When Homeschooling Doesn’t Work Out. – Dealing With The Disappointment. Part 1.

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I’ve wanted to homeschool my children since my eldest was still in the womb. I wanted to protect my children from worldly influences and keep them close by my side. Luke was learning a lot about the benefits of homeschooling too during this time and was fully supportive. We spent the next few years studying home education and all it’s exciting possibilities.

When my eldest son turned 3 and a half I ordered some pre-school type workbooks and I began sitting down with him on most days doing a few pages from his workbooks. Homeschool began naturally and slowly. We would bundle our three youngest children up and go for walks around the nature park near our house. Learning happened all around us, through our conversations, through being in nature and through the different people we met at church, play group and through friends and family members we welcomed into our home.

I wanted my children to be close by my side so I could spend lots of time with them shaping their character and ultimately, teaching them about God every opportunity I got.

As my first born son approached school age I began to doubt myself and my ideas to homeschool. I had a lot of opposition from various people and the negativity began to get to me. I didn’t know anyone else at that time who homeschooled. We felt all alone in our quest for an ‘outside-the-box’ education and lifestyle. Different fears began to present themself to me; what if I’m ruining my children? What if they miss out on things they need that other regular schooled children have?

On top of all this, the year my son was starting his first year of real school, I had a 5 year old, a almost 4 year old, a 3 year old and and a 5 month old baby. I was snowed under with my own household chores. The laundry was always piled high, the meals and dishes were never ending, the house was a constant mess. I had very little help besides my husband. I was recovering from quite severe depression from my recent pregnancy. I was very discouraged, I lost my ‘spark’ and I needed a break.

We enrolled our son in the local public school. It was the only option, as we were living out on a my parents farm and it was the only school within reasonable driving distance. But still 30km away.

It was hard going getting him there. He didn’t want to go and got very upset. Once we had to rip him out of the car onto the school bus while he was kicking, screaming and crying. My heart was breaking as the bus rolled away.

He spent one term at that school. One day he was in the car and was upset yet again and didn’t want to get out. I was not going to create another distressing scene of pulling him onto the bus. I had three other little ones in the car that I needed to get home and still feed breakfast too. I was tired of trying to get him to school. I was tried of everything. I got out of the car and told the bus driver that our son would not be getting on the bus today. Got back into the car and drove him home again.

I didn’t take him back to school again for another year.

I ordered some more curriculum and homeschooled him for the rest of the year. It did get a little better and I began getting some of my homeschool spark back. We took him into town for weekly piano lessons and to the library every Friday and I was beginning to find my ‘groove.’

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The following year we moved to a new location and suddenly found ourselves surrounded by other families who also homeschool their children. It was the support I had always hoped and prayed for. They even have a weekly meet up where homeschooling families all get together and do activities and make friends at. But I was expecting our 5th baby and decided to enroll our eldest into the local public school because I was worried about how I wound cope homeschooling while I had a newborn. I kept our second born son home for reception though as I felt he was too young and not quite ready for school.

By the middle of the year I was feeling much more confident. Our 5th baby was settled and happy and both Luke and I agreed that with the support of other local homeschooling families things would be much better. We agreed that it was time. Finally time to dive deep into homeschooling for good and not look back.

We pulled Francis out of school for terms 3 and 4. And homeschooled our two eldest sons then aged 5 and 7. These were probably our best 2 terms of homeschool ever. We began using the ACE curriculum and, though it still had it’s challenging moments, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and my role of ‘homeschool mum.’

 

This post is getting long so I decided to divide it into two parts. Come back next week and I will share the rest of our story and go into why we had to choose public school again and how I’ve gone from deep disappointment to excitement and hope.

 

Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

My non perfect weekly laundry routine that actually works! – Vlog!

Here’s some exciting news – I have begun a Youtube channel! You can now watch 2 Punks Had a Bunch Of Kids on Youtube! After being inspired by some other fellow mum Youtube vloggers – I decided to give it a go myself. And thankfully my husband is a Tech nerd and also has a Youtube channel Beard Tech, and has been teaching me how to edit videos and helped me set up my channel. It’s a work in progress, but I’m having so much fun!

In this vlog I demonstrate my weekly laundry routine.

This is the plan:

Monday: Wash dirty clothes from basket in boys room

Tuesday: Wash basket in Mine and Luke’s bedroom

Wednesday: Wash basket in girls room

Thursday: Washing basket in laundry room

Friday: Wash sheets and other linen.

Saturday: Wash boys school uniform.

I hang out the washing outside after lunch and fold the previous days dry washing straight off the line.

I then sort the washing into tubs – one tub for each child and one for me and Luke.

The older 3 children put away their own washing into their drawers and I put away the two little girls washing and mine and Luke’s.

It’s doesn’t always work out when I have a few busy days in a row where I have to do lots of running around to appointments and other errands. You’ll see in the video what happened on that particular week that threw me off course and why I needed to spend Saturday bringing it all back together again.  I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into our home. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the video and leave me a comment below if you would like to see more videos and what you are interested in seeing/hearing about.

Blessings, Peta

Why I Am A Christian.

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What’s going to happen to me after I die? That’s the ultimate question isn’t it. It’s this question that attracts me to Jesus.

When I was seven years old my parents began attending an AOG (Assemblies Of God) Church in the small town we lived near. I began to learn heaps about God and suddenly the world began to make sense to me. Heaven, Hell, what Jesus did for me. It all made sense. I prayed along with my Sunday School teacher and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and I put my trust in Him. I became a Christian that day. I’ve never looked back. The Lord has a plan for my life and it was his will for me to become a Christian that day. When I was eight years old I decided that I wanted to be baptised to further show my commitment to the Lord. My Sunday School teacher and Pastor baptised me at the local beach. It was a glorious day. I was very young but still understood the old me was being washed away in the water and the new spirit within me was rising up and I was ‘born again.’

I remember writing in my journal back then, a prayer from my young heart.

“Lord let me always be close to you. Don’t let me ever become distant from you and follow the world. I want to be yours forever. Use me to do whatever you want me to do in my life. My life is yours. Amen”

I learnt that I can be in a relationship with Jesus. I can speak to Him anytime and anywhere. He delights in being close to me. He will speak to me by reading His word – the Bible. He can also speak to me and lead me along the right path for my life through the Holy Spirit which he sent to help us after he went up the heaven.

I realised that there was nothing I could do to get right with God. No good or nice thing will get me into Heaven to be with the Lord. It’s only by God’s grace that I am saved.

God sent his only son into the world as a baby. So he would grow up and become a sacrifice for me. I am a sinner and deserve to die. We all are. But God in His mercy, sent His son to lay down his life for me so I could live forever. My heart burns for my Lord as I think of him suffering on that cross. It deeply distresses me. I take this as seriously as I live and breathe.

The thought though, that I am now saved gives me hope and joy down to my deepest being. I imagine myself on those golden streets, as the Bible describes, dancing whilst weeping for joy!

I’ve had a burning passion since I was a little girl that others around me would be saved too. It’s a huge desire of mine. My passion for telling others about Jesus peaked in my teen years where I would begin telling everyone in my public school about Him. Some listened and asked questions. Some said I was weird. A particular group of boys harassed me very badly for it. I was spat on, tripped over, punched and kicked to the floor and verbally pulled to pieces.

Still all the while this Bible verse was going through my head…

And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Mark 13:13

The Bible speaks about Hell. Torment, isolation, fear, pain and burning for eternity. That place was made for Satan and his fallen angels, not for man. But because of mans disobedience to God way back at creation, they sadly must die and be judged. God judges the condition of our hearts by the way, not all the ‘good’ things we do.

But there is hope! That is why God sent Jesus into the world. So we didn’t have to spend forever apart from Him being tormented in Hell.

To be saved and spend eternity in the paradise of heaven, all we must do is…

  1. Repent. Which basically means to feel deeply sorry for all the sins we’ve done. (Lying, stealing, lust, using the Lord’s name in vain etc) and asking God for forgiveness.

  2. Believe in Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit with your whole heart.

  3. Trust in the God. – Put your trust in Him and dedicate your life to serving Him.

All this can be done, in your heart and in the privacy of your own home, or at church. Anywhere. Not to a priest or pastor. Just between you and God.

Other important things…

Once we become a Christian it is REALLY important to connect with other believers. Without regular contact with other Christians your faith can dwindle. All the ways of the world can begin to slip back into your life. The best place to connect with other believers is at a Bible believing Christian church.

There are many great denominations of Christian Churches! Here’s a few I recommend.

  • Baptist
  • Australian Christian Churches – ACC also called AOG
  • Lutheran
  • Acts 29.
  • Many non denominational churches are great too.

I went to an AOG (ACC) church for 20 years. I now have been attending a Baptist church for the last 2 years.

Having a Bible to read is also important. The Bible is God’s handbook for our lives. In it you will find the answers to all life’s big questions. Reading God’s word will bring us closer to Him, deepen our faith and transform our lives. I try to read mine daily.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword… Hebrews 4:12

You can download a Bible app onto your phone right now! Or go http://www.biblegateway.com. Or buy one from a Christian book store. http://www.koorong.com is a great place to buy Christian books, music and DVD’s if you are in Australia.

Another important thing is being baptised. There are some that agree with babies being baptised. However it is my understanding that it is better to be baptised when you are at an age of understanding. Being baptised is a decision of faith in action. Something a baby cannot yet comprehend. Jesus was baptised as an adult. All through scripture it tells us to believe and be baptised. Ask the pastor of the church you are attending about baptism. Many churches do baptism services from time to time where they baptise a few people at a time who are ready and willing.  They are baptised by full body immersion in water in a pool, river or beach. Like I mentioned above – I was baptised at the age of eight at the beach. Many members of our church came and stood on the foreshore to watch and congratulate me as I came out of the water.

There really is more to life than just going through the motions of getting up, going to work or school and coming home and going to bed again. There is hope and it is found in Jesus Christ.

This is why I am a Christian.

me and Willow playground

 

Blessings, Peta

PS. Beware of cults. Cults take God’s word and twist it to make up their own set of beliefs. They follow their own written book of rules and are NOT Christian. Cults are controlling and repressive. Some examples of cults are Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons.

 

One Week Of What I Ate For Breakfast Trim Healthy Mama Style.

Should I lose another 2 or so kilograms? I’ve reached the point in my postpartum weight loss where I’m happy with my weight. I’m at a healthy weight. I’m fitting into all my size 10 jeans with room to move. But 4 years ago I was even lighter than I am now by around 4kgs. It was after I had removed gluten and dairy from my diet because of a whole heap of digestive issues I was having. My body responded to the diet change with a rapid weight loss. I could even pull on size 8 jeans quite easily which is thinner than I was in high school! My hubby thinks I look great the way I am! Yet sometimes I wish I could just lose a few more kilos and put those size eights back on!

I’m back doing Trim Healthy Mama again for the next month or so to see what happens. If my weight wont budge then I will officially continue maintaining my weight and continue being happy. But if I lose a kilo or two I will also be happy!

Here is what I ate for breakfast over the past week in no particular order:

breakfast 1breakfast 2breaky 3breaky 4breaky 5breaky 6breaky 7First image is of an omelette with spinach and a little goat cheese.

Second image is of a smoothie with collagen, banana, coconut oil, almond milk and frozen strawberries.

Third image is of muesli (store bought and not on plan but I hadn’t been shopping yet and was out of most ingredients) Bonus points for making my own almond milk. And a green tea. I have a green tea with breakfast every morning. I’m not a coffee drinker and green tea is great for metabolism and waking me up.

Fourth image is of scrambled eggs with some walnuts and goat cheese.

Fifth image is of pancakes from the Trim Healthy Mama cook book with some nectarine jam and a few slices of rock melon.

Sixth image is of leftover THM pancakes with maple syrup. (Maple syrup is not on plan but sometimes I just have to live a little!! I would have had some banana on top too but was all out)

Last image is two gluten and sugar free boysenberry muffins balancing on my knees in the car on the way to church! And my green tea.

My favorite healthy breakfast is definitely pancakes. Eating pancakes while losing weight and being healthy is my cup if tea!

I created my own nourishing pancakes recipe which will be included in my new ebook ‘Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight’ which is being released early next year. Stay tuned for it and keep checking back on the blog for the release date announcement.

What is your favourite healthy breakfast at the moment?

Blessings, Peta 

 

When is the right time to have a baby?

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Is there an ideal time in life to have a baby? Many people have their varied opinions. Some say to wait until you are financially secure. To wait until you own your own house – and make sure it has multiple bedrooms so bubs can have his own room. Wait until you have saved enough money to go on maternity leave and buy all the baby gear like a cot, car seat and pram.

In Christian circles I hear often that couples should wait for at least 2 years after marrying to have a baby to focus on strengthening their marriage first.

Some may be waiting to get their health in balance. To lose 30kg to give the baby the best chance of being healthy.

I’ve read a holistic health book that said babies need to be spaced apart at least by 3 years or your baby is at risk of being malnourished and their brain will not fully develop. – This is not true! I know many babies (including my own) who are spaced closely together and are very smart and healthy and not at all malnourished.

Most of this advise is convincing and intelligent. It may be sensible and even wise.

But there is wisdom that is of the world. And then there is wisdom that comes from the Lord. We would be truly wise to choose the latter.

It is never really convenient to have a baby. It’s a sacrifice of pure love and laying down ones life for another. So if you’re seeking convenience, then it’s never a good time to have a baby. There is much pain and sacrifice involved with bringing children into the world, but those who do it anyway realise the deep joy, fulfillment and blessing it also brings.

But is there a right time to have a baby in your life? Is the question of this post.  The truly right time must line up with Gods word. Let’s look at two of the right times when it’s best to have a baby.

  • When you are married. A marriage union between a man and a woman is the ultimate place for a child to be raised. It is within this family unit that the child will thrive and grow the way God planned. Sure, children will adapt to many different situations,  like single parenting or with a grandparent, but the ideal place for a child to be raised is with two parents who are married.

 

  • When both husband and wife are in union with the decision to have a baby. As wives we need to honor our husbands as they lead and guide our family. My husband needs to be in agreement with me to have a baby or I am going against the very thing God created for me as a wife – to serve and respect my husband. If the wife wants to have a baby but the husband doesn’t yet, then the wife must pour out her heart to her husband. If he is still firm in not wanting a baby, then take a step back and uplift the situation in daily prayer for yourself, your husband and your family and future family.

 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.Ephesians 5:24

If I look back over the last several years of my parenting. If I had waited until the worlds definition of ‘the right time’ to have a baby then I probably wouldn’t have had any children at all yet! I still don’t own my own my own home and haven’t had a lot of money to buy them lots of stuff. But children don’t need lots of stuff. They need a loving home with discipline, acceptance, tenderness and security.

So is there a wrong time to have a baby? I would say that if the mother has a serious medical condition that would be life threatening to her or the baby if she were to become pregnant. Then it would be sensible to look after your health for the sake of yourself, your husband and other children you may have. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from having babies while you work through some health problems, physical or mental.

Children don’t need their own bedroom either. Sharing a room with siblings produces character and teaches children how to mind another’s property, think of other’s needs (not turning the light on in the early hours of the morning and waking their brother). It can be a special bonding time where siblings chat into the night about their fears, joys and dreams. It can even keep them accountable to do the right thing and not get into trouble from sinning while alone in their bedroom.

The Lord will provide for our baby. There is no need to worry about having enough money to have a baby. Jesus said that when we pray to ask the Lord to…

‘Give us this day our daily bread’, (Matthew 6:11)

The Lord doesn’t give us everything we need for the years to come, or for next month or next week but if we ask Him…

He will provide everything we need – food –  clothing – shelter – love and much more – TODAY. One day at a time. It’s a matter of having faith for His provision.

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We were able to purchase this new table recently which was a huge blessing for us! The table we had before was much smaller. I found it amusing that at lunch time the other day both girls insisted on sitting RIGHT next to baby Willow! They don’t worry about the big table they just want each other.

Children do adapt to the family God puts them in. And whether they have everything all set up for them – a house, a bedroom, a savings account, etc. – is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if they are born closely together or spaced exactly three years apart. It is not a mistake that they are born and if it is the Lords will, they will grow and thrive regardless.

Blessings, Peta

P.S I want to mention women who are in the situation when it is the right time to have a baby but they are struggling to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. My heart goes out to you. The Lord has not forgotten you. Keep praying and believing.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday vlog – farm stay – Colin Buchanan concert – boots full of water – puppies eating my shoes!

I kept the camera handy in the past week and filmed snippets of our school holidays. Follow us in person to see Colin Buchanan live in concert, what I packed for a day out in the city, how we buy all our children an ice cream each at the mall large family on a budget style, see our holiday cottage on my parents farm, picking asparagus, hiking up a hill, catching tadpoles, my sisters puppies eating my shoes, and a running commentary from me of all that’s going on.

CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO WATCH THE VLOG!

 

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Blessings, Peta

 

When your husband is addicted to video games…

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Luke with baby Francis 2009

When I married my 21 year old (at the time) husband whom I love very dearly he was addicted to video games. It didn’t bother me much. It seemed like an okay hobby.

Most guys have hobbies and most guys love playing in some way or another. Whether it be sport, games, watching youtube, shooting or fishing.

Before our first child was born we even played games together. We had video game parties with our friends that often lasted all night. I didn’t love to play games but quality time is my love language and completing a game together was a fun way to spend loads of time together.

We even hired a new game on the Nintendo Wii to play when I was in labour with our first baby to pass the time before we had to leave for the hospital. I remember pressing pause on the game while I had a contraction. It’s so funny to think back on that now!

But during the first year of our sweet little boys life something began to change in my husbands heart about playing games now that the was a father.

Luke wants to share his story of how he went from a full on video game addict to getting rid of them all – including the TV!

The hope of us both is that his story may inspire other men (and women) out there who are wasting their live’s away playing games. 

Over to Luke…

Thanks Peta. This all began WAY back when I was about 6 or 7. My parents knew I had a propensity to draw towards screens. Whether it was at friends houses where I grew up enjoying their Super Nintendo’s and playing Super Metroid, or if it was my keen eye that found any arcade gaming cabinet in any room we were waiting in and wanting to throw some change in it to blast away at some Galaxian or Super Street Fighter – I just loved screens. No matter where I was, if there was a TV or screen there, I was down to jump over to it! The first real computer my parents ever bought me was an old computer that hooked up to your TV via aerial ports called a Tandy TRS-80. It played cassette games on it, and also cartridge games in the side, and I even created artwork on it using code. NERD! However, my love for this thing led my parents to buy me a Sega Master System 2 for a present. This was mind blowing for me. And I was addicted. I would literally play this system for entire hours on end, and even throw ridiculous tantrums when I had to turn it off. And I remember these to this day! The trouble with my addiction is that it appeared okay at first. I would “clock” or finish a game, then get a sense of accomplishment, but when I awoke from my fantasy land – I had done absolutely nothing to benefit anybody!

This is the literal strangle hold of video games: they promise that you’ll traverse terrain, see vast worlds, explore dense hills and forests, then when you rise from your slumber, you’ve actually just drooled over a keyboard or controller for a few hours, making your body slip into a trance that you cannot break, and essentially turned off your mind and entered into a diverse world that hoodwinks you into believing you’ve actually accomplished something. But you haven’t.

You’ve sat, you’ve been sedated, and you’ve also made yourself incredibly angry. Your mind is being conditioned by these games, not only by the way they shape your morality, but in the way that they hook you into them so that you “have” to finish them. This is why there’s so much money to be made in the downloadable content market – because gamers want their games to never end, and when they do, they want to relive the nostalgia time after time.

Now, fast forward to high school, and already I’m playing video games for about 3 hours or more per day, sometimes entirely on my own, and I’m not communicating with anybody. I’m not planning my career, I have literally one friend, and I’m socially awkward. And I’m also completely derived of any confidence at all. This leads me to colossal failure in school social circles, and my education, and even my aspirations as a male in the workforce. Because all I wanted to do after school was play Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 until tea time, whilst my parents let me, I was trapped and chained to my television, instead of branching out into making friends, planning my job hunting and sorting out my finances. I literally had my brain stumped and squished by the weight of gaming for 3 entire years of high school, right up until my marriage. I thought I was OK playing video games well into the night or sometimes all night, but I could’ve been writing letters, planning trips, speaking to friends, making music, recording songs, learning singing and just being happy. I was depressed, antisocial, a wreck and certainly not fit for the workplace. I constantly arrived late, would daydream about finishing the game Killer 7 for the Gamecube instead of concentrating on my tasks at hand, and would even not get to work at all sometimes purely because I was tired and I would sleep in.

Looking back on all of this, I can see the pattern of how this became worse and worse over time, even spotting everything I’d missed out on during school as a Christian in a closet unwilling to show anyone my true self. In year 11 and 12 I missed out on the following things due to my gaming addiction: Chapel guitar playing and worship leading, music as a subject because I was too nervous about it, debate classes, making friends with someone who’s now a videographer who actually wanted to be my friend, writing sermons and preaching them at assembly, writing books, entering into an I.T. course at TAFE to gain a secure job,  leading prayer group at the recess and lunch Christian meetings, writing for the school newsletter, doing graphic design as an online course, finishing school with good marks, and finally – setting myself up for success as an adult.

It has been a LONG road to today where I now have absolutely no video game consoles, no television and no game parties.

But coming back to why I think this is all destructive for men and especially husbands and Dad’s – video games are not an innocent hobby.

Your children look up to you, and know what you’re doing. If you play games for hours at a time with children, they’re going to know that daddy plays games when they’re in bed, or at night, or when he has free time, and they’ll likely think this is fine and do it themselves because you do.

I can safely say that video games effectively ruined my preparation for a secure job and study life, a relationship with more than 10 different people I missed out on knowing in school, a career and even a solid foundation for marriage.

I played video games so much when I had about 5 consoles, that I literally dove into a fantasy land and achieved absolutely abysmal amounts of real life success because of it.

It is a foolish hobby for grown men.

Seriously. It makes you think you’re doing something productive or even helpful, but in the end you’ve simply wasted precious time you could’ve been praying, reading scripture or building relationships, and preparing for your next exploits as a family or a husband. And it’s hard enough to be those things without an unhealthy addiction.

Video games actually  hinder many things in men that men need to be progressing in. Such as Godliness, missions, witnessing, writing, commenting on social issues, feeding kids, growing closer to your spouse and just being a present Dad for your children. None of these things are possible if you’re hooked on anything, let alone an 8-bit platformer that you love so dearly you cannot live without it. It’s exactly the same as having a hobby where you do it solo and push everyone else out. Sure, you can game together, but gamers never EVER have the desire to simply play games together, then the ability to simply switch their mind off of playing them alone. There’s always a need to go back, switch on that Sega Mega Drive and bash up some more baddies in Streets of Rage 2. Games really are that addictive, and careful study of the brain clearly shows a decline when gaming addiction has taken hold. Here are some alarming quotes from actual studies on young gamers in the real world:

“In a volunteer sample, 41% of online gamers acknowledged that they use gaming as an escape. In the same sample, 7% were viewed as “dependent”. These gamers possessed several behavioral attributes that are related to more well established forms of addiction (e.g., mood modification, tolerance, & relapse).”

Hussain et al. (2009). Excessive use of massively multi-player online role-playing games: A pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7, 563-571.

“It is possible that excessive video game play is caused by poor time management skills and an avoidance of other problems, rather than inherent addictive qualities of the games.”

Wood et al. (2008). Problems with the concept of video game ‘addiction’: Some case study examples. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 6, 169 – 178.

“Regions of the brain associated with cravings in substance abuse also appear to be activated in gaming addicts when they view images of video games.”

Ko, C. et al. (2009). Brain activities associated with gaming urge of online gaming addiction. Journal or Psychiatric Research, 43, 739-747.

“Gaming addiction is not yet classified as a mental health disorder or “true” addiction like gambling or alcohol addiction. However, some gamers clearly struggle to keep their playing habits under control and may place more importance on their gaming accomplishments than their happiness and success in the real world (e.g., academic achievement, friendships, relationships, career advancement, health, etc.).”

Dr. Brent Conrad, 2017, “Gaming Addiction Statistics, Facts, Articles, & Research,” viewed online October 2, 2017 <http://www.techaddiction.ca/gaming-addiction-statistics.html&gt;.

There is a direct link between underachievement, avoidance of real world problems, escape and denial of reality present in video gaming. And I’ve been a victim. I’ve also seen it with other friends, who simply had Super Smash Brothers Brawl parties to avoid their life issues, rather than drink heavily. But the truth remains – the damage of video game addiction begins with a fixation, that sense of achievement, and a true connection with the games themselves, even though they’re inanimate and don’t care about you.

The very last point I need to make here is that marrying a forgiving, gracious and merciful woman helped me to see the error and selfishness of my addiction. Soon after our marriage I began to get convicted by the Holy Spirit that these titles were a ridiculous waste of time, especially once putting my kids to bed and then hopping on to play Red Faction on the Gamecube for 2 hours, whilst Peta also makes some biscuits. I was simply escaping and jumping into another controlled world where I had the power, called the shots and was the man. But in reality I was a tired, scared boy with nowhere to run, and was escaping into another world to ease my pain. And it was harmful.

When I got rid of every title one day at a video games store I felt like I’d taken a huge weight off my shoulders that was crippling me. I took it off regrettably, but knowing that it was the right thing to do for my kids and my precious wife. I then, funnily enough, turned my hand to video editing, music production, writing, podcasting, reviewing and graphic design almost immediately after this event, and I’ve never looked back since. There are times, yes, when I enter a building and hear the buzz of a mall arcade that I want to dive in and start gaming, and I’d play air hockey with my kids any day, but that addiction has been killed, squashed under foot and shot, because my family deserves better than a scared, escape artist with no friends.

I pray that you, too, can be free from video game addiction, because the time and money you invest in it simply doesn’t yield good returns. Use your creativity wisely, and cherish this short life you’re given. It’s over in a breath. And God will then call you home.

God bless, Luke

 

 

 

A day in the life of a mum with 5 children ages 8, 6, 5, 3 and 16 months.

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Once again I am doing a day in the life post! I love writing these because it’s so fun looking back and reading my old posts and seeing how much my family changes every 6 months. Children do a LOT of growing in 6 months! I hope you enjoy getting just a little taste of what a typical day is for me caring for my family. Every day is so different yet seems to always follow the same pattern.

7am – My alarm goes off. You know that playschool song that goes

“I jump out of bed in the morning

I jump out of bed in the morning

I jump out of bed in the morning

I hope it’s a very nice day.”

That was NOT me this morning. Actually it’s not me any morning. I do struggle with getting out of bed and always have. I was particularly tired this morning because of a little middle of the night visitor in our bed who then got a blood nose, which went all over our bed!

I roll out of bed and do my morning routine which consists of;

Packing the boys school lunches (I’m not quite organised enough yet to do this the night before). Getting all the children their breakfasts. Getting dressed. Helping the children dress and supervising their morning chores.

Willow has a blow out nappy! Luke hadn’t left for work yet and he dealt with that! Phew

I make myself a green smoothie for breakfast and sip it as I head out the door with all the kids to drop the boys off at school.

I drive the wrong way home even though it’s been several weeks since we moved to our new house. I must be tired!

Once home I head to my room with a green tea and spend some time in prayer. The Lord will give me everything I need to get through each new day!

9.20am – I begin my morning chores which consists of putting a load of washing on, doing all the dishes, clearing and wiping the table and benches and sweeping the kitchen and dining room floors. Sometimes I am not finished this until 11 in the morning or later. I have no idea why it takes that long. It just does.  I guess I have lots of people to clean up for by myself and during this time I also get the little girls some morning tea, take my supplements and maybe deal with a cranky toddler. Or a change poopy nappy or two.

10:30am – My parents in law drop in and give us two boxes of yummy oranges from their tree and a birthday present for Francis. We chat for a while.

11am – I settle Willow for her nap, then make myself another green tea. I continue the breakfast dishes which are still not done yet. Savannah has come down with a fever and is now asleep on the couch.

11.30am – I head outside with Holly. It’s a beautiful spring day and I spend an hour digging and pulling out weeds where I plan on planting some summer veggies. Holly loves finding worms and is having a great time in the dirt.

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12.45pm – Holly and I have lunch. Holly has a peanut butter sandwich and I eat butter chicken, baby spinach and brown rice leftover from last nights tea.

1.20pm – I have an oat straw tea and sit down to have my quiet time of Bible reading and devotions. I get out my journal and write a little. I read Holly a book about colours in bed and try to get her to have a nap but she just quietly plays in her room for a while.

2pm – Savannah wakes up and wants to watch a movie. She appears to be coming down with the flu that we all have had in the last few weeks. I put on Tarzan for her on the laptop then head outside to hang out the washing.

2:05pm – Willow wakes from her nap. I give her lunch and she eats it sitting outside watching me hang up washing.

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2:15 – Holly is knocking on her door and wants to come out. She had a ‘play nap.’

2:25pm – I put on a second load of washing and whip up a marinade for the chicken wings I’m planning on cooking for tea.

3:05pm – Shoes on for everyone and I buckle 3 girls in the car to pick up the boys from school.

3:30pm – Luke is home from his work training day. We have a quick chat, cup of tea and ‘handover’ as I prepare to leave the house.

3:50pm – I take the boys to their cooking class. They’ve had a block of 5 cooking classes and this is the last one. Savannah is upset about being sick and missing out, poor thing! Holly tags along with us and Luke stays home with Willow and Savannah.

5pm – We arrive home from the cooking class. I put the chicken wings in the oven. Savannah is in her bed now feeling very sick. I read her a book and try to cheer her up a bit.

6:15pm – We eat tea. Chinese chicken wings with brussels sprouts, cucumber slices and brown rice. I let the boys eat their pizzas that they made at the cooking class.

6:40pm – I sit with Francis and Arrow and help with their homework. Luke puts the little girls to bed and does some dishes.

7:15pm – I give the boys their supplements. Francis practices piano. He does a bit but he’s so tired he’s beginning to lose the plot and act loopy. Piano can wait for tomorrow – it’s bedtime.

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I brush my teeth with Francis. He’s really excited about some toothpaste and a teeth cleaning chart that he got at school today. He loves charts and orderly things.

Luke sits with the boys in their room and does a Bible story with them on his phone. He’s been using ‘The Bible App for Kids.’ By Youversion. They are really enjoying it.

I do a few more things in the kitchen like get out some meat for tomorrow’s tea and some chicken carcasses for some chicken stock I’m planning on making. We say our good-nights and pray for the boys.

8pm – Blogging and writing time and checking emails and replying to text and facebook messages that I haven’t been able to check yet because of our full evening and afternoon so far.

Luke and I have a cup of tea and usually head to bed between 10 – 10:30pm.

Our life with our family is busy and full and I love being a mum so much! It really brings me so much joy! I do hope to home school our children again in the future but for now I am enjoying this season and it’s restful simplicity.

You may also be interested in A day in the life with 5 children ages 6, 5, 4, 2 and 3.5 months

A day in the life of us: Homeschooling with my four under 6 while pregnant.

Blessings, Peta

Make sure you check out the I Quit Sugar Kids cook book. It’s full of great kids recipes and are all sugar free. I took my children to the dentist this week and the dentist gave us a handout pamphlet about how much hidden sugars are in our foods. It’s scary and so unnecessary! As soon as Luke got home Savannah ran up to him with the pamphlet and says “look how much sugar is in your iced coffee dad, you can’t drink that anymore!” Haha he was totally busted!

Kids Cookbook

How I plan meals for my family of seven.

When there are seven hungry people in your house wanting to know what’s for tea in half an hour, replying with “I don’t know” would be a disaster!

That’s why I started meal planning. Meal planning reduces my stress massively. It reduces the amount of money we spend on food. It helps us to eat healthier. It helps our days to flow smoothly because the huge task of preparing every one a satisfying meal has been dealt with.

I used to do meal plans weekly. But since term 4 last year I have been trying something different and it’s working really well. I was finding that I wasn’t able to keep up with meal planning every single week and some weeks I wouldn’t get around to planning and would fall back to ‘winging it’. I find it stressful not knowing at least the day before what we are going to eat for the following days evening meal. When I have a meal plan I feel better prepared because I can just check and see what we are eating tomorrow before bed and get out any meat to defrost overnight.

My new and improved way of planning our meals involves sitting down with a pile of cookbooks and my laptop every school holidays and typing out the whole next terms worth of meals. I usually plan for the next 12 weeks so that I can still follow it during the school holidays while I’m planing the next 12 weeks.

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I only plan the evening meal because we like to keep lunches, breakfast, snacks and sides very simple and repeat the same foods over and over.

For Breakfast depending on the season the children can choose eggs, porridge, muesli, yoghurt, smoothie, fruit, Vitabritz or toast. Sometimes we have other cereals for a treat but not all the time as they are too sugary and expensive.

For lunch we eat things like sandwiches, salads, soup, wraps, baked sweet potatoes or leftovers.

I always keep snacks like Saladas, rice crackers, cheese, yoghurt, nuts and fresh and dried fruit on hand for the children. I like to bake up large batches of biscuits too and try to always have some available in the house for them to eat but if life gets busy this doesn’t always happen. The home made biscuits that I usually have on rotation are chocolate chip, Anzacs, ginger bread and vanilla cockals.

To help make my meal planning simple I like to choose a theme with for each day of the week on the meal plan. For example Monday = lamb, Tuesday = chicken, Wednesday = vegetarian, Thursday = soup, Friday = pizza, Saturday = fish, Sunday = leftovers.

I also repeat the same meal 3-4 times or more throughout the 12 week meal plan. This helps to make cooking simple and to help me become confident with cooking a new recipe. Plus I’ve noticed children like to eat the same foods they like over and over again and are not keen on trying new recipes.

When choosing the meals I try to finds recipes that I think everyone will enjoy. Even the fussy ones.

I don’t include side dishes on my meal plan because I usually serve every meal with whatever vegetables are in season and were on special when I went shopping. We have vegetables with every meal either in a salad, roasted, fried or boiled. (or steamed, but my steamer is broken and I need a new one!) I serve many meals with rice, white or brown or with quinoa.

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Savannah and Holly enjoyed flicking through cookbooks and pointing out meals that they would like to try this week while I was doing the plan.

I don’t usually get my 12 week meal plan done in one hit. I find I need to work on it in a few 30-60 minute sessions over a week or so. I can’t sit down and concentrate on something longer than this amount of time during the day when I have 5 children to care for who all need me to help them with something.

Meal plan Spring_Summer-1

Meal plan Spring_Summer-2

 

Above is my latest meal plan for the next 12 weeks. I always put a reference to myself of the cook book a recipe is from and the page number so I can find it quickly when I do my shopping list.

I really like Sarah Wilson’s cookbooks. Two of my favourites are Simplicious and her slow cooker one. I used her slow cooker cook book heaps this winter. Her vegetable korma is really delicious and was a huge hit with my family and friends at Savannah’s 5th birthday party. Click on the pictures below to purchase them for yourself and help me to earn a commission to support this blog.

Simplicious Print

 

Slow Cooker Cookbook - PRINT

Shopping is a huge part of meal preparation and I always go to the shops with a list. I have been using a master shopping list for a few years now. I simply typed up every grocery item I buy and store in my cupboards, fridge and freezers including household and toiletry items and printed out many copies. I then highlight the item that I’m out of with a highlighter texta. This saves me writing out a list from scratch before every grocery trip.

Do you plan your family’s meals? My mum likes to simply shop for similar ingredients every time and plans her meals based around what’s in her house and garden. She usually just decides what she’s cooking the day before.

It’s all about finding something that works for you. If my planning looks too elaborate then try something that suits you better. I believe that it’s a huge responsibility as mothers (and fathers) to provide our family with a healthy, filling meal everyday.  It’s very important to eat meals together as a family with the TV and all electronic gadgets off. We don’t even allow our son to read when we are having a meal because I want him to engage in conversation with his family. A lot of joy and laughter can be shared at mealtimes. Luke, my husband, is especially good at making everyone laugh and we have a great time together while enjoying tasty food. These memories can bring a deep sense of comfort and belonging for our children and will last a lifetime.

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Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

My top 5 ways to motivate yourself to finish losing weight

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Have you lost some weight but still have a bit to go? Did you begin your weight loss program with enthusiasm but now you just ‘can’t be bothered’? Do you find yourself finding 100 excuses why you can’t keep going and lose the rest of the weight?

I’ve done this. Here’s my top ways for keeping myself motivated to reach my final weight loss goal.

  1. You need to do it for yourself. You can have many reasons for wanting to lose weight but what motivates me the most is the fact that I wanted it. I really wanted it. You have to want to be slim so much that you are willing to pay the price it takes to get there.

2. Get some inspiration. Read a pretty weight loss book. Buy a fitness magazine. Read a weight loss blog. Find something that triggers your motivation to keep going. Other people’s weight loss success can be inspiring.

3. Get out some clothes that don’t fit you yet that you hope to fit into once you  lose weight. If you just keep going these clothes will fit you again.

4. Get some air. Do some exercise outdoors. Go for a walk, run or bike ride. While you are out think about why you really want to lose the rest of your weight and imagine yourself as the new slimmer you.

5. Change your program. If you can’t be bothered to keep going with your weight loss program but you were enthusiastic at the beginning, chances are that if you begin a different program you will get excited and motivated again.

All the best with your weight loss!

Blessings, Peta