Thursday, April 28, 2011

childrens craft: quilling

One easy craft activity that I have the girls involved in is quilling. It is reasonably cheap and easy to do on a basic level. It does not make much mess and is a lovely quiet activity for a Sunday afternoon.

After searching for supplies (a quilling tool and paper) in local craft stores and coming up empty handed, I ended up buying the supplies off ebay for a bargain price of $0.99cents. I managed to get the quilling tool and paper together and since then the girls have enjoyed creating and designing some great colourful cards and pictures.

This is what the tools look like. A quilling tool with thin paper to roll and create with.
The paper comes in packs of different colours and is a bunch of thin strips stuck together.
You then roll it up around the tool to create circles in different sizes that you can shape and create with.

Here are some designs Chelsea put together:
If you have the right quilling tool, one with a slit in it, you can create some really simple, easy designs.
Here is an introduction to quilling I found on Youtube if you are interested in checking it out.


Anyone else do any quilling???

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My birth stories Part 2: the twins

I have been slowly making my way through my birth stories, in a shortened simplified form. I could write so much about what happened and how I felt and how emotional I was but, I am trying to keep it brief. Such a challenge.

I am often asked about my birth experiences. People assume that because I have seven children that birth was an easy process for me and that was the reason that I kept going back for more. All of my experiences have been different and special in their own way and I find that I can relate to many other women because they have been so varied.

In my conversations with other mothers, I have met very few people who have actually had what I would call a somewhat easy birth. To me there is no such thing. Giving birth is downright painful, exhausting, overwhelming, exilarating and incredible all rolled into one.

Part 1 of my birth stories is here. Let's start on Part 2.

Sam and Eli

I found out I was having twins when I was about 8 weeks pregnant. I woke up one Sunday morning and discovered I was bleeding. This had never happened to me before and I was scared. I immediately went to the hospital for an ultrasound fully expecting to be told that I had lost a baby.

Instead, I was shocked, amazed and alarmed to discover that I was having twins. On the ultrasound screen were 2 small separate eggs and 1 small blur or smudge where they think the bleeding came from. Meaning there was a high chance that I really was carrying 3 babies and had lost one. I don't know and the doctors don't know for sure. At the time I was speechless and sad. Now that I look back on it I count it as a blessing. I do not know how I would have coped with 4 small children and then three new babies. I know we would have got through it and I really would have kept them all for sure, but I am so thankful we did not have to.

The next 2 weeks after discovering that I was going to have twins I cried every day. I mean really, really cried. I was upset and scared. I had seen my sister-in-law have twins twice and knew how much work was involved, how tiring it was and how much effort it took to keep a routine going. At the end of the two weeks I pulled myself together and started reading as much as I could about triplets to make me feel that having twins would be easy.

As I went through my pregnancy I had many doctors appointments and ultrasounds. As this was baby numbers 5 and 6 they really kept a close eye on me. Every time I went for an ultrasound I waited for them to tell me that something was not right, that something was wrong, that one of them was not growing properly, that I would have to make a choice between the two, that there were complications and that I needed to prepare myself for problems. I was ready. I had mentally and emotionally prepared myself for this to happen and was prepared to face whatever came my way.

After every ultrasound I would in disbelief walk out of the doctors office teary and so, so thankful that all the way through my ultrasound I would hear over and over the word normal. I still hear it in my mind when I think back to those times. Normal, normal, normal. I just could not believe it. The boys just kept growing and thriving. They grew evenly, in separate sacks and they grew together.

At about half way through the pregnancy! Looking like I am about to have a baby!

Early on in my pregnancy I knew when it came to giving birth I needed to be as careful as I could. Having just had an emergency caesarian with Harmony I knew my chances of having a vaginal birth with twin boys was very slim. I set out to do some research and carefully chose a doctor that I knew had a reputation for letting women try for a vaginal delivery with twins. Lucky for me he lived close by and lucky for me he was taking new patients.

My biggest decision for the boys with giving birth was to decide if I wanted a caesarian. Having a previous track record of successful vaginal births was on my side and my main concern was that I did not want to have a vaginal delivery for one and a caesarian for the other. I did not want to be sore in 2 places! My doctor was prepared to let me try for a vaginal birth if both heads were down and ready to go on the day. I knew that this was going to be hard work, that I would need to be focused and I started mentally preparing myself for it as early as I could. I imagined the births in my mind. I visualised myself giving birth to one baby, holding that baby, handing that baby over and then digging deep to go through the same experience again.

My pregnancy was pretty normal as far as a twin pregnancies go: lots of swelling, super large stomach, no sleep, pain in the back, put on too much weight, cramped baby space, swollen feet and lots of tears.

Oh yeah! do I look happy or what???

As I reached the end of my pregnancy we (the doctor, Matt and I) made the decision to be induced at 37 weeks. The boys had grown to a good size and I was hoping in this way we could be in a controlled environment and monitor their birth in a slower, hopefully safer pace. I wanted to be as prepared as I could be and have help available if I needed it. I was still worried that something would go wrong and my goal was to get these boys out safe, healthy and alive.

I went into hospital early in the morning. I was strapped up to all sorts of devices, had an epidural to help with the pain and braced myself for what I was hoping was going to be easy, quick, uncomplicated birth experience. I knew that it was the second baby that there was the most concern for. They are at the greater risk. For this I was prepared to do whatever was necessary to get him out safe.

The day went on very slowly and I was checked over many times. Every thing kept going along smoothly and I was comfortable and pain free for most of the day. Late in the afternoon things really started to happen. My doctor came in to tell me he was leaving to go away for the weekend and was clocking off work soon. I really wanted him to deliver my boys and did not want another doctor that I did not know to be the one who ended up helping me. 

Shortly after hearing this information (I think it scared me a little) the time came for my first boy to be born. I was tired by this stage but pulled myself together and delivered Eli without complications and problems to me. When he came out they quickly checked him over and informed me that he had some trouble with his lungs. He was making a noise like he was purring like a cat and they needed to take him away to the special care nursery for some more attention. Before they took him away I asked to hold him. I held him in my arms and he was gorgeous, perfect and adorable. As I touched his cheek and held him close to me and talked to him, his purring stopped. He started breathing normally and the doctor and midwife were surprised to see him recover so quickly. Eli never went to the special care nursery. He stayed in the room with me constantly until I took him home. I know he just needed his mum to make him feel better :)

As I handed Eli over to Matt to hold I caught a glance at my doctor. He had a worried look on his face and was whispering to the midwife. I did not need to be told that something was wrong, I could tell by his look, the change in the feel in the room and I decided at that moment I was taking this situation in my own hands. As they were still whispering, I sat up, I told myself I needed to get this baby out and that I needed to do it FAST. I was scared but I knew I could do it as I had done it several times before. I could see from the look on my doctors face that he was scared too and he was trying his best to help Sam as best he could. The difficulty was that I could not feel anything. I could not tell if I was making any progress because of the epidural and I prayed that everything would work out alright.

After Eli was born, Sam discovered that he had lots of space and room to move. He decided to turn himself completely around. My Doctor some how (and I am so thankful I had an epidural!) quickly turned Sam around inside me. Don't ask how he did it - you don't want to know and I can't bring myself to tell you! I then pushed and pushed and got Sam out in record time. He came out quickly and easily. He arrived 20 minutes after Eli. He was healthy, super cute and gorgeous. When I held him after he was born I was so thankful and grateful that he had made it alive. I was teary to see that both of my boys had made it out safe and that I could hold them both in my arms. My Doctor even now years later remembers his birth so clearly, he says he was so scared that Sam was not going to make it.

Sam on the left, Eli on the right

I was able to take the two boys into my hospital room, healthy and complication free to spend the next couple of days and nights with me. I sat on my hospital bed many nights just staring at them, still almost in disbelief that I had two healthy boys who were mine to raise and love. I am so, so thankful that we could stay for our short visit there and that they could come home with me after several days. 

Both boys weighed over 6 pounds and were about the same in weight and length. Sam had very little hair and Eli had slightly more hair with a cute natural spike on top. Matt and I and the other kids totally adored them and we just loved having them in our home. It was crazy, it was exhausting but so lovely at the same time.

Sam on the left, Eli on the right

They grew into this:

I mean seriously...are they just too cute or what?
Eli on the left, Sam on the right.

I really enjoyed this age and we totally smothered them with hugs and kisses. Of course I had no idea just how much trouble those gorgeous smiles were going to cause when they turned 2. We managed to survive it...just!

Sam on the left, Eli on the right.

Sam and Eli today. Still full of smiles, still gorgeous, happy and healthy and so much fun to be with.
Love these boys. I hope you enjoyed reading a little more about them and thanks for being patient. So much for keeping it short!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

warm fuzzies

Recently, I was looking for a way to teach kindness to our children. An easy way to help them remember the importance of serving each other and doing kind acts. I remembered a talk I had heard at church about having a warm fuzzy jar to get children excited and motivated about being kind to each other. It was just what our family needed and I immediately made one up for us to start using. I took a spare jar, decorated it and then filled it with soft fuzzy balls from a craft shop.
For family night I talked about how we feel when we help or serve others. That often we get a good feeling inside and we feel happy that we were able to make someone else happy. I talked about how as a family it is important that we help and serve each other and not just our friends outside of our home. We discussed how it can be much harder to be kind to our family sometimes but we can still have that good 'warm fuzzy' feeling when we are kind to each other at home too. Being kind is part of our family principles and a value that it is important to our family. 
Kindness does not have to be a large act of service, it can be small and still make a difference, even a smile is a way to be kind. I explained to the children how our warm fuzzy jar was going to work.
1. Every time you do a kind act for a family member you can take a warm fuzzy out of the jar.
2. Place the warm fuzzy in the bowl next to the jar
3. Write down in the notebook what you did to help a family member so we can share it later on.
4. The warm fuzzy jar is special and not to be played with.
Of course immediately after explaining this to my family one cheeky child says to me:
"Mum, if you did ALL the jobs for ALL of this week, YOU could fill up the warm fuzzy jar yourself."
Good try kiddo! but, this is a family activity :)
This activity worked really well in our family. It was simple and easy to oversee as a parent, it was able to be applied to all the ages of my children and it was fun to do. The older children and especially the younger children all really enjoyed being able to take a warm fuzzy out of the jar to place in the bowl. For the younger children they were able to write down their name if they had done something kind and felt like they were like the big kids because they could participate too. I found them looking and inventing ways to serve each other and to show a little more kindness than they normally would.

I printed out the template to stick on the jar from here. You could also introduce this topic by telling 'A Warm Fuzzy Tale' in your own version, found here. The original talk I heard is here.

You could also start off with an empty jar and the goal is to fill it up. You could also use lollies or other treats to motivate children, whatever works best in your family.

Monday, April 18, 2011

inspiration boards work

One of the ways I love to take time out just for ME is to make and create an inspiration board. I love to sit down with a bunch of old magazines to let my mind go crazy exploring, admiring and then cutting and constructing pictures or images that I am drawn towards.

Lately I have been drawn towards words. I have always loved words and have noticed that I have been including them in my inspiration boards more and more. They keep me focused.

For my inspiration board I use, I just picked up a cheap pin board from IKEA. I think it was $12 and I sit it by my computer where I blog and write. For this board I sat down and cut out any images that I liked. I had no theme in mind, just pretty things and wanted a collection that would make me smile.

I have been using this one for a while. It has uplifted me many times and during the week I noticed something wonderful. See below:

{Gosh! I miss Notebook magazine}
Does the above image look familiar???

I think they really do work!!
If you don't believe me go and ask Stacey, from Sunny Mummy.
Here are her instructions for making your own: HERE.

I am now creating a new inspiration board.
One that is full of goals and dreams.
More specific, more focused and more fun!

Have YOU ever made an inspiration board???
 Have YOU ever noticed it worked for you???

Friday, April 15, 2011

happiness project motivation

I am on my first day of the school holidays here in Queensland. I am interested to see how this will influence my one sentence happiness journal as I love having my children home with me but they can also start to drive me crazy after a couple of weeks! So far I am jumping for joy at not having to rush out the door in the morning and loving the fact I don't have to do school lunches.

I have been writing down happy moments each night for the Seven Cherubs Happiness Project and have been loving the chance to ponder over, record and remember what helped me to feel happy during the day. So excited that we have over 110 blogs signed up to get happy.

Just as a little motivation I thought I would share with you a little more from Gretchen Rubin. Now before you get all upset and email me about the importance of coming up with my ideas I want to tell you that Gretchen has a 'happiness starter kit' that she emails out to people who are interested in motivating others to be happy. I of course asked for the kit and Gretchen happily emailed it to me.

To start with I thought I would share:

 some of Gretchen's thoughts about the nature of happiness:
* Your body matters. 
* Happiness is other people. 
* Best is good, better is best. 
* Outer order contributes to inner calm.
* Think about yourself so you can forget yourself. 
* “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” -- G. K. Chesterton 
* What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you, and vice versa. 
* Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting

In my first week of seeking and wanting more happiness I have discovered:
* Happiness comes from simplicity and simple pleasures
*Happiness is connected to family and the heart
*Happiness is found in small moments

As little thought for you today I would love for you to tell me:
What are some of your thoughts about the nature of happiness?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

sleep deprivation as a parent

Today I am sharing a little from my heart.
I came across this picture of myself the other day.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
I think I have a thousand words to say about this picture.

Wow! what a tired mum.
Wow! look how cute and small those boys are!

As soon as I saw this picture a river of precious memories came flooding back to me. What a challenging time of my life but also what a special sacred time too. 

Dealing with feeding, bathing, cuddling, kissing and caring for two new born boys PLUS four other children who still needed school lunches, homework help, washing, feeding and caring was seriously exhausting work. Add to that the healing my own body needed to do after giving birth to them and dealing with the emotional and physical changes taking place within my body. Whew! Crazy.

This was the most sleep deprived I have ever been. Matt and I did not get any sleep for the first year of these boys lives. At the start every time Sam and Eli would wake up at night we would find 4 other children standing at the end of our bed watching and wondering what was going on.

It always required both of us to get up, one of us to feed the boys and one of us to get the other four children back to sleep. Lucky for us this did not go on for too long and then we could both focus on keeping a routine going for Sam and Eli.

When I look back on this time I really don't remember feeling depressed. I don't think I had time to be! Sure there would have been moments where I cried, felt terrible and could not see the light at the end of this nappy changing tunnel and felt just downright worn out. But, now that it has all passed, all that I remember is how gorgeous my cherubs were and how blessed I felt to have them in my life.

I miss those squishy cheeks, those gorgeous fingers and toes, those sweet smiles and eyes that seemed to look right into me. I loved those special late night moments when I held my two cherubs close and they looked at me like I was the most important person to them in the whole world.

Where it was dark, it was quiet and time seemed to stand still.

I do remember having a strict routine that I followed. I got up early and just keep my body moving throughout the day. I was up and down, up and down, rushing from one room and one clean up after another.

My arms were full and so was my heart.

My date nights and spending time alone with Matt was what I missed out on the most. Our quiet catch up time together was sitting up in the early hours of the morning with a bottle each feeding a new born boy.

When Matt came home from work each day it was not to sit down and rest, it was to start the second shift, to get to work and to pitch in and help. I am so thankful that he did just that. There was always someone who needed to be fed, or changed or bathed.

We choose to do this together as we both had full days and knew no-one had an easy job.

To those of you who have young cherubs and are feeling worn out, sleep deprived, exhausted and under appreciated, KNOW THIS:

*You are doing a great work and every single little unnoticed, unappreciated thing that you do for your family is important.

*When you look in the mirror and see a tired worn out face and body, know that you have a wonderful glow about you because you are a mother and you are serving and caring in a way that nobody else can for your family.

*You are making a difference. That clean outfit you just put on, that face you just wiped, that washing load you just did for the thousandth time, that meal you just cooked that no-one wanted to eat, makes a difference to the feel in your home, to the health of the precious little cherub who is living there and for all those who enter.

*Children do not see what you see. They cannot see that you are looking shabby, that you are still carrying that extra baby weight, that you feel terrible, that you are not your so called normal self. They only see your eyes, your smile and your love.

*This time will pass and you will survive it. It does get better, sleep does come in larger chunks and soon enough you will be wishing for those days all over again.

Now that my boys are bigger and are sleeping a lot more I can look back on that time and be thankful for the lessons I learned, for the love they taught me and feel a little proud that I survived that time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Giveaway ECCO shoes!

If you are a frequent follower on my blog you will know that I LOVE doing GIVEAWAYS!!!

Today, I am super excited as we have a giveaway that is just for YOU to enjoy and to treat yourself with, over and over again and even every day if you want to!!!

I was so delighted, excited and surprised to get an email asking me if I would be interested in having a look through the ECCO shoes catalogue to choose a pair of shoes that I would like to try out and enjoy. My first thought was: Are you serious??? Shoes!!!! Hello ~ Heaven!!!

Well, after some serious scanning and dreaming and pinching myself I picked out a pair of shoes.
Gorgeous leather boots actually and this is the pair I received ~ Ecco Essence:

Let me just say that these boots are divine, gorgeous, soooooo comfortable and AWESOME!
For real, for sure and for TRUE! Love, love, love.
Do I look excited. I am excited!!
They go with my jeans, my leggings, my skirts and my dresses. Fashion heaven. 
Did I mention I LOVE THEM!!!

I really LOVE the back of the boots. The detail is impressive:
Now let me tell you a little bit about ECCO. They are a family-owned company that know's that to deliver perfect quality they need to control every single aspect of their business, which is why they own the entire production process from cow to shoe. ECCO owns its own tanneries and produces such high-quality leathers that they also sell to luxury designer brands such as Louis Vuitton and even Porsche.
Of course I was immediately attracted to the happiness they feel and promote. I think I should add these shoes to my happiness list. All their shoes are designed to follow the foot, so they are really practical and sensible without compromising style. Today they make shoes for everyone and for every occasion. Casual and formal. Kid's shoes. Outdoor shoes. Men's Shoes. Women's Shoes. They even do handbags...LOVE! 

ECCO designers search for inspiration from many sources - from fashion, art, architecture, the car industry and of course from what is happening in society. They are a Scandinavian company who's design is regarded as exclusive and stylish, yet functional and simple. They have over 950 shops and distribute to more than 50 countries worldwide.

One part of the business I was impressed with was their Code of Conduct. They work hard to be a leader within the environment, with health and safety and supports sustainable development. They feel they are a guest in each of the countries in which they operate and respect the local culture. They also prioritise and provide training, education and further development of human resources at all levels.
When I looked through the ECCO catalogue I was in love with this picture. A gorgeous model wearing ECCO boots and looking stylish. Just for fun I thought I would see if I could look as stylish:


Ha! Ha! I mean...seriously....who looks like they are happier???
The chubby mum of seven cherubs right?
Thanks for the picture Libby.

Now for the serious part.
The Giveaway!

Thanks to ECCO they are giving away to a lucky Seven Cherubs 
reader a $250 voucher to spend in one of their shops!!!

Here are the guidelines:
1. Add yourself as a follower on my blog
2. Open to Aussie residents only
3. Entries close April 30th at 5pm
4. Winner chosen by random number generator
5. Go to the ECCO site HERE and have a look around
6. Come back and tell me:

What would you spend $250 on at a ECCO Store???

Have fun looking.
For a second chance to win head on over to Three Lil Princesses
p.s - This $250 voucher is in Australian dollars.
It is to be used at an Australian store.
You can search for a store here at the Ecco store locator.
I have done a check and there are about 20-25 stores in each state around Australia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

a blog interview

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity of being on Radio. Well, not me exactly, my blog. I was interviewed as part of the 'Best of the Blogs' segment for Sydney's Hope 103.2. The lovely Jennifer Reid from Life's like a cupcake features blogs for this segment.

It was fun to do and I was so touched by her words, I actually got a little teary. It was one of those life moments when you hear someone talking about you and it sounds like they are talking about someone else and not you. I kept thinking, Wow! is she really talking about me! Thanks so much Jennifer for your sweet words.

So today I thought I would share with you some of the questions and answers I put together for this segment. It shares a little about my blog vision and plan.

Q: Your first post seems to be on January 11, 2010.  But you mentioned that you blogged before that too.  When did you actually start blogging?

A: I actually started my first blog on December the 1st, 2008. It was a private family blog. I had just finished reading a parenting book that listed on the last page a website to refer to, for further information. I decided to look it up and was delighted to find that it was a blog. I loved it so much I immediately started my own.

Q: What inspired you to start Seven Cherubs?

A: I first started Seven Cherubs to keep my family updated on what was happening in our lives as they all live interstate. I have always wanted to write in a public forum but was too scared. At the beginning of having a blog, I hid behind my children (meaning I only wrote about them) until I felt brave enough to share my own voice, my own thoughts and opinions in relation to motherhood and what was in my heart.

Q:Why the name Seven Cherubs?

A:My blog is named Seven Cherubs firstly, because we have seven children (4 girls and 3 boys) and secondly, because when our children were young my husband would frequently call them ‘cherubs’.  I would often here him saying ‘come her my little cherub!’ and the name just stuck. To us a cherub is an angelic and in our case a beautiful, innocent child. We associate cherubs with chubby, cute children who you just adore. That was the perfect description of our children when they were that they are getting older...not so much :)

Q:Who are your target audience?  Is it mainly mums?

A:My target audience for my blog is women and mainly mothers. It is who I can relate to the most. I often sit down to write and think of when I was a young mother and was struggling with many young children and try to write something that I would love and need to read at that time. My goal and wish is to inspire women to create moments of happiness and for mothers to believe in themselves.

Q:How did your blog change to a money earner, which I noticed it has recently?  What made you decide to go a bit more commercial?

A:I have had a change in my blog recently. It has become more commercial and it was a difficult decision to make. It is my creative space and it was hard to give up my writing wants over to companies to promote their products. I decided to do some sponsored posts on my blog to save up for a new laptop. I was honest and open about this with my readers and when I had made enough money I thanked them for supporting me in my goal. Recently, I have made the decision to cut back on company/sponsored posts and to get back to writing about what I want. I still have a few commitments I need to finish off and then I am going to be more careful with what I promote on my blog. It has been a real learning curve for me and I really appreciate my readers support through this whole process.

Q:What do your friends and family think of your blog?  Does your hubby or kids read it?

A:When my family and friends started reading my blog I don’t think they were prepared for how frequently I was going to write on my blog. I write/publish a blog post just about every day. It is hard for them to keep up with the reading and I don’t expect them to read every post.

I am truly happy if they even read one of my posts! My friends are just starting to be interested in what I write about and for most of them they have no idea what a blog actually is! My husband is wonderful and reads my blog just about every day. His favourite part is to read all of the comments that other people leave and I have to say - that is my favourite part too!

My kids read my blog when they get a chance and love to keep track of how often I write about them - I try to keep it even, now that I know they are keeping tabs!

Q: I noticed you have a Degree in Literary studies, History and Children’s Literature.  How interesting!  Do you do any other work or writing besides on your blog?

At the moment I do not do any other writing on a regular basis. I have not committed to write for one certain website or company. I have written for several other blogs about motherhood but right now for me, while my children are still young, I am trying to keep up with my own blog and keep as much free time for my family as I can.

Q: What do you like best about blogging?

A:First of all, I love that having a blog allows you to write in a public forum. Secondly, I love that writing in this way allows you to get feedback immediately on your thoughts and ideas. Thirdly, I love that having a blog allows you to create a sense of community in your creative space. You can connect with other women or mothers and together help each other on your journey to be the best mother or wife or friend that you can be. It is a supportive network that comes together across the blogosphere.

Q: What are 3 of your favourite ever older posts and why?

A: My first favourite post is: Does my butt look big with this bus? In this post I wrote about the fact that I drive a commuter bus and how sometimes as women we judge each other by the way that we look. Often I find that women stare me up and down, check me out, when I jump out of my bus and cannot believe I actually have seven kids. I wonder what does a women with seven kids supposed to look like?

My second favourite is: What is a mother? I wrote this post for a friend of mine who is currently a step-mother and was having trouble accepting the role of mother in her life as she did not give birth to the children she is now raising. Motherhood comes in many different shapes and forms and really it comes down to what is in our hearts.

My third favourite is: 10 tips for avoiding mother guilt. I love this post because it gave me a chance to sit down and really think over my feelings towards motherhood. As women I think we feel guilty over so many things we don’t need to. I wanted to help my readers try to avoid feeling down and unhappy with themselves as they are on this full on adventure and  motherhood journey.

Q: What is your favourite most recent post?

My favourite most recent post I wrote is called gently. In this post I encourage mothers to take life a little more gently, a little more kindly and to go a little more slowly. I discuss how negative self talk can be damaging and depressing. A little reminder that kindness begins with me.

Q: Your blog design is awesome...did you do it yourself?

When I first started a blog I taught myself about blog design. I would stay up late at night and learn different techniques and find free backgrounds or images that I could use in my blog posts. After a year of having a blog and experimenting with different designs I decided to pay someone to design my blog for me. It was not as expensive as I thought it would be. The techniques that I had taught myself how to do late at night really helped in knowing what design and look I wanted for my blog. I love my blog look and mostly love that I do not need to spend any more time making changes to it and can now focus on writing.

Q: Feel free to add anything else, if there is anything in particular that you want to say!

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter~day Saints or Mormon as most people call it. My religion is a great influence on how I go about my writing and mothering. I love to include a spiritual aspect to my nurturing role and often pray about what I should share and write about on my blog. It has helped me to believe in myself, have faith in myself and given me the confidence to have a voice on a public forum about how wonderful it can be to be a stay at home mum. It is not joyful and fun staying at home every day but there are special moments to treasure and appreciate that can be found every single day. These are the moments I love to focus on and to share.

If you are interested in listening to the segment you can do so here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

happiness project start

Well, the time has arrived to start the happiness project.
I have to say I am so overwhelmed and touched by the amount of support there is for this project.

Wow! a BIG thank YOU to everyone who has decided to join in. We have over 70 blogs joined up!
I am SO excited to read about what will make everyone happy over the next month.

As a reminder here is the plan again:
Starting today, April 10th, and finishing on May 10th we will take time each day to record and write one sentence on what has made us feel happy during that day or things that we are grateful for on that day.

I encourage you to use lots of these ,,,,,, and lots of these ~~~~ to fit in as much happiness as you can!

At the end of the month after May 10th (I will let you know what date), we each publish as a blog post our one sentence monthly list and link up together here at Seven Cherubs so that we can each read what touched our hearts and made us happy. If you do not feel comfortable sharing all of your daily sentences then just share with us those that you do feel comfortable sharing.

An example could be:
Today we went to the park, had a picnic for dinner and I loved watching the kids play together. OR
I love that I have a washing machine that works and that Eli has stopped throwing up!

There are several choices on how you can record your sentences.
1. If you love to put pen to paper you can write them up in a journal or special notebook
2. You could just take a picture of it or you can type them all up at the end in a blog post
3. You could just type your sentences straight into a blog post draft each day to publish at the end

It all depends on what will work best for you and what you love to do.
On the original blog post I quoted Gretchen Rubin:

"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

I have not even started my sentences yet and I have to say I am already feeling happy and feeling that this quote really is true! Over the next month I will post a few reminder blog posts about sticking to our happiness project and I encourage you to set a few reminders yourself. I love the idea from LemonTreeLikes who has set an alarm on her phone to remind her to blog each day about being happy. If you are writing in a notebook, leave it is a prominent place that you can see each day so you don't forget.

Well, my happiness project friends, enJOY your days and look for that silver lining in each day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

happiness project

I am a seeker of happiness and have been wanting to focus on this area of my life a little more recently.
I have now completed 24 ideas on my happiness list.

I have been scouring the net looking for ideas of a project I could do, when one day I realised that there was a great idea sitting right in front of me. I have been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and it led me to check out her website. I just happened to click on her site the day she was sharing about her happiness challenge of keeping a one sentence journal for a month.
Immediately my heart leapt and I knew that this was a realistic happiness challenge for me to do and that it would be a wonderful idea to get other bloggers involved as well.

I love a quote Gretchen shares in her book:

"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

This happiness project is just what I was looking for to help me focus on being more aware of what makes me happy and to help others focus on happiness too. I love that it involves only one sentence a day and a short time for me to reflect each night on what has stood out as a great moment during my busy day.

I have always loved keeping a journal and as a mother have found it difficult to keep it up. This idea is manageable. It is simple and a way for me to put pen to paper quickly each day.

Below I have attached Gretchen sharing a little more about the happiness challenge to keep a one sentence journal for the month.

So here is the plan:
Starting on April 10th and finishing on May 10th we take time each day to record and write one sentence on what has made us feel happy during that day or things that we are grateful for on that day.

At the end of the month after May 10th (I will let you know what date), we each publish as a blog post our one sentence monthly list and link up together here at Seven Cherubs so that we can each read what touched our hearts and made us happy. If you do not feel comfortable sharing all of your daily sentences then just share with us those that you do feel comfortable sharing.

An example could be:
Today we went to the park, had a picnic for dinner and I loved watching the kids play together. OR
I love that I have a washing machine that works and that Eli has stopped throwing up!

So will YOU join me???
Link up your blog below if you want to take the happiness project challenge.

p.s - I have also found out that every Sunday over at We Heart Life they link up all of the happy moments they had for the week. Check it out here if you are interested in more happiness ideas.

Friday, April 1, 2011

10 great cheese recipes

Last week, I had a special delivery come in the mail. It was a Bega bag full of treats for our family. 
You might be familiar with the great Bega ads on television and as someone who has actually been to Bega - I can say that Bega really is famous for Bega cheese. Made in a real town with real cheese. We even went on a tour of the Cheese factory and loved our short stop there. Beautiful countryside.

In our Bega bag were some treats for the kids and some great cheese snacks. My Eli just loves Bega Stringers, which is made from all natural mozzarella cheese and is the top selling kids cheese snack range in Australia. Eli loves it so much he wants to have Bega Stringers in his lunch box every day!

Now, I am a mother who likes to encourage my kids to earn treats and to make it a little fun for them, I took the Bega character pens given to us and hid them around the house. When the kids came home from school they had to find them before they could have any of the cheese treats to eat.

See if you can spot them:
(These are the easy ones I hid. I did hide some in several hard places and they were all running around trying to find them so they could have a Bega stringer to eat. It was fun watching them and they were happy with their prize.)

With all of this cheese eating, it started me thinking about cheese recipes. My kids love it when I incorporate cheese into any meal we make, so I decided to put together a collection of 10 great cheese recipes for you to try at home:

swiss cheese fondue - here
cheesy potato bake - here
classic macaroni cheese - here
cheese in a box - here
cheese puffs - here
herb and walnut cheese log - here
fennel and cheese scones - here
cheese and mustard drumsticks - here
chilli cheese shortbread - here
quesadilla with beans and cheese - here

All links are taken from

One of our favourite recipes involves: puff pastry, grated zucchini, eggs, milk and cheese.
A quick quiche for dinner normally keeps us happy:

Are your family cheese lovers??? 
What do you love cooking with cheese???