Thursday, January 31, 2013

{Keeping it Real and [mostly] Neat}

I spoke yesterday, about the pressures of parenting in today's society and the differences between now and when our parents were raised.
There are definitely pressures on us, some thrust upon us by friends or strangers but mostly the expectations put on us are by our own worst enemy - ourselves!
Life is never perfect, and lets be honest, not many of us have the time to have the whole house clean and spotless, a healthy balanced meal on the table, a workout done and any time for ourselves every day!

Lets face it, how many of us look and talk like this beautiful 50's pinup girl for domesticity? Not me!
But here are a few tips that help me keep it real and neat and tidy amidst the (sometimes) crazy everyday-ness of life. I have about a 90% success rate, so this isn't about perfection, but progress.

1. Each morning I make an effort to make our bed. Even though my husband laughs at the 11 pillows on our bed, we both feel like it creates a relaxed sanctuary feel and a soothing place to be. It doesn't need to cost a lot to dress up your bed. I updated our linen a year ago in sales at target and Kmart. Even if the en suite has stuff everywhere, it just helps me to feel that I am on top of the housework when our bedroom is tidy. Plus, it's setting an example to my kids whose beds I expect to be made also. Train them young, train them well I say.

2. I try to finish each day with a clean kitchen. This is the room that I start my next day in, so I find that if this isn't done, my next day starts "behind the eight ball".

3. During the day I use my baskets which I have spoken about before {see more here} and this helps with some of the clutter as the day goes on. 

4. Each night, I try to do at least one or two hings that will help set me up to win the next day. This usually means packing lunches and having it in the fridge ready for the next day. It could be however (and sometimes as well as lunches if I'm extra organised) anything that takes some pressure out of your tomorrow:
- hanging out some washing 
- ironing a shirt 
- stacking the dishwasher 
- putting dinner in the slow cooker bowl and then into the fridge ready for next evening
- putting a load of washing on to wash while you sleep.   
I have even occasionally started putting the boys cereal in their bowls covered by a napkin ready for the next morning. My 6 year old goes to the fridge where I put a milk jug (smaller and easier to pour) in the fridge, then they serve themselves. Great for their independence and my sometimes my sanity on school mornings. WIN-WIN!

5. It's okay to have a 'dump zone' for small things. It must have a limit though. A place where you keep an overflow of 'stuff' can be handy as long as you get back to it later. If people are expected over and I don't have time to clean the whole house, I usually use under my stairs or the laundry. Make sure you get to it later or it will not become the exception and the rule instead.

Q: What are your tricks? What are your go to daily tasks that make it easier to keep on top of housework? 

Lauren x

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{Motherhood, Tibetan Monks and Toddler Nose Picking}

I read an article recently about the varying differences between the time when our grandparents raised our parents and now {read it here}.
It got me thinking about the pressure on parents these days. This week, parents everywhere are labeling uniforms, battling contact when covering books, packing lunch boxes that are full of no nut, healthy, organic, treats grown by Tibetan Monks all whilst shining shoes and on the phone booking them into swimming, netball, soccer, clarinet lessons and extra German classes.
Slight exaggeration.
You get my point.

So many of us are trying to do the right thing by our kids, but is anyone happy? What ever happened to letting kids be kids? Preschools are even expected to report academic assessments these days. Quite frankly if my 3 year old didn't pick his nose too much, ate something resembling the bottom half of the food pyramid, laughed and played with his cars in the dirt (yes, dirt, it still exists!) I am very happy!
If we happen to draw something resembling a person or count to 20 it's an added bonus in my eyes.
So much of our society is yearning to return back to the days of a simple life. Vintage is all the rage and retro is huge! I love my gadgets and some of the conveniences of modern world, don't get me wrong. I wonder, however, if part of this shift is because of the values that we held onto back then. Are we all just wanting to take the pressure off?
Do you feel the pressure of getting it all right with your kids? Where does the pressure come from? Do you feel like the expectations of motherhood have changed?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Here are some funny thoughts on motherhood that made me laugh :)

Lauren x

Sunday, January 13, 2013

{Sugar Free 'Truffles}

A new and beautiful friend dropped these around to me and they hit the spot when you are banning sugar from the house. Thanks Sarah!
I asked her what she put in it and have played around with the amounts of ingredients so I can replicate them at home. And I have made many batches.

My 3 year old is "clock-lat" (chocolate) obsessed. These are the perfect treat for him to curb the sweet tooth. He actually really loves dates too (as they are giant "tarnees" / sultanas) so he loves these a lot!

Batch makes 36 bite sized 'truffles':::

2 cups of pitted dates (the softer they are the better)
1 cup of macadamia nuts (can use cashews, almonds or a combination of any of these 3)
1/3 cup coconut (I prefer using the noisy coconut flakes pictured, but dedicated would also work)
1 heaped teaspoon of Cacao powder (or cocoa if you have that)
2 tsp of coconut oil (melt the pot/ jar of solid coconut butter for a minute in simmering water first)
Extra coconut for coating

1. Place everything in your food processor and blitz together.
2. If too dry, add a little more coconut oil. If too wet add more dates.
3. Using your hands roll bite sized balls and roll in some extra coconut.
4. Chill before serving with a good cuppa!

Lauren x

{Things I am learning not to miss}

For this year we decided to have a few friends around for New Years Eve. Most of us have kids and trekking into the city with overtired kiddlets in toe doesn't spell fun to us. AT ALL. So, amidst all of the festivities two weeks ago, it turned out that our microwave wasn't working. The part that heats up the food. I may have had a slight panic. Much to my surprise now (due to debating over repair vs replace debate) it has been sitting out of the kitchen and in the laundry. Awaiting the verdict on it's fate. The biggest surprise to me is that in the last 2 weeks, I haven't missed it. I know, I shocked myself as I was first thinking about I use this thing all the time. 

Another thing that I am not missing a lot of, is certain foods.   

As a lot of you know by now, I start every year with a 'Daniel fast' for 21 days. This is basically a plant based diet that I do for health benefits and a spiritual purpose {I have talked about this more here in the past}. 
So I started this year with the usual plan, but I am considering keeping the no-sugar rule slightly longer in a hopes to help me deal with a medical problem I have {I don't talk about it much but here, but it is something that I have been dealing with for ages - click here for more on that}. When I tell people about my fast and sugar free considerations...I am often met with looks of pity and sorrow. 
However, once you kick over the first few days which are notorious for lethargy, headaches your body cleanses itself, the benefits are amazing! I absolutley love the change in my energy, my clarity and I am starting to loose some cm's too! 

You could be forgiven thinking that giving up sugar and processed food {and for me meat - part time} means you are left with a plate of over steamed veggies or a bowl full of lettuce at every meal. But truth is, once you start, the variety is actually quite large. You just have to be creative and plan ahead. 

This year I think I will stick with this eating plan for a bit longer due to my newest cookbook to my collection for Christmas: 'I Quit Sugar' by Sarah Wilson {click here}. If you want to improve your health and do it in style, check her e-book bundle out and for under $30 you will not be sorry!


Lauren x

Q: Have you made any changes to your eating so far this year? 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

{HouseWarming Gift}

Recently some friends moved house and I wanted to take them round something.
I found this gorgeous 'crockpot' and decided to dress it up a bit instead of just giving them a box.
So, I filled it with a packet of spaghetti (just take out of packet and wrap with brown paper/ twine), some fresh herbs from the garden, tomatoes and a jar of sauce. Onions and garlic would have been good in here too on second thought.

I love this idea and it only took a few dollars to turn a nice gift in a box to something with 'wow factor!'
Since then I have started playing around with canning and pickling (that's a whole series of posts right there). Including a homemade jar of pasta sauce would just make this look extra gorgeous don't you think?!

This would also be a nice way to dress up a crockpot for a kitchen tea gift. I am sure there are other variations and meal themes you could try. Let me know if you try one ;)

Lauren x

{The Fairy is Coming Soon}

Our house is counting down time until the tooth fairy comes - FINALLY! Mr 6 (and a half...the half IS important) has only ever lost one tooth, but that was after a playground accident and it being extracted by the dentist. The adult tooth in that spot we are still waiting to one through.
On his bottom jaw however, the two centre adult teeth have started to one up behind the baby teeth. It's been a waiting game till a bunch of these bottom front front teeth start moving.
Well, there is movement at the station friends! He wasn't so thrilled though. Tonight at bath time I realized he thought he had go to to the dentist to have it pulled out. When I reminded him about the tooth fairy, his face brightened substantially. Phew!
Now, I am scouting pinterest & google to find the right way to celebrate This impending tooth/ money switch. Here is some inspiration I found:

Think it's time to dust off the sewing machine and create something cute.
Q: How do you celebrate the tooth fairy in your house? Do you use a cushion, glass of water or tin? Any extra special touches like glitter or a receipt? What's the going rate these days, what does your tooth fairy pay?

Lauren X

Monday, January 7, 2013

{Snack Bar & Water Bar}

Don't know about you, but right as December approaches, the fridge starts to turn into the 'party fridge' zone. Christmas time in our house usually involves an adult version of 'fridge Tetris' whereby attempting to fit the ham, trifle, salads, left overs and a bunch of drinks inside.

But, the tree is down. No sign of Christmas is in sight. A new year is starting and my fridge is now cleared of all the junk.

It is time to welcome back the snack bar:

I started this last year and it had brilliant results for each member of our family. Considering we have two fridges, our snack bar is quite large. But use what space you have, make it easily accessible to the kids also. I'd much prefer them grazing on this on holidays and after school, than packaged sugar, fat and salt.

Sweet ideas:
- Fresh fruit cut up (melons, grapes, berries, kiwi fruit)
- Plain yoghurt with Apple sauce
- Sugar free truffles (recipe coming soon) 

Savory ideas:
- Veggie sticks (cucumber, carrot, celery, capsicum)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Homemade Hommus
- Cheese cubes

Water Bar:
Under all the nuts and dried fruit, I filled the right hand fridge with bottles of water.

So today, right after I re-claimed the fridge, I found my boys sitting with each other with cut up rock melon, cucumber sticks and a bottle of water each. With one son addicted to chocolate and the other fast becoming lemonade obsessed, it was nice to get back to normal!

Lauren x

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

{Welcome 2013}

We are here again. Early in a new year. The time when many of us make goals and resolutions. Most are totally un-attainable and aim for us to reach some level of 'perfection' that we hope exists. Mainly because we see what we think we want in others around us. I see potential problems with this. In life we often compare our 'backstage experience' with the 'highlight reel' of others.

Whilst most resolutions seem tame, and are to a certain extent, I believe there is a dangerous risk with this.
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be your best you. If a few LESS Kg's could make you healthier....then you should get moving. If loosing the cigarettes will save your life...quit - for real.

BUT, I don't make resolutions. Why?
Many people set out to achieve something that many don't ever see through. The danger with this is that you miss out on the blessings you have right now.

In this 'Instant Internet' and 'Pinterest perfection' society...the challenge for us is to simply be content. Be aware. Be grateful.

Sure, make goals, eat healthy,
save money, look ahead in a healthy manner.
But don't miss what's in front of you. Don't sacrifice the moments you already have, for the sake that something better MIGHT be out there.
You may just find out one day, that the better you wanted was, in actual fact, what you already had!

Lauren x


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