Monday, February 28, 2011

A Prayer Point, Please!

This will be a quick post as dinner is ready to be served out.

I'm sorry for not keeping you better in the loop lately regarding our house sale. To be honest, there's been nothing much to report. But about a week ago we found a beautiful home in a nearby suburb, and we signed a contract subject to the sale of our house. We have 30 days to sell.

This is the house. It is called "Green Gables". Need I say more???

Quiet leafy street. A good (but not too big) sized block. 2 gabled bedrooms upstairs for the children, main room downstairs. Front and back verandahs. Big double garage behind, with built in air conditioned room - this would be my piano teaching room, away from the main house.

Well, tomorrow morning we are having a couple come through our place - and it will be their third time through. Needless to say, we are very very hopeful they will make us a good offer. We are counting on it as we're barely hanging on financially here.

Please friends, would you pray? For this couple to make us an offer? And for all contracts to go unconditional at just the right times? And that in a few short weeks we will be sitting on the verandah of Green Gables?

Thank you. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Afternoon Cuddles

Molly and Saraya being beautiful together.

I hope this weekend you are finding the time to sit in sunshine, and rest, and cuddle those close to you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Road to Better Health

If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you will know that last year I had a very rough "health" year. I suffered with frequent migraines (virtually daily), and developed a minor heart condition - my heart was lapsing into Sinus Tachycardia (a steady but very increased heart rate) and Ectopic beats ("extra" beats) regularly. The doctor helped me identify some triggers for my heart troubles, and I have since (mostly) taken caffeine, alcohol and take-away foods out of my diet. This has helped. The other main trigger was physical and emotional stress, and lack of sleep. This problem has been aided by the children being at school this year, and my littlest in care two days each week - I have a much calmer life at the moment! I am taking medication to prevent the migraines, which is working wonderfully.


A side affect of this medication is weight gain. Over the Christmas period, just after starting on it, and then partaking in all the Christmas fare, I managed to gain 5 kilos in just a few short weeks. I was not impressed.

During my first costume fitting for The Music Man last month, we discovered that my skirt was too firm. I told the costume ladies I intended trying to lose the weight I had gained, and they encouraged me to do so as this particular skirt was unalterable. Eeek!! The pressure got me down, and I spoke to my Mum about my dilemma. 9 weeks until Opening Night. 5 kilos to lose. Medication increasing my appetite, and my weight gain, every day. No migraines though - so going off the med was not an option.

This is what she recommended.

She and my stepDad Ray have used the CSIRO lifestyle plan before, very successfully. I started that very day.

The daily portion guide went up on my fridge. Each time I ate, I marked with pencil which group I had eaten from. I cut all sugar and other treats out of my diet. It was hard. I was very hungry for the first few weeks, mostly due to my medication. The diet is actually quiet filling, if you eat all your portions each day. (The diet is fairly low in carbohydrates and quite high in protein but I don't like eating quite that much meat, so I tend not to have as much protein as is suggested - or dairy for that matter. Sometimes I'll have a handful of nuts instead, and fresh eggs are plentiful here so they can replace meat portions too).

I measured and weighed everything and gradually it got easier. It became part of my daily routine. Stuart joined me (though isn't as strict as I am ;)), and I began to feel quite fabulous!

The same week I started the diet, I also started exercising every day. This is an important part of the plan. Even though I've always been an active person, I was not a frequent exerciser per se, so this was so good for me. It has improved my heart health, and I am having very few episodes of SVT and palpitations now. I am getting more toned and my cardiovascular health is so much better.

My Exercise Routine: Basically I take a brisk walk about 4-5 times a week for around 40 minutes. 3 of those walks happen on weekday mornings, so William sits in his pram and we chat while I pound the pavement. I also have a "routine" of exercises I do 6 days a week at home (Sunday I get off :)). You don't need to join a gym to work out!! This includes 2 brackets of 100 situps (I only started with 15 and built up gradually - you can do the same!), squats, raises (going up onto your toes and down again - repeat up to 30 times), push ups, pectoral toning exercises (search the net!), tricep toning exercises, and lifting 3kg weights in various positions - again, start small and build up gradually! I've also just started swimming once a week - just starting small, and I know I'll be able to swim longer each week.

Stuart made a simple chart for us, and each morning before breakfast we do the "weigh in". Trust me, women's weight especially fluctuates throughout the month - don't worry about this. Stick to your plan, and you will keep losing fat and gaining muscle tone!

Despite my awful weight-gaining medication, I have lost 4 kilos so far. We've been going for about 6 weeks now. I couldn't be happier. And even though I look forward to adding some treats back into my life sometime soon, I know this eating plan and certainly the exercise is something I plan to stick to for life now. I just feel so much better.

And, my skirt fits! I had another costume fitting last week, and the costume is sitting much more smoothly.

Whatever your weight, whatever age and stage of life you're in, if you want to improve your health and lifestyle - let me encourage you to do it. Find an eating plan that works for you, write everything down, and stick to it. Be kind to yourself. Make realistic goals. Find time to exercise - even if it's just in little bouts here and there. If you can't walk for 40 minutes, walk for 10. Park a little further from the shopping centre and get a bit of a walk in. Clean your house as fast and as vigorously as you can! You can fit in 5 push ups here, and 20 squats there. Once again, mark it all down. Start small. And be proud of your achievements, big and small!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Children

It's what we all strive for, isn't it? Happy children? A peaceful home? Laughter? Contentment?

I am blessed to tell you that I have happy children this week. And lots of laughter, contentment, and a peaceful home to boot!

I can assure you it isn't always the case, but right now, things are beautiful. My little bubbly wonder is playing and growing and being adorable. His two-year-old chubby cuddles are my delight. My middle boy has found joy in Prep! He was awarded 'Student of the Week' this week for exceptional behaviour and helpfulness in his classroom. He thanks me all the time for letting him go to school! And my big girl is just so settled at the moment. She is calm, and helpful, and happy. She reached the big '10 sticker' mark in her sticker book at school yesterday, and chose a blueberry scented eraser to bring home. :) She was thrilled! She too adds to her prayers most nights "thank you for school".

Thanking God for happy children and His incredible blessings over us this week.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

My good friend Vicki, who has two gorgeous little boys and another on the way, and lives in my town, runs Meal Plan Mondays over at her blog. This week she has invited readers to join in and share their meal plans for the week. Make sure you pop over and visit Vicki at Home Revolutions.

I don't always meal plan ..... sometimes I just take my list of jotted-down items I know we need along to the grocery store, and choose my main meals based on the meats and other foods which are reduced on shopping day. And the bulk of our fresh fruit and veggies are purchased at the Farmer's Market. But Vicki inspired me so this week I've meal planned! This is the (flexible) plan:

Monday - Tuna Mornay on brown rice with salad

Tuesday - Roast chicken, baby potatoes and salad

Wednesday - Beef and vegetable stir-fry on brown rice

Thursday - Beef and macaroni (new recipe - I usually try for one new recipe a week and stick with easy known ones for the rest of it!)

Friday - Scrambled eggs from our chooks, toast and sliced tomato

Saturday - Crumbed fish and steamed vegetables

Sunday - Either leftovers OR salad wraps with ham or sliced boiled egg

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

To My Beautiful Mother

We drove to see her yesterday - and we pulled off a surprise visit!
The smile on her face as she saw the children walk into the restaurant late yesterday afternoon was priceless. :)

Sunset over the beach on the Sunshine Coast.

Weekend blessings to you all, and Happy Birthday Mum!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beautiful Molly

Camouflaged Molly

Soft Molly

Sleepy Molly

Friendly Molly

Beautiful Molly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cleaning Day

I don't know about you, but I love cleaning day. For me, it used to be Fridays. Recently I have made the shift to Wednesdays. William and I both look forward to working hard together, cleansing and beautifying our home! We took a little break at midday today, and took our lunch to the park. First we walked our usual 40 minute lap around the Lagoon, then we picnicked and had a swing. :) Then we came home to finish the cleaning!

Today we cleaned the front entryway, the bathrooms, the floors, the dusting, the kitchen, and a big tidy and clean in both the children's bedrooms. Nothing more wonderful than looking around and seeing and smelling the freshness around you!

Welcome to the boys' adventure play and retreat area :) :

This is William's permanent set-up. Barn, tractors, farmers, animals = little boy bliss.

Cheeky helper.

Reading station.

Will sleeps on the lower bunk and Elijah on the top. Will always wants his blue playsilk hanging above his bed!

And Welcome to my princess' dreamland and personal art gallery:

Raggedy Ann and Andy are here to greet you at the door!

Her favourite pieces of art work adorn her walls. Her beautiful patchwork quilt was a gift from her Grandad last Christmas.

Double layers of books... :)

Whenever I do a full clean of our home I always cut fresh flowers to put in my favourite vase. You've no idea how *dead* the flowers were in this very vase this morning...... ahem. Let's just say it was time to replace them with some fresh ones. ;)

I love blessing my children by making their bedrooms shine from time to time. Keeping them tidy is the children's responsibility, but every now and then each room needs a Mama's touch, right?

The after-school reunion is sweet, each and every day.

What is your favourite household chore? Do you have a specific cleaning day or do you spread the cleaning out through the week? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Visit

My precious baby brother drove the 3 hours here with his fiance for a fleeting visit on the weekend. The purpose of the fleeting visit? To have look at our very cheap second car we were so blessed to acquire recently. We have survived on one car our whole married life so far, but just needed this extra set of wheels now that our little family has grown so much, and life is so very full at times. It was the right time. Have I mentioned my super wonderful brother is a mechanic?

It was very very early Saturday morning when he headed out - the sun was just creeping over the hill. And who was close on his heels? Fresh from sleep, cereal eaten, gumboots on?

Why William, his little nephew apprentice, of course. :)

Michael showed enormous patience, getting Will involved every step of the way. I wish we lived closer. There's nothing quite like spending time with family, is there?

Praising God for wonderful family, and a great second car which is running smoothly!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Little Neglect

Sorry I am neglecting my blog at the moment.

Life is plodding along nicely.

We are all well in health, the children are happy and blossoming beautifully.

I am exercising furiously (yes, a post on this soon I promise!), nurturing our home, loving my God and my family, and rehearsing 3-4 times a week. Life is full.

Time for blogging just isn't happening at the moment. I still pop in here most days though, and check in on your blogs. So please know I haven't disappeared - and I'll be back at some point!

Blessings friends. xx

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Favourite

As always with this novel, I was reluctant to come to the end of it.

17th Century Holland.

An Artist.

A maid.

The classes, the colours, the bitter winter cold.

A fabulous story, aptly told, a world from which I never wanted to escape.

Highly Recommended.

Note: For some, there may be parts which are offensive to read. Nothing dreadful, but still I thought I should mention it. Some "adult themes", I guess. Very subtle, but they're there. This is one author's interpretation of a fictitious story behind Vermeer's fine painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some Books to Share

I recently finished reading my novel from under the Christmas Tree, "The Distant Hours" by Australian author Kate Morton.

"I've lived in this book for the last three days. Every time I've put it down, I've done so with regret; regret that I couldn't read more, regret that the world I'm living in is not the world portrayed in the book. This story appealed to me on so many levels, from taking influences from books such as Jane Eyre, Rebecca and Wuthering Heights to providing drama on such a perfectly, laid out scale.

..and honestly, how can you go wrong with a story centered around a crazy old man and his daughters, with quirky names suchas Persephone, Seraphina and Juniper?

I've struggled with how to write this review and not reveal anything - and it is a struggle because all I want to do is talk about the story. This was not a light, comfort read - but I don't turn to Kate Morton for that sort of read. I picked this tome up.. (and at nearly 700 pages, it's a doozy) expecting an interesting book with well-developed characters. What I got was the following:

- Well developed characters, I particularly loved the evolving relationship between one of the main characters, Edie, and her parents.

- A perfect setting. Morton did a beautiful job of describing the castle - decaying it was.. and I could practically smell the mold, hear the leaves crunching and see the bathing pool as she describes it.

- A haunting mystery. I actually was disappointed about halfway through the book because I knew I had it all figured out. Did I? Well... you tell me once you've read the book.. did YOU?

- The "Chill Factor". I got chills so many times while reading this book I lost count. Also, I didn't sleep the first night with my light off after reading the opening of the book. I get spooked easily.. and this book qualifies as "spooky" - much like Jane Eyre does.

The Distant Hours is, simply put, fantastic. One of the best books I've read this year and my battered ARC can testify to how much handling it has had over the past few days. I liked Kate Morton after The Forgotten Garden, but The Distant Hours has made me a firm fan and I can't wait to see what she writes next."
by Lydia Presley

I found this review and thought I would include it as it sums up exactly how I feel about this wonderful book. It's a big read - it took me a full month to get through it - but it is worth every page. "The Forgotten Garden" is still my favourite of Kate's novels, but this one comes close. ;) And any nearby friends are welcome to borrow my copy if you like!______________________________________
Saraya too had a great month of reading in January. I admit I was a little concerned her reading would slow down once she started attending school, but to my relief it hasn't. Her teacher includes a half hour of quiet independent reading time every afternoon at school, so she gets a good few chapters in then. :) And once home, it isn't long before she has a book in her hands again. In bed at night she gets another half hour to read, and she often reads in bed before rising for the day as well. Plenty of time!
People ask me all the time for book recommendations for their similarly aged children (you guys all know I'm pretty picky!), so I'll share the list of books Saraya read last month. Sorry I didn't include all the authors in my list - just google them or check your local library if you want to track them down.
The Boxcar Children books, numbers 10 and 11
Susan Leads the Way
Ten Girls Who Made History (which she read twice, she loved it! - a great non-fiction book)
Stories For You by Enid Blyton (again, she read this twice)
Stories to Remember (a book of short stories, would be great for boys too)
Raggedy Ann and Andy Treasury
Mary Poppins
The Careless Astronaut (another book of short stories)
Dream Team Mission 1 : Flying Solo
The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton
The Thief in the Library
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Understood Betsy (excellent, though very tiny font!)
The Adventures of Pinnochio
Laura Ingalls Christmas Stories
The Enchanted Wood by E Blyton
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (contemporary fiction, amazing book, I had to read it myself it looked SO interesting - it's the journey of a china rabbit)
The Book of Fairies by E Blyton
Tomboy Terry
Children of Cherry Tree Farm by E Blyton
More Adventures on Willow Farm by E Blyton
A doozy of a list, I know!! As you can see, she went on an Enid Blyton spree this month. ;) We found a few in the library she hadn't read, as well as a couple in a second hand book store.
Saraya is doing much better settling at school in the mornings - I am leaving her with her Papa in the morning as he works there in Prep, and he walks her over to her classroom - and she has discovered the School Library. More Enid Blyton than you can poke a stick at!! So that has made her very happy. Her reading level was ascertained last week, and she's on Level 30, the highest level possible (which hasn't exactly surprised me) - but the great thing is this means she gets to chose a lot of her own reading material, and her teacher is really encouraging this aspect of her education.
I'm happy this week. :) We are madly rehearsing and learning lines around here, and there are books and smiling children.......... and well, it's a happy home.
Blessings friends!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


It has been a week of adjustments in our little house.

Saraya and William have both been distressed when I have left them this week.

Their tears break my heart.

Then just when I wonder if things will get easier, miracles happen.

Teachers understand. Children smile. Friends are made. Afternoons spent at the park hanging upside down on swings bring laughter. Cuddles at night time. Reassuring words shared.

Motherhood is a journey not for the faint hearted, that's for sure. :)

So, we go on. We are all adjusting to the changes, and considering how numerous they are, we are doing well. God is amazing.


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