Our sleep journey. (How we get our kids to bed by 5pm)

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Hi friends,

Let’s talk sleep… Kids and sleep – some just seem to “get it” and some don’t… Mine are a little in the middle.
Our kids seem to be very attached to us (which we do not mind at all, actually we love) and tend to sleep better beside us… Both started sleeping in our bed around 6-9 months and that’s how most nights are for us. I have rocked/fed them to sleep from the first moment and I have found they slowly grow out of it.
Now LuLu goes to sleep in her own bed at 5pm most nights and sleeps the whole night in there, that is a recent & positive change for her this year. I feel having both her & Tommy in our bed was starting to become a problem of one of them waking the other… But Tommy still is in our bed and we won’t bother trying to encourage him out until he is ready.  (We felt LuLu was ready.)

So let’s rewind… LuLu use to sleep with us, I rocked/cuddled her to sleep until she was nearly 3, when I neared the end of my pregnancy with Tommy I would sit on her bed until she fell asleep and when Tommy arrived she slowly learnt to fall asleep on her own and now recently we slowly started her sleeping a full night in her own bed. (She is 5 in October.)
My main tip with any sleep transition thing is slow and gentle and making sure they are ready.
Our theory with our babies has always been we are going to love and hug them as much as possible because one day maybe they won’t want to do that as much anymore and if we make them feel welcome with love & also allow them to sleep where they feel safe with us, that we are setting them up to feel secure to always come to us if they don’t feel safe or they need comfort.
I’ve never been able to do cry it out and each parent’s choice is their own, I have friends and family who do it and for them it has worked well. I tried once with LuLu & just couldn’t, I don’t think I even lasted 2 minutes. She was a super emotional baby & went from zero to hysterical very easily so I felt for her that was not the way to help her to sleep. So I fed her, I rocked her and then that transitioned into her laying on my lap for cuddles of an evening and when she nodded off I would carry her to her bed. As I got further along in my pregnancy with Tommy I became weaker and couldn’t carry her as much, especially when she was sleeping. So I started sitting on her bed, we would read some stories and then sing some songs and then I sat with her while she fell asleep. When Tommy arrived we continued the same routine for awhile and then slowly changed it to me saying I had to go sit on the couch and feed baby Tommy as he was tired & hungry but when he was asleep I would come back to her room and give her another kiss goodnight… This worked really well for us. Usually when I got back to her room she was fast asleep. So she had learnt to put herself to sleep.
In the last few months we started encouraging her to sleep in her own bed for a full night. Previously she would always go to sleep in her own cot/bed but around 10pm-1am at some point she would come into our bed… We never bothered fighting that, we liked the snuggles & we valued our sleep.
Anyway, we said if she spent a whole night in her bed the “fairies” may leave her a little gift near her fairy door… Sure enough when she slept a full night they did! Then the deal was if she sleeps a whole week, she gets another little gift and that time frame just keeps getting stretched out, now she hardly remembers it. But the fairies like to leave little gifts every now and then especially when she’s been extra good.
I feel really proud of how good she is sleeping.
Both of our kids go to bed around/just after 5pm and have done so since before Tommy was born (this time can be later if Trent is home or we are out & it may become later in the summer) and they wake around 6am-7:30am (usually later if I need to be somewhere early! ha!) It doesn’t matter if they go to bed at 9pm, they wake up at the same time.
* To save your question on why so early? It works for us for multiple reasons. Trent does shift work, some days I’m solo parenting from 5am-7pm, setting myself up to have at least an hour of alone time is important to me. I get to reset and do something for myself and this early bedtime is also what is best for our kids…
LuLu doesn’t nap, she hasn’t since before she was 3 – so an early bedtime for her is needed.
Tommy has 1 day nap occasionally during the morning at around 9:45am/10am-11/11:30am’ish – but that’s rare now, normally he doesn’t nap, so he also needs to be asleep early…
I still feed/cuddle Tommy to sleep for nap and bedtime – but if Trent is home I can feed him and hand him to Trent and he will fall asleep that way as well.
Lately he has been waking during the night as he is cutting a bunch of teeth. (He is 19 months today (14th/July) and just the other day he cut 3 teeth over night which included 2 molars. This made his tooth total 8 teeth, so he is due for a few more yet!)
With our kids we believe in being gentle with sleep. Of course when we have “those” nights like everyone, we get frustrated & sleep deprivation is torture & brings out the worst in everyone! But we try to be gentle. And of course we have rough nights, but we have found 99% of the time it is for a reason. Teething, night terrors or feeling unwell and occasionally I swear the moon affects my kids sleep patterns!
But we just try to ride the rough night waves as best we can…

Edit to add:
Tommy is now  nearly 21 months and as of recently I have had to wean him (read why HERE). Now he gets a cuddle to sleep, then I place him in his cot, he sleeps in his cot (with the side off) until we go to bed and then almost like magic he wakes up, we pop him in our bed and he sleeps through the night, only waking rarely now.
Of course when he is feeling poorly or teething, he maybe in our bed earlier or need more cuddles.
He will transition to a big boy bed in December when he turns 2, same as LuLu did at 2.

Sleep for every family is unique. No one style will fit everyone, but that is how we handle sleep in our household. We have been through every high & low of this sleep ride with our kids… We’ve had moments where they won’t sleep anywhere but on us (still occasionally – Tommy!), we’ve had amazing night sleeps where we wake up in fright in the morning because they slept the whole night in their own bed – so that must mean something is wrong of course! We have walked countless laps of the house trying to help them fall asleep and we’ve had moments where we felt like we didn’t have a clue about what to do next & get frustrated… But we survived and right now I feel like we are in a pretty good sleep space – having already ridden this sleep wave with LuLu who was a very clingy baby and not the best sleeper, I can be optimistic about the future with Tommy. For now we co-sleep with him, I love it but I know one day, when he is ready he too will go to sleep on his own in his own room for a full night… But for now I am enjoying this season, my all night snuggles and being there to help him feel safe & comforted when he needs me.

If you are having some troubles with sleep, a few things I’ve found that may help are…

  • Establish a set bedtime routine with your kids that is predictable. My kids know at 5pm or shortly after it is bedtime… By that time they are normally yawning and tired. We do bath time around 4pm, then a quick tidy of the playroom, read a book and then off to bed. Trent works shift work so our daily routine is flexible, on the days he does night shift the kids know after we say goodnight and goodbye to Daddy it is bedtime. (He leaves at 5pm) I truly believe children thrive on routine, they like knowing what to expect.
  • Rewards. If your child is old enough to understand some sort of reason, try to make sleeping in their own bed part of a reward system. Similar to our fairy deal, maybe a sticker each night and 7 stickers in a row means something special… The options are endless.
  • No electronics in the room. That’s a given, but young kids don’t need something stimulating their little minds. Bedtime should be for winding down… Books, prayers, talking about their day – but not electronics.
  • Have a good snack. Some children wake due to hunger, could be a growth spurt or maybe they didn’t eat enough dinner. A banana before bed is a terrific sleepy snack. The potassium is said to be great for promoting good sleep.
  • Fairy lights. LuLu isn’t a huge fan of the dark, nor am I really. We leave our hallway light on every night – it’s always dimmed very low but is bright enough that if she needed to, she could comfortably walk to our room. She also has a string of battery operated fairy lights in her bedroom. She thinks they are very special and it’s a highlight for her to switch them on each night before bed.
  • A well stocked night stand. LuLu is now at the age where she can help herself at night. She has a water bottle & a box of tissues beside her bed. This minimises the need for her to call out to us at night. She knows if she is feeling unwell or does need us though, that she can always come to us or call out.
  • Sleepy oils. This may or may not help, but I’ve found oils are a great addition to our bedtime routine. They can be applied to the feet, wrists and behind the neck or/and diffused during the night. I find them very calming & use my diffuser almost every night. If you would like to learn more click HERE.
  • The 4th trimester. If you are reading this and have a newborn, please just ride the wave. I found my babies just needed cuddles & patience when they were new. Tommy slept a lot better than LuLu but I feel that was also due to me being more confident in my abilities. Remember you are all they know and you are their comfort & safe space… Have a read about the 4th trimester & also leaps.
  • Co-sleeping. This is not for everyone, but for us it worked beautifully. We valued our sleep and found when our babies would wake upset they would quickly settle tucked in beside us. Please do your own research and use your own caution when co-sleeping.
  • Team work. Having a husband/partner that can wake up and help out with waking babies/children is a Godsend. Trent has always helped out during the nights and I’m very thankful for that. Working as a team is important and if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Patience & understanding. It is easy to get frustrated with children who wake constantly, you are already tired and then you are dealing with a difficult situation with usually an unreasonable little person. But it is important to try and have patience, try and understand why they are upset and won’t sleep. This will help you fix the issue. Are they upset for a particular reason? Are they not tired? Are they cold, hot, in pain, sick, has a big life change happened, hungry, need to use the toilet, scared, stressed? There are so many reasons that can effect kids and their sleep. I encourage you to have patience before losing your temper. As I said above, more often than not when my kids are having a rough night it is for a reason.
  • Consistency. But on the other hand sometimes children test boundaries as they get older and they need to know you’ll remain firm and bedtime means bedtime. If your child is being cheeky and constantly getting out of bed to see what you are watching on TV (I remember doing this) or asking for sips of water, take them back to bed making sure there is no actual reason for them to be out (have they used the toilet/had a drink/are full, no temperature etc) say “no, it’s now bed time, you need rest for tomorrow!” give them a kiss, say good night and walk out or if they are terribly upset, I would sit by their bed for a little while until they are calmed down.  (I only recommend this with children that actually understand reason and for each child that age will vary, but I would say not for very young children, I would do this with LuLu but not Tommy.)

I hope you found this post helpful, I would love to know your top piece of sleep advice, what has worked best for you?
Connect with me on my social media and let me know!

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Sunday Series; Anger towards God and what’s on my heart & in my head. {IBD}

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So it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Sunday Series” and to be honest I wrote a bulk of this post – the raw & angry section on Friday night, in tears and on my phone while everyone else was asleep … But I chose not to hit post.
I prayed about it instead, gosh I was cross at God that night, He copped an earful from me… I feel like He is ok with that. I kept getting the feeling that every single damn thing we are hit with in life is a lesson, a blessing and those hard times are there to teach us something, even if it is just the story to tell – to help someone else. So who knows who this will help, maybe it’ll just help me to get it off my chest… But let’s do this…
Right now I am sitting in my room on a Saturday night, listening to my baby cry for me. He is ok, his Daddy has him – but that baby boy wants me and it’s breaking my heart. He wants to be fed back to sleep. He doesn’t understand why he can’t have “boobie” like he usually does… Twice last night he woke and far out was he angry that I wasn’t the one comforting him. I laid in bed, tears stinging my eyes as Trent cuddled him out in the lounge room. But I think I am getting ahead of myself, here’s what I wrote in the late hours of Friday night, while my face felt hot and had a constant pouring of tears…

Today (Friday) was hard, this Friday really sucked, I hate having a bad Friday – it’s like it jinxes the weekend.
I had my specialist appointment today where I knew we would be discussing “level 2 treatment” (for my IBD – if you would like to read about that you can CLICK HERE)
I failed the safest and most basic treatment, after starting my first lot of medication after my scopes at the beginning of July, 2-3 weeks later I started to struggle to breathe – that was a severe reaction. It was quiet traumatic for me, it was awful gasping for breath and nothing could be done except to let my body come off the medication. It took about 2 weeks and then I was fine, I could breath again normally. Anyway, the next treatment option is pretty hardcore, so intense that it’s 1 tablet per week. And folic acid tablets every other day of the week.
The shit part of this, (besides the IBD) is that I cannot have any more children in the near future. If I want to have anymore babies I have to be off this drug for 6 months. And sadly I have to cut short my breastfeeding with Tommy and that breaks my heart because I know he isn’t ready. He is ready in the sense that we smashed our goal of 1 year, on Friday funnily enough he was the exact same age Lucy was when I last fed her – 20 months and 3 days. But with Tommy I was hoping to get to 2years. Back when I was pregnant with him and diagnosed with IBD we thought I may not be able to feed at all I was so sick. But we did it, I’m proud of what we have achieved but I know he still needs me. And I still need that tiny shred of babyhood. Trent & I have talked about the reality of having no more kids for awhile. He is very happy with 2, I however would love like 10 – or at least 1 more, but I see where he is coming from. When I’m pregnant I get dreadfully ill and our world stops, I don’t want to put us through that again. I basically become a useless human and I can barely care for myself, let alone 2 small children – so I know having no more kids is the sensible choice. But hearing my doctor say that I cannot under any circumstances fall pregnant on this tablet was very shocking, because while a baby isn’t being planned if it happened it would be wonderful (& incredibly surprising). But now it’s very final. Like I know we won’t have another but this just makes it very certain for now. (I say for now, but that’s just my Mumma heart staying hopeful. The reality is – it won’t happen.)
I just wish I had that finished feeling so many women have, like I have friends that are 110% done with having babies, but I am not… But I know I have to be…

So letting go of that last moment of babyhood is rough, especially when it is happening so abruptly. My heart is broken. I hate this disease – I hate it so much. It’s stolen so much joy from my life. My pregnancy with Tommy was all about this stupid illness, I couldn’t enjoy life or being pregnant for my final time, I just was scared the entire time and now it’s cutting short our breastfeeding journey.
It’s fucked honestly.
Even doing this intense drug won’t cure this disease, it just hopefully puts it into remission and if everything goes to plan we can reassess in 1-2 years, my doctor said some people chose to come off of the treatment at that point but a high percentage relapse & she said judging by the severity of my disease, if we can manage it and then I chose to stop the drug there is a super high chance I would become ill again. But we will cross that bridge when we get there, we have to hope it works first or it’s onto the next medicine…
I had a whinge about this on my insta stories on Friday and I had a mixed response of messages. Some people were just beautiful & saying they are sorry & just being kind. Others were sensibly saying my health is most important and I’ve done well feeding Tommy, I should wean and start the treatment and others were saying to keep feeding him and put the treatment off. I feel those last group of people don’t actually understand my problem.
Trust me I asked my specialist this, she said very bluntly “you can wait, but if you do and I can confidently predict you are heading towards having a major flare up and how extensive your disease is, you’ll get so sick that we will be at a loss for treatment options”. Do you know what that then leaves us the only option for? Surgery. And my whole bowel is sick, not just parts, so if 1 part goes bad the whole thing is.
So to avoid surgery & options I don’t even want to consider yet, I know I need to try this medicine. Trent is 110% supportive of this, he told me it’s not even a question – we are going to wean Tommy and start the treatment. That’s why he is out there right now with one very cranky 20 month old.
So that is where I am at. Being forced to stop breastfeeding, something I love and I find is so special to me. With LuLu I weaned her at exactly the same age Tommy is now, but she was ready – she didn’t fuss or care. Tommy though is a Mumma’s boy, he is so attached to me – like LuLu is to Trent… Every baby is different and I know this is harder on him than it was her, and I think that is what upsets me the most. So for now, he only gets a feed at bedtime and that will phased out very shortly and I plan to start the medication ASAP.
In an ideal world I would opt out of the medication, drink a herbal tea or some sort of magic broth and be cured – but it’s not going to happen. This disease is incurable, only manageable and it doesn’t matter what magic diet you are on, it won’t change the fact my gut is trying to kill itself. My scopes revealed my entire large intestine has highly moderate active disease, the entire thing – like it’s every where. That is way, way worse than I ever thought, like the entire stupid thing is sick! Honestly for the past 2 years since I was diagnosed I’ve been telling myself I am actually “not that sick” – that it all could be just in my head… It was a bit of a smack in the face to be told “no you are sick, you need to do something about this or it will get very bad”.
I hate going to doctors appointments, I walk out so overwhelmed and confused. Being sick is dreadful enough, having to remember every result, medication and test is worse. Especially when your brain is foggy 98% of the time… I’m flat out remembering milk let alone everything else! I am just hopeless at being sick, I hate rest and I forget everything! During that appointment my recent blood tests also confirmed I have markers for arthritis – so I have to at some point get that further investigated. But the drug I’m about to take could help with my bone/joint pain…
This drug that I am about to possibly take is scaring the absolute life out of me though, like it is hardcore. Every time I read about it, something new pops up and makes me feel physically sick at how intense it is. It’s used (in larger doses) for chemo. So yeah, there is a whole host of side effects that can come along with that and then we have to play the game of is the side effect worth tolerating so I am “better”. I’m just praying I can stay on the minimum dose and manage my disease and have zero side effects. That is the best case scenario.
So yeah that’s my thoughts for now… Thank you for understanding why this post is all over the place and Lord only knows if you understood my ramblings. But maybe this was meant to be written, just to keep my own sanity or maybe you are dealing with something similar and that’s why you stumbled upon this mess of words and emotions.
I get it – this disease is dreadful (I have a few other colourful words for it, but I’ve already sworn twice in this post…) and I’m sorry if what I’ve written here hits home, if you can relate or you are dealing with or have dealt with something similar.
Feel free to reach out to me on my social media if you wish. Praying for you and for me!

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And friends, if you are dealing with a hard time in your life health related or not – I am praying for you. Sometimes we cannot see why we are struggling in certain seasons, we can’t see the big picture of why and our life – but He can. Every little thing in our life, the good, the bad, the heartbreak and the regret – it’s all for a reason. One day you understand why, but gosh I know what it’s like to be in the trenches of it, wading through so many emotions with your hands in the air going “Why? Why this? Why me? Aren’t you meant to love me?” I get it. I’m there, I’ve been mad at Him and now I’m just heartbroken & feeling very low… I do not have time to be sick, my life is so full and rich in excitement – we have so much to do and enjoy and I can’t. I want to be living my best life and right now I feel like I just survive most days, I collapse into bed sore & worn out. I do know I have to learn to stop over committing so much, the other weekend I had to pull out of some fundraising work I was doing and I hated it, letting people down was awful. But I had to put me first, I couldn’t do that, do what I needed to at home and feel ok. I was so weak, but I am learning to realise I can’t “do it all”.
97.5% of the time I pile on the makeup, plaster on the smile and I’m good to go. Even when it hurts to just walk – I don’t care – I am pushing this illness to the back of my mind – ignoring it. Maybe you get that, maybe something else is hurting you and you just push it down and ignore it. But eventually we have to face it, we have to deal with it – even when it’s scary & confronting or unknown… If we push it aside & down forever it just grows & becomes worse, than we are dealing with an even worse mess! This can be a health problem, anger, hurt – anything. They are all so similar. No matter the problem, everything needs to be eventually dealt with. And when we have to do that, it’s so wonderful to be surrounded by people who love you and support you, but sometimes you are alone or no one else gets it. If you have no one else, He is there. He put it before you, He will bring you through it. I keep telling myself that, our Lord gave me this challenge (and I am not impressed by it nor do I get why…) but I just have to trust His timing, His plan and have faith that He will get me through it. Scary drugs and all… I’m thankful that it’s this and nothing worse, but far out I just wish it was something relatively basic, like I don’t know a cold… But it is what it is, and I just have to trust that He already knows the outcome, what happens is His plan.
Still pissed about it, but I have faith, I’ll be ok – just not right at this very moment…
Thanks for reading (especially if you made it all the way to the end.)  Your support means more than you realise.

If you would like to donate towards research for a cure for IBD and also help to raise awareness please CLICK HERE…  

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A few verses & quotes that have helped me recently…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2

The only way God can show us He is in control, is to put us in situations we cannot control.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Jesus replied, “you do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

God will redeem your pain and replace it with purpose. Priscilla Shirer

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. Psalm 118:5

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4

Dear brothers and sisters. when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. Colossians 1:11

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail or abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Your illness doesn’t define you, your strength and courage does.

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6 tips to avoid rushed chaos in the morning. 

Hi friends!

In today’s post I want to share some great tips to make your mornings less frantic. A big question I am often asked is how I get out the door on time in the mornings… LuLu has kindy 5 days a fortnight and this term + 1 morning of pre-prep, so lots on for us! So these are the things that work for us…

  • Preparation is the key to success. It truly is! Like the saying “those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail” goes – I truly believe being organised early as possible is how to be successful. The evening before we pack the lunch box, fill the water bottle and set out her bag – making sure it is packed with everything she needs for the following day – excursion/free dress day money, notes are signed and in bag etc… I also lay out her kindy clothes. Making a small effort in the evening means less stress in the morning.
  • Get sleep! Having a good nights sleep makes you more productive in the morning and well rested kids are easier to deal with!
  • Wake up at a reasonable hour. This should be a no brainer. I tend to be up around 6am’ish. This allows us time to calmly get through our morning routine.
  • Get things done as early as possible. As soon as we are done with breakfast I am busy, I put laundry on, LuLu knows to brush her teeth & get dressed, I go and get myself ready for the day and then I dress Tommy and do LuLu’s hair. Usually we then have some time to chill out in the playroom before going to kindy.
  • Set age appropriate jobs for your kids. LuLu knows to put her breakfast bowl in the sink, she often goes out to take the dogs coats off and she brushes her teeth and gets dressed on her own.  This helps me in the morning, while she is doing those tasks I can be doing others.
  • Know your time frames. Know how long it takes to get to the school and know when you have to be out the door, we like to get to kindy a few minutes early so we can chat to the teacher or other parents and calmly see LuLu off… I feel this sets her up for a good day as her morning has been calm and not flustered.

Our morning routine on a kindy day is fairly straight forward, I find having good routines with young children really is beneficial for them. They know what to expect and it isn’t chaos for them…
If you would like to see a kindy morning/day in action please check out my latest video HERE… 
But this is a basic look at how an average/ideal morning runs for us…

6am’ish I wake up with Tommy, LuLu occasionally will be awake at the same time or may wake a little later…
6:15am Unpack dishwasher and start organising breakfasts. The kids enjoy cereal and I have toast and a cup of tea.
6:45am LuLu is usually awake by now and having breakfast or our breakfast is done for the day. I tidy the kitchen, put away the toaster and wipe down the benches and if I need to get meat out of the freezer for dinner, I do it now.
7am I put the laundry on and make my bed.
7:05am I do my hair and makeup and get ready for the day. While I do this LuLu cleans her teeth and gets dressed for the day. I usually straighten her bed for her and then she sets up her snuggle toys neatly.
7:30am I dress Tommy.
7:35am I do LuLu’s hair, sometimes it is just a pony tail, other days she likes more detailed styles…
7:50am I may do a quick vacuum or some light cleaning while the kids play in the playroom.
8am I hang the laundry on the line.
8:10am We hang out in the playroom.
8:30am’ish We leave for kindy.

And that is a very rough guide to our morning. Some days flow smoothly and occasionally we have rushed mornings, but we all really dislike those so we strive to have calm and organised mornings.
How do your mornings go before kindy/school? What is your biggest tip for having a successful morning? I would love to know, comment below or on my social media!

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House updates & our feelings on building with GJ Gardner Homes.

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Hey friends,

House update time!! We are down to the final stage now, we are so close to having the keys I am literally dying of excitement… I can tell you now this week is going to drag on so long!
For our latest HOUSE UPDATE VIDEO click HERE <- in that video you can see our lighting and flooring choices as well as the exterior paint.

This week the house had painting touch ups, electricity was turned on, it was cleaned inside and out (it looks amazing!!) and Trent has been busy working on the shed and side fence… Post holes were dug for the front fence as well on Friday… Trent has been working tirelessly for us, he is so wonderful. Today he was there again doing fencing and I even got in and did a bit today! Tomorrow we will be back there cleaning up the block and finishing off the side fence.


We are slowly moving somethings into the shed, we bought some new storage shelves to store our seasonal items (christmas/easter/halloween decor, baby clothes etc) 
Our plan with the house is to be very strict with what comes in… I want to declutter as much as we can, what we don’t need or love is going to be put aside to be sold at a garage sale, which I hope to have in September… I don’t want every cupboard and drawer full of things, I want some empty cupboards, shelves and drawers!
This house is so special and beautiful to us, I only want it full of things we truly love. What we don’t need is going!

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Sneak peek at one of my linen cupboards, this is my walk in one!

So the next week is set to be a big one for us!!

How this week should play out is…
Monday – Security screens and doors get installed I think on this day -or maybe Tuesday… The skip bin is removed & I think our new fridge arrives… I don’t think I’ve told you all about this, but we are getting a new fridge and it is so beautiful – it sparkles!! Trent will be off to Toowoomba to get front fence supplies. (On this day we also have gymnastics, a committee meeting & hopefully I can fit in yoga! This is also our wedding anniversary) 
Tuesday – Front fence will be started and the final inspection is booked. This is where we go through & make sure we are happy with the finished product and check everything works etc.
Wednesday – I guess if any repairs need to be made they are done here… (Kindy day!)
Thursday – HOPEFULLY we get the keys on this day, pending the bank gets everything done in time as they are notorious for holding up handovers! So fingers are crossed this is the day we get our keys… If not I think it maybe Monday, so let’s hope it is Thursday! (On this day we have LuLu’s pre-prep morning class, than a meeting with her new principal!) 
Friday – Hopefully we get to move some stuff in, if not we will be moving stuff to the shed. (On this day LuLu has kindy and I also have another committee meeting in the morning!) 

This feels like a long time coming, but really our build has been done very quickly and that’s a credit to our builders, they are efficient and do things so well. (We started in March and finished end of July, that is incredibly fast!)
I can’t speak highly enough of the entire GJ Gardner Homes Dalby/Chinchilla team, they have made this process so smooth and pleasant. They are knowledgable, friendly, easy to work with & nothing I asked was too hard (or silly in some cases!)
Even when we’ve had minor hiccups, which really only happened towards the end, they were so easy to work with. I know a lot of companies try to spin the blame back to the customer, I have heard so many “bad builder” stories, but GJ have been outstanding, they got to the bottom of the issues and solved them so quickly… (None were the fault of the builders either, just ordering mishaps from suppliers/miscommunications etc) 
So if you are a Dalby/Chinchilla area local I highly recommend GJ Gardner Homes to build with… Chris, Chelsea & Kelsey are so helpful and are just genuinely really wonderful people!

Gosh I am so excited for key handover, it feels like it’s the lead up to Christmas!!
This will be my last blog post/video update on the house now until we show off the finished product. We are so in love with it and can’t wait to be living there!
If you would like to see more updates, please check out my social media as I can’t help but regularly post photos of it on there!

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Chocolate Eclairs Recipe.

Hi friends,

The other day I posted this photo…

chocolate eclairs modernwifelife31

And I was instantly flooded with requests for the recipe for these eclairs…
A dear friend of mine (who now lives in Kansas) her Mumma makes these, I have eaten them many times since knowing these wonderful friends….
So I asked Shar if I could share her recipe & and she thankfully said I could share it with you all… So here it is…

bake bread

“Shaza’s kiwi chocolate eclairs”

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Whipped cream for filling
  • A block (or 2) of cadbury chocolate for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Place butter and water in saucepan and heat.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil – remove quickly and add flour.
  4. Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each egg.
  7. Mix until mixture is glossy.
  8. Using 2 spoons distribute mixture onto lined trays. (Or pipe 7cm strips)
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until eclairs are puffy & golden.
  10. Lower heat to 120 degrees C and bake for another 15 minutes until dry.
  11. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  12. Prepare whipped cream to your liking (I add icing sugar & vanilla)
  13. Melt chocolate using your preferred method. I use my thermomix, but microwave or stovetop also works great. I just use regularly cadbury block chocolate, I used one block for my batch but I feel I should’ve used another 1/2 a block.
  14. Using a sharp knife, cut eclairs in half but leaving top attached.
  15. Fill with whipped cream and then dip top into melted chocolate. (Or spoon melted chocolate over the eclairs)
  16. Set aside for chocolate to set.
  17. Eat & enjoy. (store eclairs in the fridge)

I filmed myself making these for the firs time, in my recent “clean with me” video, you can CLICK HERE to watch that. (They are easy to make, a tiny bit fiddly – but you can see in the video how easy it is!)

If you try this recipe I would love to see/hear how they turn out for you, send me a photo on social media!

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Prayers & blessings for our new home.

When our home was at frame stage the day before it was due to be gyprocked/sheeted we went and had a picnic dinner (it was actually on Mother’s Day) and I wrote scriptures, prayers and blessings on the frame work.
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This was something small but special to us. We know on our foundation are words of truth and love, even though they are not visible we know they are there and we like to believe our home will be better because of it. I have been asked a few times by a few ladies to share what we wrote, so please find the list (sorted by room) below…

Prayers & blessings for our home…

Entry.

  • You will blessed when you go in and blessed when you got out. Deuteronomy 28:6
  • But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
  • Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Jeremiah 29:5
  • The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.
    Numbers 6:24-25
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Kitchen/Pantry/ Dining.

  • Taste and see the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
  • Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers. For by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrew 13:2
  • Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
  • They broke bread together and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46
  • Bless the food before us, the family beside us and the love between us. Amen.
  • Deuteronomy 8:3 is another nice verse, which I didn’t use but I feel it could be used.

Living room & foundation/frame work.

  • By wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4
  • Love one another as I have loved you. John 13:34
  • For no one lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 3:11
  • Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builder is wasted. Psalm 127:1
  • Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt. So that you may know how to answer everyone. Col 4:6
  • “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • The Lord will fight for you, you need to be still. Exodus 14:14
  • For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Hebrews 3:4

Our bedroom.

  • Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. 1 Cor 13:4-7
  • Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord. Col 3:18
  • Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Cold 3:19
  • We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
  • Be completely humble & gentle, be patient bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
  • I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Songs 6:3
  • I found the one my heart loves. Songs 3:4
  • Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour. If either falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one maybe over powered, two can defend themselves. A cord of 3 strands is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:9-12
  • You could also write your wedding vows.
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Kids’ bedrooms.

  • Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. But set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
  • When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24
  • Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring is a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3
  • The lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves you. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17
  • I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
  • I prayed for this child and Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27
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We included the kids in this process and they were able to draw in their rooms, LuLu wrote both of their names and Tommy did a little scribble.
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Daughter’s bedroom.

  • She is clothed in strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom. Proverbs 31:25
  • You are altogether beautiful my darling, there is no flaw in you. Songs 4:7
  • Keep shining beautiful one, the world needs your light.
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Son’s bedroom.

  • Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
  • My son, do not forget my teachings, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong you life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love & faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:1-4
  • And she loved a little boy, very, very much. Even more than she loved herself.
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Playroom/rumpus.

  • Finally, all of you be like-minded, be sympathetic, love another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
  • I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
    3 John 4
  • Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Col 3:20

Bathrooms.

  • Give us clean hands & pure hearts. Psalm 24:4

Closets.

  • And over all these virtues put on love, which binds the all in perfect unity. Col 3:14
  • Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you maybe able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand, stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. Pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers & requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:13-18
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Laundry.

  • Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
  • Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as for the Lord and not for men.
    Col 3:25

Office/study.

  • “In all your ways submit to Him He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:6
  • Jesus looked at them and said “with man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

Prayers for the new house & little blessings/quotes.
(I wrote these around the entry way/hallway – a spot we will walk by countless times each day.)

  • New home, new adventure, new memories.
  • Dear Lord, may this home be a place of joy, health, laughter and love. A place of happiness & contentment, of generosity and faith. A place of kindness & support, of day dreams and hard work, of memories made & traditions begun. May those who live and visit here know only blessings, peace & love. Amen.
  • Home; where family gathers, friends meet & roots grow.
  • Home; A story of who we are. A collections of things we love.
  • A house is made of walls & beams, a home is built with love & dreams.
  • May your walls know joy; may every room hold laughter & every window open to great possibility.

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I hope you found this list helpful & encouraging. This was something so special to us and I am so thankful to a sweet friend who suggested we do this. I chose these verses & quotes just because when I was researching what to include, these are the ones that jumped out to me. Your choice of scripture maybe totally different to mine and that is ok.
(For a house update video CLICK HERE)

img_1352 Have a beautiful day.

TIPS for saving. {money talk}

Hey friends,

An often requested blog for me to write is about our budget/who handles our finances/how we save etc.
Firstly Trent handles our finances & basically anything to do with money, insurances, accounts etc. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I am not gifted mathematically or in the way of understanding any of that sort of stuff. No matter how hard I try. I feel more comfortable with him being in control of all of it, I can still access and see it all – but honestly it makes little sense to me. I try really hard to understand it but I just struggle with it. He pays all of our bills and organises our budget.
As for our budget, we know what bills we need to pay and have that money set aside and then our grocery money (which can be anywhere from $150-$250 a week… We eat a lot of fresh fruit, enjoy good quality meat, Tommy is still in nappies and that includes pet food/litter) and we also deposit an amount into savings. I won’t share our exact amounts, but we strive to save when and where we can. Any cash that we have at the end of the week or we make by selling items on buy, swap & sells is put into my little savings jar that I deposit into the bank and that goes towards extra things we maybe saving for like holidays, items for the new house, gifts etc. I did a whole post on selling items to make a bit of extra money, you can CLICK HERE to read that. (Oddly enough, that post of all posts went “viral”…)

A few great ways we save money are…

  • I make most of my own cleaners. And use white vinegar & bicarb to clean most things. Occasionally I will splurge and buy some cleaning products (I love Method) but for most things, I make my own. (I do like to buy furniture polish & glass cleaner)
  • I also make my own laundry powder, that recipe can be found HERE.
  • I buy generic brands where it suits us. Now I still buy brand name items for most things, but for a few things I tend to look for cheaper alternatives. It often is a bit of trial & error to find a cheaper brand of something that suits your taste. I buy store brand sugar, flours, pasta, butter for cooking, bleach for cleaning etc… The dishwasher tablets from Aldi are also very cheap & work great. (Our town is getting an Aldi soon, so I think I may try shopping there as well)
  • I bake our treats. I do sometimes buy us something for the week from the store, but 90% of the time I prefer to bake some biscuits or a cake for morning/afternoon teas for the week. I choose what to bake depending on what I have, what I need to use up or just what we feel like and I feel better giving LuLu a sweet treat when I know exactly what is in it.
  • Trent does all of our “jobs” around the house. We don’t need to outsource anything to tradies or the such because he is skilled and knowledgable to do it. I find this so helpful and I feel it saves us a lot of money. He does everything from fix his own work ute, he will be building the fences for the new house, constructing the kids play area and if anything is ever broken or needs to be done he knows how to do it… We are yet to ever need to “call someone”.
  • We don’t eat a lot of take away or drink a lot of alcohol. We do eat out (or have take away) but it is not in excess and both of us do not drink a lot of alcohol.
  • We very rarely buy soft drink. Huge saving in the groceries is cutting that out.
  • Writing a shopping list of exactly what you need and only buying those items is a great way to stay on track with the groceries.
  • Adding up your groceries on your phone calculator as you buy each item is another good way to be aware of what you are spending, that way you know if you are going over budget.
  • Shop around for the best deal and go with what works for you. Do not be afraid of calling around other stores if you are making a big purchase and getting the lowest price possible.
  • Reassess your phone/internet/electricity/health insurance plans if possible. Call up ask for a better deal, rework them to suit your current situation better or call other companies to compare. (We need to do this for our health insurance, because holy that’s an expensive one!)
  • Sell unwanted/unused items on buy, swap & sell sites.
  • Be sensible, that’s a huge one. Do not spend what you don’t have. Live within your means.

And on that note, I have a new HAUL video on YouTube CLICK HERE to watch it. It’s a small haul from a little shopping day the other day. I made a conscious decision to not go over board at the shops. It is easy to do when we go to the big shopping centre in Toowoomba, Dalby only has a small variety of stores and when you are in a big centre you see so many things you want, but staying focused on what you need is important. I did buy a few fun items for the kids to put away as gifts but it was all well within the spending budget for that day. (Trent did tell me to go buy something for myself, but I decided I wanted to save it to go towards something when we finally are in the house.)

I would love to hear your tips for saving money. Please leave them as a comment below or comment on my social media…

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