Tuesday, May 31, 2011

30 days of happiness

The time has come to reveal my thirty days of happiness list. These are topics that have been on my mind recently and I have felt impressed to write about them. I am excited and a little bit nervous to share this list with you. I am hoping you will enjoy what is in store and my thoughts on this topic.

You are most welcome to write about any of these topics as well and I plan on having a few days where you can link up any happiness posts that you have written.

I would love your feedback and any thoughts you have to share about how any of these topics have helped bring happiness to your life. It is going to be fun, it is going to be crazy writing about them all and I am so looking forward to the challenge.

Let the days of happiness begin.

Write an Unhappiness List

I preparing for my happiness month coming up for June, which starts tomorrow, one of the important things I did was to sit down and to write out an unhappiness list. Weird? you might think! but, I decided to look at all of the things that make me feel unhappy.

I did this to help me see what makes me feel happy. Some days I struggle with knowing and remembering what really makes me happy. I find it so much easier to know what does not make me happy. I seem to have a natural disposition to focus on the negative and I have to really work on seeing the good and wonderful in my life.

Here are some of the things that make me feel unhappy:
After looking at this list I then tried to work out what the opposite would be so that I could see what happiness would look like for me. Here are the opposites that make me feel happy:

I found this process really easy, simple and fun to do. Of course this is just a small sample of what makes me feel unhappy and also what makes me feel happy. I look forward to sharing with you what happiness looks like for me in the next coming days as I work on completing more of my happiness list.

I hope you will drop by to see what is in my heart and what brings joy to my life.

I have attached a blank copy for you to print out or have fun with to make your own unhappy and happy list. I found this over at Shabby Blogs. Have fun!

Monday, May 30, 2011

BLOG wishes


I love to take risks and dream up wishes.
I love to try new ideas and constantly think of fun creative things to do.

When it comes to my blog I have not taken very many risks. I have shared a few personal experiences that I have felt were a risk to share but have not felt brave enough to openly, publicly announce a blog personal goal to help motivate me to achieve it.

Actually, maybe the Blogger Butt challenge could be one??
Actually, maybe my Happiness project could be another??
Actually, maybe my 30 days of happiness could be another???

Alright, when I come to think of it in a way, I am sharing personal goals.
Maybe not so much blog personal goals.

I have written about a few heartfelt topics where I felt scared to push the 'publish' button and been touched by the responses of you wonderful Seven Cherub readers. Thank you so much!

I do have some wonderful thoughts, ideas and wishes for my blog but have felt scared to share them in case they do not happen. My blog is personal in so many ways and even though I do work with companies and promote products, I share so much of my heart on this space that I see everything I do as personal.

My blog goals are wishes and dreams associated with writing and uplifting mothers. I want to help inspire women, create happiness and help mothers believe in themselves. My mind seems to naturally dream big and often I find that what is standing in my way of achieving these goals is time and myself.

Time because I am already super busy and need to cut out some commitments in my life.
Myself because I doubt my abilities and doubt if other women would be interested in what I have to share.

I know these wishes are possible with hard work and determination. I am not afraid of that. The difficulty I find is in working out whether to share them or to keep them private. It then becomes a blog risk as people like to copy and to take.

As much as there is wonderful support out in the blogosphere there is also those who like to take advantage of other writers and bloggers. I have been really blessed that I have been on the receiving end of a lot of support. It has made my blog experience so much more enjoyable and I is one of the main reasons why I continue to write and share personal experiences on my blog.

In case you were wondering. You can find my 2010 blog goals here and my 2011 blog goals here.

I guess today in relation to having a blog I was just wondering:

 Have you ever taken a risk with your blog? 
Have you publicly announced a personal goal and found it helpful?




Saturday, May 28, 2011

A month of happiness


Maybe it is the cold weather recently, maybe it is my over scheduled life right now, maybe it is just because I love to focus on happiness, maybe it is because I personally feel the need to or maybe it is because I am feeling a little older and slower lately....

....whatever the real reason, {just quietly I think it is all of those reasons}, I have decided to dedicate myself to working on my happiness list a little more intensely, a little more quickly and a little more whole heartedly.

I am taking my happiness list to a new level.

I am going to connect with my goal of finding happiness in a new way.

I am going to stare it right in the face, look a little deeper and really search my heart to see what truly makes me happy.

I don't know if I will or you will like what I see and find but, I am going to try to share it as best as I can.

I have decided that the best way to do this is to get happy for every day of the month of June.

Hot chocolate in hand, laptop on my lap and happiness in my heart.

I am going to blog 30 happiness ideas for this month.

I do have some sponsored post booked in for this month and on those days I will share two posts.

I hope you will join me in following my happiness journey for the month.

I am a little scared, I am a little excited and I am looking forward to the challenge.

A month of happiness can only be good?? right???

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mini Cookbook Library

Sponsored by News Ltd Food Month and Kidspot

I adore books. I always have and I always will. I love sitting down relaxing with a story and escaping on a new adventure. I have also always enjoyed cooking and building my cook book library has been a priority of mine lately. My dream cook book collection would include books from Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay, Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer and Kylie Kwong, to name a few.

So when I had the opportunity to add a few more cookbooks from these awesome chefs, to my collection I jumped at the chance! NEWS Limited is having a FOOD MONTH {May 8th ~ June 20th} and is celebrating by putting together a Mini Cookbook Collection for you to enjoy.

Here are some of the NEWS Limited books that now are part of my collection:

Each book is only $2 and has over 20 recipes in each mini book.

One of the things I ask myself when I buy a cook book is, 'How many of the actual recipes will I cook?'. Some recipes are just too difficult or expensive to adjust to a large family. So, I had to put some of these recipes in the Mini cook book collection to the test. To see if they would be recipes that I would actually make. 

The first recipe that I decided to make was from The Great Aussie Family cookbook. It looked super easy and tasty, Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Sage. Here are the ingredients needed:


A chicken for roasting (preferably an organic or free range chicken), thinly sliced pancetta (about 6 slices per chicken), sage leaves, 50g melted butter, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Here is how you make your chicken taste awesome:

Pierce the lemon a few times and then place inside the chicken with a slice of pancetta and some sage leaves. Lay your sage leaves on the top of the chicken and then completely cover with the remaining pancetta.

Brush the legs and wings of the chicken with the melted butter, sprinkle on some sea salt and season with cracked pepper.

Place your chicken in a heated oven in a large roasting tin for at least an hour or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the flesh is pierced with a sharp knife. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes before  serving.


I used a large family sized chicken that already had some seasoning on it to add some extra taste and this recipe was super easy and the kids really liked it. Served with a salad or some vegetables it makes a great family dinner.

Now that I had the mail meal sorted, I of course had to try out a dessert recipe. Oh my! the choices were so awesome to chose from and I settled upon a lovely treat from the Grossi Florentino Secrets & Recipes mini cook book, White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Seriously, how could I go past it! This recipe is so easy to make I really hope that you will give it a try. Here are the ingredients needed:


160g white chocolate, 650g cream cheese (softened), 250g caster sugar, 3 eggs (lightly beaten), grated zest and juice of 1 orange, seeds from half a vanilla bean, 200g raspberries and icing sugar.

Here is how you make your awesome cheesecake:

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Lightly grease a 5cm deep rectangular dish (about 28cmx21cm) and line it with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth (I just melted it slowly in the microwave), combine the cream cheese and sugar, then slowly add the melted chocolate, eggs, orange zest and juice, and vanilla seeds.

Pour half the chocolate mixture into the baking dish. Cover with the raspberries and pour over the remaining mixture. Bake for 1 hour until just set.
Then allow to cool ~ the cake will become more stable and easier to cut. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm. Believe me, you will want to eat it warm and just so you know, it goes nicely with a little cream.


The finished product. A baked white chocolate cheesecake.


My first of several servings. Yummo!

I found that most of the recipes were the type I would cook and the ingredients are readily available for me to purchase. Making them a good purchase for my cook book collection. Now that I have you all hungry and drooling, go check out the site here, watch the gorgeous cherub who sounds exactly like Jamie Oliver and watch out for your free collectors case and $2 cookbooks in the mail. There are 15 different cook books to collect and if you collect them all you will have over 350 recipes. Love that deal!

Do you like collecting cookbooks???  Who is your favourite chef???

 

Mother heart: Moments for Mum


Today for Mother heart we are looking into the heart of a mother who loves to offer encouragement and inspiration to women. She works on helping real mothers by using life stories and loves to connect them to God. Narelle has a passion for helping busy mothers put God first even though we are distracted and have many demands upon us. A woman after my own heart. I hope you enjoy a little sneak peak into her life and blog.

About Me:I’m 35 and have lived in Perth WA all my life. I love writing but it’s only been in the past 3 years that I have discovered my writing niche; which is sharing my faith! I also really love public speaking. I’d happily quit my job to write and speak full time if only it paid the bills! I enjoy scrapbooking and card-making but my supplies are gathering dust at the moment as life is busy with other things.

Your Family: I’ve been married to my hubby Gavin for over 14 years and we still like each other more every day! We have 2 boys – a 9 year old and a 5 year old. I work from home 4 days a week operating a Family Day Care Service. It’s the best of both worlds really as I earn a good income whilst being home for my children. I always thought once they were at school full time I’d go out to get a ‘real job’ but have realised how much I love working from home so here I will stay!

Mother Heart: What I love most about being a mum is sharing my faith with my children. I love teaching them about God and the hope we have in Him. It is such a blessing as a mum to hear them pray for the needs of others as well as their own needs. It took me a while to have the boys so every day I am thankful to be a mum – even on the days that they test me to the limit!

Goals: My boys are not always confident in themselves and their abilities so my current goal is to link them into something they are really good at to increase their confidence. Both boys swim and this term our 9 year old will start art classes which we know he will love. I want my boys to know that they can achieve anything they want to in life if they work hard and put their mind to it – the sky is their limit!

Picture:
Narelle and family

Love this family picture!

Blog: I started my blog 3 years ago with the express purpose of encouraging other mums, especially in their spiritual life. My blog is not super popular because of its specific nature but that’s ok!
Since starting my blog, I have had 2 devotional books published and have just created/edited a magazine for mums. I blog at Moments for Mum.

Thanks - Narelle - Love what you are doing and love that you have put your thoughts into several books. One of the reasons I really wanted to feature Narelle is that I love that she has a dream, has passion, has a focus and has made it happen. Her first book above is called 'Moments for Mum' and is a collection of 61 devotions written for women, specifically mums. It covers topics such as joy, anger, jealousy, faith, enjoying our children and many more. It is available for purchase from just $14.95.


Her second book is 'Thankful for Dishes' and is a collection of 100 devotions. This devotional is presented in sections such as Godly Living, Lessons from Bible Characters, Relationships, Marriage and Living With Christ. Each devotion has journaling space for jotting down throughts or studying a topic in more detail. I was lucky enough to have Narelle send me a copy of her book to read.

It was a lovely read and I enjoyed how she took principles of the gospel and applied them to her family and every day activities. Even though we are not of the same religion - I really enjoyed what she had to share, the thoughts of her heart and that it is written in a way that it feels as if Narelle is right there talking with you.

When I was having a difficult day it was so nice to turn to her book to know that there would be some encouragement to keep going, to know I was not alone in my motherhood struggles and that there are many scriptures to help us get through these times.

This book is available to purchase for $17.95.


One other wonderful way that Narelle helps women is that she puts together a 'Mum to Mum' Magazine. It includes articles by Narelle and several other Christian mums with the intent to encourage, inspire and motivate mums in their walk with God and along their journey of motherhood. The magazine can be purchased for just $2. If anyone would like a copy I have 3 to giveaway. Just leave a comment below telling me if you would like one sent out to you.

I hope you can get the chance to check out Narelle and her family on her blog here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blokus review


We love a good healthy family competition in our house. In fact, several members who will remain nameless, are very competitive. Whenever we settle down for some family fun by playing a game, the emotion and passion for winning seems to come out immediately. Often we have to stop playing the game to calm people down and it can be difficult to find a game that does NOT bring out all of these competitive feelings.

I am always on the lookout for good family games, to keep the children busy (so I can blog! ha!) and so that we can have some quiet time chatting and playing. It is a real bonding time that we enjoy.

We were recently sent the new game from Mattel, BLOKUS to try as a family. It is a strategy game and was developed by Bernard Tavitian who holds a Masters degree in Mathematics, an Engineering Degree, a Doctorate in Biophysics and has held a post-doctoral position at Yale University. Um...er...busy man!

The game is for 2-4 players and the idea is to place all of your shapes on the board before the other players. There are many different shapes to place on the board and it is a challenge to fit them all in. You need to plan ahead and hope that someone does not take your spot and by using strategy, you can block out other players so they are trapped and don't have room to fit in their shapes.

It is recommended for ages 5+ and even Sam and Eli could grasp the game. We really found it fun to play and since opening the box I have found it constantly spread out on the floor with someone playing it. Blokus even has a website where you can play online. Check it out here. You can even get an app for it. Check it out here. Dangerous!


Don't just take my word for it, Tina wrote a review about it as well. Check it out here.


Of course this was the best use of the Blokus board so far!
It says: Mum is the Best.

What game does your family love to play???

Baby Shower for Men

{Matt and Chelsea}

We do things a little differently in the Seven Cherubs house.
I guess it is how we have fun and enjoy ourselves. We put our own spin on things.

This is a flashback post. A memory that I treasure.

When I was pregnant with my first baby Chelsea, I was asked several times if I was going to have a baby shower to celebrate. In thinking about it, I decided that I really did not want to have one, but decided to have a baby shower for Matt.

A surprise Men's baby shower.
Oh my! it was so much fun to put together.

My sister-in- law Naomi, yes we have the same name, helped me put it together.

On the invitation we said:

"Dear Men,

Have you always wanted to attend a baby shower??? 
Well, here is your chance. We are planning a surprise baby shower for Matt and his first baby.

It is strictly men only. We do not expect any frilly things so if you would like to bring a present please make it a tool that matt needs when changing a baby or giving a bath or something you know he could use.

*insert day and time*

Naomi and Naomi"

We sent out the invitations to Matt's men friends and could not wait for the night to happen. My biggest problem I had was coming up with a reason to get Matt out of the house. So I got my sister-in-law to tell Matt that there was a surprise baby shower for me that night and he had to get me out of the house.

Too funny and yes, we are so clever!

I was killing myself laughing (on the inside!) as I watched Matt go around and clean up the house for his own baby shower! Love that guy!!

Later in the afternoon he suggested that we go for a drive and I nearly burst out laughing!
I of course played along with everything that he said and dutifully got in the car to go for a drive.

After our drive Matt let me inside the door first, so that I would get my surprise. I quickly went into the lounge area and turned around in time to see Matt still standing at the door staring at a sign that said "Good luck Dad" with a very confused look on his face.

When he stepped inside the door everyone jumped out and yelled 'Surprise' and Matt was shocked to see that our loungeroom was full of guys! It was totally awesome and Matt was so shocked that the baby shower was for him.

I loved that we had surprised him and touched that he felt sad for me that I was not having one.

The two of us Naomi's and Matt's mum were the only females permitted and it was such a fun night. My sister-in-law ran the whole evening and it was so great to see Men doing all the baby shower activities. Playing spit the dummy and changing nappies as fast as they could and having a great time chatting about fatherhood.

One of the things I enjoyed was that they took the competitions so seriously. I just laughed and laughed at how competitive they were even when it came to nappies and baby activities. Classic!

At the end of the night I really felt that it was a special event. It is not often that you get to be with a bunch of great men, who value fatherhood and to be able to listen to the several heartfelt sharing moments that happened when they spoke with respect and love towards their wives and their own children. Sure there were laughs, sure there was fun, but there was also love and admiration.

It was wonderful to show Matt how much I appreciate all that he does in supporting me in my motherhood role and journey. After all I could not do it without him.

Thanks Naomi for helping to make it happen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hey, soul sister

My kids get up to some crazy antics around my house. They are always full of beans and are always on the look out for fun. I often find hilarious clips on my camera or computer of what they have been up to.

Today, I thought I would share with you a clip I found of Liahona and Harmony. Those who can be a fun combination when they are together. The quality is not very good but, you can get the idea of what I am talking about and *warning* there is music so turn your volume down if you have cherubs sleeping.

Enjoy x

video

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tangled giveaway


Our family is in love with the the movie Tangled. Even Matt loves Tangled. We think it is totally funny and a great story. We so love the horse! Hilarious. We have even had our own Tangled family fun day.

Matt and I even got ourselves Tangled. Check it out here.

Harmony even dressed up as the feisty and sweet Rapunzel herself. I  know you can't see very well, but she is holding a small lizard. She loves them! She would love one sitting on her shoulder at all times.


Thanks to Porter Novelli and Disney, here at Seven Cherubs we have a copy of Tangled to giveaway on DVD. If you missed out on seeing it at the movies, now is your chance to grab a copy, or if you saw it at the movies and would love to own your own copy, this is the giveaway for you.

Here are the guidelines:
1. Open to Aussie residents only
2. Winner picked by the awesome random number generator
3. Entries close June 1st, 2011
4. Leave a comment below
5. Make sure you have email attached to your profile or include it with your comment
6. Tell me:

If you were stuck in a tower...
what 3 items could you NOT live without???


Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of the DVD courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment via Digital Parents. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Time out for women


I love taking time out. Just a little time away from everything to help me relax, restore my thoughts and to rejuvenate myself back to where I want to be. As a mother and a woman, I need regular time out. I find it keeps me sane, it gives me something to look forward to and allows me to breathe again.

One of secrets to keeping it all together with a large family, is that once a year I take a weekend away by myself. Yes, all by myself. Matt looks after the kids and I book myself into a hotel and chill out.

Just me, just the room and just my thoughts.

I don't go to the extreme and book myself a luxury weekend away (although that would be nice), I pick a place to stay that is affordable and a place that will provide me with some quiet and a bed to relax on.

Here are the reasons why I do it:

1. Doing this once a year gives me something to look forward to and believe me, as a mother, some days you need at least one thing to look forward to! It keeps my heart and mind happy to know that I can plan and prepare for what I will do that weekend.

2. This weekend is just for me. As a mother and a woman I find that so much of my time is spent helping and caring for others that often I am left behind. This allows me to focus on what I need and what I need to do to care for myself.

3. I normally take my computer or a large journal/notepad and plan out my year of what I would love to have happen in my life and for my family. I love being able to do this without being interrupted and disturbed fifty million times an hour. Alright, I am really over exaggerating but you get the picture!

4. Having some time away and apart from my family helps me to fall in love with my family all over again. At first it is really hard to be apart from them and my heart and thoughts constantly are wondering how they are going, but once I start planning and writing, my desire to want to help them and myself progress takes over and I settle into a great weekend of loving my time out to myself.

5. A quiet hotel room, a notepad and a pen allows me to nurture myself. I sleep, I read, I think, I ponder and I remember and connect with who I am again. I am not Matt's wife and Chelsea's or Nathan mother. I am Naomi again, even just for one weekend. It is lovely to remember who I am, what I want from life and to access what I value and treasure. It makes a difference to my emotional, mental and spiritual welfare.

Now, I know not everyone is able to do this and for many years I was not able to do this myself. It does not have to be a weekend away, it can even be one night or even a couple of hours, but having some time out makes a difference and is important.

This year I am soooo looking forward to taking some time out. In fact I am going to an event called Time Our For Women in Sydney as part of my time out weekend. It is an inspirational event put on by Deseret Book (who I love to buy books from!) and this is the first year that it is coming to Australia. I have been hearing about it in America for years and am so excited that it is coming here!

It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with women from all over Australia and to get recharged through motivational messages and music. The theme for this year is: Choose to Become and believe me I am choosing to become by attending this event.

One of my favourite presenters will be Hilary Weeks. I so love her music and have a few of her CD's that I love to listen to. I also love that she is a keeping it real kind of mother and woman and she has a great sense of humour. Check out one of my favourite songs below:



Time Out for women is going to be held in Sydney on Saturday July 23rd at the Sydney Olympic Sports Centre Arena and if you are interested in reading more about it, you can check it out here.

I also love to take some time out by having a hot bubble bath, reading a book, catching a movie, going out for a hot chocolate and by reading other blogs! I hope that you have the chance to take a weekend away, to restore and to renew. I am so looking forward to July and my mind is already going crazy thinking of all the things I want to dream about on that weekend.

What do you do to take time out???

Friday, May 20, 2011

WEAR your happiness

Happiness idea number 17.

If you are new to my blog one of the things you should know about me is that I am working my way through my happiness list. Happiness does not always come easy for me so I am a seeker of happiness. You can check out my original happiness list here and the ideas I have completed and posted about here.

Today I want to inspire YOU to WEAR your happiness. I have been pondering over how it makes me happy to wear a few items that are my favourites. You know, those items that you adore, that you treasure and look forward to putting on to add a little spunk to your day. It really is a simple and easy way to bring happiness to my heart and mind. As soon as I wear a few of my favourite things, I feel happier. They make me smile and no matter what seems to happen, I feel better about myself because I am wearing them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that true happiness is found in your heart and that often it has nothing to do with material items or circumstances around you. It has more to do with family and friends and with being content with who you are. For today though, I thought I would share a few treasures that do bring an extra dash of happiness to my life. Here are my examples of how I WEAR my happiness.

So here we go:
Here is my current favourite necklace. I picked it up at Diva on sale.

Here is my all time favourite headband. I found it in a Chemist. I am addicted to headbands.

Here are my current favourite shoes. Another sale item that I love. Super comfortable.

Here is my current favourite handbag. Green or lime is not normally my colour (I am a blue girl) but I love the suede feel of the bag.

Here is my favourite dress. Wore this to my sisters Wedding. Love the colour.

Here is my favourite jacket. Found it in an op-shop and adore it. I love wearing funky suit jackets.

Here is my favourite lipstick. Revlon. Love a bit of gloss and this is Glossy Rose.

Here are my favourite earrings. Given to me by Gemma Joy. Love them.

Here is my favourite scarf. I picked up in K-Mart. Keeps me warm and goes with everything.

Here is my favourite brooch. Love the pink, from Diva. Always makes me happy wearing it.

Here is my favourite t-shirt. From Levant. Made by The Butterfly Movement. Love the message.
  

They also have a range of other sayings:


Levant offers fashion for the green at heart, socially conscious, environmentally aware consumer. They stock products with style, integrity and soul making it easy to look good, feel good and be good. If you are interested in purchasing a t-shirt email Corrine at {levant@live.com.au} and they will give you free postage in Australia if you mention Seven Cherubs. 

I could go on for ages about my favourite ways I wear my happiness. I am a bit of an accessory addict.
I will have to share my jewellery and headband collection one day. Let's hope you don't all freak out!

Here is my all time favourite accessory to wear. A smile. It costs nothing.

What do you love to WEAR to bring you happiness??? 
What is your favourite accessory???

p.s * I was sent that awesome t-shirt to wear and keep and I was not paid for promoting the product.
I really do love it. Soft to wear and love the message.