30 January 2018

Gaining "focus" for the new year

A few weeks ago I revealed my guiding word for 2018 - "Focus". I hadn't realised it at the time but I chose "Focus" as my word in 2015. For some reason it escaped my mind. I guess there's a reason why I have chosen it again, maybe with everything that's been going on in my life I needed to regain my focus on what's really important and forget the bullshit that gets served up from time to time.

My intention this year is to focus on:

my health & fitness - this past Christmas has definitely added some extra kgs to my waistline, so I need to get myself back into some regular form of exercise, and be aware of how much I am eating.

read more - Over the holidays I have been borrowing books from our local library, and been enjoying reading them in bed with my coffee in the morning. At the moment I am reading "The Magic" by Rhonda Byrne, which is on the magic of gratitude, and the other is Brené Brown's book on wholehearted living - "The gifts of Imperfection", which I'm constantly dog-earing pages (I'm bad)

henever I get thinking negatively or 'why us', I am using gratitude to remember the good stuff we have experienced as a family, items we own that allows us to do things together (like our car) as well as people I am grateful for in our life.

be more mindful - Along with becoming more grateful, I am trying to be more mindful with my thinking about myself & other people and how I react to those thoughts. Popette recently turned 9, and is at an impressionable age where she is starting to feel big emotions like love, remorse, regret etc, and has been expressing herself to us a lot lately. I feel for my big girl as she is very sensitive, and I want to be there for her through this, and ensure I set a good example to my girls.

to create - I want to allow myself time to paint & draw, because when I don't I crave & miss it. To be able to sell my artwork is still on my 'to-do' list, so I hope to get closer to that goal this year.

hobbies - I have been playing around with my new DSLR camera Hubby bought me for my birthday 😊 Our last camera was a Nikon point & shoot, so it's been a while since I've used a SLR. I am hoping to take up some classes or a course, and learn how to take better photos.

build & promote my business - With my VA business I have been trying to focus on who my target audience is, and how to attract those clients. I have been marketing via social media, as well as delivering a flyer (its a bit old school, but worth a go) to businesses I think can benefit from my services...its been slow and harder than I imagined, but I am hoping that one day all the work will pay off. I want to be able to demonstrate to my girls that if you work hard at something, whether it's your business, or studying, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

Have you chosen a guiding word this year? What are your intentions?

29 January 2018

Share Your Snaps - January

School holiday fun

My big girl's birthday


Painting Popette's bedroom

Experimenting with my new camera

Visiting the beach with friends

Gorgeous spot

Popette caught a fish! 🐟

Cherub enjoying squishing animals in the Future Park exhibit at the Powerhouse

Having fun with the balls at the Powerhouse

Lots of colourful balls

Super Mario mad!

Day trip to Windang

Swimming at the sandbar

22 January 2018

Guest Post: How to minimise clean up time after crafting with kids

My girls love painting and craft, but if there's one thing I can't stand its the cleaning up after it. When they were little we crafted a lot, so I'd use to find glitter, pom poms, bits of paper, sparkly sequins, stickers, glue and pipe cleaners scattered all over the floor and table. Nowadays, we don't craft as much as paint, but the girls still need to be reminded to clean up after themselves.

This week I have a guest post which includes some handy tips on how to minimise the cleaning up time after a crafting session with kids. 

Today's post was written by Sophia Evans, a mother of two little girls who just love to craft. Sophia truly believes that it is important to inspire kids to craft and has plenty of experience when it comes to crafting with her small family. Not only is she a busy Mum, she's also the owner of Tidy Cleaners London.

Take it away Sophia!

Whether it's painting or making animals from paper, crafting is a favourite activity of every child, especially when it is shared. During that time, kids give rein to their fancy and create a variety of amusing pictures, objects and other interesting things. Seeing the results of their own efforts gives a sense of accomplishment to every child. For this reason, parents should regularly craft with their kids. However, this educational activity can sometimes turn into a huge mess. Kids quickly lose interest and if not observed may turn the crafting area into a battlefield or another imaginary scene.

The good news is that mess-free crafting with kids is possible and here is how to achieve it!

Set up a crafting area

Whether your kids will be crafting on the kitchen table or on the floor, make sure that the working place is isolated and properly organised. Start with removing any unnecessary items or objects that can accidentally become part of the crafting session. Put all books, remote controls, electronic devices away and lay a big old sheeting on the floor. If you choose to use the table, cover it with a tablecloth and lay nylon or some old sheets on the chairs as well.


Crafting is certainly an activity that can leave your child’s clothing stained, even if you use washable supplies. For this reason, your kids should be wearing an old home clothing or apron. In this way, rather than observing them constantly, you will be able to leave them to enjoy their time. In the end of the crafting session, simply change the clothes of your kids and load the dirty ones in the washing machine.


While your kids are having a nice time, keep a clean wet cloth near and when you notice any dirty places, clean them. If there are any containers with water, check if the area around them is wet. It will be helpful also to remove any empty vessels right away, so they don’t appear accidentally on the floor. 

Keep all supplies conveniently close

Organise the crafting materials in such a way that your kids can easily reach them. The closer the containers, the less possibility for sprinkles and spilt liquid on the floor. Your kids should be comfortable while crafting, otherwise, they will move too much, which may lead to accidents.

Navigate your kids

If your kids don’t have experience with this crafting activity, they will probably make the tablecloth dirty or drop some materials on the floor. Be patient and demonstrate how they should be working. If necessary navigate their hand but don’t tell them to be careful. Crafting is a great opportunity for children to acquire new skills. 

Keep the crafting session short

This is essential. If kids are crafting too much they will lose interest and start amusing themselves by playing tag or other similar games. As you want the other areas of your home to remain free of sticky fingers and colourful sprinkles, keep the crafting session short and end it before the kids get bored. Once you wash their hands, the crafting corner is forbidden to enter. Take your time alone and remove the sheeting and the tablecloth. After that, wipe the table, mop the floor and bring all items to their place.

Next time when your kids are exploring their creativity, do yourself a favour and apply these simple routines. They will help you spend valuable time with your children and minimise the time you spent cleaning after the crafting session.

Wow, thanks Sophia they are great tips! If you are looking for some craft activities for during the holidays, check out the Craft Ideas section of the blog.

15 January 2018

5 ways to show gratitude to children

We try not to spoil the girls throughout the year, and are mindful of how much stuff they have, so when it is Christmastime or their birthdays they get a few extra nice presents. But lately all my Hubby and I seem to hear is "I want, I want, I want" from both the girls, even though we've just had Christmas and Popette's birthday.

I remember a few years ago, I was picking Popette up from school, it was a really hot day, and Popette chirped "Lets get an ice block." 

When I said "No, I don't think I have any money for ice blocks today." She demanded one, then said "That's okay Mum you can get money out at the petrol station and buy us one."

I then went on to tell her that she was very rude to me that morning (there was a major tantrum resulting in a scream-a-thon and her hitting me), so I  reminded her that only good girls who are well behaved will get an ice block.

A good reminder!

I'm finding Popette has become more and more demanding, thinking she can get whatever she wants when she wants, I'm sure it's just an age thing!

Cherub is still trying to understand that you don't get everything you want, and not all boys & girls have as much stuff as her or live in a lovely home with a fridge full of food.  The recent "Save the Children" ads that have been playing on TV have affected her, especially when she sees the little boy who is close to her age, who is sick and frail, and weighs about the same as a 1 year old.

Talking about being grateful to the girls doesn't always sink in, so every now and then (usually before Christmas) we get them to go through their toys and donate items they no longer love or play with to kids who are less fortunate.

Hubby & I want them to be grateful for the things they own and receive, especially when someone has taken the time to buy them a gift they think they will like.

Here is my "5 ways to show gratitude to children" 

* Help prepare meals - Grateful for the food on our table

* Help put toys away - Grateful for my toys

* Tidy up my art & craft - Grateful I can draw, paint and create when I want

* Help fold clothes & put them away - Grateful for the clothes I wear and to have them nice & clean.

* Be nice to your family - Grateful to have a family who loves me!

A while back I created this poster with 5 explanations on how children can become more grateful, it can be hung up on the wall or fridge, and act as a little reminder. If you'd like a copy, you can find it here. :)

Do you practice gratitude at home? How do you get your children to understand gratitude?

09 January 2018

A letter to Popette at 9

Dear Popette,

Last Friday we celebrated your 9th birthday! 9!! I can't believe it. I have been trying to hold on to you as my 8 year old, for as long as possible, even asking for 8 year old cuddles leading up to your birthday...because you were born in the afternoon, you said that I could have 8 year old cuddles in the morning (on your birthday)

I had been joking with you saying "No, we won't be having a birthday for you this year, you'll be staying 8...so if anybody asks just say your 8!" Of course that didn't go down well with you, "No Mum, I'm 9!", and I'd respond, "But can't you be 8"...9 is so much closer to double-digits, 10! I seriously can't believe it's nearly been a decade since I became a Mum. How did that happen? Mummy isn't coping well with you growing up.

Popette turns 9

You are at an age when you are no longer my baby (you don't want to watch baby stuff on TV, even though I do find you watching stuff on ABC4Kids now & then) you answer back, have responses for everything  (how did you become so sassy!), you listen in to Mummy & Daddy talking (when you shouldn't) offering responses or suggesting ideas, you want to do things for yourself. Its lovely to see you grow, but I wish you were still my baby and needed me. 

I love to see you talk to family & friends who you are comfortable around, asking them how they have been, and what they have been up to.

You love the great outdoors, bushwalking, exploring and going camping is something you adore. You love watching Sir David Attenborough's documentaries, and on a recent camping holidays you were filming you own mini-doco's. 

You are a loving, creative, soul. You can be so very thoughtful, funny and as well as a little crazy.

I have tried to teach you that you don't need to be the same as everybody else, and that if you are yourself people will like you for who you are.

You love writing and coming up with ideas for stories, drawing cartoons or fairies. 

You love to play basketball and totem tennis with Daddy, or riding your bike or scooter.

You still love fairies, Num Noms & Shopkins, playing Mario & Skylanders on Wii, playing board games like Monopoly Gamer & Mouse trap, reading books - you go through so many at any one time, you're always picking up a different book and reading it in the car, even if it's just down the road to the shops. You are always asking me if you can go on the computer...playing computer games or writing books is big at the moment.

You want to be an author when you grow up. I asked you once if you'd like to have your own bookstore, and your response was, "No, Mum I want to make the books that go in the bookstore". I hope your dream comes true, and you have your own book published one day.

You are full of questions and always wanting to know answers or think you know the answers. There are times when you don't realise how much you are loved, wanted, or how very special you are. Mummy & Daddy tell you often that we love you, but sometimes you question it which makes me sad. We love you so so much. You are our world, I hope one day you will realise how very important you and Cherub are to us.

My wish for you this year is that you have fun, be happy at school and continue to try new things.

Lots of love,
Mumma xxxooo

08 January 2018

Selecting a guiding word for 2018

Hi, Happy New Year! I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas & enjoying a lovely break. We have had a nice break thus far catching up with family & friends over the Christmas/New Year period, and had fun celebrating our birthdays. Hubby has returned to work for a couple weeks, so the girls and I are currently relaxing in the air-conditioning (it was so hot here yesterday, it got up to 43.2!) and will be planning some catch ups with friends, and activities we can do until Hubby goes back on holidays at the end of the month. 

Cherub enjoying the sparklers on NYE - photo taken with my new birthday present

For the past few years, I have been choosing a word to guide me throughout the year. Last year my word was "Nourish" which felt appropriate for the time, but this year I have been a little unsure on the word I was going to choose.

I have had the word STRENGTH/BE STRONG pop up in mind, and know I need to focus on getting myself healthy & fit this year, along with becoming more mindful with how I think and react, so I set a good example to my girls and also be a healthy and happy Mumma. 

Lately I have been struggling a little with negative thoughts of not being good enough as a Mum & Wife, and letting other people's opinions (and nasty comments) get to me, so I guess in a way STRENGTH is something I need to focus on, but I think I am leaning more to FOCUS - focus on myself & my needs, focus my thoughts/thinking so other people's behaviour & comments don't have control over me, focus on my family, focus on my health & fitness etc.

Have you selected a guiding word for this year? What did you decide on? What is your intention for the year?

May 2018 bring you much love, happiness and success! xx