When your husband is addicted to video games…

0003998

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.

DSCF6253

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.

DSCF6250

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.

DSCF6257

DSCF6263

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.

DSCF6270

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.

DSCF6169

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.

DSCF6234

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.

DSCF6216

Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

My top 5 ways to motivate yourself to finish losing weight

vegetable-755723_1920

 

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

Doing this one thing weekly has strengthened my marriage, reduced my anxiety and brought order to our home.

iocenters-2673328_1920

I can’t remember where I first heard of the idea. But this advice is gold! And the Lord has really blessed our family through this.

Once a week my husband Luke and I have a meeting with each other.

We meet once a week after the children are tucked into bed and have a full on ‘business’ type meeting with each other. The laptops and phones are put away (unless we need to research something together) and over a cup of tea we discuss everything we can fit in before bedtime.

I have a special A4 sized lined notebook that I use to keep a record of everything we discuss and highlight important things we need to remember.

As each of our five children have come along we have been able to talk to each other as a couple less and less. While the children are awake they have a way (as most children do) to interrupt every conversation we try and have. Every time Luke or I open our mouths to speak to one another someone seems to need us to fix something/comfort them/listen to them/help them/break up an argument over a toy/clean an urgent mess. So our meeting together is vital for keeping us talking to each other about things.

Because lack of communication is a silent killer of marriages.

Some topics are icky and don’t want to be discussed. But they need to be. We try and talk about the tricky and stressful things (like insurance and sick kids) as well as our dreamy and exciting things like holidays and future dreams.

Also, as someone who suffers from anxiety I really benefit from getting all that stuff out that is swirling around and around in my head. The 10000 things that I feel I have to organise/should be doing/haven’t got around to yet are spoken out in the open, made sense of and written down on paper. It calms my mind and eases the stress. Solutions are found and the world begins to look a little brighter.

Our meetings together have turned into something we both look forward too. When the mood is low in our house due to business and stress it really helps our moods to be lifted and gives us hope, clarity and direction as a couple.

Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a homeschooling mentality while your children are attending school.

smoothie

After school green smoothie!

There are many parents who want to home school their children but for a number of different reasons are unable to. Perhaps they begin homeschooling but need to send the children to school for a while. Or they might want their children to finish up their education in a school. Perhaps the children have gone to school while mum or a family member deals with a health issue.

Luke and I have always planned on homeschooling our children right from the time I was pregnant with our firstborn. We started off homeschooling but it hasn’t been an easy road. The beginning of our home school has had a few hick ups. The pressure of being responsible for my children’s education while managing a home full of little ones has been hard on my sensitive nervous system. At the beginning of this year I made it to about week 4 of term 1 before I got very sick. My nervous system went completely out of whack. I couldn’t function for a few weeks and it took a few months to be feeling much better. During this time we made the difficult decision to send our oldest two boys to school for a while. Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions that are right for your unique circumstances. I can look back and regret it or I can be confident that we made a good, well thought out decision.

While the boys are attending school I want to keep a home schooling mentality. What I mean is I want to still continue to intentionally keep up with the things that are most important to us, the things we value the most as a family. I don’t want to throw away the vision we have as a family just because the children are attending school.

Here are some of the ways I am keeping a home schooling mentality during this time:

  1. Keep doing devotions as a family. The first thing we used to do around the table before they would begin their book work was ‘discipleship time’. I didn’t want to stop doing this when they began school so I now read them a children’s devotion while they eat their breakfast and we read out a memory verse and pray for their day.
  2. Home schooling them on ‘sick’ days. The boys have had a few colds and there have been a few days where they are too sick to send back to school but they have been well enough to sit on the couch or at the table doing an activity. I bring out the school books when I can and do some school work with them.
  3. Keep seeing the children’s homeschooling friends. We’ve been blessed by meeting lots of new homeschooling families in the last few years and making some lovely new friends. I make sure we keep in regular contact with our Christian friends.
  4. Home schooling the little ones. Just because the older two are in school doesn’t mean I can’t do some pre-school work with the younger ones. Savannah (aged 4.5) has been doing some home school book work with me a few days a week. The pressure is off because she’s not official school age yet. It’s just for fun and to keep her occupied.
  5. Pray a lot. Every morning I get up and pray complete protection physically and spiritually for all the children. I pray that the Lord’s will will be done and he’ll guide me towards the best education and parenting decisions for all my children as individual each and every day.
  6. Don’t feel guilty and enjoy the stage you’re at right now. Even if it is just enjoying little moments that happen throughout your day. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks either. Be happy and be confident.
  7. Even though the children have a different teacher doesn’t mean that you are not still in charge of their education. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your child so if they are struggling with anything they will feel comfortable telling you. Go to the parent teacher interviews and make sure what they are learning is satisfactory to you. Also add extra curricular lessons here and there if you feel like your child needs to/wants to learn something extra.

Have a great day and keep soldiering on with the great task of motherhood.

Blessings, Peta xo

 

 

 

 

I lost all my pregnancy weight for the 5th time!!

Announcement…

 

I have finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight!

Yay!

It has taken me the longest this time – about 14 months. But I stuck at it and here I am 16kg lighter and at the same weight I was before I became pregnant with Willow.

that pic

I’m also feeling the fittest I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve been running and cycling outdoors 3-4 times a week and walking on the other days. The exercise has benefited me in more ways than one. I was prescribed exercise as part of my treatment for the anxiety attacks that I had been having and it has helped a lot. Not only does exercise release serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone. It also gets rid of stored up adrenaline in the body that contributes to anxiety. I always exercise outdoors which gives me a boost of fresh air and sunshine, which are both great mood enhancers and give me an energy burst.

This may be a good time to make another announcement…

I have been writing a book on postpartum weight loss.

The content is 3 quarters of the way finished. Then I am getting some photography and graphic design done to bring it all together.

The release date of this book – which doesn’t have an official name yet- is mid 2018.

I will give you more information as the time of release gets closer.

DSCF5273_edited

So what did I do exactly to lose all the weight again? I mainly followed the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating. Sometimes strictly and at times pretty loosely. That may explain why it took me so long this time. Over time as I began to learn more about nutrition and what foods help me lose weight I began to write my own detailed weekly eating plans. The plans include a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, drinks – everything. I am including these plans for you to see in my new book.

DSCF5264_edited

It feels great to be able to pull out some clothes that have been packed away for so long in my ‘too small’ clothes bag. Trying on new clothes is exciting again because I am enjoying the size I am. It hasn’t been a smooth weight loss journey either. For the first three months postpartum I lost nothing. I wasn’t really being very strict with my eating at first though. In the past I would lose weight initially without even trying much then later on I would have to work harder to lose the last 10kg. This time was different. I had to be strict with what I ate if I wanted to lose any weight at all. I had to say no to comfort eating. I also reached a plateau when I only had 1kg to go and I stayed that weight for several weeks.

I almost gave up and decided that I feel okay at leaving my weight where it was. It was a healthy weight for me and that would have been fine. But I took a look at some of the pre pregnancy weight clothes that still didn’t quite fit and thought – I’m not going to give up!

I revved up my exercise sessions to 45 minutes each instead of 20-30 and I followed the eating plans I designed for myself more strictly and was extra careful about what I ate after tea.

And…I did it!

Now it’s time to enjoy and maintain and set some new goals.

Blessings, Peta xo

DSCF5256_edited

Keeping children motivated to do their chores.

Arrow shoe racks

My three eldest children are now aged 7, 6 and almost 5. I felt at the beginning of this year that they are old enough to be doing chores now. They’ve been helping me out with bits and pieces around the house since they were toddlers (mainly just tidying up toys or carrying groceries in from the car) but I thought it was time to make chores an official part of their days. I have chosen a few chores each based on what I feel like I need help with the most and what I believe would be achievable for them. I want them to be a little challenged but not to the point that they are overwhelmed by their tasks. I really want my children to grow up understanding what it takes to run a household. By giving them chores they are developing character while learning good skills that they’ll need for the rest of their lives.

This is the current chore list and later I’ll share what I do to keep them motivated.

7.5 year old son:

  • Put away all the clean dishes from the drying rack
  • Take the recycling out to the recycling bin
  • Put away clean washing

6 year old son:

  • Tidy up shoe racks
  • Empty and rinse out the compost bucket
  • Put away clean washing

Almost 5 year old daughter:

  • Clear off the breakfast table
  • Put clean washing away

These are their daily chores. They put their own washing away after I deliver it folded and placed in their rooms in plastic tubs a few times a week.

Lets face it sometimes children, (AND adults!!) are in a stinky mood or are occupied by something else and really don’t want to do their chores. To attempt to conquer this problem and to make daily chores fun I made up a simple chart. It is just a piece of A4 paper with their names on it.

If they do their chores…

  • Straight away without being distracted
  • Well
  • Without any whining or complaining

They get a tick on the chart. When they get seven ticks I give them a chocolate bar, Freddo Frog or a mini pack of Maltesers!

This is working at the moment! What a blessing it is to have the children helping out! I’m thinking of introducing table chores for everyone to help clean up after our evening meal. I’ve been putting it off because the children (and myself) are usually pretty tired and grumpy by this time of the day but it is usually daddy who cleans the whole kitchen by himself after tea while I get the baby and toddler ready for bed or help the older ones have showers. It might be time to change up our schedule in the evening a bit to share the load of the evening kitchen clean up.

Do your children have chores?

Do you give them any rewards or allowances? Leave a comment and share what’s working …or not working for your household.

Blessings, Peta xo

 

 

The Metabolic Clock – book review

The Metabolic Clock: Speed Up Your Metabolism and Lose Weight Easily by [Rennie, Julie]

I first stumbled upon the book ‘The Metabolic Clock by Julie Rennie’ on my mum’s bookshelf. While I was over at her house, I couldn’t stop reading it and when I left I took it home. I stole borrowed it. Since then I have read this book over and over again. After we moved mum just gave it to me!

It has helped me set some good habits – like not going to bed past 10pm. And it has inspired me to be the healthiest version of myself I can.

I love this book!

What it’s about:

It teaches you how to speed up you metabolism to help you lose weight based on the metabolic clock. It shows you how to change lifelong patterns that have been preventing you from living life to the full.

What I love:

The gluten free flourless chocolate cake recipe in the back of the book is yum! I use coconut oil instead of butter to make it dairy free too and it turns out great. It has the consistency of a mud cake and it makes a great treat. I’ve made the spicy bean stew many times too and it makes for a hearty filling vegetarian meal. Sometimes I don’t like to eat too much meat and it’s good to have a few vegetarian recipes up my sleeve.

The pictures in this book are beautiful – I love inspiring photography and nourishing food photography.

It teaches you how to think positively and how a negative view of yourself can impact your health and weight loss.

The 21 day lifestyle challenge has helped to go to bed before 10pm. I have struggled in the past with disciplining myself to get to bed at a decent hour. And with babies still waking me in the middle of the night – an early bedtime is essential to my well being and ability to function and think clearly throughout the day.

A few things I don’t agree with:

The book briefly mentions yoga and meditation. I choose not to do these things as they are associated with eastern evil religious practices. As a Christian I don’t want any part in stirring up the wrong spirits.

All in all – it’s a great read and the best thing is that it inspires me to keep up with my health regime. I’ve been riding my bike weekly and going for at least 3 power walks a week. Plus I’m always looking for ways to improve my diet.

Blessings, Peta

*I thought I’d do a review of a few of my favourite books. There’s no affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

Arrow turns 6! Including his birth story

0006765

March 2011 – Arrow’s first week of life outside the womb – I am 22 years old. 

0006742

Arrow Truth Goddard….”you named him what??” Yes Arrow, his name is Arrow!! 🙂

Our strong Arrow turns 6 today!

Happy Birthday to our precious little man!

Arrow is physically strong yet kind and caring. He’s not afraid to kiss his mum and play babies with his little sisters. He’s as tough as nails and has still never needed to see a doctor. He is our warrior, strong willed and stubborn yet loving and tender. He’s serious and doesn’t always see the funny side,yet we can still make him laugh. We love him dearly and our family wouldn’t be complete without our Arrow.
Let me share with you his story which was posted on my old original blog (The Heart Of Our Home) – here is is again for you in case you missed it.

0006844

I fell pregnant with Arrow when our first bub Francis was around 8 months old. We were VERY excited to be expecting again, and we prayed and prayed for this baby after suffering a miscarriage only 3 months earlier. Right from the start I knew this baby was strong, though. I got through the first trimester with the usual morning sickness. Constant nausea but no vomiting. By 16 weeks I felt fantastic and we began planning a natural birth. I wanted more than anything to birth this baby into the world as naturally as possibly. This was the first birth that we really planned properly. I read many books on natural birthing, and God worked on my heart and helped to overcome my fears. I have ALWAYS had a terrifying fear of giving birth – especially without an epidural. And God gently worked on me and we did it! Would I do a natural birth again? Yes I would. Did it hurt? YES it did. But do I need to be afraid? NO I don’t. God designed women’s bodies to give birth, and I did it!! It was such a massive moment of transformation in my life.
Later in my pregnancy I couldn’t get away from the scripture in Psalm 127

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.   As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

God gave me a strong revelation about children that I believe is very different from the world’s thinking of children. Our children are VERY important.

From this moment on I decided that I would dedicate my life to raising children for the Lord. With full support from my husband. I decided that nothing would come in the way, no job, no career, no ministry would be more important to me than raising my family in the best way that God shows me.

This is why we named our son Arrow.

He is our Arrow, our weapon of defense against our enemies. He is our reward and gift from God. We are very blessed.

His middle name is ‘Truth.’ This stands for the truth of God’s word coming to pass as we birth our Arrow into the world. We dedicated our son completely to the Lord.

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl until after the birth, but during my later stages of pregnancy we had only picked one name – Arrow – I couldn’t even think of any girls names. God knew though, that we were having a son and he placed him in our womb for a special reason.

I was very over due – 2 weeks and 2 days in fact, before I finally gave in to the doctors and came into the hospital to be induced. Everyone thought I was crazy waiting for so long past my due date, but I knew in my heart that my baby needed more time.

 

The doctor broke my waters, and proclaimed that my baby has a head full of hair!! Wow, we were very excited, yet nervous for what was ahead of us.

The contractions came on steady all morning and Luke and I walked around and around the hospital grounds. I had a really strong contraction right in front of the waiting room of the medical clinic. I grabbed Luke by the scruff of his shirt and leaned over him, clamped my eyes shut and breathed deeply. “Okay, we need to go back into our room NOW.” So back inside we went, where we spent the entire length of our labour alone in our hospital room. We hardly saw a midwife and no doctors were in sight. I was doing quite well up until the last couple of hours of labour where I started to lose confidence. I sat on the birthing ball the entire time I was going through transition labour. Luke sat behind me, rubbing my back and praying. I began moaning like a cow, I couldn’t help it – I had to let the noise out, it was the only way I could cope. I was sweating, feeling sick & light-headed. I was fanning myself profusely with my orange pregnancy record book. My body was so exhausted that I almost dropped of to sleep sitting up between contractions. (I had no idea that I was probably fully dilated and ready to push for a while but I just kept sitting there on that ball!)

In agony I proclaimed to Luke that I had had enough and was going to see if the heat of a shower would help with the pain. Luke helped me into the shower. I was still moaning, and I stamped my feet in the water. I felt weird, I can’t explain it, but I had an overwhelming urge that …something…was about to fall out of my body. (I later discovered that that something was indeed a baby!) Luke pressed the button to call the midwife and she comes into the shower cubicle.

Midwife: “What’s the matter?”

Me: “I think it’s coming out!!”

Midwife: “Get out of the shower..”

Me: “Noooo”

Midwife: “You have to hop out now”

Me: “NOOOOO”

Midwife: “The baby is coming out and I’m not ready to catch it while you are standing in the shower, so hop out NOW”

 

Still moaning, but much louder now; I’m helped into a wheel chair and ran into the delivery room.

The midwife wants me to get up on the bed but I feel the baby literally dropping inside of me and I gag and drop to my knees on the floor.

In this moment I completely panicked, I looked in despair at my pale husband and yelped in a quiet voice: “Luke, help me!”

Everything else is pretty much a blur to me. I can remember the midwife telling me that I couldn’t give birth on the floor and she pulled out a birthing stool, which I sat on with Luke behind me.

Arrow shot out of me on that stool with such great force, I didn’t even push. He was living up to his name already.
He was out in – 2-3 minutes.I had a 2nd degree tear!

He was my biggest baby yet: 8lbs, 5oz,

Born 7:34pm on the 21st March 2011.

We were overjoyed. I needed rest, Arrow breastfed well and I showered and we all snuggled up together in our room exhausted, yet deeply satisfied.

 

Arrow bday

6 years old now!

 

Arrow sunflower

Our first sunflower and our Arrow

We are so glad he is a part of our family!

Blessings, Peta