Blog Makeover and Happy List

As you can see we have had a little blog makeover here at Seven Cherubs. The awesome Katrina from Media Mad has worked her magic and I love it! 

Katrina has been a delight to work with and has been so patient with me as I have changed my mind on many little details through the design process. My original idea for the design is just plain old boring compared to the inspiration that Katrina came up with. Thank YOU Katrina.

I decided to give myself a little makeover to celebrate Seven Cherubs being 1 year old. What a year it has been. I have been overwhelmed by the support, love and encouragement you have shown to me as I have written about our family and motherhood. I have loved meeting so many of you online and some of you in person. I am a better wife, mother and woman because of the new friendships I have made. 

Thank YOU so much.

This week to celebrate I will be sharing the "Seven Cherubs 1 Year Giveaways".
I have one giveaway for the 'Cherubs' and I have one giveaway for the 'Mum's'.
I so love to do a giveaway!

As you know I love to promote happiness so here is what is:
currently making me happy:

* passion fruit on my vines *
* empty lunch boxes *
* new books to read *
* a child saying sorry *
* butterflies in the garden *
* a cheeky smile from a cherub *
* clean teeth *
* skinny cow icecream *
* scented candles *
* new blog friends *

if you would love to share your happy list here on Seven Cherubs
email me at: sevencherubs (@) gmail (dot) com

Battle of the Blogger Butts ~ Week 4

There is a reason why this is called 'Battle of the Blogger Butts'. It is because I am seriously having a battle to get this weight to shift. I knew it was going to be tough and painful and hard work and now that I am doing it, I am not finding this an easy process. Emotionally I am finding it the hardest. Being mindful of my eating and then working out, pushing myself with exercise and seeing little results just about sends me over the edge!

I know that the best way to lose weight is when it comes off slowly and stays off so I am trying to take comfort in that knowledge. I did get a little emotional mid way through the week because I was so tired and felt like my progress has been slow but after a pep talk from Matt I moved on and kept going with my routine.

After reading the awesome guest post from Lucy I sat down and worked out a new exercise routine. I planned in when I was going to do my running and stuck to my plan for the whole week. Even when I did not feel like it. Some mornings I was so tired I just hung on to the treadmill and just keep my legs running - I must have looked so funny but hey! it worked!

So here is what I did this week:

* I did think about what my weight stops me from doing

* I did remind myself I am committed to my own good health

* I did tell myself I am strong enough to do this

* I did tell myself I am worth this

* I did realise I eat when I am bored, stressed, depressed and anxious

* I did try to ask myself 'are you actually hungry right now?'

* I did try to find some new habits to replace my emotional eating ones

* I did read and write more instead of eat

* I did tell myself that the best treat to give myself was NOT to eat a sweet

* I did managed to clock up 30km's on my treadmill between Mon-Fri

* I did print out the quote from Me 'N My Monkeys and put it in front of my treadmill

{I have not had time to make it look pretty but hope to this week}
{{thanks so much for this quote and I love the message}}

So for the figures for week 4 ~ this morning when I weighed myself I am down to 71.5 which is a very small loss but I am happy it is a loss. Here is my frustration with these numbers. When I started this on week one my weight was 71.9 and now after 4 weeks I am only down to 71.5! My weight is all over the place as when I weighed myself this week on Wednesday my weight had gone up to 72.3 - hence the big cry session and pep talked needed by Matt. I know that numbers are not the most important thing but I really want to see them go down. I know I have lost cm's around my body because my clothes are fitting so much better but boy! is this a battle getting those scales to move!

So for the next week I will keep doing what I am doing and hope that I can get into the 70's. Those 70's are killing me and seem so out of reach but I need to just keep focused on it and I will make it.

Thanks so much for all your support with our challenge. You inspire me to keep going and give me hope that I can get this extra weight off. I so want to feel better and fitter.

group hugs, tears and fresh sheets

I love to count my blessings and this week I have been feeling abundantly blessed.
I find I start to notice the blessings more when I am feeling grateful.

So this week I am feeling grateful for:

Group Hugs: Six of my cherubs started school this week. Sam and Eli started Prep at the 'big school' and were just adorable in their uniforms {which look way to big for them by the way!} and all the other kids were just as excited about it as they were.

I was delighted to see after school each day that the 'Big 4' kids would rush and even run, sometimes dragging friends, to come and meet Sam and Eli. When they reached each other they would yell out each others name and have a big hug.

Imagine my surprise when this continued for longer than the first day!

So if you saw a mum standing in the school yard with a huge smile on her face looking at her cherubs with wonder and amazement lapping up all of the awesomeness of them - that was me.

Tears: How I love them and how I need them some times. They are a gift of release for me.

During the week I had one of those cries. It had been building up for a while and I just had to get it out.

Normal story - feeling tired, taken on too much {again!}, worn out from trying to stop this emotional eating and feeling like my emotions were all over the place.

It was actually really great. I felt so much better afterwards and I am so grateful we have tears to shed and release our worries with.

Fresh sheets: This week I slid into bed after a long day and remembered that I had changed the bed that morning. It seemed like years ago that I had done it. Yes, one of those days.

How wonderful and blessed I am to have a bed, to be comforted each night with familiar linen and soft bedding. I love the feel and the smell of fresh sheets on my bed. Simple bliss!
*linking up my grateful thoughts with Maxabella*

Rubbermaid 'mop to you drop' review and giveaway!

I love a clean house and a house of order. Cleaning is not my favourite past time but I so love it when I have good products to make the work a little easier.

Mopping the floor would have to be one of my least favourite jobs around the house and as of yet I have not found a mop that I really truly love. So when I saw the opportunity to do a review on the Rubbermaid Reveal Mop I took it and I am so glad I did. There were several reasons I said yes:

1. I need a new mop
2. I love getting parcels in the mail
3. It looked super easy to use and
4. This mop is designed to save money and waste less.

The Reveal mop was light and fun to use. It is easy to get out for a quick clean and does quite a good job on the floor. I have white tiles throughout my home and they came up really nicely. The microfiber pad is reusable so you no longer have to buy disposable pads and it can be washed up to 100 times! Love that!

I also love how the refillable spray bottle allows you to use your own favorite household cleaner or you can use plain hot water. What I found to be really cool was that the head of the mop swivels around and I could get into hard to reach areas. Also because it is so thin and flat I could even mop right under my fridge and other spots. Love that too!

I am going to continue to use it because it is so simple and fast to help clean up. 
I can even get my kids to use the mop is so light and brilliant. 
Here is what you get:

Here is yours truly checking the mop out:
{awesome photography taken by Liberty}
Here is Liberty giving it a go:
{we start them young around here}
Now for the fun part. I love to do giveaways.
One of you awesome Seven Cherubs readers gets to win one to try out for yourself
and to have as your very own.

Here is what you need to know and do:
1. Follow my blog
2. Open to Aussie residents only
3. Leave a comment below {with your details} telling me:

"What is your favourite room to clean in the house and WHY?"

4. Giveaway closes February 11th
5. Winner will be chosen randomly
6. Rubbermaid Australia will post the winner out a new mop

Here is the advertisement that goes with the mop:


I received a complimentary Reveal Mop courtesy of Rubbermaid Australia via Aussie Mummy Bloggers.
I was not paid for this review. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

10 tips for avoiding Mother Guilt

I have been a mother for 12 years now. 
Mother guilt is something that I have personally struggled with for years. 
I no longer face this mother guilt battle and here are a few lessons I have learned:

1. Give yourself TIME - When a newborn baby is placed in your arms or you have motherhood thrust upon you from a different situation, you are not expected to be an expert immediately. There is no motherhood handbook that holds all the answers for what is best for you and your family. It takes time to learn mothering skills, to develop love, to know and understand a child who is in your care and to gain experience of what works and what doesn't. This is done over many days and many sleepless nights. It is a journey that you are learning together. Slow down and enjoy it!

2. Trust your own HEART - When it comes to your children and your family, YOU are the one who knows what choices are good, better and best. You know deep down in your heart what path to take, what your own personal and family desires are and what great hopes and dreams you have for your children. No-one else will love them the way you do and you are blessed with the gift of instincts to lead you each day as you prepare and raise your children the best way you can.

3. Have a REALISTIC PERSPECTIVE - No mother is perfect. Many mothers may look perfect and act like they are perfect, but no mother really IS perfect. In this challenging journey of motherhood having a realistic vision of what you can achieve individually and as a family will give you peace of mind and help you reach a standard of living that will bring happiness and contentment. Having a good perspective of motherhood is healthy and will ease your mind of unnecessary worry.

4. Know you will make MISTAKES - Being a mother is a roller coaster ride. There are low's and high's. The mother guilt lows can be very depressing and the highs can be totally uplifting. Knowing that you will make mistakes on this lifetime ride, and so will your children, will allow you to forgive yourself, let go and move forward towards being a better, more educated and experienced mother. It is not easy raising children and knowing that all mothers make mistakes is comforting and brings relief!

5. Give yourself PRAISE - As a mother we are doing a great work within the walls of our homes. We are helping to raise wonderful cherubs who we love dearly and often do this under stressful circumstances and with very little sleep. Often we forget to praise ourselves for our efforts and to give ourselves a break. We forget to tell ourselves how wonderful we are, what an awesome woman we are and that we are doing a sensational job raising our children. When our children say 'I love you mummy', do we stop to think about just how wonderful the woman is that they are loving?

6. Have a sense of HUMOUR - Often when I am feeling like I have not done the best I could or it has all fallen apart around our home - I have found it is the perfect moment for having a good laugh. Many days the choice comes down to crying my eyes out or laughing my head off. The times when I have chosen to laugh have been some of my best memories. The children have joined in and we have turned a somewhat difficult situation into a fun filled joyful moment. Laughter truly is the best medicine and seeing the brighter side of life always feels so much better.

7. Know you are NOT ALONE - Motherhood can feel like a lonely journey some days. It can feel like all the children are against you and that you are the only one who is trying to teach, train and hold the family together. It can also feel like you are the only one dealing with your own personal struggles and trials and that no-one understand what you are going through. In my conversations with other mothers I have been surprised just how many other mothers feel exactly the same way I do with problems I face, worries I have for my children and with not knowing what to do next. Knowing that I am not alone in trying to be a great mother has brought me comfort, sweet assurance and peace. I have felt my burdens lifted as I opened up to share worries with other women and loved the advice, support and laughter we have shared.

8. Know your LIMITS - One of the ways to be a great mother is to know yourself. To respect yourself and be mindful of what you are capable of. Trying to keep up with other mothers and what they are doing often leads to unhappiness and exhaustion. We know what we can do, what is realistic for us to achieve and when we have reached our limit with emotions and physical stamina. When we take on too much, push ourselves too far and try to be someone we are not we can very quickly find ourselves in tears and wondering what went wrong. There is nothing wrong with saying no and protecting ourselves so that we can be happy and motivated to dedicate our energies to raising our families. Do what you know you can do and your family will love you for it.

9. Think POSITIVE THOUGHTS - Our internal thoughts often reflect how we truly feel about ourselves. When we speak kindly to ourselves we feel less stressed, less guilty and less pressured to perform at unrealistic levels in our mothering. Removing words such as 'I should' and 'I have to' helps us to find some freedom in the daily choices we need to make in raising our children. Reminding ourselves each day that we are making a difference, that we are a great mother and that there is no greater work we can do will help us be cheerful as a mother and allow us to find nobility in motherhood.

10. Give yourself PERMISSION - Every mother needs time alone. To breathe, to refresh and rejuvenate. The sooner you give yourself permission to have this time, the happier you will be. We often spend all of our time placing the needs of our family above our own and feel very guilty whenever we take a small amount of time for ourselves. Taking time out does not mean you do not care about your family. Taking time out shows your children that you care about yourself and your needs too. This precious time out is greatly needed and essential for emotional stability and a fresh outlook on motherhood.

I hope that these tips help you in some small way on your motherhood journey and I really appreciate you taking the time to read them. 

If you are interested in more of my tips check out my parenting tab HERE.

What would you add to the list?

letting go

2 little men + starting school = JOY and TEARS
{from me that is}

Linking up here and here.

mother heart - guest hearting

Now that the kids are back at school I am going to get started on my Mother Heart posts.
For those of you who are new to Seven Cherubs this is where I love to write from the heart.

I decided to call it Mother Heart because often as Mothers the way that we write is straight from the heart. We share our burdens, our desires, our worries and our deepest sorrows and joys. We need to share them to uplift each other and to know we are not alone.

This year I am looking at doing something a little different.
I am going to open the heart up a little - expand, transplant it shall we say.

I am still going to write about motherhood every Thursday because I love to but I have also invited some other women to share their thoughts from their hearts. I am going to have some guest hearting going on. To motivate, uplift and inspire us in our motherhood journey.

So stay tuned for what we have in store to share and just quietly...I am super excited!
I have invited all sorts of mothers from all sorts of situations.

After all there is no perfect way to be a mother and we can all learn from each other in this roller coaster ride we are on to raise our cherubs the best way we know how.

By the way: 
Does anyone have any questions they would love to ask??
 or anything they would love to see written about here on Seven Cherubs to do with motherhood?

As you know I am not an expert but am happy to give your questions a go!

Nathan turns eleven

We always start the year off with a birthday for Nathan.
For him it always seems like he has to wait the longest.

This year he turns eleven and heads off to High School.
He is super excited as he has been chosen to be in the selected laptop class and gets to have his own laptop for the year to do school work on. Let me just say there are school rules attached with this and then there are 'Mum's rules' attached to this too! Poor boy...but he will still love it!

He has had a small growth spurt and is catching me on the shoes sizes now.
He still has a way to go to catch Chelsea who is towering above both of us but I think he will get there in the next couple of years.

Nathan normally hates having his picture taken and I was delighted he let me capture him having a bit of fun with his long hair do and awesome facial expressions. Love that boy!
In keeping with tradition. Here are eleven reasons I love Nathan:

1. He knows how to set goals, stay focused and work hards to achieve them.

2. He has this totally funny side to him that comes out every so often where he dances and performs and totally cracks us up.

3. He is such a patient older brother to Sam and Eli who totally adore him and want to be like him {so much so that they try to wear his clothes to be like him}. He wrestles with them and lets them win and will even let them win games on the Wii even though I know it drives him crazy that they play the games all wrong.

4. He shares a great love of reading with me and I love our little competitions we have trying to be the first person to read a book. He is quickly becoming a great speed reader and his memory blows me away!

5. I love how passionate he is about sport. He lives the game he is watching and would make a great commentator one day {hand actions and everything}.

6. I love that he does not like being kissed and that I {and the girls} have something fun to tease him about.

7. I love that he does not have a problem playing backyard cricket with his Mum and that he even compliments me on my bowling and batting skills. He even encourages me when he bowls me out!

8. I love that he loves Michael Jackson because I so love to see him dancing those MJ moves.

9. He has great potential to lead others. He believes in the importance of setting an example and has a kind heart to reach out to those who need help.

10. I love his smile. His eyes sparkle and I just love to see him happy.

11. He understands sacrifice and will go without to save up for something he really wants. He knows how to wait for something he greatly desires.

To celebrate his birthday Nathan and I went on a Mother/Son date to the Sushi train, both being serious Sushi lovers, and then stopped off to get him the biggest Slurpee Drink ever! We had a great time and came home determined to go again.

Happy Birthday Nathan. YOU are awesome and we love you.

Help! I want to diminish...Lucy

Today to help us out with our Blogger Butt Challenge we have enlisted the help of the QUEEN
of shifting weight - Lucy from Diminishing Lucy.

Lucy has shared how she fits exercise into her schedule and after reading this
I so need to work out a better regular plan.

Take it away LUCY:

Recently, a couple of friends and family have asked how I manage to fit in the exercise I do around the kids.

My husband works long hours and we have three small children. I work part time from home.

So to make time to exercise, I get up before the kids most days. I grocery shop online instead of doing a late night shop on a Thursday.  I have juggled life around a bit to make myself, and my exercise, a priority.

Here is my current plan.

(I am not suggesting that everyone can adopt this plan. But if you look at your weekly schedule, I promise you, you CAN find time, if you want to.)

Monday 6am -  Group Personal Training (Cardio and Resistance). This is run locally and costs me $10 per session. Home by 7am for a shower and this is about when the kids are waking up. (If they wake earlier, lovely husband deals with them and slaps ABC kids on for them with a cup of juice!)

Tuesday 6am - 1 hr walk/jog around the local streets with a friend

Wednesday 6am: 1 hr walk/job around the local streets with a friend

Thursday 7.30pm: The solitary run, with my iPod. This is the one I have to really psych myself up for. It is only me and my iPod and its cheesy 1980's dance tracks that gets me out there in the park running around. BUT, funnily enough, once I have done it, by myself, I feel so inspired.

Friday: This is a hard one as I have to do something around the kids. So usually a session with my fit ball and an exercise DVD on the TV, or skipping in the back yard. Or I run intervals up and down the track at the back of the house.

Saturday: My day off! Although, most Saturdays I will pram push my youngest down to the shops, which is a lovely walk, and she loves it. Or, as a family, we might end up going for a swim.

Sunday: This is my "lie in" day when my lovely husband gets up with the kids and makes them brekky and gets them dressed etc. However, these days, I chose to use this time to walk. A couple of friends and I, we meet at 7.30am at a local conservation park. We do a long walk of about 10kms. It is one of my favourite times of the week. It is one of my favourite walks.

And it had changed me from this:

To this:

Even if I never lose another gram, this exercise business gives me so much energy, so many happy hormones, so much more of a sense of peace in my heart, so much more love to give to the kids and to my lovely husband, it is truly worth it.

And so much easier than you would ever imagined it could be...

the battle continues....

Well, we are onto the third week here and not much change has been happening for me. I think it is because of the current routine I have with all the kids home from school and the amount of food preparation I am doing is adding to my challenge of eating less and moving more. I am hoping that this week will bring a bigger shift in weight with all the kids back at school and I can get into a better routine.

Here are some things I did this week:

I did cut down on my portion sizes

I did get out the Taebo DVD's again

I did enjoy punching and kicking

I did remember that I don't like listening to Billy Blanks

I did rework some playlists on my ipod

I did spend more time being active with the kids

I did learn that I am a better bowler than batter in backyard cricket

I did say NO to more sweets

I did get impatient and want this weight to move

I did swim more in the pool

I did go through my wardrobe and dream about fitting into more clothes

I did convince myself I love wearing exercise clothes

I did start to think that I am beginning to look like Cookie Monster {above} with all this loud ipod music

I did talk to myself into being LISSOM - click here to learn more

I did talk to the kids about supporting me

I did get support from the kids

So this week I weighed myself and have managed to get myself from 72.2 back down to 71.6 - which is great but I am sooooo wanting to get under 70kg's. Then I know I can get this weight moving faster and I am having trouble being patient. I need to work a little harder this week and really push myself.

Our bodies are a wonderful gift and they can often do so much more than we think they can. I find it is my mind that wants to stop instead of my body most times when I am running and this week I am going to try to focus on what my body can do instead of what my mind wants to do.

I hope that you have all had a great week with your own battles and so love reading how you are going. We so appreciate your support and love that you are joining us in this challenge.

100 ways to be happy - Number 12. Garden

I love to spend a morning or afternoon in the garden.
It relaxes me {as long as I don't find any spiders} and energises me.

I love to plant, to nourish and watch growth occur.
It gives me a great sense of accomplishment and achievement.
Maybe because so many days IN my house, it can seem like there is no growth happening anywhere!

There are many benefits to gardening.
It is a great physical activity that helps your body and also your mind.

It can be a real stress buster by providing just the right environment to give you a little break from the normal busy routine of life. You can think about your problems, think about your dreams and if you have a blog you can even think about writing blog posts.

One of my favourite blogs I love to read is Laughing with Angels.

Here is a little about JUNE:

"I live in a cozy little house in a charming little garden with a great guy and sweet angel in a peaceful little town in Idaho. I am a 55-year old mother of 6 who all but one are on their own. Our youngest is a beautiful 23-year old boy who happens to have Angelman Syndrome, thus the name of my blog!

He is always laughing, smiling, and he makes my life wonderful. I love beautifying my home, garden and anything that will stand still long enough. I love people, all kinds everywhere and have a great time meeting, getting to know, and getting to love them."

I love to read what June has to say but OH! how I LOVE her garden.

I even asked June if I could move into her house.
Some how I don't think she would have room for the nine of us but it was worth a try.

June has kindly let me show you some of the awesome pictures of her garden.
I totally recommend you drop by and have a look at her other pictures.
Her home is Heaven on Earth.
Isn't her garden just Divine!
June sure is talented.
Now I know you want a sneak peak inside her house too ~ so lets have a look:
Love, love, love it!
Guess what...she also makes gorgeous things like this:
I so wish we were neighbours so I could hang out in her garden.
I would love to learn how to be creative like she is...
Oh! well...I will keep gardening and dreaming.

Thanks so much June xx

keeping it real:getting ready for school

A Seven Cherubs:Keeping It Real Post

Today was one of those days.
I woke up feeling grumpy.
 {even though Matt let me have a little sleep in
I was so not in the mood for getting out of bed.

You see today was my appointed day to do the school books.
All six book packs.
You know, make sure I have all the books and stationary, 
wrestle with the contact, name everything and have it all ready for the first day of school.

I could barely bring myself to get out of bed.
Not my favourite way to spend the day.
But, I managed to get through it.

It did require:
one computer on all day
two DSi games being played all day
the television on all day
the Wii being played all afternoon
{even having to bring out a NEW Wii game I had stored
a lot of snacks being eaten from the snack cupboard
me using extreme patience to deal with many interruptions from children
many deep, deep breaths as I tried to get bubbles out of contact
even surrendering my phone for a brief time to be used for games

I am not one for picking favourites but Nathan,
I so love him today because he did NOT want any contact,
on ANY of his books. Thank YOU Nathan.

I am so glad that this is an activity that happens once a year.
The day seemed to drag on forever and I am so glad it is over.

What is it like for you in your house?
Do you have any tips for getting ready for school?

face fun

Linking up here and here

Teaching children to Pray

With the recent flood disaster here in Queensland our family has watched, discussed and considered the many different ways that we could help and assist those in need. 

As we have young children, the ways that they could contribute has been limited. My older children have wanted to go and assist in the clean up around Brisbane but with the helping age limit set for 14 we felt that they were too young yet to participate.

They know they could donate pocket money, donate toys and clothing and other household items around the house but to make it more personal and heartfelt we talked to them about praying.

I believe in the power of prayer. I have had many prayers answered in my own life.

In our family life, prayer is a daily practice. We have taught our children the importance and the benefit of doing it each day and encourage them to be aware of their thoughts and feelings.

Our simple instructions and pattern on prayer are as follows:

1. Address "Our Father in Heaven....."
2. Think of things to be thankful for "We thank thee...."
3. Think of things you or others need help with "We ask thee..."
4. Close with respect "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

I so love to hear the sweet whisperings and feelings of my children. To see what has stood out to them throughout the day and to hear them thinking of others and not just themselves. We do not expect them to say long prayers or to be eloquent in their language, just simple and honest in the way they feel.

Most people I have met believe in some type of Supreme Being or God, even though they may call him by different names. Whatever and whoever you believe in, I want you to know that I have been so uplifted to hear and see so many people praying for others at this time. That they have lifted their thoughts upwards and reached out to a greater power to help those suffering and struggling here in Queensland.

I hope that the flood victims have felt comforted and supported {at least for a small moment} in their trials and challenges from all the prayers that have been directed their way.

Prayer is a small thing but out of small things great things can happen.

flood pictures

Matt helping with the clean up here in Brisbane.
 The line up to register to volunteer.
 Loading all the contents out the front.
 The water line.
 The bread shelves in our closest store.
Finding a little bread left. No time to be fussy.
Small discomforts we were happy to deal with.

When Matt went to help out in the community he was overwhelmed by the support,
the assistance and level of care from the volunteers.
There were even volunteers for the volunteers.

He will never forget the smell, the mess and the mud.
Always in his mind will be how heartbroken families were,
how crushed they were by the loss they had to face
and how brave they were making constant decisions to keep moving forward.

I am looking forward to my turn. To help those in need and to see it for myself.
If you want to donate to the Flood Relief Appeal you can do it here.
all flood images above from here