbow on it. Birthday girl decided that rainbows would be our theme for the party. Ok, I can manage that....

So we needed a batch of cupcakes for school. That wasn't too hard. I chose a simple cupcake recipe online, and had seen a great idea for rainbow cupcakes. The cupcakes went to school and were a big success.

The actual birthday cake was easy. Again, I found a recipe online for a layered rainbow cake. I made the layers the day before the party, and did the icing on the morning of the party.

The rest of it was fairly standard party stuff. I had a go at face painting- which the kids loved. We have a small jumping castle, which was put to good use. Hubby took over the party games- pass the parcel, musical statues etc. We splurged and bought a cylinder of helium- the balloons looked great when the guests were dancing under them. And the party bags were fun to make up- I included a bag of gold wrapped chocolate coins, since there is always treasure at the end of the rainbow!

The kids seemed to have a great time. The birthday girl loved it all. We had a house full of tired children at the end of the day. 

(Just on the slim chance that anyone reading this blog knows my parents, please don't show them. They still don't believe that I can cook. The shock may harm them.)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

it's been a while!

Just realised that it has been a while since my last post. A long while. I guess that can happen when life gets in the way.

So I will start with updating to the current news. My baby girl is nearly 16 months old. Walking everywhere, trying to run (most often when there is food involved). She loves playing with drawers, and spreading the contents everywhere. She has started climbing too- she was busted using a small chair to reach leftover pancakes with Nutella (and I will be doing a post with my pancake recipe).

Preschooler had a major hair cut last week. It has made her look very grown up, but it was meant to help us get the nits under control. I hate nits. Our home made prevention spray helps, but they are so hard to eradicate. Preschooler had surgery on her teeth last month, and has recovered from that very quickly.

Schoolgirl turns 7 next week. Her party preparations are well under way. We are doing our very first party at home (all previous parties were at play cafes or fast food restaurants). I am getting excited about it all- I have found some great ideas for the party, and I am hoping it will all come together well.

Teenager- well, teenager has moved in with her dad. As much as I hated the way it happened, I am actually proud of her for making a tough decision and committing to it. By all accounts, she is loving life over with him.

As for me- I am back at work. In theory, I am back full time. In reality- well, with 3 young kids at home, carer's leave is a common occurrence.

When I was preparing to return to work, I set some goals- I wanted to get fit again. I wanted to continue breastfeeding baby girl (I am aiming for another WHO baby at least- 2 years). I wanted to cook dinner most nights. I hoped to keep up with the washing during the week, instead of facing 'Mount Washmore' every weekend. Well... I haven't been exercising. I am still breastfeeding Baby girl, although I have stopped expressing at work. She wasn't taking a bottle, and I was running out of freezer space (and I recently donated all my frozen milk to a contact in Sydney). We are doing pretty well with dinners, mainly because I keep the freezer stocked with leftover meals. (I am still cooking large enough quantities to feed a hungry teenager). Doing ok with keeping up with the washing, although we have fallen behind at times.... like when baby girl gets a random vomiting bug- 2 full sets of queen sized bedding, 3 sets of pjs for her, 2 sets for me, plus random towels and clean up cloths. And the week the washing machine died and flooded the house- that put me seriously behind with the washing (but the flood kept me too distracted to care).

And now a confession. I started typing this post to try and distract from a major chocolate craving. Didn't work. <off to raid the cupboards>

Saturday, 9 June 2012


I have a confession to make.

I am a hoarder. I keep far too much, just in case I might, one day, need it again. I will often buy something to store away, with intentions to use it later- and then not find it when I need it.

It wasn't too bad in our old house (near Sydney). We had storage space so I could keep things packed away neatly. In our current house, we don't have the storage space but I still have the stuff.

I have camping gear that I haven't used since about 1997. Bowling balls from about the same time frame. Formal dresses from 1990- my eldest daughter now fits into them. I still have my first wedding dress, and have been married second time around for nearly 8 years.

When my first daughter started daycare, I used to keep most of her artwork for sentimental value. Now that I have 4 children, I am scared of getting lost under the really important paperwork, so can't keep every beautiful artistic item.

(I started typing this post (one handed, while baby sleeps on my lap), while thinking 'out with the old, in with the new'. And by coincidence, hubby puts the Queen's Jubilee Concert on the TV.....)

But back to the clutter. I am having an Enjo party here next month, and I want some major de-cluttering done before a total stranger comes in and cleans my house while my friends watch. And it's so annoying and frustrating- thinking of an item or object, being so sure we still have it somewhere, and finding it when I no longer need it.

So while bub is still sleeping on my lap, I might check eBay and see how hard it is to sell stuff on there. I promise not to buy anything....

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

As we grew up, special occasions were always family events. Every Christmas, every Easter, every Birthday was spent with the family. Mum/Dad/Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles and the cousins, all running around. Lots of good food, (from the evidence) lots of good alcohol, plenty of laughter and noise. Some of my best memories are from those family days.

But families grow. Making a living gets in the way of enjoying life. A visit to my parents used to involve a 15 minute drive- that was before our career required us to move away. Now, it's 12+ hours in a car, so the 'quick trip' just doesn't happen anymore. I grieve for the memories of family events that my girls won't have.

But we spent today with a wonderful family who reached out to us. We shared good food while watching the kids playing together. We laughed and chatted together while the kids laughed/cried/pretended to eat but were more interested in getting back to playing.

To my wonderful friend C, and her family- thank you. Thank you for opening your home and your hearts to us. Thank you for giving my girls memories which will last long after the chocolates have vanished.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

more about us

My family is my life. It's only fair that my second blog is about my family- apart from their importance to me, it will make it easier to understand some of my later posts.

Start with my husband. Next month, we celebrate 10 years since our first date. Back then, we were working together (technically, he was my boss!) and we were both in relationships with other people. We recognised that there was at attraction, but we didn't kiss/hold hands/anything until we both separated from our other partners.We got married in 2004 at the local registry office- a simple ceremony with only immediate family present.

My eldest daughter has just started high school. Since I separated from her father, we have spent probably about $30,000 in lawyers bills and legal fees, just so I can have my daughter living with me. We are now spending about $3000 per year in airfares so she can visit him. Not fun. (And, to be perfectly honest, having a 12 year old in the house isn't always fun either...)

Then there is the 5 year old daughter. At times, I seriously wonder if she has been sent to test me and try my patience. You hear about the kids who are into everything, who can't sit still, who don't listen- that is her.

And my 2 year old daughter. While I have been typing this, she has just done her first poo on the potty (sorry for the over share, but hey- it's a topic most parents talk about at some point).

Lucky last is the baby. She is now 11 weeks old and learning to respond to us. She loves smiling back at us, and is trying to laugh. She is such a happy baby! Yes, we have 4 girls. No, we weren't trying for a boy at the time. We actually weren't trying at all- our baby was conceived after the husband had a vasectomy. You hear about the failure rates but you always think it happens to other people. (And the bizarre luck stories we have had will be a post for another day. That one will make you laugh.)

So that is us. Apart from the fact that we are pretty boring, I have a sleeping baby on my lap and a tantrum throwing tired toddler in the lounge room. Time for sleep! (She says, optimistically....)

my first blog entry!

I am new to blogging, so please be gentle.

Firstly- thank you for reading my blog. It won't be much- just my (often random) thoughts on parenting, working, the world and the juggling act involved.

I'm not planning on a regular day or time to write a new post. I have 4 kids so I can't guarantee my computer time. And some days I may have something I just have to share!

I will provide a warning- I like to talk. Some of my posts may end up rambling on about not much. Some posts may end up getting very long, as I am passionate about a few things. Some posts may also be short, as I may just have a thought to share or I may get disrupted too often to finish my post.

I don't profess to be a writer. I hated English at school, so my grammar, spelling and punctuation will probably leave a lot to be desired. There will be times when I don't get to proof read my comments. (And there may also be 'guest comments' from my girls- this will happen if I forget to close this site and my younger girls play on my computer).

That's about it for now....