Tuesday, August 31, 2010

playgrounds and rock angels

I love kids.
They find joy in the simple things.
They feel joy in simple activities.

My children are often the happiest when I take them to playgrounds.
They love to run free, meet new friends and explore the equipment.

On the weekend I took the kids to a new playground.
They loved it!

They ran around playing and I got to sit in the sun and relax.
It was a total win...win situation.

Liberty found joy simply playing with the rocks or little stones.
She quite happily put rocks on the seat, brushed them off, put more rocks on and brushed them off again. This kept her occupied for quite some time.


After playing with the rocks on the seat she just plonked herself down on the ground and proceeded to make rock angels...not snow angels...rock angels!


As you can see it was serious work!


 What an angel!


The older kids had a great time playing on this spinning wheel. 
They loved walking around and around, trying to go faster and faster with each turn.

Of course the usual happened at the playground. 
When my kids start playing on a certain piece of equipment we end up with a group like this:


 They loved meeting new friends and having a wild time together!
Nathan was the spinner and all the other kids did their best to hang on.

 

My kids had a great time playing on these slides.
They don't look like much but they sure loved it!


The boys did not slide down...they wrestled each other down and had a blast!
I loved just sitting and listening to all the giggling that was taking place.
This playground was at Springfield Lakes.


 I also took the kids to a favourite playground at Kuraby.
It is a muscial playground and the kids love the instruments and music.


The tappers the boys are standing on (which you are supposed to use with your hands) are in the shape of feet so they think they have to put feet on it. We have been going to this playground for years and no amount of explanation will change the boys mind about the feet!


Making as much noise as she wants and loving it!


Loving the flying fox.

Trying to sell ice-cream on a very windy day!
I of course had to buy one...

A simple visit to the playground was a gift of happiness to us all.
I enjoyed the giggles, fresh air and sunshine.
I also loved watching my kids interact with each other and new friends.
Bliss...

Monday, August 30, 2010

my morning routine

This morning I am starting a new routine.

I have tried different versions of a morning routine and I believe that what I have come up with is what I need right now. My goal is to stick to this routine for the whole month of September (I know, I am starting it a couple of days early!) and to see if this is what is going to help my family function better and to help me have a sense of purpose and ritual to my day.

I sat down and wrote out this routine because I was finding some mornings I am so tired, I find myself standing still....staring....staring at nothing....trying to remember what I am supposed to be doing.

So here is my morning routine:
Pray
Exercise
School Lunches
Tidy My Bedroom
Emails
Load of Washing
Breakfast clean up
Lounge room Tidy Up
Sweep the floor
Wipe Kitchen table
Kids Bedrooms
Prepare dinner
Smile

I find I have a much more peaceful and happier day if I take the time to pray and have a quiet moment to myself. Sometimes I do this before I have a shower or after a shower because some mornings I need the shower to wake myself up!

I love to exercise before I start the day because if I don't do it early my day becomes so full of other activities that I never get back to it. I sometimes can do it at night time but often I am so tired I can't find the motivation or energy.

I love to keep my bedroom tidy and clean. With a house full of lots of kids I need to have one room to go to that has a sense of order. Especially if I need to calm down and have a zen moment to myself - I retreat to my bedroom to feel calm.

With my emails I try to do a few things around the house before I check them. I often find that the emails I get really influences the way my day pans out. So the longer I can leave it the better. It is a real challenge for me.

I find it a great blessing to me to prepare dinner earlier in the morning. My house can sure get crazy around the time of 3-6pm and often preparing a meal is hard to fit in around all the homework and other activities we participate in.

Last of all I remind myself to smile. Often before 9am I have worked hard getting things done and I remind myself to smile to celebrate all of the achievements I have accomplished. It also reminds me to be happy and that I am living a wonderful life.

Do you have a morning routine that works for you???

Friday, August 27, 2010

happiness glasses

This is how we will be sharing the happiness this weekend.
With our new happiness glasses.

I thought they were tooooo cute and found them on sale for $1.99 at Woolies.

I could just see our family sitting in the sun - sharing a drink and laughing together.

Any excuse to celebrate!


Hope you feel as happy as Miss Sunshine and Mr Happy this weekend.
Wishing you a weekend of smiles....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

blogging depression

Recently I was reading a blog post over at 71 Toes about blogging depression.

Shawni shared how she had recently attended a 'mothers retreat' and a question was posed about what makes mothers spiral into depression or negativity. I was surprised to read that the most overwhelming answer was that blogs are the problem. Yes, blogs.

That made her worry and it makes me worry too!

1. Because I have a blog.
2. Because I am trying to uplift others with my blog and
3. I am trying to promote happiness with motherhood on my blog.

The last thing I want to do is depress mothers even more.

It started my thinking about the topics I write about on my blog and the image I am portraying. I know we have lots of kids and in some of my posts it may come across that I have totally obedient, totally organised and talented children but they are still kids and they fight, they argue and have messy rooms just like other kids do. I do try to keep things positive here and every so often I throw in a post about how life is not easy too. I really believe in trying to 'keep it real' and I hope others are not depressed after reading what we get up to in our home.

I know a lot of mothers already struggle with feeling like they are doing an inadequate job in the mothering department and being a mother sure is hard work. When I read other blogs about mothering I know that there is no use comparing myself - we simply are not the same. We do not have the same family, the same ideas, values, beliefs and challenges. I like to look for ideas and for inspiration to keep me going when I feel I am stuck in the trenches but I don't let it make me feel depressed.

I know I like to write about being happy as a mother and I truly believe it is a choice. That happiness comes from inside of you and can be there no matter what storms are raging around you. So with my blog I am just going to keep plodding along and try not to worry that others may be feeling depressed by what I share and know that people are going to judge my blog the way they want and I can't change that.

One last thought: Felicity over at Gifts of Serendipity has written a beautiful post on this very topic. The poem she shares is a must read.

The end.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

saving money - giving haircuts

One of the ways I save money around home is by cutting the kids hair.
I started out cutting Matt's hair and have progressed to now doing the kids.

We purchased a set of clippers from K-mart and I began experimenting on Matt's hair. At first I was really, really nervous about cutting hair and I am so thankful that Matt let me make a few mistakes when I was starting out.

Good thing he knew I was still going to love him no matter how bad his hair looked and good thing I knew he was still going to love me if I wrecked his hair! Matt has been cutting his own hair for years so it was great to know that he could help me fix up some of the mistakes I made as well.

Another great blessing was that our first child Chelsea has curly hair. Gorgeous wringlets that bounce up whenever her hair is cut. I was able to do a lot of training on her hair as it was hard to see mistakes as the curls would blend in together.

One of the important tips for cutting hair I would recommend is simply - pay attention when you are at the hairdressers. Instead of reading lots of magazines I watch how the hairdressers cut my hair. I observe how they layer my hair, brush it, hold it and angle their scissors. This has made a huge difference to my own personal hairdressing skills.

Now Matt and I have a good system happening in our home.
He cuts the boys hair and his own hair and I cut the girls hair.
That way we take care of 4 people each.

As for me - with the money we save cutting our own hair - it means I get to go to the hairdresser!


Cutting Liberty's hair - I hated to do it but it was constantly in her face.


My technique involves - a bowl of lollies to help sitting still and extreme patience!


The end result - too cute - Miss Liberty

100 ways to be happy - Number 33. Get up for sunrise.

Last week Matt and I went to Sydney together. Just the two of us.
It was delightful. It was peaceful and it was a treat!

One of our mornings together we arose at 5am and went down to the beach to catch the sun rising.
I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves, the smell and the combination of the gorgeous blue and white water as it flows back and forth in a constant pattern.

The air was fresh and cold and it was still very dark. We walked briskly to keep warm and I was wishing I had my beanie to keep my ears protected. It was lovely to see many others up early doing the same activity.


Watching the sunrise is worth the early alarm noise that goes off. It is wonderful to see the colour in the sky. To watch it change and to see the day brighten before you. It made me think of my attitude and how sometimes with my thoughts I feel I am in darkness but as I choose to be happy my day brightens right before me.


Another reason I love to watch the sunrise is to appreciate this incredible planet we live on. We are so blessed that we have sensational beaches in Australia and they are generally close by to where most of us live. We sure live in the lucky country when it comes to our coast line.


It made my heart jump to see the sun rise. What an incredible experience.
The sun is something that we all can rely on and is always there.
Even on a cloudy day it is out and where it should be.

It's rays are so powerful and can pierce through the darkest clouds.
The sun shines on all of us no matter our circumstances or challenges.
It can warm our skin and uplift us on dark days.

I don't know about you but, if I wake up and the sun is shining, I feel happy right away!

Monday, August 23, 2010

a time and a season

Lately I have been pondering all the things I want to do.
All the goals I want to achieve.

I have also been thinking about the time and season of my life right now.
I am still young, have energy (most days), and have enough self belief to think I can put my mind to achieving something I really want.

But, it is also my time and season where I have young children at home.
Currently I have 4 children at school and 3 children at home.

It is a busy time of my life.
There are certain goals that I can work on but there are also other goals that I know are best left to a later time. A time when I do not have as many children at home and I will hopefully have a little more free time to focus on them. I know I have enough determination to achieve them now but I feel that working on them will be too much of a distraction from the great work I am doing inside the walls of my own home.

Do you ever think about what is your time and season...????

We know we cannot do everything well all at the same time.
Even though most of us kill ourselves trying.

I love this quote by James E. Faust:

"she need not try to sing all the verses of her song 
at the same time"

I love the word need in this sentence.
A lot of the time I feel the need to do it all.

I am slowly learning to focus on one thing I want to do and to just enjoy being happy with one goal. I am finding I am appreciating the process more and becoming better at developing one skill instead of five at once. I have plenty of time to discover other talents and to learn new skills.

Most importantly I don't want to miss out on spending time with my cherubs - they are too precious.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

mother guilt

Last week I went to the school to wave off Harmony on a school excursion. She was going on a bus trip to the zoo. As I was waiting for the bus to leave I had a great chat with another mother about the excursion.

I had mentioned that I really wanted to go with my daughter on this trip but that because I was flying to Sydney that morning to spend time with my husband I was going to miss it. She then shared with me the drama she had gone through in getting time off work so she could attend the excursion with her son. She went on to describe how she was exhausting herself keeping up with work and all the school activities that her children had.

As she was chatting with me about her challenges she started reflecting on when she was growing up. She shared that when she was younger her mum was a stay at home mum and did not attend anything she had on a school and that she managed to get through school and she turned out alright!

It started me thinking about the pressure we put on ourselves to attend everything our children have on. Which of course led me to thinking about the 'mother guilt' a lot of mothers feel today.

Finding a balance as a mother is difficult.
There are a lot of demands on us and we need to chose wisely the activities we attend.

So many mothers have had to take on the role of provider as well as nurturer in their homes.
Many women would love to stay at home but because of their family situation need to work and are sacrificing their time with their children. The guilt and pressure these mothers sometimes feel is challenging and heart wrenching.

In my life I try hard to attend the achievements and school activities that my children are involved in.
But, I cannot attend them all.
With many children, they have different needs and experiences.
I try to choose what will be best for each individual child in what I participate in and what will they appreciate the most.
 
As I listened to my friend share her challenges I was reminded that often the pressure to do it all, be it all and have it all sometimes does not come from outside of ourselves - it comes from within ourselves. We are the ones who put pressure on ourselves. We are the ones who makes ourselves feel guilty.

We need to give ourselves a break!
Often we are doing a great work and do not stop to look at how far we have come or achieved!
Give yourself a pat on the back - YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

zhu zhu pets


One of the best toys I have got for my kids this year are Zhu Zhu Pets. My kids just love them!

I also loved that they were on special at Big W and I got them at a really cheap price.

They are as close as we are going to get to real live hamsters, which I just don't have the time to look after at the moment. They have over 40 different sound effects, come in different colours and my girls love it when they say 'Holla'.

My boys also love to chase them around as they glide across the floor and watch as they change direction when they encounter a wall or other obstacle. I have found that it keeps my kids busy and even though this toy makes noise, it does not annoy me too much at all!

I am pretty selective on the toys I get my children and we have really enjoyed this little pet in our home. It is small enough to be put in a bag for an outing and even small enough to sleep under a pillow or next to them in bed.


Who knew something so small would bring so much fun!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

tooth pulling show and tell

This week the tooth fairy has been busy in our house.
During the week Harmony came to me very excited with a wobbly tooth.
Liahona also came to me very excited with a wobbly tooth.

You see, I have become a professional tooth puller!
My children go crazy when they have a tooth that won't come out no matter how much they try to twist it, wriggle it or pull it. So I have become very expert at pulling them out.

This time I decided to do something different. I decided to use it as a 'show and tell'.
I gathered the younger children around and showed them the wobbly tooth.
I then let them all have a turn wobbling the tooth in Liahona's mouth.
(Thanks for letting us invade your mouth Liahona).

Then I told them I was going to pull the tooth out, grabbed a tissue and pulled.
They were delighted to see the tooth 'pop' out and have the opportunity to hold it in their hand!

Then we took the tooth off to put in a glass for the 'tooth fairy' to take.
Sam was gorgeous when he said that we all needed to be quiet now because we did not want to scare the tooth fairy away! I don't know where he got that from but I love his thinking...

               


Now we have a cute Harmony with a tooth missing. She still has a beautiful smile!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

100 ways to be happy - Number 2. Connect with nature

Nature - the phenomena of the physical world.
Something to be appreciated and enjoyed.

In thinking of my happiness goals we decided to get out of the house today and to hit the park.
It was a beautiful sunny day and it was so lovely to take a relaxing stroll through the tall trees, look at the lush green grass and to breathe in the fresh air - well...as fresh as it is going to get in the suburbs!

Connecting with nature has many benefits. Especially for children. 
Children who are allowed to explore outdoors are socially and emotionally happier and healthier. Letting your children have outdoor play time is also believed to be one of the most direct ways to combat childhood obesity which is becoming a real problem for many families and children. 
The exposure from the sun is also known to help prevent diseases and to prevent depression. 

On our outing today I decided to lay down on the grass - I don't remember the last time I plonked myself down on the grass to enjoy the sensation (mainly because I hate getting ant bites). Today I felt a little daring and was willing to take the risk!


It was rather delightful and I found it rejuvenating and relaxing.


Mary and I found it so relaxing we tried out best to take a little snooze!
Of course with one eye open and one eye closed as we still had a bunch of kids to watch!!!


When was the last time you connected with nature?

Friday, August 13, 2010

childhood blur

Liberty

Today I am thinking about this quote:

'The baby you hold in your arms will grow quickly as the sunrise and the sunset of the rushing days'
Gordon B. Hinckley

My last baby is growing up so fast it is becoming a blur.
This week she has not been feeling well and as I held her tight and rocked her back and forth, I tried to treasure the moment. It felt like her young baby years were departing from me. That they were slipping away, as she grows older and slims down. Losing her gorgeous baby chubby-ness.

I have decided to treasure the last baby moments we have together as she rushes on with life and progresses at an alarming rate. I know I can't get them back again and I want to remember them always.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

losing photo's

Something that makes me really upset is losing photo's.
Digital photo's.

Photo's that I or the children have taken that I have on my camera or stored on my computer.

When I have children wipe them off my camera or when my computer has crashed and I have not backed them up, it is like I have lost part of my life.

I know we have memories but I am getting older and my memory is just not as good as it used to be. Listen to me - I sound like I am sixty of something!

I just love to have a picture to help trigger memories.
To remind me of my thoughts, my feelings, the smell and the little details.

As we know a picture says or paints a thousand words. The most complex situations can be described simply with a single still image and everytime I lose some I feel like I have lost my chance to relive it and express my 'words' in relation to that image.

Today I lost a lot of pictures.
Great pictures.
I am still thinking about it late at night and in a way mourning the loss of them.

I know I have many more opportunities to great pictures of our cherubs but I miss those moments that are gone. I miss the chance to relive them the way I love.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

feeding a family of nine

Often when I speak to people about having lots of children, one of the questions they ask me is about food. How do we go about feeding everyone? For a family of say four, thinking about laying out nine plates every meal blows them away and they cannot understand how we can afford to feed our family and cope with the amount of cooking that is required. I have learnt that we need to do things differently in our house and I am constantly searching for ways to reduce our food budget.

Let me just say, that some days I get overwhelmed by the thought of having to cook for nine and if I am not in a cooking mood I really have to pull myself together and just get on with it because it is way to expensive for us to go out to dinner on a regular basis. Now that some of my children are older I am able to get them to help me out or even cook the whole meal themselves which is soooo wonderful for such days.

Over the years I have tried many different techniques to help our family as we have continued to grow.
They take up a lot of my time but are worth the effort when I look at the savings we make from doing it. Some of the ideas that have stayed with me are:
  • I scan the food catalogues and look out for specials and buy multiple items
  • I buy my meat in bulk from a meat market
  • I shop at Aldi's to save money on basic items
  • I buy my fruit and vegetables on line and chop vegetables up and put them in the freezer immediately
  • I shop later at night to buy bread that is reduced and fill up my freezer with supplies
  • I buy home brand items that I know our family likes whenever I can
  • I keep a food storage cupboard to supplement supplies
  • I cook most meals from scratch
  • I keep a stock of basic cooking essentials so I can create any dish we feel like
  • I plan ahead what meals we will cook for the month
  • I keep in bulk items such as rice, flour, sugar, oats and water
  • I stock try to stock up on items in season so we can enjoy them all year round
  • I keep a few treats on hand for when things are getting tough and we need some fun!
I am sure a lot of other families follow these guidelines and use them in their homes. There are now so many great blogs and websites out there to help families who are looking for creative ways to reduce their budget and to save some money. I enjoy looking over them to find new ideas and chatting with other families on what they are doing in their homes. I used to spend about $250 a week on food for our family of nine when the children were younger. Now I generally spend about $350 a week on food in our home. Since I now have a couple of teenagers the price has gone up a lot. We are also eating a lot more healthier food. They sure eat a lot more than they used to!

One of my storage cupboards {when we were eating a lot more sugar}
Click HERE to see my food storage cupboard now.

Does anyone else have any great tips for feeding their families????

Monday, August 9, 2010

inside happiness


"Happiness does not depend upon what happens outside of you, 
but on what happens inside of you. 
It is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life."
Spencer W Kimball


Problems, challenges and heartaches come to all of us. No matter our circumstances or station in life.
There often seems more than we can cope with and it can be hard to find inner strength and peace to face them on a daily basis.

Lately, I have been touched by the trials many of my friends are facing.
Each seems to be tailor made to help them stretch and grow and to test them on how they will deal with the problems they face. As I have listened to their problems I have been amazed to see they have been able to find happiness regardless of their 'outside' challenges. I have been impressed with their great attitudes and ability to laugh even when their 'spirits' are feeling down.

Often at home I feel I need to have everything 'just right' before I can be happy and it has been wonderful to be reminded that happiness comes from inside me and is a decision that I can make each day regardless of what drama or challenges I face.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

from my heart to yours

Sam and Eli (about 2 days old)


I believe in the power of Mother's.
They have great influence in the world.

I love the quote by E.T Sullivan:

"When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. 
He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. 
Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. 
And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. 
And then God waits."



The ideas, the values, the impressions mother's stamp on their children will stay with them and influence the choices they make, the families they raise in the future and the self esteem they develop.

What power we have and what great responsibility we hold.

Being a mother sure has it challenges and trials.
It is the hardest work I have ever done.
It is also the most exhausting work I have ever done.

I try to take my role of a mother seriously and am constantly looking for inspiration and ideas.
I try to choose wisely the 'ideas and impressions' that I plant into the minds of my children.

Just like God, as I go about this important work within the walls of my home, I wait.
To see what my little people will turn out to be like, what great things they will go on to achieve and who they will become.

How wonderful and blessed I am to have this opportunity to raise seven cherubs.
They bring joy to my heart as I see them progress and grow.
I am so glad they are happy to be with an obscure mother like me and live in our simple home.

a cup of happiness

 

here is my order for today
a relaxing weekend
with something sweet to make me smile :)

of course there is no guarantee in our house
but we try out best.

sometimes the best plans fall apart
and we end up having more fun than we could have ever planned.

I love it when my 'happiness cup' overflows with 
laughter
love and joy.

 enjoy the sunshine
smile a little more
and hug your children.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, August 6, 2010

blogging tips - 50 steps to launch your blog

Every so often I look around for blogging tips. For ideas on how to make my blog better.
Most of the time I blog about things that I just want to share, remember and write about.

But, there is this little, tiny part of me that cares about what others think of my blog.

So I like to keep myself updated on what other mummy bloggers are doing and how I can be better.
One of my favourite places to go is to Annabel's blog Get in the Hot Spot
She has 51 steps to launch your 'hot blog'. They are great and well worth a read!

Check them out below:

50 Steps to Launch (or Relaunch) Your Hot Blog

  1. Pick a topic. Decide what you want to blog about.
  2. Make sure your topic isn’t too narrow or you’ll get bored with it.
  3. Don’t let the focus get too wide or people will get confused.
  4. Come up with a great idea to showcase your skills and knowledge.
  5. Work out your unique selling point, even if you’re not actually selling anything.
  6. Decide how to explain to other people what you do.
  7. Define your goals clearly.
  8. Write them down in a maximum of two sentences.
  9. Come up with a slogan that sums up in as few words as possible what people will find on your blog.
  10. Brainstorm for sub-categories on your blog.
  11. Divide the information you’ll be sharing via blog posts into chunks of information to make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for.
  12. Work out what static information you need on your blog ~ for example about, contact and legal.
  13. Sort out what your values are and how you can share those with your readers ~ for example adventurous, caring and down to earth.
  14. Brainstorm possible names for your blog.
  15. Find a suitable domain name – not too long and easy to spell.
  16. Buy the domain name.
  17. Embrace branding. Branding has a bad reputation but it’s unavoidable and strong branding is vital for online success. First impressions count. People will be judging you and  your blog from the second they set eyes on your photo or website.
  18. Decide how you want people to describe you ~ for example knowledgeable, off beat, stylish, witty.
  19. Work out how you can convey that in your branding.
  20. Choose a photo of you that you can use on your blog and all social media.
  21. Be consistent with your image and chose a photo that suits your branding image ~ for example friendly, trustworthy, professional and interesting.
  22. Remain consistent in everything you do and say online. Inconsistency is confusing and will scare people away.
  23. Check out some websites and work out what you like and dislike about them.
  24. If you’re creating an online business invest in it and outsource jobs you can’t do. Unless you’re an experienced project manager, Internet technician, writer, graphic designer, business planner, marketer and branding expert you’ll need help in some of those areas if you want to get good results fast.
  25. You may need a separate graphic designer who specialises in logos and branding as well as one to design the web interface.
  26. Write a detailed brief for your graphic and web designers outlining your goals, target audience, site design guidelines, topic, categories, sub-categories and static pages in as much detail as possible.
  27. Consider the page layout too. People read from top to bottom and left to right. Make sure the most important parts of your blog are immediately visible to people. For example, on my blog my main goal is to let new readers know what the blog’s about and get them to subscribe. The first place people’s eyes will fall is on the logo and slogan top left. The second place they’ll look is top right where I have a big red banner encouraging people to subscribe now.
  28. Choose your web designer wisely. It’s an unregulated industry. Try to pick someone who’s qualified and experienced. Look at some of the sites they’ve designed and spend time exploring them. Do they look good? Are they easy to navigate? Do they have clear calls to action like contact us now, subscribe or buy now links?
  29. Outsource jobs you can’t do well. The best recommendation for choosing people to help you is often word of mouth. If you can’t find a good recommendation ask for clients you can call to speak to for a reference.
  30. Relationships are important too. Choose someone you like and trust. You should be working with them closely so it might as well be fun and rewarding.
  31. Trust your gut. If you’re not 100% sure find someone else. It may take time but that’s better than spending money on something sub-standard that doesn’t get you results.
  32. Be prepared to spend time on all of this. If could take months but it’s worth planning it properly and avoiding costly mistakes and wasted time.
  33. Hand over the job to your chosen experts and give them some creative freedom. You chose them carefully. Now you need to trust them.
  34. Refine the initial design until you’re 100% happy with it. Keep testing and tweaking. No matter how carefully you plan there are always some elements that have been overlooked or need refining.
  35. Develop the blog in a test area so you can play around with it before it goes live. Actually clicking on links and imagining you’re a reader looking for certain information will help. For example, test how fast can people find your email address? Your best selling product? Your Twitter page?
  36. Watch your language and check the wording. Does the language you use reflect your branding and company values? Does it speak to your target audience? For example if my target audience was students I’d use different words than if I was trying to appeal to baby boomers.
  37. Have a soft launch. There might be problems to begin with. Put the new site up and try it out. Ask some friends to test it for you on different computers and browsers. A good web designer should do this for you.
  38. Make sure your blog isn’t marked as private and submit it to the major search engines.
  39. Get your technical expert to sort out the widgets and install the essential plug-ins like aksimet which will catch your spam comments and the tweetmeme so people can easily tweet your post.
  40. Put up your first blog post. You can use your target goals, target audience and company values to get you started.
  41. Work out a posting schedule of a minimum of once a week and stick to it. This will get you in the habit and make you commit to your blog.
  42. Brainstorm for post topics and come up with some eye-catching headlines that will make people want to read them.
  43. Start networking and find a blogging buddy who will keep you going when times get tough
  44. Committ to a time frame and set goals. I set myself the goal of 1000 subscribers after one year of blogging and got there even though I changed my domain name and topic three times which really set me back.
  45. Interact with your readers – reply to their comments, read their feedback  and show them you care.
  46. Sign up for Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you keep your branding consistent across all platforms.
  47. Network with other bloggers who are starting out, people who’ve been at it for a while and the top bloggers in your niche. Retweet their links, comment on their posts. Just let them know you’re around and interested.
  48. Be authentic. It shouldn’t take practice but it does. Your confidence will grow as you learn to share confidences with your readers, trust each other and feel safe being yourself. That’s the person people will love best.
  49. Have fun with it.
  50. Don’t worry about not knowing everything about blogging. You’ve set up a strong foundation, the rest will happen naturally over time.
Hmmmm ... so much to think about and do ... anyone want to lend me some more hours to add to my day!

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    James Morrison and recent happenings

    During the week Matt made a last minute decision.
    A good decision.

    He decided to take Nathan (our trumpet player) to go see James Morrison play the trumpet. At 'A Latin Jazz Night with James Morrison and Friends'. They had a great night out together listening to some wonderful music and giving Nathan an uplift to continue his trumpet practice. Go Nathan!

    I threw the camera at them when they went out the door and below are my favourite images from the evening. These were taken during intermission. They set up the camera and took pictures of themselves...what a crack up!




    He was playing with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
    It was a great view and night out.

    .........................

    We have also had 2 new additions to our family.
    We have acquired 2 new chickens - not baby chickens - as we already have hens but point of lay chickens. Which means we now have 6 chickens and we are loving all the eggs we are getting. Sam and Eli got to name these 2 new additions. So let me introduce them:


    Sam has named his chicken - Skywalker.
    Poor Skywalker had to have a brief wash and is now fluffy and clean.
    Sam is the chicken whisperer in our house and a professional at bathing chickens.


    Introducing...wait for it...Poop!
    Yep...Poop!
    Man, is Eli going to owe me big time if Poop escapes...
    and I have to walk down the street yelling out this chickens name to find it!
    The things you do as a mother...


    The girls have been raiding my snack cupboard and helping each other in the process.
    I caught Liahona standing on a chair holding Harmony up in the air.


    Look at the joy on their faces with their prize.
    Notice the tongs used to reach up the back to get the treats.
    Nothing is safe around here!


    I have been spending a lot of time with these two tricksters...
    They are so funny some days and really not funny at all other days.
    Like yesterday when they totally covered themselves in mud...
    I mean totally covered themselves in mud...head to toe.


    Well, unfortunately this is the only way Liberty wants to have her picture taken.
    So we are seeing lots of tongue and tonsils.
    Crazy girl...hope this phase passes soon.

    Other news in our house:

    Chelsea received an academic award for her great work at school.
    She got to have a morning tea with the principal and we were able to attend her ceremony and see her get a certificate. Well done Chelsea!

    Nathan also received an academic award for his great work at school.
    He got to have a morning tea with the principal and we were also able to attend his ceremony to see him get a certificate. (No wonder I am gaining weight lately). Well done Nathan!

    Harmony tried out for and won the role to play Dorothy in the school Wizard of Oz performance. She sang in front of her class and other classes and I was so proud that she was so brave! Go Harmony!!!

    Liahona passed the music test and gets to participate in the school instrumental program next year. Well done Liahona! I am now preparing myself for yet another instrument to enter our house...help me someone!


    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    our first family movie on the Mac

    video

    This is my first time trying to put one of these on so yeah! it works :)
    We need some more practice but this was the first one Matt made to test things out!

    100 ways to be happy - Number 64. Have a siesta


    I love the word Siesta.
    I also love an afternoon nap.
    It is something that I seriously crave some days.
    Always around 3 - just after picking the kids up from school - I get really tired.
    My body wants to rest and I can't.

    I need to start the next shift of school snack, homework, after school activities and meal preparation if I have not already done it in the morning. I find if I sit down my body goes into sleep mode and I can't get up again for at least an hour. Over the years I have learnt to space out my day so that I can save some energy for this important time with the kids after school. It does not always work but most days I can get through it alright!

    Afternoon sleeps/siesta's are wonderful it you can get them as a mother. It makes a big difference to my day if I can rest my mind and body. I am a happier mother, a more relaxed mother and I can think clearer. I also believe it applies to the children. If they have a siesta they are happier and more likely to follow instructions and have fun for the rest of the afternoon.

    I now have no children left who have an afternoon sleep.
    I sure miss it.

    I am thankful for the weekends and my husband who sometimes helps me to have that all important Saturday Siesta when I need one!

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    family planning



    Yesterday, I spent the day pondering over the past, the present and the future in relation to my mothering and my children. I took the time to let my thoughts wander, to reflect upon the experiences that have happened to get me to where I am today and to use them to help me plan what I need to do in the future.

    We have so many exciting opportunities coming our way in the future in relation to our children. They are growing up fast and progressing at an alarming rate. I can barely keep up some days.

    Matt sat down and wrote out a time line of what each child will be doing for each year. We are in for some crazy years in the future with big celebration birthdays, school achievements and general lifestyle milestones.

    On the first Sunday of the month, Matt and I normally sit down and plan what we are going to do to help each child. With many children we have found that it takes lots of planning to stay on top of everything and to be the best parents we can be. We discuss each child, where they are at and what we need to do as parents to help them get where they want to go.

    We look at how we can help them: mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially (which I stole from Linda and Richard Eyre). We then get out our large family planner and plan in what needs to happen for that month to help our children. Some months are jam packed with activities and we feel that we are stretched to the limit. Other months run a little smoother when we can combine goals together with several children at the same time giving us more free time for other things.

    It takes a lot of effort and time to help our children be well rounded and to experience life. It is impossible for us to meet all of their needs but for us the important thing is that we are trying out best and giving of ourselves to be the kind of parents our children need us to be.

    My life has been richly blessed as a I have developed and stretched myself in many ways as I have tried to be the kind of mother my children need me to me. I started out with some simple plans and ideas on how to be a good mother and my children have taught me that to help them with their gifts and talents, I need to do things differently and to develop different skills and attributes. This has been a challenge but so worth the effort.

    I am thankful for my cherubs and who they are helping me to become.