I hope you are all having a beautiful December.
Today I did a little Christmas baking (Kringle the elf insisted we do it), so shortbread was made!
This is my shortbread recipe, I posted it over on Bella In Bindyland years & years ago, but I thought it was worth sharing here!
It’s a simple recipe but always seems to be a winner. I personally don’t eat a lot of shortbread, so it’s not my favourite – but Trent loves it and every time I take a box to a party or get together they always disappear quickly.
175g or 1 1/2 cups of plain (all purpose) flour
125g or 3/4 cup of rice flour
A pinch of salt.
200g unsalted butter, softentend
4 tablespoons of caster (super fine) sugar
Extra caster sugar for sprinkling on the biscuits when they are baked
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees (or 375 degrees F).
Line baking trays with baking paper.
In a separate bowl sift the two kinds of flour together, add a pinch of salt to the bowl.
In your mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy.
Slowly add flour mix to creamed butter & sugar, gently mix until combined.
Roll out dough into a disc and cover with baking paper or cling wrap. Place in fridge to chill for 1/2 hour.
Now with a cookie cutter cut out shapes!! (If you don’t want to do this, you can make it in a slice tray and just pre-cut little squares into the dough every 3cm).
I just think stars look pretty!
Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 150degrees or 300 degrees F & cook for a further 15-20 minute or until shortbread is a light golden colour.
Remove from oven and sprinkle caster sugar over top while still warm.
Cool on rack and then enjoy!
This recipe made about 60 small stars.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you make it please let me know.
Ok December is TOMORROW… I really thought it was just new years… But here we are almost at Christmas!!
Anyway – December 1st means…. THE ELF ARRIVES!
Yes, if you remember from previous years – we have an elf, Kringle…
In our house we go all out, I love Christmas and love any excuse to be over the top festive!
I’m not really a fan of the elf doing naughty antics, so I plan more funny little set ups or he shows what we are doing for that day…
Tomorrow he will arrive and bring with him our 1st of December box full of lots of goodies for the children, I just posted a video showing the contents of the box – so please CLICK HEREto watch that!
Here is our monthly plan for Kringle’s time with us…
Now I don’t follow this plan to a tee, it’s more an outlook for our December, so I can see what’s coming up and honestly we all have those moments as we just settle in for a good nights sleep in our comfy bed and then that thought pops into our minds – “darn it – I didn’t move the bloody elf!!” and you have to get up out of bed, half asleep and find the blasted thing and think of something on the spot.
So for me this list is an attempt to avoid too many moments like that.
It’s just our basic monthly plan, I can easily see what’s planned and what is happening at a glance and be inspired…
When I have funny set ups planned, that leaves me space to search for inspiration for a new setup or use one I’ve listed to the side… Also if we have something come up in December like a Christmas outing I’ll just work it into our plan…
I also have purposely left some blank days, that’s to give flexibility to swap things around and for last minute activities or outings!
I wrote this blog post last year with 5 tips to stay sane while our little festive visitor is with us… So I highly recommend youCLICK HEREto read that!
If you would like some elf inspiration please check out the hashtag #KringleTheScottsElf on instagram to see what I’ve done in previous years, orCLICK HERE to see it.
Also for December I write out our Christmas Bucket List and this also gives me ideas for what to do during the month…
I find writing these lists gives me constant inspiration on what to do during the month and just helps my mind be a little less cluttered with trying to remember every tiny thing.
Do you have a rough plan for what you are doing with your elf or for the month of December?? What is your favourite antic your Elf got up to last year! I would love some inspiration for new cute/funny antics! Comment below or on my social media! Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest. YouTube.
Let’s talk photos… Family photos. Professional photos and just photos in general.
I love photos, always have. Ask anyone I went to high school with, I was “that” person with the camera at every party, school camp or function and to this day I take photos, daily. Yes, daily. Photos are my love language, maybe that’s why instagram is my favourite social media…
Recently on instagram I asked how many people regularly get professional family photos done, (regular being at least once every 2 years)
The main response was NO.
And then I asked for responses on why you do or don’t get professional photos done… And I will get to them in moment, but right now I want to tell you why I invest in getting professional photos done.
Mainly so I am actually in them – as Mums we are so often the one behind the camera. I have countless lovely photos of the children and Trent with them, but not so many of me, heck even the pets have some lovely photos I’ve captured. But I want evidence I existed too in more than just selfies! But secondly because to me, they are like gold. They are so precious and I treasure them. And I know I will for the rest of my life, so they are an investment I’m happy to make.
A big reason people listed as not getting photos done was the cost and I agree some photographers charge way too much money and some deliver really poor quality photos – but there are awesome photographers out there who are affordable, offer great deals and do exceptional quality photos.
My tips for scoring good deals with photos is wait for times like spring or christmas when many photographers offer mini sessions, they are usually 20-30 minutes long, cost around $100 and you get 10-20 digital images… I like these sessions as they are cheap and easy.
Another way to justify spending the money on photos is write it off as a birthday gift for yourself. I did that last year. Or get an annual family photo done for the christmas card, print off and frame a few and presto easy & affordable christmas gifts for the grandparents! Or organise an extended family photo session, get everyone to chip in, then you can have full family photos, individual families and generational photos. That would be special and would make a lovely, thoughtful gift for parents or grandparents (birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversary etc) – because honestly those people never really need anything and that sort of gift I feel is so meaningful.
Another reason many people listed for not getting professional pictures done is because they do not like photos of themselves or their husbands aren’t fans of posing. Well, all I have to say to that is – do you think your kids or possible future grandkids will one day care if you think you looked good or not in a photo? One day you’ll be gone, sorry to be blunt – but we all die and all that will be left to prove we once existed will be photos. I treasure old photos of photos (yes photos of photos) I have of my grandparents, one day someone may feel the same way about your picture. Give them something more to treasure other than a selfie. And as for posing, well many photographers are happy to do lifestyle or more natural photos. You go to your session and positively interact with your family and the photographer just clicks away… Yes, they may give some direction but it isn’t so structured and posed as just sitting there and grinning. A good photographer should make you feel comfortable. I like both styles of sessions.
Our recent professional photos, taken by Tina Ebenal Photgraphy. (highly recommend her, she is a Toowoomba & surrounds photographer)
Photos are something so special to me, I treasure them. I capture a photo of my kids daily and I document it for our family’s project 365. Basically I take one photo a day, everyday for a year, log it daily on an instagram account I have set up especially for this project and then at the start of the new year I make the previous years photos into a book. I print 2 off, one for each child. These photos range from professional images, to selfies and to photos I’ve taken on my good camera… It’s a mix of individual photos of the kids, family snaps, the kids together and with our pets… Just our day to day life, captured & documented…
To my Mum friends, I want to encourage you to be in the photo. Get in them, don’t shy away, you may not love the photo of you – but I promise you one day your kids will treasure that photo and so will you. Very soon our little loves will be grown, they’ll be busy with their own lives and we will have our photos to look back on & remember when we were their whole world… And then we will be gone and all they’ll have is those same photos. And no one knows when that’ll happen, so get in the photo. Exist.
And to Dads, take more photos of your wives! Pick up the phone and snap a photo of her sleeping in a bed with kids sprawled everywhere, take the photo of her comforting a teething baby, pick up the good camera at the birthday party and take a photo of just her and the birthday kid or you take the camera on christmas morning and snap a shot of her with the kids or you surprise her with a voucher for family photos, even if you hate them… She’ll fuss and complain and say her hair looks silly, but just take the photo. It matters.
And that’s the point, you matter. Photos matter, memories matter. One day our future generations will want to know us, give them something. I wish more than anything I had more photos of my grandparents… Something to show my kids and for me to see them – to see a glimpse into their lives back then… I use to love when my Nin would show me old albums of the family, I loved sitting at the kitchen table and seeing the black & white and sepia toned images and having her point out who was who and telling me the stories behind each photo… I promise you one day someone will want to see a photo of you.
Investing $100 into a photo session for some lovely photos you didn’t have to set a self timer for I feel is money well spent, but if you can’t justify spending that money and I understand not everyone can, ask a friend with a camera to snap a photo and then do the same for her family. Or if you and your family are out somewhere all dressed up, ask someone to snap a photo of you all, try and use a good quality camera if you can! Heck, you don’t even have to be dressed up, just grab your tribe, stand in some good lighting, throw someone who isn’t a family member a camera, all huddle together and smile.
Get a picture somehow. But I do highly recommend investing in professional photos at least once every 2-3 years.
Bottom line is, just get in the dang photo! Be present, exist.
Ever heard of it before? Nope, me either – it’s uncommon, but it’s serious and I feel more parents should know about it…
Please read THIS FACT SHEET to learn more (seriously, click that and read it, learn the symptoms)…
This is a disease that should be on every parent’s radar. It is noncontagious but it’s very serious and needs treatment in under 10 days to help reduce the risk of long term damage to the heart.
Let me tell you our story with Kawasaki’s….
Saturday the 20th of October – LuLu’s party day, we woke up and our little man was just a bit “off” – nothing major, just grumbly and a bit clingy. He enjoyed the party and spending time with his Nan, but he didn’t eat as much as normal and we all agreed it was probably due to a big molar he was cutting. That afternoon he started getting lethargic and that night was dreadful. He was awake screaming & he had a fever in the high 38c’s.
Sunday morning when we woke up he had a rash on his tummy, by the time we had finished breakfast and we changed his nappy again it had spread to his back. So off to the hospital emergency department we went.
The doctor thought it could be just a viral thing – possibly hand, foot and mouth, I didn’t feel it was that – but being a viral thing made sense – kids get those.
By 4pm that same day the rash had intensified, so back to the hospital we all went. This time a new doctor said it was a random allergic reaction, Tommy was given an antihistamine and then steroids.
We went home after a few hours and when we woke up Monday morning around 6am the rash had faded and he seemed to be on the mend.
A few hours later before 9am, the doctor from the hospital called and wanted us to return, she believed it maybe scarlet fever. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Tommy had gone back down hill and the rash had returned. (The steroids and antihistamine had masked the rash temporarily) We were given a script for penicillin and went home. At midday he started vomiting, I contacted the hospital they said it could just be the combination of scarlet fever, high temperatures and medicine making him a little unwell. He threw up a few more times and then again after we woke on Tuesday morning and now he had diarrhoea. We took him back to the hospital.
This time he had a blood test straight away and a cannula was inserted to start fluids.
They ran many tests; blood cultures, x-ray and from memory I think they started a broad spectrum antibiotic. And they started organising transfer to Toowoomba either by ambulance or care flight – which ever could come first. Ambulance it was.
Dalby Hospital did everything they could for our little man and their level of care was great. I can’t fault them for the multiple diagnosis, from what I have read this is very common in the early stages of Kawasaki’s because the rash and symptoms continually change and the symptoms could be many different illness, it’s all a process of elimination. The doctors and nurses really cared for him and we are so thankful.
Before 2pm on Tuesday we were loaded into an ambulance with a lovely nurse, I’ve never been in an ambulance before so that was an experience and I sat beside him holding his hand for our very quick trip. Trent and Lucy followed behind.
We arrived at the base hospital in Toowoomba, we were told paediatricians were on stand by waiting for us – we weren’t seen at all by one, so there may have been so miscommunication. Tommy threw up all over me again while we waited. We ended up asking for a transfer over to the private hospital and drove ourselves there. We couldn’t watch him become more unwell and no one could tell us when he would be seen properly. The base hospital was very busy.
We arrived at the private hospital at 7pm and were given a bed and a private room immediately. That night our little man suffered through more blood tests and they had to put in another cannula. He was started on more fluids and antibiotics. At this point they were worried about sepsis, a few viruses and possibly meningitis. Those possibilities were terrifying. We were exhausted at this point it was a hugely long day, I believe Trent left us at around 10pm that night to go back to Dalby.
The next few days were a blur with lots of tears, I sat in a hospital bed scared out of my mind holding our little man who just slept. He didn’t want to do anything and he was so upset. I felt like a zombie and my heart was shattered. Days earlier he was his normal cheeky self. I was wracking my brain trying to think how he got sick and I didn’t stop praying for him to get better. Trent drove in each day to be with us.
Wednesday was a rough day of more tests and this was the day he started to swell up. His little body went puffy, his hands and feet were like little balloons and his eyelids were so swollen. He is normally such a petite little guy, in hospital he gained 1kg due to the swelling. And his eyes were so red and blood shot, they looked painful.
Thursday I remember he sat up and finally ate something, he ate a jatz biscuit and a lemonade ice block for breakfast and then some weetbix. That was a huge moment, he hadn’t eaten for most of the week except a small amount of yogurt on Tuesday – which I ended up wearing anyway. He also had to have another new cannula put in that day, his 3rd one.
During all these days we were waiting on blood test results, monitoring him constantly, weighing nappies, measuring water and our paediatrician was conferencing with the Lady Cilento paediatric team and infectious disease management team. His rash continued to spread down his arms and legs and he remained so puffy.
Thursday evening the paediatrician asked me if I had ever heard of Kawasaki’s disease… I hadn’t. She and the doctors she had been speaking to believed this is what he had, unfortunately there is no test for this disease – just ruling out other possible problems and that’s what we had been doing. Eliminating other viruses and illnesses. Every test was coming back fine, well not fine. His inflammation levels were through the roof, the highest she said she had seen in such a young child, his kidneys and liver weren’t doing great and multiple other worrying results – but for specific viruses nothing was coming back. Throat swabs, nasal swabs, stool, urine, bloods – it showed no illness – but there was clearly something going on.
We were waiting on one more test result to come back before we treated for Kawasaki’s… The only symptom that wasn’t exactly right for Kawasaki’s was his temperature wasn’t getting over 39c, but it was in the mid-high 38c – but the doctors believe the steroids he had been given on Sunday evening were effecting his fever. Because even with regular panadol & nurofen his temperature would continue to be higher than normal and he felt so hot.
The test result still wasn’t back by Friday afternoon – so we agreed it was best for Tommy to start the treatment anyway. The treatment is intravenous immunoglobulin – so it was not dangerous at all for him to have. Trent and I sat with him while the treatment happened and we prayed so much that it would work.
Trent stayed in hospital with him that night and I went home to snuggle LuLu.
Saturday he did seem to pick up, he was more alert and playing. He was actually playing with toys! He ate more and just seemed brighter. We were so thankful that this treatment had seemed to work, if it hadn’t he would’ve had another round of it and if that failed, then he would receive a lumbar puncture – but thankfully we avoided that.
I stayed Saturday night and it was awful. We barely slept at all and I feel it was because he was more alert, suddenly he was much more aware of where he was and he was scared. So that was rough, but understandable with the constant nurse checks and flushing of his cannula. He was so sick of being poked and prodded!
On Sunday 28th/October he was weighed and was back down closer to his normal weight, we were getting our tiny little man back and after more blood tests we were discharged. It was so wonderful to get back to our big blue house and our own bed.
We saw our paediatrician the following Thursday, she said one of his blood results showed possible glandular fever as well.
The poor little guy, Kawasaki disease, possibly glandular fever, teething with molars and the paediatrician also believes he could’ve had a mild case of viral meningitis (due to his very sore head & neck).
We had another round of blood tests today (Thursday 8th/Nov) to check again for glandular fever & a bunch of other things, just to make sure everything has remained ok in his little body and we hope the glandular fever result was a wrong one and he hasn’t had that.
At the appointment we also discussed how upset and unsettled he has been since coming home. He has really good & normal moments and then he will just melt down and he is so sad, he doesn’t like being away from us and some nights he sleeps well and others he won’t settle at all… She believes his stay in hospital has traumatised him and he is suffering from a lot of stress. He still is suffering body/joint pain, peeling hands, feet & lips and appears to get very bad headaches. So all we can do is love him through this, we cuddle a lot, we carry him and stay close to him, we are gentle, we do massage and just take things easy. From the reading I have done these symptoms and the behaviour is expected and normal after Kawasaki’s.
Each day is getting better but we still have 6-8 weeks to go until we know if he has come out of this ordeal ok. In that time frame he will get an ECG done in Brisbane and that is to make sure his heart is ok. Until that test he has to have aspirin every day.
This experience was horrific. I am so thankful his issue was treatable and he responded well to the treatment, we continue to pray that his little heart will be totally fine and we have faith it will be, especially because he received treatment before day 10.
I want to encourage you, that if your child is sick and you are given one diagnosis and then they worsen/change – go back. Keep going back until the treatment works or you see improvement. You don’t have to accept one opinion. We are our children’s advocates. We have to fight for them. I knew each time in myself when he needed to go back to the hospital and I didn’t care if it turned out to be nothing, I would prefer to be known as the over cautious Mother than regret not taking him or leaving it too late. If we had just agreed it was some viral thing and tried to ride it out over a week, I hate to think of what the outcome could’ve been.
Because even in hospital with constant fluids and daily antibiotics given through his IV, regular pain relief and routine observation they were describing him as flat and not improving. I hated hearing that at each shift handover, I just wanted to hear he was improving – but I knew he wasn’t but I also knew he was in the best place and was being taken care of.
This was easily the most scary and awful week of our life. One I wish on no one and my heart breaks for families going through worse ordeals than this, gosh I can’t even imagine it. I know we are fortunate that it was this and nothing more serious.
So what caused this? It is unknown, it could’ve been anything – most likely just a basic germ and his little body sent it’s immune system into over drive causing all of his arteries throughout the body to become inflamed. Prior to the Saturday he hadn’t seemed unwell or anything, so we are puzzled. But we are praying this ordeal is now over and his ECG will come back with good results.
This blog post was created to draw awareness to Kawasaki’s disease. If you are concerned your child has Kawasaki’s please go to your nearest hospital or GP. If your child has this and you need support please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can connect you with a great support group.
I pray you never experience this disease first hand, but if you do, know you aren’t alone.
Thank you to so many of you for your genuine kindness, concern and compassion over the past few weeks.
We would appreciate any prayers or positive thoughts towards healing and good results.
I still remember the moment I was handed her and I looked down and said “hi baby” and I was so scared and so in love. I had never held a baby so small before, she was perfect.
I still look at her and I’m so blown away by how perfect and incredible she is. But in hospital those first few days I was a tiny bit more obsessed, I took photos of her ears & hands – wanting to remember every detail about her and still I don’t feel I have enough to truly remember every tiny thing. So I wish I could go back and relive it all again.
I remember thinking I was losing my mind because I could not stop sniffing her, even if I tried I just couldn’t stop. Everything about her to me was amazing and I didn’t even want to sleep. I laid there staring at her, absolutely exhausted but just watching her because she was the most wonderful little person I had ever seen.
The last 5 years have sped by at a rapid rate and it’s quiet depressing! I feel like I’m digging my heels in, trying my hardest to pull time back or at least slow it down. But I can’t. So I have to be present and ride this wave with her.
She’s so amazing, (I’ll probably say that 10 more times in this post), but she really is. She was a really easy baby and is a pretty incredible kid. I’m so thankful to God for blessing us with her. We are lucky parents.
She can be a typical little kid, but she’s also wise beyond her years and we can reason with her. She appreciates honesty and being told exactly what’s going or why something is happening. She is not the sort of kid you can say “just because” to. As her kindy teachers and I laugh about, LuLu likes being informed, knowing proper answers on everything from why the sky’s blue to how is bread made and 1000 other questions – daily…
She loves her daddy and brother so much. Her Dad can calm her in any situation and he has an amazing bond with her. For example, when she had her 4 year old vaccinations I believe she shed only 1 tear. She didn’t even flinch, Trent sat there with her and she was brave. Because her daddy was there and he told her it would hurt but only for a quick second and then she would be ok. She trusted him and was the bravest kid. That moment still makes me so proud. I love how close they are.
Sure she can be a typical little preschooler, she has a temper and will argue to make you see her point (no idea where either of those traits come from) but my word she’s awesome. Just a magical little girl that makes my heart burst daily.
She’s the light of our lives. From the second she arrived she bought with her joy and light into our lives.
She’s a force to be reckoned with and will fiercely stand her ground. She is a sweet little girl who will love on her baby dolls and play with her barbies and she’s a rough and tumble kid who loves the outdoors. She loves it when I paint her nails and she often asks to wear my lipstick, but gosh she’ll jump at the chance to go fishing or hunting with her daddy. She loves her brother more than anyone, she’s a beautiful big sister – but she’ll also get cross at him for messing up her toys, but then instantly will baby him again. She’s gone from having such little hair I worried if it would ever grow to having a head full of crazy & curly hair! She’s bold, daring and adventurous and loves to be challenged. She loves fairies and one day will love unicorns and the next day dislike them greatly. She rarely likes princesses, unless of course she’s with her best friend or thinking of her, because then her bestie likes them. She’s a kind and thoughtful little friend who generously gives out compliments and has a beautiful little heart. She loves to draw and paint, is so intelligent and has a great sense of self confidence. And also has amazing strength and athletic ability (didn’t get that from me). She displays empathy and also is great at being rational. She is such a level headed little kid that it shocks some people, but then she’ll prance off pretending to be a ballerina…
She’s a perfect mix of wild and sweet and I pray so hard she always keeps that fire inside of her. The fire that makes her hard to parent somedays, the one that makes me pray for wisdom on how to raise her, the fire that makes her question every single thing I do or say or tell her to do… That fire will make her a strong force to be reckoned with. I believe girls need that and I know whatever she chooses to do with her life that fire will help her be successful and no one will ever take advantage of her. Lord, I hope she keeps it. I parent her carefully – trying not to squash it out.
She’s a one of a kind daughter and gosh I’m thankful to God He chose us for her.
I am mind blown she’s about to be 5. Mind blown also that we have been parents for 5 years. Gosh I hope the next 5 don’t speed by so quickly.
LuLu, we love you dearly – you are the light of our lives and we are so incredibly proud of the amazing little girl you’ve grown into.
On Sunday I turn the big 3-0…
And ya know what, I’m looking forward to it, for the last few years my best friend and I have been saying how the 30’s are going to be our prime – our 20’s were years that we both struggled with different things personally but as we near our 30’s we are gaining confidence, wisdom and strength.
I feel like I am entering the 3rd decade of my life with a newly found sense of empowerment.
I truly feel more confident in who I am and what I believe in.
I am very ok with the fact one day I love being dressed up in a pretty dress and the next day I am enjoying a pair or ripped jeans, and that’s just the trivial side of it.
I am feel strong in my faith, despite the naysayers. I don’t feel insecure about my parenting abilities and I am strong enough to set boundaries in areas of my life.
When I was in my early 20’s I felt I was still on that path of self discovery, working out who I truly was and what I stood for. By the time my thirties are rolling around, I kind of feel like I have a good sense of self and I am proud of who I am.
There are chapters of my life that I cringe about, the outfits, the anger, the poor choices – but it all adds up to me. If it wasn’t for all of that, I wouldn’t be where I am right now and know what I know.
Before I hit the thirty milestone I’ve personally been working on a little list of personal accomplishments that I’ve recently done that I am proud of & bits of wisdom I wish to share – because sometimes we need to brag about ourselves…
So here are 30 things I have achieved/done that make me feel ready & proud to tackle my 30’s…
Get married. Doing life with Trent is amazing & I love him with all my heart.
Have my 2 babies. Add in 2 little ratbags and my heart is full, these 3 give me purpose.
Go camping. This was a step out of my comfort zone to discover something I really enjoy.
Set personal boundaries & be ok with not tolerating toxic people. This was hard and I am still working on it, but I am getting better at it!
Learn to put my health first. I need to be well, to enjoy life & care for my family.
Be open about having IBD. This is apart of me and I needed to accept that and by being open about it, that’s helped me greatly.
Get my scopes done… What a milestone, getting a colonoscopy before the age of 30 – but it’s vital for my health and we were able to work out the full extent of my disease.
Start treatment for my disease. A scary time, but I need to be well.
Take care of my mental/emotional health. There is nothing wrong with not being ok and working out ways that work for you to deal with that. I have my own coping mechanisms that I find work best for me.
Give myself grace & make time for me. I am not a perfect person, no one is. And I cannot pour from an empty cup. I need to look after me.
Start & maintain a night time skin care regime & wear sunscreen everyday! Because I maybe 30 & love it, but I don’t want to look 40 while I’m 30!
Move into our house. This was a huge thing, I wanted to have our keys by my birthday and we got them & each week our home is coming more & more together, it makes me so happy!!
Let go of anger & hurt. This is another tough one, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come with this.
Forgive. As above. But also, holding onto anger is pointless – it only hurts us.
Realise & accept some people aren’t forever people, no matter who they are & some people are better loved at a distance. Another one that is a tough pill to swallow, but the sooner I learnt and accepted this the easier life became. (Even if I do have moments that it still all hurts & I struggle with it)
Accept life doesn’t play out how we imagine it will, it’s all apart of His greater plan and that’s what I hold my trust in. Amen!
Let go of other people’s opinions. What they think of me, is none of my business!
Know my own style. I can accept I am not super fashionable, but I have a certain look and I know what suits me… Even if 88% of the time it’s jeans and a shirt. And I have a go to fool proof make up & hair look that I am confident in.
That to create a positive life you need positivity. Negative self talk & negative voices create a negative space – fill your mind and heart with positivity and watch it grow.
Seek the joy. It’s my mantra, seek the joy EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY – look for it. Write it down, capture it – whatever works for you, but train your mind to find the joy, even on the dark days – scratch & dig for that tiny little sparkle of joy.
Learn how to make some go-to delicious meals. Done, I feel pretty confident in my cooking ability – especially THIS chocolate cake!
Accept I don’t know it all and still strive to learn. This especially applies to my faith, I truly enjoy learning more & more about that.
Try yoga. I really enjoyed yoga & it’s something I want to try and make time for more often – even if it’s just doing it at home.
Realise family maybe family by blood, but often family is people who we chose and who choose us. This can be sad but wonderful all at once.
Let go of romantic & idealistic views of everything. For me this was family relationships, the sooner I accepted that I can’t change people & they won’t behave how I wished they would – the better. It’s still hard & still something I am working on. But this applies to so many areas of life. Having zero expectations means less disappointment.
Know that your past doesn’t define you or anybody else. The person I was 10 or 12 years ago I wouldn’t even know now, but she is apart of who I am and I had to be her to be who I now am. And I cannot hold someone else’s past against them.
Make up my own mind on things & people without the input of others & be confident knowing I can make the right decision, for myself & my family. This was a life changing moment for me.
Be confident in what you do & what you feel your purpose is.Being a stay at home Mum is something that can be hard to be proud of in today’s world. Especially when in conversations people ask what you do and when you give them that answer they follow it up with “yes, but what’s your actual job?”… I love what I do, I’m proud of it and I feel it is my purpose in life.
Know that all through life there are seasons, and each season brings new highs & lows. I find this particularly comforting when applying it to parenthood, I refuse to wish away seasons of my children growing up because I know one day I will wish for them back again.
Be proud & happy with who I truly am, even if other people aren’t. I know who I am and I’m proud of the person I am today.
So there it is, my 30 little tidbits of wisdom and rambling thoughts. I hope you took something away from it…
I am looking forward to the weekend, I get to celebrate with a small group of people who I am so thankful for.
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!