A Day In The Life Of A Mum With Five Children Ages 8, 6, 5, 3 and 21 months. – Video!

Hi lovely readers!

I hope you are enjoying our new YouTube channel! After blogging for five years now, it’s been fun creating something a little different. (Originally I blogged at The Heart Of Our Home. ) 

You can click back on my old website if you would like to read some old posts, though, unfortunately I removed many articles when I was creating this website because I was going to put them all on here but it never happened.

Anyhow,

Click on the video below to watch a day in the life of us!

Blessings, Peta xo

 

How I Handle One On One Time With Each Of My Five Children.

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My children are not a pack. I need reminding of this daily. When you have lots of little children all in a row it can be easy to think of them as a group. But really they are individual people all with different, unique, and complex personalities. They have different individual needs as well as the same basic needs of food, love, care, shelter and clean clothing.

Spending one one one time with my children is a constant struggle. I need to work hard at this and be intentional about how I handle it. They all talk to me at the same time and I turn this way and that trying to work out who to give attention to first. The children love their siblings though. Never have I thought things would be better if we didn’t have any one of our children. They each play a special part in our family and in our lives. They all love their brothers and sisters and it brings me joy to see them playing with and enjoying each others company. None of my children hold any resentment to each other. They are happy playmates. Sure they fight too – but that is just life!

It is my hearts desire that my children have a happy childhood where they look back and cherished the way their mum showed them love and attention. I have a few traditions and ways that I have set in place in our home to ensure they get the attention they need.

Firstly prayer.

I spend time everyday in prayer pouring out my heart to the Lord for him to reveal to me any of my children’s needs that have been overlooked.

Reading times.

This has been something that I haven’t always been consistent at but when all the children were very little I would do a reading time where I told everyone to choose a storybook. I would read a book to them one at a time. All the children would gather around close to listen, however, I made a point to let only the person who’s turn it was to sit in my lap. I included the baby in this too and it was lots of fun!

Bed time tuck ins.

This has been something that I have started this year. I am so tired and drained in the evening (sometimes I am just plain in a stinky mood and really need some space!) and the last thing I feel like doing is just one more thing with the children. Luke usually gets all the children’s teeth brushed and PJs on and does a Bible story app on his phone with them at bedtime. I used to just say good night to them from my comfy chair in the lounge but we noticed that the children often didn’t settle well and got out of their beds way too many times. I knew I had to change this habit and go into their rooms for one last time with mum. They just needed their mum and I had to push myself.

I now go in and spend a few minutes with each child snuggling with them on their beds. I try to open up conversation to see if there is anything on their hearts. I ask questions like “what was the best thing that happened today?” and “is there anything bad that happened today?” I make sure I end our little time with a prayer of blessing.

I make sure I speak positive words over them at this time of day and thank the Lord out loud for how smart, kind, and wonderful each child is. It gives us a chance to right any wrongs that have happened during the day. Sometimes I have even apologised for snapping at them or being in a grumpy mood. We end our time with lots of snuggles and kisses. All my children have responded so well to this special time. I’m sorry I didn’t begin it sooner! It took the Lord to give me a bit of a kick up the be-hind to get me out of my comfy chair! 🙂

The days with my children can seem so busy as we rush from one activity to the next and I don’t want anyone to get lost in the rush. Spending a few minutes with each child at the end of the day is a great way to catch up on any feelings that have been pushed aside and need expressing. My eldest child is eight so we only talk for a few minutes but I’ve been warned by mothers of teenagers that these nightly conversations may go until past midnight! I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Mum and son/daughter dates.

Over the years I made made a point of allowing one of the children to come with me on my big fortnightly grocery shopping trip. The special ‘star of the day’ got to help me choose lots of grocery items that they like the best and during our time away we would have a special lunch out together and I would spoil them with treats like a doughnut and juice maybe even a book or a small toy. Even a big Wendy’s ice cream all to themselves! I would treat them to all the things that I would usually say no to when we have all the children together because it’s just too expensive to buy five of everything all the time. I let them do the coin spinner and have a go on the ride outside the shop. We have a blast together!

In the last year or so I have been more intentional about these dates and they have become a tradition. Once a week, when Luke is home to care of the other children I take one of the children out at a time. Often instead of taking them grocery shopping we go out for about an hour to where ever they choose. My six year old son loves this one cafe we have in our town that has a little play area. I buy him anything off the menu he likes and he smiles from ear to ear eating his big ice cream and sitting just with mum. It makes me smile right now as I write this just thinking about the delight in his face!

I’m sure the ways I spend one on one time with my children will change and adapt over the years as my children grow older but these traditions are working well right now.

How do other parents spend one on one time with their children?

I’m open to more ideas!

Blessings, Peta 

Why I found having 2 kids harder than 5.

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It was a cold winter morning. Luke had been up early preparing for work in the crisp dawn air while I slept on, exhausted from yet another big night of feeding and changing my newborn. Luke was greeted by our smiley 19 month old son with his head full of bouncy blonde curls. He graciously let me sleep while he made our toddler some warm toast with my mum’s homemade jam, changed his nappy and wiped his face and fingers. I was awoken by my husband with a kiss good-bye and groggily focused on little sons sweet eyes sitting on the end of my bed.

Just like that my husband Luke was gone. And I was alone. Well technically I wasn’t alone, but it sure did feel very lonely. My eyes glanced from my curly haired toddler to the bassinet beside my bed with my precious little new born son. His head covered with think black hair that spiked up in a tuft. How on earth was I supposed to care for two babies? There was only one of me, I was outnumbered and they both wanted me. It was overwhelming and I worried a lot about whether I could meet the needs of both a baby and a toddler. With a squirm my 3 week old opened his lungs and gave a familiar shriek that meant he was hungry. Right now! While I sat up in bed and breast fed him my toddler was trying to get off the bed and was stuck half way. With my baby still well attached I shimmied around the bed and used one arm to hold him up and the other arm to help my toddler to the ground.

I was starving from all the night time feedings and decided to make myself porridge. I carefully put my little son in his bouncy chair on the kitchen floor. As soon as I started stirring the pot he began to cry. I began to cry also. I was tired, overwhelmed, lonely, probably hormonal and had no idea what it was going to take to care for two babies. I just wanted a bowl of porridge.

I remember it well. A little while later a midwife came to our door for my littlest sons check up. She opened the door and asked me if I was okay because it looked as though I’d been crying. I replied that I was fine, but then burst out crying on the midwifes shoulder (almost a complete stranger to me) (also not like me – I never let people see me cry and don’t cry a lot) and said..

“I didn’t know having two kids would be this hard.” 

Things did get a little better as my baby grew, though I did go through several months of postpartum depression after my second baby was born. I wasn’t on a ‘baby high’ like I was after my first baby. I unfortunately didn’t fully feel close to or really bond with him until he was six months old.

Looking back at this time brings back memories of how hard it was for me back then. Twenty two years old with two children under the age of two. Most of my friends didn’t have any children yet. I struggled with my self image, loneliness and I was stressed a lot from two little ones needing me constantly.

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So how are things ‘easier’ now I have five children? My little newborn second born son is now almost seven years old and is a real delight.

Firstly I would say that I’ve learned a lot about children since then. Each child’s personality and needs are different though, and present to me new sets of challenges. However, overall I don’t worry as much any more about many things because usually the problem is just a passing phase.

When you have all little children and no older ones it can be physically harder because of all the lifting and changing you need to do. I would say that life became smoother and less intense once our children could physically dress themselves and go to the toilet. Even get themselves some water and a snack. Little things really do make a difference to the flow of the household. Right now I have five children yet four of them can dress themselves and use the toilet on their own. I only have one still fully dependent on us for nappy changes and getting dressed.

By the time I had my fifth baby I was well and truly used to splitting my attention between lots of people who all need me at once. When I only had two children I was so worried about whether I could give two children the attention they need. But I’ve learned now that our older children adjust well to a new sibling  and over time their new sibling becomes a cherished play mate and companion. Giving multiple children the attention they require is still challenging but I have gotten used to it and learned some strategies along the way for making sure every individual’s needs are met. Getting ready for school this morning I had one child wanting me to tie their shoe and two wanting me to do their hair. Instead of freaking out I just said okay hop in the ‘need mummy line’ and they lined up waiting to get their turn with me. They learn about patience and that other people have needs as well as themselves.

Perhaps that would be a good topic for another post – how I spend individual time with all five of my children?

I pray more now, than I used to. I used to send up quick prayers for help. But in the last year or so I have been relying on the Lord more for his wisdom. My prayers have become more focused, intentional, detailed and consistent. If I don’t know how to deal with a particular parenting challenge I spend some time with the Lord and his Holy Spirit gives me an answer. The answer comes as a thought, through reading his word or at times through advise from others or reading a book or article.

Thank you for reading! Leave a comment if you have something to add to this from your own experience.

Please like my Facebook page on the top right corner of my blog if you would like to hear recent updates from myself and my family.

I also have an Instagram where I mostly post pictures of my healthy food creations.

I am new to Youtube and have a few vlogs up there for you to watch also. Find it here.

Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Catching the tram into the city.

Hi all my lovely readers. Wow it’s been a busy couple of months for me. End of school year craziness, Christmas, and 6 weeks of summer school holidays. I don’t actually like business. I know many who thrive off it. My personality type screams for peace, quiet and slow. Otherwise my head gets cluttered and I have a tendency to get overwhelmed, brain fog and shut down a little. However I am slowly learning how to cope when life gets busy – I just keep rolling and don’t give into the stress and hope that a quieter time is around the corner when I can think…and write. Daily rituals that I have embedded into my life in recent years have helped me to cope better with stress too such as cups of tea, walking in nature, talking regularly and deeply with my husband, lists, daily prayer and journaling.

We got back from a lovely holiday 6 days ago. We were very blessed to have the opportunity to stay in my uncle and auntie’s holiday house which happens to be right at the most popular sea side location in the city! Luke and I vlogged one day of our holiday where we caught the tram which goes from the coast all the way into the city. We had a great family day out while we walked to the museum, mall and a guitar shop. Luke edits and does all the graphic design for our Youtube channel, he is very talented in this area!

I hope you enjoy! Blessings, Peta xo

 

Merry Christmas 2017 – photo shoot – thoughts – answered prayer…

This year has been loaded with good things and also set backs. At the beginning of this year, instead of writing new years resolutions, I wrote a page of prayers that were on my heart. I cried out my heart to the Lord about these things daily all year long. I am deeply joy-filled to be sharing with you that many of those prayers have been answered.

I asked for someone to help me out with cleaning the house and baby-sitting as I could never seem to catch up on my workload at home and it was getting me down. – The Lord sent a lovely young Christian, home-schooled lady to come weekly and she has helped me clean the house from top to bottom. I feel so encouraged by this and she as become a great friend to me.

I asked for a large kitchen table particularly one painted white with a wooden stained top. And a dishwasher. – The Lord sent to us a local couple who custom built the exact table I was wanting that I saw at Harvey Norman for $3500. We paid only $450 for ours.

Our lease was not renewed at our rental house because the landlord wanted to renovate, which meant we had to move. Suddenly we were homeless. The Lord led us swiftly to a house only a few streets away. We were privileged to be shown through the house by the agent before it was even advertised. The new house has a dining area for our new kitchen table AND we were able to have a dishwasher installed in the laundry (only a few steps away from the kitchen).

I asked for wisdom and insight in dealing with my eldest sons constant aggressive behavior and mood swings. He was upsetting everyone in the house. We tried everything we could think of and were at our whits end (disciplines, spanking, time out, loss of privileges, earlier bed time, long talks, reward systems for good behaviour, more one on one time with him). I cried many tears over this. I was lead to discover he may have ODD (Oppositional Deficiency Disorder) And was reminded of an allergy test he had as a toddler which revealed he is allergic to wheat. I put him on a gluten and sugar free diet and within days he was back to his calm, happy self. The transformation in him has been amazing! I wish I had done this years ago. I might write a whole detailed blog post about this in the future.

I asked the Lord for a holiday. We had to spend our money shifting house and a holiday this year was looking like it wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t stop thinking about my Auntie and Uncles holiday house by the beach. I didn’t even know if they still had it or if someone was now renting it.  I asked anyway – and they said yes! We can stay there! We are now getting ready next month to have a relaxing time away by the beach.

I asked for my mums healing for a condition she was suffering with. She told me last week that she feels the best she’s felt in years right now.

I always pray for the Lord to guide and lead me every day of my life in every area. I am completely surrendered to him and his will for my life. I have seen him provide for our family in amazing ways this year. He knows what I need and I have never been lacking anything. My life may not be fancy in any way – but it is certainly not lacking.

Thanks to everyone who supported my blog this year. Whether you liked a post on facebook or left a comment or just read a few articles. I really appreciate your feedback and every little bit counts and is noticed. I hope you are enjoying my new YouTube channel as well. Click here to check it out.

I’m excited for 2018 as I will be releasing my very first e-book. It is called ‘Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight.’ And I pray it is a huge encouragement to many people. My goal for this blog from the very beginning when I started blogging back in 2012 is to encourage people, especially mothers, as they press on with the challenging and deeply rewarding task of parenting. I don’t make any money at all from blogging. I do it because I love it and I feel like I can help others with words of encouragement. However it does cost us over $100 a year to keep this sight online and by purchasing my e-book next year (hopefully in January) you will be supporting our family and the continuation of this blog.

Have a blessed 2018!

Blessings, Peta xo

I will leave you with some photos from our 2018 family photo shoot.

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2 week Grocery shop (haul) video.

Hi lovely readers! Here is a short video of what I bought last time I went out shopping including what I spent at the fruit and veg shop and at Woolworths. If you are enjoying these videos please let me know and I’ll love to hear feedback and to interact with my readers. I might alternate videos with written blog posts, so there will always be something coming out weekly.

Blessings, Peta.

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

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Lunch for me most days is salad of some sort or leftovers. It’s summer here right now, but in the winter I eat soup, soup and more soup! I eat wheat free because of a food intolerance so these meals reflect that. I also try to avoid refined sugar as much as I can, but I don’t eat perfect all the time at all! These meals are all trim healthy mama friendly, though, I’m not following THM strictly anymore because I’m at a healthy weight and I don’t really keep track of whether my meals are E, S or XO anymore. I just eat what I feel like on the day and what I have on hand in the house. If we go out for the day I usually bring a packed salad with hard boiled eggs. Or a tin of salmon and beans or tuna and beans.

1st picture is of leftover brown rice with leftover roast chicken. I had a large salad of baby cucumbers, capsicum, avocado, sprouts, baby spinach and sprinkled with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I usually top all my salads with extra virgin olive oil and sometimes lemon juice too. Sometimes I have mayo. I put sea salt and pepper on everything…well not everything. 

2nd pic of a quinoa, chickpea and pumpkin salad with some basil and baby spinach leaves. Also some I was trying out my mums pickled beetroot recipe and had a little of that.

3rd pic is of leftover lemon herb drummies (from the THM cookbook) with a salad and some leftover pumpkin and chick pea salad. Looks like I had a few slices of metwurst too.

4th pic is my fav, paleo bread ( this was from one of Lola Berry’s cookbooks) with cabbage, carrot, parsley, red onions and hard boiled eggs. This was my birthday lunch shared with my parents who came to visit that day.

5th pic is zucchini noodles with leftover bolognese sauce. I grated a little goat cheese over the top. I eat completely dairy free apart from a little goat cheese occasionally.

6th pic is a salad with some chickpeas and seeds for protein.

7th pic is pumpkin and chickpea salad with tin salmon and beetroot, red onion and greens.

If I’m still hungry after lunch or feel like something sweet I’ll have a few squares of dark chocolate or some coconut yoghurt and fruit. Sometimes a medjool date or two if I have some.

That’s it! One week view of my lunches. These meals keep me feeling healthy and give me a huge energy burst and are great for digestion. They don’t take me long to prepare either. If you have any questions about any of the lunches or the way I eat leave me a comment.

Blessings, Peta

You may also like to read: One Week Of What I Ate For Breakfast Trim Healthy Mama Style.

 

 

 

How I Afford Clothes and Shoes For My Family of Seven on A Tight Budget -Video!

 

Hi all! I’m excited to be sharing another Youtube video with you!

In this video:

  • How I afford all the clothing and shoes we need for our family each season.
  • Which shops I buy our clothes from – including my favourite place to buy clothes for myself!
  • What clothes shops I don’t like anymore.
  • Why I don’t buy ebay clothes anymore.
  • A walk through of my summer clothing rotation with two of my little girls.
  • How the Lord has always provided for us everything we need as our family has grown in numbers.

 

Let me know what you thought of my video in the comments here on the blog or on Youtube comments. I’m new to this vlogging thing and hopefully will get better at it with each new video. This one went for a long time! Extra points for you if you actually watch it all the way to the end!

Blessings, Peta

When Home Schooling Doesn’t Work Out. Dealing With The Disappointment Part 2.

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Here is part two of our story. We went from having a full on ‘it’s homeschooling or nothing’ mentality to sending our children to public school and eventually finding peace.

We were all prepared for homeschooling at the beginning of this year. (2017) I had ordered all the curriculum we needed, shopped for supplies like lead pencils and notebooks and had made up a schedule that looked doable.

I had been feeling a bit stressed with the children home all summer holidays though. It does seem to get to me a bit after a while. All the mess, demands, questions and sibling squabbles that go on when all the children are home at the same time for a long period of time.

Other parents I knew COULDN’T WAIT for their children to get back to school

…and I guess I can understand why. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children so much and love being around them and spending time with them. It is a true blessing and privilege to be given children by God and I do enjoy caring for them. But sometimes I do need a bit of quiet to catch my breath and perhaps think a clear thought.

Also one of my children has some very intense moods, and that, has always made homeschooling very challenging. He reacts in anger and when he’s in one of his ‘moods’ the whole household suffers.

By the fourth week of term one I was not very well. I became so stressed that it pushed my nervous system completely out of whack. I was in bed for days and couldn’t function properly. I guess I had some sort of nervous breakdown, I’m not really sure what to call it. My shoulders were so tight and painful, my pupils constantly dilating and in ‘flight or fight’ mode, and my body wouldn’t stop trembling. I was so wound up and began taking it out on my children by snapping and screeching at every little move they made. This triggered off my anxiety that I also suffer from. I saw doctors and a psychologist. I was put on medication, which I only took for a month because of the awful side effects. I did a lot of research and dove into some natural remedies and a herbal supplement regime instead. I was in bed for days and didn’t go out anywhere for weeks. It took me a few months to fully recover.

While this was going one Luke and I made the decision to send them to school.

It was clear that the pressure of homeschooling really got to me, and to him as well.

We did a lot of prayer, discussion and wrote up pages of notes on the weight of our decision. It became pretty clear that school was the right move to make. Our first choice was a private Christian school 25 minutes away in a nearby rural city. However it was sadly beyond our budget. Our second choice was a small local public primary school only a few minutes away from our house.

We are really happy with this school. It has small classroom sizes and a good behaviour management system. It seems to care a lot about each individual student. Being close to home means the boys feel secure that mum and dad aren’t far away and has made the drop off and pick up doable.

The first couple of weeks were hard. The boys didn’t really want to go and all the packing of backpacks, lunchboxes and buckling everyone in the car took some getting used to!

It was hard emotionally as well. I felt like a failure.

Was it really happening that homeschooling was not working out yet again!? Why can’t I be like other parents who make one decision for school and stick to it? Will my children recover from the roller-coaster ride of being pulled in and out of school? I felt lost for a few months and didn’t quite know what to do with my time during the day when I was usually homeschooling. Even though I still had 3 little girls at home to care for.

I knew I needed something to take my mind off the two boys being in school so I began a project of setting up a veggie patch in our backyard. Something I had wanted to do for ages but just hadn’t had the time for while I was homeschooling.

As the year rolled along I began to see how the Lord has used this situation for good.

Many positive things have happened through us sending our kids to school. – I have began getting out in the local community more and actually meeting other mums from this town. I have been taking the younger three to playgroup – something I couldn’t do while homeschooling and I have had the opportunity to witness to other mums.

I now get excited about all the new opportunities that our children are having at school like doing a swimming carnival and being involved in a musical. The boys are now thriving, have made friends and have both won respect for learning awards. I like doing other ‘regular school mum’ things like watching my children swim at the school lessons and seeing all the creative things they have made. The little crafts they made me for mothers day was so cute – I’ve never had that before because they have always been homeschooling during mothers day. Just little things like that make me smile.

My nervous system is so much better. The pressure of managing their education is off and I can just be mum instead of teacher. I no longer feel wound up and am better able to deal with stress. I have noticed that I am enjoying my boys so much more because I have a break from them during the day . When I see them at 3:10pm I get excited and can’t wait to hear about what they’ve been up to. I am well rested and a calmer, better mother than I was before. Having a rest during the day charges me up for a full on evening of homework, after school activities, dinner and bedtimes. I have been able to give the younger ones more focused attention too.

I have replaced worry with prayer.

Everyday I get up and pray for the Lords protection over them physically and spiritually as they go off to school. I pray for their salvation and pray for the Lord to lead them out of any temptations. It has bought me deep joy to see the boys being a witness for Christ in the classroom. They have given their classmates gospel tracts, Super Book DVDs, and spoken to others about Jesus numerous times.

We have nightly discussions about what the children at school do and say and how we, as Christians are to behave different. For the first time in their lives they are hearing swearing and atheist concepts like evolution. However, it gives us a chance for us to explain to them what the truth is and for them to see how unbelievers think and behave. They’re seeing for themselves how lost and hurting many people in this world are.

I’m now actually looking forward to having three children in school next year. As miss Savannah joins them for her first year of school. God is using our family for good in this community and in our local school. I’m excited about this next chapter of our lives. I know they will be okay – they are in the Lord’s hands.

It’s possible that we may try homeschooling again in the future if we feel like it’s the right thing to do. But not for now and not next year either. We will assess at the beginning of each year what the education path will be for each of our children individually.

How about you? How do you deal with the stress of homeschooling?

Have you sent your children from homeschooling to public school?

Are you plagued with guilt and fear from sending your children to school or have you also found peace?

May God bless you as you press on with the challenging and important role of parenting your precious children.

me Willow sand

Blessings, Peta

You may also like to read:

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

Having a homeschooling mentality while your children are attending school.

Homeschooling and managing a home while in the third trimester

Homeschooling – What I Love and What I Really Don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Vlog – Day In The Life Of Us and What I Eat In A Day To Maintain My Weight Loss.

In this video:

What I eat in a day to maintain my postpartum weight loss.

Come with me for my bike ride and see a day in the life of us including seeing the aftermath of baby Willow eating her tea. Also see a little of our family devotion time and family worship.

Blessings, Peta